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David Pibworth | The Blog


Celebrities: Are They Really Worth Booking?

For your summer fete or an after-dinner speech ...



One of my the areas I used to work in was getting celebrities for appearances and after-dinner speaking. It was quite a hassle, as many 'celebs' are protected from direct enquiries by agents or managers ...

If you want to book celebrities for your event, I may be able to help you.

If you want to book celebrities for your event, I may be able to help you.

copyright: tommasolizzul / 123rf stock photo

I suppose that's fair enough as the amount of enquiries they get are unbelievable. The art of getting someone to agree to show up is by having contact with their PR people as well as managers.

A manager or agent will look at how much money the celeb can get, which makes the 15-20% fee for the manager worthwhile. PR people don't quite work like that as they are looking for opportunities that lead to exposure, and therefore more money in the long run.

I got slightly weary of it as I'd get people saying "Do you think Michael Caine would open our fete in Biggleswade? It would only be half an hour of his time?" In the end, I would say something like, "Well, I suppose if you flew him into Luton, first class return, from the USA, and had him picked up by taxi, and then taken back again, he may consider it, so lets push that past his people and see what they say, and then move on to his appearance fee. What date was it again?"

Then I would get the ones who asked if someone like Ian Hislop was available to do an after-dinner speech. I would enquire as to the date and venue, and they would say "Oh, we don't know yet". And so it went on.

Anyway, as we have everything jollying along at David Pibworth Productions, with the stage hire, script representation, and the magic website all running well, I thought I might go into it again. After all, I do have the PR contacts of just about everyone who are happy to do 'Celeb' work or after-dinner speaking.

The delicate area is making initial contact, and I can do that, so at least if you give me a date and various people you are interested in, we can narrow down who is available.

Last year, an event organiser had been promised Al Murray by an after-dinner speaking agency and they happened to mention it to me. I soon found out that Al Murray was in Australia and wouldn't possibly be available, and so saved them a lot of time.

They got back to the agency who then admitted that they hadn't checked his availability and offered them someone else. How long would they have had to wait if I hadn't checked it out? That company now uses me to check availibility, and I get them the most direct contact for the person they wish to use.

So I don't book them, but I do the groundwork, and then you can book them and deal directly with the fee and arrangements knowing that they are available and aware of exactly what the event is.

I obviously will charge a fee for this, but most certainly not a percentage of the artiste's fee, which is what many try to do, usually by adding 15% on top which is often already a huge amount.

So there you have it. I'm back in the celebrities business again and if you want any info, then call me on 01234 241357 or click here to send me an email and let's see how I can help you.

Until next time ...


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More about David Pibworth ...

David is the owner of David Pibworth Productions (DPP) which provide corporate entertainment and also actors for corporate training and development.

Having worked in the Light Entertainment field for many years and produced shows for Al Murray & Joe Pasquale amongst others, David is in a position to advise on well-known comedy and musical acts. DPP also represent Ray Galton and Alan Simpson's scripts which include Hancock's Half Hour and Steptoe and Son.

He is the director of MK Theatre of Comedy who are very well known locally for their stage adaptations of classic comedy scripts such as Fawlty Towers, The Vicar of Dibley, Allo Allo and many others.

He is a long-standing member of Equity and the Directors Guild of Great Britain and has acted in, and directed, many productions over the years, mainly in Light Entertainment, but with occasional forays into Shakespeare etc. Every Christmas he is contracted as an Ugly Sister in Cinderella, currently with 'That's Entertainment' who also use him as a director.

He teaches eccentric magic for The Pauline Quirke Academy and MKTOC also run a youth drama school in Olney from the DPP offices.

David maintains his busy lifestyle is a surefire way to avoid being on any committees. He is married to Julie, and they have one daughter, Esther and live in Clifton Reynes, surrounded by dogs, cats and horses. They live so close to the church that David has instructed his daughter - when he dies and not before - to fire him over the wall from a circus cannon.