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Ken Northridge
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There are many advantages to booking yourself and not having to go through an agent. It is of course, my preferred method of being booked. Still, looking back I can remember some pretty cool gigs that I would not have gotten without an agent. So, I’ll continue to focus on booking myself but I will always keep my ears open for a win/win situation with a 3rd party.
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
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Dannydoyle
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Fact is that people who have a tough time working with others, have a tough time working with others in ANY capacity. That is if they are blowhards on the internet, it usually translates into serious trouble working with agents. Pretty simple.

Sure booking yourself works. But it is a TON of work if it is done right. Nothing wrong with it. But if you are not a toxic personality, if you can get along and let people do their job why not?

Fact is that GOOD agents have spent as much time learning their job, and all that goes with it, as performers have learning their craft/art. It is that simple. If you work with agents who do not fall into this category, that is your own fault and nobody else. You have to as Curtis said or implied work with the right people.

Reach a certain point and these people WANT to work with you and it becomes an even trade.

I do not think using a broad brush to paint all people with is a good thing in general. Curtis makes some wonderful observations here and are worth reading again. Seriously. Find the ones you want to work with! How much more simple can that be put? Curtis.... Bravo brother!
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Bazinga
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I have two experiences with two agents.

One called me from Nashville, TN. He said he was coming all the way to Armpit, PA to rent a banquet room at the Holiday Inn for a musical showcase. He wanted me to sell 100 tickets to my friends and neighbors at $35 each. The show would be recorded and "shopped" to record execs, TV producers, club owners, etc. all around Nashville. I turned him down but I went to the showcase. My name was on the list of performers but I didn't perform. I watched the show then listened to what the performers where told. By the way, no one sold 100 tickets. There was about 40 people total in the audience and they were mostly the performers and a few friends and family. After the show the performers were all "qualified" to be signed to the agency. For $1,000 each they would get photos, recorded demos, and be shopped to the above people in the music biz. For each time they got hired they would get 40% after expenses which were to be fronted by the agency. Two acts signed contracts. I never heard anything about them again, and that was 23 years ago.

The other agent is a friend of mine and my experience with him was after he sold his agency. He attended some of my public gigs when I was in his hometown. He gave me some career advice and general motivational talk which always made me feel more energized about what I was doing and where I was headed. He booked me for a gig (he opened for me - he was a magician. I did live music.) for 33% more than my usual fee. I don't know what he got paid and didn't care. He also introduced me to people who were in positions to, and a few did, hire me for future gigs. I sent a few gigs his way too.

Those are my only two experiences, and I'm sure they are NOT typical of the way agents work. Although I would think the good agents act more like the second example. But it shows how wide-ranging a person's experience could go.

I've also met several other agents, mangers, producers, and such in my years and can say that although most of them are good guys, and some are friends, I prefer to handle my own affairs. They all understand and it doesn't effect our friendships at all. In fact, the type of gigs I do now are ones that they handle anyway.

There are many ways to make a salad.
Bazinga!
Mindpro
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These examples were not agents in the traditional sense. The first was a promoter event, similar to a modeling scam, but certainly not how standard agents or agencies operate.

Their seems to be much confusion to what actual agents do and should be expected. I also think you need to be an agent-friendly act, which by all accounts here bishthemagish is not. No offense, but simply base don your perspectives and experiences. I do think you are lumping all agents into the stereotype you seem to have about them.

Many misperceptions about agents and agencies, their expectations and how they operate.
Dannydoyle
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First one was a scam. I doubt they EVER got anyone work. The whole point was to sepporate you from as much money as you might have been dumb enough to part with. Fortunately for you that number was aparantly zero. They prey on people with dreams and aspirations much the same way those poetry books charge you money to be in them and want you to sell the books to your friends and so on. EVERY artistic category has these predators. It is sad.

Agents can not be lumped in as many have said, to one specific group. All are individuals. If you try to deal with them all the same, much like people you will run into trouble.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Starrpower
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I book most of my own shows. On occasion, I get calls from agents. I know one agent (whom has also become a friend over the years) who books most of my shows for a specific type of venue, although this is more because he gets a lot of requests and not because of any exclusivity agreement between us.

I'll take work whereever I can find it: through referrals, through my own hard work, and through agents. I always assumed that is how most small-time acts do it.
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2013-12-17 20:42, MAV wrote:
Personally I can't imagine using an agent because there is not one of them that will ever work harder than me for bookings.



I agree. Oh, Boy I agree.

Agents, bookers, party planners work with a list of magicians. And from my own experience and in my opinion many of them if not most of the one's I have worked with will book a magician that is just skilled enough to do the job because they can make the most money that way.

Just for this I will give an example, if a client calls and they want a magician or a hypnotist. Say they have a ten bucks the booker will call down his list and book the cheapest. Say a magician that charges a dollar - now besides getting the nine dollars out of the ten - I have been charged ten percent as well.

Then on top of it I have worked bookings where an agent charged a travel fee on top of the fee for the show - a travel fee for the act and never told me - and just kept it.

I have to say most of these guys I have outlasted. And because I do not work with agents anymore I have less problems. Why be part of a list when if you book yourself you are booking a "one and only"!

Just a few thoughts and opinion.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
Dannydoyle
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You are supposed to reach a point in your career where legitimate agents start to call.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
bishthemagish
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Well if that is your cup of tea. Good luck with that. I have no problem with people becoming part of an agents list.

I think that I am the oldest magician and the one that has been performing shows for money the longest that has been posting in this thread.

So, if I may add...

Here is a point that some may not have picked up on. I represent a family business that goes back two generations. I don't book myself as an act - I have four shows that have more than 30 years of success. I am a show owner. I have yet to meet a so called "legitimate agent" that works at my high ambition and my high standards.

So I continue to make my own luck - and I found out that the harder I worked the luckier I got. And I continue to book myself.

Cheers!
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
Close.Up.Dave
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Being the oldest & second generation doesn't mean anything other than you are older & second generation. If your ambition is to be a second generation that still books solely by yourself, then so be it. But let's not pretend that you not working with a good agency makes all agencies unqualified to serve the interests of clients. I have a couple of friends whose careers blew up within the last couple of years thanks to working with a strong agency (meaning they have huge demand from repeat clients). The agent I work with on occasion is one of the smaller ones, but he has a huge drive to use acts that satisfy his clients needs.

By all means don't get an agent. It works for you. And to be honest, you're probably not on the radar of the good agencies because if the style you prefer to work. But that is much different than agencies not being good people to work with.
magicofCurtis
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Bishthemagish,

Simple solution for you...
Don't work with agents.
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2013-12-26 09:51, Close.Up.Dave wrote:
Being the oldest & second generation doesn't mean anything other than you are older & second generation.



Well, in my opinion it does. And you left out the part where I said I most likely have been performing magic for money longer than most of the people that have been posting in this thread. Older, longer and second generation all add up to experience. And in my opinion that is the final asset that I bring to the table when I book a show.

You may not think that "experience" is important.

Some agents may not think or care about experience for performers is important.

But I do and it is part of how I price myself in the markets that I go after.

Quote:
On 2013-12-26 09:51, Close.Up.Dave wrote:

If your ambition is to be a second generation that still books solely by yourself, then so be it.




My ambition was never to be a second generation magician. However my ambition was to become the best performing magician and hypnotist (stage and close up magician) that I could be. And by doing that I would carry on my family name and my family reputation into the 21 century. And I have more that surpassed that goal. However - I tend not to have business relationships that - I see drag me down.


Quote:
On 2013-12-26 09:51, Close.Up.Dave wrote:
But let's not pretend that you not working with a good agency makes all agencies unqualified to serve the interests of clients. I have a couple of friends whose careers blew up within the last couple of years thanks to working with a strong agency (meaning they have huge demand from repeat clients). The agent I work with on occasion is one of the smaller ones, but he has a huge drive to use acts that satisfy his clients needs.



Who is pretending?

By the way I do not just perform close up magic walk around. I perform a formal close up show that includes my street con routines, cups and balls, and my gambling expo act that includes my punch deal (all these routines I published in books and self produced DVD's on the technique).

I also do a full evening magic show with Illusions.

And a comedy stage hypnotic show.

Quote:
On 2013-12-26 09:51, Close.Up.Dave wrote:
By all means don't get an agent. It works for you.

Thanks I will.

Quote:
On 2013-12-26 09:51, Close.Up.Dave wrote:
And to be honest, you're probably not on the radar of the good agencies because if the style you prefer to work. But that is much different than agencies not being good people to work with.


How would you know if I am - or not on the radar of what you might call a "good agent"?


Quote:
On 2013-12-26 09:51, Close.Up.Dave wrote:
But that is much different than agencies not being good people to work with.


I see you most likely "missed the point".

Agents are in business to make money. They have their own rules and their own ways of doing business. Of these rules I make no right or wrong judgement. I just accept that they have their rules and their way of doing business. Now what makes me user- friendly to every agent I have done business with is that I accept and work with whatever rules they have - without complaint to them - if I am doing business with any agent.

That is being professional.

But at this point in my life I choose to book myself.

I hope this clears up a few things.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
Mindpro
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Quote:
On 2013-12-26 09:06, bishthemagish wrote:
Here is a point that some may not have picked up on. I represent a family business that goes back two generations. I don't book myself as an act - I have four shows that have more than 30 years of success. I am a show owner. I have yet to meet a so called "legitimate agent" that works at my high ambition and my high standards.


Bish makes a great point here with his perspective of being a "show owner." To a large degree I agree with this perspective. I too have several "shows" that my business owns and operates. Several that I've even licensed to others. Some are somewhat related to each other, while others seem to have nothing to do with the others. They are the products of my business.

That then brings to mind perspective and what you choose to do with these "products" of your business.

I can usually tell within the first two minutes of meeting someone, talking to them on the phone, seeing an act or viewing a demo or web site, or even exchanging emails, posts, or PMs on a forum such as this, what kind of performer they are, what level they are at and how they run their performance and/or business. I can also usually tell what they need or are missing. From my agencies perspectives, I can also tell immediately if they would be a great match for us.

It all depends on how you are positioned or are perceived, which I believe plays a big part in our success on many levels. In Bish's case he could be positioned as an agents "dream" if his shows are commercial, mass-appeal shows, he had the desired attitudes and perspective which may lead to a great deal of work with an agent(s). However, his perspective of agents and agencies, once understood, immediately take him off of the table to them even if they were interested.

I've experienced the same thing, sort of, in my performing business. Because of the different shows I offer and the differences and variety, I am an ideal candidate to work cruise ships. I am very "agent-friendly" and my offerings are directly in line with cruise lines entertainment and entertainment offerings. But, there's only one problem. I really don't care for the cruise ship life, and secondly, it greatly conflicts with the other performance markets I've chosen to specialize in. I'm flattered that two or three of these agencies continue to call, as it is just like with most agencies - once they find the acts that work well for them, are marketable to them, are what their clients are seeking, and that share the same vision with each other, that's who they want to work with the most. It's simply a choice we as professionals have to make about what is best of us personally and our business.

My point is Bish shouldn't work for agencies, based on his views and perspectives expressed which wouldn't be a good match for either of them. Agents and agencies are terribly misunderstood by many performers, who typically have a skewed perspective and understanding of them in the first place. If this understanding is not proper or complete, there is virtually no way you can proceed from this skewed or limited perspective and expect to really have any kind of success with agents. The problem is it's typically the artist or performer that is the problem, not the agent(s).
Dannydoyle
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A good agent makes you more money than you would get on your own. It is that simple.

As for the second generation bs big deal. All it did is give a head start that was squandered. Not all performers have that advantage. By all means use what advantage you have. But don't act like it is not an advantage.

Obviously you don't work well with agents. Many have standards that are too high for you. Many have standards that are below those you would choose to work with.

In the end it is about them doing their job right. Good representation gets you into places you would not be able to access or money that is better than you would get normally.

It is a simple formula.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Dynamike
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Well I can't wait until a good agent exist.
Mindpro
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There are many good agents that do exist. They are usually kept quiet as others don't care to share them. Simply put most performers aren't agent-ready or as Danny has said before they would find you. Of all of the agencies I've ever worked with or have been represented by, they all found me.

Also submitting to an agency is an art. The problem is most performers approach this conventionally like they approach normal business, not entertainment business (two different things).
Dannydoyle
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Perhaps is not the agent that is the problem.

Mike think about it for a second. Primarily you do children's shows right? Well for an agent to do proper marketing and really get you lots of opportunities that is significant cost. So to get his money back he needs to be able to charge probably more than the average library can afford. It would likely price you out of the market totally.

With birthday parties it is sort of the same formula only worse because the kids outgrow the idea of birthday party magicians. So the agent has a hard time keeping long term relationships. Client acquisition is quite costly. Again not enough room to make money.

Now look at some college work or cruise ships or comedy clubs. Many have relationships with specific agents and the only way in is through that door. Often fairs work this way as well. The relationships some agents have with clients is why they get paid. Often they have a better bargaining position than you would with a client so you end up with more money.

Just because at your level the agents might not be a great option does not mean they are all bad. It says most e about you than agents when you spout off as you do about them.

I have had bad experiences with them. I have been a bad experience for some! But to try not o paint them all with the same brush is just crazy.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2013-12-26 13:01, Dannydoyle wrote:
A good agent makes you more money than you would get on your own. It is that simple.

That is the Theory isn't it?
Quote:
On 2013-12-26 13:01, Dannydoyle wrote:
As for the second generation bs big deal. All it did is give a head start that was squandered. Not all performers have that advantage. By all means use what advantage you have. But don't act like it is not an advantage.

Being a second generation magician in the way I book myself IS a big deal. It shows that I have 2 generations of experience. Two generations of a family history in magic and two generations of having a family history in show business. It is in my opinion important to have his history track record - of my dads history of performing in such night clubs as Billy Roses diamond horseshoe as it is for me to have performed at the Magic Castle, and performed hypnotism in the Duck room for more than a month.

I don't consider it an advantage - it is "family history".

Like a performing family circus act that passes through generations.
Quote:
On 2013-12-26 13:01, Dannydoyle wrote:
Obviously you don't work well with agents.

I see that your trying to start some kind of a fight again by this above. Making speculations? I have ALWAYS worked well with agents.


Quote:
On 2013-12-26 13:01, Dannydoyle wrote:

Many have standards that are too high for you.

Again as I see this above I think that your trying to start some kind of a fight. Again I guess I will have to take the high road. I don't make such statements and do personal attacks, or write this kid of BS. As to make it personal.

My suggestion is to grow up!

Quote:
On 2013-12-26 13:01, Dannydoyle wrote:

In the end it is about them doing their job right. Good representation gets you into places you would not be able to access or money that is better than you would get normally.

It is a simple formula.


On this I agree.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
Mindpro
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Much depends on your performance markets (no geographically but performance). As I've stated before there are professional markets and consumer markets. For the most part, consumer markets do not offer agents as much opportunity as professional markets. That's why kids magicians, storytellers, puppeteers, and other low-ranged performers have trouble with agencies. The agencies are not interested in the library, kids party or school markets as they see little opportunity for decent profitability and long-term relationships.

Professional markets like larger acts at festivals (not kids or strolling performers), the college market, cruise markets and corporate markets offer many more opportunities on the levels most important to the agencies. Acts are a dime a dozen, it's the markets and clients that is a major investment for agencies.

It's about business, profitability, relationships and growth and forward movement. I guess this is why some of the strolling and kid level entertainers seem to have such problems with agencies and marketing, because just due to the nature of these markets, you are constantly chasing the next booking. There are few long-term relationships worth thousands to tens of thousands of dollars per year. The best you can hope for is some return bookings and maybe a string of bookings (such as with libraries), but they are still relatively low paying and limited.
charliecheckers
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The agents I have worked for hired me to perform at high end private clubs in my area. They probably book high end entertainment for these clubs and the need for a kids entertainer comes along a few times a year. The fee the agents get from my booking is probably just covering their expenses and is probably something they do as a service for their client, rather than a source of income. Never the less, it is a good booking for me.
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