Hello and hope this letter finds you doing well. I just wanted to drop you a line and THANK YOU so much for the entertainment on Friday evening for my office Christmas Party. What a good time! You were able to mix into the crowd during the social hour and break the ice with the guests and make the laughs begin. And the after dinner spotlight was outstanding, don’t think I could of done much better as a host. I have heard so many compliments about the entertainment that I chose and the many Thanks that I have received for a great night. I would recommend your show to anyone with confidence. So a big THANK YOU goes out to you and I wish you the very best. Should you ever need a reference, point them in my direction.
May you and your family have a blessed holiday season.
Here is part 2 of my recent interview with GigMasters.com. They were looking for some insights to help guide clients in booking entertainment for all kinds of events. I thought it would be useful as kind of a “How To Hire An Entertainer For Your Holiday Party”. This is Part 1, please enjoy and spread it around if you like.
GigMasters: Do you prefer to work adult or children’s events? Or both?
Steve: I almost exclusively perform for adults. There are a couple of children’s charities that I work for. The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and Shriner’s Hospital are two groups I can’t say no to.
GigMasters: What services/specialties do you offer?
Steve: I have a package called “The Evening of Comedy and Magic” That I consider my specialty. It starts off with strolling magic during the cocktail hour and finishes with an hour show after dinner. It is all self-contained and hassle free for the client and it really makes for a complete evening of entertainment.
GigMasters: What is the most interesting/unique event you have ever worked?
Steve: I sure have had some interesting things happen. I remember one time at a medical society awards banquet an older gentleman accepted his award and then fell off the stage. Thank goodness he was OK. He just bounced up like nothing happened it looked like he was made of rubber. Then there was the time a pipe broke in the ladies room. That was a mess! Ladies were screaming so loud that it was obvious something bad had happened. A few of them came back looking like they fell in the lake! But you learn to take it all in stride.
GigMasters: Anything else you’d like to share?
Steve: People always tend to shop performers by fee. The assumption is that all performers are the same and it all comes down to price. Rarely are the best, most experienced performers the cheapest. Realize that if you have 100 people at your event and you only want to pay a performer $300 that is only $3 dollars a head. What kind of entertainment can you get for $3 dollars out in the world? A trip to the movies is $7 to $10 bucks. Always hire the best talent you can afford. This year’s event is only going to happen once, don’t take any chances.
Recently, I was interviewed by GigMasters.com. They were looking for some insights to help guide clients in booking entertainment for all kinds of events. I thought it would be useful as kind of a “How To Hire An Entertainer For Your Holiday Party”. This is Part 1, please enjoy and spread it around if you like.
GigMasters: What should a client consider when looking to hire an entertainer for their event?
Steve Barcellona: First thing, always look at testimonials on GigMasters website and the performer’s website. Do they have any video testimonials? If the performer has glowing recommendation from past clients that is a pretty good indication that they have a quality act.
Second, clients should always match the performer to the event. What kind of event is it? Is it an awards banquet, holiday party, conference or is it a children’s party, school assembly. Some magicians are great at children’s birthday parties, some are great for family events, and still others excel at corporate events. Clients should always look for the specialist. A lot of performers like to think of themselves as an “all occasion performer” not many are great at everything. I would hate to hire a general practitioner when I needed a brain surgeon.
Also, you should watch their video to get a good idea of who they are.
GigMasters: What questions should a client ask a Comedy Magician that they are considering booking?
Steve: Clients should get a good idea of what kind of act the perfromer has. Are they a stage performer? Do they perform close up? How does what they describe fit in with what you have planned? Always keep in mind that it might be worth it to adjust a bit if what they describe sounds like it would be really something special.
Also, they should always find out what kind of audiences the performer has worked for in the past. Are they groups like yours? How large? Are they events like yours? Most importantly, what kind of questions is the performer asking you. Does it seem like he has done this before? That is pretty important.
Gigmasters: Once a client books you for a performance, what details should be discussed prior to the event?
Steve: I always get all the details down on paper in the form of an agreement. It is nice for you and the client to see everything in black and white. That way there can be no misunderstanding. It is always nice to meet the event planner earlier on the day of the event. That way you know exactly where to set up. You can also handle any last minute changes together.
Oh yeah, make sure the performer has a good GPS’able address. You would be surprised how often people take for granted that there address is on the map!
GigMasters: Please tell us – when did you get started with magic, and why do you do perform?
Steve: I have been performing magic since my teenage years. My mother worked for a publisher and she brought me home a couple of magic books. Once I showed a little interest she kept bringing more. And so began the spoils of a misspent youth! I took a short break from performing to work in the corporate world, but I realized that life is too short not to do the things you really love to do…It just happens that I like to lie, cheat and keep secrets. (My wife hates that joke)
GigMasters: What kind of gigs do you usually book?
Steve: I do a lot of corporate and association events. At banquets I usually perform strolling magic during the cocktail hour as a mystery party guest. Then I do a really funny comedy magic stand up after dinner show. It is the kind of thing you would see in a comedy club, but clean, PG13. I also perform at hospitality suites and trade shows and some private parties.
This event was off the hook! over 1500 people at fundraiser for Edwardsville High School. I emcee’ed a circus style variety show. Thanks to my friends Josh Routh and Joe Wanko for this awesome picture. It was fun to be part of a cast again!
I don’t get to do a whole lot of weddings, but when I do they are always fun. I like this picture from a recent wedding I performed at. I went table to table while the bride and groom went off and had pictures taken. It is a great way to make sure everyone is having fun back at the reception. As this picture shows we really were having a good time!
I always have fun and my “job” (if you could call it that) but saturday was exceptional! I was Magician MC for the Feed The Need Concert Fundraiser 2012 in Alton, Illinois. The concert is held by Senior Services Plus and it benefits Meals on Wheels in the Alton area. My comedy magic opened the show and then I kept the party going. It featured two great bands Nitelife from Grafton, IL and the Shagadelics for Chicago. It is always fun when 800 people laugh at your jokes! Here are a few photos.
It happened again just this morning…Someone called me, frantic, to see if I was available this weekend for an event. Surprisingly I get phone calls like this a couple of times a month. I feel sorry for event planners like this, the amount of stress must be huge. It would be so much easier if they just planned ahead.
It is never too early to start planning your event. The sooner you pick a date the easier it will be for your guests to plan on being there. Three to six months in advance is a good time frame. Hotels, banquet centers, professional meeting planners, caterers and yes entertainers, will still have many dates open making it easier for you to get the date you want. It always amazes me when someone will call me a few days before an event in desperation. I always try to accommodate, if I am available, but skip the hassle and plan ahead.
I have already started to get requests for holiday parties. I know it is over 100 degrees outside who is thinking about holiday parties! Well some people are, I have even booked a couple. Plan ahead and pick your date and then give me a call.
When ever I walk into a cocktail hour or corporate event and I see name tags being handed out I know I am about to have a great night. It is so simple but so rarely seen at events. A name tag can take the pressure off everyone. No one has to remember anyone’s name they can just relax and have a good time. You can make it simple and have everyone write their own name tags with a marker. Have them write something as a conversation starter, for example, if your event is at an auto museum everyone can write the name of their first car or their dream car. You can ask them a question and have them answer it on their name tag under their name. Questions like, what is your favorite kind of food or restaurant? What is your favorite vacation destination?Or they can write any interesting fact about themselves. Use your imagination and make it fun.
I love them because as I work the room, performing for people in small groups, they allow me to introduce people to one another. They also allow me to seem like part of the company or group. I have even heard people say “He was great, he knew everyone’s name!” Name tags are a simple and effective way to make your events successful.
When I started looking for entertainment possibilities for our annual sales meeting several months ago, I came across a couple of entertainment companies with non-exceptional service – delayed or no return phone calls is extremely off putting, especially when I have many other things to worry about. Your response and follow up was right on target and as soon as I saw your video, I knew you were the one to close out our meeting with lots of fun and laughter.
The people attending our meeting comprises a broad range of age, background, and come from various places across the country. So, trying to put together entertainment that will get everyone involved and make sure everyone has a great time, can be difficult – but you pulled it off! I received several thumbs up signs during and after the show, along with several “nice jobs”. Although, the most telling reaction is always the smile and laughter coming from all corners of the room during the show or the abrupt sounds of laughter during the reception prior to the show.
I could not be more pleased with how the evening progressed. When putting these meetings together, I always strive to work with people who will put me at ease and not worry me about not showing, or showing up late or not being what was expected. I was completely at ease before getting to St, Louis after the many conversations we had prior to the meeting.
You did a great job dazzling our folks with your magic and kept us laughing far longer than your performance. Our people enjoyed being part of the show and your closing performance had everyone rolling on the floor wiping tears of laughter from their eyes…myself included.
It was a pleasure meeting you and doing business with you. I would recommend your services to anyone looking for a little fun and a touch of magic.
Erica Kelley-Gogel, CAS
Vice President of Sales