Entertainers and magicians are available for all sorts of events. Booking entertainers is not something most people do every day. My comments are intended to be helpful to people inquiring about booking entertainers, in particular a magician or children’s entertainer for a children’s party, dinner or wedding etc. Whilst no doubt there are many people who frequently organize such events, for the vast majority it is something special.
Most magicians and children’s entertainers now have websites which give a good idea of the sort of thing they do. Once you have studied a few and decided which might be of interest to you, it is best to telephone the entertainer(s) concerned. Talk through your requirements with them. This will enable the entertainer to get a good understanding of your requirements and ensure that they can be met. They can then give you a firm quotation based on those requirements, hopefully at a reasonable price.
Most people seem to prefer to email, which is cheap and easy to do to multiple entertainers. (I remember once submitting a quote and received an acknowledgment telling me that he was waiting for the other 39 to reply before making a decision!) Emails are fine if you know what you want and you are clear about your requirements in the email. However, I often get inquiries asking how much I charge for a magic show without even saying whether it is for adults or children or where it is to be held. On occasions I have asked where the show would be and then been told that it would be “at home.” Trying to quote with inadequate information is like selling a car without saying whether it’s a Smart Car, a Rolls or something in between.
Speak to a small number of entertainers. Have a chat about your requirements and ask for the advice of the entertainer. Obtain a price for the different options. This will enable you to make an informed decision based on the advice that each entertainer gives you. You can assess whether you like the sound of the person on the other end of the phone. Is that person’s style, manner etc right for you? It works both ways of course and there have been one or two occasions when I have felt that I was not the right magician for a particular job and have recommended someone else.
Magicians vary considerably in what they do.
Some children’s entertainers perform only for younger children from about 3 to 6 years. Some use puppets and/or make balloon animals. Others, including myself, also cater for older children. For most eight or nine year olds I tend to perform more grown up effects from my cabaret act for adults.
Some magicians specialize in close up or table magic and do not entertain children at all. Others perform only stage or cabaret acts. These can vary considerably from the mind magic of Derren Browne to the grand illusions usually performed in a theatre.
Many magicians argue that it is important to specialize in a particular branch of magic. Otherwise you can be a jack of all trades and master of none. That is true to an extent. Whilst the world champion of close up magic is unlikely to do a stage or children’s show there are many competent magicians who can successfully entertain both children and adults. A magician who entertains both children and adults for example, is very often a good choice for a wedding where the children can be entertained during the speeches.
To sum up, when seeking a quote, provide as much information as possible and better still, have a chat on the phone to get the best impression of whether the entertainer is the right one for your event.