Professional London magician Alan Hudson recently published a great presentation idea for working magicians: The Secret Room.
Close up magicians don't tend to like very small parties. Most walk around magicians have a small range of working magic tricks that have been carefully built into well crafted and paced 'sets'. The magician mixes with the guests and works through a set with each small group. This works well for table magic, or strolling through a large number of people that are gathered together in groups. However, it's a different story when a walk-around magician needs to work with a small party. Here's a few problems that often occur with small guest counts:
- All the guests may be together in one large circle, or banquet table.
- There are so few guests that everyone sees the magic at the same time.
- The guests mix groups continually, so each group contains people that have already seen you perform.
- The event has a lot of interruptions, awards, speeches or games planned to run through the whole event.
- This new way of presenting your magic is a great way to fix many of the issues that small groups throw at close up magicians.
What is a Magicians Secret Room?
The Secret room is a great way to offer something unique to a client hosting a small party that has less than 100 guests. A private room is allocated as The Secret Room. Alternatively, a special small marquee is set up as The Secret Room. Throughout the event, small groups of guests are invited to enter The Secret Room and discover it's secret. Either the client picks people through the event, or everyone gets a ticket with their allocated time to enter.
The guests are not told what they will find in the Secret Room. This builds excitement, anticipation and curiosity, three things that really help create a buzz, and talking point.
Inside The Secret Room.
At their allocated time, a small group of guests (Between 4-12 depending on the size of the guest list) enter the Secret Room and discover a magician waiting for them inside.
They then receive a 10-15 minute close up magic show just for them. This would be an expanded set that the magician would normally perform during close up walk around magic. However, due to the controlled conditions and lack of interruption, the set can contain magic tricks that would not normally be ideal to perform strolling. The magic is performed in a perfect setting, free from interruptions, noise, and distraction. The experience is much more exciting for the spectators and liberating for the magician. It's like a mini magic theatre set up in the party venue.
After the show, the guests are asked to keep the secret, and not tell anyone about what they found inside the room. That's great fun for the guests, creates a buzz and a surprise for the rest of the guests.
Why The Secret Room works so well.
- The guests receive a private and unique show.
- All the guests take part, so everyone gets to see the magic.
- The magician has control of the situation and can perform magic tricks without the restrictions of pocket space, lighting, sound levels and large group dynamics.
- The magic doesn't get interrupted by guests suddenly joining or leaving the group.
- The client can build a buzz about the feature event. A secret room pushes the magician as the feature event of the evening.
Building magic packages.
Alan Hudson's idea of the Secret Room is an excellent example of thinking outside the box about the way you present your magic commercially. The Secret room can be marketed to cleints that might otherwise struggle to build magic into their event. The room can be a conference room at a hotel, the dinning room in a private house, or even a custom tent supplied by the magician. It can be a bolt on service supplied by an agent, or a feature marketing package for independent magicians. Most magicians constantly search for magic tricks that will fit their working conditions, rather than looking at ways to change the conditions instead. Alan has taken all of the disadvantages of walk-around close up magic and found a way to remove them. He has an entertaining way of defining his own working conditions for his magic tricks. The Secret Room combines mix and mingle magic with a parlor show, in a package that can be marketed to almost any event. It's a great example of the ingenuity magicians mainly apply to creating magic tricks, being turned onto the commercial presentation of magic to the public.
Make a list of all the 'problems' you face when you perform magic to the public. What aspects of performance in the real world do you dislike, or feel could be improved? Think about ways to present the magic in new formats that would solve those issues. Could these new ways of presenting magic be appealing commercially? By changing how you present your magic, could you solve problems that both yourself as a performer, and your client face together?
About Alan Hudson
Alan Hudson is one of the UK's leading close magicians for both corporate and private events. As well as close up magic, he offers a great stand up comedy cabaret show featuring mind reading, magic and stand up comedy. Find out more about Alan and read his excellent blog here