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NateReeves
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Hello,

I am just getting started in becoming a professional, and from what I understand, it would be a good idea to do some charity work. I was wondering how one would go about booking the gig. How do I find the organizations that put on events that would be suitable for walk around magic? And who do I call or talk to that would have the power to book me? I know I'm asking a lot, but I just need a little help getting started.

Thanks in advance
Nate
Mindpro
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Nate, great questions that most of us are faced with at one time or another. First you must ask yourself, are you (your performance) ready for public and paying audiences? Remember, just because you are offering to work the event for free doesn't mean those that are attending are not paying to do so and will have expectations from all involved in an event asking for their money and support.

As you approach the business side of performing always remember to look at and understand the perception and areas of most importance to those booking you - your prospective customers or clients. Theirs is the most important.

Also one things that I feel is a very common mistake many beginning performers regularly do is they create a show then decide to try to find people to book them. While this is one approach, it is always in your best interest to consider other business models and approaches more appealing or to your advantage.

What you should really be seeking is the type of event where there aren't people paying to attend with expectations, but rather events or venues that have little or no expectations and would be more appreciative or inviting of your services and willingness to perform. For example children's charities, children's hospitals or physical recovery or rehabilitation centers, etc.

I'm not sure how old you are but if you are still in school perhaps offer your services to existing school events like an ice cream social, scouting banquet, etc. If you are an adult, checkout local kids or family charities or even contact the local park district and tell what you would like to do and see if they have any upcoming summer events that THEY think you would be a good match for.

Again, this is why I ask who is your audience? Kids? Adults? Families? I have a student of mine (teenager) who asked me the same question recently. I suggested he just go to the local Memorial Day parade, and before it starts as families are lined up along the parade route (maybe an hour before start time) just show up and start working some strolling or close-up magic for those seated along the route. Parades are always great opportunities for showcasing. I coached him on how to properly approach it and more so on what not to do and things to avoid (such as stopping once the parade starts) and he received great feedback, improved confidence and some video footage his mother shot of it as well. They even received two inquiries for paid bookings!

Start to think along the lines of who your performance and material is best suited for (your target audience) and that will help you to narrow it down to more organizations, events and prospects most likely to enjoy your magic. I hope this helps as a start. Best of luck!
Karen Climer
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I agree with Mindpro that you need to be sure your performance level is up to snuff.

I disagree with Mindpro in that you need to seek venues with little or no expectations. First of all, I don't think that exists. People have expectations whether they are paying or not. Plus, just because you have never performed for a paying audience doesn't mean you aren't good enough to do that. We don't know enough about you to determine that. Only you know that.
Also, I don't think you should call children's charities, children's hospitals, etc. unless your goal is to perform for children. What is entertaining to children is very different from what is entertaining to adults. So if your ultimate goal is to be a magician for adults, you should volunteer at charities that would have an adult audience. If your goal is to be a children's magician, then the children's charities and children's hospitals are the way to go.


I would ask the charity if they think you would be a good match, but also know that the answer is likely to be yes, whether you are a good match or not. So you need to evaluate it as well. If an entertainer called one of the large walk-a-thons and wanted to perform, the charity would let you. That is a great venue for certain types of entertainment, but not for others. So listen to the charity, but also evaluate it yourself.

For most charities, I would call and talk to the event coordinator (or similar title). That is the person who is planning the event. That person is who you should talk to.

I like MindPro's parade suggestion. You don't need anyone's permission to do that.

Lastly, be sure you have business cards before you do the volunteering. If the purpose of it is to get paid gigs, you need a card you can hand out. That sounds obvious, but I've seen a lot of people make that mistake.

Good luck.
Keith Raygor
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Nate,
What type of magic do you perform?
Who do YOU view as your ideal audience?

With the answer to those two questions, it'll be much easier to make suggestions that'll get you started.
NateReeves
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Hey thank you guys so much for the help. I guess I should have made it more clear as to what I want to do.

I am an adult looking to perform for other adults. I have been doing close-up magic for 10 years and have quite a bit of performance experience for an amateur (both friends and strangers). I believe my performance skills are good enough for professional work. Here is a video I made back in high school https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66G7gUmV5rk . I have since improved my people skills working retail and also doing stand up comedy at open mics (which went reasonably well).

A problem I'm running into is finding the charities. Is there a website or something similar with a list of charities that hold events?

Also if you guys have any other tips on doing magic professionally feel free to drop them here.

Once again, thank you all for your help. I really appreciate it.
Dannydoyle
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How long ago was high school?
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
NateReeves
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On Aug 1, 2016, Dannydoyle wrote:
How long ago was high school?


The video was from three years ago when I was a senior.
Dannydoyle
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Do you have more recent footage of actual shows?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
NateReeves
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On Aug 1, 2016, Dannydoyle wrote:
Do you have more recent footage of actual shows?


No not yet. I haven't done any actual shows. I would like to, though and that is why I posted this thread.
Mindpro
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So you don't actually have a show, just perform a string of tricks together?
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Aug 1, 2016, NateReeves wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 1, 2016, Dannydoyle wrote:
Do you have more recent footage of actual shows?


No not yet. I haven't done any actual shows. I would like to, though and that is why I posted this thread.


If you don't have an actual show what are you planning on doing?

Just because they are raising money in no
way indicates they don't deserve good entertainment. It is not a way to just gain experience.

You might not be ready. I am not sure.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
NateReeves
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Quote:
On Aug 1, 2016, Mindpro wrote:
So you don't actually have a show, just perform a string of tricks together?


I have three routines each containing three tricks. I thought he meant show as in gig.
charliecheckers
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Quote:
On Aug 1, 2016, Mindpro wrote:
Also one things that I feel is a very common mistake many beginning performers regularly do is they create a show then decide to try to find people to book them. While this is one approach, it is always in your best interest to consider other business models and approaches more appealing or to your advantage.


Nate - I recommend you reread the above quote several times and really think about the advice being offered. Often, I find the best advice given here is not the direct answers, but the answers offered by those with experience and wisdom that lend to deeper thinking.

Quote:
What you should really be seeking is the type of event where there aren't people paying to attend with expectations, but rather events or venues that have little or no expectations and would be more appreciative or inviting of your services and willingness to perform. For example children's charities, children's hospitals or physical recovery or rehabilitation centers, etc.

In your situation, an Assisted Living organization may be a good opportunity. I have performed shows at such places. They are most grateful for the opportunity to see entertainment.
NateReeves
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Quote:
On Aug 1, 2016, Dannydoyle wrote:

If you don't have an actual show what are you planning on doing?

Just because they are raising money in no
way indicates they don't deserve good entertainment. It is not a way to just gain experience.

You might not be ready. I am not sure.


I thought you meant show as in at a gig in a formal setting. I have three shows, each has a theme and contains three tricks.

This thread isn't about my show, though. I've used it and gotten feedback, I believe it's good enough for professional work (however I am always improving it). This thread is about booking charity gigs. You seem like a knowledgeable man and I would love to have your input on the subject.

Quote:
On Aug 1, 2016, charliecheckers wrote:

In your situation, an Assisted Living organization may be a good opportunity. I have performed shows at such places. They are most grateful for the opportunity to see entertainment.


Ah, good idea. What was the setting like if you don't mind me asking?
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Aug 1, 2016, NateReeves wrote:


This is not a show but rather three sets. If you're going to start putting yourself out there to try to generate bookings you must know the language and the perception you are presenting to those you contact.
NateReeves
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Quote:
On Aug 1, 2016, Mindpro wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 1, 2016, NateReeves wrote:


This is not a show but rather three sets. If you're going to start putting yourself out there to try to generate bookings you must know the language and the perception you are presenting to those you contact.


Okay. I'm glad you brought this up then. What is a show?
Mindpro
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You must also remember, many charitable events are big money and produced events. People often pay big money just to attend. It is a misconception that they just take anything offered or donated to them with open arms. As I said earlier, EVERYTHING that is part of a charity event is carefully considered and scrutinized as it all directly represents them (the linens, center pieces, food, entertainment, decorations, venue, staff, dress, image and soooo much more). Charity events can often be quite selective to the point they have you thinking "how can you be this controlling or selective when I'm offering this for free?) All charity events are not the same which is why several of us are saying learn what you are doing and talking about before jumping in.
Mindpro
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As I said you must think like those you are targeting and those who attend. Let's just use a make believe example for the point of perspective and understanding. First stop thinking like a magician unless you are performing for other magicians.

To a typical person a show is a structured performance or production that has a formal start, middle and an end, perhaps also an encore, with several to many predetermined elements of drama, suspense, intrigue, comedy, climax, etc. Now you may say "well my sets have all of these" and maybe you are correct but again to the average person a show is structured, produced, likely with seating, single focus, and usually a story or storyline congruent throughout.

Now if you contact a charity and say to them I am a magician and I am interested in performing my show at your upcoming charity event" and they happen to book you, lets say they then advertise you in their promotion for the event "The Amazing Nate Magic Show." Or say the media picks up on it as well, then people come saying I'll attend this event - dinner and a show and helping a cause for $40, not a bad deal. Then they get there and see a guy doing sets of three tricks? Is that what most people think of when you state "a show."

Now again that is just an example. Part of being ready to accept bookings as a professional is properly presenting yourself on that level. Not just your performance - but you, the perception the expectation. When people hear "show" they have an expectation. When they hear professional they have an expectation.

Now that may not be what you mean when you say "a show" but it's what others hear and accept it as. I would be sure to stress clearly that you are a strolling or walkaround magician so the proper image is parlayed. If you are a stationary closeup magician, that too must clearly be stated in advance for a true and proper understanding. If you are presenting yourself as a professional there are perceptions and expectation that go along with that. It's more than just performing for money. As someone said, having business card or a promotional piece or website in the event someone asks or inquires. A physical image. Understand what it means to be a professional. It's not just because one decides to call themselves that. What is expected and the perception to others when you say "I am a professional magician?

Performing is about much more than the tricks when you go from performing for friends and family to real audiences and clients.
NateReeves
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Quote:
On Aug 1, 2016, Mindpro wrote:
As I said you must think like those you are targeting and those who attend. Let's just use a make believe example for the point of perspective and understanding. First stop thinking like a magician unless you are performing for other magicians.

To a typical person a show is a structured performance or production that has a formal start, middle and an end, perhaps also an encore, with several to many predetermined elements of drama, suspense, intrigue, comedy, climax, etc. Now you may say "well my sets have all of these" and maybe you are correct but again to the average person a show is structured, produced, likely with seating, single focus, and usually a story or storyline congruent throughout.

Now if you contact a charity and say to them I am a magician and I am interested in performing my show at your upcoming charity event" and they happen to book you, lets say they then advertise you in their promotion for the event "The Amazing Nate Magic Show." Or say the media picks up on it as well, then people come saying I'll attend this event - dinner and a show and helping a cause for $40, not a bad deal. Then they get there and see a guy doing sets of three tricks? Is that what most people think of when you state "a show."

Now again that is just an example. Part of being ready to accept bookings as a professional is properly presenting yourself on that level. Not just your performance - but you, the perception the expectation. When people hear "show" they have an expectation. When they hear professional they have an expectation.

Now that may not be what you mean when you say "a show" but it's what others hear and accept it as. I would be sure to stress clearly that you are a strolling or walkaround magician so the proper image is parlayed. If you are a stationary closeup magician, that too must clearly be stated in advance for a true and proper understanding. If you are presenting yourself as a professional there are perceptions and expectation that go along with that. It's more than just performing for money. As someone said, having business card or a promotional piece or website in the event someone asks or inquires. A physical image. Understand what it means to be a professional. It's not just because one decides to call themselves that. What is expected and the perception to others when you say "I am a professional magician?

Performing is about much more than the tricks when you go from performing for friends and family to real audiences and clients.


Thanks for the advice, Mindpro! Most people wouldn't be willing to help as much as you are and I thank you. You seem to know what you're doing, do you happen to have any video footage of you performing?

Also I'm sorry if I tainted your perception of me with that old video. I knew I shouldn't have put it up here. There are too many subtitles in my old style that were very unprofessional (including my attire).
charliecheckers
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There is also misunderstanding between "Charity Events" and "Volunteering Events". My recommendation is a volunteer event, where you arrange a performance for a not for profit organization and donate your time and talent.

Assisted Living Centers offer a mature audience of individuals with high cognitive functioning. Many will be wheel chair bound. You would need to coordinate your offering to their needs. For example, if it is a formal show, they could arrange a time to gather the residents to attend. If you offer strolling magic, they could incorporate your performance into a social function, such as a picnic. You can sometimes barter for video footage or testimonials in exchange for your performance.
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