Monthly Archives: November 2012

Facebook Fan Pages for Performers

Facebook is an amazing tool to market and brand yourself, but I don’t have a fan page. Instead I use my personal profile to market and brand myself and I’ll explain why.

Here’s the typical scenario. You have your Facebook profile made up of friends, coworkers, clients, magicians, and other acquaintances. Then you read online that you’re supposed to have a fan page— all your competitors are doing it- so you decide to create one too!

Why fan pages aren’t very good for for most most performers

  1. So you invited all of your Facebook contacts such as friends, coworkers, clients, magicians, and everyone else on your account to try and get that number up as high as possible! Sound familiar? This is what 90% of people do, and already you’re off to a bad start… The only thing you’ve done is basically duplicate your friends list onto your fan page. Ideally you should ONLY be posting your work related updates to your fan page. But if you’re like me performing its part of your daily life. There is no separation for me. So you either post to your own profile or your fan page…. or even worse you post to both. Please don’t post to both because now that you’ve added all your friends and family and everyone now they will see your update twice in their news feed. You’re spamming all the people who decided to like your page in the first place. You shouldn’t spam your friends. So far you haven’t done anything at all, you’ve just shifted your audience from one place to another and you’ve created more work for yourself.
  2. Take a look at the people that are you on your fan page. Are they actually your target audience? Your buddies from school, that cute girl from that party, and that magician that lives on the other side of the world aren’t going to hire you. Instead you should sending your message out to past clients and prospective clients, people you’ve built a real relationship with that’s worth something. (Hint: Newsletters and email works way better for converting sales anyway)
  3. It’s harder to get people to like your fan page than it is to get somebody to accept a friend request. You’ll be working way harder to get people to like your page instead of friending them.
  4. People would rather be your friend than a fan anyway so give them what they want! (While you’re at it you can be my friend) Facebook is social NETWORKING. It should be a two way conversation where build a relationship with them. If they only ‘like’ your page you won’t see their updates and you have less opportunity to interact with the things that they post.
  5. Your updates don’t show up in people’s news feed as often. (Apparently there’s a new option where you can pay to get your story promoted now for pages.)
  6. You may eventually neglect your fan page because you have a larger audience on your personal profile. I’ve looked at a lot of magicians fan pages (here’s some) and you can look at their wall to see how often they’ve been updating. Most of the time they don’t update very often. What’s the point in having a fan page if you aren’t going to even update it? Just stick with your regular profile that you’re going to update more often anyway.
  7. How many clients do you work with in a year that will ‘like’ your facebook page? How many likes do you need to have on your profile for it to look good to prospective clients? If a client is looking at your profile and you only have 30 fans… it doesn’t exactly instill confidence. Does 100 look impressive? 200? 1,000? 5,000? For most of us you’ll have maybe a few hundred people who  are your target clients. If you do get into the 1,000’s then it’s worthwhile to have a fan page (see below).

Video Interview with Tommy James – We Live and We Learn

Earlier this week Tommy James made an interesting post on The Magic Cafe. Here’s that post:

I have something I NEED to share with everyone who has purchased my Lop Sided Cyclops or intends to buy one in the future. We all need to learn from our mistakes and I hope MY mistake will be a learning experience for anyone else. I just received a letter from a teacher at a school that I need to share. I’m not proud of it in fact, I’m hitting myself in the head and saying “Why did I not foresee this as a possibility!???” Please read her letter and then I will tell you how I responded.

Dear Mr. Tommy James,
Last week you put on a performance for our school. Most of the children enjoyed the show greatly, you were funny and magical. However, I would like to bring to your attention, a skit that I found very offensive. When you did your flying eyeball trick, you mentioned a “monster” who had one leg shorter than the other and walked around the stage limping. You had no way of knowing this, but in my class, I have a student who was born with a birth defect and has one leg shorter than the other. The minute you said that, he looked at me and several students looked at him. I am writing to you, to ask you to eliminate this skit from future performances. You never know who will be in your audience, monsterizing a physical defect can be very hurtful. Please consider this in the future.

Thank you,

Read More…

Let me know about who you are

I would love to know more about who you are so that I can create content that will benefit you and your business the most. To that end, would you please take a moment to fill out my five question survey form. If the multiple choice answers don’t match your situation, please describe in the optional other fields or drop me an email.

Thanks again for your time. I really appreciate it.

Creativity with new magic

Next time you’re thinking about buying a new magic trick I would encourage you to try and rehearse the trick before you buy it. Doing this will let you think about the various elements that make up the overall effect before spending the money on it. You’ll think about the scripting, blocking, music, costume, and everything else.

Think Before You Buy

But how can you rehearse the trick before you have the props or know the secret?

In many cases you can make a temporary prop and just act out the trick as if it were real. You don’t need to have the actual effect take place if you are only practicing.

For example, once I used a teddy bear as my stand in prop for a fountain of silks. I was able to produce a bunch of silks, then steal the teddy bear out just as I would the fountain of silks, and I just make believed that all the silks were flowing out. By doing this I was able to plan my routine out to see if it would work without spending the money on the prop.

You can do the same thing with any trick though, let’s say for example you were thinking of performing Kevin James’ Bowl-A-Rama. So instead of spending the $750 up front, take some time scripting what you’ll say at the start of the trick and what music you’ll use. Because you don’t already have the prop you won’t feel so limited to do it exactly like you saw it done before. Maybe you’ll decide to produce a zombie head instead and use spooky music. (That’s actually a pretty good idea…. nobody steal that. I’m going to use that!) If you had purchased the effect first though, you’d probably just produce the bowling ball since you already owned it and it was easier.

Anyway… my point is that by play-acting the routine it will push you to be more creative and you won’t be limited by a physical prop or method, you’ll also be more likely to develop something creative and new.

Let me know if you’ve used this technique before in the comments below. Don’t forget to sign up for the RSS feed or the newsletter in the sidebar.

Networking Events — Why you don’t go to them

Networking events are a great way to get new business. These events are filled with people who are fellow business owners, local government officials, local media, and other individuals who are highly networked. My guess is that you already know that you should be going to these events but you aren’t. If you want to get more bookings you need to be in front of the people who can hire you.

My guess is that one of the reasons you don’t go to these events is because you don’t “know anybody”Really that’s just an excuse to cover the fact that you don’t like to network. Yes, its uncomfortable and awkward, but I’m going to tell you exactly how to get over it. As a performer you have a natural skillset to navigate these types of social situations. Most businesses don’t get to immediately demonstrate their services– but we’re very lucky because networking events are exactly the type of environment that we’re hired to perform in!

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How to Perform and Work Internationally

Many magicians have a dream of performing internally but there’s many road blocks to navigate along the way. That’s why I decided to do an interview with Paul Romhany who’s without a doubt one of the most qualified people in our community to answer the golden question “How do I work internationally?

For the past 25 years Paul Romhany has been travelling the world performing at corporate events and festivals, as well as cruise ships around the world. During that time he has been in over one hundred countries and in 2012 flew over 500 hours to get to gigs. When asked where he lives he replies, “I’m a Citizen of the World”. The answer that Charlie Chaplin gave when asked the same question almost 80 years ago.

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It’s All About The Music

Great events have energy and excitement filling the room, its your responsibility as a performer to provide this to your clients. During your performance you do this by having a great show, but you can create this party atmosphere before your show starts with preshow music. If you go a formal production they’ll have music playing before the show starts to set the mood, and your show should be no different.

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Why You Should Work For Free

Should you never work for free? Should you always turn down charities? Do you offer discounts or reduced rates for not-for-profit organizations? There are lots of things to consider when considering these types of shows.

The problem with free shows

  1. Often these show offers come with the promise of “great exposure”! While its true that there will be an audience that hasn’t seen you before, more often than not you aren’t going to end up directly booking more shows because you performed at their event.
  2. I’ve also found that for free shows they are more likely to be less organized. These events will be run by volunteers or people who are just trying to help out, but may be outside their element. You will need to take extra care to make sure that you get as much information as possible upfront, so that when you arrive you can put on an amazing show just as you would at any paid event.
  3. When donating a performance it will cost you money to perform at their event. You will still need to pay for gas, the wear on your equipment, and all of the consumables such as playing cards, rope, and flash paper.
  4. Make sure that when you accept a donated show that everyone else at the event is also donating their services. There’s nothing worse than donating your time to arrive at the event and find out that the reason that they couldn’t pay your fee is because they spent their money on food, bounce castles, etc. I only donate my services to events where everyone else is also donating their services. (Once upon a time I discount my show fee for an organization but when I arrived I found out that the reason they asked for a discount is because they had already spent the rest of their money on other activities. I only made that mistake once…)
  5. One of the biggest dangers of donating a show is that you will be giving up a date/time that you could have sold to somebody else. If this happens you not only lose the money you could have made, but its also costing you to perform at another event still. This is why I am very specific with the groups that I support. I have to be willing to not only donate a show for their group, but I also have to feel it was still worthwhile if I have to turn down a booking. Some performers will offer to do the show under the condition that they don’t receive another booking on that date/time. I would never ever do this– I feel its unprofessional because it shows that you don’t care about the success of their event.  Read More…

Improve your emails — gMail

There’s no doubt that gMail (Google Mail) is the best email service in the entire galaxy. So if you’re using hotmail, yahoo, or any of the other services I suggest you get with the times grandpa. The spam protection is amazing, the custom filters rock, the themes are decent (check out the cool cloud wallpaper I’m using right now in my account), and I can access it anywhere in the world on any web-enabled device.

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Controlling Your Show Music

Controlling your show music can be super simple if you have a dedicated show technician to operate your sound for you. But for most of us, most of the time, we need to find a solution to operate the sound ourselves. It makes sense then to have a pre-set playlist on an MP3 player and with a remote control. More advanced features might include fade in, fade out, and skipping around the playlist to suit your needs.

Virtual Sound Man

All of my shows have music so I use this system for every show I perform. I use the Virtual Sound Man combined with an iPod that connects into my sound system. Basically it’s a remote control for the iPod.

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