Magician jobs(Also known as Table magician, Wedding magician, Illusionist, Performer of magic)
A magician is an entertainer who performs magic tricks, slight-of-hand routines and card tricks for the amusement of the public at weddings, functions and public gatherings. A magician is a professional entertainer who uses various methods of magic or illusion to astound watching audiences. Magic is a performing art which uses natural means to achieve the illusion of supernatural feats. It is an ancient art which has been popular in Western culture since the 1500s, when contemporary logic was applied to so-called ‘witchcraft’ in order to better understand those seemingly otherworldly abilities. Modern magic for the purposes of public entertainment typically falls into one of several categories; table magic, performance magic (such as wedding magic) and illusion. Techniques differ, but in general the desired outcome is to ‘wow’ watching crowds by making an achievable, practised routine seem impossible. The routine often involves the use of props, such as cards, glasses, coins or rope, but the total scope of possible routine is vast. The magician or illusionist will seek to learn new tricks in order to improve their public performance and, ultimately, their reputation.
SalaryThe salary range is very wide, depending on experience, type of function and locality. Large corporate events in London pay £200-£400 per hour, whereas a magician working on small, local performances (such as a children’s birthday party) outside of the capital may expect to receive £70-£100 per hour. As magicians are typically self-employed they are free to fix their own rates, although this is dictated primarily by market demand and price tolerance.
- To learn new tricks and practice them to a professional standard.
- To be entertaining when performing for the enjoyment of public audiences.
- To arrive at the venue in a timely fashion and perform for the pre-agreed time span.
- To be courteous, approachable and enthusiastic to members of the public.
- In the case of table magicians, the illusionist must engage with the immediate public in an entertaining way.
QualificationsThere are no formal academic barriers to entry, although most working magicians choose to become a member of The Magic Circle. This is an organisation to which membership demonstrates that working magicians are able to perform to a high standard. Membership fees are £150 per year, and joining is subject to an interview where the magician must demonstrate their level of ability. New members must also be approved and seconded by existing members of the society.
- Must have an excellent understanding of the routines and techniques which are to be performed.
- Must be able to use props and tools in a safe manner, as there is a potential that some may be harmful to participants and performers.
- Must ensure public safety for routines which involve direct audience participation.
- Should have an understanding of marketing techniques and promotion in order to grow their potential business.
- Magicians must also handle their own administration, so an understanding of tax and invoicing is helpful.
Working ConditionsAs the magician is typically working in close proximity to members of the public, an understanding of common sense health and safety is paramount. Whilst it is not deemed to be a hazardous occupation as such, there may be times when the magician is expected to handle members of the public who are drunk or who take exception to magic being performed in close proximity to them. For this reason, the performer must be able to present themselves in an entertaining and engaging way, and be able to ‘work the crowd’ properly. The magician should also be comfortable speaking and performing in public, or their practised routines will count for nothing.
ExperienceFor virtually every performer, involvement in magic starts at home. It takes quite some time to learn enough material to perform for an hour-long set, so a basic hobbyist grounding in the discipline is usually the first step. Sometimes a new magician will choose to perform for free at public events in order to grow local awareness of their talent. As a magician becomes known in their local area, they may be subject to word-of-mouth advertising and repeat bookings, but this is down to the magician being able to deliver a credible and entertaining performance. The potential for increased earnings improves as the magician’s skill set and reputation improves.
EmployersMost magicians are self-employed, and a great many work alone, so there are no major UK employers in this respect. This does not preclude the magician from registering with a local entertainment agency who, for a commission, may be able to find additional work for the working professional illusionist.
Career ProgressionThe pinnacle (or rather, the higher earnings potential) exists in corporate entertainment. Magicians who work on retainer with entertainment venues as table magicians (who cater towards staff parties and Christmas/summer events) usually attract the highest £-per-hour. Weddings also pay well, but under these circumstances there is more onus on the magician as a self-employed entity to find work for themselves.
“Roger Lapin is a successful, self-employed magician who operates in the UK. He covers the Hampshire, Surrey and Dorset areas, as well as in and around London. Roger has also been featured on Sky Television.''