A client once said to me, “Why are you so expensive? I could hire a magician for less.”
That is wrong in so many ways. For one, you could never hire Terry Fator or Jeff Dunham at my rate. You could never hire me for the rate someone else may charge. There are different markets, different talent levels and different acts. Even within the same skill.
Go listen to some karoake and then go see the original artist in concert. It is not the same …
So it becomes our job to educate the client. How we handle that question could mean the difference between paying your bills or sitting at home in the dark. (Which I really don’t mind – but that is a topic for another day.)
Magicians are everywhere.
You could go to a magic shop, or more likely web site, order a few tricks and be doing a magic show tomorrow. There are so many self working tricks there is an instant gratification feature. You’ll notice there are many more magicians than there are ventriloquists.
The same is true with clowns, jugglers, hypnotists and on down the line. Those arts can be accomplished with less effort. (Maybe not juggling – but then again, it is cooler than walking around with a puppet.)
That is the first thing I pointed out to this caller. There are plenty of other types of entertainment with a large number of possibilities in each field.
Not so with ventriloquism.
Ventriloquism requires tons of practice to perform properly. Most people give up when they can’t perform right away. That is why there are only a few states with more than a handful of working ventriloquists. By working, I mean ones that will do shows. There are plenty of hobbyists, but a ventriloquist you can hire for your event – not a very large selection.
Now let’s talk about popularity.
In the United States, ventriloquism is popular! Jeff Dunham is all over television and tours constantly. He has a huge fan base. Terry Fator has a large following. Paul Zerdin got plenty of television exposure. It is visible, yet people don’t often see a real ventriloquist. That makes it unique.
Finally I send them to Youtube.
Check out the daily uploads for ventriloquist I say. Maybe you could hire one of them for less. It turns out, more amateurs than pros upload to youtube. The videos are not always framed well. In some cases they are simply practicing routines they haven’t perfected. There is no audience. There are no laughs. That isn’t to say they are bad, but it isn’t the image a client wants to imagine entertaining their guests.
“I don’t want that!” says the caller.
And that is why I am worth every cent I charge.
Don’t undersell your talent either!