Getting a first gig is probably one of the biggest leaps you will make when trying to move your newly found art and interest to the big wide world, it’s a nerve racking experience as you are about to show the world what you are capable of in a paid environment.
Getting a magic gig.
The first obstacle is actually getting your first magic gig. There are various ways that this can be accomplished, but I will share the route that I took that got me started. The first key to this is everyone likes a freebie. It’s a known fact that people will always like something for nothing. This can be used to your advantage in terms of getting yourself through the door and recognised be it in either a restaurant, bar or club. By offering to work a night or two for free so the manager can see the type of reactions that can be achieved and also hear the feedback it creates, this puts you in a great situation and doesn’t place the owner under any pressure. If the manager likes you, he will hire you, if he doesn’t think it suits the venue then he hasn’t lost anything, by offering a couple of free nights as a test, the owner will find it hard to refuse, I mean who’s going to turn down free entertainment that will keep customers happy?
I remember when I first started out performing professionally there were a few things I learn’t along the way that I wish I had been told about or wish I had come across, and that was about ignoring what is right for others. Too many magicians base themselves on other performers, be it David Blaine, Criss Angel etc. There are too many clones floating about. When I first started out, Blaine was all the rage, and many of the magic tricks he was performing I was too, but it got to a point where so many people were starting to point this out to me “wow I saw David Blaine do that” This is what I wanted to get away from, and so by developing my own style, this bold deceptive side of me was born. This is the style I have continued through my career.
Try something new
Which magic tricks to perform when you get to an event is always the question on everyone’s mind. For me personally, pretty much everything I do is done with a normal deck of playing cards, I have never been a huge fan of gaffs etc. My advice on this would be to perform what ever you are comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to try something new at each gig, if you have something you’ve wanted to test out for sometime, go for it! These are the best environments to give these things a go. I can’t stress enough, always have an out that can be adapted to any trick. This way, if you do attempt something you’ve never done before and things do go pear shaped you can still recover.
Routine building is always made a big issue with working magicians, and I have never understood why? I have always enjoyed what many magicians call JAZZ magic, which basically means performing off the cuff with no routine, this I feel keeps the magic fresh, and you will also discover new ideas to add to existing plots. Jazz magic also keeps your performance exciting for YOU, and I feel this is really important. I cant think of anything worse than performing the same effects over and over again throughout an evening YAWN…… Yes have a few tricks that you may use at each table, but also throw stuff in material that’s different. I love making it up on the spot and playing with a few moves. I have met a few magicians in my time that I have felt have been programmed to do a certain set of tricks, and the thought of changing something within that routine throws them into a spin and eventually impacts there performance….. Keep it BOLD my friends!
1) Rus gives us some great advice here. He contacted local business owners and proposed a free trial. The key here, is that it was just a trial, so both parties understood that a normal fee would be expected if his services proved to be a positive move for the venue. Make a list, right now of venues close to you, that you could approach to offer a free trial of your magic.
2) Finding your own style is important and Rus, quite rightly, warns that it’s far too easy to become a clone. Ordering and learning tricks from famous magicians is fine, but find a way to present them in your own style. A copy of something will never be the best, even if it is much better, it will always be considered second place.
3) Rus suggests that you jazz your magic. Although the MoM team disagrees with this, we do understand it works well for Rus. It’s an individual talent, and if you can perform consistently well every time without a plan or structure, it can set you apart from the competition. We recommend that beginners structure and script their act FIRST. This gives them something to fall back on, when unexpected things happen at a gig. We would love to know your thought on this subject in the comments section below.
About Magician Rus Andrews
Rus is a seasoned performer and magic creator. His magic routines and tricks are performed worldwide by many of the top names in close-up magic. You can find out more about his published works in the Rus Andrews section.