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Cliffg37
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Long Beach, CA
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Anyone have any suggestions for me on this?

Tomorrow night I am addressing the baord of directors of a local small community theater. (120 seat or so)

They told me I can have ten minutes to talk to them and sell them on my doing a show at their theater. I don't want to do magic for them, as I think that would take up too much time. Oh, a quick opener maybe. Anyone done this and have experience in selling yourself to a professional community theater?

Thanks.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
JoshLondonMagic
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Perhaps you should have prepared a little better. It amazes me how people get an opportunity and have no game plan whatsoever.

Do you even have a show that is sufficient for a 120 seat theater? How will you market it? How much lead time will you need? These are all questions they will ask and you should have worked out the answers by now.

This is like the kid who does the science project the night before it's due and wonder why he got a D.

Josh
Josh
Mindpro
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Eternal Order
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Don't perform any magic, this is a business meeting not an audition. Present quickly and accurately your plan and how it benefits them fiscally and otherwise. Detail the reasons why this is a good idea and in their best interest. Have numbers to show and your plan covering all aspects from marketing and advertising to targets and demographics. What you have to offer and how it is unique from any other magic show they could have.

Include staffing, ticketing and clerical needs and expectations involved. Cover any guarantees you are making, production requirements and crew specs.

Detail the numbers and exactly what they can make, what they must risk, any expense involved and how you plan to execute each of these aspects. Also detail the responsibilities of both parties to offer a clear understanding and representation to make sure you are both on the same page from the very beginning.

This will fill your ten minutes but also be sure to address their questions and concerns directly. Be direct and fluent. Good luck!
Cliffg37
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Gee Josh, as a science teacher (and I am) I sure resent that analogy.

I have done shows in 100 seat auditoriums, 200 seat theaters, 250 seat theaters, and once, a 400 seat theater. Yes I have the show. This is not what I was asking about. The show is ready to go. Perhaps demonstrating illusions in a boardroom might not be the way to go.

I have the answers to the questions you posed. They are certainly good questions. again, that was not what I was asking.

FOr those that missed it, I am wondering what best to talk about with the board of directors.

Anyone else have a thought?
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
Cliffg37
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Thank you Mindpro,

What you gave me was just what the doctor ordered. Exactly what I needed to know. I am a really good off the cuff speaker, but after reading your response, I will go in armed with a a few index cards notes on which I will have answers to the points you have made. I will print up a proposed budget sheet, and let them have copies.

Again, you have my thanks!
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
JoshLondonMagic
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I think you missed my point, but I wish you luck.
Josh
Dannydoyle
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You are looking for sales advice?

I do not know enough about your style and the theater to really help you much. Yes preparing more would have been a help, but since that ship sailed, we deal with it as it is now.

I mean I agree doing small scale magic to sell an illusion show might not be a great idea. What exactly are you looking for in the way of advice? Advice on your pitch? Obviously your show is ready.

I would advise the following. Let them see your passion. Let them experience the feelings you have about performance. Communicate your passion and get them caught up in it.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
charliecheckers
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Unless you have a following and are willing to take most/all of the risk, I agree with Josh's point. Coming here one day prior to your meeting and providing little detail and asking a very broad question does seem like someone who does not understand the task at hand. Rather than sell them on the idea tomorrow, I would go there and ask them what they have observed from successful people who have performed there (in terms of the business end) and then construct a presentation that incorporates those ideas. This shows them you understand the challenges of putting this type of performance together and that you are not just speaking off the cuff.
dearwiseone
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Portland, OR
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Quote:
On Mar 4, 2014, Cliffg37 wrote:

I have done shows in 100 seat auditoriums, 200 seat theaters, 250 seat theaters, and once, a 400 seat theater.



How did you get those shows? I'd recommend doing the same thing as you did to get those.

Josh's comment was right on. I understand how you could be offended, but I think he's right on. Next time, prepare sooner!

Danny's advice is spot on as well. The only thing I would add is to keep in mind the benefits your show will bring to the theater. The theater wants to know "What's in it for us?"

Best Wishes,
Kevin
magicofCurtis
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Quote:
On Mar 4, 2014, Mindpro wrote:
Don't perform any magic, this is a business meeting not an audition. Present quickly and accurately your plan and how it benefits them fiscally and otherwise. Detail the reasons why this is a good idea and in their best interest. Have numbers to show and your plan covering all aspects from marketing and advertising to targets and demographics. What you have to offer and how it is unique from any other magic show they could have.

Include staffing, ticketing and clerical needs and expectations involved. Cover any guarantees you are making, production requirements and crew specs.

Detail the numbers and exactly what they can make, what they must risk, any expense involved and how you plan to execute each of these aspects. Also detail the responsibilities of both parties to offer a clear understanding and representation to make sure you are both on the same page from the very beginning.

This will fill your ten minutes but also be sure to address their questions and concerns directly. Be direct and fluent. Good luck!


Totally agree, but what I usually do in business meetings similar to this, that I place a deck of cards in front of me or in the middle of the table. Conduct the meeting and wait for someone to ask about the cards or at the end say something like; The entire time there has been a deck of cards in front of us, I have not touched them since I placed them on the table. Sir, can you name a value in a deck of cards, now madam can you name a suit- hearts, kings, queens -etc. Before I came in I turned one card upside down, then pick up a the deck of cards -amazing it is their card. This always blows them away, simple, quick and fast!

(invisible cards)
Cliffg37
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Very cool Curtis
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
socalmagic
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In selling yourself to a theater, the biggest thing is... Can you put butts in seats? You have worked facilities with capaicities, of 100, 150, 250, and 400, but the bigger question is did you fill them, and was your promotional campaign the reason why you sold-out? That's what theater managers care about. You need to show them your plan for doing so.

I seem to remember you posting a few years ago that you had a problem filling a local school auditorium with a relatively small facility. I'm not sure if you have resolved that problem, but if you are unable to sell-out a small school auditorium with a built in audience comprised of families that are an "easy sell" on a magic show, then you are going to have much more trouble filling a community theater.
dave_matkin
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How did it go Cliff?

Did they choose the 8 of hearts?

Did you get a slot in the theatre schedule to do your show?

Can I ask were you resentful of JoshLondonMagic's analogy because he used the science teacher or was it the point of the analogy that you resented? Would you have been ok if he had used an art project instead? Although at least in art you can do the project the night before it's due just by throwing some paint on a piece of paper from 5 foot away whilst standing on your head, call it "a study in topsy turvy land" and it's a 'master piece' (can you tell I'm not an artist as such?).
dave_matkin
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Quote:
On Mar 5, 2014, magicofCurtis wrote:
Quote:
On Mar 4, 2014, Mindpro wrote:
Don't perform any magic, this is a business meeting not an audition. Present quickly and accurately your plan and how it benefits them fiscally and otherwise. Detail the reasons why this is a good idea and in their best interest. Have numbers to show and your plan covering all aspects from marketing and advertising to targets and demographics. What you have to offer and how it is unique from any other magic show they could have.

Include staffing, ticketing and clerical needs and expectations involved. Cover any guarantees you are making, production requirements and crew specs.

Detail the numbers and exactly what they can make, what they must risk, any expense involved and how you plan to execute each of these aspects. Also detail the responsibilities of both parties to offer a clear understanding and representation to make sure you are both on the same page from the very beginning.

This will fill your ten minutes but also be sure to address their questions and concerns directly. Be direct and fluent. Good luck!


Totally agree, but what I usually do in business meetings similar to this, that I place a deck of cards in front of me or in the middle of the table. Conduct the meeting and wait for someone to ask about the cards or at the end say something like; The entire time there has been a deck of cards in front of us, I have not touched them since I placed them on the table. Sir, can you name a value in a deck of cards, now madam can you name a suit- hearts, kings, queens -etc. Before I came in I turned one card upside down, then pick up a the deck of cards -amazing it is their card. This always blows them away, simple, quick and fast!

(invisible cards)


If they are invisible how will they see them?
augiemagic
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Overland Park, KS
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Good luck! Hope it all worked out for you. Even if it didn't, you probably learned a lot for the next time, and the time after that.
dave_matkin
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4 days later and no feedback?

Come on we wants to know!
Cliffg37
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You want feedback? OK, you can have feedback. The answer is, I don't know. I do know that my presnetation went extremely well. There were lots of smiles. (the good kind) There were excellent and appropriate questions when I was done, and I think they want my show. But I don't count chickens till they hatch. The 15 people I spoke in front of have three basic options. contact me soon to set up a show. Contact me later to set up a show. Do not contact me at all. I will send a follow up e-mail to the chair of the board who handed me his card as I was leaving and invited me to "Keep in touch." Over all it sounded positive. Since they control the time frame, it is also possible I got tabled to be discussed next month. I was warned that they had a full agenda and so that is a possibility.

To those of you who told me I was starting too late. You do not know me. My rpesentation was ready to go with hand outs and following the excellent advice that Mindpro gave me, hours before I was actully there. If I thought they had a large screen tv in the room (They did not) there would have been a power point presentation too. Getting the presentation ready on time was no big deal.

When I ask for advice, and what you think of is "Sorry Charlie, you are too late." may I respectfully ask that you not post? Think about it. Of what value was that to me? Was it to make me nervous and scared? I did not take it that way, but to some it could have. Was it to make yourself feel better? I can't imagine how that would have workled, but I guess it is possible. Maybe you wanted me to do better next time? That is possible and appreciated, but it wasn't what I asked for. Again, Mindpro gave me not only what I asked for, but also what I needed. Big thank you to him.

I guess you all brought what you thought was helpful. I don't feel any of you to be malicious, and if I sound angry, I apologize. I am not angry. I think what I felt was more hurt, that I asked for help and was put down. Life is the school of hard knocks; true enough. But I love the Café and really do think of it as magicians helping magicians.

I have been a high school teacher for over twenty years. On a daily basis I prepare presentations that must reach and teach young people, many of whom would rather tune-out or be somewhere else. Most new teachers burn out after two or three years of this. I have that skill; to regularly reach and teach the young. Am I perfect? Nope... far from. But I do a good job and am esteemed by my students, peers and administrators. The point is that for me to prepare a good presentation in a short amount of time is not hard. If it is hard for you, ok, I don't need to judge you. Please don't judge me. There is one person whom I shall not name, here at the Café, who has seen me do a professional presentation. Dave, a fellow teacher, probably knows what I am talking about too.

Socal... Your point about past dificulties in filling seats is very well taken. The difference between the two venues is that in the case of the one you were talking about from a couple of years back, I was four-walling. We all know what that means. It means that the venue has little investment in helping with publicity etc. In this case I am looking to be "hired" by the theater, and they want the seats filled very badly. They will use the publicity machine they already have built up. Of course, I will help too, and that was one of my selling points.

Have a good day all.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
TomBoleware
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Cliff, I had confidence in you all along, it was easy for me to see that you weren't just starting out. But you right, many do jump the gun and say, wait sixteen more years before doing anything. Smile I don't understand myself sometimes, so don't feel hurt or alone. Besides, you already know that magicians are strange people. Smile

Good luck with it and do keep us posted.


Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
Bazinga
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Congratulations Cliff. There are three community theaters in the three closest towns to me. I know they were all booked for 2014 by September. They usually do it that way. But they also never throw anything away from performer contacts. So as the guy said, stay in touch.
charliecheckers
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Sounds like it was an interesting process. What did you learn from your experience? Would you consider approaching other smalltheaters to pursue such events?
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