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Profile of amazin
How do you know when you are good enough to do parties, etc.? What are the going rates?
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Inner circle
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Profile of Payne
A good gauge to know when you're good enough to start doing paying shows is when, after seeing you perform, people hire you to perform at a party they are holding.

You need to go out there and get some face and flight time. Busk on the streets Volunteer your show for hospitals or charities, do open mike nights at comedy clubs or enter talent shows.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
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Myrtle Beach, SC
639 Posts

Profile of WagsterMagic
Or do what I did, bug all my friends and family to watch and I knew I was ready when they there response was "whoa" and not that's good.

You will notice a difference in audience reaction.

Trust me. You will know.

The Wagsters: World Class Magic & Illusion
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Profile of pradell
The "going rates" vary a lot. They depend upon your age, experience, marketing skills, community, type of performance you are doing, who you are performing for, etc. You may want to call professionals in your area and ask them what they are charging to get an idea of what the going rate is for their shows. But don't just use their prices to set yours: think about what to charge and how it will affect the number of shows you get (quantity) versus the level of professionalism of the act you are providing (quality). There is no right answer to this difficult question.
Josh Riel
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of hell
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Profile of Josh Riel
However, Payne's way will give you the everyday Joe's reaction. Family can be very unreliable gauges of ones ability.

Also, you will be in front of possible customers. Exposing your abilities to the guy with the fat wallet is a good thing.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
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Eternal Order
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Profile of JamesTong
Be goodin what you are doing first. Then expose yourself to the right people. Then wait for indicators ... very good audience responses and they want you.

This is, however, determined by how good an entertainer you are. When the audience is entertained and they enjoyed themselves, they will want you again.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. The business of magic is more complex.
Andy the cardician
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A street named after my dad
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Profile of Andy the cardician
James is right on spot - if you are good, people will request you to perform. But just being able to do a trick is not enough. This forum provides a wealth of information. Find the time to read your way through it - and use the search engine wisely - you will be rewarded magically

Cards never lie
Brad Burt
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Profile of Brad Burt
If you can find a local pro that you know and trust to give you a good honest assessment of where you so. Watch yourself on video. Would YOU pay to see YOU? hard on yourself.

The fact that someone 'would' pay to see you is not necessarily a proper gauge of whether you are ready or not. I can be, but not always. In the end will HAVE to get ON THE SHOW! The Catch 22 is that you have to work at some point for real folks to get the experience you need to more forward and find out where it is that you lack or excel. Get on the show doing some free work for local orphans, etc. It's a good thing and everyone wins.

Pay is very much a regional thing AND a index of just how good YOU are and your worth as a performer. I have known guys who got far more than anyone else in their area could charge. Why? They excelled. If you think about it and come up with a good strategy you'll figure out what to charge, etc. Best,
Brad Burt
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Profile of kosmoshiva
I would also have a look at what other specialty acts are in your area: belly dancers, jugglers, acrobats. Other magicians are great for letting you know if your standards are good enough. But it's the gorillagram guy and the tarot-card reader who are also in the pool with you, looking for those early career party gigs. Learn to get on with them.
Don't forget to breathe.
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Los Angeles, CA
244 Posts

Profile of shek
No offense, but I think if you are asking how good you need to be to perform professionally, you probably aren't good enough. People spend decades practicing magic seriously before they decide to go pro. Aaron Fisher wrote a short blurb on performing professionally on his new blog a few weeks ago, I think...
Jay Austin
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Profile of Jay Austin
On 2007-10-09 21:02, shek wrote:
People spend decades practicing magic seriously before they decide to go pro.

Yes, and there are many that start working shows when they are kids as well. It is not a matter of how long someone has been studying magic that makes one a pro. For example check out and follow the links that Eric posted to see what someone that has only been studying 2 years can do. (She also just got started in coins.)

After a magic club meeting last night a group of us were standing around talking about busking and Harry Anderson mentioned that he started busking at 14. That is not decades of practice. If you think you are ready go out and do a show. You will soon know if your are ready or not. However, if you are not ready, you run the risk of making a bad reputation for yourself and making it harder to get gigs when you practice some more. You could always volunteer to do a show at a nursing home or hospital to get your feet wet. There is no better teacher then actually getting out there and doing it. Age is not an issue.
Jay Austin
Hire a tech, not a geek.
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Profile of docbarnes
Working in a magic store and performing the same tricks numerous times created my level of confidence. I was able to see how different people react to the same trick with the same presentation. Learn a few tricks and perform the regularly enough to reduce performance anxiety.
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Inner circle
Kalamazoo, Mi.
2537 Posts

Profile of Jaxon
If you've never been paid to do a show before. Be sure to let them know this. If you do some magic for people and they say something along the lines of, "Hey, could you do a show for my sons birthday party next month?" Tell them the truth about the fact that doing private party's is is something you've been working toward. That you've been practicing and working to be good enough to do that. If you've already entertained them then they'll probably say something like, "Well, you seem good enough to me... How much would you charge?"

Now, know that they know you've never done a private party before so they'll know they're not getting a "Seasoned pro". But they've already seen that you "could" do entertain them. So your fee shouldn't be too high. My suggestion would be about $50 starting out.

In this way if you're nervous, mess a couple of tricks or or anything like that. They'll understand that this is your first time. They might even be helpful. In fact if you make them laugh a few time they will be helpful. Beleive me and I'm sure everyone in here will back me when I say that your first real show can be very scary. So if they know it's your first and encourage you it'll be easier to get through that first show. Where if they paid you $200 or $300 they'd be pretty disappointed if you wheren't a "Complete pro". So be honest and have fun.

On a side note and this is my philosophy anyway. I never rely on tips. I charge what I would be happy with. If I make any tips it's just a bonus. If I get no tips I'm still happy with the fee we agreed to.

After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
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Profile of Vince_the_vince
When someone ask you to do a show and they want to pay you because thay really enjoy can say to yourself that you are not that bad....not ready yet, but not bad...
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Columbus, Ohio
504 Posts

Profile of Bendy
On 2007-10-01 10:47, Payne wrote:
A good gauge to know when you're good enough to start doing paying shows is when, after seeing you perform, people hire you to perform at a party they are holding.

Yep. It just starts happening. ...At least that's how it started for me. Performing a trick here and there for co-workers led to a guy I worked with asking if I'd perform a few minutes of magic for his son's birthday party. It was a small gathering of 11 year olds - not really what I'd call a "party"; so it turned out well. I didn't set a price - I'd have done it for free - but he paid me.

From there, I would perform tricks for the kids after church on Sunday in the hallways. I would occasionally use an illusion to make a point in my Sunday School class or from the pulpit. That led to my Pastor asking if I'd perform for various functions for the church. Word of mouth spread through visitors to our church as well as regular members and I would occasionally get the call from another church asking me to visit and perform.

Now this past week, someone I go to church with approached me with the name and number of an executive for a local office of a national company. That executive saw an ad for our church's upcoming fall festival in the newspaper. The ad mentioned me. Knowing that was his church, the exec asked my friend if he knew me and if I was any good. My friend was probably more kind in his description of my talent than I would be of myself, (though we're all probably a little better than we think we are); but the exec wants me to perform walk-around magic at four upcoming holiday dinners/parties they're throwing for their employees. We're going to meet this coming week to hammer out the details - but the walk-around gig will be new and scary territory for me.

But as you get better and do more and more illusions for more and more people, offers will start coming in. Keep practicing your craft and behaving in a professional manner and those offers will become more frequent and will net you better money. It's a slow process; but it's a steady one. Just keep working at it.
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