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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Upscale Magic Theaters - How are they doing? (5 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Bill Hegbli
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Boy, stretching what I said. Yes, computers are here to stay, I never said they would go away. That is our communication with others, and connection to current entertainment.

As for traveling, that I see as coming later. Right now, just get the theaters in shape for live entertainment. Some great salesman/agent will at some point see the growth and make the old traveling entertainer again. Gee, we don't have a great rail system any longer. So transportation has to figured out. That will be on down the road.

When I say Vaudeville, I mean live entertainment, one man shows as well as variety of acts. That was Vaudeville, a number of acts all doing approximately 20 minutes each in a theater with real people sitting in those seats.

I was around at the birth of television, my parents met at the movie theater, before television. I have lived all the changes in entertainment. It never stops changing. The computer for total entertainment will step aside for something new at some point. People do not like total isolation they have to experience the world and people for themselves. So for the next 10 to 20 years, we may replay going to the theater with live entertainers.

That theater that is only two blocks away from me, I see huge groups of young adults standing outside waiting to get in to see their favorite live band group. The theater is not open every night, like a movie theater.

Take a look:

https://clydetheatre.com/

http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/4519

We are just at the start, and those that recognize it, should get on the band wagon. Don't be a "Johnny come lately". Get involved.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Dannydoyle
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Yea again wishful thinking at best. How do you get in on it when it takes SO MUCH to even be involved Bill? What are the economics of the business approach to get involved exactly? They are daunting!
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
WitchDocChris
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In interviews, articles, and "Evergreen" Steve Cohen talks about how he got to start Chamber Magic. IIRC before he took the dive to do the show, he was performing a lot of close up and parlor shows for a lot of people all over the world. There's a great interview with him on Magic News Wire if that's still up and running.

In Evergreen he talks about how for the first three years he was losing money on the show. Then a couple well timed TV appearances that he leveraged effectively turned it around and he started doing quite well.
Christopher
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thomasR
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Yeah I bought Evergreen... was a pretty quick read with not a lot of depth but still it was the first time he had written anything on the subject and can't blame the guy for not wanting to give away the formula. Still got my money's worth of course... some really good thoughts.
thomasR
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Bill... I went to the site... looks like Leon Etienne beat us to it... he's going to be do his magic show there in October.

That theatre is doing the concert thing... not really the ideal venue for an old time variety show. But there are theaters that would be a good match for such a show.
Bill Hegbli
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Yes, they just announced the appearance on the local news, the act is billed as Magic Rocks, and is scheduled for October 10, 2019. They announced they were on the Penn and Teller show.

So if you are near Fort Wayne, Indiana then get your ticket. The airport is just 8 miles or so down Bluffton Road. So came take a look.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
thomasR
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He’s been around for a while. I did lighting design on a cruise ship he had been on like 3 or 4 years ago. He was the higher paid summer act that had been replaced by a fly-on Magic act. The ships lighting tech. Had nothing but good things to say about him.
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Sep 17, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
The key to this, and I hope Mindpro agrees is to educate yourself PRIOR to jumping into the market. There are nuances to this market that are way different from other markets, and even WITHIN this market there are differences in the way to approach every venue.


Now here you go, this is an area that I regularly see many not get. So many only see the surface appearance of a market, venue or deal, which is often not anywhere near the true reality of it. Sooooo many today turn only to Google and what they can find there. Then they take that information as gospel or complete. Then they attempt to approach that market thinking they have the proper insight and knowledge and it leads to all kinds of problems or roadblocks or even worse. So yes, I agree a much deeper education that most realize on a market is essential.

People must take the time and learn a market on its industry or operating level, not just as it seems to appear. I see this very much in many markets. I do a great deal in the school market and I can honestly say less than 5% of the people who attempt to work this market actually truly have the proper knowledge and understanding of the market. That means 95-97% THINK they do but really don't have a clue.

Same for the theater market. Especially the subset of the smaller type of community theaters thomasR is talking about. There are many nuances and intricacies that are unknown to most and only seen and known from within. But once you get to this deeper and proper level of understanding then you can see any true possibilities and potential of that market.

I have been very fortunate to identify and recognize this long ago and have created a business model specifically for these types of venues that has been quite successful. There are many mindsets and limitations within these types of venues that once known can allow you to play to these as strengths working for you rather than obstacles working against you.

Danny said they are likely looking to rent not to pay for acts. This is part of that understanding. Again, as often the answer, getting and having the right education is crucial or it likely won't work or you'll lose money.


thomasR said: "I think the trickier part about touring small theaters like that is they typically rent out to non-traditional renters like churches so that’s every Wednesday, Sunday and maybe Saturday night rented to them. Or they rent out to community groups that build a set for a play so the theatre is basically in use by them for a month at a time."

This is exactly the surface appearance of this market. I is how it appears, but what appears isn't always as it appears.

You also need to understand the dynamics and nuances of the historical building or renovation classification. This dictates greatly how they are allowed to operate.

Because of costs and overhead a variety or Vaudeville show would be tough in such venues as often they are only 80-150 seaters. As Danny said hypnosis shows or one-person shows are often your best bet of they can be a draw.

The magic show Bill had referred to specializes in performing in and touring small market venues. It is a small act that plays big which likely keeps the costs manageable. This is also a much larger venue than what thomasR is speaking of as I'm guessing it is likely between 1000-2000 capacity depending on arrangement.

Nice conversation on a great topic without derailment.
thomasR
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“thomasr said: "I think the trickier part about touring small theaters like that is they typically rent out to non-traditional renters like churches so that’s every Wednesday, Sunday and maybe Saturday night rented to them. Or they rent out to community groups that build a set for a play so the theatre is basically in use by them for a month at a time."

This is exactly the surface appearance of this market. I is how it appears, but what appears isn't always as it appears.”

Well I didn’t just make that up, it’s the type of thing I’ve run into. Now if you can plan around the schedule, they are still good venues. But trying to plan a tour with good routing can be difficult.

Mindpro... have you published any work on that business model?
Bill Hegbli
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Fort Wayne, Indiana also has the Embassy Theater originally built in 1928 as a movie theater. The Jefferson Theater was built across the street from the Embassy, I believe it was older then the Embassy, but was torn down in the 1970's for large office buildings.

The Embassy was refurbished many years ago, and has been seen David Copperfield at least 3 times appearing there. It constantly has famous entertainers and road shows, and stage plays regularly.

There are already set business agencies that book many of these theaters and tours.

The Embassy is connected to an old time hotel, when many people lived in hotels. They have tried to refurbished it several times, but it has always been put off. The main problem as I hear it, is that hotel only has one bathroom per floor. It is a shared bathroom as they were back in the old days. They cannot tear down the hotel, because believe me they have tore them old hotels all down, because of the way it structurally supports the Embassy Theater. It only seats about 1200 seats with balcony. It has a beautiful gold decor inside.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Sep 19, 2019, thomasR wrote:
Well I didn’t just make that up, it’s the type of thing I’ve run into. Now if you can plan around the schedule, they are still good venues. But trying to plan a tour with good routing can be difficult.

Mindpro... have you published any work on that business model?


Well, of course, you didn't, but what I'm saying is they are not all as they appear. Many small theaters turn to, as you said, local theater groups, churches, and other sources of revenue, some by choice others by requirement. However, they are not all the same. While you could take 15 of these theaters and they may all have a local theater/drama group in there, upon looking closer and having a better (or deeper) understanding of the reasons they are there and their specific deals with the venue, you will begin to see some great differences and understandings. The real understanding is often different than the perception (surface view). Once understood you can then utilize this greatly to your advantage (much of what my model is based upon) and even more so it can create the proper picture and true opportunities that may exist and be available to you, or definitely identify if opportunities to a producer, promoter, or performers are really available at all.

The other problem with many of these is the management or operational structure. This too plays hugely into the overall picture and greater understanding. Many have very minimal if any experience, some times it is outsourced, others even different still.

It all plays into what is truly possible in these venues, and even when talking personally with these operators, what they say and will tell you may not truly be the actuality of reality. For example, in some of these the renting theater group often is offered to handle operations. When contacting them they will tell you they are the main residency and that they have a production with sets and lighting already set for rehearsals and their performance dates, so outside acts can not be brought in during these times. More times than not that is not truly the case. It is what they'd like to believe, it is what they would prefer, this is what they want you to believe, but not true when understanding their management deal in reality. They will tell you this because they don't want to have to share the theater, or strike their sets for other productions and so forth. They will sternly tell you this, but that isn't the truth in reality at all. This tends to pit them against other outside possibilities as they get a rather possessive and proprietary nature towards the venue. My model deals with this in specific ways again beyond this surface perception, acceptance, or appearance.

There is actually much more to it all, but this should give you the jest or a glimpse of what I meant by of some of the greater picture.

No, I really haven't published anything on this area of the industry as it is a small niche. It is a greatly misunderstood area, but not enough for the time and effort it would require vs. the potential return (much for the same reason my 2/4 release was shelved for the time being). I do get into it a bit at my live training events and of course with coaching and consulting clients. I have actually consulted with about 15 of these types of venues/theaters in just this exact issue. While I don't speak of it much here, I also coach, consult, and train entertainment venues, agencies, and promoters (not just entertainers) on the business, management, and operations side of live entertainment and how to properly and successfully operate and utilize live entertainment in their venues and business.
Dannydoyle
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Yes it seemed as if you were implying that with the right business model woo indeed would be worth the effort.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Dannydoyle
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Bill, Copperfield sold his own tickets. Oh and he has the advantage of selling tickets his show with his name and budget. It is apples and hand grenades.

It in no way answers if someone who is a non big name performer can get it done in scale. Sorry
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Bill Hegbli
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My post was just that the theater is thriving and have constant attractions all year long. It is working for that theater, who has a whole team that make it work. it has been running now for 30 years or more. And yes, they do let local talent that want to rent the place have a shot, or did, now I am sure it is all about huge profits. Jay Leno was there and other night time hosts, as well.

I do remember a few years ago a children's magician was on the list of performers around Christmas time, and his show was cancelled. The guy even had a promo commercial that ran on local television, but I guess that did not help ticket sales.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
thomasR
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Thanks for the info and thoughts mindpro. Yes I see what you mean.

And like you said they don’t all work that way... if you go to the trouble to see which ones work good and which ones don’t.... it can pay off!
Mindpro
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And even more importantly once you know they work that way you can then still work that to your advantage
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Sep 19, 2019, Bill Hegbli wrote:
My post was just that the theater is thriving and have constant attractions all year long. It is working for that theater, who has a whole team that make it work. it has been running now for 30 years or more. And yes, they do let local talent that want to rent the place have a shot, or did, now I am sure it is all about huge profits. Jay Leno was there and other night time hosts, as well.

I do remember a few years ago a children's magician was on the list of performers around Christmas time, and his show was cancelled. The guy even had a promo commercial that ran on local television, but I guess that did not help ticket sales.


You just proved my point.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Bill Hegbli
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Well, the last time Copperfield was here, he did not fill the theater, and has not been back. I think it is his fault, as he does not do any promo or even says this is a new show.

Danny we will see what the next 10 years brings. I probably will not be around, but I have written it here.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
thomasR
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Copperfield doesn't currently tour.. that's his and Chris Kenner's choice. Chris Kenner talks about that decision in the podcast trio that he and Homer and Copperfield did. The decision was about family life.

But shows on Copperfield's level are totally different. Copperfield, Penn & Teller, Criss Angel, and David Blaine are legit celebrities. Anyone else needs to be selling something other than their name.
Dannydoyle
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Exactly the point I'm making thank you.

But Bill you held that up as some sort of an example of these things on the upswing, and somehow arguably the most recognizable magician of our era, certainly the richest, DID NOT SELL THE THEATER OUT. Are you trying to make my point for me?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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