This is the second in a number of posts I am writing about hiring magicians for events. The other posts are available here, and here.
You’re thinking about hiring a magician for your event; good move! But there’s a few things you should consider before booking one, here’s three, if you see anything you feel I’ve missed, say so in the comments. I’ll be posting a second set next week.
This list is as applicable to weddings, corporate events, Christmas parties, birthday parties or any event you’re considering hiring a magician for. There’ll even be some relevance if you’re booking any other kind of wedding entertainment.
Close-Up or Stand-Up
As I mentioned in the previous post, when you hire a magician to perform at an event, they’re likely to either be performing close-up, wandering around between groups of guests or else be standing up on stage performing to all the guests at once. I mainly perform close-up so this post is going to be a little biased towards that but if you have your heart set on a stand-up magician you should still find a few helpful hints. The big difference between close-up and stand-up, other than the obvious, is the attention required to watch it. Close-up magicians tend to spend less than ten minutes with each group of guests while stand-up magicians often perform for thirty or forty-five minutes. Especially if the event is a wedding where groups of people haven’t seen each other for a while and want to catch up, watching a magician for forty-five minutes is a big ask! In general, unless other things are happening on a stage – prize ceremonies, speeches, that sort of thing – your guests will probably appreciate a close-up magician more. Close-up is usually a bit cheaper too!
The Number of Guests
The number of people you’re having to your event is a huge factor in hiring a magician; if you’re hiring a stand-up magician the number of guests is much less important – as long as the microphone and stage are up to scratch you should be okay – but if you’re hiring a close-up magician and there’s too many people for them to get to everyone some guests will be a bit put out. Any good magician will do their absolute best to get around to everyone – however, we’re only human (despite pretending, and sometimes looking, otherwise); if you’re having a thousand guests, booking a single magician for an hour isn’t going to cut it – likewise, hiring three magicians for four hours when you only have sixty guests isn’t exactly right either.
When I’m performing I try to spend six to eight minutes with each group I entertain. With the time to walk around between groups, reset things or being asked to do “just one more”, I find I end up entertaining between eight and ten groups an hour. Now how big are groups? Anything from three to twenty plus people; but about five or six is average. That means that approximately sixty people see me each hour that I’m performing – or roughly a person a minute. If the guests are seated in tables of eight or ten then I’ll entertain slightly more people – ninety or so at the high end. While I can speed up my performance and often stay a little later at gigs just so I can get around to the last few people it’s not an ideal situation for anyone – if you’re booking a magician and want them to get around everyone, hire them for a minute per guest and you won’t be disappointed.
The Big Guests or the Little Guests
While not so much a feature at corporate events, children are often very important guests at weddings. If you want someone to distract the children for an hour or two, your best bet is to hire a professional children’s entertainer, I’d recommend Kaboom. However if you mainly want the magician to entertain the adult guests, face-painting and balloon animals probably require an unacceptable bar tab. Most magicians are more than happy to spend a few minutes performing to the children – my personal preference is to actually teach the kids a simple magic trick that they can then perform for their parents, it always goes down a treat! Basically, if you want the children entertained for longer than ten or fifteen minutes, a specialist is the way to go, but if you just want them to get in on the magical action for a short while, most magicians are more than capable.
The second set of things to consider when hiring a magician will be up on the blog next week, be sure to check back then. To know as soon as the post’s up you can follow me on facebook or twitter. And if you feel I’ve missed anything please add it to the comments.
The second part of this post is now online here.
Harry Guinness is a professional magician based in Dublin, to hire him, or for more information, go to www.HarryTheMagician.ie.
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