So magic is your hobby. Its fun. Your family and friends are entertained. Its great and you get to be the center of attention. But there is a problem with magic and magic tricks. You have a choice. You either get new friends or get new tricks. We, of course, as magic dealers like the latter choice.
If you are a professional magician, and actually make money doing shows, that is not such a big problem, unless, like Alain Choquette or Luc Langevin, whose regular appearances on TV with regular watchers requires that you do different things each time you perform. But if you do shows, like kids parties or restaurant magic, you don’t need a million tricks. Your audience keeps changing, so you can do the same tricks. But then again, not always. If you do a birthday party one year and are called back the next, you should do a different show. Dazzle them again and you might get called back again. Its easier to get rebooked (if you’re good) than getting booked the first time, which brings me to Phil and his getting booked for his Ragtime Piano show. Guess who does the booking. Yes, it is I. I’ve learned a few things over the years.
1) Unless you pick up the phone and start calling, nothing happens. You stop, it stops.
2) Because someone says no to you one year, is no reason to stop calling. Phil used to do a Christmas Show in Kitchener year after year and suddenly they stopped hiring him. They wanted something different. Every year when I’d make my calls, I called them only to be rejected. I did not stop calling. Last year, they said okay, they wanted Phil back, but on the afternoon they wanted him he was already booked. This year I phoned and said, “Last year you wanted Phil on a specific date. I’m calling you first so you can have your choice.” and she booked him on the spot.
3) Today I was going down my list and passed an organization with a note beside it not to call because they had such a bad piano that Phil refused to play, and he’s played on many a bad piano. He calls them PSO’s. (Piano Shaped Objects) but this took the cake. So I didn’t call them. This year I thought, “Hmm, maybe they got a new piano.” and I phoned. “No”, said the receptionist, “we did not get a new piano, but we are getting one. I know that because the company phoned and asked when they could deliver the piano.” The point is that things change and all it is is a phone call.
4) Think about different venues. There are birthday parties, school shows, Christmas parties, etc. Have you thought about Boy Scouts? There’s a whole world in itself! World Wide! Someone even wrote a book about it called the Blue and Gold.
5) And sometimes, organizations who hired you year after year, change the person in charge of recreation, and you are left in the cold, so you have to continuously work at soliciting. One successful magician I know says the magic is the easy part. 75% of his time he spends on getting booked.
6) I once went to a sales seminar and the speaker said you can count on at least 10 nos to one yes, so when you get a no, you should look at it as something positive. The more you get the closer you are to getting a yes! How’s that for positive thinking?
7) Of course, websites are great and testimonials, if you can get them, but at some point you have to pick up that phone, or better still, have someone do it for you. It’s easier for someone else to say how great you are! It’s difficult to promote yourself without sounding like you are blowing your own horn, but if you learn how to do it you’ll save a lot in agent’s fees.
So dig in your heels, pick up that phone and start calling.