Hiring an Entertainer For Your Child’s Birthday Party

The date is set. The invitations need to go out in the next couple of days. The theme is decided and the decorations are waiting for you at the party supply store… Oh yeah, why don’t we have an entertainer for the kids this year.

Cue the screeching brake noise…now.

If you’re at this point in the process the pickin’s are gonna be slim in the entertainer department. You need to back the planning truck up about four weeks to make sure that you have time to locate and book quality entertainment. Yes, it is possible to find a quality entertainer last-minute–but don’t expect them to be there just waiting for a phone call. A good entertainer will start seriously booking shows for birthdays about six weeks in advance. Four weeks is still a fairly safe bet, but beyond that the dates get tight.

Most people want to have the party on a Saturday about mid-afternoon. Well, an entertainer only has about eight of those coveted spots in any given month. Once they are taken, you go to late afternoon/early evening or perhaps a Sunday (which is getting more popular nowadays). So Rule #1: Plan ahead at least one month.

As I mentioned earlier, you can still get a good entertainer sort of last-minute, but you have to be more flexible with the party time or date. For instance, if possible, think about a mid-week party. Those times are usually more available, and some entertainers will even give a bit of a discount to fill an otherwise unproductive date.

Once you’ve found a list of potential entertainers. Then what? How do you decide which one to invite into your home?

Rule # 2: Do your research. First, visit the company website if one is listed. A good website should give you fair idea of what this performer is all about. Keep in mind that the flashiest web sites don’t always belong to the best performers. However, a nice site does at least tell you this person is serious about his or her business. Be sure to read all the testimonials, and look for names that you might recognise. If there is video, check that out as well. Look for kids laughing in the video. Don’t worry so much about the show. Most living room-type shows seem a bit sluggish or even campy when viewed on video. If the kids are laughing though, that’s a clear indication that this is a good children’s entertainer.

You might also ask friends about an entertainer? Have they heard of him or her? If so, what have they heard? It should be all positive. Of course, you’ll want to call the entertainer and find out what you can expect to experience if he or she does entertain your child. Think of this as an interview for a job, and you are the employer. Here are a few questions you might ask.

Are you a full-time entertainer? (A part-time entertainer may be just fine, but someone-who makes a living from entertaining will have more experience and may be more reliable because this is a business.)

What do you do? (This is a general question. Don’t expect a blow-by-blow description, but listen to what is said and how it is said. the description should captivate you somewhat. Remember, this person will most likely be talking to or with your child and the other guests for quite a while.)

How long have you been doing this? (That’s an important one. The longer someone does a job, the better that person gets at performing it. Nowhere is that more evident than as an entertainer. )

Are you insured? (Accidents happen. You don’t want to be on the hook for the glass of purple water your entertainer spills across your new white carpet.)

Do you have any references? (They may already have testimonials listed on their website. But if you can get a recent reference to actually talk with, that’s a plus. This may not be available — would you want to be the person getting calls in the future from folks?)

In addition to these questions, note how many questions your potential entertainer asks you. Expect to be asked about the location of the party, the date, time, age of the children and what you are expecting. A good entertainer will want to know what environment he is getting into. He’s already planning for the event with every question. Conversely, if you get off the phone and realize that you did most of the talking — well, go back to your list and try another number.

Rule #3: Decide what type of entertainer will fit the theme. There are a host of themes depending upon the age of the children. Your options at this point depend upon the interests of the birthday child. Dora the Explorer, Blues Clues, spys, magic, princess…the list goes on. Once this is decided, you might go to the internet and just search a few key words for your area regarding the theme you’ve chosen. For instance, if you’ve chosen Harry Potter as a theme, and you lived in Milwaukee, you might go to the internet and search for Milwaukee birthday magician. That should bring up a page with several choices. This might not be as clear with a specific theme like Blues Clues, but you might find a list of costumed characters that can visit your home.

Some may still wish to let their finger do the walking and find someone who advertises in the Yellow pages. Keep in mind that the more savvy entertainers are fleeing the yellow pages in droves. The ads are expensive and most performers are finding the internet a better choice. So your choice will be limited in the actual printed book.

If you follow all these tips, there still is no guarantee that you will get the best entertainer. You will have done your due diligence though. Not much more that to do. Do be sure to talk directly with the entertainer that will be coming to your home though. Sometimes, an agency will pop up first on the internet search. This agency may seem like it is located in your town, but in reality it might be on the other side of the country or in another country altogether. In most cases, these ‘agencies’ don’t know the entertainers and are just looking to put a warm body at the gig. Be careful. If you can’t speak directly with the entertainer — that’s a sign to move on, because you don’t know who may show up at your doorstep on the appointed day. You be the judge.

Scott is a full-time entertainer. Since 2004 this Wisconsin magician has performed hundreds of shows each years for both children and adults.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Scott_O./668128

 

Corporate Entertainment

The image of corporate entertainment has been damaged in the last couple of years. Reports of Government subsidised banks having expensive events entertaining clients, sticks in the throat for many people who have lost their jobs, or who are struggling to pay their mortgage. Hospitality tents at Wimbledon; half empty, but paid for in full, also annoy many people.

Yet in all cases, the banks booked and paid for the events before the financial crisis AND corporate entertainment is part of the process of developing relationships in business. Many businesses: particularly City companies are concerned about visibly entertaining clients given the current economic situation. They cannot be seen to be having ‘jollies’ even if they are entertaining existing and prospective clients. Of course, this has had an impact on the Events, Conference, Hospitality and Entertainment sector.

Simon Speller from Hillier Hopkins LLP Accountants said that the Event sector is a very good indicator of economic stability. Clients of his in this sector began to be hit at the beginning of 2008: before other sectors were affected, but, he optimistically said that his clients are now seeing increased activity in the latest quarter: suggesting that there is economic growth – or optimism.

Before the Credit Crunch, large or even limitless budgets were available for corporate entertainment, and lavish affairs were organised with no expense spared. Prices were high, and it was not unheard of for Event Companies to have huge mark ups on their suppliers prices, which they passed on to their clients. Now, however, the trend is for limited budgets and for fees to be negotiated and some entertaining to be cut.

One of our clients mentioned that they were no longer organising their regular hospitality events for all of their clients; instead of taking 100 clients for a corporate day at Twickenham, including watching an International; they were now taking 10 high earning clients to see the match and a curry: cutting the cost from £700 per person to £70. They were also going through their database; inviting people to fewer events and saving the best invitations to their highest earners only.

Another client, who works for a major supermarket that made record profits last year, said that all of the Christmas Office parties were cancelled last year as a cost cutting exercise. Normally her department of 20 would have had a budget of £40,000, yet the company were reluctant to even organise an in house drinks party. Of course cancelling office parties impacts on staff morale and is not always the most effective cost saving measure!

So why do organisations entertain? Is it for fun, or to make them look good? Is it to show off or to reward their staff? There is a little of all these factors when organisations entertain, but it is generally for business purposes. Providing employees with a fantastic away day experience or Office Party is a good reward for loyalty and hard work – hence the demoralisation when these are cancelled. However, first and foremost it is to establish and maintain relationships with clients.

If you arrange to meet a high earning client in McDonalds for a coffee, it says little about how you value the client and their business to you, but if you take care with the venue you choose to meet for coffee: that it is private and quiet to have the opportunity to discuss business in a professional way – it says so much about how you value the business relationship. Likewise, a restaurant where the service and ambience is not good (even if it is expensive) will do little for the business relationship that a lovely family owned restaurant where the chef and front of house really care about their customers.

It is no longer necessary to lavishly entertain clients with high budget events. If you have a limited budget, it is fine to have an in house drinks party, but ensure you have arranged the finer details – such as a cloakroom for coats; clean glasses (yes: that isn’t always the case with hired glasses!) and a few canapés: and organising who is going to serve the drinks and canapés.

We have offered clients who are organising in house events a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) entertainer. The fee comes from their CSR fund, and the entertainer is a ‘busker’ who plays background music, and guests put money into his hat, raising money for a charity. The benefits are that there is a fundraising element to the event and the entertainment is paid from the CSR fund rather than from the budget, and the quality of the event is enhanced by live music.

If you are arranging entertainment at another venue, see what the venue events team offer with the package; for example, is entertainment included in the package; are they able to offer discounted accommodation? Is there an option for a cash bar? What is the difference in price between a buffet and served meal?

When adding the ‘entertainment’ element to an evening, here are my top tips for the perfect icing on the cake.

• We would always recommend going to a respected agency: someone you can talk to, rather than an internet based company. Friends of friends are not always reliable!

• A musician playing background music during the drinks reception and/or meal lifts the quality level of an event. A CSR funded musician adds value to the event, although this isn’t always necessary. A harpist, string quartet, saxophonist, guitarist or pianist work very well in this situation.

• After a dinner, it is always good to have entertainment, to finish off the evening and enabling guests to leave happy. We have found Singing Waiters; Surprise Singing Guests and our Flamenco Guitarists and dancers particularly popular.

• After dinner speakers are a successful choice, although we recommend you are very specific in the contract as to what you would like them to speak about, and give them enough information about the expected guests, to ensure they tailor the speech for the audience.

• Stand up comedians are fun; however, many have material that might not be suitable for mixed audiences or specific groups. Personally I would avoid this option unless you are very confident of the comedian and know your audience well. Some events have been ruined by the choice of comedian.

• A singing act, such as our Romantic Tenor who sings Operatic Arias and Andrea Boccelli songs is very popular. As a rule, Tribute soloists and bands do not impress valued clients, so search for a good quality singer who will add value to your event. Make sure he or she has not set the sound levels too high, and if necessary, manage the sound checks to set the volume lower and request adjustments in the evening. A great evening has been spoilt by the entertainment being too loud – so manage the artiste!

• Get as much advice and help from the venue as possible. They are experts at their venue and might have some great ideas.

Corporate entertainment is an invaluable way of developing business relationships. At this time when people are cutting back, it is an ideal time to increase client hospitality to stand out from the crowd. Good entertainment is not about spending huge amounts of money, but taking care with the details, so that your clients have a positive experience and you, as a company, present yourself well. Good luck!

Susan Heaton Wright
http://www.nsn-productions.com Live music solutions 0844 576 3015

Susan Heaton Wright
Associate Director
NSN Productions Limited
0844 576 3015

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Susan_Heaton-Wright/566327

 

The Psychology of Entertainment

Entertainment is an experience most sought after and enjoyed by all of us. But the question is; what is its psychological cause? Why do human society, across all cultures and periods enjoy and seek out entertainment? Why is entertainment so important? Why people from all spheres of life want to be entertained and find the experience so satisfying.

First of all, let us define entertainment. Entertainment can be defined as any activity, which allows people to entertain themselves in their spare time. Entertainment generally is passive, such as watching movie, T.V shows, live theatre, etc., etc. Active forms of entertainment such as sports are more often considered to be recreation. Actions such as book reading or playing musical instruments are regarded as hobbies. Various forms of entertainment are theatre, cinema, dance shows, social dance, parties, sports and games. Entertainment such as puppet shows, clowns, mimes and cartoons are likely to be attractive to children.

Human nature is an escapist nature. We need an escape from real life. We need to feed our fantasies. Entertainment takes us to an altered world of our liking and fulfils our want for fantasy and an escape from real life tedium. Entertainment transfers us to a world of fantasy, and we remain immersed as part of this alternate realism. This is especially true for media entertainment such as music, theatre and films.

Entertainment conditions our values, behaviour and thinking. This is especially true in case of media entertainment such as T.V and movies, which provide potent touching experiences. Our emotions powerfully influence our actions in ways that remain outside of our control and cognizance. Hence, it is very possible to be influenced by entertainment unconsciously. Humans are rational beings but emotions compel us to do things that are unreasonable. Enjoyment of entertainment switches us from the initial phases of interest to emotional connection and finally to addiction stage.

Entertainment triggers complicated psychological processes in the human brain. For example, a man may be in love with a girl, whom he cannot achieve in real life, so he may fall in love with an actress in a movie who may resemble his dream girl.

Let us take one more example. Nowadays, there is an increasing alarm over the effects of violence on T.V. So, what are the negative effects? Does this violence on TV lead to an increase in violence in the real world? Studies show that it is true. There is lots of evidence that the violence shown on TV increases the violent tendencies in children. These shows will not suddenly transform a peaceful child into a violent child, but it can make the violence-prone children more disposed to play out their natural tendencies.

By and large, entertainment elevates values we might not consciously approve, but which are, nevertheless, very important to us and call for mental stimulation. This doesn’t mean that entertainment is bad for human beings. We can surely benefit from a deep and clear understanding of how entertainment in real life, affects our experience and emotions.

Kingdom of Dreams offers a complete entertainment package including musicals, live shows [http://www.kingdomofdreams.co.in/], Indian cuisine, handicrafts and whirlwind of Indian dances.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Rao_Praveen/640285

 

Entertainment Web Templates – Best of Features For Online Mass Amusement

Entertainment industry is on high and it will remain high and growing at a faster pace. The daily hustle bustle is eternal in human life. To divert the attention or to get a few minutes of joy, people like to be entertained. Here our subject of discussion is entertainment templates and how these can be used more effectively to keep people engaged online with entertainment. There are no exact features for entertainment web templates.

Now let us see some of the unique features that can easily be presented in entertainment templates. These features make the entertainment web templates worth entertaining.

  • The use of color and graphics in the entertainment templates need to be dazzling and attractive. The colors attract the visitors. At the same time graphics must mach the color effects and visually draw attention.
  • The layouts of all entertainment web templates need be to out of conventional structure. People get bored to see the conventional website structures. They may not be able to differentiate the entertaining site with other sites, if the structure is almost the same.
  • Dynamic effects in different parts of the templates will draw the attention. A flash header or small JavaScript (may be 3D) effects in different parts of the entertainment templates will draw the attention towards a site.
  • Top and best of services must the get best position to be highlighted in entertainment web templates. With news panels, event calendars or any means people must know what is entertaining with your service!
  • There has to be place for videos and media players, these are engaging. If there is places in the entertainment templates for these things, people will find the site worth engaging. You could also ask them to be members of your site for using these applications.
  • The entertainment web templates should also provide provision for showing advertisements. This not only lets you earn some money, people get to know about the related services. You can also display your related business there.
  • There should be option to highlight the free services in entertainment web templates. Generally all entertainment sites have some free service, download options. In the entertainment templates these need focus.
  • The overall entertainment templates have to be user friendly. Users should effortlessly come across everything they need from you. They should be allowed to search, register, browse through category and everything easily.

These are the common yet must present features for the entertainment templates. Needless to say, that the templates will be completely customization friendly, compatible to any programming need, and SEO friendly too. If you can get all these features in the entertainment web templates of any template shop, hurry up to grab one of them. Buy excellent entertainment web templates at affordable costs. You only mind to find if the resource files (html, PSD etc) are available with the templates.

I am Paul Bank. This article on entertainment web template is to share my practical experience of template designing. I have been in this industry for more than 8 yrs as freelance graphic designer. I hope this article will help you people gain little knowledge on designing aspects. You can visit my template shop to get see some excellent entertainment templates.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Paul_Bank/670146

 

Working With An Entertainment Agency In The New Economy

How an Entertainment Agency works

In addition to writing contracts, making phone calls, sending emails (sometimes 50 a day) an entertainment agent will in the first instance obtain the work, which is in fact, their main role. This has never been so difficult since the post war period. There are occasions when an entertainment agent spends the whole day searching for the right act. Using the example of a sole trader, an entertainment agent’s typical week 40 hr week comprises of:

40%-60% promoting the agency (front page of Google etc) 16-24 hrs

10%-30% dealing with bookings/issues 4-12 hrs

20% responding to enquiries (weeding out time wasters etc) 8 hrs

5% artist registration/maintaining a large artist database 2 hrs

5% Searching for that elusive act 2 hrs

Entertainment Agent Overheads

An entertainment agent has overheads like any business. Here is a list of some of the entertainment agent’s overheads totalling (typically £2000+/year:

• Streamline
• PayPal
• Bank charges
• General office costs – lighting heating stationary PC telephone etc
• Rent/rates
• Broadband costs
• Hosting service/domain name rental/SEO/AdWords
• Petrol – checking out artists/venues
• Membership of FSB etc
• Insurance
• Advertising – yellow pages etc
• Tax return and accounting (no cash for the entertainment agent)

Submitting your Details to an Entertainment Agent

When you submit material do it via post AND email AND text message – that will ensure that your details can be accessed at all times. When submitting pictures/recordings to the entertainment agent supply as many as possible, up to 10 examples is okay, and let the agent make the final choice regarding representation. Most recordings are unusable, so if you are serious about your work leave it to the expert. A weekly/fortnightly date sheet is a good idea (It gets quieter towards the end of the week) as is a gig list on your website. An entertainment agent may use an internet pseudonym to avoid supplying key words to the public domain. There is no such thing as an agent friendly website.

The First Gig for an Entertainment Agent

Getting gigs is hard work so make an impression and don’t rely on the agent to keep getting you through the door. Don’t turn up at the gig without a wad of cards. Arrive early – it looks professional and it’s a good opportunity to break the ice. A Satnav is worth its weight in gold. Entertainment agents don’t like unnecessary phone calls in the evening, especially when their job has already been done. They may rebook because they like you rather than product.

Always discuss the requirement directly well before the booking date, it’s reassuring for the client and allows any fine detail to be buttoned down, E.g. special song, local gags etc. If two sets are required checking with client after first set is a good idea. Adopt a flexible approach. An entertainment agent can’t get work for everyone and will always have their favourite artists and they are not necessarily the most talented but could be the most flexible.

Also remember that the first entertainment agency gig is very important but high risk, so it may not be a big earner. However if all goes well you have initiated what could be a fruitful relationship. If the agent comes along to see the act ask for feedback- he is the only one who will tell you the truth when you in the “zone”. When was the last time your product was reviewed?

Pat Testing of equipment and Public Liability Insurance

This is a requirement mandatory by law and a requirement of all bookings by any entertainment agency, so don’t get caught out. It also looks professional if you can forward the relevant certificates.

How to get on with Entertainment Agents

Ask yourself why you use an estate agent and avoid outmoded clichés like, just one phone call.

The industry is becoming polarised. Established artists are working with established agents, new artists working with the newer “post internet” agents. The entertainment agent wants the service at wholesale prices with a view to competitive retail. If an agent charges:

• 15% commission – you will be one of a 1000
• 20% commission – you will be one of a 100
• 25% commission – you will be one of 10.

Treat every gig as a promotion opportunity. Not getting rebooked on the night is okay. Not getting any enquiries is questionable. It is advisable to have more than one product. E.g. a comedian can be a hypnotism, or magician/clown, an 80s band/soul, Elvis/Ratpack and so on. Make sure your product is commercial and clearly defined. No one will be looking for 6 different tribute acts in one show. Be responsive, agents don’t like answer machines or email responses more than 1 day old. Email on the move is a must have.

In Conclusion

Each gig costs an entertainment agent around £100 to obtain and it generally takes longer to get the gig than to do the show. An agent does not get paid for just brokering the deal; it’s also for marketing the product, establishing hundreds of connections and dealing with interminable dialogues. Technology has changed the industry. Some entertainment agencies are venue led others are internet led. When the recession is over we will be in a new economy with entertainment moving into line with other industries and work slowly migrating towards the more progressive internet driven entertainment agencies.

Copyright Jamie Costello – Steel bands for hire [http://www.steelbands4u.co.uk] – This article is free to publish as long as links remain click-able.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jamie_Costello/742160