As a magician it is super important that you are ready and able to impress a potential client at a moments notice. So that means you must always have something magic related on your person at all times. Now I completely understand that some magicians may disagree with this statement. As some will say that that you should be able to use what is in your surroundings to perform magic with. While others might say that if they aren't getting paid, then why would they want to perform. I'm not trying to start a debate on whether you should or should not carry magic at all times, but rather I am speaking for the majority of magicians who like myself believe that if you want to impress someone you need to be prepared, and that means you must have magic with you at all times. Personally, I believe I should have 5 tricks with me at all times, plus the ability to use what is in my surroundings as well. So I would like to discuss some of the tricks that I carry with me, and what other magicians carry with them on their person at all times.
The reason I choose to carry 5 tricks at all times is so that I can perform a mini show at any given moment and I'm set and ready for any situation.
Here are my top 5 choices for magic tricks that I can perform as close-up (or) as a parlor sized routine with no notice what so ever.
#1.) Kollasal Killer - This is a great routine that will allow you to not only be able to predict any thought of card by a spectator and that card is inside of your wallet. This is a great trick in itself. But it's also perfect to have any out for any given mistake made for a card trick. As a magician we've all experienced a moment where something goes wrong...and if the card you thought you had control of suddenly isn't where you thought it was. You immediately can have it all come together as the chosen card is actually inside of your wallet. The only downfall to this is it does take up quite a bit of space inside your wallet. Which limits how much else you can carry, and it requires you to have a very specific type of wallet to perform this trick.
#2.) Tornado Deck - Such a beautiful transposition effect that is extremely visual where a torn card switches places right before the spectators eyes. It takes up very little space as you only need 2 cards in your wallet for this. Now this one is one that costs you each time you do it...you can only do this trick 28 times before you need to buy a new deck. So I'm very selective on whom I show this to, but wow is it easy to perform and I will tell you it will knock the socks off of the spectators!
#3) CardNow App - There are so many great smartphone magic apps that you can use now, but this is one of my favorites because it allows me to leave my business card with the spectator in a magical way that isn't the cheesy back palm that most every layperson knows how is done.
#4) Deck of Cards, Smoke & a regular Sharpie - Depending on the audience, I will typically do Card-to-Mouth, But there is just so much you can do with this. I keep Smoke with me as well so I can make do card to mouth and make the smoke come out of my mouth, along with the signed mercury fold card. This just enhances the effect and makes for a bigger wow moment for the spectator.
#5) Extreme Burn 2.0 - Being able to turn 5 one dollar bills into 5 twenty dollar bills right before the spectators eyes (or it can be any other denomination I just prefer 20's). This one is GREAT as a first impression, but there is a time that I would not suggest performing this one. If you are a magician working for tips, this one isn't not going to help you since you can make money with magic, why would they bother to give you any of their money? If anything they will just want you to turn their 1's into 20's.
Next are a list of other magicians choices for their magic they always keep on their person at all times:
Ox Bender - Being able to use only one hand and have a spectators borrowed and signed coin bent in either their hand or yours. This is one I perform often and I highly recommend, I prefer using this at my events rather than as an everyday carry item, but I can see why other magicians choose this one for sure!
Finger Ring & Rope - This is a simple and effective routine that looks amazing...It's where a finger ring, borrowed is best (but you can use your own as well) and the ring will penetrate off of the rope, and it can jump onto an ink pen, sharpie, or a magic wand works too. I personally prefer to not carry around magicians rope with me at all times, but if the right opportunity is present I can always use my own, a friends, or a spectators shoe lace to perform this trick.
TT - Personally I like to also have a sugar packet with my TT so I can make the sugar vanish and appear inside spectators shoe for a killer effect that will blow their minds. But for me I prefer this to be in my paid performance not in my magic I perform when first meeting a potential client. The only real downfall to this is that the TT is so well known by most laymen. But regardless, they are always still very impressed because although they may know how it was done...but they didn't see it being done, and that blows their minds. So that just means you better have this one down if you are going to do it!
Magic with Large Finger Ring - Making it Vanish and Reappear This is super easy and also adds to your style as a magician. But I personally don't like wearing big bulky rings, so it's not something I like to perform.
Card2Phone App - This is such a great app that you can download for your smartphone which will allow you to insert TONS of random everyday objects inside of your phone and then magically make the item appear back to real life and disappear from inside the phone.
Scotch & Soda - This is perfect for pocket sized magic, sets up in seconds and your ready to wow the spectator...this works great for any age, but you really need to know how to sell this one with your personality. The trick is self working so long as you perform it correctly. I love performing this and following it with melting coin. So I take a half dollar and a Mexican centavo and turn that into a half dollar and a quarter in the spectators hands. Then I put the half dollar inside a plastic bag, have the spectator put the quarter into the bag on top of the other coin then pull the half dollar thru the bag without any holes being put into the bag. This really enhances this trick and makes it into a routine. But again I prefer to do this at paid gigs not as my everyday carry items.
So what is your everyday carry magic? What magic can you not leave home without? How has having these items effected your magic career? What audiences is best suited for each of the tricks you perform?
Leave your comments below.
Aaron Clark (The Amazing Ziggy)
As a professional magician it tends to be a difficult task to run a business and always learning and improving upon your chosen profession. You have to be a secretary, a website administrator, video editor, photo editor, book keeper, marketing guru, cold calling, generating leads, being a salesman, and on top of all that you need to be a pretty darn good entertainer too. But there are only so many hours in a day, and we all have our personal lives too so we are limited to what all can be done on our own. So their are some companies out there that have come along in the past few years that do help eliminate some of the stress with finding qualified leads, but I really believe these companies such as GigMasters, GigSalad, Thumbtack, etc... are doing more harm than they are good. Yes it's great having the ability to bid on a lead that is genuinely seeking a service provide such as a magician (or) other forms of entertainment as well. But the downfall is it creates a cut throat environment where we are all fighting against one another over the same leads. Makes me feel like I'm playing the Hunger Games..."and may the odds be ever in your favor!"
Speaking from experience I know for a fact that when we as entertainers team up with one another and send each other leads, hire each other out, or simply offer a referral fee to your competitors. Then everyone wins, the market isn't being slashed by price under cutting. We appreciate and respect one another and more so we profit from one another.
So why are we allowing these 3rd party services control our business?
Why can't we come up with a solution for this problem...I can't be the only one who feels this way. And I must admit GigMasters I don't hate entirely...but that is only because they give you the clients info and allow you to contact them directly. But I don't understand why we pay a monthly fee, and yet we still have to pay them $20 if they book the gig for us. GigSalad I simply hate that you are forced to book with them directly, but I must say I appreciate that you don't have to pay a membership to get leads, and I appreciate that you can require the client to pay the fee, or split the fee with the client. However, Thumbtack I loathe entirely! Having to pay for a lead regardless of if the events books or not is dirty and unethical! They are getting paid by numerous entertainers for the same lead. You can waste A LOT of money VERY Quickly especially using their points system instead of a dollar amount system.
Wouldn't it be great if there were a national entertainment booking website that clients could go to that is highly ranked on search engines. The clients would see a list of local vendors, but they don't receive bids from vendors...but rather the client puts in what service they are wanting, how much they intend to spend on the service with a budget range (which is a requirement), obviously all the pertinent info about the gig, and they get to choose if they want a local only (or) nationwide performers to be show. Then based on the info they input a list of local entertainers are provided with all their contact info. The client contacts you directly...no bidding wars, they client has seen your work, be given your website, and contact info, they know your price is within their budget range, there could be a calendar option if you choose to use it so they would even know if you are available, and all you need to do is book the gig. With this service there would only be a monthly membership fee which is to be listed on the site as either a local and/or nationwide entertainer. There would also be a featured performer option in which case for a higher fee your info would be in a rotation for the top of the list with anyone else whom has paid for that option.
So I guess the real question here is who's with me? Who thinks this is a good idea? Who wants to invest in making this a reality?
I'm serious, it's time to put a stop to this.
Aaron Clark (Aka. The Amazing Ziggy)
I recommend to anyone interested in pursuing working in the trade show market as a magician a book called A Modern Trade Show Handbook by Seth Kramer. Seth details in the book, the types of magic he performs, his promotional material, the correct sound system and staging needed, how he works with clients, the list goes on and on... Seth really goes into great detail on what it’s like to be a Trade Show Entertainer!
Here are 10 Trade Show Tips by Seth Kramer
Trade Show Tip 1
Being a good (and successful) trade show magician is not about the tricks you perform and it’s not about you and your ego. The secret to being a good trade show magician is knowing that it’s all about the company you’re representing and their product or services.
Trade Show Tip 2
In a pinch, an aerobics step makes an excellent riser. It’s adjustable, inexpensive, and can be found in any local sporting goods store.
Trade Show Tip 3
You can start your show with effects such as the Cups and Balls, or the Three Shell Game that require a table top, but as your crowd builds, you will want to get the tricks up off the table and into the air so the majority of the crowd can see what’s going on. (My friend Bob Kohler’s Ultimate Three Fly is an excellent choice for a trade show trick that plays at chest level.)
Trade Show Tip 4
Don’t ever give out your business card without receiving one in return. By obtaining a reciprocal business card, you can follow up with that contact after the show with a casual email or voice mail.
Trade Show Tip 5
Trade Show pioneer Mike Rogers gave me some advice early in my career (besides always telling me to “slow down, you’re not going to a fire”). He said, “Seth, you need to know your tricks inside and out so that you can perform them in your sleep if necessary. You shouldn’t have to think about any aspect of your tricks. You will need to focus most of your attention on the product information and how you will deliver the message to the crowd and connect with them.”
Trade Show Tip 6
Finding the ideal spots in your show for your marketing messages can be tricky. One exercise I’ve found to be helpful is customizing every show I do. I’m not talking specifically about trade shows here; I mean birthday parties, family shows, anniversary parties, a restaurant gig, etc. You can always find out some key details about the guest of honor when you book the show, or ask about the unique features of a restaurant before you start working.
Trade Show Tip 7
Don’t get a reputation as someone who will try to undercut another working performer by approaching their client when they aren’t around. Chances are that word of your visit will get right back to the performer as soon as they return. Karma has a way of biting you in the ass. As they say, what goes around comes around. There’s plenty of work for everyone; just go out and get it on your own.
Trade Show Tip 8
Just as you are there at the show to gather crowds for your client, the other magician’s and presenter’s are there to do the same for theirs. It makes little sense to try and one-up the competition by performing your show non-stop in an attempt to keep the other performer from doing their job.
Trade Show Tip 9
Make your product pitch interactive. Ask questions during your pitch and try to get feedback from your audience. If you are able to connect with your audience and create a rapport, you will find that you are in a unique position to qualify potential leads for your clients’ sales team.
Trade Show Tip 10
Become a student of sales. The bookstores are full of books (and audio books) that will teach you how to sell more effectively. Make a promise to yourself; For every five magic books you read, read one business book.
Thanks Seth for your input and helping our readers break into the industry!
Aaron Clark (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.