The BIG problem with hiring a magician for your event
At Slightly Unusual we perform at thousands of events every year. We perform at corporate events, weddings, trade shows and private parties. We headline large festivals as well as performing at the smallest garden parties and as such very few people know the magic industry like we do.
We are very aware of a big problem that can affect people when they are trying to book a magician for their event. It’s a problem that we aim to highlight in this blog and then offer some advice as to how to deal with this issue.
The problem is...
What we mean by this is that there is no governing body that makes sure that magicians are operating honestly and ethically. If you wanted to you could print some cheap business cards and set yourself up a website and then start advertising yourself as a professional magician. You could take bookings and not turn up and nobody would be able to do anything.
At Slightly Unusual we have dozens of calls every month from stressed out event planners, brides and grooms. They are stressed because they have been let down at the last minute by their magician.
This can happen for a few reasons. Perhaps the magician in question is ill. Perhaps they have taken a better higher paid booking. Perhaps they just cannot be bothered to leave the house. Whatever the reason it leaves people without entertainment literally hours or days before their event.
When we explain this to customers a lot of people talk about The Magic Circle. They believe this sort of thing cannot happen because The Magic Circle would put a stop to it. Unfortunately The Magic Circle has no power to deal with something like this. The Magic Circle is not a regulatory body they are a glorified magic club with a nice venue where their members meet. If you are not a member they can’t do anything to you. If you are a member the most they can do is kick you out. That is the extent of their power. We published a blog about how The Magic Circle is irrelevant which you can read by CLICKING HERE.
As a result of all this the important point to remember is you need to be careful when booking entertainment for your event or wedding. You have to make sure that the act you are booking is going to turn up and do a good job as well. You have to do research on the act you are booking and do due diligence to make sure the act is right for your event. So in this blog we offer you a few points it’s worth considering before you book a magician for your event.
Before we go through these points it’s worth noting that there are some very talented amateur magicians in the UK. Hiring an amateur magician does not mean you are hiring someone who won’t turn up to your event. However, pretty much every time we have had panicked phone calls off clients it’s been because the magician is either an amateur or a professional that hardly charges anything.
1. Is the magician very cheap and if so why? If you have asked for several quotes and one quote is massively cheaper this could be an issue. Performers that charge very cheap prices are normally not very experienced and just want to try and book as many gigs as possible. The problem is these are the same magicians that would probably let you down if a better paid gig comes in. It’s like the old expression ‘If you pay peanuts expect monkeys’. You can read more about the problem with booking cheap magicians by CLICKING HERE.
2. Do they have a quality showreel and a variety of professional photos on their website? Anyone can build a website these days very cheaply. However, the only way you can have a great showreel is by performing at several events and spending money on having it done right. Watching a magicians showreel shows they are a professional and also gives you a good idea of the magician would be a good fit for you event.
3. Ask for Public Liability Insurance (PLI) off your magician. Most venues will request a magicians PLI Insurance these days on order to cover themselves. However, even if they don’t it’s worth asking your magician to supply this for you. The reason is that the only way to get PLI is to be a member of equity (the union for performers) or buy the insurance directly from an insurance company. This costs money either way and is a wonderful way of making sure you are hiring a professional. If you were hiring someone with no experience they probably won’t have PLI at which point you can question whether they are the right fit for your event.
4. What email address are they using when they communicate with you? If you are speaking to someone with free email address it is a sign they aren’t taking their business seriously. If you were a full time business owner wouldn’t you get an email address that is customised for your business instead of using a free gmail or yahoo email address? It’s little things like this that can be a big warning sign. It hardly costs anything to get a custom email address. A free email address can be set up in minutes and discarded just as easily. Which means if someone wanted to let you down it would be very likely you would never be able to get hold of them.
5. Do they have reviews and or testimonials? When researching about magicians make sure you can see reviews and testimonials of their performances. This is a great way to make sure that they are busy working professionals and that they are the right fit for your event. However make sure the reviews are on a third party platform (like Facebook or Google). Reviews published on a performers own website aren’t really worth much to be honest.
So there you have it. 5 points to help you make sure you hire a magician for your event that will turn up and do a great job! If you would like to speak to us about your event we promise we will turn up and do a GREAT JOB!