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Profile of aussiemagic
Do you think it is better to be a specialist or a generalist? Do you think you can make more money by specializing in one style of performing or is it better to be a generalist and cater to a variety of markets?
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Profile of magicofCurtis
Good question. I think both can pay off. The bottom line is, if one takes their talents and runs with it. Work it as a business, understand the business aspect and treat it as a business then their talents will be well used in the entertainment industry!
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Profile of RJE
We prefer to be generalists, but that doesn't mean the quality of performance suffers. It allows us to work a lot more.
Blair Marshall
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I would say I am a generalist in magic, but I MARKET to specific markets, and niches. Each one "requiring" a "specialist". It should be noted that you can be a "specialist" to many markets.

As an example, I have consulted on films and commercials, and promotional events, even though I am a specialist in family market, these companies/agencies would not have come to me if this is how they "knew" of me, or found me.

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Profile of aussiemagic
Yes, a "specialist to many markets" seems to be a good way to go.

Thanks for the replies.
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Blair Marshall
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Profile of Blair Marshall
"Yes, a "specialist to many markets" seems to be a good way to go"

By that, I hope you mean a "specialist" within each market.

Each of us, perhaps, has several fields of expertise.

Floyd Collins
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Profile of Floyd Collins
I specialize in family comedy Magic and Mental blending both within my shows, but will also do comedy club venues when requested. Outside of the comedy realm I don't don't do much so I guess I would say I specialize in comedy.
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Bill Nuvo
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I specialize in entertainment. What that entails is a multitude of disciplines. If that makes me a be it. I am what I am Smile
jay leslie
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Blair's got it.

Many people in business offer more then one service but advertise and market them seperatly.

Your web site should have a nav-bar that leads prospective customers into an area that's different but complementary to other sections on your site. I have 6 different web sites that market different products/services to different markets, so prospective customers have confidence that I'm qualified to serve them - in the area they are interested in with no knowledge of any other.

Only in America do we struggle with the public accepting that a person may be skilled at more then one craft. In America if you tell someone that you are an corporate accountant and a virtuoso violinist they need to know that you make a living at accounting, and assume being a musician is your hobby. In Europe you may say that you have two diverse occupations and you'll probably hear a complement like "It must be nice to be so talented at two different things".

So yes... it's better to generalize but separately advertise each skill as a speciality.
Father Photius
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Profile of Father Photius
I have always been a generalist when it comes to the hobby of magic, but when I was performing I was a specialist. One's act may only show a small portion of one's talent and knowledge, after all that is what we offer for sale.
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Profile of SpellbinderEntertainment
There is so, so, so much to explore and learn in Magic,
that is very difficult to become a highly skilled “generalist”
…just too much territory to perfect and Master in one lifetime.

So, I’ve worked at being a “select specialist”…
I’ve narrowed down (over years of exploration) my options,
I do a very few things very well, and recommend others for the rest.

I don’t just do “one” thing, but certainly not all.

I don’t generally accept children’s shows or market there anymore.
I don’t do walk-around any longer or general close-up much at all.
I don’t do sales-magic, where I tailor a show to a product or service.
I don’t do huge multi-assistant Illusions any longer,
I don’t do extreme sleight of hand (cards or coins) today.

That all frees me up to do what I do best, and what I love…

I perform the “classics of magic”
…but re-worked with fully original presentations,
in a parlor/platform situation, or with guests gathered around a table,
for between 12 and 200 audience members,
featuring emotionally geared theatrical-magic, often with storytelling,
for the corporate and upscale private event markets.

This focus has allowed me to hone in and master what I love most,
and allows me to clearly communicate my specialties to a client,
if they want “something else” I have a list of trusted peers I send them to,
and those colleagues send me clients for what I do often and best.

Yes, I do some deeply Bizarre work, some Séance work,
I tailor shows to a (non-commercial) event,
but, I’ve taken years to discover what I am good at, and what I can sell.

I no longer call myself a “magician” nor do I say I perform “magic”,
my professional tag is: “Conjurer and Teller-of-Tales”.

By creating a one-of-a-kind persona and array of shows,
I’ve carved myself a niche and a reputation over the years,
and his has served me well as people seek “me” out and not just “a” magician.

It’s fine to have a broader list of “specialties” as Blair has developed,
but please don’t try to be “everything to everyone” and try to run the gamut of Magic.

My thoughts,
“Tales of Enchantment: The Art of Magic”
by Walt Anthony

"spinning tales and weaving enchantment"
Donal Chayce
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My thoughts,

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Profile of Steve_Mollett
After decades of doing children's shows, banquets, malls, nightclubs, comedy clubs, county fairs, company picnics, psychic parties and busking, I have settled into specializing in 'crowd gathering' stunts for outdoor events and business/store promotions.
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Profile of jackturk
Not to get theoretical here, but I think "magic" tends to attract folks who are generalists.

Look at all the arts and skills a magic show can involve:

-- juggling
-- music
-- comedy
-- drama
-- scriptwriting
-- dance
-- costuming
-- manual dexterity
-- acting
-- stage direction
-- storytelling

... and I could go on. For all those reasons, I think people who get into magic do have a bent towards being "Jacks of All Trades" to a great degree. We can't help ourselves. Doing just one thing is boring and less than satisfying.

Given that, I very much resonate with Blair's comment. Your marketing needs to present a message that you are the key specialist for the problem your prospect is trying to solve. The closer you can come to being the absolute perfect fit, the better your odds of at least rising above the din of everyone else.

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