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The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ Tricky business Ľ Ľ Quantity / Volume of Shows? (20 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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thomasR
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Kevin... that's not boring. That's invaluable!!

I've worked for the past 4 years for a touring act out of Nashville... as we speak we are jumping from Nashville TN to Omaha Nebraska with a Tour Bus and a Semi full of gear for 1 show. The tour we were on this past winter had 4 semis and 10 tour busses and we were jumping around the west coast with no rhyme or reason, like you said, the booking agents just took whatever gigs they could get. You know how the fuel and driver costs add up with all those vehicles.. makes no sense. My point being you have managed to figure out what professional management and booking agents still don't know. Congrats!
Dannydoyle
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Yes Kevin a decade to be able to develop to what you have. This is the point I'm making.

It has less to do with the act (Though that obviously is important.) and more to do with doing WHATEVER IT TAKES. It takes doing that for over a decade yes and no book or course or guru speak changes this.

Thanks for sharing. I wad beginning to think I was just slow lol.

As I said I'm fortunate. A simple plane ticket and I can do dates pretty far away. It gives me more flexibility. It was a conscious decision I made with the show I do. I cover way more miles, about 10x more, but my travel expenses are way under those numbers. Just different ways to do things is all. (Plus I can't do a brake jobv the way Kristen can.)
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Jun 7, 2019, thomasR wrote:
I've worked for the past 4 years for a touring act out of Nashville... as we speak we are jumping from Nashville TN to Omaha Nebraska with a Tour Bus and a Semi full of gear for 1 show. The tour we were on this past winter had 4 semis and 10 tour busses and we were jumping around the west coast with no rhyme or reason, like you said, the booking agents just took whatever gigs they could get. You know how the fuel and driver costs add up with all those vehicles.. makes no sense. My point being you have managed to figure out what professional management and booking agents still don't know. Congrats!


I think the key is Keven & Kristen are very hands-on and do not just sit back and wait for management or booking agents contact them with dates. That is part of the problem for many touring acts.

Don't rely on agents, it not their job to book dates solely. Any act that does so, unless well-established, will suffer. This is one of the great advantages to the self-represented artist, that also work with agents and agencies, rather than being solely reliant on any agent/agency.

There is a key component missing to the scenario thomasR demonstrated above, which is likely why it seems like random dates here and there, a mish-mosh of road work without real routing, runs, etc.


Going back to the initial discussion it didn't seem like thomasR was trying to make a decision or determine anything like some of the advice here by some seems to be offering, but rather than to discuss the benefits, pros, and cons of both.

Most doing a residency or their own venue show do so after being established first. With that said it is possible for completely unknown to also do the same and it be the thing that helps get them known and positioned. Knowledge and education of such a business model is the key and it can be very easy to blow this (and lose money) if you really don't know what you're doing. But given someone learns the knowledge of the model, it can be the thing that allows you not to have to travel and audiences find and come to you. It is a process though, which will not occur with a short-run residency, but more as maybe a 2-5 year plan.

I also am not always convinced that less shows should equal more money. Of course more shows, more money can later, eventually lead to less shows more money once you have a permanent fan/client-base to operate off of. You must also remember typically more hows may also mean less money as well - something else to consider. Often runs, residencies, etc. expect to pay less than your typical one-nighter rate, they expect a deal or package price which, while allowing you a nice chunk of gigs, income, exposure, and (if you are doing it properly) press and media coverage, you will actually earn less than if you did all one-nighters at full pay.

Full-time performers, especially road acts, understand this and the concept of pick-up dates. Again, not always more money, but more bookings, less off days on the road (which usually COST you money), but keep an act afloat while on the road. This is where understanding weekday pricing vs. prime weekend pricing comes into play, as does primary vs. secondary geographical markets as it pertains to pricing/income. There's so many ther factors and premises to understand first.

Many good ideas and possibilities here and so much of it depends on your business model, the markets you serve, and what your short-term and long-term goals are.

For example, the prominent business model for generations was release a product (CD, album, single, book, movie, t.v. special, etc.) and then hit the road performing to promote it. The gigs may be less paying (per gig) but the hopeful, larger profits and benfits will result the greater the promoted project ends up becoming. This is why you will hear nationally touring acts say they aren't makimg much, because the tour is in support of something else. Until that pays off you are simply supporting the project on the road. Just another example to try to understand.

So after giving us this info above thomasR what you are considering as you move forward? Also, if I am remembering correctly this is not a magic act you are on the road with and speak of, correct? You are part of a crew for another type of show? Are you considering this for a different future project of your own?
thomasR
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Correct Iím currently working as a touring lighting designer for a music act based out of Nashville.... nothing to do with magic or variety unfortunately.

For me? I donít have a clear plan going forward.
What I know is I donít want to be booking one show at a time and hoping enough work comes in to keep me busy.
Dannydoyle
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Always hated that way of working. I agree completely.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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I wanted to chime in with what Mindoro mentioned about pick-up dates aka ďrouted dates.Ē
Iíve worked for a lot of touring bands, and Iíve found the bigger name artists do this less and less. Which seems odd since their expenses are higher (more busses, more trucks etc.). Iím not sure if itís an ego thing ďI wonít perform for less than x amountĒ or an artist just being hands off and the booking agents only booking shows that call them... either way itís the total opposite of what the magic acts I mentioned at the beginning of this thread do. Of course, the music indistry is quite different. Money comes from other sources than concerts, and thatís an important thing to note as well.
Dannydoyle
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One thing to keep in mind it might not be ego. Putting on shows costs lots of money in many cases. If the room is too small they can lose money. Maybe it is a union house and it costs even more. Maybe it is s non compete clause withthe bigger place they are in. This is not at all uncommon.

There are LOTS of factors that go into the decision. Maybe they end up paying sound guy overtime, or any number of a thousand things that will make it expensive to do extra dates.

Bigger name artists are handled by companies that worries about all the dates. Their contracts don't usually allow for them to decide to do their own dates. With bigger names there are dozzens involved in those decisions. Almost never it involves the artist directly.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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The artist Iím working for is a national act playing arenas and large amphitheaterís. While he has management and booking agents, he is VERY Involved and personally approves every show he does. Other artists Iíve worked for were pretty much the same way, but also on a smaller level (clubs like house of blues, etc.).

I can assure you the sound and lighting guys donít get overtime!!! Ha.

You are correct in the number of factors that can go into a decision. Obviously the amount of money for a show has to make the show worth while. Iím talking about routed dates where you help to break up the fixed costs of bringing out a show. The last run we did for example, required 2 bus drivers. If we had routed dates on each end, we could have had only 1 driver, and obviously the cost of fuel for the semi / bus would have been broken up among more shows. Also the production gear is rented per week, taking it out for 3 shows on the weekend is the same as 1.

But itís not my company and I imagine many factors that Iím not aware of were in play. Just throwing it out there that Kevinís version of touring makes more sense to me! Ha.
Dannydoyle
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The sound guy does not get overtime? Ever work in Chicago? Union rules apply to all employees often regardless if they are in the union or not. Often it is a question of the sound guy at the House of Blues needing the overtime, not the tour guy.

Yes there are factors. MANY that go into it and it is rough the bigger you get. Get a record label involved and it REALLY is confusing. I hate all the logistics that go into it. That is yet another reason I prefer to be in residence some place.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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The touring staff do not get overtime no. We donít get paid hourly so that doesnít apply. And yeah we work union houses, doesnít change our pay at all just makes our life better or worse depending on the city. Ha.

But yeah house staff can be all over the place and youíre right that all has to go into the planning. If the routed date option is an after expenses split with the promoter vs. flat fee and the only venue is a strict union house.... that could totally come into play.
TomBoleware
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Just because you donít get paid by the hour doesnít mean you are exempt from getting overtime. Thatís federal law and they can enforce it, I know from experience.
Not so long ago I got hit with a random audit and I spent two full weeks going through two years of time cards with a lady from the Federal Dept of Labor figuring
back pay for all my employees. Only a select few in higher management are exempt from overtime and those have limits. I was lucky and avoided a fine and only
had to pay a little in back pay, but I did learn a lot from it. The Federal people are serious about going by the book.Smile

Tom
Ray Pierce
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I'm with ThomasR on this one. I just got back in from 7 weeks in Europe, 17 countries, 26 cities. 2 Tour Busses, 3 Semi's. I have a weekly rate for what I do. We know the hours going in and bid it accordingly. We'll be doing the same gig in North America (US/Canada) starting September, mostly union houses. We don't fall under their guidelines outside of basic safety standards (Hard Hats, steel toes, PPE, etc). They could care less what we get paid, as long as we have their minimum numbers hired. In fact, since we're doing one-nighters we typically have an expanded crew just to get our shows up in 6 hours and down in 4.
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thomasR
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Always great to hear from you Ray. Up in 6 hours? Iíll keep my pre-rigged GT truss that rolls on and off the semi thank you! Ha.
But then again you may be working on aerials / circus arts which is a lot more fun than what I currently do!

All this should make us think.... if we are designing a show that we want to do a lot, either touring or resident show, it would make sense to minimize cast and crew costs while still maximizing production value. Having illusions that you can perform solo without a trained assistant for example, having Audio / lighting automated or simplified to reduce or eliminate tech crew.... hey perhaps you can block your show to the point that you donít need stage hands! A lot is possible.

And of course Dannyís plan of doing a style of show that minimizes props is also a good plan.
Mindpro
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This is why details and context are so important in these types of topics and discussions. One size does not fit all, yet, as so common in the magic community, people tend to take other's knowledge, insight, and experience and adapt it to their own context or own situations. It does not always transfer the same across the bard.

Touring, like Danny, as a hypnotist I have done it both ways - with a full-crew, vehicles, production, payroll, etc, and also as just me and my stage rig. Two entirely different things with two different business models and outcomes.

Unless you are an employee or salaried position, much of the general business stuff Tom has offered likely will not apply. Most performers and tours use contractors which can be much different.

Also, there are other, let's call them "in between" options that no one has mentioned here. It is not just solo road work/tour or having a full crew that travels and operates with you. There is such a thing as traveling and functioning solo, yet picking up local onsite contractors in each town on your route. It can be an alternative to costly road costs eliminating food, lodging, per diem, and travel costs for a crew or team.

As far as pickup dates, that too as I've said can vary and depend on your business model and the size of your staff or operation. Sometimes if you have a large crew it may not be worth it, yet when traveling with a smaller show or just yourself, a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday pickup date can be good income opportunity. I have done some PU dates for little or nothing (door), knowing I'd bring in $500-$2,500 in Merchandise sales for the night that would still make it profitable and worth my time and efforts. Plus I have always viewed off days on the road as an expense, where I would be spending money. Anytime I could make money versus spending money was worth consideration to me.
Dannydoyle
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I have dealt with many touring companies that bring the key guys for every spot, and hire out local the rest. Heck even some orchestras travel with the first chairs and hire out the rest. This method helps in Union houses.

I have no clue what Tom is talking about, but it doesn't apply. Most of these things are bid as independent contractors or vendors. Comparing to a Daycare center is ridiculous. Or maybe it isn't and I just don't see it.

But running a tour the way you would a Daycare center seems like a recipe for disaster. Not everything translates directly lol.

But as Mindpro has pointed out time and again this business has unique traits that can't be thought of as normal business. If you are not actually involved in it currently it is just not easy to know. You can't just think you know.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Dannydoyle
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If you get into a place line Chicago you will discover terms like "tailgate delivery". You will find an electricians union with a guy or some that is you want the house they must be paid for the night. Even if all he does is sit in the office he is paid because of the union contact.

Also a decorators union and Teamsters and some others you may not think of. No joking. Their contact us with the house and is very specific. Try working McCormick Place or the Rosemont expo center. Even just having a booth is subject to the unions.

It is crazy. No joke they have this stranglehold on the houses. Not all of them but quite a few. It can make touring difficult till you figure out who to bribe.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
TomBoleware
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Danny, what have I told you about following me around with you smart+++ comments. You just can't resist, can you?

I was speaking to the overtime comments. ALL Business be it a touring show, a daycare, or a hot dog stand, must follow the federal labor law guidelines.

And No Danny Doyle and Mindpro are Not Exempt (See I can do it too)

True some independent contractors arenít due overtime. But in an effort not to pay overtime wages some and it often does happen that employers will misclassify employees as independent
contractors, when they are actually ďemployeesĒ This is not always done on purpose, some are just not aware of the law.

If you are under the direct control of your employer and they have authority over how your work should be performed, then you ARE NOT an independent contractor.

That Is the Law, and if you don't belive it, Check It Out and get back with me.

With that said, those here probably are legal independent contractors, but donít think just because the job is for a Star all laws are followed. You may be getting the shaft and not know it.


Tom
Dannydoyle
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I guess Ray and Thomas are wrong and the world's foremost authority is correct.

Tom I responded in the thread before you. Look up the word following.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Dannydoyle
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I guess Ray and Thomas are wrong and the world's foremost authority is correct.

Tom I responded in the thread before you. Look up the word following. 9

Also I am not the one telling you that you are wrong. It is Ray and Thomas.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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While I made a joke about sound and light guys not getting overtime, I didnít mean to imply that I thought I deserved it either.
On a typical day, if I divide the number of hours I work into my day rate Iím getting paid a very very high hourly rate. Of course my day rate takes into account that I am spending the entire day in a random city and I will be sleeping on a tour bus or hotel and not my home. But yeah regardless of you being right or wrong, Iím not gonna ask for overtime and wreck a good deal!
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