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The Golden Rules for Booking Live Entertainment For Your Event

Booking Live Entertainment

Tips & Tricks For The Entertainment Buyer

Having worked as a professional magician and mind reader for the past sixteen years, I have seen hundreds if not thousands of venues all over the world. From Boston, where I am based, to Singapore, where I work for a few weeks once per year, and many cities and countries in between. A similarity that crosses all borders is the consistent lack of knowledge the client has when booking live entertainment. This is true for that of a variety type. (e.g magicians, jugglers, clowns, etc.).

Now this can be forgiven (to an extent), as most people have not booked live entertainment before and know absolutely nothing about how the process works. These individuals can be forgiven and kindly instructed by the performer on how the smooth the process can and should be. That said, when you as the entertainer are working through a seasoned booker (e.g someone who works for a company that plans all large and small functions), there is really no excuse for poor booking processes.

After speaking with several performer friends from all areas of entertainment, we have come up with a list of guidelines any future client should be at least familiar with before hiring professional entertainment.

When To Book Live Entertainment

So you want to hire some entertainment for your party, event, graduation, anniversary, etc. Whatever the case may be, you want to spice it up with something live and fun! First thing you should know is that performers of all varieties whether magicians, fire eaters or live bands, need time to prepare their shows. Most of us specially design our performances around your event, and this does take some time and will go into the price of the performance. You will want to give at least 3-4 weeks notice to a performer before booking. This is my suggested time frame for me, other performers require much earlier notice, and some can take an event with just a couple days notice. It depends on our schedules, current bookings and flexibility and of course, the performer himself (or herself). Our schedules are very strange, and totally non-traditional – we can have gigs at all hours of the day, night, and even into the very early mornings. Please Note: If you call a performer a day or two, or three, or even four before your event, they will most likely charge a little more for the short notice. It takes time to make your event special, whether by creating custom routines as I do, setting up a music set list, or getting required licenses or permits for more dangerous acts like fire eating and sideshow stunts.

What Are You Looking For

Hiring entertainment for your event can really enhance your guests’ experience. Whether it’s a live band, DJ, caricaturist, or magician, live performances create a truly unique experience that your guests will share with their friends and families when they leave. You want to determine what kind of entertainment best suits your particular event. For example: If you’re getting married at a golf resort. With 200 guests and a traditional setup (cocktail hour, plated dinner, speeches, dancing, etc.), then you will want to determine where and when entertainment makes sense. If you’re interested in magic or mind reading, which is very popular at weddings, then you would be best to place it into the cocktail reception for what is called “strolling” or “walk-around.” This is where the performer wanders through your cocktail hour performing small, up close effects and routines for small groups of guests. This offers a personal experience you sometimes lose with a full length show. It also breaks up the occasional repetitiveness of such portions of the event. Magic, mind reading or a little light music can really make a difference. Have an idea of what you want, lay out your event, and see where it makes the most sense. Maybe a full length comedy mind reading show after a three day corporate retreat? Or perhaps you’re celebrating your child’s birthday and want some entertainment to keep all the little guests entertained? A children’s magic and balloon show is a perfect fit here. Look into my other article on Magic & Mind Reading for Adults vs. Magic for Children, for more detailed information.

Determine Your Budget

This is by far one of the most important points a soon-to-be entertainment buyer must understand. It should be known that every performer, no matter what persuasion, charges differently. A fire eater will charge differently from a juggler or clown. A mentalist will charge differently from a magician or stilt walker. This is based on how they value their time and expertise.

Have at least a rough idea on what you’re looking to spend on entertainment. Do not be afraid to ask a performer if he or she can work within your budget. Be realistic about it and think about your event and the kind of image that you want your guests to take home with them, and try to get a rough idea on what you would be willing to spend achieve that image. You will not insult us with your budget. We will just say no politely or even recommend someone who could better work within your financial parameters.

Entertainers usually know each other and bounce work around quite a bit. We almost always know what our friends and competitors charge. The more unique the performance style, the smaller number of performers. If you have $200 for a full length hypnosis performance, you may want to look into another form of entertainment. Most hypnotists don’t leave home for less than triple that amount. If you have $5,000 for entertainment, then you’re in a whole new bracket of entertainers. More on that later

Your Food Relationship – Achieve Your Diet and Fat Loss Goals Faster

Food – none of us can go without it! But how does the way in which we think about food impact our diet? Are you someone who just sees food as body fuel, or do the different tastes, textures and nutritional values of food excite you? In today’s health conscious world, I would think that most of us fall into the latter group. If you want to achieve your diet goals quicker, then you need to clearly understand you relationship with food.

Eat and Burn

In its simplest form, food gives our body the calories it needs to run on a daily basis. When there are too few calories, the body looks to its own reserves. When there are too many calories, the body puts them away in storage (i.e. as body fat). On a purely mathematical level, so long as we burn as much as we consume, we are not going to produce excess body fat. So yes it is possible to eat junk food and stay thin but we also know that what food we eat can be as important as how much food we eat.

Food Fanatics

Not all foods are created equal. It would be nonsense to say that a caramel flapjack and an organic apple containing the same number of calories are of equal health benefit. At the ‘eat and burn’ basic level then yes they might provide our body with the same number of calories but substance is surely just as important. We have all learned that the organic apple is bursting with healthy goodness, whilst the flapjack will be laden with sugar and other nutritional nastiness.

The food world has gone crazy over the past few years. Every other program on television is a cooking program. But why are we so obsessed? It is just body fuel at the end of the day…

I have to admit, I am a modern day ‘foodie’. I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen and I strongly believe in the health benefits of natural food. In my eyes, there is nothing wrong with this, food has the fantastic ability of making us happy so let’s take advantage. However, you need to be aware of your root relationship with food. There is definitely a risk of obsessing over food. Such obsession may manifest itself as punishing yourself for eating ‘junk’ food, a lifetime of calorie counting, or possibly worse. We each have unique relationships with food and to get the most from food we should strip away the layers and get to the bottom of what and why. Why did you have to eat popcorn whilst watching that movie yesterday evening? Why did you have to drink alcohol when socialising last week? It is good to sit back and think about our food choices so we understand why we made them and can enjoy those choices instead of feeling guilty about them!

Strategies to Avoid Food Obsession and Achieve Your Diet Goals

As we are dependent upon food for survival, all of us have a relationship with food.

Here are a few ideas to help you find out, change, and nurture your food relationship.

  • Make a Black, Grey, White list of foods you commonly eat. Black for the least healthy, White for the most. Then keep it in your kitchen, making sure that your cupboards are full of those foods on the White list (typically fresh fruit, vegetables, unsalted nuts and seeds, whilst trying to cut out those on the Black list (basically anything processed containing sugar, as well as alcohol and if you follow the Paleo diet, then all grains too). To take things further, you can keep a score board to measure how many food items from each colour group you are eating – monitoring your results forces the truth upon you, so there is nowhere to hide!
  • Work out what type of food personality you are. Do this by clearly identifying what you enjoy about food. For me, I know that eating healthily will make me feel happy but so does the odd treat. I have a soft spot for beer and ice cream (not together though!), so I indulge in these things every now and again. It may be that you enjoy a certain type of cuisine, or need to eat every two hours. Being aware of your food personality will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses in your diet, which you can then address sensibly instead of obsessively.
  • Be wise about food availability – possibly the most important factor in keeping a healthy diet is to always have the healthy food readily to hand. Most people resort to less healthy foods because they are so accessible. A little bit of effort on your part and healthy food can be fast food in any hectic lifestyle. Prepare your healthy food in advance and keep stock levels high (i.e. always have fresh fruit and vegetables at the ready).
  • Equally, if it isn’t in your house in the first place then you can’t eat it! If you don’t have very strong willpower, avoid the lethal step of bringing junk foods into your home. Too often I have picked things up and thought it would be saved for a rainy day but the evenings are full of temptation and before you know it that treat is in your belly. I know that keeping sweet food in the house can undo my healthy eating, so it’s best kept out most of the time.

Free Your Food, Do Not Trap it with Rules