We Remember The Magic Café We Remember
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Agent Fees for Strolling...(?) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2~3 [Next]
CurtWaltermire
View Profile
Elite user
Curtis The Mentalist
486 Posts

Profile of CurtWaltermire
Hello Fellow Magi,

It's been a while since I've been on here, but something came up recently that had me scratching my head; so I thought I'd tap into the vast wealth of experience here!

I came across an agent some time ago who is helping me pick up some work. I'm a full-time pro who does primarily corporate stage/parlor shows as well as strolling gigs; some of it restaurants and the rest private parties and other venues. Recently the agent called up a local private club of rich people and booked me for a one-hour strolling gig plus a 15-minute stage show. It is a great venue; a supper club type of joint that feels like something right out of an old Humphrey Bogart film. If they like the act, it should turn into a fairly regular gig.

I also work as a commercial actor in TV, film, and printwork advertisements and I have a couple of other agents who represent me specifically for that. A typical agent fee (non-union) is 20% for such things, and the new agent who represents me primarily for magic has agreed to a typical 20% cut as well.

Last night on the phone when talking about the gig (which is this very evening, BTW) she said something that made me think that she (the agent) not only expected 20% of the fees, but 20% of my TIPS as well...that caught me a bit off guard. I didn't engage her because the idea was new to me and didn't seem quite right. This is my first gig with this agent and so far it is simply a verbal agreement, but a written one will follow soon. My initial reaction was to think that the cut for the fees alone was fair enough, and any tips I scare up belong completely to me. Besides, how would she know what my tips were unless she raided my pockets after the gig? I mean, I'm a pretty honest and up-front guy (believe it or not, for a magician...) but that doesn't mean I always show my hand...

Anyone have any experience with this? I've tried searching the Café but no results for such a topic came up...
mrunge
View Profile
Inner circle
Charleston, SC
3717 Posts

Profile of mrunge
Booking fee is one thing that she negotiates and is fair game. Tips? No way. That's yours. You earned that on your own. Besides, as you say, how does she know how much you made? If she "plants" someone to tip you to see what you do, I don't know that I'd want to work with that person anymore.

Just my FREE 2 cents. It's all yours!

Mark. Smile
twistedace
View Profile
Inner circle
philadelphia
3772 Posts

Profile of twistedace
My agents take 10%. I can't believe that your agent is charging that much first of all, second of all if they're trying to take from your tips I'd say sever all ties. I agree with Mark 100% - you did all of the work on site to earn the tips.
mrunge
View Profile
Inner circle
Charleston, SC
3717 Posts

Profile of mrunge
In my area, agents also take 10%. Not bad for taking the time to make a phone call or two!

Mark.
Kaylan
View Profile
Special user
CT
758 Posts

Profile of Kaylan
Ax the agent (figuratively speaking, of course)
John T. Sheets
View Profile
Inner circle
Las Vegas, USA
1140 Posts

Profile of John T. Sheets
I would say that your tips are a bonus that you have earned, and should keep to yourself.
www.johnTsheets.com

See the "Quantum Bender 3.0" trailer here... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkTVw9FjonE

See my Dove Act here... https://youtu.be/Ms7_u46Qpp0

See the "Energy Bender" trailer here... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpJOfL0k8xA

See the "Table of Death" in Las Vegas trailer here... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YivizLAKD7I
jay leslie
View Profile
V.I.P.
Southern California
9495 Posts

Profile of jay leslie
Your tips are earned because of your work, alone. I would respond... "You should hope I get tips because, that means I'm doing a great job and YOU may get more bookings from my efforts.

The question of weather an agent takes 10 percent, 20 percent or doubles your fee without telling you is a different issue.
Dannydoyle
View Profile
Eternal Order
20326 Posts

Profile of Dannydoyle
Seems like an odd request. But if you get LOTS of work through them, maybe it is worth it. Yea you can make a point and not do it and turn down everything they will send to you in the future. It is not such a clear cut issue in my mind. It is a business decision. Will you make more money using them and only having 80% of your tips or more without them and 100% of your tips? This is the real question isn't it?

I agree it is odd, and I think your tips should be yours. But it is a matter of dollars and cents (and sense). You can stand on a principal for the sake of it, but I would consider the money first.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
S2000magician
View Profile
Inner circle
Yorba Linda, CA
3469 Posts

Profile of S2000magician
Quote:
On 2011-01-21 18:36, twistedace wrote:
I agree with Mark 100% - you did all of the work on site to earn the tips.

The counterargument is that you wouldn't even be on-site were it not for the agent.

I'm not saying that it's an argument with which I agree, but it's easy to see that it's an argument that can be made, and should be considered.
Sir Richard
View Profile
Special user
650 Posts

Profile of Sir Richard
What's your contract say? IMHO this should have been spelled out in your contract with your agent. Then it's binding. Now you have to make a tough decision. Me, I'd pay her "butt-kiss" out of the tips. But then I'm not you.

Sir Richard.
"In the land of Murphy there is but ONE law!"
CurtWaltermire
View Profile
Elite user
Curtis The Mentalist
486 Posts

Profile of CurtWaltermire
Thanks for the input gentlemen.

Well, the gig went well and they want me back on a fairly regular basis. We are going to work on the details of that arrangement soon. The stage show was a bit clunky because attendance was lower than normal, people were real spread out, etc.; but the table-hopping went really well. I'm already looking at a gig next week as a result (an opening act at a local professional dinner theatre) and perhaps a couple more soon, just from this one evening.

With the exception of my professional acting, I've never worked with an agent in booking my magic & mentalism act. As I mentioned before, this is my first gig with this agent and it came upon us pretty quickly so our agreement at the moment is a verbal one. Though she didn't come out and state it plainly, it was something she said that made me think this about the commission on the tips. It's a little too involved to go into, but it was a hunch I was getting from some things she was telling me. We are meeting again next week to discuss some things further. She was there and saw the show and wants to discuss things a bit more.

Danny, you're right--the essence of my question naturally revolves around what is ultimately being gained. That's why I'm asking the question to begin with--while I feel that the tips really belong to me, I wouldn't necessarily be at THIS particular gig had it not been for her AND if she continues to fill a lot of dates on the calendar...then in my opinion it's worth it to work with her and be as up front with her as I can. All of that, however is yet to be realized. She has a tremendous amount of experience booking talent for a wide-array of things; TV, film, radio, voice-over, printwork, organizing corporate events, live shows,and she has even toured and sang on her own, produced her own short films, been a casting director, etc. She is an aggressive agent, and really pitches hard and makes a hard sell. She seems to be the type that is a fantastic ally, and a formidable foe. I'm really trying to be careful and work on developing a strong business relationship. If this is something that she is expecting and tells me so plainly next week, then I wanted to have just given it some real thought and not just go with my inital response to recoil and hold onto a few measly bucks if it means closing off a substantial lifeline of work. At the same time, I'm just wanting to avoid being taken advantage of. I may be misunderstanding her altogether, but I want to be prepared in the event my hunch is true.

Thanks for all the input fellas...
mrunge
View Profile
Inner circle
Charleston, SC
3717 Posts

Profile of mrunge
Congratulations Curt! Glad it went so well for you. Take your time. Things will work out OK.

Keep us posted!

Mark. Smile
jimvines
View Profile
Regular user
Brooklyn, NY
161 Posts

Profile of jimvines
If you're making what you want/need to make after agent fees, why do you care what the agent charges? If the agent booked you for a $1 million gig, and gave you $500,000, (ie 50% commission) would you complain or do the job? If you're getting jobs you wouldn't otherwise get, and you're happy with your take-home pay, keep it going. If you're not getting enough in your pocket after all is said and one, just say no. It is weird for an agent to ask for any of your tip money, though LOL. Your negotiating power with the agent rises dramatically once you become her #1 client and are raking in all sorts of cash. Until then, make sure it's worth your agent's while to book you for these things. Just my 2 cents...
LotaBowl.com

The Search Engine for Magic Supplies.

Search 1,000,000+ Products From 40+ Magic Dealers.
David Thiel
View Profile
Inner circle
Western Canada...where all that oil is
3896 Posts

Profile of David Thiel
A real agent does much more than make a phone call. They go out and get the business, they make sure the client understands what you need, they ensure you are getting paid on time and they take care of the client for you. As someone who has been an agent of sorts, I am always just a little offended when performers say goofy things like "it's one little phone call." ummmm...nope.

As for tips? That's strange. I am not clear on whether or not she out and out asked for them or not. I've never heard of this happening before.

But it DOES sould like she got you a pretty exclusive gig. I'd see where it goes before I dug in my heels on anything. Just a few thoughts.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
CurtWaltermire
View Profile
Elite user
Curtis The Mentalist
486 Posts

Profile of CurtWaltermire
Quote:
As for tips? That's strange. I am not clear on whether or not she out and out asked for them or not. I've never heard of this happening before.

But it DOES sould like she got you a pretty exclusive gig. I'd see where it goes before I dug in my heels on anything. Just a few thoughts.

David


It is indeed a nice, exclusive gig; I appreciate your thoughts. Part of the reason for inquiring here about this is, as I mentioned, the fact that I'm not used to going through an agent to book my live magic & mentalism shows. Since the 1980's I have always booked all of my own stuff and handled things on the business end. I've been full-time over the last couple of years and I've been waiting for an opportunity to take things to the next level and after I met this lady (I met her while performing in a local restaurant) and her husband, it appeared that she could be a tremendous asset. So far she's scoring pretty well with me, yet she's pretty emotional (like most artists) and we play a little tug-o-war at times with ideas. Part of that is simply a professional struggle based on trust that I realize will take some time to establish. It isn't easy relinquishing the business end of things to someone like her who, though she has plenty of experience, hasn't worked specifically with magicians and doesn't quite fully realize the uniqueness of what we do.

An example of the tug-o-war I'm speaking of is an idea that she had concerning this most recent gig. She wanted to show up at the gig, sit at the table, booth, or bar, and commence to cheer-leading and tipping me large during my strolling/table-hopping portion of the gig. She said that she would bring a handful of twenty-dollar bills and put on this ostentatious display of tipping me so as to plant this idea in other people's minds that I was worth a great deal. I.e. she would put on an act like she wasn't involved with me and stir things up. In my opinion, though I understand what she was trying to do and how she was trying to help, it was a terrible idea.

I tried to let her down easy. I explained that this was a unique environment; a private, members-only club of wealthy people who ALL know each other. I knew we would stand out as the newbies bigtime, and that if this was going on the entire thing would be transparent as being contrived. I told her I don't operate this way, and that I have things that I do that are subtle that cause most people to tip me something. I wanted her to come and see the stage show later in the evening, but not to necessarily put on this display in an attempt to help me gain more tips. She had a really difficult time with the fact that I was resisting this idea. It's one thing to stage a little deal at a restaurant or club in attempt to get initial attention and try to land a gig, it's another thing to do what she was trying to get me to do. She likened it to the street musician who places some cash in the tip jar or hat so that people will get the idea. What she failed to realize was that this illustration more strongly supported my idea of the subtle approach versus the ostentatious pumping and priming. Besides, at some point people were going to realize we were together in this if it turned into a regular gig...I didn't want it to make us look stupid.

It is a peculiar relationship, but I think we're just smoothing out wrinkles, so-to-speak, at this point. I have no reason to really think she would take advantage of me, but with some of the odd differences that we've had it made it seem natural that it appeared last week (when we were setting this gig up)as though she was expecting a percentage of my tips as well. It didn't occur to me until later and so I couldn't ask her directly. I'll see next week what her official expectations are when we sit down and go over several things. I appreciate everyone's help in just giving this some thought. When I sit down with her again, I want to be completely prepared to get down to business.
David Thiel
View Profile
Inner circle
Western Canada...where all that oil is
3896 Posts

Profile of David Thiel
It'll be interesting to hear how things work out. Keep us posted.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
Andrew Zuber
View Profile
Inner circle
Los Angeles, CA
2653 Posts

Profile of Andrew Zuber
Her suggestion of planting herself in the audience to give you tips seems very out of the ordinary to me. While it's a nice gesture, it's very unprofessional. An agent should be representing you because they have faith that you are talented and will book a lot of work. I didn't just walk into my agent's office and say "represent me." I had to show them a reel, my resume, do a reading, etc. She should believe that you are good enough to get tips on your own. Again, it seems like it's a nice thought on her part, but it sounds like she may be a little inexperienced.

That said, break a leg with the future gigs! Sounds like some fun opportunities.
"I'm sorry - if you were right, I would agree with you." -Robin Williams, Awakenings
CurtWaltermire
View Profile
Elite user
Curtis The Mentalist
486 Posts

Profile of CurtWaltermire
Thanks, Andrew.

Her real calling seems to be that of a teacher or coach. She's kinda my own personal Joanie Spina. However, she became interested in representing me for some of my work and that's how things got started. When it comes to acting or performing in general, she has tons of experience. She studied acting directly under Sanford Meisner. I've checked her out and she has legitimate extensive experience in filmwork and TV and stage acting, casting, etc., but I'm not so sure about experience booking acts like mine. She knows important people in the industry. I think she just felt she could help by being more directly involved in promoting me at this first gig. It was very difficult to get her to relent however, because she felt her talents weren't being utilized to the full potential in helping me. I'd have thought she would have welcomed me telling her that she didn't need to be so involved. Instead she saw it as me not trusting her. I had to put on my kid gloves, so-to-speak, and begin reparations...

This is going to be an interesting week...

Thanks again to everyone who has piped in. If things get too weird I'm going to just walk away. If she helps me rake in the gigs, then what do I have to lose?
Nash
View Profile
Inner circle
Hong Kong ~ USA
1077 Posts

Profile of Nash
Very interesting indeed. A few times the client wanted to tip me and the agent just told me to keep it.
But oh well, different agents work differently.
Don't give up, don't EVER give up.

NashFung.com/virtual-magic-show
mrunge
View Profile
Inner circle
Charleston, SC
3717 Posts

Profile of mrunge
Quote:
On 2011-01-24 16:31, CurtWaltermire wrote:
When it comes to acting or performing in general, she has tons of experience....It was very difficult to get her to relent however, because she felt her talents weren't being utilized to the full potential.....


Hmmm....maybe she thought she had found an opportunity to "act" as a patron, instead of a stooge, and got her feelings hurt when she was turned down for the "part!"

Mark. Smile
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Agent Fees for Strolling...(?) (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2~3 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.27 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL