Why Book Live Entertainment Part 1: The Reason For Live Entertainment Over TV/Movies/CDs/Video Games/etc
You should book live entertainers so that we can make a living. The end.
No, that is not why you should book us and that certainly shouldn’t be the focus of the entertainer either. Long before television and radio, people actually had to get out of the house and go pay to be entertained at their nearest theatre or concert hall / dime museum. This wasn’t like going to the movies, going to be entertained was a special event, people paid a good sum of money, they dressed their best and expected to stay the entire day or at least several hours because various performances would be showcased. Then there came the radio, then the motion picture followed by talking televisions. It was originally predicted that the first commercially available TVs would not sell because “no one wanted to sit in front of a box”. Today there is a television in every room in every house here in the United States and at least one TV in every house in Canada, UK, Japan & Australia (the US is more obsessed about TVs than their counterparts).
There is something that live performance has that television can’t provide – real human contact. One of the best things about going to see a show in a theatre is the intimacy between the performers and the audience. Television doesn’t offer that. Live entertainment also requires more use of imagination from the audience, the use of imagination overload is correlated with increase in creative thinking so there is a psychological benefit to live entertainment as well.
“But it’s so expensive to go to a theatre/concert!”. Yes, live entertainment is more expensive to produce, plus the performers don’t get the wide viewing benefit that cinemas offer. As you’ll see, the cost is nothing compared to the other benefits….
Live entertainment is much more flexible. Say you had a date scheduled but something came up and the event had to be postponed for a later date in the near future. Maybe that’s extreme – lets say you have a specific need that needs to be tailored to – any professional live entertainer be it a musician or a mentalist such as myself should have the capability to make adjustments. You can’t get that with television. Live entertainment once again provides that human factor that many answering machines and TV doesn’t offer.
“Why do you charge so much?” Here is the thing about paying for entertainment – you get what you pay for. That saying is more true here than anywhere else. Those that charge less are usually either not full time or they are starting out and lack the experience. Being a entertainer is a profession much like being a doctor or a lawyer, many of us have spent a lot of time, effort and money in improving what we do, studying what we do, getting the needed training/education. We make a living. Now, this may sound like greed but think about this for a second – take performer number 1 who charged $50.00, performer #2 who charges $150.00 and Performer #3 who charges $500.00. How do you perceive the $50 performer in comparison to the $150 versus the $500? Chances are you perceive prestige and respect for the $500 and you feel cautious about the $50. Your gut instinct knows that you get what you pay for. I have found in my own personal experience that charging more, while not always necessary will not only guarantee that I the performer will be able to rest for a while but that I will be treated better and my job will be made a lot easier. The reason for this is simple – we have respect and we take care of the things that we are most invested in. Remember something you were given for free? How did you take care of that free thing versus the thing that you had to spend a lot of money on? Assuming that free thing isn’t something that is easily replaceable, chances are you treated the expensive object better than the cheap easily replaceable.
“But I’m Still Not Convinced”… People have been throwing events ever since the wheel was invented – especially the Ancient Greeks & Romans. Parties were thrown in celebration and as an attempt to impress friends. This tradition of throwing parties and subconsciously trying to impress people still resonates to the 21st Century. We spend days planning and investing as much money as possible to make it work. People are looking to have a good time, what better way than to include that human factor that comes with live entertainment?
This was a brief bit of persuasion and I will get into me specifically later on in another blog update.
What The Process of Booking Live Entertainment Is Like
Let’s say you just finished browsing through a entertainer’s website and you have came to the conclusion that you’d like to book this entertainer for your event. Live entertainment is a service. On the website you will see contact information or a form that you can fill out so the service provider can contact you as a follow up. Either way you are going to make contact with the entertainer. Upon receiving a response from said entertainer you will be asked a few questions – usually questions about the event, number of patrons, location, time and place. A good service provider will try to qualify you before ever sending you a quote (usually it is the prospecting client that asks about the quote). If you are prospecting client – don’t expect a quote until all the information is gathered. Upon getting all the information, the entertainer will then send you an agreement form AKA contract with an invoice. The engagement is confirmed when the client sends the entertainer the contract signed and dated. Usually the entertainer will ask for a deposit – often 50% of the quoted fee with the contract. This is to secure the show. A entertainer will not book any other show that may fall on the same day/ or time as the agreed upon time. The information that the entertainer gathered from the prospect is usually regurgitated onto the contract. Most agreements prevent the prospecting client from cancelling the event, if the event is cancelled and not rescheduled the entertainer reserves the right to keep the 50% deposit. A few causes allow a refund after a certain number of days after the contract is signed.
From my own personal experience – the booking process takes place 12 – 6 months before the scheduled event. A good entertainer – or any service provider shouldn’t ask more qualifying questions than is necessary. A good service will try to make the process as easy on the prospect as humanly possible (I’ve had experiences where the opposite is also true too – where I as the entertainer had to beat around the bushes).
It’s the day of the event. You can expect the arrival of the entertainer to be several hours before the scheduled time. This is to get everything set up and to make emergency trips to a nearby store if something needs repair or replaced. The entertainer does the agreed upon performance and collects the remaining 50% or whatever is left of the quota. SOMETIMES some entertainers collect the remaining fee before the show – everyone’s agreement clause is different. Every agreement clause has different cancellation policies
– some offer complete refund if prospect cancels a certain number of days after signing, some are Pay To Play – meaning the client is expected to pay 100% the day of the event or the show doesn’t happen but the entertainer will stay on location until such payment is made. Contracts / agreements can sound scary and intimidating – they are legal bounded documents and violations can hold civil, criminal or both implications if violated. Contracts / Agreements are mutual insurance for both client and performer. Plus it’s good customer service policy. You sign contracts when buying a phone, when getting a house mortgage or hiring just about any services.
After the show and the contract clause cancelled the performer will send some follow up documents – usually a client satisfaction survey or a thank you note in a few days after (or whenever the performer has the chance- some performers literally live in their car/van travelling from back to back shows.
Why Book Live Entertainment Part 2: Why You Need To Book A Magician
No one knows who the first magician was – we can easily assume he or she lived in some nomadic hunter-gather society. This first magician was probably the one who found out how to create fire. That is to give you an idea of how old this venue of entertainment is. Magic as we know it in recorded history is at least 5,000 years old – scholars are at odds on if the art originated in Egypt, the Middle East or Central Asia – it doesn’t matter – it’s here, passing the tests of time. To the Ancients – magicians held an important part of society, they were priests, advisers to kings – the Greeks erected statues in the Ancient Greek magician’s honor. The years between 1800’s through the 1990’s was Magic’s Golden Era. Unfortunately a shift in trends, fewer magicians are on TV in the United States. The Musicians and the music scene has caught up. Despite the trend shift – the fact remains – magician’s and their magic aren’t going anywhere, not by a long shot.
We’ve been severely desensitized to mystery and wonder. Computer graphic imaging on the TV has done a number in that we’ve become skeptical of what we see or hear. Magician’s give you something that TV can’t – in person, in your face, no CGI or camera edited miracles. Magicians can give you something that musicians can’t – an interactive and entertaining experience. If you run a restaurant or you are a event planner – YOU. NEED. A. MAGICIAN on board with you (read Craig Petty’s now famous LinkedIn blog post here: www.linkedin.com/pulse/you-own-manage-restaurant-need-close-up-magician-craig-petty). Craig Petty doesn’t mention an important contribution that magicians provide to their clients and or their client’s guests – a person who interacts with said guests. Despite the surge in social media – in person, face to face human to human interaction still reigns king. Tons of scientific papers have been written on the benefits and rewards human interaction has on our bodies (spoiler alert: we a social species). We need human to human contact or else we’d be in the same shape as Chuck Noland in Cast Away.
The Reason Why Jordan Allen Should Be Your Go To Source For Entertainment: Instinct
I’ve been performing as a magician for 20 years. I’ve been performing as a mentalist for 6. I have seen just about everything a performance situation can throw at me – bad weather, delays, clients not knowing what they want, drunk crowds, noisy and restless children – the good and the bad. I have never turned down a challenging engagement.
I’ve been through a lot and I will gladly tell you that I haven’t been through everything the Universe has in store. I will deal with it when it comes because challenging situations are a learning experience – learning experiences teach and I’m here to not only perform my thing but also to help the clients and make their event as much of a success as possible. Many entertainers out there will back down when they are presented a challenge – I want to be
different in that I will do what I can to help each client- even if they don’t end up booking me, I will gladly offer advice while I have them on the phone / email or in my presence. Experience creates instinct.
Consulting me for an event in mind is always free- I don’t see a penny until you sign the agreement papers. Always feel free to contact me for any questions or inquiry – my phone is always by my side and I check my emails everyday. I am glad you are reading this.
I’m glad you have an interest in hosting an event and I’m looking forward to a lifelong partnership. If you would like to see sample video performances, my resume, CV and a few past client testimonies please let me know.
– Jordan Allen
There are some good in Open Mic sessions for performing artists – it’s a laboratory to test out unproven material without risking anything – the venue doesn’t have to risk paying for a failed experiment and you don’t have to worry about paying the venue to perform your unproven material. If you are a beginner in the world of showbiz it’s a good way to break out of your comfort zone and get used to standing in front of people (there are better ways to do this – such as taking public speaking classes at your local University but lets set that aside for the moment).
Open Mic can seem like a good way to raise public awareness about your existence and what you do however it is a huge gamble:
Open Mic Nights are to the professional entertainers as Walmart is to small local business – it’s free and it eats the little man up. By default people are drawn to FREE or low cost commodities. Why risk a few $$$ when you can get instant gratification for FREE or cheap? The problem with instant gratification is that you didn’t work for it. Problem with free or cheap commodities is that you didn’t work for it – the psychology of feeling contempt sets in. Things people don’t invest in – they will treat with the uttermost disregard and content. Walmart knows that people would rather get that instant gratification and feel bitter about it later than to risk a little and see high results. This is why Super Markets like Walmart & Sams Club HURTS small local businesses.
Smart people know that there is satisfaction in high quality and high price. High price/fee means high quality.
I see this all the time – most who perform Open Mic are not very good entertainers nor are they professionals. They lack the discipline that comes with living from the trade. As consequence they treat their “craft” like the audience treats them – with disregard, disrespect and contempt. If you are a entertainer looking to go pro – do not stay too long in the open mic arena. I can easily equate open mics to magic clubs – only 1 or 2 are professionals and the rest haven’t got a clue what to do and they help you foster bad habits that will prevent you from advancing and you end up in a vicious cycle.
“But you are overgeneralizing Jordan” you maybe thinking to yourself – It’s not overgeneralizing when you see a consistency in the results – free shows will always get you free shows. The ONLY time you should ever take up a free show or service is if you are auditioning for a clientele – much like a car dealer lets the buyer test drive a car before a deal is made. People love choices but you should never make the offer a permanent thing – DEMAND a fee.
You should always charge what you feel is you are worth. If you feel you are worth $1,000,000 then you should probably charge $1,000,000 (but be realistic about it or you may severely damage your prospect pool). I don’t give everyone the same fee – my corporate clients is a different story – but for general consumers I try to match fee with a wide variety of variables that I won’t mention here ( to keep my competitors ignorant).
I have luckily never came across this personally but I have heard it being asked from my industry peers – why do you charge so much? There are two answers to the question and Heath Ledger’s Joker gives a good solid answer.
The second reason is because showbusiness is business and money is the blood of business. You need to spend in business and as Dan Kennedy wisely stated – the business that spends the most survives.
If life was perfect and simple I can make a wager that many entertainers would have no problem doing things for free or low cost.
I bought my first house in the late Spring of 2015. It was a Duplex. Almost a year later my tenant notified me that her hot water heater had busted. During the process of getting it replaced I asked my real estate agent if the hot water heater on my side had been recently replaced and I got a confirmation. So my tenant got her hot water installed brand new. This previous February (2017) MY hot water heater exploded as well. I was confused. I later found out that the previous owner DID replace my hot water heater – the key word is replaced but not brand spanking new. The old owner of the duplex was a cheapskate who was contempt with low pay and low quality at the sake of sparing expense. Both hot water heaters were 15 years overdue even though they had been installed a year before I bought the place. There is a positive relationship between quality and price. When you pay cheap for live entertainment you will get low quality entertainment. You cannot expect to pay $50 for an adult ticket to a Broadway show and expect a good show – it never happens. Broadway will never sell themselves short like that- they spend well over $5,000,000 + putting a show together, getting it advertised, paying the actors and crew, why would they sell a front row adult ticket for $50? There is no motive.
Back to Open Mic Sessions… I have seen a positive correlation in Open Mics, the Venues that host them and the demographics of the people who attend (but don’t perform) in them – Blue Collar, underpaid, grumpy often drunk as a skunk middle agers with an income of less than $25,000 a year. There is also a positive relationship between what a performer is getting paid/ charging and how the clientele will treat them – again people care for the things that they invest in. If you are hoping to charge $500 – your clientele are not going to be in the Open Mic audience. There is also a high probable chance that those in the audience are NOT listening to you – they are spending their hard earned money on booze and with the inhibitions of alcohol – they can hardly give a rats ass for what you are doing. They aren’t paying to see you – why should they care? Why should they even bother asking you for business when they can just come see free entertainment at the price of booze?
The only good thing Open Mic can provide for a professional entertainer is a laboratory to test unproven material. I wouldn’t waste any energy in trying to market to the crowd that attend – your pitch will fall on drunken deaf ears.