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Profile of jtmorris
Hi all,
So I'm a part time professional magician in my area, and I've been asked to consult on a theater show at one of our local Universities. They need help with two simple effects (levitation of a small doll and moving a chair-both fairly easy) however what should I charge - having never consulted before?

As background, I've been doing shows since 2002, and I do mostly corporate work. I have an education degree in theatre, and I direct a small play myself every November.

I'm find out more about what he is looking for, but is this a charge by the hour sort of thing or a lump sum for the project? And then how much would you charge for each of these scenarios? I know that markets are different and project involvement differs, but I'm just curious about a starting point or range to begin from. Have you consulted? What did you charge your first time?
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Jesse Lewis
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Profile of Jesse Lewis
Hey JTmorris

It really depends what you want to charge but I have a thought for you, if this is a local theater show and you are wanting to get in with them to perform as well, why not do it for trade of the theater for a night? then put on a show and you keep the profits?

It could be lucarative for you if you promote properly and is an in to get great footage and publicity. Considering your area you should be able to bring in a decent crowd with some good promotion.

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Profile of Mindpro
...or you could just go for the easier guaranteed amount.
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Inner circle
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Profile of jlibby
I have never gotten paid to consult on magic for a show. The community theatres around here simply don't have the budget for it. I have loaned props and shown actors how to use them correctly. Occasionally, the theatre will spring for a special prop. I ususally get a couple of tickets for the show, which is something.

That said, it can be a good credit. If this theatre has a budget for a consultant, they are probably going to want a lump-sum proposal for the job; you could include some bartering like tickets and a free rental of the space, for instance. Good luck! Keep us posted.

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Profile of Eldon
I have done a lot of consulting and prop building for theater groups. I would charge a flat fee for each project. If you have to provide a prop call it a rental but charge enough money to cover the cost if you don't get it back. Figure your time for teaching them how to use it on the high side but at a rate you think is fair.
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Profile of amakar
Hi JT -

The actual dollar amount is irrlevant because when you start consulting (regardless of industry), you want to understand the scope of work.
I'm a project manager by profession so I always look at the scope of work.

How long will it take you to develop each effect?
How many hours do you need to be on stage and preparing for rehearsals?
How many hours do you need to spend training the staff?
Are there any hardware or production costs that you need to incurr?

Allocate an hourly rate to all those hours and then adjust the final price for a 20% profit.

Once you have a model in place, you can apply this to other projects and price for the perceived value than just the work.
A problem you may find is the client doesn't have the budget to meet your price so you'll want to find out if they have some money set aside for the consulting.

Hope that helps.

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