You have been practicing your magic tricks, building up your knowledge and performing for your family and friends. What now? Magic is a great hobby and most people are happy to enjoy performing as a recreational activity. But what if you want to take the next step and perform your magic tricks for money to the paying public.
- Where are you going to perform?
- What are you going to charge?
- How will you approach venues?
The answers to these questions are critical to your success as a working close up magician, yet they never seem to be covered in the instructions that come with the magic tricks you purchase.
It’s a catch 22 situation. The working magicians have gradually built up their knowledge of the business side of magic. There is no motivation to train fellow magicians in these techniques, sometimes as a result of fear that it will result in more competition in their working area. The more a magician learns about this side of the business, the less likely they will be to willingly teach others and lose their competitive edge.
However, lack of this knowledge can cause beginners to pitch to clients in a very unprofessional way.
Here are four quick tips:
1) Don’t just cold call a restaurant or venue, dressed in your performing outfit and insist on showing the manager your magic tricks.
Chances are the events manager is very busy and to have to stop everything to watch your audition is the last thing they need. Make contact first by letter, then follow up with a telephone call to make an appointment.
2) Check if a magician is already working at the venue.
If you undercut a magician already working at the venue, it may make you look cheap and create a bad name for you in your area amongst the working professionals. Magic has its own network and news of bad practice like this spreads very fast. Many agents and venues have long term relationships with their performers, and a bad word about you, will destroy trust, and you may lose work in the long term.
3) Don’t work for free.
It may be tempting to take on bookings for free of a token payment, as you feel you don’t have the experience. Once you start this process, it’s almost impossible to persuade the client to begin paying you a normal rate. After all, they know there are magicians out there happy to work for nothing. Instead, show the client how you can build value for their business with a tester booking (at your normal rate) with a promise of a reduction, should they wish to give you regular work.
4) Assume they will not remember you.
Magic has a strange effect on people. A magician can totally amaze a group of spectators, show them the magic that makes their jaw drop and blows them away. Then 30 minutes later, none of the group will remember the performer’s name! There are several psychological theories to explain this phenomenon, but the practical implications for the magician mean you need to remind them who you were AFTER the performance. The cure is very easy: Give out business cards as much as possible!
Those are a few common mistakes, but what’s the right way to get gigs and market your magic skills? We asked one of the busiest full time professional magician’s we work with, Sean Heydon to provide a step by step guide to setting up your magic business and starting to perform magic tricks for money. It covers a huge range of practical steps, templates and tips to get you up and running as a working magician. After all, what is all the practice you have been doing for, if you don’t take it to the next level?