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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Marketing a stage act by word of mouth in a tourist town? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Siraldi
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Johnson City, Tennessee
102 Posts

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I've recently landed a pretty awesome gig at a theater in a tourist town near where I live. Each week new people are there. The problems I have are:
1. I'm a young magician in that I'm 22 and I've only done this professionally for less than 2 years
2. Since I am new... I'm still growing my stage act and the marketing money just isn't there
3. So no major marketing... I can do some street performing (though laws highly limit it in this town) but that is it.

So my question. How is the best way to get my name out there. I wanted to do a publicity stunt...but that may have to wait until next year. I am a fairly regular bar goer in my hometown (not where I'm working) so would hitting up the little tavern/bars be good to grab beers and show a few things and get people at my show? Or should I stick to daytime? Or both?

I'm ready to work. I'm not the best... I'm not the worst... but I'm very new. I'm working on a manipulation act and other things. But I need to be performing in front of a crowd for experience. The people at this theater have given me a GREAT opportunity and I don't want to waste it. I'm a college kid... so money IS an issue... and I have to show them they can put money in me. But until then... how do I get crowds?

Thank you guys so much for always hearing me and talking with me. You are much appreciated!


Sincerely

Siraldi
jay leslie
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Southern California
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Are there magazines and brochures that hotels/motels have on display? Do you have a budget for an TV ad on the hotel/motel(s) cable programing?
If you don't have an advertising budget, you're probably not going to sell a lot of tickets unless the venue ALWAYS has a show in that location and people expect to see one, there. You could always have a girl passing-out discount tickets on the street but you need the brochures and TV exposure to go with it.

I've done this so remember... there are two parts to show business and one of them isn't the show.
scottds80
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Victoria, Australia
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It's a good investment to buy "success in magic" by Jim Snack. It will definitely guide you in the right direction.
"Great Scott the Magician", Gippsland
Close.Up.Dave
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Here's the thing, you say, "the theater has given me this great opportunity," which is true. But, they do not see it as an opportunity for you to hone your chops necessarily. They want your show to eventually make their place money. You can't not simply put money into the marketing, it needs to be done.

Luckily there are tons of cheap ways to do it, so don't be afraid to get creative. Posters on the street (or at a friends gift shop), passing out discount cards, etc. It will take work but it can be done. Since it's a tourist town, find other comparable businesses to a magic show and study what they do.

Also, find out what the theater is willing to invest. They get money too so they probably shouldn't leave everything up to you. Find out if they have a decent email list or good connections in town to utilize.
Blair Marshall
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Many large cities have what are known as Fringe Festivals. These usually are very experimental shows, many by young folks and with no promotion, or advertising budget. Some of them get amazing results with little or no $$$$. I would search on-line for groups that perform at these, I am sure there must be material out there, or someone from one of these groups that you may be able to hook up with and Skype a brainstorming session. Just a thought.

You also don't say what your "deal" is with the theatre, just that they are giving you a "great opportunity" so not sure if there are $$$$ involved. You indicate it is a tourist town so to me that means there is usually a lot of employment at peak times, perhaps a part time job would allow you to get a good stock of p.r. matieral, postcards, mini cards for hotel racks, hand outs for restaurants. etc

Are you "THE" show?? I get the impression you might be, but then you indicate you are working on your "act". So again not sure what you would be promoting ie. a show with many acts, or a show with you?

Perhaps a little more detail might help us.

Blair
Dannydoyle
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I think this might not be quite the opportunity it seems.

Are paying rent on this theater or a ticket spkit or what? Is it the theaters job to market your show or do you pay rent and they get it no matter what? I would think them far better positioned to do that than you.

I only ask these things because I live in such a town. Branson Missouri to be spacific. I know how this stuff works. But I need a bit more info before I can hepp you.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Blair Marshall
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I hope he gets back with a little more detail.

Blair
Mindpro
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I too would like to hear more details of the arrangement or great opportunity. Most entertainers are not ready for a theater show after only two years, so I would hope you are seriously looking at the whole deal, bigger picture. Perhaps it's a bit premature? If your show is not possibly quite there and you say your business is not there, maybe this is not so good of timing.

Also living in a tourist town, Las Vegas, doing a show like this before you are ready could be damaging for your future. Also be careful about the street performing idea as how it affects your credibility as a stage performer. Perception is everything. How about some more details, if for nothing else to perhaps determine if this is in fact the great deal you may think it is, and if so so others can give your ideas to proceed.
Dannydoyle
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Nobody's trying to discourage you. Just find enough info to help. Do keep in mind if people aee paying it is not to watch you work out a show.

Maybe do some concert promoting. Sorry.

Seriously mindpro is right about it could hurt. BUT on the other hand small tourist towns have a short memory so the valuable experience probably outweighs that concern.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Robin4Kids
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Lower Alabama
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Siraldi, I have been in the advertising & marketing industry for many years and among my local clients are the Convention & Visitors Bureau and numerous tourism attractions. If you check with someone with the local Tri-Cities CV&B, I feel sure they would be glad to advise you on the numerous ways you can inform the tourists about your show. I know locally they would put you on their printed calendar of events and website that the tourists are given to inform them about what is going on. They are generally interested in everything (within reason) that they can add to their calendar to let the tourists know there is plenty going on. The Chamber of Commerce is also a good resource if it is separate from the C&VB, although they sometimes want you to be a member in order for them to publicize your business. May be worth a try though.

I have been to Johnson City for an advertising conference hosted by the local American Advertising Federation club (AAF Northeast Tennessee). AAF chapters are usually made up of marketing professionals and the media. You may find them to be a good resource of promotion as well. Let me know if you need any contact info.

Good luck with your theater gig. Maybe you could make a race car appear on stage!
Siraldi
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Johnson City, Tennessee
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Here's a little bit more. I have just gotten Jim Snack's "Success in Magic Volume 1"

Now about the show. We are going solely of off ticket sales and doing cuts. They also have an apartment underneath the building they are going to let me live in for the summer. I also get free food at the pizza place there. That is basically the deal. I am doing 3 shows a week until it is high-time season... then I'm doing 5 shows a week.

A little about me. I'm 22. I've worked on magic my entire life as a hobby; but a little under 2 years ago I started at the Flea market performing then I went into restaurants. I've been on at 2 restaurants for over a year now and things are going GREAT there! They have promised me my place back after the summer. I've done plenty of birthday parties and social events. I work for a Home Health company going around and doing showss for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. I have close up magic and street magic down (Though I am ALWAYS learning when I can) but I am new to an actual stage. The theater holds around 100 people. Everyone so far who has seen my act has enjoyed it. There are 2 other performers there; one is the number one attraction in the city.

I am new to the stage but am progressing each week. I believe it is time for me to do the stage because I'm decent. But I want to be great. The reason I'm worried abotu crowds is that the owners of the theater gave me a trial period of a Saturday a week for about 5 weeks and it was HARD to drum up business from the street in 4ish hours. It's a 2 hour drive from my home and I'm in school... so that's all the time I had to promote. But I am moving there for the summe rand will have all week. I have all the magic shops that will pass out flyers and BOGO offers for me.

The number one attraction show (one guy) likes me and is helping me out. I will be in a pamphlet sponsored by the town on his page. He is getting half the page and I am getting a quarter... very nice of him!

I would also like to add that I am NOT against working my butt off. I plan on doing so. I have grown fairly close to the owner of the magic shop and he may give me a job there for some cash (if my our schedules work out).

If you need more info; just ask. I say I'm working on my show because I think it IS good... just not yet GREAT! It may possibly be a bit premature... but I believe it will make me work hard. I'm at one theater all week... same place same time.


Again... Thank you guys so much for your help!
Siraldi
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Johnson City, Tennessee
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Also... I know that you guys aren't trying to discourage me. I'm in nursing school and tomorrow is my last day of finals so I'm studying hard. That's why it is taking me so long to reply.
Mindpro
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This should be interesting...

Who do you want to hear from those that have been there and done that, those that will encourage you and tell you what you want to hear even if you fall on your face, or those that know or have little experience here but wish they were in your shoes?

As I sad, this should be interesting.
Siraldi
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Johnson City, Tennessee
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Well... it's contracted. So it's too late to back out. But I have friends and family for encouragement... I don't need that from you guys. I want to hear the truth and I want to hear what I can do to help myself. In pure honesty. I want to here from anyone who has ideas. Like I said I'm new... I know I am... but I'm really wanting to do this with my life. So I'm wanting to hear anything that could help.
charliecheckers
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Quote:
On 2013-05-08 20:58, Mindpro wrote:
Who do you want to hear from those that have been there and done that, those that will encourage you and tell you what you want to hear even if you fall on your face, or those that know or have little experience here but wish they were in your shoes?

Count me among the later group. I googled your name and instantly found your performing venue. I am not sure who you are targeting your show and promotions to demographically. The pricing and show times lend themselves to kid/family performacne, but the show description seems more aimed at an older audience to me. I think by far the greatest opportunity is to piggy back off of the headlinrs shows and I would see if they can introduce you to their audiences at the end of their shows. I'm not saying this will fill your show by any means, but at least they know about the theater and like shows (and hopefully enjoyed themselves).

I would be concerned about further pricing incentives, as your show is already dirt cheap and further reductions may backfire in terms of perceived value and kill any profits. If they are not coming at your listed prices, my guess is that cost has little to do with why they are not coming. I might consider an interactive trick that is linked to the flyers/postcards you distribute to create curiosity.

Most importantly though, I would reach out to those who have or are successfully marketing shows in theaters in tourist towns and hope they are willing to share some of their knowledge.

Good luck.
Siraldi
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Johnson City, Tennessee
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Thank you for looking. I never thought of that ha ha. And I honestly think that I am the only Siraldi (except for someone in another country who is S. Iraldi) so I really have no target in marketing. I want to do a more older age show... but it's hard since that is really the only time I am able to have a show. The town closes down fairly early.

I found that before they weren't coming because they saw me that day and already had plans at the time. One reason anyways. But I may talk to the other guys about talking about me at their shows. And what kind of interactive trick? But I am hoping to play with prices. I eventually want to raise my price; of course; but I was thinking the same thing about other discounts... but I would rather have a full house cheap than no one. But you make a very valid point

And I am actually going to try to talk to the other big magician nearby. He's a really nice guy and has been there since I can remember. I've just been too far away and too involved in school to be able to talk to him
charliemartin
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Rapid City, SD
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I guess I'm one of those who is going to say "you are over your head". Doing close up is very different from "putting on a show". I applaud your ambition but instead of taking "baby steps" in our industry, you are taking giant leaps. Are you seriously ready for this challenge?
Dannydoyle
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Whag town may I ask?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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Sounds like Terry Evanswood-ville
Siraldi
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Johnson City, Tennessee
102 Posts

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It is Terry Evanswood-ville. He is close friends to my Mentor so I'm hoping he will help me out. He seems like an outstanding person! It is in Gatlinburg; TN.

And I was taking baby-steps but the owners gave me this opportunity... and it was nearly impossible to turn down. I will post some clips in the coming weeks hopefully (once I learn how to edit on the computer ha ha ha). I have found that it's very different... but I sincerely believe I'm up to the challenge. I've dedicated the entire summer to nothing else but this. It's very hard to turn down a giant leap... I believe my show is fine. I just need some help with getting people there in a tourist town.

But again... I sincerely appreciate you all.
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