Hiring the best entertainer for your library summer reading program is easy when you consider the below 10 tips. My name is Gerry Thompson, also known as Gerry The Great. I am one of the top magicians in South Carolina. While I would love to be considered for your next event, my real goal here is simple – to give you some good advice to consider before hiring an entertainer for your next library children program.
Here are 10 tips for things you should consider:
#1 Background Check the performer!!! Every industry has one bad apple that can ruin the experience for everyone. So make sure you performer has a real name and always at least Google their name, even better do a complete background check. Also please do not judge the magic community by these bad apples, they do not reflect the reason most children entertainers do what we do, we love performing for kids!
#2 Any Guarantee? Testimonials can be misleading, and are selected by the performer. Do they offer a 100% guarantee that if you aren’t happy, you don’t pay? I have seen entertainers trying to maximize their dollars by charging you the max and getting in and out with no care for the kids. A money back guarantee can show they are committed to making your event the best it can be.
#3 Make sure you find the right entertainer for your event. For example, I specialize in family type entertainment, I love doing library shows in front of children and their parents, and it energizes me. Some entertainers are not a good fit for summer reading programs. Entertaining children is as much about the stories, interaction, and fun as it is about incredible magic and props. I know some entertainers that will tell you they do library shows, but they may just perform a generic magic show, they do not connect with the children! Some do corporate magic or walk around magic for adults and they do not know how to connect with children at all. Some entertainers can do a little bit of everything. Be sure that the entertainer you hire for your library program is experienced and focused on delivering great kids’ entertainment and education that inspires them to use your library as a resource more often.
#4 What kind of area does the entertainer need for his performance? Can the entertainer do his show in your small library branch and adjust to fit? Large library with a large audience? Are they performing indoors or outdoors? I don’t use power cords for example, my sound system is run by a battery and was built specifically so children wont trip on any cords.
#5 Ask what the show is like. Do they says they connect with the kids, have a well defined scripted beginning, middle and ending that is all designed to inspire your children to use their library to learn and have fun. Be sure to ask how the entertainer will engage the crowd and make it special for your customers.
#6 Go for the highest quality performer you can afford. There is a huge difference between an amateur entertainer/hobbyist and a professional library performer. Do they have a themed show that ties into to your objectives? An amateur or hobbyist might have a few tricks that he does well, probably has a love for magic and feels he can just do them in a row and make a show. However, a professional entertainer studies his or her craft, building his repertoire of tricks and illusions over years. And a professional entertainer works hard to perfect storytelling skills, timing, comedic flare, and connecting with the audience. Professional entertainers belong to professional organizations, perform regularly and treat their library shows as a business.
#7 Ask some questions. Professional magicians invest in their business by:
- Carrying insurance
- Having professional grade equipment and tricks
- Professional websites and marketing
- Belonging to professional entertainment organizations
- Actively studying, building, and practicing their craft
#8 Just like any other professional service you would hire, looking for discounts and cheap alternatives could be a sure fire way to end up disappointed.
#9 Look for inexpensive resources to really make the program day great. There are great free items on the Internet, look around and use them. For example, have some fun games ready to play if they arrive early.
#10 Do they offer “stress free” programs or is it going to be a hassle hiring them. Make sure their processes are easy. Do they invoice quickly? Do they provide posters as soon as you book them? Do they ask for lots of help and needs to get the show done? If they need a lot of help from you, find someone else. A true professional will invoice quickly, provide posters and marketing help, and let you know right off that they are in charge during the show… and you can take a break!
I hope these tips will help you in your search for the best kids’ entertainer for your library’s summer reading program.
Gerry the Great (Gerry Thompson) is a Myrtle Beach area magician that has done hundreds of shows for children ever since his first paid magic show at the age of twelve. He is a member of The Fellowship Of Christian Magicians and The International Brotherhood of Magicians. Find more about Gerry the Great and his company at gerrythegreat.com.