How crazy can the holiday rush of shows be?
I meant to post this 2 weeks ago, but forgot. That’s how crazy.
I read the posts of magic buddies running from one gig to the other during the holiday season, some doing three or four venues in a day. While I currently try to schedule my bookings to avoid that wonderful madness, I am not a stranger to it. Plus, with a home office, a wonderful wife, and 6 sons at home, my life is crazy to start with.
All that being said, here are a few reminders that will hopefully make the rest of your holiday season saner.
#1 Remember that it’s often amateur hour
No, you are not the amateur. The meeting planner is. That’s not a slam on them, as event planning is a specific skill and you can’t get mad at Mary from HR for not fulfilling your mic requirements as detailed in your show rider. Even with all the pre-event discussion due diligence beforehand, surprises come up. For many groups, the holiday party might be the only real event the plan all year.
Be pleasant. Be professional. Roll with it.
If they tell you things are running a little late (and they always tell us that), be kind, because you have already allowed for that in scheduling …you have already allowed for that, right?
The goal is to deliver a product they will want to buy again.
#2 Bring your paperwork
“OK, your stage show will begin at 8pm”
“Stage show? There must be a misunderstanding. I was booked for an hour of close-up magic during the cocktail party.”
“Oh, no. You were booked for the after dinner show.”
Being able to bring up the corroborating emails in seconds on your phone will go along way to keeping you looking like a pro. And then if you can follow up with, “I can perform my after dinner show for you. Let me email you an amended agreement,” you are golden.
#3 Pack for teddy bear
You’ll be performing at a banquet that you booked six months earlier. You were told repeatedly it’s “adults only.” Then you’ll show up and see a couple of eight year olds in the audience. Your show can be performed in front of kids, meaning no blue material, so you’re fine in regard. What you might NOT have is a routine to showcase the kids.
I wrote an entire post about packing for teddy bear, the term I use packing a props for the unexpected kid in the audience. Give it a read.
#4 Pack for the next show
When I do more than one show in a night there are things I double pack so they are ready and waiting for me for the next show. Examples (from my act and others): a cards/envelope rig, a torn and restored newspaper, a filled shot glass, egg with a sticker on it (in that case it’s a back up of a back up), a second stacked deck, gypsy thread set up.
I do not want the fuss, not matter how minor, of having to worry about these tasks.
#5 Be Bulletproof
You probably want to rethink anything that has sensitive angles and demanding light requirements.
#6 Snacks, mints, coffee, hair
A hungry magi can morph into hangry magic. Nobody wants that. Breath mints are good, too. Caffeine? Your call, but my blood is 73% Turkish coffee. A small can of hair spray kept in your case will keep the hair where it should be.
#7 Your check
Here’s a story told to me ten years ago after a corporate gig by an audience member. He said this happened in the eighties.
“It was our national dealers convention. Over a thousand dealers from across the nation were gathered in the theater. Our entertainment was Bob Hope. He was to be paid $250,000. I was backstage with him about two hours before show time. We gave him the check. He said it wouldn’t work because his contract specified a casher’s check, and this was not a cashier’s check. He would not perform without the cashier’s check in hand. I couldn’t believe it! Thankfully, one of the members of the board was also on the board of the bank in town and he was able to go to the bank — after hours — and get the cashier’s check. I lost all respect for Bob Hope at that point.”
And I gained new respect for Bob Hope at that point.
As the Holy Writ says, “the laborer is worthy of his reward.”
As Stan Kramien said, “No dough. No show.”
Don’t let client absentmindedness delay your check.
#8 Pack small, play big, and live large.
You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you? Details here:
#9 Have a spot for a handicapped child in your show.
Kids LOVE to help the magician. And that means kids of all abilities and challenges. Back when I was performing 250 school assembly programs a year, I knew what routines in my show were handicap accessible, and with different degrees of ability in mind. I didn’t even have to change the material. A little forethought, preplanning, and adapting on the fly is all it took.
The kid got to be the star. He gets to feel the other kids cheering him on and being envious of him. The entire audience feels the warmth of the child’s happiness.
By the way, what you just read is a paraphrase of an entry from my latest book. Details here:
#10 Have fun.
You’re doing magic tricks for money, for Pete’s sake. Love it.
PS: While you’re here, check out the store, including my latest release, Psychic Cents.