Let’s face it; you’re about to make a decision that can make or break the event you are planning. So, you want to do it right. Here are some tips for finding a magician.
Know what you want
First, similar to making any purchase, know what you want. Like automobiles, magicians come in all shapes and sizes. Some are big and perform large stage illusions; some perform only for adults. Some magicians specialize in shows for kids, and some only perform strolling magic. And then some claim to do it all. They don’t. Although there is overlap, and many magicians who do stage and parlor shows can also do fantastic close-up magic.
What kind of magician is best suited for your event and your budget? If it’s a cocktail party for adults, a magician that specializes in strolling magic is better than a magician who only performs kiddie shows. If it’s a birthday party for a seven-year-old, a magician who performs only card magic would likely be a disaster. Instead, a magician with years of experience working with children and understands how very different four-year-olds are from six-year-olds is better suited. Is this your Fortune 500 company’s annual holiday party where only a celebrity magician will satisfy? Maybe you are planning a Bar Mitzvah and want someone who can impress a bunch of 13-year old boys who have seen the workings of many tricks on Youtube. Know what you need before starting your search.
Once you know your budget and the type of magician that would be best for your event, you can start the search. References are among the best ways to narrow your search. Ask friends and families for recommendations, especially those who have planned similar events and had a good experience with a magician. They’ll love to tell you about it.
Join a Facebook group and post a request for recommendations from the group. Members of parents groups and trade groups who have used a magician are usually happy to recommend or share their experience.
Use the internet to follow-up on recommendations. By now, every working performer has a webpage. Check it out. You should see photos, videos, and reviews. If you are starting your search without recommendations, use Google to search, but don’t just type in ‘magician,’ let Google narrow the search. If you have a big budget and are looking for someone to impress attendees at the company’s yearly meeting type in something like ‘celebrity magician.’ Do you want someone local for a birthday party, search for a magician in your area like ‘magician Long Island.’ The magicians in your area will populate your search page. Remember that those who pay to advertise with Google will be at the very top. That does not mean they are the best to meet your needs. Look down the list.
Party and event planners
Event planners usually have several magicians they recommend when clients call. They have experience with these entertainers, know whether they are reliable and well-suited for your assignment. Expect to pay a little bit more than if you hired the magician directly.
If you have a limited budget, booking portals like GigMasters and GigSalad are good options. These websites allow you to request quotes from several magicians at once. Keep in mind, unlike event planners, these portals do not screen their performers, so quality and pricing vary.
Narrowing down the list
Once you have a few magicians that you are considering. Contact each. While email is efficient, it’s best to call and speak with each directly. You’ll get an excellent sense of whether they are right for your event by talking to them or their agent. Ask about their experience. Ask for referrals. Are they insured? What about a criminal background check? Many organizations that work exclusively with children like daycare centers require background checks. Many performers’ websites include videos. Look at a few videos. Are there reviews on Google? Read a few. You may pay a bit more for someone with lots of experience and high marks, but in the end, it will be well worth the extra expense.