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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » selling one's talent (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

pkmagic
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Paul knight
140 Posts

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Greetings one and all.

My name is Paul Knight and I love performing close up magic, but I am running out of new faces - therefore I am desperate to start performing professionally for paying customers i.e. table-hopping. Only problem is where do I start???!!

Any help would be highly appreciated.


Smile Smile
the levitator
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Spellbound Productions
546 Posts

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Fist of all, do you live in or near a big city? The first thing I did was to make a list of all the "family" restaurants, both locally owned and chains. I've mostly performed for chains because they have a bigger budget, but my best experiences have been with locally owned restaurants. They just seem to appreiciate you more.

I've also found that chain restaurants can have a lot of restrictions in regards to marketing and promoting you. I perform publicly fairly often and I always get more support from locally owned restaurants in regards to sponsorship and advertising than I have with the chains.

Some guys like to go in, and speak to a manager, and try to arrange an appointment. This is definitely the most professional way to go, but it can be a bit unnerving to someone who doesn't have a strong sales background. Another approach might be to do a little homework, pick out a restaurant you would like to perform at, find out when the general manager is usually there. Go in as a customer at a non-rush time (avoid lunch and dinner times).

Pick one killer routine to perform for the waitstaff. This will usually get back to the manager. If you can perform it when the manager is in the area, even better. I wouldn't ask for a gig on the spot, just generate some interest in yourself. Come back a week or less later with another killer routine.

I try to make it about the same day and time of day as the last visit. You should definitely get a conversation the second time around. I like this approach, because it is lesss formal, doesn't get management to immediately think about spending money. I usually approach them with 2 reasons to hire me.

One would be to bulk up a normally slow night, the other is to entertain the waiting customers to keep them from leaving to go to another restaurant. If you focus on making yourself valuable to the manager, you will have a much better chance. The manager may love or hate magic, but their bottom line is their bottom line.

If you can show them how you can increase their business, it's almost a lock. I've been fortunate enough to perform at 5 different restaurants, one for the lst 5 years, and at one time I was at 4 different places at the same time. I've never been turned down from a restaurant that I got a 1-on-1 with the manager.

Oh, one other VERY important thing, make absolutely sure that there is not already another magician performing there. Snaking gigs is not a popular pastime. The best advice I can give you is to get The Magic Menu Series of publications. You will know all you need to know about restaurant magic by the time you get through all of the magazines.

It is a great publication with terrific articles and suggestions from the best working pros in the business.
http://www.magicmenu.net/
is where to find it.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to email me and I will gladly try to help in any way I can! I'm no expert, but I can share my experiences with you if you think it would help.

Good luck!

James Anthony
"It's all in your head...."



James Anthony
www.jamesanthonymagic.com
Logan
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Inner circle
2279 Posts

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That's some good advice James! I'll definitely bear that in mind should I ever start performing for restaurants!

Logan
You've been hit by, you've been struck by, a smooth criminal.

Singapore's Hairiest Corporate Comedy Magician!
EsKlibur
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145 Posts

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Also do a search on this forum. Some good advice has been given on various threads. I'm in the same situation as you, thinking of starting in the real world, and these threads are definitely useful to me! Smile
"Poetry is the Magic of Lies,
Magic is the Poetry of Lies" - Jean Cocteau
RandomEffects
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Boston, MA
323 Posts

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When talking to the managers make sure you emphasize that you can make them money. This is a business to them, stress increasing business and retaining new guests as just some of the ways that you can help him out. I always like to mention that I am always happy to go out of my way to entertain and distract a guest that is ***** because his dinner or reservations are running late.
Mat
Bascomb Grecian
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Redding, Ca.
202 Posts

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pkmagic or Paul:

I commend you for publicly asking for assistance! The Levitator sounds like a seasoned performer as well as a sales pro.

He is right about locally owned establishments. I have had real bad experiences with the chain restaurants in my area. Most of them jerk you around and you never get to talk to the "guy" who can make a decision. Just getting your foot in the door at a chain restaurant is sometimes next to impossible. Why, because until they know YOU, chain restaurants treat you like every other salesman. They make no distinctions weather you sell cleaning supplies or magic. When you do get to talk to the decision maker, he always says he has to sell it to his boss. Contrast that to an owner who can make his own decision to hire you on the spot.

My advice, skip the chain restaurants altogether, unless they call you. If you are looking for a job as a magician at a restaurant, find a good busy establishment that is locally owned. Meet and speak with the owner. Use your skills to make his restaurant more competitive with the chain restaurants. I have worked in over 30 restaurants in the past 20 years, most of them owned by a local chef, or businessman.
These guys will appreaciate you more and treat you like a human being. Not to mention all the friends you will make!

Bascomb
Welcome to The Magic Cafe'!
RandomEffects
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Boston, MA
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A little tip to save you some time when looking for a place to work. AVOID assistant managers and others lower on the toem. Generally speaking you want to talk to the head manager or the owner because they are the ones who make the decisions. Talking to an assistant is generally a waste of time because you have to convince them, then "hope" that they will use as much effort convincing their superior.

Always talk to and impress the decision maker, if you get anyone else ask them when a good time to meet with the manager is.
Hope this can help you avoid some of the pointless legwork that I went through when getting started.
Mat
nums
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I have a life, or I would have more than
366 Posts

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I agree, stay away from chains unless there are others in your area that have entertainment, a friend of mine works at a ---in one town he told me to go to---- in a neighboring town and I was in, in 15 minutes.

I also got a gig with a national seafood rest by just being there during a managers meeting and one asked the other what can we do about the wait times and I jumped up and said this is what and did a few tricks, I started that Friday....sometimes I would rather be lucky than good as it is the lucky man who wins the lottery.

Jeff
p.b.jones
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Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
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HI,
A big Tip! There are other places to work than restaurants!

Look at the posts above they are all telling you restaurants, restaurants, restaurants no disrespect because from experience these performers have found that these are a good source of bookings But it pays to think and look outside the circle of what everyone else does when it comes to getting shows.

Look at where you live and whats about. I live in a Rural/beach holiday area, I started marketing 45 mins kidshow/break/1or 2 hours strolling in the club house for the mom's and dads. the managers love this as it keeps the people in the club house buying food and drinks and the kids won't go to bed either until I have been to there table (I helpfuly announce at the end of the kidshow that I will be going around the tables later and that,s it most kids nag parents to stay)

I tell you all this not because I think I am clever but rather to point that often we have "blinders on" vision. Do you have any establishments near you that regularly have a Ball or dinner dance? Any Military establishments (Sergeant and officers mess have functions requiring events all the time)
Phillip
pkmagic
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Paul knight
140 Posts

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Thanks for all your help guys.
Really helpfull.
Now all I have to do is put my money where my mouth is!



Cheers

Paul. Smile
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