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)
If you have ever seen the Food Network TV Show: Cupcake Wars then you will know who Justin Willman is. Justin Willman is not only a TV Show Host, he is also a magician & comedian known for his regular appearances on The Tonight Show, Ellen, Conan, and @Midnight. His debut comedy/magic special Sleight of Mouth premiered earlier this year on Comedy Central to rave reviews. The L.A. Times called him, "A new breed of comic who's making magic cool again for grown-ups. " Playboy dubbed him, "The freshest and funniest magician working today." Time Out says his live show, "Has to be seen to be disbelieved."
Justin was born in St. Louis, lives in Los Angeles, and does not own a rabbit. You may have seen the viral video of Justin and his newlywed wife Jillian Sipkins, when Jillian appears to make Justin levitate during their first dance as husband and wife. Now this is exactly the kind of relationship everyone think of when they imagine a magician and their spouse. A loving magical relationship where they both enjoy magic and they try to outdo one another on a regular basis. Well that's not my life! Not even close! Now don't get me wrong, I love my wife with all my heart and soul...but you see I've been fascinated with magic since I was a child and I have spent my life learning every day new magic tricks, studying other magicians, and trying to always be open minded to learning new and better ways to perform my illusions to enhance my performance. So the hard part for me is I don't have someone to share my ideas with, my wife HATES magic. If I even bring up the topic of magic she is frustrated and annoyed by it...considering this is how I make a living, you would think maybe she might want to pay attention and help give constructive criticism. But no sadly that doesn't happen either, if by chance I do catch her in the right mood to where she will give me some advise it is usually filled with eye-rolling, making fun of me, or talking about how corny or lame the trick or my jokes are. I don't let this discourage me one bit though, as I have a daughter, "Parker" and she LOVES magic and she gives me all the constructive criticism I need. Not to mention, it helps Parker and I bond as a father and daughter should. It also teaches Parker the tricks of the trade, that hopefully one day she will master for herself. She has already begun performing stage illusions with me, and we are putting together her very own show as well. What I do love is that my wife does conceal her magic hatred when it comes to our daughter. She will give very good feedback for her...so it's just me! I guess after 12 years of marriage I have just come to understand that it's not something my wife will ever enjoy, even if it's how food gets to our table. Now one thing that Justin Willman and I do have in common, is that both he and I are married to photographers who are extremely talented. That I must say is a true blessing, and I'm sure Justin would agree it's awesome having a wife that can take your photo shoots for you.
-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.