1. Be at least 2 hours early to your gig. Nothing is worse than feeling stressed and rushed before an important gig. And, good luck getting rebooked on a show when you’re 15 minutes late. I’ve had a few close calls that were all beyond my control. From my GPS deciding to take the extra scenic route, to NYPD shutting down half of Manhattan for a marathon, that 2-hour cushion will really help when you need it.

 

  1. Be prepared to perform ANY type of show. Many years ago I was booked for a walk-around event for a corporate client. The contracts were signed months ahead of time. When I arrived at the show, I asked the client where they’d like me to start my walk-around magic and he said, “Walk-around? You’ll be on that stage right over there.” I was 100% clear during the booking process that I was hired for walk-around. However, this was their contract, and it simply stated “magician” as services provided. But what was I supposed to do? Tell the client, “Sorry bro?” So, I did a stand-up show completely off the cuff. I had no close-up mat, no card table, no mic, no PA, no nothing. Fortunately, I keep all my material rehearsed and pulled off a 1-hour show for about 65 people.

 

  1. Have a professional website with professional photos. How do you expect to get work without a professional looking website? I’ve seen self-made websites that look like a 3rd grader made them. And, I’ve seen promotional photos taken with an iPhone, with a white bed sheet hanging in the background as the backdrop. Invest in a professional photo shoot and hire a professional web designer. You’ll be amazed at how much more work you get. Often times clients pick a performer solely based off a first impression from a website.

 

  1. Have multiple shows and sets built in advance. I have a standing show, a sit down formal show, a two-man show, and about 8-10 different walk-around sets. I have TV material ready to go as well as an entire act that doesn’t use a single playing card. Imagine that! The point is, if I get called tomorrow for a TV spot, I won’t be stressed out and have to worry about creating something I can do in less than 24 hours. I’ve done enough different types of shows in the past to know what effects play well when and where. In short, always be prepared for any type of show and keep the effects well rehearsed.

 

  1. Always have a contract with your client. I knew this rule from day 1 as a professional magician. I learned as a professional musician that sometimes when you go to get paid the amount agreed on often changes. “Well we had to pay the door guy $85, and your second set was 8 minute short and you boys drank $300 worth of beer…” So, when I made the jump to a professional magician, I knew I’d be using contracts for every gig. Now, literally the one time I didn’t use one was the one time I had an issue. Contracts with all the detailed specifics of the show are what you can fall back on when there’s any disagreement with your performance.

 

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8 Comments
  1. James Kiernan 1 week ago

    Great points, especially the last one!

  2. Ernest B Leyva 1 week ago

    Great info. I would stress all of these. I have been using contacts since day one. Luckily, my GF is a wedding photographer and wrote one up for me. Also, I have encountered that also when the client wanted a stage show and no walk around. I did the same. Wing it. I had a set ready.

  3. Doug Working 1 week ago

    These are great! #2 is the one that presents me with the most challenges. I am in fact trying to create multiple shows for just about any occasion. Coming up with material is not a problem. as I have a plethora of effects to choose from. The problem for me, and what I’m asking you is the problem of memory. Most of us are not Harry Lorayne. The question I am asking is how does one keep that many shows / sets/ routines complete with patter REHEARSED AND SHARP IN THEIR MIND??

    That is a major memory challenge!

    And there are some who contend that one should not be a general practitioner in magic, but rather should focus only on one age group or venue, be it children’s birthday parties, school shows, libraries, night clubs, mentalism. escapes, or WHATEVER it may be.

    I can see the wisdom in that, as it would alleviate the memory challenge a great deal, but do you think it’s practical? You may end up having to turn down many lucrative gigs. Having only one show would allow you to focus on that particular area, allowing you to excel, rather than having one’s eggs and energies scattered in several baskets.

    What are your thoughts?

    Thanks!

    Doug

  4. Dmitry Kostyaev 1 week ago

    Thanks for sharing! Im trying to make the jump into professional work so this is great !

  5. Bruce Young 1 week ago

    I do most of them, I just need a new web site, This is great advice more magicians need to implement!
    It’s also a good idea to have riders in your contract as well.

  6. Jeff 1 week ago

    I especially like point 2 – Be Prepared to Perform ANY Type of Show. I personally do not do “kids shows” or “kids birthday parties” anymore but no matter where or for who I am performing, there will be a couple pieces of “Kids Magic” in my case.

    When my stuff is done for the adults, if there are children present, I will gather them up and do a couple items “just for them”. I have found this to be very beneficial for future gigs.

  7. Kathy Kat 2 days ago

    Excellent advise! I created the website, and constantly take professional photos of my Boyfriend who is a magician.

  8. Harshit goel 2 days ago

    Always get the contract made. A very important lesson.

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