Another gig over and I am sitting in the car trying to update my social media, as every good business should when something amazing happens. As always I heard got loads of verbal feed back, “wow you ARE Amazing!” “That is just incredible!”, “You are simply incredible!”, “Shut the Front door!” (it wasn’t even cold?..huh! All this feedback and I have NOTHING to show for it on social media!
A lovely Cotswolds venue, a group of 32 very fun American family and friends (thats as much as I can share!). And also very vocal, but genuine in their responses and reactions. I was lucky enough to have a “crew/green” room right next door to the dining room. I spent a lot of time enjoying hearing what they “thought” I had done as they chatted all night about it. After all that is my job to create converstartions!
The party flies over from the US and has done so every year for the past 35 years. The host was actually telling me that they can’t travel all together because some go off elsewhere after the week but also his jet only seats 13 people. I though “that must be annoying!!”
Memorable moment;…I had a lovely volunteer who signed my £10 called “Butch”! A great American name and so much comedy material “ohh you are Butch” etc etc. An english audience would find this weirdly amusing but here just wouldn’t work! So I didn’t and my brain just didn’t those jokes privately to myself! (its also not my style of comedy perfomance!)
So at this point what I am missing, as I try and post to social media, is photos, videos hashtags or even a link to the venue!!
Firstly, for me pulling out a phone and getting a video or a photo while I am performing or even getting someone to video never feels right or comfortable. Getting venue staff to hold a camera, it just doesn’t sit right with me. My feeling is, it’s my job to entertain without being over imposing. I know many people just accept cameras these days but there are many that still feel uncomfortable with this. So for me it’s often a no go, keep it safe option. My job is to entertain and not to start trying to focus on self promotion, its annoying at this point but thats the gig!
In addition to this, once again I am in the, not so rare, situation (for me at least) where the client has asked for photos or social media not to be shared of them or the event, mostly for security reasons etc. In this case as they are staying for the week I cannot even share the location! Doh! So once again I am struggling for a social media posting. Once again It a picture of my Dog that will make the front page instead!!????????
On the plus side I get to make a blog post out of the experience and appreciate and be grateful that I am working at these types of gigs! May there be many more to come!
If you are not famous but want to experience what they do…I guess you will just have to book me!!
SO this week we have seen an amazing final for Britains Got Talent. But Why has it been so amazing? To start with we have had more magicians than ever, surprisingly as SiCo initially hated or avoided them. However, they have had to bow to public opinion and have now realised just how popular magic is amongst the general public. But why do we love magic so much? Some people hate it… although in my experience the reason why so many people hate it is because they don’t like not knowing how things happen or that feeling of being fooled. Often however these are the best people to entertain! Not because I want to fool them even more but often because as an entertainer its always very rewarding to be able to entertain and have these spectators feel entertained and not fooled. Also they will often be the people who will tell everyone about how good the magician is, usually with the words “I dont like magic or magicians…but…”
So just for now let’s forget the tricks (Well lets come back to that later or the next Blog)…what is it about magic (or maybe just my magic!) that people love?
Before anyone is given the puzzle to work out I always believe that I am there to ENTERTAIN. I am an entertainer and that means that I spend a lot of time thinking not just how perform a trick in an entertaining way. (Once I have the plot, then I know how I can fit the misdirection in to it and all the other things that make the trick mindbogglingly amazing!)
Everyone loves stories! Magic tricks usually give us an opportunity to tell a story and sometimes add a personal connection particularly if that story includes a personal borrowed item. With the opportunity of telling a story comes the opportunity to involve people, draw the audience in, involve them emotionally. This gives people the opportunity to responded create a connection with the performer and then respond, celebrate or just applaud the grand finale of that story or adventure.
Again having the opportunity of telling that story gives a lovely opportunity to involve some rapport and comedy with an audience to make them laugh and draw them in even more emotionally.
Of course not all magic needs a story or even not all stories need to be comedies however for me this is how I like to perform, I love the intricacies of a joke, comedy humour etc, everyone loves a good laugh. Sometime they also need a good laugh!) Oh and it also doesn’t need to be at someones expense in fact that’s my first rule of entertaining, If everyone can’t laugh at a joke then its not funny. If you want to explore more about finding a funny joke or what makes us laugh dig out Richard Wisemans Quirkology book! Any way back to the magic!
The trick is all about the plot of the story. I hate magic routines, I hate it when magicians suggest you have to start your routine with a trick that instantly engages (they call it “an opener”) Its a bit like when a stand up comedian gets on to the stage, the internal dialogue of the performer and audience is saying…whats the first joke going to be, get that first laugh then it will be ok? Although wait a minute, look around and you will see the best comedians will actually not even have a first laugh joke, they have the confidence that they don’t need that first laugh. It’s all about meeting the audience, saying hello and getting them to engage, join in and start that journey of entertainment.
A good magic trick or magician should also be the same. My magic performances usually start with mingling during a drinks reception, this is often the best way of getting to know people as well. Often the best trick is saying hello, making your new friends smile and engaging with them socially. Then they know I’m just there to entertain (and not to fool or make them feel fooled). I do this when perform my magic, but also my magic is laid out like a story with moments of fun and building to a sudden and unexpected surprise ending. Some stories need a big surprise but some stories are great because you know what the ending will be but you just want to relive that experience.
(That’s a bit like watching your favourite film several times, you know the story but you just want to be involved in the telling and the emotion over and over again. People say you a magician never repeats his tricks. I probably try and avoid repeating the same tricks to the same audience, not because I am worried they will see how its done – they won’t – but why not tell a different story if I have a wealth of great stories to tell!! Often that one guest does follow me or insist that I do the trick again to another group or they sneak a peak at me doing it to another group. They are quite welcome to do that I’ve nothing to hide! )
Back to the story…If I am performing a routine…errr…. story….trick then the magic is there to add those special moments. Often I have a start usually just saying hello or asking to borrow an item or just simply welcoming body language is enough for people to want to engage in what follows. The middle is just the journey to get to the end, it can be where those little moments happen the card that disappears and then reappears without thought, an action that might hardly get noticed but when it is it adds to lift the storytelling. (A bit like when that stormtrooper hits his head or when Stan Lee appears as a cameo or the irrelevant but deep characters of a Coen Brother movie make them so watchable!) I love adding those tiny parts, (often they might cost more perform then the final effect, but so worth it!)
Then the big finish happens the surprise ending and people love it because the story has been well told!
But with every good story there is always the Epilogue, this is the bit I love to add in. Coming back to a comedy analogy (yes I’m a comedy geek, have you noticed) a great comedy moment happens when the gag is done but then its taken that one step further and then further again. That’s what makes a great comedian, the mind that spots those extra moments past what most of us have already expected…(Its why Airplane IS the funniest film of all time, there are the gags that you see coming then they just squeeze in one more and then another and another). Once the main trick is done it’s great to just be able to add that bit more. Like the borrowed bank note that appears somewhere amazing…before its given back it might accidentally vanish again and reappear and then get wiped clean of any signatures etc. Its those added moments that add the surprise the fun and ultimately entertain and not bewilder!
Everyone loves Stories and if Magic is performed well then it performed with a great story. The best story is sometimes when you don’t know that it is being told!
Back to BGT…my most hated performance this year was Mr X, great tricks but a magician hidden behind a mask. Why was he hiding, really I though “get out there let’s see some engagement with an audience”. It frustrated me so much. I genuinely hated it until that final DUH! moment I hadn’t seen coming, that moment when Marc Spellman revealed the whole story, which for him has been a journey of probably about 3 years. The parts that start right from the first, first audition, we think its over when he finished his journey at the semi finals but then there’s that killer finish a huge surprise that took an unlikely to win act right to the top with probably the biggest piece of showmanship that the show has ever seen. But even more blowing the roof of the production and pretence of the “TV show” experience of what is unseen as BGT!
Thank you Marc!!
It’s your event, or perhaps you have been asked by your boss to book the entertainment for your awards evening. So the person you hire is a direct reflection on you. You need someone that is going to fit in and be liked by everyone, be polite and respectful of your guests space and those moments that are as important to the event as much as the entertainment. As mentioned earlier a professional will always care more about his feedback, his living depends on it and ultimately thats feedback that you will be receiving from your guests or even the boss!
Good feedback only comes from being liked by everyone, it’s so easy to get this wrong by forgetting the basics. Being polite, not making fun out of people who they ask to help with the performances. Not interrupting the flow of the evening or dinner service or even conversations.
But what else makes the difference and why might it cost more?
Insurance – Public liability this is an essential! Most venues require at least £10million. But more importantly you need to make sure everything is covered because things can go wrong. Drinks can get spilt, bags might be tripped over even something as silly as a paper cut. These things can happen, particularly in an environment when there is alcohol around!
Being a member of Equity not only shows that your performer is a full time professional (these days the entry requirements are a little different but when I joined I had to provide 20 contracts or past and future work and do an interview!) Also it provides public liability of up to 10million.
The truth is though you never ever want to use your insurance, and is it hopefully just a tick box paperwork exercise. The more experienced the performer the more different situations they will have been in and recognise if things are not going to plan or any potential hazards so you don’t have to experience them again!
I have lost count of how many risk assessments I have filled in and scenarios I have had to imagine. For the British Grand Prix we even have to do a 3 hour course on Terrorism threats!! So all this goes into the the vast pot of experience that will means that you have less to worry about!
Personally I always mentally run through what i do from the point of view as an audience member. For example, there are great tricks that used borrowed items, if an audience member lets me borrow a ring for example I know i have to treat that item with the utmost respect. From down to how they feel if it magically disappears and end up in an impossible location. I will only perform this kind of routine if i know their objects are 100% safe looked after at all times while its in my care. They have my reassurance of this and will never be bullied into lending me their items! Even if i borrow a bank note and get them to sign it or if it ends up in the middle of a lemon it will always be restored clean and returned. Its a respect thing!
Accidents do happen, but they also can be avoided or dealt with appropriately. Beyond that imagine the difference between guests saying under the breath, “who booked that guy he is rude inappropriate and unfriendly” or you having guest telling you how amazing the event is, how much fun the entertainment is and you taking the credit for your amazing choice and skills in choosing the right entertainment!
So I have decided to add a Blog to my site, to keep things up to date and give the world a little insight into the crazy world of a magician. If you are brave or determined enough to join me for the journey. The idea is to have somewhere to put my thoughts down and diarise, for both personal events, work events and fun happenings.
Also perhaps to give out some handy advice and share some links to other superb suppliers, facebooks pages and other great ideas I stumble across. I will try and post every week at the least. Short and sweet sometimes and others I reserve the right to have a good ol’ rant.
I’m gonna learn how to do this Bloggin’ stuff as I go. So maybe it might take a while.
So when do I start for real? Well this week we are moving house, all my time has been involved in putting things in boxed and my head if full of loads of ideas for the future. Initially there may be lots of posts here about decorating and building things!!! However as soon as the iMac is plugged in the blogs will start in earnest. For now if you want to find out some things that might be included, have a quick look around my youtube channel. You will find a good collection of work, fun and family.
This website only ONLY uses essential cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this. Accept
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.