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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Emailing parents a list of tips for good show (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

danfreed
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Inner circle
West Chester PA
1178 Posts

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How many of you email a list or description of how you want the birthday shows to be set-up? I do, it has suggestions for making the show as good as possible, such as not serving food during the show, and also talks about how early I arrive for set-up, it asks for a space in the driveway so I don't have to lug my stuff too far, asks them to keep parents quiet, etc., etc. I find that it really helps at least half the time. I email it a day or two before the party unless I forget. Do you guys do that, why or why not, and what has been your success rate with that?
drewer
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NoVa
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I do!

In fact, I list it publicly on my website http://www.drewblueshoes.com/party-tips (FYI I've read somewhere that a checklist is psychologically satisfying and people are more likely to follow tips in this format).

I send them that link once the booking is finalized and again when confirming the day before the show. I also include the most important info in the text of the email in case parents "forget" to open the link.

I believe that the conditions of the show are suuuuper important to the overall show's success. Parents have more to do with the show's success than they may think - so informing your customers is all-important!

Great question Dan!

Thanks, Drew
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
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I usually discussed most of these things with the client as the show was being booked, but I rarely asked for anything. Regarding parking, I generally told them I drive a large van, and just needed to know if there was adequate parking for a large vehicle. Often, they might offer to pull into the drive, but I've found that late arrivals to a party have a habit of boxing you in making the departure a real pain. Lugging my props should not be their concern (IMO). That's part of what you are being paid for.

Although not a kid show, I once worked a gig with a fairly well-known magician. I was doing close-up and he had a stage show, albeit with minimal props. I saw him arrive and then get into a heated discussion with the client over his parking space, spouting off about contractual obligations. It was rather embarrassing to watch.

If I feared the worst, I sometimes made a point of arriving early enough to snag a prime parking space... one that afforded both an easy load-in and easy drive off. (Read below for how I timed the show to see that I was simply getting there just ahead of most of the guests.)

Regarding food... this also happens when I "help them" decide the start time for the show. I always recommended that the show begin 30 minutes after the start time of the party. This allowed late stragglers to get there, and for the others to situate, acclimate, and settle in. Then I would say, "When the show is over, I will hand them directly to you so you can feed them, or serve cake, etc."

Sometimes, I might jokingly add, "That will let me give them a good show before they get into the red Kool-Aid!" It usually got a empathetic laugh and gave them a big hint at the same time. It worked more often than not, and it never came off sounding like a list of demands.

My goal was to make their job as easy and pressure free, as possible. But, I've only been doing kid shows for 40 years, so maybe I don't know. Smile
~michael baker
The Magic Company
danfreed
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Inner circle
West Chester PA
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Good list Drew, it was polite but gets your points accross.
Yeah, I don't make my email into requirements, just suggestions to help make the show better, and gentle polite requests. The parking thing has more to do with time than having to schlep heavy stuff, but since I've been mentioning the parking thing recently, Ive usually have parents offer to help me carry my 3 boxes (more than they used to), and sometimes I let them. Not because I expect it, but because sometimes I'm in a hurry even though I try to plan things with enough time, and because sometimes it's sort of impolite or awkward to turn down help when they really seem like they want to help. I don't like getting boxed in with parking, but if it's the last gig of the day it's not as much of an issue to get boxed in or if I can park on the end of the driveway without being a space hog, then I tend to do it. Let's not get into the pack big/small discussion!
Dynamike
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Eternal Order
FullTimer
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A lot of times parents ask me in advance how much space will I need. I always tell them I will decide once I get there since I am flexible selecting an area.
rossmacrae
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Arlington, Virginia
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Does this help? I make it easy to find plus I include the link in a confirming letter.

http://www.goodmagic.com/magician/planner.htm
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
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Ross, your tip sheet is VERY good!

Dan, hopefully you didn't take my other post as an attack in regard to the parking issue. It was one of the three topics you named, so I addressed all of them. As indicated in the incident I related, parking was much on my mind, because of the ugliness I saw that day.

When I mentioned that I sometimes inquire about adequate parking (because of my large van), this sometimes will bring offers, perhaps prompted, but otherwise unsolicited, to park in the drive (or some specially designated spot). My standard birthday party show fits into a single bag, so I only have that and a fold-up table. A reasonable walk to the door is par for the course.

My larger kid show is generally carried in on a hand-truck (something I'd never drag into someone's home). In those cases, access is concern. I try to find out about stairs, narrow doorways and halls, big hills, and whether the route from vehicle to stage is paved (driveway/sidewalk, etc.), or not (over a lawn, deep gravel or sand, into a campsite, etc.). I've worked in places that took me longer to load in than it did to do the actual show. Some of them have been pretty horrible.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
noland
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Quote:
On Feb 12, 2016, danfreed wrote:
How many of you email a list or description of how you want the birthday shows to be set-up? I do, it has suggestions for making the show as good as possible, such as not serving food during the show, and also talks about how early I arrive for set-up, it asks for a space in the driveway so I don't have to lug my stuff too far, asks them to keep parents quiet, etc., etc. I find that it really helps at least half the time. I email it a day or two before the party unless I forget. Do you guys do that, why or why not, and what has been your success rate with that?


I go over this kind of information verbally when I'm booking the show (after a client has indicated the client is booking me), and then include the same information as part of my confirmation letter. I find it helps in the case of cooperative parents. Some parents have their own, differing views, and then I don't always get full cooperation.
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
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Quote:
On Feb 14, 2016, noland wrote:
Some parents have their own, differing views, and then I don't always get full cooperation.


This can be true with booking shows in a more general sense, beyond just birthday parties. Some folks really have no idea how to host an event, although they fancy themselves competent party planners. Their "ideas" are often the result of inexperience, and they just need the assistance that we can offer. It's what we do every day. The worst of these though, are destined to become epic failures. None of us wants to be part of a badly coordinated event. It certainly doesn't help advance our own businesses.

It always pays to "guide" the client into the best show format, even if it conflicts heavily with what they have in mind. We know our shows better than they do, and helping them in this regard gives them the best show possible (why would we want to do any less?). But, it also makes our jobs easier in most cases. We do a better show, so it's good for the client, good for the guests, and good for us. Win-win-win!

Alas, some people are permanently deaf to good advice, in which case you cross your fingers and forge ahead. Smile
~michael baker
The Magic Company
MichaelDouglas
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Portland, Oregon
767 Posts

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When I book my show with ShowBizCRM, it has an automatic workflow that sends them an email 3 days before the show. I tell them on the phone when booking it that it will be coming with tips to help make the show as fun as possible for the kids. The subject is "How To Get The Most Enjoyment From Your Upcoming Magic Show ". The tips I include were gleaned from many of the posts shared by my Magic Café colleagues. Thanks everyone. I'm including the text below in case it can help someone.


Hi $contact_first_name,

I'm looking forward to making your event one that you, your child and their guests will never forget. This email confirms that I'll be there on $gig_date_closed arriving up to 30 minutes early to set up with the show starting promply at $gig_show_time.

Here are a few little points I send out to help make things flow as smoothly as possible:

For all of the children to get the most enjoyment from the show, it is best for the parents to stay for and participate in the show. When parents need to have a conversation, using a separate room is less distracting for the kids. A few small whispers can make a lot of noise.

The ideal seating arrangement to minimize distractions for the kids is for them to sit on the floor in front of where the stage area will be created when I arrive. So, adding chairs for the kids is discouraged.

Avoid having toys in the area where the show will be. If you give the young party-goers magic hats or wands, please delay that until after the show. This all helps to reduce distractions for them.

Avoid serving the kids food or drinks during the show so they can A) prevent choking...laughter and eating isn't safe for kids B) keep your floor clean, and C) focus and have the most fun.

It is very helpful to have an electrical outlet near where the stage area will be established.

Having a space for me to drive as close to your door as reasonably possible makes it easier to unload and reload the equipment and props for the show.

Have your camera/phone and fresh/charged batteries ready to capture some really fun moments.

Some people ask me about the room set-up. To help with those questions I've attached a file showing a typical room layout for the magic show. Having the children seated on the floor right in front of the "stage" is usually best.

Tying a few balloons to your mailbox will make it easier for me and your guests to find your home. Sometimes house numbers are hard to see from the street.

I can be reached on the day of the show by phone: $business_phone if anything comes up. Plus, I'll call you when I'm on the way.

Thank you, once again, and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Howie Diddot
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San Francisco & Los Angeles California
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I have a confirmation letter which I won't post here because most all of it has already been posted by other members.

I use a rabbit and at times balloons in my show and what I have not seen on here is the waiver that I believe should be a mandatory document for every magician using balloons and an animal.

If you decide to use the waiver, be sure to remove my name and replace it with yours... and of course send me money for it's use.. Smile


Here is the waiver;

Bunnies are a lot of fun at children’s parties and I enjoy performing with my bunny. It is essential to include a release in my confirmation memo to provide my clients full disclosure.

A live rabbit and latex balloons will be incorporated as a part of the magical show, please advise all adults and parents of children attending the show of the balloons and the bunny’s appearing during the routine; to keep it a magical surprise please request that they do not reveal the rabbit’s appearance to the child.

Buzz Lawrence AKA Howie Diddot has disclosed to the person hiring me by advertising on my website, in their memo, or on the telephone about the appearance of a live rabbit at the event and cannot be held responsible for an attendees hypersensitivity reaction due to allergies to the live bunny during the performance; It is the responsibility of the client to inform all adults, and parents of children attending the event of the bunnies appearance and release Buzz Lawrence, from any and all responsibility or liability to any child’s reactions that might be sustained while attending or in any way participating in the party.
0pus
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New Jersey
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I think you folks walk a fine line in making demands on the people hiring you.

For example, I think a parent would welcome suggestions like Ross's ("Birthday Party Planner"). And the points covered in "About the Show" demonstrate how easy it will be with him entertaining.

Other suggestions -- I need preferred parking, don't serve food when I am on, keep parents quiet, no toys in the room. etc., make you sound like prima donnas -- i.e., this is all about me!

Were I the parent receiving one of those lists of demands, I would seriously be thinking about whether I needed/wanted an entertainer at all.

I am reminded of a story told me by a parent: He and his wife had hired an entertainer (I think it was a singer) to entertain at his daughter's party. He had set up a performance space in the playroom. Being a playroom, it also served as storage for toys, which were all packed up and stored neatly on shelves. When the singer saw that the toys were on the shelves, she said that she couldn't perform under those conditions because the toys would be too distracting. The parent's reply: "Maybe you should be more entertaining."

I think you should adopt a business model that is a little easier on the parents and may require more involvement from you. Maybe you should learn to roll with some of these "horrors" or get out of the home entertainment business.
danfreed
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West Chester PA
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You make a good point Opus, there is a fine line, and you don't want to be seen as a diva, but if you don't go too far with it, and make it clear WHY you are making those suggestions (so the show goes really well for the guests and the birthday kid), and frame it as suggestions in a polite way, it shouldn't be an issue. If the show doesn't go well then the entertainer looks bad/mediocre.
penitentialarts
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As a librarian who has hired magicians (and other performers) in the past and a semi-professional storyteller, I would suggest that those of you who do library shows do tip sheets, as well. Since I do some performing on my own, I have always been careful to talk to performers long before the performance day to figure out exactly what they needed to give the best show. I would talk to them about light sources in the performance room, how much foot space we needed to tape off for them, etc. I always help them bring in their equipment, too, if they would like.

I have found, though, that not all librarians understand the importance of such things. They just hire performers and clear out the performance room without any idea of what the performer needs (or the limitations of the space they are providing).
vincentmusician
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Toronto
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Yes. I have performed at Libraries for years and would just like to add a couple of things. I discuss everything with the staff before the show at the Library to make sure everything is in order. However, to other Magicians, make sure that the person you are talking to is actually going to be there when you are doing your show. A couple of times, I get to the Library to find out the person I arranged everything with is on holidays. Also, unless you are familiar with the Library, be flexible enough to be able to adapt your show to the situation. Cheers!
Russo
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822 Posts

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Yes, always be flexible where ever you entertain. I've done Library Shows for about 45 years -often one area very different from the other. I Also suggest a few (lot?) of Story Magic. For instance -"Alice in Wonderland", Die Box,- Hat is where Mad Hatter lives -he steals Rabbets toy, (the die) sitting on top of the Die box (rabbets home), mom told rabbet to put toy away,toy found in Hatters home(hat)Mom again said -put toy away (in Die box) toy is taken again (back,forth,vanish) and found back in Hatters Home/Hat,-"Pet Care" using spot card,-picture of my pet 'spot' and 3 sisters, 4 brothers, his 6 Aunts and 8 Uncles. "3 Pigs" using the 20th Century silks-2 pigs tie tails together and runs into house (Volunteer)- 3rd pig runs into his house (Vanish Bag or box, or?)Wolf (2nd volunteer) rrrrrs at pig in house - pig vanishes, where he go? Into the 2 pigs house (1st Volunteers hand clasp -or a clear tumbler holding the 2 pigs). So many stories available. Not just, I FOOLED YOU -tricks! You can have copies of the "BOOK" displayed.. Have fun Ralph ROUSSEAU(russo)
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