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Mikael Eriksson
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I've read some about doing free shows. But I don't get it.

1. What's the purpose of doing free shows?

2. When you get paid jobs later on, who is booking those shows?



Mikael
FacadeTheStiltBoy
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Greensboro NC
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Nothing in this world is free.

anything you do for free show wise, people will expect you to do them for free for the rest of your career (It's happened to me)

Anything charity ect., make sure you get paid, then turn around and write a check for the same amount to the chairity. That way your time isn't wasted, plus you have the tax writeoff which is worth more than just getting paid (least in the states.) .

But also, if you are doing a "free" show make darn sure that you get free publicity out fo the deal.
RJE
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Hi Mikael,

We might consider doing a free show for some of the following:

Promotional value: This might include things like a free appearance on a television spot or call in radio program to help promote other shows you have in the area.

As a favour: This might include for a close friend or relative. Occaisionally, even an agent that you have a good working relationship with and who produces a lot of income for you over the years and hopefully into the future.

For a tax receipt: Not exactly free as the "pay" is in the lower taxes that you will have to submit in the spring.

Often, the free show is used as a way to promote yourself or to payback for income or favours received. It can save you hundreds or thousands in advertising and raise your profile in the local business community, both of which can be seen as investments in your business. This, in turn, makes you more obvious when they are looking for paid entertainment for their corporate functions, holiday celebrations, community fundraisers etc...

Free shows can be postitioned as a positive or an asset in your overall business plan and used in this way, can definitely increase your income.

All the best,

Rob
Magic of Dan
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St Charles, MO
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I think people were suggesting to others to do free shows in order to get experience and to get their name out. I would think it would be hard to get a gig if you don't have any experience or references. I personally would be relucant to hire someone without any references or experience and pay them for the show, but that's just my opinion. I have never done free shows myself, so I can't help there.
Dan
The Magic of Dan
rossmacrae
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Arlington, Virginia
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Just keep reminding yourself: "It's not a showcase ... it's a gig that pays everybody but you." Does it still seem like a good idea?
icentertainment
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Some people love performing and they have normal jobs so they perform for free as they can't be bothered or don't have the skils to sell

Free shws for charities because you want to do what you can to raise money.

Barter shows--- yes you don't get paid but you get "something else"
exposure, marketing, a car, TV whatever.

Most TV appearances are for free- but it's excellent exposure and a chepo way of getting promo Video (depending on the footage
Al Angello
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Collegeville, Pa. USA
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FREE shows are just great. You will also find out quickly that the more people who know about the FREE magician the more requests you will get for more FREE performances, until you are both bussy and broke.
Al
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Allan
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Please check with your accountant. When you do a free show for a charity, the only thing that is tax deductible is your actual expenses. If they write you a check & you then write a donation to them in the for the same amount, the only thing that happens is one voids the other. You do not get any deduction & you only createvbmore paperwork with no gain.

A free show is just that, a free show. If you want to do it because you want to help out, that's fine as long as you realize that there is nothing monetary to be gained.
drwilson
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There are a number of reasons that you might want to perform for free. If you have some close-up routines, but you haven't done them in front of people much, you can perform for free doing room-to-room strolling magic at a VA hospital or nursing home. Make sure that they don't ever pay entertainers (a safe bet for the VA hospital, mostly) so that you are not taking work from someone who does this for a living.

Why would you do this?

There are some obvious reasons having to do with your feelings towards people who have served the United States with honor. But you are also doing this because this setting has much to offer you. You may have learned your magic very well, but in this setting you will have to learn to reach out to people who are probably not feeling well and who would almost certainly rather be somewhere else. You are that somewhere else. You must be the whole of the outside world to these people, and you must be filled with brightness and joy, because they have all of the other emotions in abundance there.

After a very little of this, you will learn to be less proud of your hard-won skill with your hands and your clever lines, and you will learn that you are there to give something to people.

Then, when you are in front of a paying audience at a restaurant or walk-around gig, you will find that you have learned something that has made you a better performer.

You might also consider doing a free show at a library if you have developed some new material and want to try it out in front of people. I did this after I built my Flea Circus. I got performance photographs, newspaper coverage, and the librarian talked me up all over the small town. This proved to be worth money later. I also found out that the small library at which I performed had an entertainment budget that let them hire one entertainer per year, which is not unusual for libraries serving small communities.

Pick your situation carefully and make sure you get something out of it.

Yours,

Paul
Mikael Eriksson
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As I have understood it, free shows are used to get paid jobs later on. The big question is WHO will pay later? Not the first guy, because he has already seen you, so he wont hire you again. People he tells about you? word of mouth doesn't seem to work that good anyway, so I don't understand how this will work. I have performed so many times the last ten years, and despite fabulous reviews I still don't get that many jobs. Ok, there are explanations for that. For example the daycares I used to perform to are out of money (common situation here where I live). But the numerous private kids parties I have done, should have generated so much word of mouth, but it's close to zero. But I should not be wondering. Actually I haven't heard of a single magician here in Sweden that can make a living from the kind of audience I perform to.



Mikael
dandanmagicman
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Great Bend, KS
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I have done free shows for the children of close friends. And I have done free shows for a couple of charities. BUT, I have not called them free shows. I have still drawn up a contract and specified that the fee was being waived as a donation or special gift for the contracting party. This way any word of mouth about the "free" magician is stifled, and everyone understands that this is a donation or gift and not a free show. I have booked shows from the publicity generated from the charity shows, and I have never had anyone expect a free show. It is still difficult for me when a potential client seems very excited to hire me until they hear my fee and turn ice cold. My first (and wrong)reaction is to drop the price. I have overcome that tendancy and the result has been higher fees and more bookings. Cheap prices are often confused with a bad product. Good references and fair but profitable fee schedule has been successful for me.

Dan
All the world is a stage...
Bill Hegbli
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Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Famous quote by an unnamed professional: Free shows get you more free shows!
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
drwilson
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The other kind of free show that you might want to consider is the publicity stunt. If this works, you get newspaper headlines and TV coverage. You use the publicity stunt to promote an upcoming (paid) public performance. You can also use the newspaper articles as part of your promotional material. In this way, a free show leads to paid shows, but not if you just sit there waiting for the phone to ring. You have to actively market yourself using what you got from the "free show."

In general, however, it is true that free shows give you the opportunity to perform more free shows.

Yours,

Paul
Donald Dunphy
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I think what it boils down to, is that Mikael is having trouble booking shows. He has talked about this on past threads, for many years now.

There can be many reasons for that: a bad show, poor business / customer service skills, bad marketing skills, wrong region, etc. Some performers don't want to face these realities.

Mikael has told us on this thread, and in other threads, that he feels the problem lies being in the wrong region to book paid shows. Not sure if I agree with that, or can verify that, as I don't live in his region.

There are ways to overcome people who aren't interested in a magic show for the sake of having a magic show. Find the customer's needs, and show how your show can meet their needs, and solve their problems.

Perhaps seeking out sponsors is another option.

Or moving might be another option, if the problem truly lies being in a bad region. But don't forget to closely examine the other possible problems first.

If you are having trouble booking shows period, even as a spin-off of other paid shows, and having trouble getting repeat business, doing free shows won't solve your problems.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Dannydoyle
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Well when Xerox had trouble selling they certianly didn't give the stuff away.

if you want to work for free forever then do free shows.

How much respect will people have when free shows are all you have under your belt>?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
NJJ
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Quote:
On 2005-12-22 07:24, Mikael Eriksson wrote:
I've read some about doing free shows. But I don't get it.

1. What's the purpose of doing free shows?

2. When you get paid jobs later on, who is booking those shows?


Mikael


In a business sense there are many reasons to be shows from which you do not accept a fee.

1) Profile - SOME free shows will get you more gigs. If you're not getting at least some work from Word of mouth then it means either a) you don't perform enough b) the people who book you don't watch your show or c) you are not very good.

2) Charity - Via various means you can claim certain tax deductions for doing the free shows

3) Practice - SOME Free shows are a good place to try out new material.

But let's be blunt - if you except something in return for doing a so called 'free' show then its not free. You are doing it for SOMETHING not NOTHING. So make sure you WILL get whatever it is you are asking for. e.g. if they promise a certain degree of publicity...GET IT IN WRITING.

There is another reason for doing REAL free shows for hospitals, old folks homes, friends, family, disadvantaged people etc. But unfortunately, its a reason that you either get or you don't and no one can explain it to you.
icentertainment
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Well their are a heap of people posting answers here

lets get back to Mikael and ask to explain his situation a bit clearer and then we could ofer some better solutions
Starrpower
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Dannydoyle -

A Xerox machine is quite different from a performance.

Read the story of Zig Ziglar. Zig has been a top speaker for over 30 years. Guess how he started? Yep, free shows. He worked for anyone he could: chambers of commerce, professional organizations, service groups, fraternal clubs, etc. NO PAY! He did sell books, but that just about covered expenses.

But he made it clear that this was a "sample" to introduce him to the community. Wanna take another guess how long he continued doing "free" shows? Not long. Soon he was in demand as a speaker, heading a multi-million-dollar company.

A lot of you on this forum also seem to have a woody for Silly Billy. Gues what? He does regular free shows, too. High-profile stuff that'll get him noticed by the upper-income people he targets.

So it can be done. Just be creative. The "Free shows breeds more free shows" sounds cute, but it isn't always true.
icentertainment
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Tony robbins thought if he did 4 shows a week for 3 years he would be better than most pro's

now look at tony robbins

Free shows are great becasue

you get to practice

Doing it in front of a video or mirror is not the same as doing it in front of a real audience.
circuskevin
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Hi Mikael,

I spotted a post by a magician living in Sweden who seems to be doing ok.

His website http://www.magiker.net/

Perhaps he would be worth a chat to?

All the best.

Kevin
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