Hiring Live Entertainment for an Event
Booking Live Entertainment for Your Event: The Golden Rules
Ideas For Entertaining Purchases
For the past sixteen years, I have worked as a professional magician and mind reader, having seen hundreds, if not thousands, of venues across the globe. I travel between Boston, where I am based, Singapore, where I work for a few weeks once per year, and many other cities and countries. The consistent lack of knowledge the client has when booking live entertainment is a similarity that crosses all borders. A variety of types is true for this. come to the circus)
The circus hosts entertainers such as magicians, jugglers, clowns, etc.
To an extent, this can be forgiven, as most people who have never booked live entertainment likely have no idea of the process. The performer can forgive these individuals and kindly instruct them on how to make the process smoother. The performer can forgive these individuals and kindly instruct them on how to make the process smoother.
Having consulted with performers from all areas of entertainment, we have compiled a list of guidelines that any prospective client should be aware of prior to hiring professional entertainment.
At what point should I book live entertainment?
Are you looking to hire entertainment for your party, event, graduation, anniversary, etc.? No matter what, you should add a live and enjoyable element to liven it up! Knowing that performers of all types, such as magicians, fire eaters, or live bands, require time to prepare their shows is the first thing you should be aware of. We design our performances specifically for your event, which requires time and will be reflected in the cost. A performer should be given at least 3-4 weeks notice before booking. My suggested time frame for me is this, however, other performers may require much earlier notice, and some can even take an event with just a couple days notice. The performer's availability depends on our schedules, current bookings and flexibility. We have gigs at all times of the day, night, and even into the wee hours of the morning, which is very strange and non-traditional given our schedules. If you give a performer less than five days' notice for an event, they will likely charge more for the short notice. To make your event special, it may take time to create custom routines, set up a music set list, or obtain necessary licenses or permits for more hazardous acts like fire eating and sideshow stunts.
What are you searching for?
Adding entertainment to your event can significantly improve your guests' experience. Live performances, whether it be a live band, DJ, caricaturist, or magician, create a truly unique experience for your guests to share with their friends and families when they depart. What type of entertainment would be most appropriate for your event? Live performances, whether it be a live band, DJ, caricaturist, or magician, create a truly unique experience for your guests to share with their friends and families when they depart. What type of entertainment would be most appropriate for your event? If you are planning an event (or party
Once you have planned your event (or party), you will then want to decide where and when entertainment is appropriate. If you're interested in having magic or mind reading at your wedding, which is very popular, then you should consider having a "strolling" or "walk-around" act during the cocktail reception. During the cocktail hour, the performer will wander through, entertaining small groups of guests with close-up effects and routines. A full length show sometimes deprives you of a personal experience that this offers. Occasionally, it breaks up the repetitiveness of parts of the event. A little bit of magic, mind-reading, or music can really make a difference. If you have an idea of what you want for your event, lay it out and decide where it would make the most sense. Are you celebrating your child's birthday and looking for entertainment to keep all the little guests entertained? A show featuring magic and balloons would be ideal for this location. For more detailed information, please refer to my other article on Magic & Mind Reading for Adults versus Magic for Children.
Calculate Your Budget
Understanding this point is of utmost importance for any soon-to-be entertainment buyer. Every performer charges differently, regardless of their persuasion. The fee for a fire eater will be distinct from that of a juggler or clown. Every performer charges differently, regardless of their persuasion. Their time and expertise is valued based on this.
Have an approximate idea of how much you would like to spend on entertainment. Do not insult us by presenting a meager budget. Politely declining, we may even suggest someone who could work better within your financial parameters.
Entertainers often collaborate and pass work among each other. We are almost always aware of what our friends and competitors are charging. We are almost always aware of what our friends and competitors are charging. If you are limited to a budget of $200 for entertainment, you may want to consider alternatives to a full length hypnosis performance. Hypnotists typically do not travel unless they are paid at least three times the usual amount. If you have $5,000 to spend on entertainment, you have access to a much higher level of amusement. I will discuss that further at a later time.
Details! Details! Details!
Have you figured out what you want now? The next step is to gather your information.
Having this information ready beforehand will significantly reduce the time it takes to book an entertainer, usually to only one or two phone calls or emails. Occasionally, information can be missing. Have you nailed down your venue yet maybe? Can you give us a rough idea of where you're looking so we know how to prepare? No problem. If you're envisioning a change of pace from a typically busy, dark restaurant to a show at the beach in the sun with a cool breeze... The entertainer will find this a little frustrating.
Be Familiar with Your Location
The importance of the venue has been previously noted. Most of us can perform practically anywhere (within reason). I have experience with relocating boats, trains, and even a private jet. Those of us who work with dangerous items such as sword swallowers or fire breathers require very specific environments in order to work safely for ourselves and the guests in attendance.
Let's explore some typical settings for a mentalist or magician's performance, by looking at a few examples:
A full length performance, mind reading, or a little walk around magic - these activities make The Country Club a popular location. Looking for a more sophisticated form of entertainment, usually everyone is well-dressed and having formal meals. A chainsaw juggler would not find this to be the ideal location.
The Nightclub is the perfect spot for any occasion that calls for a fun and memorable celebration, such as bachelor/bachelorette parties, adult birthdays, company buy-outs, and holiday parties. It is not advisable to have a palm reader or a full length magic show at this time. You could choose to have strolling entertainment, live music, or even a dance group instead.
Private holiday parties, anniversaries, graduations, and family events are probably the most common events held at your residence. Normally, you won't witness the same level of craziness in a nightclub as you would elsewhere. Family members, friends, and children usually attend these events. There is a sense of comfort among everyone, encouraging them to be silly without fear of judgement. What a great time to see a hypnotist! Personal tarot readings can also be offered. A mind reading performance would definitely be a great time.
You should maximize the potential of your venue. If you think it might be successful, give it a try. It is likely that you are correct!
Comparison shopping for the best price
We, as performers, strive to give the best entertainment at an unbeatable price, putting in immense effort to make it happen. The prices for our services vary, depending on what is being offered, our location, and the amount of equipment needed to be transported, among other factors. You might not think it, but there is A LOT that goes into the booking on our end from the customer's perspective. Organizing material, writing contracts, invoices, and riders, traveling to and from gigs, setting up and tearing down equipment, packing and unpacking at home, resetting gear, writing emails, making phone calls, updating schedules and social media, and more, are all tasks that can be included. A single booking requires a great deal of work from the performers, though the customer only sees a small portion of it. Our fees also incorporate all of that. If you live in northern Maine and wish to have the face painter from New Jersey at your party, please remember this.
Price shopping does not guarantee that you will get the best show for the lowest price. Not necessarily is the highest priced artist better than the one who charges half or less than that. Your choice should be determined by referrals, recommendations, budget, and skill-set. Booking Aerosmith is not within everyone's budget. For instance, if you are hiring a children's magician for a birthday party. The booking fees for an hour long show in New England range from $275 to $500, with the option of adding extras such as balloon animals, teach-a-trick, or magic goody bags. If you're getting offers at $100 or less! You should give serious thought to what you are obtaining. Not necessarily is the highest priced artist better than the one who charges half or less than that. Would you buy 100 pairs of socks for $1.00?
Which do employers prefer: referrals or resumes?
Buying can be a tricky section for someone. Many entertainers, particularly when they are in the early stages of their career, often exaggerate their resumes with well-known clients in order to garner interest. They are not always completely accurate in many instances. Even though they are good performers, they are just attempting to get some business. A lot of professionals have thick resumes that are all 100% legitimate; however, this may be the case. From observation, one can usually tell who is genuine and who is not.
Making a decision can be best achieved through referrals, testimonials, video demonstrations and reviews. A teaser of a portion of their show will be posted by any magician or mentalist worth their salt. The audience goes wild over this hardest hitting material. I would be cautious of a performer who did not possess any kind of video, even if it was of low quality. Just a few years ago, handheld cameras were the main way to take pictures, but now in 2014, the majority of us have cameras in our phones that take even better pictures!
The most successful way I have discovered for booking events is by utilizing word-of-mouth marketing, as well as advertising on my website with a link to my YouTube channel.
The difference between Actual and Perceived Value
This section can be tricky to explain correctly, similar to the difficulty of explaining referrals versus resumes. The actual value of a performer is determined by their performance quality and attitude, which should be courteous, respectful of clients needs, and friendly without being overly familiar. As well as technical proficiency, a performance should be judged on its dress sense/style and uniqueness. After you hire entertainment, you will notice quite a few other points, which are just examples. Price was not taken into consideration when determining the actual value. The actual value of a performer is determined by their performance quality and attitude, which should be courteous, respectful of clients needs, and friendly without being overly familiar. The true worth of your performer will not be realized until they have been hired to perform. By looking at the artists' website, bio, pictures, videos, social media pages, etc., we are now creating perceived value. Within the first minute, or usually a lot sooner, we determine if we like them.
It should be acknowledged that the perceived value can sometimes be detrimental. When you see some of the performers who spend thousands of dollars on top quality websites, advertising materials, search engine optimization, and promotional videos live, you are quickly struck by how awful they are. This is particularly common amongst the younger generation of performers. With the proper video editing software and a skilled person operating the keyboard, anyone can appear remarkable. You should not decide whether or not to book a performer based on their perceived value. When the show begins, you can use the information as a reference to what you can likely expect, though it is not always accurate. When booking entertainment, focus on referrals, reviews (from real people), media write-ups, and recommendations from friends or family who have booked entertainment in the past. Word-of-mouth is the best advertising for a performer!
The contrast between free work and donated work.
How often do performers get offered "great publicity" in exchange for performing without compensation? It occurs frequently for all of us. At least once a week, I am personally asked to perform for free. It occurs frequently for all of us. Those just starting out in the entertainment business may accept bookings even if they don't pay. They are seeking "flight-time" or opportunities to practice and rehearse their material in front of a live audience so that they can become more comfortable in their profession. Young or new performers should be encouraged to do this, as it is perfectly acceptable. A professional entertainer, such as a magician, mentalist, juggler, or human blockhead, will likely not perform a show for free in exchange for an ad in the magazine, free publicity, or free food.
We almost all entertain as a full-time job. Just as you expect to be paid where you work, we work solely as performers and expect to be paid for our time. If you offer publicity in exchange for money that a performer would use to pay their bills and buy food, you are likely to insult them. The publicity is already working, right, since after all you found us?
When it comes to donated work, however, the situation is quite different. For me, at least. I would like to make it clear that I am not speaking on behalf of ALL performers. Every individual is unique and structures their business in a way that is distinct to them. It is totally fine if some performers do not agree with things in this article! Taking great pride in donating our time to a cause is something many of us do. I donate a minimum of 10 hours of performance service to various charities in New England annually. Close to me are The American Cancer Society, Horizons for Homeless Children, and The American Red Cross. Giving my time to these organizations and being a small part of making a difference is something I love. Seeing the expression of happiness on people's faces who would otherwise be sad or in pain fills us entertainers with emotion and a big heart.
When offering an event to a performer, be mindful of your situation if you are offering very little or no money. We will jump at the chance if it's a cause we believe in and we have the time available on our schedules. Please do not take it personally if not, and understand that we need to work and earn as much as possible in order to continue providing entertainment to people around the world.
Contracts, Invoices, Agreements, and Riders
Vital to the quality of the performance are the boring details of the booking process, including lots of invoices, contracts, and specifications that almost every performer requires. For the smallest to the largest event, contracts are absolutely essential for a performer to have, and we will use them. For the smallest to the largest event, contracts are absolutely essential for a performer to have, and we will use them. Most of us learn quickly and adopt the contract policy for ALL bookings, including those for donated time. If your children's magician requires a contract for his performance, do not take offense.
Many of us maintain thorough documentation of each gig we do. Our tax purposes, marketing strategies, and general peace of mind are all served by the essential pieces of material such as invoices, contracts, and emails. A contract, invoice, and performance rider are personally required by me for my shows. Not all of my agreements are applicable to every show. A lot of the time, however, they do. Our tax purposes, marketing strategies, and general peace of mind are all served by the essential pieces of material such as invoices, contracts, and emails. Most entertainers can usually perform in most places under most conditions, however, there may be special requirements for some (e.g. people working with fire or dangerous objects) to be able to perform indoors without proper licensing, or outdoors without a tent or waterproof area. Essentially, it is self-evident. A contract, invoice, and performance rider are personally required by me for my shows. Not all of my agreements are applicable to every show.
Gaining an Understanding of What You're Paying For
It is of utmost importance to understand what one is paying for when booking a performer, as this was covered in earlier points. We spend years perfecting our skills so they look flawless when it's time to perform. Those of us who live far away from the venue must travel a considerable distance to attend the gig. I drive approximately 35,000 miles annually for performances, and I fly around 40,000 miles. We spend a lot of our time in airports, as well as in cars and in traffic! We have constructed our fees based on what we believe our performances are worth. Taking into consideration the years of practice, the travel to and from the event, the preparatory work, the type of event, and our popularity and demand, are all factors that contribute to the show itself. "Better does NOT mean cheaper!"
Ensure that you pay your entertainer(s).
I would estimate that I have waited for payment for some events for approximately two years. That no longer occurs. That no longer occurs. Before or immediately after performing, we expect to be paid since we are full-time entertainers, as I said before. No two shows are the same, at least as a mentalist, as our performances are all one-of-a-kind demonstrations. A good way to view it would be: If you worked for a week and your boss said, "I apologize, but could you accept payment in three weeks for this week's work?" Waiting for payment for our services can make us lose our sh*t - that is exactly how we feel. Expecting to be paid accordingly due to our timely arrival, performance, and professionalism,
Prior to the start of the performance, it is customary to pay an entertainer. A deposit and a signed contract or invoice is usually required by most of us. Those who don't require a deposit should be paid in full on the day of the event, and it is recommended that all customers should require a deposit. When hiring entertainment for your next party, please be aware of this. Your performer will not only thank you kindly, but will also ensure that your event is a great success.
If you really enjoyed the work of a performer, DJ, or artist, let them know by giving them a tip! At least I and my friends don't factor gratuity into our fees, so any extra tip you have for us will be greatly appreciated. At least I and my friends don't factor gratuity into our fees, so any extra tip you have for us will be greatly appreciated. We are always very happy when it comes time to tip entertainment, as most people don't usually think to do so. Amongst entertainers you didn't book, such as street performers and carnival or fair artists, this is especially important. We are always very happy when it comes time to tip entertainment, as most people don't usually think to do so.
By booking live entertainment for your next event, you should gain a pretty good understanding on how to go about it. If you have a good impression of them, and they have good references, collaborate with them and you will have the best event imaginable.