Mark asked for help finding an agent or entertainment agency that provides work for magicians.
'I am trying to get an agent. I have a pretty good website, but I don't know how to go about making a magicians show reel. I have a resume that my magic teacher made for me, and I think it looks pretty good. I really don't have much experience performing professionally, but I have performed magic at several weddings. Please can you give me some advice and guidelines to contacting entertainment agents or getting discovered.'
Well done on building up your magic training to the point where you want to make the next big step and start performing magic for the public on a commercial basis!
The next step is to start building relationships with either a single 'management agent' or a collection of entertainment agents. Let's look at some ways to get started:
Create a list
A quick Google search should be your starting point. Start compiling a list of agencies that list acts similar to your own. This is a perfect time to make a note of the average fees for magicians working in your area. Many sites don't show prices, some show a range, and others will give you the specific fees for each performer. This is very useful information, to that you charge the right level of fee for the market you wish to work within.
The difference between and agent and a website advert.
You should note that there is a difference between an agent that will find you work, and a commercial website that charges you a fee for listing an advert on their site. Look for an agent that do not charge you a fee to be included in their artists list. The goal is to be promoted by the agent in return for a cut of the performing fee, rather than simply being charged for a listing on their website.
Walk before you run
Many of the large management companies may be more suitable later on in your magic career. The goal initially is simply to create a list of agencies and get listed on a few. The more prestigious companies may not be interested in working with you right away until they notice you and approach you themselves. Don't worry about aiming at the most prestigious agencies at first. Instead, we will work on getting you noticed by a few general agencies, so you can build up a reputation.
Make it a daily project.
To find a reputable agent in your area, talk to some other magician friends, and research on Google. Most areas of the country have agents that can get you gigs.
Contact an agent each day via email or by post. Give a brief outline of your services, experience, and an invitation to look at your website, showreel and testimonials. Follow up with each agency 7 days after you have made initial contact, to check that they have received your introduction letter and to ask if they have any questions. Don't be a pest, or take up too much of their time. Simply make initial contact, then follow up a week later.
Systematically contacting agents in this way will give you the best chance of one agreeing to discuss giving you work. Basically, it's a numbers game until you hit once that has need of a magician to fill in a gap in your work diary, or that connects with you and decides to give you a go.
Do you need a magicians showreel?
You don't have to have a showreel to be signed by an agent, as long as you have built up some experience and testimonials that prove you 'deliver the goods'.
'I didn't have a showreel for many years, but that didn't stop me getting work. If your website is professional, and you have plenty of performing photographs showing your audience having a great time, that can be enough to start getting work. Over time your reputation becomes far more powerful for getting noticed. Whilst agents do LIKE watching a showreel, it's not going to necessarily break your chances if you don't have one.' – Dominic Reyes
A good showreel can really help you, but a bad showreel can work against you too. You will be judged on the quality of the editing, presentation and footage, just as much as the magic. If you do invest your time and money into making a magicians showreel, make sure it's the best you can make.
Keep getting experience.
Whilst you approach agents in this way, try and get as much experience performing magic as possible. Approach local venues to see if they have need of a magician for an upcoming event. Perform at local community events. Contact local Student film societies or media departments and offer your services to student film makers. Magic is an interesting topic for them, and a great way to build up some footage for a showreel. The more experience you can gain as a magician, the more attractive you'll be to an agent.
Good luck, keep at it, and sooner or later you will get a break and start getting regular work from agencies.