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mtmagic
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Well, due to the failing economy, I'm losing my job of 26 years. I've been a semi-pro for the last 15 years and at 51 years of age, I feel I should do what I know I do best and forget about retraining.

I'm going to start by putting together a school show with a message. If you guys can suggest any good books or routines on this subject and any advice, I would appreciate it.

I've seen a lot of stuff out there on the market but would like some opinions first. I know that the marketing myself will be the hard part. I live in an area that has no competition and a ton of schools.
Thanks, Dan
Peter Marucci
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Congratulations, Dan (in a back-handed sort of way, I suppose).

If you are aiming for school shows, J.B. Bobo (author of THE coin book) did repeat school shows for decades; in fact, that was ALL he did and made a very comfortable living, too. His school-show books should be available from major magic book dealers (try H & R Magic Books, for example -- http://www.magicbookshop.com).

These days it's almost essential to have a message to get booked, rather than just a straight entertainment show. The message can be anti-drugs, anti-smoking, anti-drinking, anti-guns, pro-reading, pro-school, etc.

There are a number of complete, magic-oriented message shows available (Reading Is Magic, for example), that you might also look at. With those resources available, and a clear field as you mention, you should probably do very well. Good luck.
p.b.jones
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"Well, due to the failing economy, I'm losing my job of 26 years. I've been a semi-pro for the last 15 years and at 51 years of age, I feel I should do what I know I do best and forget about retraining."

HI,
I agree with this: do what you know best. So why do you believe that you need a new show? This just seems like a contradiction of what you are saying. Surely, doing more of the show you have done over the 15 years as a semi-pro would give you more of a chance as a pro?

I do not mean don't develop an educational show. But if you do put one together, it will need honing and working on. It sounds as if you might need some income now, not in a couple of years time.

Just my thoughts
Phillip
mtmagic
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Sorry if I didn't make myself clear, but I'm not going to put together a whole new show, I'll be re-doing the presentations for some of the effects I do now. I know from reading posts here that there is a wealth of experience on this board.
Dan
Jerry Hornak
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Phillip has a good point. It's much easier and faster to increase the number of shows you're doing now than to design and sell school shows from scratch.

I'm not saying don't do that, of course, but you'll need time to get that new part of your business rolling and profitable. And during that time you'll need to pay the bills.

I was in a similar situation in 1989 when my company was sold and moved to the opposite coast. They let everyone local go. I had been doing weekend birthday shows for eight years prior, so I had a built-in following and reputation that made it easy to go full time.

You have that advantage, too.

I then built my daycare business and expanded into after-school enrichment programs using my birthday business as a base.

Just being available during the week will provide new opportunities for you in schools.

I'm now totally unemployable due to being spoiled by the freedom of being my own boss all these years. Smile

I hope you'll feel the same way soon.
Making Happy Memories for Children since 1980!
https://JerrysMagic.com
Chrystal
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Hi Dan,

I would contact the local school board in your area and find out what their criteria is for hiring entertainers.

Each area is different but my school district (I'm a p/t teacher) has a list submitted to them each year. Those they feel are qualified have a promo about themselves and the kind of show they present. This is sent to all the schools in the district and the staff choose which entertainer they want while looking through the book.

Themes are really good...safety, bullying, etc... Just yesterday a performance was shown at our school done in a very entertaining way about bullying. Multi-culturalism is a biggie too...Aboriginal dances, story-telling, things of that nature.

I've heard other areas let the prinicpal choose but the majority always have to be checked out by the district. That may be the place to start by calling and finding out what you need to do.

Another area you may think of pursuing is children's amusement places. Most will try to have entertainment hired on a regular basis.

There's another thread which is asking almost the same thing as you on this page. I listed some ideas for trying to get funding for grants or business loans. You might want to check it out. ( I'm too lazy to type it again.. Smile )

Best of luck to you! Smile
Steven Steele
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Dan,
It looks like you're about 3 years behind me. The same thing happened to me in 2000. I decided then and there I was never going to work for somebody else again. The rest they say, is history.

Anyway, I have found school districts are all over the place on how they hire here in California. Some districts allow thier principals to make the decision. Other districts have the superintendent make the decision. And in some instances the PTA/PTO make the decision. And in some districts you have to audition before they will even approve you. Then you have to get hired on top of that.

The best advice is to get a list of all the schools you are willing to perform at and then call each District Office to find who the decision maker is. Then you can contact them directly. The school market is a good one, but there is a lot (and I mean a lot) of competition.

Good Luck,
Steven
flourish dude
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Don't schools get overwhelmed with people wanting to do programs? What make yours so different that they want to hire you?
Nothing of the same will bring any change, take action today!
Just taking a step, is a step in the right direction because when you stop working, your dream dies.
www.magicalmemories.us
mtmagic
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Good point. The advantage I have is that in Montana there is no one doing a show like I'm going to offer.

Thanks to everyone who has offered suggestions.
Steve Friedberg
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In marketing, we use terms like "value proposition," and "WIIFM."

Simply put, as you market yourself to schools, ask yourself before you do what makes you different than the other magi who the schools could hire: it's not just tricks you've mastered. What do you bring in the way of message, delivery, effectiveness, experience...etc.

And think of terms of how your customer will see it: that's what WIIFM means: "What's In It For Me?" They won't hire you because you're a marvelous entertainer...they'll hire you because you help them more effectively communicate a key message to their kids.

Yeah, this is boring. Yeah, I'd rather be practicing a better DL. But if you're going to sell yourself to potential customers/clients, take the time to learn how they think and their key "pain points" that will motivate them to act in a way that you want.
Cheers,
Steve

"A trick does not fool the eyes, but fools the brain." -- John Mulholland
flourish dude
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I am playing the other side here so....
Don't the other magicians and performer do the same? Don't they have a WIIFM?
Nothing of the same will bring any change, take action today!
Just taking a step, is a step in the right direction because when you stop working, your dream dies.
www.magicalmemories.us
Steve Friedberg
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Dude...
They may, but too often, too many professionals simply go into business because they can; they don't necessarily think through the marketing of what they're doing, or how they're going to differentiate themselves in the market, or what customer pain they're going to solve. They don't think in terms of WIIFM.

If you think like a business person, you run a better chance of winning the business you're seeking.
Cheers,
Steve

"A trick does not fool the eyes, but fools the brain." -- John Mulholland
flourish dude
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from ? But I know where I am going!
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What would be a good example?
Nothing of the same will bring any change, take action today!
Just taking a step, is a step in the right direction because when you stop working, your dream dies.
www.magicalmemories.us
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