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What our Founder HATES about magicians

PLEASE NOTE - The opinions in this blog are from our founder Craig Petty. His opinion does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Slightly Unusual Ltd.

I have had the pleasure throughout my career of working with some amazing and talented magicians. Performers that care about their audience and clients. People who will go above and beyond to ensure that their client has an amazing experience. These magicians are furthering the art of magic and helping take magic into the 21st Century. I should point out right now that this blog is not about these performers. This blog is about a group of people that call themselves magicians however the only thing important to them is the almighty dollar. This blog is about those magicians that couldn’t care less about clients and instead just want to line their pockets regardless of the experience their clients have. Anyone can say they're a magician, and in fact dress like a magician. Even wear a top hat like this guy.

a magician illustration design used for a slightly unusual blog

Allow me to explain. There are lots of magic forums and magic groups on the internet and social media. Places where magicians can hang out and talk about magic. If that sounds interesting I have to be honest it really isn’t. Normally it’s a lot of talk about card tricks and coin tricks and which magicians are the best. However the other subject that comes up time and time again is trick selection. In other words what tricks should be performed in particular situations. For example if you are booked to perform at a wedding what would be the best tricks to do in that environment. So now we get to the point that really annoys me. I am seeing a worrying trend these days on these forums. More and more so called professional magicians are taking bookings with no clue about how to perform successfully at the gig. Amateurs who have never performed professionally taking a booking despite no having a clue what to do. Even worse they have convinced the client that they are super experienced and the best option for their event. This just makes my blood boil. Let me explain why I find this so annoying. Although magic is more popular than ever before it’s not mainstream. So if some people see a bad magician they assume all magicians are bad. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. If an inexperienced, unprofessional amateur magician goes to a gig pretending to be a professional one it looks bad. The people at that event might never book a magician because of the experience they had. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve met someone who tells me they didn’t like magic till they saw me perform. That’s not because I’m awesome (even though I am!), it’s because they have had a bad experience in the past. However there is a bigger problem with amateurs pretending to be professionals. When a person books a magician it’s a big decision. They have saved money and worked hard to make that money. Having a magician come along and do a bad job because they haven’t got the experience to do they job that they promised they would do is terrible. It’s daylight robbery and shouldn’t happen. I have no problem with less experienced magicians performing and gaining experience. This is, after all, what makes performers better. However there are ways to do this. Taking on free gigs at places like care homes and comedy clubs. Going to open mic nights. Performing for friends and family. Even telling potential clients that they don’t have a great deal of experience and offering a lower fee. However what they shouldn’t be doing is charging the fee a very experienced full time professional would charge but not knowing what they should do. It is simply unacceptable to tell a client they know what they are doing but then spend the week before the party seeking advise on what they should be doing. It should never happen. Unfortunately it is very easy these days for someone with little experience to appear to be amazing. You can film a showreel on a smartphone and create a website in a matter of hours. It’s easy for someone to appear professional even if they aren’t.

So the question is, what can you do about this? Well, the most important thing is to research your magician throughly. Don’t just look at a website and a generic showreel. Find out how long the person you are speaking to has been performing. Check reviews on social media. Request unedited live performance videos so that you can watch a full performance at a real gig. If you are booking a magician for a wedding ask for footage of them performing at a wedding. If you are booking a magician at a corporate event ask to see footage of them at a corporate event. If possible (and it isn’t always possible) meet up with the magician and see some stuff live. Or at the very least chat with you potential magician over Skype.

a slightly unusual magician performs close up magic for a group around a table at a party

Do your due diligence. Make sure the magician that you are considering hiring is the right fit for your event. You should know without a shadow of a doubt that the magician you are speaking to is the perfect option for your event. If you would like to read about the number one thing you need to make sure you've done when booking a magician CLICK HERE. Also if you would like to read about which member of Slightly Unusual is the best CLICK HERE.

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