7 Secrets to Hiring a Magician
In most birthday parties with a magician, the magician IS the party. The party starts a ½ hour before the show and ends ½ hour after the show is over. A great magician means a great party. A mediocre magician can spoil the party. They can also be late, or not show up.
Here are a few secrets to hiring the right magician:
1) Magic Broker or Independent Contractor. – Hiring a Magician
By having a broker, you are paying him or her to find you a magician. For a broker to be competitive and make money, they must pay the magician less, and generally much less, than the standard rate.
Which magician will likely do a better job?
a) a magician that is underpaid and cannot be successful on his or her own; or
b) one that has a proven track record of success and is paid the normal rate?
Which magician you hire is more likely to be late or not show up?
2) Performance Videos.
These are the best way of hiring a magician and telling how entertaining a children’s entertainer can be – short of seeing an actual show:
There are two types of performance videos, highlight videos, and routine videos.
a) Highlight videos show just the highlights of a show or several shows. Since they only have a series of brief moments, a magician doesn’t have to be that good to have a 3-minute highlight video. He just has to be good at video editing.
b) Routine videos show a segment of the show, a routine, not just brief highlights. These will show you what you are getting much more than highlight videos. The more the better. Routine videos won’t be as flashy, but they should conform to reality.
How knowledgable is the reviewer of the magic show? When hiring a magician, most people have no idea what excellent performance looks like – and they don’t have the experience. They can give 5-star reviews that should be 3-star reviews.
a) Written online reviews are routinely faked by some entertainers. All that is needed is several (or 50) email addresses with fake names to reviewing himself or herself. You can also buy written reviews for as little as $2.00 each.
b) Video reviews are much harder to fake than written referrals. Since there is no current agency collecting video reviews, they are self-hosted. The entertainer does not put up what they don’t want you to see.
A magician that has a lot of experience shows they are not a fly-by-the-night entertainer. Their experience hopefully means they have learned a thing or two about captivating children. While this is not always, it generally is the case. It is possible for someone with minimal experience entertaining kids can do a great job – it just isn’t probable.
Parents LOVE costumed characters. Kids feel more comfortable with an ordinary person as opposed to someone that looks weird. Scientific American reported that kids don’t like clowns, and find them creepy. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-clowns-creep-us-out/ .
Some good magicians try to overcome this issue by softening their clownish look, but why have the issue at all?
Jazzy props are often a crutch for poor performance. Generally, a magician who uses fewer flashy props has a better personality and performance than one who depends on them to entertain. Think of the stand-up comic. They use nothing but their personality and can be very entertaining.
Don’t expect a bottom-of-the-barrel price to get a good magician, but poor magicians can and do charge premium prices.