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Jaxon
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Inner circle
Kalamazoo, Mi.
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I hope this is the right place to discuss this.

I'm putting together a Magic Night. It'll be a comedy club type show with magicians. So far I've got John Sturk, Sean Bogunia, Joe Diamond and myself as performers but I'm waiting for the reply of a few others. With these performers it'll be a great show already.

I've got a place lined up. A friend of mine owns a building that has 3 bars in it. One of the is just a small hang out bar with pool tables and so forth.

Another huge room used to be bowling alley's but he took the alleys out and it's now one huge room. There actually use to be 2 floors of bowling alleys. Eventually this room will be an auditorium with a full size stage and a balcony. So in the future I'll be able to put on stage shows in this place. Right now this room is a rental hall.

Then in the back of the building there is a bar that seats about 250 people. This is the room I'll have the show in. It already has a nice looking platform stage with red curtains and all. The room is very elegant with gold and maroon walls. Fancy tables and chairs, Marble and brass bar. In the old days it was a lounge with a grand piano and lounge singers. The place looks like it was made to be a comedy club. Right now they rent it out for wedding receptions and corporate dinner type things.

So it's going to be a good show. Here's why I'm posting this here though. I've never put anything like this together before. I want to do it for a number of reasons. First of all a lot of people in my area have seen me perform. I'd like to give them the opportunity to see some of these other great performers in the area (there all with in a few hours drive). Secondly I have access to a place like this and I'd love to put this show together. I've always had this dream of having my own comedy club and this is kind of like that. Except I won't have to worry about the bar running part business (inventory, licenses, etc...LOL)

I'm hoping I can find some advice on this. As far as paying the performers I have some ideas. It helps that I won't have to pay to use the place. So he'll just take the money from the bar and I can share the ticket sales with the performers (If we don't make to much I'll forward my share). I'm sure I can sell at least 40 tickets just by telling people I know about it.

We can also have some 50/50 drawings and door prize drawings to raise more money for the performers.

There are quite a few magic clubs in my area. I'm thinking about putting on a lecture to raise money for the performers. I'll just take the lecture money and put it into the pot to pay the performers. Heck I can make the week end a mini nmagic convention and have the lecture and jam session the night before the show.

Earlier in the evening of the show the magicians can perform walk around magic to promote the night show. Maybe the flyer will say, "Strolling magic between 5 and 8pm. Come early to see the magicians stroll around the room and perform right at your table".

Then the night show can be at 9:00.

What do you think and do you have any advice or suggestions? Thanks.

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
Al Angello
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Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
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Get a juggler to be your MC for a change of pace. If they get tired of magic there will be more empty seats at the end of the show than there were at the beginning. I'm not availible, but I can help you get a list of juggling performer that lives in Michigan.

You need to advertise your show in advanced to fill the room in order to pay the entertainers. It is important for you to spread the word to the ticket buying public instead of just magicians and friends.
Al Angello
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Jaxon
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Inner circle
Kalamazoo, Mi.
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I thought about finding a juggler or a ventriloquist just to give a variety. I'm still looking to see if I can find them from not to far away. Money a big issue on this so I don't think I could raise enough to pay an out of the area performer. Luckily there are some great ones near by such as Sean Bogunia, John Sturk, Joe Diamond and a few others. Plus a few magic clubs.

I just thought I'd show these images of the place. The owner wasn't in when I took these so I didn't know where the light switches where. So the pictures where dark and I lightened them with photoshop. Also keep in mind that the place is being remodeled. So it'll be cleaner then these images.


I stood on the stage just to show a scale size.
Image


The tables and bar is Marble like this. I really like the look of the place with the gold and maroon walls. A nice atmosphere.
Image


I hope you can see that it would be a waist not to put something together when I have free access to this place. I hope it all comes around. Any advice on putting something like this together would be greatly appreciated. Especially on the terms of raising the money to pay everyone. I don't have to worry about paying the employees (bartender/waitresses) so that's a huge help.

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
Al Angello
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Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
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Jaxon
I am a member of the International Jugglers Association and have acess to the IJA roster. If you PM me with your zip code I'll send you some phone numbers.
Al Angello
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Dannydoyle
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Good luck.

If you have never done this type of thing before, you may need it. It takes a LOT to fill a room.

Find a local promoter to help you.

You may have to "paper" the room the first few times.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Comedy Writer
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Jazon,

A couple of thoughts -- a project like this is 90% marketing. Getting people in the seats is much harder than producing a great show ( esp for a 250 seat house).

Also, card trick are the bane of magic shows -- can you emiminate them somehow? People will be happier.

Cw
Jaxon
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Kalamazoo, Mi.
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Thanks guys.

I agree. Getting people there is the hardest part. I know I can personally get 40 or 50 people just by telling the people I know about it. Possibly more because there are 5 bars within a 3 mile area of the place and I'm known at all of them. I even have an owner of another bar planning on coming. That's pretty good since I'm asking him to go to a competition bar.

I'm shooting for Oct. 21. That's on sweetest day here and I figure a lot of couples will be looking for a place to go that evening together.

I'll advertise in the paper and post flyers around. I know someone who a DJ in a radio station so maybe I can get some radio adds too.

My line up so far is:
John Sturk (possibly)
Sean Bogunia (Definitely)
Alan Munro (Possibly)
Joe Diamond (Definitely)
Myself (Of course)
I might have a juggler too (might have found one Al)

The ones I put the (Possibly) next to are checking there schedules and I'm waiting for them to get back to me to see if it's open for them. Hopefully I can get some of the local magic club members to add some entertainment and do some walk around magic as people are arriving.

I'll have a DJ and I'll put on the flyer something about, "Stick around after the how for dancing and more close up magic".
Image


After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
Dannydoyle
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Your trying to over do it my friend.

Stick to the show. Make the show worth the money, and forget the close up stuff.
The main reason for this is the "duplication of lines" that will happen. ESPECIALLY if you use magic club guys. This is a quick way to really make things go south quickly.

I would get the show right, and leave it alone. Don't forget, people do not like magic nearly as much as magicians do. Magicians don't seem to uderstand this.

Concentrate on filling the room. It is going to be a LOT tougher than you may think.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
MrHyde
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Quote:
On 2006-09-09 18:39, Dannydoyle wrote:
Don't forget, people do not like magic nearly as much as magicians do. Magicians don't seem to uderstand this.


That's funny
and true.
magic4u02
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Philadelphia, PA
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Jaxon,

I unfortunately do not have a lot of time to write as much as I want to right now but I promise to try and chime in with more information as soon as I can. I have some information that I think would and could be a HUGE benefit to you. My wife and I teamed up with another magic couple to do almost a very similar type of thing you are trying to do. We have performed the production show at 3 different venues over the past year and a half and each time we had amazing success with it.

The real key is not so much the show itself. Of course it has to be a good show. The key is marketing effectively. A great show does you no good if you can not fill those seats. I have methods I used and the last show we did we had to turn people away at the door. It was amazing to see the marketing really work.

I will try and give you more information when I can. In the mean time, if you want to e-mail me, please do so. I would be happy to help you out.

Kyle
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RSD
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I have been producing "Friday Night Magic" along with James Biss here in Toronto. We have been going strong for over a year. You have to think what your goals are. Is it to make money? Have fun performing and network?

We charge the customers $20 to come watch a 70-90 minute carbaret stage show. Afterwards the local magicians who are hobbyists stick around and do close-up and table magic for a good two hours after the show. The after part is kind of like a magic jam. The cover charge revenue is divided equally by the performers and performers only. That is the pros who worked the stage that is. The close-up stuff afterwards is just people having fun on their own.

If you are packing the place I cant see any reason why the bar would charge you rent. They will make plenty on food and drinks.

As for the first few shows I would definately paper it as much as I can with friends and familly. Negotiate a honorarium with your scheduled performers. I wouldn't book too much for each show though. I find that 3 performers and an MC who performs in between sets.

After a period of sucess, you will find that magicians will start contacting you to get booked. Some looking to try new material, some looking to get a start, some visiting from out of town.

Best of luck - its not easy, but it can be very rewarding once its running smoothly. Don't give up on it - even in the slow periods.
Jaxon
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Kalamazoo, Mi.
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Thanks everyone. You've given me a lot to think about.

What RSD just said about "The cover charge revenue is divided equally by the performers and performers only." really put my mind at ease in that matter. I felt so unprofessional about telling the magicians that. I felt odd saying I don't know how much it'll pay. Luckily two of the performers are good friends and said they'd do it for whatever they get.

Let me tell you what I just found out this week end when I went to that bar. A little over a week ago I made a flyer to show the owner what I had in mind. Nothing official. Just wanted to show him what I was working on. The flyer had pictures of the performers I hoped to have and some "advertisement" of the event. No date or anything on it. It was for his eyes only.

Anyway, he pinned it on the wall behind the bar just to remind himself about it. When I stopped in there this week end two waitresses and the bar tender asked me when it was because customers are asking where they can get tickets and what night it was. Judging by that alone some of them will come to the show. So basically what I'm saying is I seem to have some support right in that area.

For those who have experience with this kind of thing. Would newspaper advertisement be helpful? It think it would be.

Thanks again.

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
magic4u02
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Philadelphia, PA
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Hi Ron,

First I apologize to everyone for the long post. However, as I started writing this I figured there was just so much information I could share that might help so I just kept on writing. I hope it is of some value to you and perhaps others as well.

It would be my pleasure to assist you in anyway that I can. I also think what you are trying to do is a great thing and you can make it work with the right approach and a very consistent and effective marketing campaign that does not have to cost you a lot of money.

With our production show, we did a full 1hr and a half show with music, lighting, illusions in a theater and sometimes a school auditorium, that could seat around 300-650+ people. We did everything ourselves from creating the show to marketing, to handling ticket sales to advertising and letting people know about it. There was nothing that we did not do entirely ourselves. At our last show, we had 1 single show at 7pm and we sold the place out. It was amazing because we did not know what to expect and the area was not in a major city but in the middle of the suburbs.

There is a lot I can share with you so I will start with a few things I did for myself to make things easier for me and I can share them with you and then add to the ideas I am giving to you over time. As I discuss stuff with you via the Café and or e-mail, if you have any questions at all, please let me know in your reply and I will cover off on answering those for you in detail. It would be my pleasure to assist you with this project.

The first thing to realize (as I am sure you know) is that you need to figure out what your initial overhead is going to be versus the ROI or Return on Investment. Basically in a nutshell this means figuring out how much money you have to put out for paying for rental, transportation, advertising etc. Anything that you can possibly think of that will cost you money up front to run this show and market it, needs to be figured out, written out and then calculated. This is so important to do first and get it as accurate as possible. Only with this list and numbers can you determine your break even number. The Break Even number is how much you would have to bring in from the performance to break even and get the money back that you initially put out.

It looks like so far you have started to do this already. It is great that you get the place without any rental fees. That will save you a ton of money right there at the start. Just start to figure out your additional expenses early on before doing anything and certainly before committing to the project. Find out:

- how much performers will want to get paid?
- Do you need to pay any travel cost or gas or hotel fees for anyone?
- do you or anyone need to rent or purchase any sound or lighting or additional equipment to run the show?
- Do you need to pay for any posters or materials for the promotion of the show itself and what is that cost to you?
- Is there any additional cost you need to pay the place you are performing at? Do they want or expect any money from the sales of the tickets or do you retain full 100% profits off all tickets sold? This is very important to find out soon.
- Do you need to pay any stage hands or tech people that you will need to run the show itself. if so, how many people and what will they be paid?

This is just an example and I can list more questions here later if you want me to. The idea is to really sit down and iron out every possible price or cost factor that you may have to consider for the success of running the show. Once this is down on paper then you can really start to calculate your break even point.

What I do is after I have my expenses figured out fairly close, I add the fees and figures together. I then take a look at the total number of seats that I have available to me for the show. Is it 250 seats or is it more etc.? Make sure to subtract any seats for those seats you are reserving for special folks not paying or seats you have to block off cause of angle problems. Once you have your total seat number, then you can take your expense fee and divide it by the number of seats available to you. This will give you a rough estimate on something I refer to as my break even number. This is the rough number I would have to charge for ticket prices to break even. It gives you an idea of how much you would have to charge per seat to even begin to make a profit.

Now do not let this scare you as there are ways to bring down this break even number and ways to keep your ticket prices reasonable and I can help you with that. One way to bring down your ticket price or break even number is by having multiple shows on the same day. What we did several times was to run an early show and then an evening show. We factors in any new expenses to make this happen and we realized we did not have to pay much more to do 2 shows in the same day. By doing so, we were able to bring our ticket prices down and maximize our profit margin.

Once you figure out if this is financially able to be done, then you can begin working on other key factors. Once of the next issues would be figuring out how much tickets should be and if you are going to be able to afford doing group rates, kid rates or if there is going to be a single flat fee for all tickets. keep in mind your break even number because you are going to want to make sure that at your ticket price, you can make your break even number easily and then see a profit as well.

After you figure out on your ticket fees, the next thing you really need to iron out is CONTRACTS for everyone. I can not stress this enough. I learned the hard way. With working on a show of this magnitude, and with working with so many people involved, you need to write contractual agreements for all artists involved, write one for each tech or stage hand and one for the place you are performing at. everyone involved in the production gets a contract that flat out tells them exactly what is agreed upon, what is expected of them and what they agree to be paid even if it is at a percentage base. This will save you so much hassle to get it out of the way early. This lets everyone know exactly what to expect and covers you as well.

Another thing to point out, which may not be a factor for you, is whether you need to have performer's insurance for where you are working at. We did because we were working with theaters and school auditoriums. We simply had to have it and so you will want to check that out also. I get mine every year through the S.A.M and it is very well worth it.

Now another issue that was huge for us was to figure out who was going to handle the ticket sales? This basically meant what number would people call and what was to be the single source for all ticket sales handling. I personally took on that role at the last show and I was glad I did. The more folks you have doing it, the harder it is to track ticket sales. The bottom line is you MUST track all tickets going out and all tickets being sold. the reason is that it is so easy to overbook and sell more tickets then you have seats. it happens and you want to avoid that at all cost.

What we did was to have every ticket numbered. Even though seating was general seating and first come first served, each ticket had a number on the back. This allowed me to track every ticket sold, every ticket I sent out, tickets being held at will call and any tickets I gave to anyone to try and sell for me. I tracked everything through an Excel spreadsheet and it worked really nice.

We allowed people to pay for the tickets and we would hold them at a will call area in the lobby on the evening of the performance. Each ticket was placed into envelopes with the person's of companies name and they were told to arrive there early to pick up their tickets already paid for. This made it easier for folks. I wanted to give people as many ways to pay for tickets as possible and also make it really easy for them to do so.

Another issue to figure out is if you can get permission to sell BOR (back of room sales) items during intermission, before and after each show. What we always did was to allow the place we were at to sell food items and take 100% profits from it as long as we got full permission to set up our BOR tables and take 100% profits from that as well. It worked great as we had another source of income stream from the show and it also helped market the other shows we were putting on.

These are all logistics needed to be figured out before any marketing is ever done or started. It is what I refer to as doing your background work to see how feasible it is to do what you want to do. Many folks fail miserably with doing this type of thing because they do not spend enough time doing the research ahead of time before diving right into it. Once you commit and start selling tickets, it is very hard to back away from it if you then realize it is not feasible to do.

I am going to leave it here for now and let you digest a lot of the pre-show logistics first and allow you to ask me any questions on it. Then I can and will go into some details on how you can work on marketing the show effectively with a little budget and maximize your advertising to really get people in the seats. I will also share with you some of my own personal secrets that worked amazingly well for me the last few times we have run our production show. It would be my pleasure to do so.

As always it would be my pleasure working with you to make your idea a success as it has been for myself. If I can be of any further help or answer any questions, please let me know. I hope this starts to help a little bit.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

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BAH1313
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Hey Ron,

Sorry I missed you this year in Colon!

Now for the advice...

If you are going to advertise in a News Paper, I would suggest asking the paper about their "stuffing" policies. In other words, see if they have a set rate for putting flyers in their paper. A lot of news papers do this and the best thing is you can decide where you would like to have the flyers circulated. Basically, you can have them placed in the papers going to certain areas as opposed to being circulated too far out of your area. They are called "zones" or something technical like that.
At any rate, this usually only costs pennies compared to actual adds. And you can place some sort of "special rate" or "discount" on the flyer that they can bring with them to redeem. Or even better, maybe a cool little "mental type" trick that they or their kids can do for their friends! This will have people doing a trick for their friends and TALKING about WHERE they learned it. They would be advertising for you!
I hope this helps!

Bobby
I am truly blessed to have a job where people are laughing all the time and everyone believes in magic....Come to think of it, I'm blessed to even have a job.
LeeDillingham
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I produced a show similar to this about five years ago in Las Vegas. One of the things that we did was have every performer do a Rotary Club meeting to promote the show. Vegas has about a dozen Rotary clubs and they are constantly looking for guest speakers. He would perfrom for fifteen minutes and spend another five minutes talking about the upcoming show. Using this method alone, we completely sold out the show with no other marketing.
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On 2006-09-11 16:44, LeeDillingham wrote:
I produced a show similar to this about five years ago in Las Vegas. One of the things that we did was have every performer do a Rotary Club meeting to promote the show. Vegas has about a dozen Rotary clubs and they are constantly looking for guest speakers. He would perfrom for fifteen minutes and spend another five minutes talking about the upcoming show. Using this method alone, we completely sold out the show with no other marketing.


Best idea yet!
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
RSD
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Newspapers work but I never pay for it. Our local papers have event listings where you can list your event for free with a small blurb. Use that. Also send out pressers with a story attached to it. Get it covered, invite the press for a show and dinner. You might be suprised how easy this is.
Jaxon
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Kalamazoo, Mi.
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I can't thank all of you enough for the advice, tips and ideas you've shared. Keep them coming for I'm sure others might put something like this together and your advice will help them too.

I've decided to move it up one month (November instead of October). I decided this for two reasons. One is so I won't have to rush so much to get everything together. The other reason is that Halloween time of the year tends to be busy for magicians so some of the ones I asked to be in the show said they'd love to but they are already booked.

I discovered a few neat things about the building. Imagine you're on stage facing your audience. To your left about 15 feet away is a doorway that leads to a room that'll be the dressing room/side stage to the performers. When they are introduced they'll come from this room and head to the stage through the audience (like some comedy clubs do). Here's the neat thing. In that dressing room there is a hall way that leads to the back of the room behind the bar. So it'll allow me to vanish from the stage and appear behind the audience. I sat in the room last night for a couple of hours thinking about my act and discovered a way to do this (vanish and appear behind audience). The illusion will cost me about 50 cents to make. Smile

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
LeeDillingham
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Mac King vanishes in front of audience and reappears in the rear of the room crashing cymbals at every show – twice a day. This always gets great reactions. Imagine how much fun it would be to crash cymbals!
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
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Quote:
On 2006-09-12 12:48, LeeDillingham wrote:
Mac King vanishes in front of audience and reappears in the rear of the room crashing cymbals at every show – twice a day. This always gets great reactions. Imagine how much fun it would be to crash cymbals!


Almost every magician in the stage show arena does it, sans the cymbals.

Brett Daniels does it at least 5 times in 2 hours!
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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