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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » How many "donated shows"? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

johnobryant
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Texas
195 Posts

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Last January I got invited to do a stage show for all the kindergartners at my mothers elementary school. I then gave her a price and she said "The school does not have you in their budget. It will be a free show, but you will make the news paper". I took the gig, not feeling right at all about doing the gig for free, but I did it anyways since my mother was the teacher in charge of the event.

Next...May strolled around and I got invited back up to the school by my mother to be an MC at a 2 day long talent event. I then called her back and I gave her a price. She said "Since it is the same school year, you are still no in our budget". Again, feeling bad about giving a free show, yet feeling bad for not helping my mother out with her work as well, I took the 2 day long gig where everything was paid for except for me. I then told the school to put me in their budget for the next year. The school really likes me and wanted me to come back every year.

I then donated a show to research for a disease to a non profit organization here in town in back in August.


I then got a call from my mother a month ago asking me to give her a show to the kindergartners again for the same event. She said that the school did not put me in her budget again, but the money will come from her pocket. So I did the show making little money than what I would have charged the actual school.

Tonight I get home a check the messages and I have a message from my mother again...asking me if I wanted to travel (4 hours driving) and donate a show to an event that my aunt is in charge of. Food, Gas, Lodging will be paid for. The event is for research on a disease in which my cousin carries, and I feel as if I keep saying yes to my relatives, they will be take advantage. Yet, I would love to do it for my cousin.

They do realize that magic is my main income and it pays my bills, because I have told them several times in the past. They always say "free publicity...news papers, and the news station will be there". And I always tell them that I get publicity at all my events but I still have to charge.

I do a lot of paid shows through out the year...but is this pushing it a little?

I would like to know if there is a ratio of how many paid shows/ to how many donated shows you should do? Or any advice on how to handle donated shows for good causes.

Thanks,
John
rossmacrae
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Arlington, Virginia
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Learn to say "no." Even to your mom.

Best approach I ever saw was a business that had a statement taped under the front-counter glass, about how they would love to give to every charity, but had decided to focus their efforts on one (of their choice, and it's already chosen), so ... don't ask.
johnobryant
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Texas
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Thanks, I will definitely consider doing business with one...and only one charity. I like to help people.

I am already in the budget for next years school events. I already got in on that and got it clarified.

It is not like I am losing a lot, compared to what I make off of paid shows.

But I have not mentioned how many times I have actually said "no". I have probably said no to family and relatives more times than I have said yes.

-john
MAGICBYTIM
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Louisiana
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I will typically do two free shows a year for charity type of events. These events are chosen by me. I always call the event chairperson and explain who I am and what I do. I tell them that I perform two shows a year free of charge and that I have chosen this charity. I then ask if they are interested in having me for a specific event that I choose. If they are I do the show free with no strings attached. Sometimes I am told that a particular event is all booked up with other events but they would love to have me at another event. I then tell them that they could call me when that event comes around and if I was available and I have not given my two free shows that year then I would do the show.

This allows me to schedule the fee shows when I want and also allows me to set times for the show. I typically will book the show on a day that I already have a paid show in the area. That means I am not packing a show and driving without getting paid something for the day.

I used to get several calls a month for free shows. When I went to this system and explained to the caller, the calls dropped off dramatically. If you do to many free shows you will be known in the area for doing free shows.

I have had to say no to family and friends. Most of the time they understand and will not be mad.

That is how I handle the free shows.
johnobryant
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Texas
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That is also a good plan. But I am not looking to do free shows. First come first serve, if I were you.

-john
ThePartyMagician
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Bristol, UK
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Heed the advice from Ross - it is the best way to deal with this issue. Pick a charity and stick with them.

Saying 'no' to people doesn't make you a bad guy, it just makes you a person who prioritizes their responsibilities.

Bottom line - if you keep saying 'yes' to free shows, you will NEVER make the kind of money in your business that you would like.

Best regards
Mike
MrHyde
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Quote:
On 2007-01-29 23:03, johnobryant wrote:
It will be a free show, but you will make the news paper".


So, how much space did they get in the newspaper for you ???
NJJ
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RULE 1: If you get anything out of it (publicity, food, money) then you are not performing for free. Anything promised MUST be delivered.

RULE 2: Only do shows where you get NOTHING if you get a warm fuzzy feeling.

RULE 3: When the warm fuzzy feelings stop, so do the shows.
DanielSteep
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Quote:
On 2007-01-29 23:06, rossmacrae wrote:
Learn to say "no." Even to your mom.



I couldn't agree more! It's hard to do. I had to do it about a month ago to a few family members when they asked me to do a large birthday party. I gave them a quote and they expected me to do it for free.
JackScratch
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I perform at one charity event a year, for free. The event is not chosen in advance, I select it on a first come, first serve basis, but with my discretion as the final judge. I don't perform children's events, but if a friend has a party for his kid, and he wants me to perform (or even an adult for that matter). I tell them to just send me an invitation. I'll be a guest, but I've never been to any social event that I didn't do what I do at gigs. I really prefer to not mix business and friends/family.

"If you do my event for free, it will help you get a reputation"
"Yeah, a Reputation for working for free."
It's a cliche', but I've seen it in action, and it's the absolute truth.
Al Angello
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Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
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John
Free shows will only get you more free shows, my friend you have a target on your back. That being said, my advise to you is remember how much you owe your mother, and do free shows for her for as long as she is at that school. My mother-in-law is in a nursing home, and I told the activities director that I am all hers for free for as long as mom is alive.
FAMILY COMES FIRST
Al Angello
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
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Steven Steele
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Chief of Staff
Hesperia, California USA
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John,

My wife is a teacher and I do free shows for the school each and every year. I do 2 assemblies, math night, fall festival, and spring festival. I even go into the classrooms to do effects. For the assemblies and festivals I submit a contract for my full fee, but reduce it to $0, due to my wife's employment. If anybody asks, I tell them that I don't want any impression of any "conflict of interest" taking place. That means, I didn't receive contracts because my wife worked there. It protects me as well as her. The principal and PTA see my fee and know why they got the 'deal'.

I do the same thing for a few charities that I support otherwise. And I do them every year. All of this is in the spirit of giving back to the community and people know that I do this. I have no expectation of further gain, I do it because I love to give to these people. I believe in them. Al is right on this point.

Having said that, all others, regardless of their position, pay my fee. No questions. My brother-in-law called and wanted me to entertain his students at a Christmas party. It was a school sanctioned event and I charged him. Boy, was he mad! I couldn't have cared less. Recently his daughter called for a show at her school and I gave her a reduced rate and she was glad to have it. Family does come first, but only if the particular family member hasn't previously asked you out to dinner and then, when the bill comes hands you a 2 for 1 coupon and says "My dinner is free" (see line about brother-in-law).

And Jack, Rammstein Rocks!!! You're the first person I've known, besides my son, who likes them.
Paddy
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Milford OH
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There is only one organization that I do free shows for. That's the Make A Wish Foundation. Everything is donated to them and they have a very small and underpaid staff. When you do a show for them, and then have a dieing child ask for you to perform as their wish. I just don't need nor can I make enough money for that.

It is a very hard show for me to do because of the mission of the organization is to help children who are in the terminal stages of disease. But that is why I do it, to see that child smaile and laugh.

Peter
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own

http://www.Scho-Lan.com
johnobryant
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Texas
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Wow..this brought up a lot of point of views.

Quote:
On 2007-01-30 09:14, Al Angello wrote:
John
Free shows will only get you more free shows, my friend you have a target on your back.


You can say that again. I give one free show to my mother, and I keep getting asked now by other relatives who are running charity organizations. I do not want to be known as the "guy who gives free shows"...I am not, because I have only given 2 donated shows in one year to non profit organizations outside of my family. And I think I may keep it at that limit (2) every year,as some of you suggested. As for the family, I will have to decide on that, but I am definitly not going to go over board with it, after all it is family. But I odn't want a target on my back.

As for the length of the newspaper that the school promised...It was about a quarter of a page, with a nice colored picture.

-John
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