Being your own agent is not an easy task. It’s hard to tell someone, “Hey, I’m great. You’ll love me and my show!” There’s an old saying “Self-praise is no recommendation.”
Some magicians record their shows and put them on face book or on a web-site and that’s fine as long as you have permission from all the people. Could be tricky.
And even if you have a web site, there are many web sites out there. What to do?
How do you get the edge?
I know one guy, his name is Phil Matlin, and he got his wife to be his agent. Not for magic, for music. As some of you know Phil is a Ragtime Piano player. He has 2 CDs on the market, Ragtime Magic and Ragtime Daze and he is terrific if I must say so. He never sang when he played, but one day Phil and I wrote a song, and David Acer insisted that he sing it. Phil said, “I’m not a singer.” David said, “It doesn’t matter, it’s your song, it’s great and you have to sing it.” Phil wouldn’t sing. He said many a good piano player ruined their careers by singing. I phoned his coach at the time, Mimi Blais, internationally famous for her piano playing. Without informing Phil, I asked her if she knew anyone who gave singing lessons.
She connected me to a man in Montreal that coached many rock stars. I told him that Mimi gave me his number and was his piano coach and I asked him if he could help Phil with his singing. He said he would try. On and for his birthday, I gave Phil a session with this man. Phil was shocked but willing to go. The man told Phil he was good enough to sing along with his music, but he needed to do some breathing exercises, etc, and he gave him a tape to practice his breathing and vocal sounds and that was it. One lesson. Now you can’t shut him up! But I digress.
So Phil plays ragtime mainly for seniors. They love it. They know most if not all of the songs and he encourages them to sing along. But his agent, me, was the one who made all the calls, to people who never heard of him. You have to be able to take rejection. You’ll get many nos before you get a yes. But you can’t give up. Every no is closer to a yes. Eventually someone will be delighted to have you. And if you are good, they want you back. That works for magic too. And then you have references of the people that want you back. That helps. So get your significant other to make the calls for you, and to tell them how great you are, the libraries, sugar shacks, schools, daycares, restaurants, the YMCA, YMHA, day camps…they are out there waiting for you. Start calling. Oh, and if you need magic supplies for all those shows, don’t forget for Perfect Magic!
By the way, in case you’re interested the song we wrote is in on his second CD Ragtime Daze and its called the Kent Street Blues. The other CD Ragtime Magic is only the piano, no singing. It’s a perfect accompanyment for a silent act and most of it is songs before 1923 so its public domain and Phil gives you permission to use those for magic.