Monday, May 28, 2012

Life of the Party

There are one of two roles you will be playing when attending a house party or get-together, the first is
as a hired entertainer and the second is as an invited guest. I'm sure you already know what to do when someone hires you for a gig but, what do you do when you're just a guest at a party.

You will probably be called upon or coerced into performing on your "night off" at some point during the event. There are those performers who have adopted the mindset that they will refuse to perform under these circumstances because they are not being paid. This is a foolish and unfortunate position to place yourself in and a horrible business and marketing decision.
Here is an opportunity to demonstrate your performance art for an audience of genuinely interested people. Don't neglect the fact that you are Live Performance Artist. Here you are 'live and in the flesh' ready to have potential clients experience exactly what it is you do. You don't have to try to explain your show over the phone, send them to your website, show them a youtube clip or just give them a business card - you can amaze them personally right then and there.

As magicians we have the distinct advantage over other professions in that people are fascinated by what we do and with a little effort we can make a powerful impact performing informal and impromptu (seeming!) magic.

If you ever use the excuse that you "don't have anything with you" I would strongly suggest you take up a different vocation or hobby. You have no right to call yourself a magician. Put some thought, effort and time into what you would and should perform in these instances. Be prepared. You will be rewarded for your efforts.


  1. Nicely put. You owe me a trick or two for that breakfast we served you a while back ... ;) Love you!

  2. Hi Bill,
    Here is one I got from a past client a while ago:

    "If you are not busy on Sunday June 2, I'm having a Birthday BBQ for Tony at our house, you are welcome to come and join us. I'm going to have about 30 people, if you want to bring some card tricks that's totally up to you."

    I went and did some card tricks and left with a thank you for the invitation.

  3. Interesting post, but one I completely disagree with. I've been a professional magician for almost 20 years. I've performed all over this country at private and corporate events and I make a great living as a magician.

    I have no issue with anyone who wants to perform at a party when they're an invited guest, but to suggest that anyone who doesn't should take up another vocation or hobby is ludicrous.

    I rarely perform any magic when I'm an invited guest. I perform for pay on average 4 to 5 times per week. When I'm not working, I like to enjoy myself, and I do that by not performing magic.

    Some magicians can't hold a conversation without performing magic. That's not the case with me. I'd rather be perceived as a likable and interesting human being, without having to be "on" at every moment.

    Most of the time I attend social events with my girlfriend. I enjoy her company. She enjoys mine. We socialize with others, and we're always networking. We pick up many clients by our our social networking skills, and it's all done without performing any magic. Having a personality that people like can go a long way.

    I enjoy reading your posts. I hope you don't take offense to my opposing view. It's just a different way of looking at things.

    Wishing you the very best!


  4. Thanks Lou, I really appreciate your response. Like you there are many get-togethers, parties and events I attend and never perform a thing. But I feel with discretion and with tact that we (as pros) should have something ready and be willing to do what it is we do. The money is not why I got into magic and the money is not what truly gives me joy - it is performing and bringing joy/surprise/happiness to other doing magic. For me it's not about being ON or OFF. I'm just me. And that's how I perform. It's also how I am off stage. It truly is a personal choice and personality driven.

  5. I do it occasionally, but I have found that the best approach is to do ONE absolute killer. More than that and you are working for free, not advertising. But that ONE killer routine can be like a silver bullet. It should be something people will remember.

  6. Hi !
    I am from Sri Lanka and been performing as an active magician & Entertainer for 67 years.
    I always carry a few pocket tricks when ever I leave my home.
    Since I am known very often I am called to perform & Hey Presto I do it, even involving the few present.
    Every Magician who should be an Entertainer in the first place should always rise up to the occassion

  7. So it would be interesting to hear what you, Bill and the others, do as their killer, silver bullet trick in these impromptu situations. :-)