How to Choose a Magician                                                                                                 
1. COMMON SENSE: Like choosing other professionals, selecting a magician is left to your common sense.
You may discover that the magician has been "doing magic" for over 20 years (but maybe your show is the
performer’s first professional engagement.The promotional material you received is top-notch (but maybe
the magician has a good "day job" and can afford a slick press kit). The magician may belong to an
exclusive magician’s club (but this may only mean that the magician paid the required dues). On the other
hand, these three credentials may belong to a highly qualified professional entertainer. Consider many of
the items which follow, ask questions and use your best judgment!

2. THE RIGHT KIND OF MAGICIAN FOR YOU: There are different magic specialties. Find a performer with the
skills needed for your engagement. Some magicians have only one specialty: some may perform several
types of magic. If a magician's promotional material shouts "kids-kids-kids" you might want to be cautious
when considering the performer for an adult banquet.
a. Children's Magic is a branch of magic using tricks especially designed for kids. If you're hiring someone for a children's party make sure that the act will be suited for the age group. There are big differences between ages 5, 10 and 15. It’s not that one group is more difficult to entertain; the selection of magic tricks just needs to be different. Your magician should be able to discuss that with you.

b. Close-up or Walk-around magic is perfect for mixers before banquets, for receptions, for grand openings, trade shows, and occasions where a stage performance is not wanted. The intimate nature of the magic (right under their noses) adds a powerful element to the performance.

c. Stage Shows are referred to by magicians using different names: Stage Show, Illusion Show, Parlor Magic. Stage and Illusion shows are for larger audiences and may involve Las Vegas style illusions. Parlor magic is a show for a smaller audience, for example a private party in a home, and involves smaller magic.

d. Comedy Magic is presented by a magician specializing in tricks with comedy appeal. Normally, all magic specialties are likely to incorporate some comedy. A good comedy magician will come closer to what you might expect from a good comedian in terms of laughter value.

e. Silent Act. This might include things like doves and other magic set to music. This is ideal for cross-cultural audiences where many non-English speaking people are in attendance.

f. Gospel Magic incorporates magic with a religious message and is often performed for church banquets and Sunday school classes.
3. FEES: There is normally a correlation between a performer's fee and the quality of the program. You
would never think that a $3000 car might be similar to a $30,000 car. Just the same, you wouldn’t
think that a $100 magician might be similar to a $1000 magician. You normally get what you pay for.
And consider this: What you pay for a magician is normally a small fraction of what you pay for the
meal at a banquet and the entertainment is probably far MORE important than the meal. You often
pay 10 times more for the meal than for the entertainer (on a per capita basis), when in fact the
evening’s program is probably 10 times more important than the meal. Consider the true value-per-
person-attending when deciding on your entertainment investment.

4. PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS: A good way to select a magician is to request a press kit from every
magician you're considering and compare them. Normally,
the more professional the press kit, the more professional the magician. Press kits may include
brochures, photos, articles, testimonials, client listings and more. The more professional the performer,
the more likely that a press kit will be available.

5. INTERNET WEB SITE: If the performer has one, the web site will give you an instant "brochure" which
may help you make a decision. This is especially valuable if your decision time frame is short.
6. TESTIMONIALS: Testimonials may give you an indication of quality. You could ask for the names and
phone numbers of three recent clients (who had the kind of program you need). Call them and ask
questions. Read between the lines and listen for genuine enthusiasm in their voice when talking about
their experience with the performer.

7. VIDEO TAPES: You’ll find that most magicians do not have demonstration tapes. However, the more
professional the magician the more likely that a video preview tape will be available. The video tape
will never be YOUR exact program, but watch the tape for genuine audience response and performing
style. Look for a demonstration tape before a live audience with no canned laughter.

8. VIEW A PERFORMANCE: It might be possible to watch the magician in a live performance before
hiring. Although this is not often possible, you could ask. Most magicians will not "audition" for a single-
date performance, but you might be able to attend someone else’s program. Some magicians
perform a regular schedule at restaurants and clubs and previewing them will be easy.
9. PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS: The fact that a magician is a member of a Magic Association or the
Chamber of Commerce may indicate a level of commitment to the art and business. However, this
may or may not have a relationship to the quality of their performance.

10. AWARDS: This is somewhat like the category of professional affiliations. Although awards are normally
a good flag, you just never know the true significance of the award received by the performer. Some
awards are highly significant and others may be of minor importance.

11. PERFORMER’S EXPERIENCE: How long has the performer been practicing magic? Does the magician
perform full-time (earning a living as a performer) or part-time (with a full-time day job)? These
considerations may or may not have a great impact on the quality of the performance. Some very
young performers are actually very skilled performers.

12. CLEAN MATERIAL: You may be concerned about the "G-rated" nature of the material. Talk to the
performer about your concerns about program content (sexual, bodily function, racial or religious jokes,
for example).

13. CUSTOMIZATION: While talking with the magician, you may get a feel for the customization skills of
the entertainer. What kind of questions is the performer asking YOU about the audience? Is the
magician wanting you to provide "inside information" about the audience in advance of the
program? Not every act needs customization but some performers specialize in adding this personal

14. PERFORMANCE SPACE SETUP: Ask the magician what you will need to provide at the meeting
venue: Risers/platform, sound system, lighting, etc. Find out how much space the magician will need,
as many of them use a large number of props. Ensure that someone else, a band for example, does not
set up in the space reserved for the magician. Beware of tall centerpieces (balloons, for example) as
they will block the view of many in the audience.

15. AGENT: Using an agent will normally ensure that you get a quality program. Agents will not take a
risk on a questionable, non-proven performer. In essence they screen the magicians for you. Using an
agent's services may cost you more (this varies from agent to agent), but may be worth it for the piece
of mind.

16. GUARANTEES: You will probably not see the word "guarantee" on the magician's promotional
material. Will they guarantee your satisfaction? You could ask them. For the true professional a
guarantee is a no-risk proposition.

Designed by satish deshmukh
Copyright @ satishdeshmukh & associates 2014

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