Presenting Rubik Cube Magic

A question was recently asked by a magician on a forum I’m a member of for Rubik Cube magic. I use Rubik Cubes when performing at weddings and corporate events, and even have a couple of routines in my various cabaret shows. However, I’m far from be a ‘Cuber’.

The question was about how to stop people asking to mix the Cube – especially when they are in a position where the Cube looks mixed to the audience, but the magician has got it in a stack ready for a final few turns.

It’s tricky to answer this question without knowing the routine, or how they are presenting. However, in my view there’s some common rules apply.

Note that although his talks about the Rubik Cube, the same logic applies to many other styles of magic. Simply replace “mixing the Cube” with “shuffling the deck” to apply the principles to card magic.

My view is that anything with a Rubik Cube really needs to start in the solved position (to show it’s a genuine cube), then be mixed by the spectator (or better, passed around a few), before the final reveal.

The best method for this is to show the cube, get it mixed, genuine solve, then do the routine. This does a couple of things:

1) Once you have demonstrated you can genuinely solve the Cube you have proved yourself and you abilities. People realise there’s no need to request further mixing.
2) Over the longer term spectators will forget at which stage the Cube was mixed by the spectators.

Not doing so does a couple of things:

1) The spectators may suspect it isn’t a real cube, or at the very least something isn’t quite ‘right’, sowing the seeds of doubt
2) The spectators may suspect you’ve learnt a sequence of twists and turns to do whatever you are showing

Remember, a spectator doesn’t need to be able to do it themselves, or even have the correct solution, for them to think they know how it is done.

So going back to the original question. The best way for them not to ask to mix the Cube is to embrace this by getting them to mix the Cube at the very start when it doesn’t matter; not wait until the end of the routine when their suspicions are piqued.

New Lessons: Showreels & Video, and Cruise Ship Magic

New lessons have been added to the range of How To Be A Professional Magician courses. These are on the subjects of Showreels and Using Video to promote your act, and how to move your carer to sea and become a professional Cruise Ship Magician.

These were both missing from when the course first launch in 2020 because each is such a large subject. In fact, at l had considered expanding these lessons into courses in their own right!

Using Showreels and Video to Market Your Magic Business

The Lesson on Showreels and Using Video Effectively starts with a discussion on how video has become more important, cheaper and assessable both as a creator and viewer; and how video is moving beyond a standard showreel used as an advert to promote your act.

Breaking it down further we look into the Types of Showreel and use for video you can use, why you would use them and the various applications of the different styles of video.

Next we break down the Elements of a Successful Showreel. Whatever the style, type and application of the video there are certain features you will want to ensure your video has to improve the chances of your video doing what you need it to do: not a simple vanity exercise to get views, shares and Likes; but to generate interest in your business that leads to enquiries, customers, bookings and financial reward.

We now look at the Equipment needed. With so many options and ever moving technology this isn’t a list of equipment, but a breakdown of the types of equipment you’ll need to produce your own videos. Even if you outsource to a professional videographer it pays to have an idea of how the equipment works so you can work with the videographer to get the most from their filming and editing.

Only now do we explore What Content You Need. At first you will think it’s simply footage of you performing, but that is just a part of a well produced showreel that is tailored to the wants and needs of your specific clients. It’s also possible you already have enough imagery to make a type of showreel, even if you don’t have video footage. We also explore the use of music, and why using your favourite song can have detrimental impact on your showreel – and even give business to other magicians!

This Lesson about Videos and Showreel is included in the Marketing and Sales section of the following courses:

Becoming a Cruise Ship Magician

The new Lesson on being a Professional Cruise Ship Magician has been compiled not from personal experience, but from interviews with professional established magicians who derive a the majority of their magic income from performing on cruise ships – from small afternoon shows through to headlining the theatre auditoriums on some of the world’s largest and most luxurious cruise ships.

This lesson is very detailed and gives information not so widely known. It’s written in a way that will enable an experienced magician to create a longer term plan to get a foothold in the cruise market, and what the booking agents, entertainment managers and passengers expect from you; and what you need to provide to get repeat bookings for future cruises to turn it into a lucrative and ongoing carer.

This covers what will be required of you and your act. This isn’t about choice of material (it is assumed that by the time you are ready to perform on a cruise ship your act will be honed down) that works well with an audience, but how to build acts that fit stringent criteria of what the cruise director wants his passengers to see, but also the standard travel restrictions and sizes of cargo box.

Once you have your act “ship ready” we explore how to promote yourself, and to whom! This can take a little work and dedication, and also time. However, the goal of this topic is to improve your chances of success with consistency. We also delve into what types of contract you’ll be offered, rates of pay to expect, and what to do when you are onboard.

This Lesson about Cruise Ships is included in the Magic At Corporate Events section of the following courses:

New YouTube How To Be A Professional Magician Videos

I’m currently producing a range of How To Be A Professional Magician videos for the YouTube channels.

Each video is about 5 minutes long and is crammed with bite-sized actionable content to get you started. They are no fuss and throw you in at the deep end. No waffling, and no excuses for you not to take action right away!

Check out the videos already available, and subscribe to the YouTube channel to get updated as soon as new ones are released.

Click: The How To Be A Professional Magician YouTube Channel

Learning more

The How To Be A Professional Magician Courses cover everything you need to know to set up a business as a professional magician. The Full Course contains all the information (as well as 30 minute Skype consultation to help you get your business launched), and the abridged courses also cover business set-up.

What is a Professional Magician?

By definition a professional magician is someone makes their living performing magic. However, there’s more to it than that, a magician must also act professional, and be perceived as professional.

If you have tooth-ache you want to see a professional dentist, someone who has training, experience, the right tools for the job and a clean and hygienic room to operate in. You shouldn’t trust a dentist that doesn’t fulfil all these criteria.

Say you drive a nice car and the clutch goes on it, you could spend a weekend with a friend who has some tools attempting to jack up the car on your driveway, but it’s more likely you’ll take it to a qualified mechanic.

People are willing to pay for a professional service

From the first instant a potential client comes into contact with you, you must have an air of professionalism that gives people the confidence to book you.

The professionalism comes across as your tricks, props, patter, website, pictures, videos and marketing materials.

(The How To Be A Professional Magician courses cover all of this, and more!)

Being a full-time professional magician gives you freedom

You are your own boss, and you control your destiny.

Monday to Friday is not spent commuting in rush hour, to work for someone else. A professional magician with a smartphone can run the admin side of their business from anywhere. I have successfully operated the “business end” of my business whilst on a cruise-ship for ten days, only using my mobile for brief internet access when in port.

It does take hard work to set systems up and create the professional act, but once done you are only limited to the times and places you book into your diary.

You have direct control of your income too. Once you get established and your marketing is bringing in a constant flow of enquiries you can book as many, or as few, bookings as you wish.

Being a professional magician is a lifestyle career.

You still have to turn up and provide the shows; but you decide which ones you take, how much you charge, where they are, and when you do them.

Does this sound better than spending 40 hours a week in an office, directly trading your time for money, and ultimately using your skills, talents and resources (time is a resource, and you only have so much of it) to make money for someone else?

If you are going to make some changes to your life, or embark on a big project (such as becoming a professional magician) then you are going to be going outside your comfort zone. It won’t be easy.

Being successful has requirements, often taking you outside of your comfort zone

So now you know the advantages to being a professional magician, and why to need to act like a professional magician.

This article is a based on a lesson in the “Turning Professional” section of the How To Be A Professional Magician course, as well as the abridged versions

Learning more

The How To Be A Professional Magician Courses cover everything you need to know to set up a business as a professional magician. The Full Course contains all the information (as well as 30 minute Skype consultation to help you get your business launched), and the abridged courses also cover business set-up.

Reply to Enquiries Quickly

A quick top tip. It sounds obvious, in fact, I’m sure most people (and not just magicians) will say they do this, but I’ll say it anyway:

Reply to Enquiries Quickly!!!

Here’s a quick example. I have a few suits that need some adjustments, so thought I’d see if I could find a local tailor or seamstress. I did a quick search an online business directory.

One didn’t have a website/email and when I called sounded dis-interested and gave me the bare-minimum of information (even when I asked), another had a nice website but I’ve yet to have a response to the enquiry I sent 48 hours ago.

I’ve had similar response (or lack of!) over the years from other small businesses. It’s crazy that people will pay for advertising, and do little when an enquiry comes in, then no doubt moan that they don’t get business.

In the modern world we expect results quickly – Google can return answers to the most bizarre questions in just a fraction of a second. If someone sends an email they expect the recipient will receive it within a few minutes; and to reply within an hour or two – not days!

I have often got a booking because I was the first magician they called who’s phone didn’t divert to voicemail, or because I was the first to reply to the batch of emails they sent out.

I would hope that none of the magicians reading this would let their hard won enquiries sit idle, but I recommend having a quick look through your email inbox just to make sure!

Learning more

The How To Be A Professional Magician Courses cover everything you need to know to set up a business as a professional magician. The Full Course contains all the information (as well as 30 minute Skype consultation to help you get your business launched), and the abridged courses also cover business set-up.

Wedding Fair Advice for Magicians

Good marketing involves combining a range of methods to generate booking enquiries. One of these methods I find best is attending weddings fairs – during 2013 and 2014 I averaged 19 wedding fairs per year – and it’s this subject I get asked about most. Therefore, here’s my wedding fair advice for magicians:

What is Wedding Fair?

Wedding fairs are either arranged by a venue themselves, or hired out by a wedding fair organiser. From the venue’s point of veiw they can showcase themselves directly to newly engaged couples looking for somewhere to hold their wedding. Often they will dress a room to illustrate how it would look at a wedding

Wedding Suppliers

As well as seeing the venue, it’s also an opportunity for brides and grooms to meet with other suppliers in the wedding industry and discuss their requirements. This can include photographers, cake makers, wedding dress makers and entertainment.

It’s a good idea to be friendly with the other suppliers there, show them a trick and swap contact details. They are also in the wedding business and it’s possible one of their clients may be looking for entertainment and they can recommend you.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better!

When booking a wedding fair an organiser will often tell you how busy previous fairs have been and roughly how many brides to expect. I try to aim for shows that have around 100-150 brides. Only a small percentage of weddings in the UK have a magician so you need enough traffic through to increase the chances of you generating a booking, but if it’s too busy you just aren’t going to be able to speak to everyone and many will walk by. Often these larger shows are more expensive, so why pay extra to speak to the same number of people?

Have a Proper Wedding Fair Stand

Invest in a roller-banner stand that is about 2.5 foot wide and 7 foot high. These have come down in price massively over the last few years and can be bought quite cheaply via such sources as eBay. You may need to pay a little extra for design work, but hopefully you will have a brand and graphics brief so creating the proof should be quite cheap.

Also have some printed marketing material (even if just a postcard, flyer or simple brochure) to give people, and prettying up the table with a magic themed display is a good.

You want to give the impression you are an established professional business, I’ve seen exhibitors (both magicians, and other services) arrive with nothing more than a box of business cards, and this does not promote that image.

And Stay There!

On occasion it has been suggested to me that I mingle around the exhibition in much the same way as I would at a real wedding. Don’t do it! This isn’t a wedding, it’s a wedding fair. You aren’t getting paid to entertain, you are paying to generate business.

If people are walking about they are probably thinking about another stand at the time, and if they are interested in your service then you won’t have any of your marketing materials on hand to give them.

Where to Stand?

You are the product, therefore you need to be the most prominent attraction on the stand. I always move the table back (this means I then have no space to sit behind the table) so I can stand in front of it and interact with people more easily.

It could be argued that others spend the day sat down behind their table, so why not you? Well, those people are selling their products, so they are displaying them prominently. This could be wedding cakes, photographs or suits.

By standing in front of your stand makes it easier to stop people and ask them if they want to see a trick. Not many people will see that you are magician and approach you to request a demonstration, you need to initiate the conversation. This is after all what you would be doing at a wedding, so do it!

Give a Good Demonstration

Once someone has a hint of being interested launch into a trick. This should be a good example of what you would do at a wedding, though you may want to adjust the patter a little to account of the situation.

It goes without say it needs to be a strong trick, and one that is entertaining. Don’t try and go through your whole repertoire. And don’t be afraid to repeat the same trick to every couple you speak to.

Sell the Problem, Not the Service

Even with a good trick it’s unlikely a bride and groom will know exactly why they should book you. People rarely go to wedding fairs expecting to see a magician, or even know why they’d want to book one.

Once the trick is over explain how you would fit into their wedding.

Note how I said explain how you’d fit into their wedding, not a wedding. Help people visualise you at their wedding.

Follow Up

Make sure you get the contact details of the bride and groom, and the location and date of their wedding (if known). A day or two afterwards send an email summarising your conversation, and remind them how to book. Some people do require a poke, remember they’ve been speaking to all the other suppliers at the wedding fair and that’s a lot of information to absorb in a short time.

A booking isn’t a booking until it’s confirmed. Someone saying they’d “love to book you” can be true, but it can also be a polite way to gently close a conversation. This is why following up is so important.

The subject of wedding fairs is huge and is covered in much more detail in the Full Course, as well as in the Wedding and Party Magician course.

Learning more

The How To Be A Professional Magician Courses cover everything you need to know to set up a business as a professional magician. The Full Course contains all the information (as well as 30 minute Skype consultation to help you get your business launched), and the abridged courses also cover business set-up.

Networking Groups for Magicians

I was recently asked about networking group; and BNI networking in particular, which meet once a week (usually early in the morning) so members can refer business opportunities to each other. It costs around £600 for membership for a year, plus around £10/15 per meeting to cover your breakfast. So call that about £1,200 per year. Is it worth it?

Is joining BNI worth it for magicians?

I was a member of a BNI group. I did get business from the group (and business off the back of that) which did cover my costs, but worked out that it was not enough to make it worth continuing.

If you’re a local printer and can knock out small batches of business cards for the local start-ups then you’re on a winner, but for other services I’m not sure of it’s value.

Is networking worth it for professional magicians?

Actually, it did open my network up and put me in contact with people who’s services I have used. As I had only moved into the area a year or so prior it did have it’s uses, but in hindsight I do wish I’d allocated my time and money elsewhere.

I have heard some real horror stories about networking groups though, but these are probably from people that just think you rock up and expect that you are just handed business. It is a two-way street, and you do need to put work and effort in to generate leads I know some magician (particularly in the corporate sector), who pretty much use networking to generate a large percentage of their new business.

Most groups will let you visit once or twice for free (you’ll probably still need to pay for your food though) before you need to pay to join, and it’s possible that if you do a good enough job of making yourself memorable you may be able to make some contacts who can pass business your way.

There is a full lesson on getting the most from networking groups in the Sales and Marketing section of the full course, and it is included in some of the abridged courses.

Learning more

The How To Be A Professional Magician Courses cover everything you need to know to set up a business as a professional magician. The Full Course contains all the information (as well as 30 minute Skype consultation to help you get your business launched), and the abridged courses also cover business set-up.

Take action for your business TODAY!

If you are thinking of turning professional start taking action today. Set a deadline, stick to it and start taking action to make things happen.

If you wait until everything is 100% perfect then it will never happen!

This doesn’t mean you should just learn a few tricks and immediately set up a website and call yourself a professional. Before you start offering your services for money you should make sure your skills are up to it.

Start gathering photos for your website, work out how your website will look and what content will be on there. Think of what style you’ll have when you perform, and your overall branding style.

Use these ideas immediately by setting up a Facebook Business page. This is a great way to play with your marketing style before committing to paying for a professionally designed website.

Work out what your professional repertoire will involve – tricks that work well over a drink with friends probably won’t work so well at a corporate black-tie drinks reception.

Rehearse these tricks, and not just the moves but the whole patter and routine, just as you would if you were approaching a real table at an event. Try doing “dress rehearsals” at social events you are invited to as a guests.

Once everything starts coming together then start promoting yourself for a couple of paid gigs to get experience, and find out if it is something you really want to do and feel comfortable doing. Calling a room of forty screaming children to order or approaching a table at a wedding can be daunting – and completely different to doing some tricks for friends.

Set a deadline for this and work towards it. Map out an agenda, look in your diary and see what social events are coming up where you could try out some new material and work up an act.

Don’t just rush out and get business cards printed today – you will regret it – but there is no reason why you can’t set a timescale of 3 to 5 months to turn your hobby into a source of income.

Learning more

The How To Be A Professional Magician Courses cover everything you need to know to set up a business as a professional magician. The Full Course contains all the information (as well as 30 minute Skype consultation to help you get your business launched), and the abridged courses also cover business set-up.

Talking Funny – a must watch for ALL performers

I’d heard about it for years but never got round to watching it, but I wish I had sooner! If you haven’t please check out “Talking Funny”.

It features four top comedians, Ricky GervaisJerry SeinfeldChris Rock and Louis CK discussing stand-up comedy. They discuss how they got started, what drives them, how they craft a joke, their individual styles and how they develop their shows. Although they are comedians, everything they say is applicable to magicians, or any other performer.

At one point they talk about how their jokes (or ‘bits’) are like a band playing songs at a gig, and how they build up to an encore.

It’s very apparent that these guys are at the top of their game (and have consistently been there) because they had drive and passion, but also because they followed their own styles. They didn’t model themselves on others, they performed the style they want.

As well as the theory, there’s also some great practical advice to working a comedy club, hosting a show, how long a show should last and introducing other acts.

Watch the show, and keep in mind how you could take what they are talking about and how you could apply it to your performance.

Learning more

The How To Be A Professional Magician Courses cover everything you need to know to set up a business as a professional magician. The Full Course contains all the information (as well as 30 minute Skype consultation to help you get your business launched), and the abridged courses also cover business set-up.