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Special user
Orlando, FL
726 Posts

Profile of eatonmagic
On 2012-10-29 07:23, Paddy wrote:
Markus. When I started years ago the first thing I did was perform PART TIME in restaurants and doing busking in parks and on the streets working for tips. When I got fairly good (OK when I got better than lousy) and I had a vacation due me, I took my 2 weeks and we (My wife & I) went to Orlando Florida and I worked the streets busking there. Well it turned out that when we got home, I had made enough in those 2 weeks that I paid for the whole vacation and still had money to deposit in the bank. I walked into work and gave my notice that Monday and have never worked again for anybody but myself.

Had some interesting times since then with health but we have always made it. My wife is a full time busker doing face paainting and I do balloons & magic. Mazel Tov

I'm curious to know where you busked in Orlando.
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Inner circle
Milford OH
1571 Posts

Profile of Paddy
She attended the face painting convention at a hotel across from Universal Orlando. I worked that area and a couple of other places. Did not try to work inside Universal heard they would make life difficult if I tried
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own
David Marcus
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New user
3,375.97 miles outside of Paris, France.
81 Posts

Profile of David Marcus
Hi Markus,

Here are a few thoughts, mostly serious, possibly abstract, and hopefully helpful.

1. name

Personally, I don't think you could use a better name than Markus. "Markus the Magnificent" sounds like a winner. Smile Here in the States, Gartzke might actually be a good choice.

2. website adress
2. WEBSITE (creation)

A website name is an important choice too. Some find that using their performing name works best. Some use a name like ""
As for how to create one, consider starting a "swipe file." That is, when you see one that you like, save it on your computer. DO NOT copy it, but use it as inspiration for creating your own. You could also save ones you feel are bad examples to remind you what to avoid.

I took my website down a couple of years ago when I was going to stop performing. It wasn't very good anyway because I didn't put any time into it. I had a brochure made and used mail and calls mostly. So this is an area I've been trying to learn to do better too. I know what I like when I see it but I'm not too good as a website designer.

3. business cards

Same as above, about a swipe file. There was also a thread or two here where some were sharing views of their cards. It was pretty good. Search it out.

4. repeating effects

For me, I have a few different shows so if I did show "A" for a certain group I'll so show "B" the next time I perform for them. Then there's show "C" and so on. There will be one thing that's the same in "A" and "B" and one that's the same in "A" and "C" and then "B" and "C" and so on. That works pretty well for me and eventually I change a few things out of the shows for completely new stuff.

5. How to get clients

As to the bars and restaurants, it might be easier to check into places that already have entertainment and simply tell them that you are a performer and see if they are interested. Remember, they are people just like you. And they want their businesses to be successful just like you want yours. Talk to them sincerely and with confidence (without arrogance) and it will get easier in time.

As to corporate events and festivals, consider starting with small community events. Many towns have "Homecoming Days" and such that use beginners to fill out their schedule after they book one or two "Big Name" acts. These are great places to get a feel for how they work.

6. How much to ask for

I like to play with equations. This is a fun exercise for me: Look up the average income for your town, or state, or country. Census data will have that by households, person, males, females, age, etc. Add 10% because the goal is to be above average. Figure out how many shows you want to do in a year. That will give you a price-per-show. Of course a child's birthday party will be priced differently than a large corporate event, but it's fun to play with the numbers.

As you said, work begets work, and sometimes it's best to not worry about having all your promo materials in place and just get started. For me, pricing was always the hardest. In some cases I was way too low and in others I was way too high, with respect to the different types of shows I was doing. When I first went from a band to solo, I was not involved in booking the band at all, and playing in bars, the owners told me what they were paying entertainers. I asked a couple entertainers I knew and found out they were telling the truth. For festivals, I told them I had different show packages and asked them what their budget was. Only once did they ask me to tell my prices first. I said, "Well my largest show is (double what I expected to get) and consists of..." Before I got any farther he said, "Let's book it." I knew I left money on the table but I was going to get twice what I expected so I was happy. I did have to expand my show though because I didn't have one quite as big as I started to tell him about. Mine was close though so it didn't take much. And it all turned out well for both of us.

Here's an important thought: Get testimonials from every show. Written ones are good, videos are good, even bad reviews are good. They help you get better.

This is long-winded but I hope it was of some help. It's just some thoughts on how I went about things.
“Next to music, beer was best.” - Carson McCullers
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Regular user
Johnson City, Tennessee
102 Posts

Profile of Siraldi
I'll put my 2 cents in.

1. name- whatever you find comfortable. I would suggest finding other performers or close friends to run them by. I called myself some pretty stupid things (though some may say I still do ha ha) over the years. Talk to people and do what you think you like. It is YOUR name after all.

2. website: I would suggest making a domain once you find your name. But I find that I enjoy facebook also. It has helped some with parties; but it helps my confidence posting things from time to time as a magician.

3. business cards is where I go. They have many marketing tools that'll help get you started. As with layout... they have a BUNCH of ones to choose from and you can also make your own... but starting out... they also have some free ones...

4. repeating effects
Don't show the same person the same trick twice on the same night. That's what I've learned. I would find 3 things to carry on you at all times. I use rubber bands; business cards; cards; thumbtip. Start with 3 and learn something new each month... you'll build a great arsenal! On restaurants I usually do 2-3 tricks per table. I think you absolutely need 6 tricks to start. You don't want to do the same thing for each table... they watch what you do at the other tables... you are very interesting to them. But this works the same. Start with at least 6 tricks you are comfortable with and slowly add. Restaurants are perfect for learning because you get to perform for so many people and so many different types of personalities. And if you mess up... there's another table! But always be adding. Learn a lot of tricks using the same items or small items... pockets get filled quickly!

5. clients
I started at a flea market. I would suggest work your butt off until the spring/summer and go and talk to EVERY event that's happening. Go to every festival; event; libraries; everything. there is much controversy on here about what I'm about to say... but I FULLY believe in it... do a FEW free shows from time to time. Do a charitable event (especially if the paper is going to be there). GO to the boys and girls club... if you do balloon animals they may invite you to an event where you can sell. Go to flea markets and the street. Festivals helped me a lot. I've made some GREAT money my first year doing them... also... I've barely made gas money... but my name is out there and I'll be invited back this year. Also... solicit every business; restaurant; institution; school; church... and get your name out there.

6. $$$$$

I come from a rural area (originally) where there were rich people and poor people... very few in between. I ALWAYS work with clients when it comes to birthday parties. I'm upfront and let them know my price; how much I actually do gigs; how hard I work to please my clients; and then I tell them if it's a problem I will work with them. I (so far) always do a set price for how long I'll work. Look around and see what everyone else is pricing. If you price too low people will think you're cheap. If you price too high... people can't afford you. I started to low; but quickly worked my way up (and am still doing so). But remember for companies and groups... they can afford more. Always remember you can bargain down from your price... but once you say a price you can't go up

I hope I helped you a little. Best of luck with your endeavors!
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Inner circle
Mülheim an der Ruhr / Germany
1434 Posts

Profile of Memory-Jah
Appriciating all the help guys. thank you very much. I bought a german book on how to make the step from amateur to professional. I also bought another english book and curretnly working my way through it. I also thought my thread died already but so many new comments. I will read them in detail tomorrow. thanks again so far and feel free to keep the comments coming. I think this is very helpful for beginners who want to be more serious.
"Dropping your pants while you set off flash paper may allow your pass to go undetected, but it's still not invisible." - Count Elmsley
Brent McLeod
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Inner circle
New Zealand
1672 Posts

Profile of Brent McLeod
As a Professional I can only recommend a few starting Points-(many great points in previous posts-listen to those workers..)

You need lots of stage time & an act that through trial & error & hundreds of performances works for a paying audience.

No good approaching agents if your act cant live up to your billing your website advertises!!!

Everything you do on stage has to be of interest including comments & talk during your routine..Think Finney

Use Music in your act it heightens the emotional rollercoaster or comedy that's happening ..

I don't have a website new one in production though!! as all my top events are repeat work or word of mouth through 1 of 3 agents I use..
find a niche area of shows and stick to it..-colleges,kids or corporate etc-
I don't do kids birthdays etc-theres plenty of good local guys who do a great job-doesnt interest me!

Many top workers will tell you- The best way to get shows is to do shows and lots of them

-I mainly work corporate but I finetuned routines for close up strolling by working & pitching magic in markets doing routines
thousands of times over years in crazy conditions and getting good at working the crowd & not worrying about the trick!!!

Same with stage events-I worked the colleges for years-then had an act I could take to agents for higher paying corporate events

Summary-Make sure you do your time on stage & get a working act that can cover
60 mins,break down to 2x 30 min shows,or 4x 15 min shows etc

I combine music & comedy with the magic plus a bit of mentalism etc for any time length-mix & match your best effects for time of show required

When you have an working act and stage time-then push your website,promotion,cards, facebook and Agents etc,
but perform as much as you can previous even for free-Talent nights at bars,coffee shops etc-great experience for you

Attached pic-Corporate show 1 of many dozens at this venue for Blue Chip companys I do-working act created by above methods
and then you can charge 4 figure sums for 30-45 min shows & you know your act works through trial & error
in all those hours of stage time previous!!!
Good Luck

Click here to view attached image.
Brent McLeod
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Inner circle
New Zealand
1672 Posts

Profile of Brent McLeod
On 2012-11-09 10:20, Vick wrote:
Forget websites and business cards and get to work

Find somewhere to perform often, like 20 - 30 times a day if you can!! For live audiences. That will be your Hamburg, Germany (See the Beatles).
Find somewhere to be bad live ... and dare to be bad. Don't try to be bad but ... we all have to start. Almost every good magician working today had a situation where they performed multiple times a day for tough audiences (Mac King, Lance Burton & Whit Hyden all did Tombstone Gulch which was an amusement park where they grinded out show after show all summer).

Practice and practice, write out all your scripts. Then rehearse. Never stop

Pay doesn't matter, flight time does (live time on stage) over and over and over.
When starting I played the toughest audiences, it made me better quickly. Don't undercut existing performers just to get work or flight time, they are who might help you on the way up

Then learn to run a business, you are a business if you plan on a career in magic. Once you have flight time under your belt and become ok on stage/live performance you will spend more time marketing your show than you will practicing, rehearsing and performing combined ... but first you must have a show. Show first, stage skills, them market

Show business = 10% show + 90% business ... but you must have a show to be in business

I didn't answer what you were asking in your post but I did answer what you asked in the title. Your questions helped lead me to where I think you might be on the path.

Good luck, it's hard, VERY HARD (but can be rewarding)! Especially given our current global economy but ... not to jinx it but my business grows every year, small growth but better and more prestigious gigs, good deal of returning clients every year.

Posted: Nov 9, 2012 10:34am
And the name does matter, try to be memorable and easy to pronounce. Sometime that sticks in the mind but rolls off the tongue

Using "Illusions by Vick" was one of my worst decisions, but 12 years later I'm pretty much stuck with it ;-(

Listen to tacrowl, you grow the quickest when outside your comfort zone,

Vicks comments also Spot on....good advice

Similar theme to mine in above post ...the comments we made definetly work!!
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Inner circle
It's taken me 10+ years to make
1120 Posts

Profile of Vick
Thank you gentlemen (Howie Diddot & Brent McLeod), we all have the experience ;-)

Markus, what would you do if you were hired tomorrow to perform a 45 minute stage show at a banquet with 100 people attending in 2 weeks?

Do you have a show (prepared)?
You might be missing the order of operations, business cards and websites come after you have a solid product to offer.
Books about how to go amateur to pro might be wasting your time and $.
You've been given a good instructions and direction here from people who have done it and are performing regularly now.

Again please allow me to ask, do you have a 45 minute stage (or even parlor) show prepared? A 30 minute show?

If you really want to "go pro" and you don't have a show prepared please sit down, write out your show (think about the valleys and peaks in your show, the tempo and how you want to be perceived).
If you haven't already then script out every routine. You should know within 5 seconds how long each piece will run (and be able to allow for audience ad-lib).

Brent McLeod is spot on, do you have music prepared for some of your effects? If you are not performing in your native language you might consider music to perform to for many of your effects?

Markus, you're asking questions but none are about character development. Who are you on stage? What is your character? Right now for you that is more important than what to charge.
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Eternal Order
24098 Posts

Profile of Dynamike
Get a free website if you can not afford one. Another idea is to get a blog. Blogs are free.
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