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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » When they doubt your RELIABILITY (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Cheshire Cat
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Had a funny call last week (yes, we see the funny side of this business now). "But what if your car breaks down on the way to the party?" "What if you are ill and I'm left with all these children?".

Eventually my wife (who received the call), after throwing the illness question back at her - "but what if YOU are ill and cancel the party?" - suggested the lady go through Yellow Pages to try and find what she was looking for as we could not help her (our polite way of saying 'get lost').

Seriously though, Children's Entertainers must be way, way up in the medals table for reliability. How many of these people have been let down by a plumber, electrician, delivery company etc. etc? On top of this we have to arrive at a specified time. We can't get stuck in traffic, - we can't look miserable through illness or pain, - we can't have a 'bad day'. In other words we are in a business where people probably have unrealistic expectations. Yet we manage to fulfil these expectations don't we?

Our advice these days to any entertainer caught in this unrealistic fulfillment mindset? Chill out! Just do the best you can! (Cos they'll always expect more!)
Neale Bacon
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I think that goes to the fact that most people booking a birthday have never booked talent before and don't know what to ask.

Some may have been stung in the past with performers who were less than reliable.

I would have asked what kind of assurances was she wanting. All kinds of unforseen things can happen..like car break downs etc, but if I was ill I would get another performer if at all possible.

But after all that....yes you can get some weird questions.
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
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Rupert Bair
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I think your right Ace.

We turn up in the snow, rain, sun, wind etc. We turn up at any time. We tailor for their needs.

As you say, we must always be professional and never be late.

We do it becuse we love it.

Matt
tboehnlein
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Honestly, I never thought about it but those are some great insights into selling our fees. I mean, think about it, repair people bill for just making the call even before they ever lift a hand. They cannot advise of an exact time of arrival, nor can they guarantee when they will be finished. This can go on for quite a list but you get my point.
wizardofsorts
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I used to have an older car. I was always afraid it was going to let me down someday. And then one day it did. Thankfully, my partner had a 'no show' that day and picked me up along the highway and drove me to the show. Had she not be available I would have started calling everyone I know in town with a car and started offering money. Depending on where you live, and where the show is. I would say, "I'll take a cab." Even if the fee would be outrageous, at least it's an answer.
Edd
Edd Fairman, Wizard of Sorts is a corporate magician available for your next trade show, hospitality suite, client luncheon, or company event. http://www.wizardofsorts.com
Emazdad
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In the 10 years I've been doing shows I've only ever missed 3 shows, two were while I was in the navy
1, my boss decided that fixing a broken down warship was more important than my party booking, and even wouldn't let me go away do the show and come back to work all night. I got it covered by a mate, but the booker wasn't really happy when I phoned her as she specifically wanted me.
2, another boss told me I had to keep a duty and wouldn't let my mate cover the duty for me, It was going to be in december and I was working 2 days about with my mate who said he'd cover for a third day so I could do the show. My boss was a bit of a bully and quoted the rule book at us. luckily I was able to give the venue a couple of weeks notice but they never booked me again.
3, one was due to car breakdown. unfortunately I blew my head gasket on the way to a wedding show last year. the show was in Newquay and I live in Plymouth. Normally only a hour and a half away, except in the summer, when the tourist traffic and horrendous bottlenecks double/triple the journey time (anyone who's come down the A30 into cornwall in August will know what I mean.) I had to phone from the back of the tow truck to say I wasn't going to make it. Luckily they understood and even booked me for a birthday party this year, where my continuing guilt over missing the show led me to give them a discount.

If the show had been in Plymouth it would have been a different story,
1, I'd have phoned home and got the boss to drive out pick me up, I'd have left her to wait for the tow truck and used her car to get to the show. As I leave plenty of time I would have been there on time or maybe only slightly late.
2, I'd have desperately phoned round trying to find someone to cover it. phoning to say no-ones coming is a last resort.

That is what I tell people will happen if the unthinkable happens. As for them canceling my contract states that if they cancel with less than 14 days notice they still have to pay.

I had a playscheme this year book me for a couple of gigs, the question they asked was, If the weathers poor and we have to cancel on the day, do we still have to pay you? To which I answered yes.

Apart from that like the rest of us I've performed with a happy smiling face while behind that happy smile I felt like death warmed up, and as I've discussed in previous topics while in sever pain. The show must go on and all that! I can handle the colds, flu, and backpain it's the dicky tummy I hate. Performing a show praying you don't have a smelly accident is not my idea of fun.

<<<We do it becuse we love it.>>>

Partly yes Matt, but I like to think it's also because we know that our professional reputation is more important than anything else. Letting someone down, especially kids is extremely bad for your reputation and a bad rep spreads faster than a good one.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
eddieloughran
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I got a call ealier this year from someone who had mistakenly double booked a show. Could I help her out ? It was the first time this had happened, she said !

Since then she has refered two other bookers to me when the same thing had happened. The last time I asked the booker for more information and found that she had agreed to a two hour show for £50. ( before later becoming double booked ).

Another local magician has a reputation for agreeing to any job at any price and then cancelling if a better one comes up. It was their fault for not confirming in time , or something. I got a call from one party he had let down.

If the jobs are booked as one-offs from the newspaper or yellow pages nobody is going to know so won't damage there reputation.

Sorry ! It may be going on. Particualy at the cheap end of the market.

Eddie
Rupert Bair
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<<We do it becuase we love it>>
I think people are in the wrong business if they don't like kids what they do. Or if they just think about the money.
Matt
Donald Dunphy
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Quote:
On 2004-08-21 06:44, eddieloughran wrote:
I got a call ealier this year from someone who had mistakenly double booked a show. Could I help her out ? It was the first time this had happened, she said !

Since then she has refered two other bookers to me when the same thing had happened. The last time I asked the booker for more information and found that she had agreed to a two hour show for £50. ( before later becoming double booked ).

Another local magician has a reputation for agreeing to any job at any price and then cancelling if a better one comes up. It was their fault for not confirming in time , or something. I got a call from one party he had let down.

If the jobs are booked as one-offs from the newspaper or yellow pages nobody is going to know so won't damage there reputation.

Sorry ! It may be going on. Particualy at the cheap end of the market.

Eddie


I can totally relate to Eddie's post. I've had prospects call me up, frantic to find a performer. This was for a larger event, not a birthday party. This other performer cancelled on them with less than 2 hours notice.

Guess why?

He thought it was in a different city, over 100 km away. He thought it was in the city he lived in. Although he had sent a contract and everything to confirm the show, I guess suddenly he clued in, or got a better paying gig, because he left this customer high and dry. His reason was ridiculous. I mean, he had to mail the contract long distance, the show venue was clearly in another city (not a chance of an identical name), and he had to call long distance to make all the show arrangements.

But I hope that he learned his lesson. If not, there are other prospects who will hire him because of his yellow page ad or other advertising, who has never heard of these problems with his professionalism.

I've also had a mother who called through the yellow pages looking for her performer 24 hours before the party. She had booked him some time ago, but he had never sent her any paperwork as promised. She didn't have a clue who she had booked, so she was randomly calling everyone again. Yikes!

So, there are performers out there that don't use confirmation letters and phone calls. And there are others who cancel last minute.

First of all, I admit that I didn't hear all of the things said during aceparties inquiry, so there may be some more things said that we don't know about, that indicate a genuine lack of trust in them. If so, then they did the right thing on passing on a customer who would be too difficult to please.

Remember that they may have asked these same questions of other performers, so it may not be you specifically they are concerned about. So, don't take it personally.

I think that if a person asks questions about your reliablity, then you need to ask questions back, to find out their reasons for being so concerned about that point.

When they ask questions about points like your reliablity, that is actually a buying signal. This is a good thing!

If it is a question, rather than a statement, find out more information. Answer their concerns.

Ask questions like, "Has this happened to you before, a performer cancelling or not showing up?" Or, "You seem very concerned about this point. Have you heard of this happening to a friend of yours?"

Remember, that sometimes mothers are terrified at the idea of being alone with these 10-15 children, and not knowing how to occupy their attention and keep them from destroying the house. So they rely on performers "to save the day." So the mothers questions about reliablity (car breaking down, you becoming ill) may have stemmed from her fears.

Sometimes it is best to assure them that you will be there (and that you have a reputation for reliability), and that you will put all the show confirmation details in writing, and that you will also supply some party tips to make their job easier.

Personally, I also supply my customers with my cell phone number, so they can call me on the day of the show, should any emergencies arise on their end.

- Donald.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
MarkTripp
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You simply tell them with you, because you are a professional, you use a "play or pay" contract.

If you didn't show up (play), you would pay them exactly what they were going to pay you (pay).

You tell them that all professionals use pay or play contracts.

That is one of the many things I used to set myself apart from the pack of children's show performers.....
wizardofsorts
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Mark,
I may be confussed about what a Pay or Play contract is but I don't think you are using the term correctly. With the actor's unions we all have pay or play contracts and everytime they come up for renewal they are one of the major sticking points. As far as I understand them (and I've read some lenghty articles on them) a pay or play contract means if a company reserves your time to "play" a part in a movie (or similar thing) and then doesn't use you (because they go with someone else or the project gets canned) they have to "pay" you the amount promised because you took the time out of your calander and had to turn down other jobs. As far as I know they do not go the other way but I could be incorrect. Where is Cloneman? He's an entertainment lawyer. He would know.
Edd
Edd Fairman, Wizard of Sorts is a corporate magician available for your next trade show, hospitality suite, client luncheon, or company event. http://www.wizardofsorts.com
Donald Dunphy
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I thought "Play or Pay" meant something else, too. I was taught that it meant, if the customer cancels on you, they still pay you (the same as Edd's definition of the word).

I have heard of performers refunding if they didn't show up, getting a subsitute, offering a replacement show, etc. Thank goodness I've never had to do it myself.

I've never heard of performers paying the customer the fee if they failed to show up. That's an interesting policy, but I'm not sure what that is called.

Mark, do you put conditions on this? Like, you have the option of finding another performer for them, etc. What do you do if an extreme emergency comes up? Are you out of pocket? Do you still have to pay them even if you have to cancel / offer a subsitute with reasonable notice (say 14 or 30 days)?

- Donald.

P.S. No Mark, I am not trying to start an arguement with you, by saying I hadn't heard it defined the way you stated. Smile
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Emazdad
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<<<If the jobs are booked as one-offs from the newspaper or yellow pages nobody is going to know so won't damage there reputation. >>>>

Oh yes it will, because the booker will not hesitate to tell their friends that they'd booked 'bongo the magic clown' ands he'd let them down.

When ever someone phones at short notice I always try and find out who let them down. Last year we found one magician had let down several people over the course of the year, better paying jobs came in so he just cancelled the others at short notice.

My policy is first come first served. If I've got a birthday party booked in and someone phoned with a mega high paying job, I'd turn it away as I was already booked. Once a job is in my diary it's set in stone.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Donald Dunphy
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Quote:
On 2004-08-21 14:05, Emazdad wrote:
My policy is first come first served. If I've got a birthday party booked in and someone phoned with a mega high paying job, I'd turn it away as I was already booked. Once a job is in my diary it's set in stone.


Amen! That's my policy as well.

- Donald.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
RiffClown
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I had a similar situation occur. I had a birthday party booked and a corporate client called and wished to book the entire weekend. Fortunately, I was friends with the birthday client and he was happy to move the party to earlier in the day to free up my afternoon. (As Thanks, I performed his party for free.) I would have turned down the corporate if needed but my customer was willing to work with my situation.
Rob "Riff, the Magical Clown" Eubank aka RiffClown
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<BR>Magic is not the method, but the presentation.
magic4u02
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Just based on the initial statement of what the lady said.. she wanted a BABYSITTER and NOT an entertainer. It was clear in the way she stated her question. It is sad but some people only see us in that light.

Kyle
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harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Being early has gotten me a positive word of mouth advertising.

I think I wrote elsewhere about comments I heard this summer from Librarians. They were trying to decide whether to call back programers that were chronically late and loved by the audiences.

The librarians have to deal with the full room of families and the unknown arrival time of some performers.

I actuall try to give them more bag for their buck, while doing a "preshow" while setting up for the folks that arrive early. Of course I arrive prior to the first families.(Unless some one gets the time wrong and gets there WAY early.

Be safe, and yes life happens.

Last year Annies Emergency Gall Bladder took precedence for a program. I was able to rebook the show at a later time. Actually it happened after my next fiscal year and prices had gone up. I honored of course the original contract.

Be safe, creative and responsible.

Harris
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Rupert Bair
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I once was asked to do a show 1hr before the party. I also got a tip because of it. No cancellation it was just I sort of had a residency at a local hotel and they included me in their package. Worked great. Im hoping to do it again this this winter.

Heres a little story of why I dress the way I do: On the way to a show this morning I remebered a show a did a few years ago, and I turned up with all my gear, I used to dress smart with a nice magical waist coat and shirt and trousers ect My dad had dropped me off and came into the house to help me with my stuff.
I was half way settng up and the lady walked through the door 'hello dear, I was just wondering what time your dad was coming back?, to do the magic show.'

My jaw dropped, I couldn't believe it my dad was wearing a tshirt and stuff and I was looking like a pro, what!?! so ever since ive been looking like a clown.
The End
Matt
NJJ
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Matt!

Been there many many times...

I've been doing kid's parties since I was nine and have seen many faces drop when a small child or a spotty teen enters the room! Luckily, I soon change all that!

I found its better not to go in with your parent and to be even MORE professional then the older guys.

How old were you at the time?
MarkTripp
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Gentlemen,

Having worked for many large agencies in my life, I can assure you it is YOU who pays the agency if you fail to perform; pay or play protects them and their comission, not you.

I "turned" that to "protect" the client, but in reality to get them to sign a contract that protects me.

It is just as easy for them to find someone ten bucks cheaper and cancel you, as it is for the magician to cancel them.

Yes, it says I can hire a competent replacement. To take the sting off of that it says that I must pay the difference if the replacement costs more than I do.

However, it means whatever YOU say it does, now doesn't it?
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