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Rob Pond
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My class at school needs to do a fundraiser for Prom. The idea came up that I could do a show and we could charge admission. I told them that I would look into it. I would like to do it because it would get me out of a lot of other, harder to me, work. I already do a complete half an hour show, and I have been working on a couple of illusions that would be ready by the time of the show. I am also in the middle of producing another good 15 minute act revolving around a winter theme. I have already talked to them on the lighting, sound, and stage issues that would have to be overcome. They have agreed to pay all of my expensis on this plus some extra for my time, and my assitents time. I also think that I could use this to be a great publisity stunt for me, if I used the media right. I wondered if anyone on here would have any advice for me in this situation?
Rob Pond
Dannydoyle
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A publicity stunt for a show your just putting together? Not a chance I would take personally, but good luck.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
HypnotizeAmerica
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Pond:

Here are two ways you can do this.

1st. Charge say $5 for tickets. You get the first hundred tickets to keep ($500) and then 25% afterwards of each ticket. No cost, no risk to them.

2nd. Charge a flat fee and they set admission prices, etc. You get paid if there are 100 or 10 people at the show.

Have it during school time and I bet you can pack the place.

Best of luck.

TC
Andy the cardician
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It depends on your status in the community - I personally do not want to get local fame as a guy that is performing for almost free . . .
Cards never lie
Rob Pond
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Thanks for the advice. If I do the show, it wouldn't be till the end of February or March. I was going to charge all my expiences up front, and enought to make a decent profit and pay my assitents, then I was going to let my class take what they needed...then I would get everything else. I also would not want to be know at all for being a cheap performer. The way they wanted me to do the show, is to do a short teaser during school, and then a full show later that night, and charge enterce to both of them. 3 dollars for the shorter show in the school day and 7 for the long show at night. We can fit around 750 into our theater, and we plan on having it packed at night and about 400 during the day.
Rob Pond
Dannydoyle
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Well the idea of charging for a teaser, well defeats the whole purpose. Traditionally they are free to entice people to spend money.

Also charging for your expences up front is also not the way things are generally done.

You need to define terms far better than you have here or you are asking for lots and lots of trouble. I am not sure if you were just outlining broad strokes or if "let my class keep what they needed" was an actual plan. If so you may want to rethink it.

Do you at a high school age have enough rehersed material to do a full evening show and a teaser show? Just a question.

See once you start to charge money things really get ramped up a bit. People start to wonder if it is worth what they are paying. You may want to think of that. I am not saying anything bad or good, just posing the question.

LAST thing you want is to be the guy with a great half hour show, who did 2 hours.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Jim Snack
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Danny is right. Tread carefully here, carefully planning out everything in advance. Doing a fundraiser can be great, but you can also come off looking very bad if it fails in any way, and there are two ways to fail:

1)Put on a poor show. Jumping from 30 minutes to 2 hours in two months is a BIG jump. I suggest getting an 25-30 minute opening act and you doing a great 50 minute show. Have an intermission and sell stuff.

2)Not selling enough tickets. If they don't make much money, or worse, fail to cover expenses, I don't care how good your show is, you will have failed. If that happens, be prepared to accept a lower fee and forget about making a "decent profit." You'll be lucky to cover your expenses.

Finally, be more concerned about your reputation as a team player and generous person than as "cheap performer." That will pay off more in the long run anyday.

Jim
Jim Snack

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Rob Pond
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Thanks for your advice. I made a mistake in my post. Let me explain the give my class what they need. We need 5000 dollars for prom. We have 1500 already, and are working concessions this year to earn around another 1500. We also do other fundraisers only totaling about 500. So the most they will need is 1500 more. I am doing the pay my expensise before you get any of the profit to help encourage them to sell more tickets. I picked out only people that I know for a fact are old enough to put on the show, and I will be having some adults do the most important parts of my act. The whole charging for the teaster, it is more charging to get out of the last part of school. We know we will sell out there garenteed. When I said a full evening show, I only ment me doing 50 minutes and a 10 minute intermision show by someone else(non magic). I know if I tried to do a 2 hour show it would be awful. I have already been promised all my expiences back even if we don't sell enough tickets, but I don't really have to worry about that because it is almost garenteed that we will sell out. You brought up some very important things for me to think of though. Thanks for the help.
Rob Pond
Jim Snack
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That sounds a bit more thought out. If you want them to pay your expenses first, then put that amount into the written agreement. Yes, get everything in writing and have a faculty advisor sign off on it so there is no misunderstanding later.
Also, be sure to specify in the written agreement what happens if they don't sell enough tickets to pay your expenses.

You indicated that you want to encourage them to sell more tickets. That's a little unrealistic. They are not professional marketers, nor can they twist anyone's arm...well, maybe they can a little, but not enough to fill the house.

Your show is the draw. You might need some sort of stunt to draw them in the door. Get a few popular students in the show, saw the principal in half or chop off his or her head, that sort of thing. Do something to get people talking about the show.

Get an art student to design the poster.

If you insist on selling tickets to the afternoon teaser as well as the evening show, then consider having a discounted price if they buy both tickets at the same time, ex. $3 for afternoon show, $7 for evening show, $8 for both. You can make up the difference selling popcorn and soda at the evening show.

Jim
Jim Snack

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Rob Pond
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Thanks for the reply. I have got everything in writing for this aggreement. We were thinking about doing a discount like that. I never thought of the concesions ideal. That could work out great. Selling the tickets won't be a problem, it is more the motivation to do it. This also won't be a problem for 3/4s of the class, and we don't really need the other 1/4 to sale it out. We are only going to sell about 750 tickets that night. We have already started to market the show. I have been trying to come up with a big stunt to do. I was thinking about a blindfold drive, but there seems to be too many laws against it. We need to attract more people from the commuitees(our school is in the middle of the country side)around our school, so I don't think doing something with the staff would do much good. Sorry my post haven't been the most thought out, I am very busy with the holiday season.
Rob Pond
Dannydoyle
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Let me ask something here that seems to go unquestioned.

You keep saying your going to guarantee selling 750 tickets right?

Then why the questions? Seems to me as if it is notched. I am not being difficult but rather trying to figure out if that is a true guarantee, in which case the night is done, or if you figure you will sell that many and need help.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Jim Snack
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Good question Danny. I wondered the same thing, especially after the last post indicating that he needs 3/4 of the school to come and attract more people from the community. That's going to be a difficult goal to reach, especially since the school is in the middle of the countryside.

Rob, you should budget your show as if you were only going to fill 2/3 of the house, not 75% - 100%. If you did only 450 tickets @$7 per ticket, your gross for the evening show would be $3150. Does that cover your expenses and make the school the money they need? If so, how are you going to split the proceeds over your break even point? You should specify that in the written agreement also. A 50%/50% split is fair and it encourages the school to sell more tickets.

Another question, will you have advance ticket sales, perhaps a table set up in the lobby every day for a week or two before the show? It's a good idea, but they will have to get volunteers to work the table. The advance sale will give you a rough idea of how many people will attend - my rule of thumb is to double the advance sale.


Jim
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Dannydoyle
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This is why I hate these arrangements in my life.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
HypnotizeAmerica
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THey aren't the greatest ways to get gigs but done correctly you can make some good money with them. They'll be my gigs to get my seed money together next year.
Dannydoyle
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Problem is they are hardly ever done correctly.

And when done WRONG you lose far more money than you stand to gain. If your depending on it for seed money, it may not be the best thing. Usually you to with a sure thing for seed money.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Rob Pond
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Thanks for all the replies. I am asking questions because I wanted to know how to handle the situtation, and to see if I have made any major mistakes so far. This is my first time doing a show where the public has to pay to get in. I normally work company parties. When I said I would need 3/4 of my class to sale all the tickets, I should of mentioned that my class only has 54 kids. We are almost guarenteed to sell out because we have already had around a hundred people ask to buy tickets, and nurmerous people have asked to come to see one of my shows. Our school puts on lots of plays, and everyone of them sells out. My show can run for about 1000 dollars, so if we don't sell out, it would still pay its way, and the schools too. The extra money hasn't been deteremined completely yet, but I will get a fair shar of it. We are going to do advanced sales, but we don't know where we will sell them at yet. We were looking for local events where we could set up a booth and sell them at. We also thought of having the kids try and sell them. That hasn't been completely determined yet. But we did final decide on a date, and we are going to do it the beginning of April.
Thanks again,
Rob Pond
HypnotizeAmerica
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Rob:

Here is what I would do. I would take the cost of a local ticket to the movies and charge the same if not more for your show. Get on the radio, TV the day of and do a stunt, and in the newspaper to get support and butts in the seats. Get a MOTIVATED sales force (students) to help sell tickets along with teachers, etc. Put up flyers around town. Also see if you can get a local business to sponsor the show - basically paying you your fee and the school gets the profit. Add an anti drug or pro motivation message and you might even be able to get a grant for the show.

Just some thoughts.

TC
Dannydoyle
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See the problem is when you use phrases like "a fair share". That can mean 2 completly different things to you and the school.

So many of these things are up in the air.

It actually sounds to me with only 100 people asking, (not all of which will buy) you may have a tough time selling out.

People go to plays because their kids are in them. They have a huge base of people to sell tickets too automatically. Yea they are almost guaranteed to sell out. A play has a HUGE number of people involved in it, which translates into ticket sales.

YOUR show has you and some assistants in it. NOT the big draw for parrents that seeing little Mary Smith, THEIR DAUGHTER in a play.

Do not be fooled by the selling out of plays, your show is different.

Don't forget to do this you have to print tickets, ads, posters, and all of this costs money. You have a lot more to figure out it seems.

Maybe you have thought of this, but have not mentioned it as of yet so I don't know.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Jim Snack
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Rob,

Good luck with the venture.

Given your expenses, I suggest that you try to work the deal so you get the first $1000 to cover those expenses, the school gets the next $1000 (or $1500 if you are feeling generous), and you split 50/50, anything over that amount.

If you already have a date and people are asking to buy tickets, start selling them! By the way, who is going to pay for the ticket printing and poster/flyer printing? Is that amount included in your expenses or do you expect the school to pick that up?

And speaking of expenses, did you factor in all the costs, such as any possible additional facility costs? For example, sometimes the school has to pay a custodian extra money to stay for a special event. If so, is that included in the expenses that comes off the top?

Make sure you anticipate ALL the expenses, both yours AND the school's, when you do your budget projection. You would not want to get surprised later with any unexpected bills that have to be paid. Get agreement up front as to which parties are responsible for which expenses so you can avoid problems later.

Jim
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
Rob Pond
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Thanks for the advice. In the deal I have worked out at the moment, the school will pay everything that has to do with the facility. They are also going to pay for the advertising. I only have to pay for my illiions and my assistents( which a couple of them are free because they are doing it for the class too). I have a hundred asking to buy, but most want to get more than one ticket. We have actually already been asked for about 300 tickets. I say we will sell out guarenteed because we have already sold about half of the tickets and haven't done any advertising yet. We have put their name on a list because we are having our tickets printed right now and won't be done for a week or so. And fair share to the school means that I will get at least 50% of the extra profit form that night. Thanks HypnotizeAmerica for the ideas, I will check into them.
Thanks for all the comments,
Rob Pond
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