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September 11 2009 at 9:56 AM

from IP address

I asked this poll on my facebook page... I'll post it here for discussion also:

POLL FOR ENTERTAINERS: In general do you think gigs have slowed down, stayed about the same, or increased in the last 6 months?

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Tony Borders


September 11 2009, 1:05 PM 

To answer your question I would have to say, "Yes."

Magic Montana Santa


September 11 2009, 10:27 PM 

Without a doubt


September 12 2009, 7:33 AM 

For me, my shows have almost doubled. Last year from April through September, I had a total of 14 shows. This year for the same period as of today, I have 23 shows. Nothing has changed as far as advertising goes. I am now starting my 3rd. year since advertising. So far I have 4 shows booked for October compared to 3 shows last year.
Living down south, near New Orleans, we are not affected by the recession as much as some areas. We have no fortune 500 companies, and no real manufacturing companies. I think unemployment is running less then the national average here.

Tony Borders

6 months

September 12 2009, 11:19 AM 

The fair call is to compare April thru September of this year compared to the same period last year. Mine is less, however, I am seeing fewer "no's" on birthday calls lately. (I never decreased my price.)

I have lowered my price on schools and I'm discussing it more with churches. Schools have a list of 50 people they are calling and I know that many may have lowered their fee, so I need to do so to stay current. BUT I can let them know that it is a one year only price.

Here is the BIG picture. Stocks have shot up since March in the U.S.A. and real estate MAY have bottomed out. There is a LOT of cash sitting out there as people waited to see what was going to happen. Loads of cash works great for entertainers. However, there are also companies and individuals that have NO cash and have plummeted lower than ever expected financially. NOT good for entertainers. The key is knowing who is who. I won't do well marketing to schools at regular price because the states lost money. I may do fine marketing to seniors because they cashed in their stocks.

The BEST way to get schools would be through a grant. If you can find a grant writer who charges nothing up front, but writes his/her fee into the proposal I'd highly recommend that. I don't know if such a person exists but....

Churches have been hit pretty hard as well, BUT... with staff layoffs they have cut their expenses. As offerings go back up they should start finding that they have more excess than before for outreaches. Be ready to offer more in the planning stages. (Ex. I can lead worship AND do the teaching for the kids' crusade.)

Libraries always saved pennies so they seemed to be the least affected. They got money for performers from book sales and chances are they sold more books during the last year as people looked for a cheaper source of entertainment. Thus, contact the local librarian and ask for the best way to let the county libraries know of your program. Do they have a showcase each year? Is there a suggested list of entertainers? Is there one person who books for the whole county? You could even ask what their typical fee range is. It probably doesn't vary much.

Gotta go! I have a one year old birthday party (I have more of those than any other age!) and a six year old (who has a 12 year old brother). Wow! Quite an age range today!

Tony Borders

Offer entertainment fundraisers

September 12 2009, 9:22 PM 

It isn't a new idea, but I think the market has drastically increased. Offer your entertainment services as a fundraiser. You can do this in a few different ways. I will use a school as an example.

1. You come on a school day and hold an assembly for free and ask the students to come back that night for a paid show. If you live locally and don't have too much set up you can even come back a week later. Have the students sell the tickets. You will keep the first x amount of dollars that come in and split the rest with the school.

2. You skip the free show but send a 5 to 10 minute video to show in each class. (A few videos can be passed around.) The classes sell the tickets.

3. Find out which class or grade level has a big need for funds, for a fieldtrip or camping trip. Offer to split the ticket income with them if they do all the selling. That class gets to keep their half. The school MAY even let you do this during the school day but its doubtful.

4. For churches you can have a Missions "banquet" with pizza and puppets for a certain amount. Spaghetti is a cheap meal to make and an easy sell. Again you would split the proceeds and the rest would go to missions.


September 13 2009, 1:42 PM 

I had over 50 replies to the poll on Facebook and some from this forum....

Okay thanks so much for all the feedback to my Entertainment Poll about the gigs and the economy. Things are slow but some are finding it tougher than others. I'm thinking about better ways to help. Axtell Expressions has been blessed with survival in these tough times while so many companies are having to close their doors. We need to help more than we are. Thinking and praying today...ideas welcome...

Tony Borders


September 13 2009, 3:20 PM 

Many stores have helped consumers by going back to the "layaway" plan. People want something for the future, but don't want to pay credit card costs right now, so they can pay a percentage (20% or so) with a plan to pay by Christmas or whenever. (Early enough for the company to balance their books for the year.) That might be helpful for Axtell customers as well.

Tony Borders

Vinyl friends

September 13 2009, 3:24 PM 

Any possiblities of more vinyl puppets in the future? The Amazing Apes series were an AMAZING deal, especially in vinyl. The vinyl Vern is a fabulous feathered option right now.

Chris Wintter


February 20 2010, 5:49 PM 

Steve, Do you still have a layaway? If so what are the details? I know 20% down, but then what?


February 20 2010, 6:11 PM 

Chris, being that you are a loyal customer with a purchase history we can work with you, but send me a private email and let me know what you need. Ax

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