No I'm not referring to Magic Competitions where Magicians are trying to see who's the best by winning awards...I'm talking about your competitors, and not just other magicians. You see we are all competing for the clients dollars, and they only have some much to spend. So regardless of the type of event all clients have a budget, no matter if they say they do or not. All clients have a perceived amount of money they are willing to spend for a service. Now how much they are willing to spend on a magician is certainly effected by how much they have to delegate toward other entertainment, food, decorations, etc. I've never met a client yet that had unlimited funds for an event and I doubt I ever will. So we all need to be conscious of not only what other services our clients need but also what they cost. For Example: If you have worked a deal to send work to a local bakery and they do the same for you. Then you find out your client is looking for someone to bake them a cake for the party this will benefit you because you know 2 things: how much of their budget is going to be spent going to that bakery, and that that bakery is going to keep referring you because you referred them. You see if we all work together toward a common goal everyone wins. I so hate the every man for himself mindset that many competitors have, we gain so much more by working together and I am speaking from experience about this. I have made it a goal to team up with as many competitors as possible, it's a wonderful way of networking, building a positive reputation, and also it helps you grow your brand.
There is one other mindset that is a big issue for me, and that is that most direct competitors feel that you are taking work from them. And this is the farthest thing from the truth, there is more than enough work out there for us all, it's just important to make sure we are building ourselves up and showing the customers value in our business. However the problem is many competitors feel the need to tear down their competition by belittling them, using slander, and bad mouthing their product or service.
I can not tell you how much it disturbs me every time I hear a cell phone, internet service provider, or cable television ad that talks poorly of their competitors service and how they are so much better than the other. This form of advertising is sickening and should be against the law! I feel the same way about one magician talking bad about another...if we just focus on ourselves and build our brand then the clients will see us as who we are. Put yourself in the clients position, would you want to hear how bad someone else is? or would you rather hear how amazing the person your talking to is? And the proof is in the pudding so you need to have evidence that what you say is true...Don't feed your clients with a bunch of fluff, you need video testimonies from actual clients (not paid actors!) I get that in the beginning you may need to fake it until you make it...but keep it ethical and you will be far better off in the end.
Some great examples of how indirect competitors can team up to really enhance their shows is musicians and magicians working together.
Florida Georgia Line did it with Justin Flom
Michael Jackson, Missy Elliot, and Usher all did it with Franz Harary
& One Direction did it with Dynamo
Magic can be an amazing enhancement to a concert and it doesn't have to be with just stage illusions. With Camera Crews the magicians can roam the concert crowds performing closeup magic which is played on the big screen TV's on the stage. This way everyone gets to see the magic that is happening right there in the arena they are in.
It is certainly a dream of mine to be able to do exactly what these other magicians have done as an opening act for some big names in the music industry!
Sugar Scape wrote the following about Dynamo and One Directions Teaming UP:
Picture the scene - you’ve gone to see One Direction on tour, and they take to the stage looking a little different. Harry and Zayn are dressed in sequined leotards with feather headdresses, Louis is sawing Liam in half, Niall is trying his best to pull a meatball subway out of his snapback.
This wonderful dream could soon become a reality by the sounds of it, as awesome magician Dynamo has revealed that the 1D boys have asked him to get involved with their next tour and create a ‘magical spectacular’. AGH.
We’ve always said there’s something a bit magical about One Direction (and not just the fact that Niall looks a bit like a house elf), but apparently they quite fancy taking a proper step into the wizarding world with a bit of help from Dynamo.
According to The Mirror, the boys are in talks with their pal Dynamo, asking him to join them on their next tour and work his magic on their show, after he blew their little socks off during his amazing appearance in the 1D Day shenanigans.
The release of their fourth album, Four, probably means another tour is being pencilled in somewhere, and Dynamo revealed: “The 1D boys in the past have talked to me about creating some magical spectacular incorporating my magic with their tours, that would be amazing.”
It sounds like the 1D boys might be levitating by their ankles, pulling pigeons out of their pants and finding your secret 4 of clubs card in NO TIME, as Dynamo then added: “There is potential for it in the future.”
We see lights, we see sparkle, we see a whole lot of sequined spandex, and we are VERY EXCITED about this idea.
We’d prefer an appearance from Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Salem the cat, but this would still be quite good.
What do you think then? Would Dynamo be a good addition to a One Direction tour?
I remember my first gig like it was yesterday, it's so hard to believe I have been in the entertainment industry for 2 decades! My very first paid event was in Martinsville, Virginia at Texas Steak House for my cousin Blake's Birthday Party. My aunt asked me if I would dress up as Ziggy The Clown and entertain the family. I was 15 years old and a high school student at Carlisle which is a private school in Martinsville, VA. I can tell you it wasn't easy being a teenager and a clown, I didn't have many friends that understood why I was so passionate about clowning...But I didn't care! I knew I loved performing and I was making $20/hour as a 15 year old kid, so others may have thought I was weird. But hey, I was laughing all the way to the bank as it sure beats working at McDonald's, and not to mention I WAS LOVING IT! Ba-Da-Ba-Ba-Ba...
I can say that I couldn't have done it without the love and support I received from my Nana, may she rest in peace...Nana was my rock, she was my closest friend, I talked to my Nana every day sometimes 3 or 4 times a day. She was always there for me, when I couldn't drive she'd drive me to my events and wait for me while I put on clown magic shows. If I needed a costume sewn she'd drive me to a seamstresses house who was a friend of hers. If I wanted to go to the magic show to buy some new tricks she'd drive me to either Greensboro, NC to Brenda's Magic Show Run by Brenda and Toby (who were also clowns). Or She would drive me to Roanoke, VA to the Magic Connection in Towers Mall run by Mark Fuller. Nana never though of me as a weird kid that like to wear makeup and dress up in funny clothes. No, she had the highest respect for what I was doing and told everyone she would meet all about her grandson: Ziggy. I think my Nana called me Ziggy more than she did Aaron. She would save every newspaper article, she had shoe boxes filled with hundred of photos of Ziggy, that she would all the time bring out to show her company, and she hated having company in her house, so for her to do that really meant she was proud of me! I am so grateful to have had the love and support that she gave me, if it weren't for her I doubt I would be where I am today celebrating 20 years as an entertainer.
I love you Nana, and I miss talking to you more than anything in this world!
-Aaron Clark (The Amazing Ziggy)
As a magician you have to be prepared at any moment to perform a magic trick for a spectator...it never fails, where ever I go I am asked to perform a trick. I'm sure this has a great deal to do with having my business plastered all over the sides of my car promoting my business. So it is to be expected, but I personally have to carry 3 tricks with me where ever I go. Why 3? Well because the first will blow the spectators mind, and of course they are going to say can I see something else. But I have to carry a third for when you meet a potential client and you really need to seal the deal. I will say this is a big issue for my wife considering she is looking forward to spending quality time with me when I'm not working and suddenly I'm approached by a random stranger who wants to see magic. This is always like walking a tight rope as I have to be super careful about when I go ahead and show them a trick, or when I turn them away as I need to focus on my family. I will tell you one of the absolute worst scenarios was we were having dinner as a family and we were all holding hands, heads bowed, and I was saying grace aloud to bless the food to the nourishment of our bodies. We were seated outside near where my car was parked and midway thru my prayer I am interrupted by someone who wants me to show them a magic trick. I could tell my wife was ready to go off on them, so I politely declined and said that I was with my family and we were in the middle of saying grace so it wasn't the best time. Now I can tell you I really had to hold my tongue there as I too wanted to really tell that person how rude they were, but I just asked myself what would Jesus do and I remained calm, giving them the benefit of the doubt that maybe they just didn't notice that we were praying.
I will say having a working knowledge of knowing how to use everyday objects that are pretty much always at an arms reach is very helpful to perform magic on the fly. I can't count the number of times I've been somewhere in a bathing suit by the pool, or at the beach, etc. where someone hears me talking about magic and wants me to perform a trick for them. And I can say majority of the time I will put on a quick show for them and even if I don't have a business card with me I find a way to make sure they know how to get in touch with me. I usually ask them for their business card, so I have a way to contact them, and I do this for anyone I meet who I think might make a great potential client, giving them my card is great, but having theirs is way better! Another way I get their info is when they want to take a photo with me, I ask them if they will text me that photo. Then I have their cell phone number so later I can text them my website and contact info.
There are a lot of great ways to communicate with your clients and potential clients, but I have found that about 90% of the time by texting with my clients I'm able to have a closer relationship with them to where they actually get to know me as a person more so than just a magician they want to hire.
I would love to know what techniques other magician use to communicate with their clients that works the best for them. Do you like using Facebook Messenger? Email? Text? Facetime? Skype? Zoom? or do you prefer to just call them on the phone?
So how do you prepare for when you're not prepared? What tricks do other magicians have as their go to close-up magic trick for fooling an audience when your not working?
Troy Von Scheibner who is a magician in the U.K. wrote a great article titled:
10 things no one tells you about being a magician.
Clean fingernails are essential and you will be poor for many years. Troy explains why the life of a magician is not always magic.
1. You will be the most popular and hounded person at any party
Everyone is compelled to ask to see a trick as soon as you say ‘I’m a magician’. Then, once you show one person a trick, it's scary how it spreads like a virus – then everyone knows you’re a magician and you have to do tricks all night. Obviously getting into magic you want to show people tricks, but sometimes you just want to chill.
2. You never leave the house empty handed
I’m always prepared, especially these days. People see me on TV so they’re like, ‘You’re that guy, show me something’. I might borrow an object off them, but I’ll always have a pack of cards on me. I guess if you’re a doctor you probably get it as well, like ‘I’ve got this thing…’ or if you’re a comedian: ‘Tell us a joke!’ It’s an occupational hazard.
3. Good breath and clean fingernails are essential
I spent years being a resident magician in restaurants, and people take hygiene very seriously. When you come in quite close to someone and you have dirty hands, they won’t enjoy the magic as much because they’re too busy looking at how grubby your fingernails are. And if you’re talking close to someone, you don’t want your breath to be kicking – you need to make sure that’s in check.
4. It’s the Wild West out there for budding magicians
It’s a competitive industry. I guess a lot of people keep a lot of stuff to themselves, and even though it’s a niche market it’s tough to get work. It’s like any industry, really – you get people that genuinely want to help you out, and then you get some that don’t want you to succeed and be better than them. They want the work, the money, the contacts and don’t really want to share that.
5. Most of the money you make will go back into buying playing cards
Cards can be a magician’s number-one prop, especially a close up magician. [When performing] I’m giving people packs of cards to shuffle, I’m ripping cards up, and when people shuffle cards they get all adventurous and drop them on the floor. I need them in a certain condition, so when I’m doing a performance I might go through two packs. They’re not cheap, so it’s better to buy in bulk than a pack at a time.
6. Social skills are crucial
A lot of magicians tend to be quite awkward and a bit socially inept because they’ve spent so many hours practising in front of the mirror, so when you have to go out and show people it can be quite daunting. Good social skills help you connect with people better, and if people like you they’ll automatically like what you do.
7. The Magic Circle is no joke
It has its own headquarters situated in a quiet, mysterious place where you wouldn’t expect it, and inside it looks amazing. If you want to become a member there are two ways: if you’re more a theorist than a performer, you can do a dissertation. The other way is a practical examination – you’ve got to perform in front of 12 judges who are big members of the Circle. I did my first audition at 18 and got membership. I never really went to the meetings – they were always on a Monday night and I’d be busy at gigs, but it’s just nice to be able to say I’m part of the Magic Circle. What’s the Christmas party like? Magical.
8. Building a reputation takes time, for no money
I had to do a lot of free stuff to get my name out there. I made loads of business cards and just handed them out, and I had to prostitute myself a bit, like ‘Let me show you this’, even if people didn’t want to see it. You’ve got to play it smart – If you perform in a nice restaurant you might get famous people in there, or people that work in newspapers or TV, so you’ve got to make the most of every table and blow them away.
9. It won’t happen overnight
Magicians have to do magic for 10 or 20 years before they get to the point where they’re like, ‘I’m ready’. I did magic for 10 years prior to getting my first series, and I don’t think you could do a TV show after just a year or two in magic. Writing a great song might take you five minutes, and if you sing it beautifully and it resonates with someone – it’s a hit. It’s one thing learning the magic, but it's another thing being a performer, especially on TV.
10. You’ll need a thick skin
Magic is like a religion. You get people that truly believe and no explanation is necessary, but then you get the people think it’s a load of bollocks. I like to cater for the people who think it’s bollocks, because I’ve been doing this now for so many years. This is my career, my livelihood, my passion, and what I do for the people on the streets is exactly what you’re seeing at home. There’s no other thing that’s happening, I can actually do these things. For it to be dismissed as a camera trick is frustrating, but that’s what comes with it.
If you don't know about Troy I highly recommend you checking him out, his magic is legit amazing!
-Aaron Clark (The Amazing Ziggy)
What's more important a client being satisfied, or staying true to yourself?
Has a client ever requested for you to do something you feel is not appropriate?
For example: Recently I was asked to perform magic for a baby shower, I explained what all it would include and the client booked my services. Well the day of the event I come to find out more info about what the client truly wanted and expected of me. They wanted someone to babysit the kids and keep them entertained while the adults enjoyed the baby shower. Well here is where I stuck to my guns and it paid off...but potentially could have made the client cancel but considering that the party was the same day it was doubtful.
I explained to the client that I am not a babysitter, I am a professional magician and that I am not responsible for what those kids do at the event. My job is the entertain them not to monitor them, nor discipline them for misbehaving. I told the client that for every 10 kids there must be one adult to supervise the kids or I wasn't going to perform at the event.
I put my foot down and it turns out that the event went off without a hitch as the parents rotated in shifts so there was always an adult present and everyone had a blast.
So I wonder what unusual situation has a client requested you to take part in? And did you do it or did you tell the client No?
At some point you have to ask yourself is it more important to make the client happy so you can get paid? Or is your reputation, ethics, and your character what's most important?
You are your own boss, so you make the decisions, and I hope that you choose to stay true to yourself and tell the client they are out of line to even consider asking you to do something unethical or that could give you a bad reputation.
Andy Stanley I feel said it best at 18:00 minutes into his sermon (video below) when he preached about the apostle Paul writing letters in the "meantime" while waiting in prison he wrote 4 books of the bible which were meant only to be letters to be delivered to the churches he had planted along the Mediterranean. But those letters became the most widely read literature in the world, which is amazing considering he only wrote one copy!
So Andy Stanley is talking about adversity and decision making, he says: "You have no idea what, or who hangs in the balance when you decide to remain faithful, when everything around you says be faithless. You have no idea what God might be up to thru your faithfulness. When everything around you says there's no point in being ethical, there's nothing point in being moral, there's no point in being faithful, there's no point in staying, there's no point in telling the truth, there's no point in doing it the way that it ought to be done, there's no point in being obedient, there's no point in being submissive, there's no point in saying yes to God, because there is no win. You're just stuck, you're just living for some fantasy out there, and you have no idea what hangs in the balance. And the problem is, and the tragedy is, and the challenge is... You'll never know, unless you're willing to remain faithful in the midst of adversity. And what you have lived long enough to have already learned is simply this, that often times it is within the context of adversity, that God does his most amazing things in us, and thru us, and in the world."
And I couldn't agree more that when you stay true to yourself you may be blessing others, thru your character which can inspire someone else in their decision making. So don't be afraid to say no, and when you feel your backed into a corner stop and pray and God will give you an answer.
-Aaron Clark (The Amazing Ziggy)
Magicians that team up and work together will have twice the work rather than competing against one another and more frequently pushing clients away because of the negative and hurtful comments that are said about each other. I believe that we should never talk bad about our competition! EVER! First of all this just makes you look bad to the client by belittling your peers. Second, it's more important to build yourself up than it is to tear down someone else. Even if what your saying is 100% fact and true, it is still not something to tell your clients, the proof is in the pudding as they say. So, if that person isn't doing a good job and has a bad reputation, then they won't be around very long anyway. Be true to yourself, remain humble, give glory to God and praise Him for your blessing and you will be rewarded.
If we all come together as a team we can then profit from one another. If I have a client that wants a magician and I'm not available, wouldn't it be better for me to book one of my fellow magicians and profit 20% on them. Plus I retaining that clients info for future bookings, rather than losing the client all together or just referring them to another magician? I mean this is a business we are in, and I assume we all do this because we want to make money and not just because we enjoy performing magic. Though I suppose, If magic is your hobby this wouldn't apply to you. I'm mainly speaking here to working professional magicians. The other benefit of teaming up is you create closer connections with other magicians and you can learn from each other, sharing is caring after all.
So what I'm getting at here In the words of Rodney King: "Can't We All Just Get Along?" We all need to work together, and let go of the competition mentality. There is more than enough work for us all, it is up to you to determine your reputation. So you can either give your clients a reason to brag about hiring you and how great the experience was, or you can belittle your competition and then your arrogance and bad attitude will show thru and your clients will have that to tell their friends, families, and anyone on social media.
Many Magicians including myself offer Team Building Workshops and Seminars for corporate events where we use magic and mentalism in ways that excite and encourage the corporate professionals to work together to achieve a common goal. I hosts and present an enjoyable fun team-building workshop where the delegates can learn exciting new skills that include magic tricks. My clients use my services as team building magician so this it can add a different, intriguing and fun angle to their day.
A typical team building event teaches the delegates some easy to do but impressive magic tricks that can be performed after the event has ended, for both family or business colleagues and associates.
The concept is for participants to work together in small teams to learn these magic tricks and mind techniques. Then with their newly acquired skills they perform to the whole group in an end of event magic show, similar to the TV Show Wizard Wars. Wizard Wars inspires this principal of comradery that I have been referring to. And wouldn't you know it Wizard Wars was founded because of 2 magicians Rick Lax & Justin Flom who came together with an idea of doing magic with every day objects, the idea spawned some really ingenious magic and really made magicians put the creativity to the test. Which is exactly why I use this in my corporate magic team building workshops.
The teams are encouraged to come up with their own presentations for the tricks so challenging their creative thinking, communication, presentation and problem solving showcasing their own unique abilities and talents. The show performed by selected delegates creates a great atmosphere where all involved are rooting for their colleagues and willing them to succeed.
Here is what Wikipedia tells us about Wizard Wars:
Wizard Wars is a reality competition show in which teams of magicians create and perform original magic routines before a live studio audience. Their acts are judged on creativity, deception, and showmanship. Vegas headliners Penn & Teller head up the judging panel, alongside magic critic Christen Gerhart and World Champion of Magic Jason Latimer. Wizard Wars also features four "home team" magicians—the "Wizards"—who return every week to take on new teams of "challengers." Wizards include street magician Justin Flom, stage illusionist David Shimshi, mentalist Angela Funovits, and con man Gregory Wilson. The series premiered August 19, 2014
Wizard Wars was created in 2012 by Vegas-based magic consultant Rick Lax and street magician Justin Flom. Flom filmed the original Wizard Wars pilot in Lax's apartment, on a $15 budget. The competing magicians created routines with placemats, beach balls, colored erasers and fake oranges. Flom's YouTube video, featured on Wired.com and BoingBoing.com, caught the eye of production company A. Smith & Co., who worked with Lax and Flom to sell the show to the Syfy network. Flom now stars in the show as a "Wizard"; Lax works behind the scene as a producer and magic consultant.
Season 1 Wizard Angela Funovits creating in the 'Magic Workshop.' Also pictured: Series creator Rick Lax (far left) and Wizard/series originator Justin Flom (middle).Notable magicians appearing on Wizard Wars include Las Vegas headliners Murray SawChuck, Tommy Wind, Nathan Burton, Greg Dow, America's Got Talent's Leon Etienne (Season 8), and Naathan Phan.
Over a million people watched the Wizard Wars series premiere. The episode highlighted Canadian illusionists Chris Funk and Ekaterina, who ended up losing the "Wizard War" to "Wizards" Gregory Wilson and Justin Flom.
Speaking on behalf of Flom and himself, Lax said this of the Internet-to-series premier journey: “The most unlikely part of the YouTube-video-to-Syfy-show transition was that the original Wizard Wars vision stayed in shape...Everyone told me, ‘Hollywood is going to tear your idea apart,’ but that didn’t happen. Only thing that happened was the magic got bigger and better.”
Wizard Wars maintained "very solid ratings" and was renewed for another six episodes. In these six episodes ("Season 1.5") former Challenger Billy Kidd joins the cast as a full-fledged Wizard.
-Aaron Clark (The Amazing Ziggy)
So I've been having a conversation with fellow magicians about the word "Best", and I will admit I have been one to use this word in my own advertising of my services. But I now have a better understanding of how and when to say that you are the best at anything, and for the most part you should just avoid it. The key is to remain humble at all times, I never want to come across as arrogant or cocky. I simply want to showcase to potential clients that I'm an OUTSTANDING magician...But saying your are the best simply belittles your fellow magicians. So I have come to find that a great way to solve this is to say I'm ONE OF THE BEST. It seems minuscule but that subtle change makes a huge difference especially among your peers and I think this would apply to anyone not just magicians.
So what then classifies someone as the Best? In regards to magicians, it could be awards that have been won, although I think that is bias because your being judged by other magicians and not layman...unless you've performed on Americas Got Talent that is. Most all Magic Conventions that have competitions will be judged by other magicians and thus they know things that a layman wouldn't know. So then is it testimonials...well no because all magicians will have testimonials and they will always be the best ones from the clients that had the best things to say...but they also have nothing to compare to, at least they usually don't. So that only leaves one thing in my eyes to can classify you as the best and that is your reputation, does that reputation proceed you are your morals ethical and do you remain humble at all time...if these things are true about you, then it is my opinion that you should consider yourself ONE of the best. Granted having a few awards too doesn't hurt anything.
Now aside from the Big Names in magic who everyone knows, I want to bring some attention to someone who I consider one the Very Best in the magic business. I believe many would agree with me, that it would be the incredibly talented Thrillusionist: David DaVinci (aka. Dave Womach). Dave and his wife Jamie along with their super adorable daughter are Cruise Ship Magicians / Illusionists who are currently tour with Norwegian Cruise Line from Boston to Bermuda. I must say I have a lot of respect for what Dave and Jamie do and I can't believe that they are able to do it with a young child on board the ship with them too!
Here's a little about David DaVinici's Show:
Suspend your disbelief with the magic of world class Thrillusionist, David DaVinci, as he introduces you to his augmented reality. In this production, fiction is real, and deception is enjoyed. Prepare to be mystified by mind boggling illusions and jaw dropping magic, seamlessly fused with exotic parrots that materialize from thin air and perform their own artful demonstrations of dexterity. You’ll laugh, you’ll cheer, your jaw will hit the floor, as David DaVinci presents his interpretation of the age-old art of magic and illusions, in “Thrillusionist.”
So why is it that I speak so highly of Dave and Jamie?
Well first of all, I have never seen anyone who is as devoted to the art of magic, and sharing his knowledge with so many other magicians. For example: Dave recently spent hundreds of hours interviewing the best of the best in the entertainment industry and sharing the interviews in a Magic Masters Summit which he gave away for FREE for 1 week. This was one of the best magic seminars I have ever seen and to think he gave it away is simply incredible! But more so than that Dave and Jamie are also an incredible bird handlers/trainers and since Dave was a teenager he and his brother, and now Jamie too, have helped so many others to train their birds with an outstanding business called www.birdtricks.com
Not to mention another aspect of Dave's career where he has taught survival skills with his survival summit, which I could go on about this for days as well...
So Dave really has spent his entire life sharing his knowledge with others and I commend him for doing so as I myself have learned a great deal and I have been able to incorporate exotic birds into my performances because of the lessons I've learned from Dave and Jamie.
I can only hope to meet Dave and Jamie and see their show live as it would be a true honor...though I might be a little star struck, but after watching over 400 hours of their videos I feel like I know them personally!
If you ever get a chance to see their show I can promise you one thing. You will not be disappointed!
-Aaron Clark (aka. The Amazing Ziggy)
My Name is Aaron Clark and I'm know as The Amazing Ziggy. I've been a Professional Magician for over 20 years performing all over the US and internationally, but mostly for events on the east coast in the Atlanta Area.