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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Helping hands » » Paying Assistants (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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JimmyH
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Quote:
On 2009-04-02 13:00, Ray Pierce wrote:
It's like saying "How much should I charge for my show?" If there aren't that many demands on the assistant you can get someone local and get a competitive rate. If you're asking for someone more specialized you spend more. If I need someone just to walk on and hand me something and basically "not trip" her value is not worth as much as someone who is a professional model/dancer and knows my show inside and out. You pay assistents what they are worth to you and if it's too little, you'll lose them, if it's ok, they'll stay around. Training costs you more in time than anything. I've had assistants around for years. I just call them up, tell them the date ad the show order and they show up knowing the show. That's worth a LOT!

I'm in Los Angeles and use some of the best performers around as assistants on stage with me so I might be paying $500 - $750 a piece for a one nighter, but they are dancers as well as assistants and it's a full show. If I'm doing more complicated shows or for TV dates it could go up depending on how good they were. I typically use professonal dancers even if no dance is involved as I don't have to teach them how to move and stand. I know they can get on and off smoothly and have the right lines to frame the scene. A pro knows how to frame you well then get out of the way for the magic. That's because they've had experience dancing with headliners in Vegas, on many other television shows and awards shows. Are they worth it to me? Of course!

That's on the real dates. Of course we don't always make what we want. On short money (or favored nation) dates like working the Castle, "It's Magic", "Masters of Illusion", etc. I'll divide the take among the cast members (myself included) with one extra part going to the company (Five of us in the cast = the take divided by 6). This has always seemed equitable since I incure the burden of trucking, props, costuming, other expenses, etc.

Like your props, get the best assitants you can afford and you'll look better!


Words of Wisdom..Thanks for that Ray Smile
RodHousley
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You should pay your assistants and they should understand what they are being paid up front and be honest about it. Without your assistants what illusion would you do? You need to think about how important the illusion is to your show and pay them accordingly. I believe they should be paid hourly a dancers wage and paid for rehearsal time as well. Be professional about it and they will be professional for you. When you do things pro-bono, it is never as good as it could be.
Rachel
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As a hired assistant, I do more than just perform. I take care of a lot of bookings, and taking care of every little thing. Everything that my boss can't do, I do it.
There was a second assistant needed, so we asked another girl to step in. She asked for pay, and we told her that this would be her "audition", of course she did not continue with us, but it was for a benefit show, and she demanded pay.
The Donster
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I offer Pay Whether its for a Benefit or Not. I do want to be Fair and Honest with the assistant. plus having someone Helping means a Extra Person to get a Opinion from. and Rachel thank you for Joining The Magic Café.
cheeky
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Well it all depends, On what kind of contract do you have, If its a One Show, They charge high!
The Donster
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It won't be for a contract matbe a one show. but also to get to know the routine and to practice with.
griffindance
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Ok I havent read through most of the posts but I'll blunder on regardless.

For a good guide of rates of pay find a union website. Some publish their wage agreements online. Decide if you are paying 10% above or below that rate.
Another way to decide is based on percentage of the show income. Although profit share payment means that some people wont want to take the risk of learning a show for what may turn out to be a pittance.
As far as ongoing rehearsals decide how much time you are going to need. Any more than one hour (unpaid) prep-time per week or per show seems fine if only to make sure things are 'tight.'
kellaroneil
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Just always keep in mind that the assistant's time is worth something just like the performer's time. Ask yourself the question, could I perform this show without them? If you can't that makes them even more valuable.
msmagic1
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I agree. If you are getting paid, the assistant should also. I pay my assistants well..... and I NEVER have a hard time finding one available! You reap what you sow.
jugglestruck
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I pay my assistants enough to make them feel valuable and wanted. Pay then too little and you will rapidly lose their goodwill.
DavidThomas
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You must always keep in mind when hiring someone that you have to make money to cover the cost of doing business. This includes payroll taxes and workers comp insurance. The most important is the ladder. If your assistant is hurt on the job, then you are legally responsible. Keep all this in mind as you are pricing your shows and deciding what percentage you pay your employees.
David Thomas
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