ILLUSIONS OF MONTANA
Real Secrets of Success in Magic Performing
FIRST AND BEST
Have an original act, well rehearsed, put yourself in it.
Sources for magic effects include the Tarbell Series Vol 1-6 ($130 complete from any magic dealer) and the Osborne & Abbott Illusion Building Plans. The Tarbell Series has more effects and illlusions than you will ever need in performing. Perfect eight to ten routines you can do from these resources. Start simple and build on it, one trick at at time. Later, when you have an idea of your skill level, you may want to look into videos and other publications available from magic shops and at magician's conventions. The S.A.M. and I.B.M. are good organizations for learning (like vocational schools) and to gain experience enter the amateur competetion sponsored by these organizations. Winning can be a short-cut by opening doors to other major magic convention bookings and national television appearances, but keep in mind that there are far more working magic entertainers in major venues that never belonged to any amateur club.
Also keep in mind.. That there are no new methods, just new appearing magic effects. Anyone can come up with a decent magic show. It is the original presentation style and smoothness of execution that separates the good from bad performers. So don't waste a lot of energy trying to protect your methods.
MARKETING YOUR SHOW
Ok this is what separates the adults from childen. You have a well rehearsed show and think you are ready to perform. So you now have two choices;
1. Market your show and get out to work.
2. Sit on your ass and complain that nobody hires magicians anymore or that so-and-so came to your town and took all your clients!
If you chose option #1 Good! Here are some proven tips:
USE DIRECT MAIL:
Send out a neat concise printed direct mail advertisement
Mail to specific known customers, that is to:
Schools, Trade Assns, Service Clubs, Fairs, Librarys, Agents,
Performing Arts Centers, Fund Raising Organizations
Include recent photos. Mail twice or more times a year!!
USE REFERRALS AND AGENTS:
Include local and regional talent agents on your maillist.
Hand out business cards and referral cards to show sponsors
Appear on local radio and television news / talk shows
These programs are hard up for non-political interest guests. Prepare a lecture on some pressing social concern linked to magic methods and you have a sure fire foot in the door to getting on air and free publicity!
Always be prepared with some small pocket tricks, never force these, but when someone mentions you are a magician - go for it!
KNOW WHAT TO CHARGE:
Do not undercut your own talent fees or anyone else's
Charge fees that cover all your expenses
add enough margin to provide yourself a good hourly wage
don't forget travel and sitting around time!
This may surprise you... rarely perform for free! It has been my experience that if you want to get emotionally beat up and abused, donate your talent to schools and charities. People will tend to show you more respect and courtesy only when they are paying you. The higher the fee the more respect you'll receive! Charities that ask you to perform for free usually will never thank you and their other volunteers will pick on any little thing they believe you may be doing wrong for the rest of your career. If you want to be treated like a galley slave, give your talents and skills away to a local group of wanta-be social climbers. Remember, Fund Raising Events are big money events and charity starts at home. If you work this industry for free, even if you are independently wealthy, you are a sucker! Think about this, why should you work for free when everyone else is getting paid? Many charity promoters earn big money as compared to average worker salaries. The Grant managers and events promoters legally rake-off 18% ... that is $18K for every $100,000 they raise for an event, some take up to as much as 80% of the netgross for their fee. The caterer will get paid, the owners of the hall (even public facilities) will get paid, and the band will get paid. Look on-line under "Escorts" and you soon discover that even a prostitute charges $200 to $400 per hour working as an "escort," just to accompany somebody to a dinner or event and that fee certainly doesn't include any tricks. This is merely what those gals charge to be the eye candy perched on some guy's arm while they both sit there like lumps watching you entertain them at the local charity event! Do you really believe that you shouldn't deserve to earn as much as all those other people do after the many days of time and expenses you put in just to prepare your performances? After all you are the advertised drawing card for the event!
Finally, remember you are only as good as your last show and if you mess up at a charity show the local gossips will try to ruin your future ones.
Videotape all rehearsals and shows, always strive to improve, review the tapes and do it again!
KNOW EFFECT OUTS AND DIFFERENT VERSIONS!
BUT DON"T TRY TO LEARN ALL EFFECTS, BE SELECTIVE! (Concentrate only on things you do best)
If you are not entertained when watching your tapes change your act routine or your presentation!
Compare with other acts, but never copy them!
Winning contests and being active in amateur associations is only part of your preparation and schooling ... It is not the main path toward being successful as a public celebrity.
APPEARANCE is IMPORTANT - DRESS FOR SUCCESS!
what you wear and say and do reflects upon your show!
Avoid any scandle with paid staff (assistants)or local groupies (always treat fans and employees with respect, pay employees on time and don't ever risk sex with anyone but your spouse)!
- don't expose yourself to any form of scandel.
MAINTAIN YOUR IMAGE as a MIRACLE WORKER!
Always have a trick in your pocket available to perform
Always leave people entertained and wanting to see more
Avoid allowing the public to know about your private life.
Finally if you know you have a good show, not ego, just plain fact! Then develop thick skin toward criticism - listen and evaluate what is being said about you but don't acknowledge it or grovel before them! Sometimes the criticism is earned, but more often it is professional jealousy or plain arrogance. The 13 year-old will yell I know what you're doing! when he has no clue! At a Magician's Convention the loud old fat guy from Jersey will say "that kid has no talent and no chance in the profession!" although they themselves have no experience and you already have been far more successful than they could ever hope to be.
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