May I be brutally honest? If not, check out my other blog posts! If so, then let me say that this post is only going to apply to you if you’re looking for killer entertainment for a holiday event. Otherwise, probably nothing here will apply……so again, check out my other blog posts!
Ok, now that we’ve got the disclaimer out of the way, I have to say that after 17 years of being a professional magician, performing in living rooms to large stage events for major Fortune 500 companies, I have witnessed some significant patterns when it comes to booking entertainment for the holidays. I can usually pinpoint from the first phone call who’s going to have a great event, and just as importantly, I can usually tell you who isn’t. This centers around 3 areas in the event planning process that if overlooked, can cause a world of disappointment.
1. Budget…are you kidding me?
Before you dare pick up a phone, ask yourself, “What quality level do I want?” I could write a whole post on this one topic (in fact, I already did if you’d like to read it). Remember, you’re booking entertainment in what is collectively among entertainers considered as the busiest time of year. Holidays are crazy busy for top notch entertainers. My October through December is out of control. So if these are in demand days, you can’t bring a small budget to the table. One thing that I recommend to anyone planning a holiday event…and most people will not do this…is make the entertainment a top priority. Most of the time, it’s an afterthought, which brings me to….
2. Stop waiting!!!!
Remember how I said I can usually tell who’s going to have a great event? I learned from a few corporate event planners that for major corporate events, entertainment is the third thing booked. Date…Venue…Entertainment. I’ll be the first to say that, with repeat clients, I’ve been booked BEFORE the venue many times. I’ve even been called on numerous occasions to SELECT which date would work best for me. What’s the punchline? Every single one of those events without exception would rank among my best events. Things like food, drinks, tables and chairs, and decorations are all important, but every single one of those are secondary. In many cases those can even be booked last minute. Call the entertainer first!
Now, I realize that there can be an event that’s been in the works for 6 months and someone happened to say today, “Hey, let’s get a magician.” Now, I don’t care how last minute it is, CALL ANYWAY!!! You may time it just right, but don’t be surprised if the best entertainers are already booked.
3. Don’t try to figure it all out…lean on the entertainer for suggestions.
Ok, I get it. This is your event and you’ve probably got it pictured a certain way. But trust me, if you’ve booked a professional entertainer, they’ll have suggestions that may exceed your wildest expectations. You have to be willing to appeal to what they suggest. Just understand it might not always make the most sense on the front end.
I recently did a show near Hilton Head. Against my very clear instructions, they said there would be a dance floor between myself and the audience, separating us by nearly 40 feet. I brought in the event coordinator, my contact from the corporation that booked and the CEO himself to explain why this would be a disaster. Reluctantly, they put a few tables and chairs on the dance floor to fill in the very large gap. When I walked off the stage that night…to a thunderous standing ovation, the lady who booked me came over and hugged me. Then followed that by saying, “You were 100% right and I will never doubt any suggestion you give me about any other event.” And if that’s not enough, while backstage, the CEO came behind the curtain to shake my hand and tell me that my performance made the whole event.
If you trust my experience while reading this, then trust me when I say that those two compliments would’ve never taken place if the client hadn’t appealed to my experience.
I don’t have a big, fancy conclusion here. You want your event to be successful, so even if what you’ve read here seems a little out of the ordinary, all I can ask is that you take a chance. So far, I haven’t had a client yet that wasn’t blown away by following these simple steps.