How to Hire a Strolling Magician
“It looks easy. Walk around and do magic tricks for everyone.
Seems like everyone is having fun.
Let’s hire someone and add it to our event.
How much could it possibly cost?”
That’s what most people think when they see a strolling magician. It’s a fun and easy add on to the main event. Like background music. It certainly adds to the atmosphere and people really do enjoy close-up magic.
So how to hire a strolling magician? Who’s the best? If you shop online, you’ll find a list of magicians to choose from. The ones listed at the top are often agencies and services like Yelp that lure you into their database of performers so you can book through them.
You can also click on individual performers listed in a search.
The ones listed at the top are often performers who pay for top rankings. However, they usually lack the skills and experience of a great strolling magician and entertainer. So what is it the best way to ensure you find the best fit for your event? There are a few things to consider when hiring a magician, especially a strolling magician.
First, consider People Skills. There are many very talented performers who hate strolling gigs. They are uncomfortable walking around outside the spotlight and interrupting people. They often speak with disdain about those of us who work as “professional interrupters”. At corporate events, social skills are especially important. At social gatherings, the guests are more easily approachable as they are curious and want to be entertained.
A performer’s ability to communicate confidently, connect and engage with a group of “strangers” in a casual and fun manner is probably the most important set of skills one should look for when booking a strolling magician or any performer. This is why it’s so important to TALK with performers on the phone. Or even better, use FaceTime or Zoom. A short 10-minute meeting with a few top candidates will often give you a clear indication of your best choice.
The second consideration is Magic Skills. A strolling magician usually performs close-up magic most of which requires sleight of hand skills. Some performers display their skills openly, like a juggler. Some hide their skills and may appear clumsy. The best magicians usually present a balance of both approaches. Displays of skill, like a one-hand perfect Faro shuffle, establish credibility with the audience.
To get the most bang for your bucks, hire a sleight of hand expert who has taken the time (years) to master true skills, most of which the audience will never be aware of.
Sleight of hand experts and artists are able to present a larger variety of effects for the enjoyment of their audiences. Custom, personalized effects are performed depending on the occasion and preferences of the guests. For example, birthdays, weddings and anniversaries, require magic effects that are tailored and relevant for these special occasions. Another example is an audience who enjoys card games and gambling, so a skillful close-up magician can perform poker demonstrations, 3 card monte, shell games, etc.
Finally, the skillful and experienced performer can adjust his performance to the flow of the event, and make his presentations more enjoyable for the audience. An expert strolling magician, due to the nature of the interpersonal interactions and relationships of the group and setting, can handle different situations with confident professionalism that is time earned. For example, dealing with heavy drinkers can be a challenge, as can loud music and low lighting. Corporate settings, as mentioned, require utmost professionalism, discernment of guests’ interactions, and a sense of timing on when and how to make the approach.
The bottom line is to invest in a professional magic entertainer who is socially skilled, experienced, and highly skilled in the art of strolling close-up magic. Seek referrals from friends and associates. Many people have seen a magician at a friend’s party or your company may have hired someone at a past event. The best magicians are usually found by referrals and not necessarily at the top of a Google search. Call and interview your potential candidates, look for credibility, ask for testimonials, and go out and see them perform. Hire the best, like Shawn Eric, who cares about your event as much as you do, who you can trust and enjoy working with, and your guests will rave for years to come!