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Can you teach a trick to the audience during your show?

A good way to tell the potential customer you don’t teach while performing is:

“If you hire a singer for an event – the singer doesn’t give singing lessons at that time. Cher just performs but she doesn’t teach. Singing lessons, Piano lessons etc, are usually taught step by step AND The things I’ll be bringing are not that easy top learn. Students should start at the beginning, which isn’t part of the show I do, or any other magician either that I know of.


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Explaining your Chair Suspension to a new customer

I just hit on a word that sums-up what the Chair Suspension is and does, without calling it “A Floating Trick”

Yes you can say Suspension but sometimes that isn’t complete enough because suspended bridges are anchored at both ends – so – I’m now also using the word “Projecting”.
As in: “I’ll set-up two chairs and set a board on top. Your son lays on top and we cover him with the magic red cloth. Then we take away one chair & the board AND if you saw the photo on my website then you see how your son will be Projecting off the one chair and hanging unsupported, at the other end”.

Truth in advertising. You’ll never get a complaint because someone thought you said the person was going to Float, and they didn’t float.
You will avoid any parents scaring their children by saying they’re going to Float… because we all know, sometimes children with overactive imaginations might believe they’re going to float-away and never come back. It occasionally happens- just like when you walk in the door and some (well-meaning) adult says “Look, There’s the magician. He’s going to make you disappear”. That’s not usually good.

So try Suspended & Projecting in your next description and see if the description rolls off the tongue better.

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Does your show have card tricks for my 8 year old?

My son loves card tricks. Are there any card tricks in the show?
This refers to kids parties. I say “yes” but explain that the kids show is a time-tested formula of colorful boxes, handkercheifs and audience participation. There are many kids that don’t know what cards are so the actual show is designed where I stand in one area and hold things up so everyone can see…. usually, card tricks need to be performed on a table and when you have 15 kids and all the adults, it’s doesn’t show well to do tricks, on a table where people can’t see them.

However, I’d be happy to do some special card tricks for the kids after the official show, where they can gather around a table and take part… and that way you can have two shows for the price of one. How does that sound?

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Are you funny?

I am very funny, are you? (What you do when someone challenges you.)

Reciently I received an inquiry for my services. The customer inqired “Are you funny? I answerd yes “Because I am very funny, I always have my children laughing. I might even be funnier then you!” I responded “Maybe we should put an act together and go on the road.” What this did was to force her to consider that she wasn’t as funny as she believed or she would be the performer and I would be the customer. And the bonus was that I accecpted her as being funny without alienating her.
My first thought was, I know I’m not getting tip because everything I do will be judged – not enjoyed. Then I tried to sell the show in a way that removed the lady’s ego so the audience would be happy and I would get paid. Here is what my sales presentastion included. Many times I’ve performed for other entertainers and even though they had an idea of what I was doing, I always recieved a nice round of applause. That’s my goal, to entertain the audience, I’m sure you want that too. So when the show is on, please watch the faces of your guests and count the number of times they applaude. That’s what I do. It’s a little hobby I have while I’m performing.

I continued with the normal sales presentation. She booked the show. At the show her two kids tried to interject some comments but I kept going and gave them lot’s of extra jokes. Actually the kids were’nt very funny and if I let them have the floor they would have embarresed themselves. Same with the dad. I just wanted to do my show without being scruitinized like at a close up contest at a magician’s convention.

I watched the lady relax after ten minutes and she even laughed at some of the jokes but she kept walking around. I suspect that part of her was envious. Why should it matter, she was living in a gated community where the houses cost several million, not kidding, each.

In the end, the audience saw a great show and I made sure to promt them to tell the host how much fun thay had. But still she had to give me a little jab. She handed me the rolled up cash and went back to the Party. I had to corner her husband explaining that she was $20 short. Always count the money in front of them even if they live in a seven million dollar house.

The bottom line, If someone challenges you during the selling process, it’s good and bad. It’s good if you get the show because you know they are discernind and you passed the test. It’s bad because you usually have to push back a little risking the possible loss of employment.

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Can you do a two hour show (or longer)?

The prospect asks: Can you come over my house and put a show on for two hour?

I did this one time because an agent talked me into it, never again. I’d rather do two shows in a day then to perform three versions of the sucker sliding die box painted different colors and four color changing hank tricks just to kill time.

Occasionally you will get this request. The only time a two hour show is possible, in my opinion, is if you are a Taro Card Reader, face painter, making extravagant balloons or performing strolling magic. Some might argue this isn’t really a “show” and they are right. A show consists of putting on a complete performance in front of an audience. So for you who do this sort of thing, here is how I like to explain my position:

Well, yes I can put on a show for two hours. As a matter of fact I could keep everyone sitting for half a day… if they were other magicians or lived in a European country. When I’m working for an audience of kids or adults in America, people expect variety. They want different activities and they want variety. When I’m performing the show I usually do for a group like yours I’ve found that it needs to start with some sleight of hand, then several segments of audience participation mixed with some mind boggling tricks in between and finally the big number to close with. If I’m there for more then an hour then what i do is no longer a novelty. Even the biggest names in show business only put on a 70 to 90 minute show. Think about your favorite concert and remember when the main singer left the stage and the band played a few songs by themselves? That’s because even in a big show people want to experience variety.

The show that I’ve been doing for several years has something that appears, something that disappears, something that changes color, something that changes places, something that floats in the air and the animals, birds and audience participation. Usually about 35 to 45 minutes is the appropriate time for a show with this much going on. But let me help you figure out some other activities your guests can do…. Then I name several games of activities before going back to exactly what I do.

I’ve heard the prospective client say, many times, they do not want to do any work. This is probably why they are looking upon you to fill their needs.

Another approach I’ve taken is to ask if there are going to be any relatives or parents or (if business) people in the same business attending. Then point out how the first part of the event should be a time where they all can talk to each other because that’s what they need to do.

Sometimes the prospective client will tell me they saw another performer who did perform for two hours. I usually respond “Was it some kind of a clown or storyteller?”. They explain what the other person did (which I can use to sell my good points) or in most cases they can not tell me what the other person did because they were out of the room… and again this is an important point… a good show should have people hanging on the next word out of the performers mouth. A long show is just a time filler. Other activities are needed. Add strolling magic or balloon animals and charge acordingly. Suggest strolling for an hour, ten minutes to set the show in place then the actual stand up performance. Even with this approach some clients just have their group sit. For some reason they think a party is right time to go comatose and I’ve seen plenty of it.

So.. they need to make a decision as to weather they just want someone to kill time or do they want a performance with a beginning, middle and an end.

Sometimes you will lose the show but if that’s all the customer wants is to kill time, they are talking to the wrong person. I value what I do. I am not a baby-sitter or window dressing for anyone…. unless they want to pay me the daily rate of fifteen hundred dollars, at which point, I’m yours all day.

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Can you teach everyone a trick during your show?

I realise that some of you make a living teaching classes. Teaching during a show is a different issue because a show is a show and a classroom is a classroom. If you are hired to do a workshop then the format, for kids, should be A. Do a trick. B. Teach them how it works. C Have them construct it and practice it. D repeat. If you are hired to perform then that’s what you do. When you are exposing tricks for no reason (the audience is NOT encouraged to practice, to make and to perform the effect) then all you are doing is a cheap exposure which lowers your status as an entertainer.
Cheap exposure = cheap magician. Teacher who involves mechanicle principles, history, presentation ect. = valued educator.

Here is the short answer;
Teaching magic really is different then performing magic – and – in you’re case (with the grandparents there, or, with this being a birthday party) I think a show, a real show will be a lot more fun and a lot more interesting for everyone, and no one will feel left-out. (You can just repeat the above paragraph… unless they aren’t getting it, then you may need to continue , as below.

So here is how an extended phone conversation usually developes:

Q. Will you teach everyone a magic trick during/after the show?
A. You know, most people come to a magic show to b|:e amazed or entertained. When magicians, and not just myself- any magician, teaches a trick, the mystery just disappears. The audience is neither fooled nor amazed. Teaching tricks takes all the mystery away from a performance. There is a real difference between a demonstrator and an entertainer. So it’s generally not something I do and I don’t know any professional magicians that give away their secrets either because it’s how we make our living. Now, I have been know to teach a magic class, in proper and when I teach a class they have signed-up for lessons, which shows that they are interested in learning magic. Each lesson can take an hour and a half to learn one trick because they learn the trick then they actually construct one, then they learn to perform it correctly. So teaching magic and performing magic are two different types of activities.

I do however, have the answer – I have a great magic set I usually present to the birthday boy during the show, as an extra bonus.
Performing magic is a great way to help kids gain confidence and learn problem solving skills. The kids who perform magic become good at planning and organizing because you learn to be one step ahead and think on your feet.

The magic kits are only $17.50. I have a picture on my web site if you want to look at it. It’s recommended for children over the age of 7 because of the motor skills involved. I like it. Also, if you wanted to buy them in quantity I can get a dozen or more for 15.00 dollars each. I can also gift wrap the one for your son, if you only want the one 🙂

Now, let me tell you about the rest of the show….

EXPLANATION. I use references to all magicians NOT teaching tricks so the caller understands that it’s common practice to perform without tipping the modus operandi. The important point here is, we really do lose our mystique and importance by telling how tricks work. I don’t know of any singers that come to an event, sing, then give singing lessons. They are hired for their talent as a singer, not a vocal coach. I support the magicians code of ethics Never Tell How A Trick Is Done. If you’re a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, you should know that keeping secrets is part of our by-laws..

” There is a big difference between a demonstrator and an entertainer.” and you can’t do a good job teaching magic just by showing the gimmick, you need to lead the students on a learning experience.