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)
You know being a magician is difficult and requires a great deal of training, practicing in a mirror, video yourself, writing scripts and analyzing those scripts meticulously with a fine tooth comb. But and honing in on your skills as a Magician that works with animals takes it to a new extreme, since you now become an animal trainer, and animals for the most part are unpredictable. So your script that you have worked so hard on often times must be fluid and adaptable for any given situation. Basically you have to think of any situation of what could go wrong before it does and prepare a script for what to do in those situations. For Example...I work with Exotic Animals, and my parrots are a big part of my performance and they are potty trained although accidents do happen and you must be prepared for them to happen at the worst times because they will. But it's all in how you handle that situation, you must remain in control and find humor in the things that go wrong, or at least let the audience find humor in them. The Show Must Go On...you simply can not pull a Mariah Carey performance as she did on New Years Eve 2017. When you are able to "Carey" on your, showmanship shines bright and the audience will not only appreciate it but they will remember it.
There are a lot of frustrating moments when performing with animals, but there is also tremendous joy that comes from showing love and attention to an animal while spending time every day training. And when I say every day I mean that literally, especially working with Large Birds, they are basically toddlers that live to be 80-100 years old. They demand lots of attention, and require time that many people just don't have to invest. Not to mention the lifestyle changes that come with Large Birds. Some examples of this: You can't use scented candles in your home. The types of pots and pans we use can not contain any Teflon. You have to use organic cleaning supplies, so no harsh chemicals like bleach or even 409. Their respiratory systems are very sensitive and smells that we humans don't even notice can kill them almost instantly. Not to mention many people can get very sick because of having birds in their home so often you will have to have an aviary or separated living quarters for the birds to live in, and you especially should never sleep in the same room as your birds as their droppings leave particles in the air that can also lead to illness if exposed to them for long periods.
Aside from birds I also have reptiles which I perform with, Now the Snakes are by all means the show stoppers as almost everyone is afraid of snakes. But honestly they are the most docile creatures and literally take NO training what so ever to incorporate into an act. They literally go into a secret compartment and wait there until its time to be revealed. Now other reptiles are much different such as the Lizards I perform with. I have Iguana's and a Tegu Lizard and these animals to take quite a bit of work handling them frequently and making sure they are petted on, have their nails trimmed, giving them baths often, and just overall showing them lots of love. This keeps them from running away or trying to escape when its time for their big tricks in the show. Certainly no ones whats an iguana running on the floor during an event, not to mention the panic that would cause. So again that is a scenario that must be accounted for in the scripting phase of preparing for a performance.
I don't think many magicians realize the importance of scripting your shows, and not only that but really critiquing your own scripts to the point of body language and movements, it's not only what you say but how and when you say it. Timing is a critical part of my scripts. If I am going to tell joke I need to make sure it's funny obviously, but I need to make sure its the appropriate time to tell it, that I give the audience time to laugh before moving on, that I understand what my hands, or props I'm using are doing during that time so that it looks natural and doesn't come across in an awkward manner to the audience members.
I sincerely hope that before you decide to incorporate live animals into your performances that you would consider first looking into rescuing animals, as there are so many animals that need loving homes. I will tell you all of the animals I use in my performances (I currently have 27!) are rescue animals and they all have different back stories of neglect, abuse, malnourished, etc. but they are all loved, trained, and cared for every day which has led to them being happier and healthier.
One of the stories I am most proud of is my Parrot Memphis. Memphis is a Scarlet Macaw and came from a home in North Carolina. The family had just went thru a divorce and the wife was the one who cared for him. At the time his name was Ruckus or Ruck for short, he was severely overweight from a poor diet that included only nuts and bird seed. Which is essentially the equivalent of eating Krispy Kreme Donuts every day of his life for every meal. Well the wife is the one who left and when she did she left Ruck behind, he was EXTREMELY aggressive, and very cage territorial. The room he was kept in had only the cage he was in and TON of wood shaving splinters all over the floor which was from where he had chewed the baseboard around the entire room and was working on the walls wood paneling next. His Water Bowl was covered in slime, and it took us 2 hours to get him out of his cage and into a travel crate. We changed his name to Memphis as he associated the name Ruckus to his old life. Now Memphis has the coolest personality and loves his life, he goes on tons of adventures and is the main Parrot that I use in my performances. I am so proud of what all he has accomplished and it's only been just over 1 year for this transformation to take place.
Thanks for reading!
Aaron Clark (The Amazing Ziggy)
How do different seasons affect the magic industry?
Magicians often feel that they are in such a niche industry that the rules of business don't always apply. However, I must disagree here as you are still running a business and it is up to you to run that business appropriately. After all you are your own boss and you make the decisions, thus you set the rules for your clients. That being said it will only work about 95% of the time as you will run into some clients such as universities, hospitals, and other big organizations that refuse to pay a retainer fee, or refuse to sign a contract that has a indemnification clause, while other clients will only pay net 30 days. There are going to be a lot of issues like this that you will run into over the years, but the bottom line is you have to decide if you are willing to work for this type of client or not. Speaking for that 95%, you really don't have to worry too much about this since these clients will be perfectly happy to sign a contract and pay retainer fee for your services.
How can you make your magic business steady all year round?
First you should focus on making more income from each event that you do. This can be achieved by either up-selling the clients with more expensive packages, goody bags, or by offer back room sales for customized merchandise such as magic kits with your brand on them, DVD lessons on magic tricks you teach (or) USB is the newest trend. There are many more ideas for these I could recommend however these are the basics that recommend first and foremost. This additional income will require an upfront investment, but the investment is one that will last forever since the products do not expire and their are companies that can offer you a great Back Room Sales product for an extremely low cost and excellent ROI (return on investment). Check Out: http://custommagickits.com
Custom Magic Kits has a fantastic deal where you can get 100 Kits for $2.00 each including: Magic Wand, Spot Card, 2 card monte, cut and restore rope all with custom printed instructions with your brand and contact info on them. So for a $200 investment you can turn around and sell them for $10 each for an $800 ROI, and it will only take 20 sales to recoup the initial investment. These can also be sold as part of a goody bag, so with 1 party you could easily have 20 goody bags sold. I see this as a tremendous benefit and an easy way to have extra income.
So this doesn't make the business any less seasonal, but what this does do is provide extra income to be able to invest in advertising for the business to help you generate more gigs during the slower seasons.
How do you prevent from having issues with cashflow?
Cashflow is the tripwire over which many apparently flourishing businesses stumble at one time or another. It’s a tripwire that may not be immediately apparent. Think of it this way. You’ve worked out your monthly costs – including wages – and they are more than matched by sales. You are in profit and everything in the garden is rosy.
If you focus solely on the sales/costs equation you can find the day-to-day reality is a bit less comfortable. For instance, if you extend credit to customers by invoicing them and allowing a set number of days – say 30 or 60 – to pay then there will be a gap between a sale being secured and service delivered, and the cash from that transaction arriving in your bank account. Meanwhile bills still have to be paid.
If the money coming in, and the money going out of the business are not aligned, you can find yourself in the frustrating position of hitting or exceeding all your sales targets while finding there is little actual cash in the bank. Suddenly it’s a real struggle to pay those bills. Put simply you don’t have the liquidity you need. That’s why good cashflow management is vital to the success of a business. It is, of course, of paramount importance to keep a sharp focus on costs and sales figures but in parallel, you need to ensure you have the cash you need when you need it.
Cashflow management rules to live by:
I hope you have been able to learn something from this and it will benefit your magic business!
So there is always that one kid or sometimes adult in the audience that offers a spoiler alert for everyone else. People at the party hate this, just as much as the magician does, but I want to give a different perspective. Don't get me wrong...it's really annoying when someone ruins the trick for you. It's no different than someone telling you who won the football game before you've had a chance to watch it, or what happens on the next episode of your favorite TV Show you haven't watched yet. Magicians are forced to deal with this on a frequent basis because lets face it, with access to the internet at their finger tips these days many of the tricks we magicians are doing have been revealed on YouTube, or the masked magician has given away the secret. But for me the issue isn't that they know how its done, but rather that they have to broadcast it to the rest of the audience, while it's happening live.
So as I said I want to defend the spoilers out there, and it is because as a young boy I distinctly remember my mother hiring a magician for my 8th birthday party, and I was that annoying kid! I loved magic so much and I was definitely the kid that thought he knew it all. I guess I'm getting paid back now, considering I have made magic my career. I remember that magician at my birthday party did a coin vanish and I saw the move and called him out on it in front of all my friends as I yelled out "it's under you watch." And sure enough he takes off the watch and there it is...Nope he wasn't fooling me! I felt like I was on cloud 9 because I figured out his trick. But I never really thought about how the rest of my friends felt who attended my party. How did they feel about me ruining the show for them? I mean after all it was my party so I probably wouldn't have really cared at the time, but that just goes to show I was a spoiled little brat I guess. Now as an adult I can only imagine how my mother must have felt, or how the magician at my party felt for having so many tricks ruined for him. He probably thought that was the worst show he's ever done, but little did he know that the magic he did just added fuel to the fire for my desire to learn more and more about magic.
So for any magicians reading this I encourage you to step up your game, and make your sleight of hand better because of those magic spoilers out there. The bottom line is you need to anticipate someone spoiling a trick, plan for failure, and be witty and clever enough in the spur of the moment to prove you are better than them! This will help you win over your audience and it adds improvisational humor to your performance which makes for a better show.
The most important thing I hope you take away from this is that you need to realize how every time you perform you are also inspiring someone in that audience. someone that may decide when they grow up to pursue a career as a magician. The art of magic is a dying art and it can only be kept alive if we magicians are working to inspire the youth that are watching us perform. I truly wish I could go back and shake that magicians hand from my 8th birthday party, so I could thank him for encouraging me. His magic may not have been that hard for an 8 year old to figure out, but it was certainly entertaining enough to help shape the type of performer that I wanted to become.
Aaron Clark (The Amazing Ziggy)
So I was watching Jimmy Fallon and his guest speaker was Aaron Paul who discusses how we failed miserably when trying to do a magic trick for Tom Cruise and J.J. Abrams. Turns out that J.J. Abrams is a huge fan of magic which I must say is kind of amazing and I could only dream that maybe one day I might be able to perform a show for him! So it turns out that he gets a lot of his mystery ideas from the fact that as a young boy he purchased a "Mystery Box" of magic from a magic store in New York. The $15 Mystery box contained $50 worth of magic and J.J. Never opened the box and to this day it is still a Mystery as to what is inside. He considers this a constant source of inspiration as it always sits on his shelf.
I am such a fan on the TV Show Lost, I have the entire series and have watched it from beginning to end on numerous occasions! There is a direct connection between how TV Magicians view performing magic and how directors & producers in the film industry are able to work their magic. J.J. Abrams discusses this point exactly during his TED talk in 2007. He talks about during the filming of Mission Impossible 3 there is a scene where Tom Cruise has a gun that gets put into his nose by the "Bad Guy" a British Actor. But during the shoot Tom says that the gun is really hurting his nose. So J.J. thought of his mystery box and decided he needed to shoot the scene in a different way, so that it wouldn't hurt Cruise's nose any longer but they could continue take after take until they got it right. J.J. thinking outside of the box decided that the hand holding the gun could actually be Tom's hand in which case Tom would know how much pressure up his nostril would be enough but not too much. Looking at the shot you would NEVER know if J.J. hadn't told us. It comes across to the TED audience like a scene from Magicians Secrets Finally Revealed. It just goes to show how J.J. really understands TV Magic, and this is a great example of why J.J. has been so successful in his career. So if you ever get to read this J.J. I hope you will consider hiring me to perform magic for you, it would be an honor!
-Aaron Clark (aka. The Amazing Ziggy)
I can barely contain my excitement for the Atlanta Harvest of Magic 2016, brought to you by the one and only Ken Scott! I was so disappointed that I couldn't make it to the show in 2015. So I made it my goal to make sure I can attend this years event. I am so looking forward to the connections that I will make, and lessons in the art of magic that I will learn. After 17 years I can't believe this will be my very first convention! I just never wanted to turn down work to go to a convention...or more accurately I didn't want to risk turning down work, because I am the bread winner for my family. I have to make sure I am making enough money to pay all the bills for my stay at home wife, and 3 kids. But finally I have decided that the connections that I can make will be more valuable than any event that I may turn away during those 3 days. I pray that by attending the Atlanta Harvest of Magic that God will bless me to be able to further my career as a magician. I moved to Georgia 4 and a half years ago and the one key thing that has helped me more than anything else in that time was the connections I have made, so I am certain that this will become a tremendous blessing. Of the guests that will be speaking/performing I can tell you the one that I am most excited to meet is Justin Flom. I am such a big fan, and he has certainly been an inspiration to my own career. My enthusiasm for Justin intensified on a personal level after seeing his latest testimony on youtube when he was speaking with Brock Gill about growing up with a father who was a magician and how he compares that to having a personal relationship with Jesus is such a great story!
Crowne Plaza near Hartsfield Airport
Crowne Plaza 1325 Virgina Ave. Atlanta, GA
1-843-760-5839 / 1-888-233-9527
Here is a schedule for the 3 Days:
Thursday - Sept 29th, 2016
1:00 -8:00 - Magic Shop Alley Open
2:00 - Harry Allen
4:00 - Brent Braun
Enjoy the Dealers and/or Dinner
7:00 - 7:15 - One Minute Dealer Demo
7:15 - Everyone buying from the dealers will get raffle tickets for prizes Thursday night.
8:00 - An Evening with Nick Lewin
10:00 - The Amazing Justin Flom Show/lecture/talk
Friday - Sept 30th, 2016
9:00 - 1:00 - Dealers open
9:30 - Suzanne The Magician
11:00 - Ken Scott Live School show (kids from school are coming to hotel)
1:30 - The Incredible Jeff Hobson: Lecture
3:00 - 6:00 - Dealers open - Go visit and buy from our Magic Dealers
7:00 - An Intimate Evening With Eugene Burger
9:00 - Closeup show in two different rooms. Performers will rotate.
11:30 - The Cast from The Illusionists will stop by to hang out and talk about the show
Saturday - Oct 1st, 2016
9:00 - 1:00 - Dealers open
9:30 - Robert Moreland
11:00 - Kostya Kimlat
Enjoy the Dealers and Lunch
2:00 - Martin Lewis
3:00 - 6:00 - Dealers open
4:00 - Gustavo Riley
8:00 - The BIG GALA show Your badge is your ticket.
If you need to buy more tickets lets us know.
****Subject to Change ******
The first key to earning top dollar as a performing magician is to know that it is conceivable and not just a fantasy. There are many famous & not-so famous magicians, illusionists and mentalists around the world who make a six-figure incomes. Plenty of these are working professional magicians who perform regularly in mid-level and high-level markets, and are more likely than not, making a six-figure income. Every successful magician needs to have their own approach to their business and brand, this will typically leverage on their talent, geographical location, and their connections (after all it's always who you know that can really help get you to the top.)
Lets focus in on making money for professional performing magicians, when doing so it comes down to two ways for you to make more money as an entertainer.
1. Perform for more gigs
2. Get paid more at each gig.
I recommend anyone reading: “Why Some Magic Acts Can Charge 10 Times More Than Others” or “The Showbiz Master Plan”.
Besides a fundamental change in a magicians approach to becoming a successful entertainer what is truly needed are three things:
1.) YOUR SERVICE:
Successful magicians have don't have just good shows they must have A GREAT SHOW! If not, they would not be able to sustain their success. Even if their marketing was the very best, ultimately their service has to be outstanding. Marketing can help promote and sell a show but the same marketing can also kill a bad show. If a bad show is promoted with great marketing, but is ultimately proven to be sub par by an UN-enthused audience, you can bet that magicians will not be booked again, and word travels fast! So work on a consistent high quality services before anything else.
2.) YOUR TRACK RECORD:
Successful entertainers must have a proven track record over time. Sure, everyone has a bad gig every now and again...but most of the time the audience doesn't even know you messed up. That's is if you are a talented magician then you have an way out of any conflict. A Magician needs to have multiple outs planned for any scenario that could go wrong during a performance. The key however is that successful entertainers will have many more good shows than bad ones. You have to build a portfolio of satisfied repeat clients, successful projects, and meaningful milestones. It's important to know that it will take a long time to reach a successful level. But with patience, hard work, dedication you can and will persevere.
3.) ELIMINATING YOUR COMPETITION:
All successful entertainers identify a niche market(s) they can excel and succeed in, which creates a market for yourself so you don't have anyone competing against you. It's critical that a magicians focus on being ONLY A MAGICIAN, not a magician for all occasions, and NOT a jack-of-all-trade entertainer. It's of key importance to focus on ONE talent and master that one talent, in one or no more than two specific markets within that field. No one can be good at everything, and even if you think you are, your clients won't believe what you say. After all seeing is believing and just hearing you say that your good at everything, doesn't make a believer out of your potential client. It’s important to be conscious of your businesses perception, because if you’re not, someone else will create that perception for you, which will become your reality. Things aren’t always what they seem, marketers and magicians rely on this fact to make you see things – the way they want you too. Artists do this as well.
You may have seen Julian Beever’s amazing pavement drawings. He utilizes the Trompe l’oeil technique, which means “trick the eye” in French. He uses his drawing stills to create a perception. Like an optical illusion, our mind attempts to fill in the details of something it either thinks it already knows, or doesn’t quite understand. This works out fine, when that’s the intention – momentarily letting our world be shaped for fun. But wandering through life, letting others create your perceptions, can lead to a disaster, especially if it is with your business.
It's also important to be reactive to the market over time and expand or search for new markets when you have outgrown the market you are in. This could be in the form of:
-Expanding into the same market outside your area
-Expanding into other related markets within your area
-Expanding into other related markets outside your area
Identify a market that you can dominate and that has value. Finding a way to be different is very important for a magician, because we all basically do the same things. But it is our personalities that set us apart, we also have to find an audience that we cater to. One way to focus on a target audience is by creating a niche market. For example: a magician who has certainly created a unique brand for himself that is one of the best dove magicians in the business. He has set himself way apart from all the other magicians. He as done this by being himself and making his brand a huge part of his image. I am referring the Dan Sperry of course. Dan completely gets the importance of appealing to a niche market, now a lot of other magicians think negatively of Dan because his image is so extreme, but what is so genius about Dan is that he isn't fake...he is true to himself. He loves the goth look, and it's who he is on and off the stage, he's not pretending. But his slogan however is something of controversy: "Magic No Longer Sucks!" Well its a bold statement for him to make, it's slightly offensive, and borderline demeaning toward other magicians. But it's a statement that I feel is justified for one reason, his magic doesn't suck! Dan is an extremely talented magician and he can come across as a little cocky or arrogant with a statement like that, but hey hater's are gonna hate right? So the bottom line is if he backs up what he says then really, who cares! I have learned a great deal from Dan Sperry and I highly recommend other magicians follow his lead because knows how to market better than any other magician I have seen!
“One can perceive me only with his limited vision. A droplet can't perceive the extent of the ocean."
When it comes to hiring a professional what is more important, the quality of the performance, or the price?
It really isn't any different than when your buying a car. Would you expect to pay the same amount for a Kia as you would for a Mercedes? Of course not, there are a lot of people who assume that all local magicians should charge the same amount. But they are wrong! And the reason is just the same as my buying a car example. Not every magician offers the same services and some have a better show than others, some have better options for their shows, some have more experience, some have won awards, while others may be new to the entertainment industry and have a low price as they don't offer a comparable service. The thing that most clients don't understand is that it's not about an industry standard price. It's about a price that that magician feels his/her show is worth. No one is forcing the client to hire that person it up to the client to come to a decision about if they desire a cheap magician or a quality magician.
Often times the client expects to get a Mercedes for the price of a Kia and its up to each magician to explain their services options to their clients so they fully understand what they are getting. This is where the problem lies as many magicians don't go into great details of what the clients are getting. Thus many clients are upset that they don't feel they got what they paid for either the price was too high and the quality was too low or for the performer the quality is very high and their price is too low. Now this can happen for many reasons. Often many magicians are unaware what price they should be charging, or how to up sell their services. There is a very important tool that all magicians should learn and that is the art of negotiating. And yes this is an art form, even for the client they can use to lower a magicians price taking advantage of them. For me I always aim high and work my way down until the client and myself have agreed upon what is fair.
A big mistake many magicians is starting the negotiations low and then trying to up sell with add-ons to their show. This is a terrible mistake and is why a lot of magicians work so cheap! What this does is It brings down the market for everyone.
The key to negotiating is building value before you discuss a price. Too often magicians quote a price before they have told anything about the services they offer. It's critical that the magician sells the service and sells him/herself prior to quoting a price. There is a great technique to doing this about its by asking questions to your clients.
Many clients will ask what's your price within the first 30 seconds of a conversation. I defer saying there are a lot of factors that go into my pricing, can you tell me more information about your event.
What is the date? What's the time frame? Where is it? How many people are you expecting? What age range? Have you ever hired a magician before? If so who? Tell me about the venue? Is it indoors or outdoors? Is there a stage? How high are the ceiling? How big is the room? What type of flooring is there? Etc...
All of these are leading questions that help you to qualify your potential client.
These questions will help you determine your clients budget before you even ask them the #1 question which is so important to the conversation.
I tell the client that all these factors help me determine what show is best for you. And I know you want a price but here's what I will do. I will email you a written quote which will go into great detail of what you can expect from my performance. Plus I will have several options for you to choose from and best of all I will customize your quote to fit within your budget range. So I need to know your budget. Give me an idea of how much you would want to spend so I can customize your quote. Then wait...resist from saying anything!! Let them speak first, they will either say what their budget is, or they will defer that to saying they don't know what their budget is. At this point if they don't know then I ask so who is the decision maker for the budget? If it's not them I ask if I can contact them directly so that I can tell them about the quality of my performance. You see if they aren't the decision maker then they are not who you should be talking to anyway!
There is an incredibly informative CD that was made many years ago which I gained a great deal of knowledge from and I highly recommend to any working procession in any entertainment field! It called Negotiating Higher Performance Fees by Michael Ammar. You can purchase this CD from penguin magic at the link below:
Or if out of stock you can also purchase from Penguin Magic at:
Here is some more info about Michael Ammar:
Here are some testimonials from other magicians who have listened to it:
You will earn more after listening to the CD just one time!
This is everything you need to know about negotiating higher fees for your shows.
Professional magicians had this to say the following:
"I feel it's the most valuable information (Michael) has ever made available"
"If you would have had NHPF 35 years ago, I'd be sitting on my own island somewhere in the Caribbean, playing around with my computer. The tape is excellent!"
"I used one idea from the tape the very next day and made an extra $900!"
It's become commonplace to magicians to do some incredible magic and illusions that shock or even scare their audience. Why are magicians attracted to this type of magic? Well it's because it freaks people out! That freak out moment has such an impact because it is a trick that is so unreal that it goes beyond anything the audience can ever imagine possible. Some examples of magicians who do this type magic would be Criss Angel with his swallowing of a signed quarter and then cutting open his arm as blood rushes out to find the signed coin from his spectator. You might think of the anti-conjuror Dan Sperry when he eats a life saver on America's Got Talent then takes some dental floss and digs it into his neck to reveal the life saver whole again and on the dental floss.
Another artist that might come to mind is David Blaine when he drinks gallons of water followed by a glass full of very flammable kerosene and then regurgitates the lighter fluid first as he breathes fire with it onto Jimmy Kimmel's desk setting a trash can and its contents on fire. Blaine then proceeds to regurgitate the water and extinguishes the flames with all that water he drank. So this by the way is not magic...yes David Blaine is a magician but what he did here was an amazing skill of learning what is called Water Spouting which is a very dangerous and potentially deadly stunt. What's most impressive is the story behind this where David Blaine actually saw this act performed by Hadji Ali.
Hadji Alie was a vaudeville performance artist, thought to be of Egyptian descent, who was famous for acts of controlled regurgitation. His best-known feats included water spouting, smoke swallowing, and nut and handkerchief swallowing followed by disgorgement in an order chosen by the audience. Ali's most famous stunt, and the highlight of his act, was drinking copious amounts of water followed by kerosene, and then acting by turns as a human flamethrower and fire extinguisher as he expelled the two liquids onto a theatrical prop. While these stunts were performed, a panel of audience members was invited to watch the show up close to verify that no trickery was employed.
On a video online of a man by the name of Winston Carter in a very destitute and poverty stricken country in Africa. Winston Carter who at the time was a 35 year old security guard. So in the video Carter is able to use his own regurgitated water to be able to brush his teeth, and even fill up an entire water bottle spouting the water with a powerful stream from his lips. Blaine was so fascinated by this that he set out on a mission to contact this Carter and after 3 years of posting flyers, and putting ads in newspapers, until he was finally able to track him down. In 2013 Blaine was able to have Carter teach him the technique to perform this incredible stunt. The reason this is so fascinating to me is not that Blaine can do it, but his determination and great lengths that he went thru to learn the technique. It just goes to show why David Blaine is as popular of a magician as he is, it is because when he sets his mind on a goal he goes above and beyond the realm of what is conceivably possibility to prepare himself to amaze his next crowd. I must admit I do really love how Blaine was able to take this and incorporate it into a street magic performance revealing a name onto the pavement with the spouted water as a form of mentalism.
-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.