Wait…did I really just say that? Don’t waste money hiring a magician? Believe it or not, I give this advice to people more often than you think. But, why in the world would I say this when I make my living being a magician?
I started giving this advice when I started noticing a trend. When people find out I’m a magician, 99% of the time, I get two reactions. I either get, “That’s cool!” or I get, “Oh” followed by a look of disappointment. It doesn’t take a genius to see which of these two people have negative thoughts toward magicians. Here’s another thing I’ve learned…brace yourself…people rarely blame themselves. The few occasions when I can deduce why someone doesn’t like magicians, it usually is because that person or someone they knew hired a subpar magician, or even hired a great one for the wrong occasion, and when they were dissatisfied with the result, they walked away, blaming magicians…not to mention everyone else that attended.
In all seriousness, I believe that a magician (a good one), is the possibly the single greatest form of live entertainment that can be hired. I also believe there are a few precautions you need to take before hiring one. Here are 3 tips for hiring a magician that are simple, yet will keep you thinking positively about the art form.
1. Does a magician suit my event?
This right here can play a major role. I spoke to a lady the other day who asked me if a magician was a good choice of entertainment for 4 year olds. I just reminded her that magic is a twist on reality and at age 4, kids are still learning what reality is. For example, I could do one of the greatest rope tricks in the world, but if I show it to a kid that can’t even tie their own shoe, how is that going to impress them? It would be the same as a math teacher telling me a joke using calculus terms. If they get a laugh out of me, it’s just me being polite. A magician I know in the northeast makes nearly a half million dollars a year doing kids parties and will not perform for a group of kids under the age of 7. So ask yourself, does a magician suit your event?
Now, maybe a magician does suit your event, but the services they provide need to be very specific. I frequently get calls to perform at weddings. Not a thing in the world wrong with that, as long as it’s kept in the proper perspective. When I perform at a wedding, first and foremost, I know that the bride is the star and not me. So, when I’m asked to perform a show at a wedding reception, I’ll oblige to an extent and do 10-15 minute show, highlighting the bride and groom as much as possible. However, I’m mainly going to mingle with the crowd. My job at a wedding reception is simply to enhance it for some people by making them laugh. The last thing in the world I’m there to do is take the spotlight. I’ve seen it happen with other entertainers before and it was a really awkward situation.
Keep in mind that a professional is going to be able to make these suggestions for you. There’s no kind of entertainer I respect more than one that will not accept a job because he either feels he’s not qualified or it’s not the right event for that type of entertainment. That brings me to the next tip.
2. Do you have the budget for a good magician?
This is going to require you to be honest with yourself. The worst thing that can happen is someone compromising their budget for a magician. I know you’ve heard the expression “You get what you pay for.” I have yet to see another form of entertainment be a better example of that statement. If someone doesn’t have the budget for a good magician, the last thing in the world they need to do is hire a cheap one. What a terrible feeling to spend your whole entertainment budget and be extremely disappointed in the end. I’m never afraid to advise someone not to hire a magician. Most people are appreciative when they hear why. Others may be a little disappointed, but I’m famous for saying (or should be), “Five minutes into the show, you’ll understand why they charge the amount they charge.”
If you want another reference for cost, I’ve outlined what I believe good magicians should cost that you can read here: How Much Does a Magician Cost?
3. Quick research can save you!
Don’t be afraid to do a quick search on the internet. You can find everything from checking reviews of performers to even asking Google if a magician is right for your event. Just remember (and I know you know this), don’t just get one opinion. Find the consensus from a few people.
If you’re reading this and you’ve had a bad experience with magicians in the past, I can only ask you to give it one more chance by taking these 3 tips into account. I don’t expect to turn you around 180 degrees about your thoughts on magicians, but if I could get you to at least put on the breaks, I feel that’s a good start.