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Lundonia
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My sister in law just started a new job and they are having some sort of cocktail party for the employees and their families (only adults) this weekend. She asked me if I wanted to entertain them with walk around magic and I said "Sure! No problem!". She talked to her boss and he wanted to know how much I charge and I of course gave them "the family discount" and he seemed happy about everything. He told me (through my sister in law) that he wanted to meet me before the party to go over some details. So far so good.

Last week my sister in law came to see my show at a comedy club where I perform regularly. She filmed parts of my act with her phone and showed her boss the following day. He was super happy! So far so good...

I had scheduled a meeting with the boss for today and I brought a few tricks to show him. I normally don't do that but since the whole thing seemed to be a done deal and I felt like I needed to give them some sort of special treatment since I wanted my sister in law to look good in front of her new boss.

So, I arrive at the company ten minutes before our appointment. I go to the bathroom, put on my jacket, load my pockets and then knock on the door to the boss' office. Of course I am my happy-go-lucky-self with a huge smile on my face and a firm handshake. I tell him where I usually perform, how long I've been doing magic, you know - the usual stuff. He asks me what kind of effects I do and I tell him I would be glad to show him a few tricks. This is where it gets awkward.

He immediately says "No, no, that's alright, I just want you to mess around with the employees and their guests". I laugh a little and say "sure, no problem...". The boss continues, "Yeah, I really want you to f*** with them! You know, steal their wallets and watches and stuff!"
I politely reply that I don't do those kind of effects when I do strolling magic. On a stage it's another thing but not part of my act at all. I do a bunch of gambling type effects that I easily can theme "con man style". It's like he doesn't even listen to me and goes on about how he wants me to fool people in a mean way. He even asks me to pull out a business card from a certain employees pocket with some prostitutes phone number on it. He kept going on like that and I was really uncomfortable.

Now, I really want to do this for my sister in law and I know my regular strolling effects will be great. Should I just go ahead with my regular sets or should I try to do what the boss wants (more or less, without the most inappropriate parts of course)?
"Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity - and i'm not sure about the former" - Albert Einstein
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Dannydoyle
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Generally when they pay you, then you do what they expect. Simple as that.

That is why it is nice to know what is expected before accepting the job.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
puggo
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Quote: ."..Now, I really want to do this for my sister in law and I know my regular strolling effects will be great. Should I just go ahead with my regular sets or should I try to do what the boss wants (more or less, without the most inappropriate parts of course)?"

A no brainer - just do your usual stuff or don't do the gig. Treating people badly is never part of my set list.
Just my opinion.

Good luck
Charlie
Lundonia
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Quote:
On 2012-10-29 17:07, Dannydoyle wrote:

That is why it is nice to know what is expected before accepting the job.


Of course, that's the lesson learned here. My sister in law has seen me do walk around a bunch of times and has seen my stage performance too. She knows what kind of magic I do and I assumed that she had informed her boss. But sure, I should have checked, I completely agree with that.
"Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity - and i'm not sure about the former" - Albert Einstein
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Lundonia
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Quote:
A no brainer - just do your usual stuff or don't do the gig. Treating people badly is never part of my set list.
Just my opinion.

Good luck
Charlie


Agreed. But which option is better? Smile
"Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity - and i'm not sure about the former" - Albert Einstein
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Paul Rathbun
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I would not feel comfortable being mean to people and embarrassing them. That won't make you or magicians in general look good. However, I would not just do my normal stuff without informing the person paying you who expects something different. I think I would simply explain the dilemma to my sister in law and tell her you plan to talk with the boss offering him one of two choices. You can either do your killer material which you have honed over many performances and know is great or you will have to decline the gig. If he wants to be mean to his employees with practical jokes that is his prerogative, but don't you be his puppet. That is the way I would handle it at this point I think.
Dannydoyle
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Personally I would beg off the whole gig. The situation does not set up well for you.

Not easy to explain why you don't want to do what he wants you to do without being pretty insulting to the man himself.

Showing up and being paid to do one thing and doing another no matter HOW killer the material is would not be a great option.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Lundonia
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I explained to him why I don't do pick pocketing at a walk around gig, it's the wrong setting, people could get offended etc. He bought that and that's when he came up with the idea of "finding" business cards from prostitutes.

I told him I could do con styled stuff like various monte routines, betchas and things like that. He seemed to be ok with it but the general impression he kept giving me was that he wanted to "mess with people". Now, we all as magicians have the ability to do that but it's not my style to perform effects like its a game and challenge people. I love gambling effects but I always present them as demonstrations and only if it is in a table routine.

Thanks for all your advice guys, I will think this through a few more times.
"Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity - and i'm not sure about the former" - Albert Einstein
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Pokie-Poke
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Tell your sister in law to start looking for a new job, with a better boss.
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The Adventure cont...
S2000magician
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Quote:
On 2012-10-29 18:56, Lundonia wrote:
He bought that [people could get offended] and that's when he came up with the idea of "finding" business cards from prostitutes . . . .

. . . because, clearly, nobody could be offended by that.

I'm with Danny on this one: tell him that you're just not the guy he wants. Presented that way it shouldn't alienate him, and you avoid the Kobayashi Maru.
Michael Baker
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I've had similar clients who think magicians are "hitmen" of some sort. The fact that he saw a comedy club act just reinforced that. Just explain that what you do in a stage act is different than what you do in the cocktail party environment are two different things, but that you guarantee that his guests will be very happy with the "show" and that he will too. If he continues to argue, it's as good as him rewriting your act. If it gets to thatpoint, just say thanks, but no thanks.

This kind of makes me wonder what kind of a boss he will be. He seems to have little respect for his employees. Tell him they are willing to pay you more to **** with HIM!

No, second thought... take the gig, make the guests REALLY happy and then wait to see what he does.

I'd be willing to bet he'll pay you and keep his mouth shut!
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sirbrad
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You don't want to tick off a ton of people to please one strange boss. That is an odd situation and sounds like he might even be messing with you. But I would not be surprised if he was serious, there are many rich bosses out there who are out of touch with reality and think that they can buy whatever they want. You are not obligated to change your act for anyone, especially if a disaster and a bad reputation would come out of it, and think how many potential clients you could lose, all for one idiot. There is also a chance that no one would care and laugh it all off assuming you are skilled in those aspects, but I would not risk it. You have too much to lose and not much to gain. He basically want to hire you to make them look like fools for his own entertainment. He should get an angry clown instead.

If it were me I would tell the boss that I have to do my regular act for that venue or decline the job. Or maybe he can make himself the scapecoat with all the stripper cards and panties in his pockets so he can see how it feels?
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Paul Rathbun
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Just curious, is this the boss trying to hire you?

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0136797/

That would explain a lot!
themagicguy
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Quote:
On 2012-10-30 08:11, Paul Rathbun wrote:
Just curious, is this the boss trying to hire you?

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0136797/

That would explain a lot!


Haha nice!

Yeah don't do it and tell your sister to find a new job!
Dr_J_Ayala
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This boss sounds like the type of guy that would have you doing effects like the 21st Century Bra/Panties/Shorts, sponge ding dong, etc. if he knew of their existence - all in the hopes of really "messing with someone". That is not to say that those effects should never be performed, but in my opinion, I would never use them (unless I were using the 21st Century Shorts on myself as part of a comedic performance).

As a person selling a service, you have both the right and the responsibility (read: obligation) to make sure your customers know what they can expect from you based on what your abilities and skills are. If you must find an excuse, valid or made up, as to why you cannot/will not perform a certain effect or type of effect, so be it. Simply stating as you did that you do not do pick/put-pocketing in that type of environment/performance venue works just as well and keeps you honest. This not only applies to effects that you cannot do (for lack of knowledge, practice, skill, etc.), but effects you will not do in certain situations or for certain clientele.

If you want to humor him, you can make it look like you are doing what he is asking for without actually doing it and/or offending anyone. Just as an example, I have been doing and ungimmicked Card to Spectator Wallet for some time now to great effect.

My advice would be to do your show as you intended to, sticking to your planned effects. As Michael Baker said, make the guests REALLY happy and show them a good time and I am sure you will get paid. If not, a free show never hurts now and again and you may well generate more leads for other work that way. On top of that, you will still be getting one more performance under your belt, you will learn something from all of it and you will get to do what you love.
Lundonia
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The story continues! As it turns out, the boss will not be present at the event. Smile I'm just going to go ahead and do my regular well tested strolling magic. I think I was pretty clear on the effects I do and don't do. After all, I did offer to show him some but he declined.

I was worried he was going to ask me to do specific things to specific guests at the party but as he won't be there I guess it will be fine. I'm pretty sure the guests will be happy and as long as they pass that message along to their boss everybody will be happy. I hope. Smile

The event is in two days, I will update afterwards. Thanks again for all your advice and input guys! Really helped me to rethink the whole thing a few more times.
"Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity - and i'm not sure about the former" - Albert Einstein
www.jensmagi.se
S2000magician
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Break a leg!
Ekuth
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Good luck, break a thread. Glad he's not gonna be there, because if he was...

I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole with a condom on the end. You're a magician, not a prostitute.
"All you need is in Fitzkee."
Dannydoyle
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The problem is your being hired under a certain presence. Not living up to it would not be cool. If you disagree with it, and are not hired to do what you do, then it is bad business. Technically they are not getting what they pay for, regardless of who is there or not.

It is not an easy situation
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Zombie Magic
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Are we really supposed to believe this story?
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