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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All tied up! » » Upside-down SJ Escape pitch? (movie premier) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Bryan Gilles
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I've been rehearsing the Upside-down Straight Jacket Escape quite a bit recently. Of course, I'm doing nothing more than hanging from a bar by my legs and doing it that way (strictly to rehearse this). Anyway, I have my ariel foot-loops being made as we speak and I've already picked out the harness I plan to use as a secondary-back up.

I've been pondering the idea of performing the Upside-down Straight Jacket Escape for the movie premier for "Death Defying Acts" (a Houdini movie)in 2007- so I have plenty of time between now and then!!! I was wondering how to pitch an idea like this to a movie theater without sounding completely insane? The theater is into local performing artists as they wanted to hire me to help kick off the movie "The Prestige" by performing a parlor act in the lobby.

For the Escape, I was thinking of using a rented utility crane or something of that sort. The theater has the resources to promote the event during the waiting time before the movies play... Normally they advertise for local businesses at that time before the previews.

Anyway, what legal permits would I need? How do I go about getting the media involved? and what other advice can anyone offer?

-Bryan Gilles
Bryan Gilles
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Northern California
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I'm still "hanging around" for ideas on this escape. Any ideas on who I should contact concerning legal documents or liability waivers?

-Bryan
mark2004
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Quote:
On 2006-10-22 19:52, Bryan Gilles wrote:
I was wondering how to pitch an idea like this to a movie theater without sounding completely insane? The theater is into local performing artists as they wanted to hire me to help kick off the movie "The Prestige" by performing a parlor act in the lobby.


Anyway, what legal permits would I need? How do I go about getting the media involved? and what other advice can anyone offer?

-Bryan Gilles


Legal stuff such as permits will depend on the laws in force in your locality so it's difficult for anyone elsewhere to advise on that. One general point I'd mention, as someone who has run large public events, is I've found that local authorities and/or police are generally happy for people to go to them and say something to the effect of "look I'm contemplating an event of this type and can you tell me whether that's something you need to be consulted about and who do I speak to?". Often people who have to licence or approve things are actually quite pleased if you go to them well in advance and seek their advice - it makes them feel respected and listened to.

If the venue is into local performance artists then they ought to be amenable to a simple friendly phone call. Tell them you're an experienced performer with an idea that could generate some news coverage. Ask if they're interested. Keep it quite general to start with, just say you think it would fit in with the sort of thing they do - try to avoid lecturing them about how their events are run. I'd be surprised if you got a blunt "no" but you also shouldn't expect an instant "yes". The best outcome to aim for is a "let's fix a meeting where we can talk about how it could work".

As for the media, there are some simple rules.

(1) If your venue has professsional PR people who are used to dealing with the relevant media then work with them. Obviously they will be most concerned with getting good coverage for the venue but if they are any good they will work co-operatively with you. You may well want to do some PR work of your own but I can't over-state the value of co-ordination with venue PR if possible - if you don't work together you could well end up (however unintentionally) giving out messages that are contradictory and that is a recipe for problems.

(2) Don't go announcing anything until you have an umambiguous go ahead for the event from everyone who needs to OK it. Nothing wrecks your credibility like announcing something and then having that announcement turn out to be wrong.

(3) Within the limits of the above, contact the media well in advance - like all businesses with overstretched resources they have to plan ahead. Last minute announcements just make things difficult and are likely to be ignored unless there is some pressing reason to do otherwise. A good first step is to ring the media organisations most likely to take an interest and ask "Look I'm staging an event that might give you a news story, how do you like to be provided with information and what are your deadlines?"

News people probably will not, in the first instance, want to have long conversations with you about the detail of your event. They might want lots of information later on but they're busy people and they ain't gonna want a long chat with someone they don't know about how marvelous you are. First off they want basics - clear and simple. They'll ask for more if and when they need it.

(4) In the absence of media people expressing different preferences, start by sending them a written outline of what is going to happen - you can call it a "press release" if you really want but that's a cliche newsdesks look down on. Best just to head it "News" or "Event announcement"

(5) Think about what your event consists of and why it might be of interest to the public - then try to encapsulate that in the first sentence of your announcement. Why is your performance something to shout about? Why should they take notice and not just write it off as something that a lot of other artists have done?

(6) Make sure you include all the essential facts - day, date, time, exact location, likely duration of the event...and really important, how they can contact you. You might need to give a liaison contact at the venue (eg. if they need info about the venue that you won't have to hand; Or if they need access to areas that are off limits to the public it's easiest for them to work that out direct with the people who manage those areas).

(7) Be prepared to adapt to the needs of the media in terms of them getting any pictures or footage they might want. They're expert at putting a story into the preferred format of their particular publication or channel - you aren't. And unless they're amateurish they will probably be quite forward about asking for things eg. "can you pose over there with that in the background?", "can we get a shot from the crane?", "can we get a shot from somewhere on the building looking down at you?",...maybe even "can our reporter have a go in the straitjacket?"
Bryan Gilles
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Northern California
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Mark,

Thanks for that detailed description! This helps a lot!!!

-Bryan
Arkadia
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Sweden, Sundsvall
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Great tips Mark2004! Lots of good ideas!

/Ark
Don't miss out on the great new mentalist magic: www.metalwriting.com
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