first seriously took up magic as a hobby performing magic for children was the
furthest thing from my mind. My interest lay with mentalism and sleight-of-hand
card magic, both targeted towards the mature audience (which at the time
consisted of the usual friends and family).
I had toyed with the idea of becoming a professional magician but after creating a very simple business plan on a spreadsheet I quickly realised that earning a sustainable income to replace my day job with close-up magic in a realistic time-frame was next to impossible. This made me put my hopes of becoming professional aside.
months later I attended a lecture at a magic society by a children’s
entertainer that completely reversed my view of children’s entertainment, and
especially of children’s entertainers.
I had always though of children’s entertainers who were retirees who earned
some extra income on a Saturday afternoon with painted wooden props, clown
suits and stage-names starting with “Uncle”.
The lecturer I saw was younger than I imagined a children’s entertainer would be, roughly in their mid-thirties. The props he used were modern looking, he made topical references, had a PA for music, sound effects (controlled remotely) and used a head-set microphone. His repertoire included illusions and close-up magic.
show was engaging, and though aimed at children it was still entertaining for
all ages. In fact it was more of a family show, but focusing on the children.
only that, but he’d created a whole stage area with a back-drop, wings and
table, all branded and colour-coded. There were even flashing lights.
As well as performing tricks he also explained how he played games, ran a mini-disco and interacted with the children and the adults at parties.
stayed for the whole lecture and even bought his lecture notes. I could see
that my preconception of children’s magic was wrong. What’s more, I could see
how I could use children’s magic as a tool to progress my career as a close-up
there I had the revelation that I too could perform in this style, and once I
factored children’s entertainment into my business plan I suddenly realised
that becoming a professional magician was no longer impossible for me.
It’s for this reason I recommend that everyone should read this Section – even those with no intention of becoming children’s entertainers.
I also recommend that everyone should have a go at entertaining children for many reasons. Firstly, although a close-up magician will promote themselves to bookers as entertainment for adults, there will regularly be children of all ages at these events and it’s important that you can interact with them and show them a trick or two.
it’s a great way to get experience. Performing children’s shows (and getting
paid for it) may not be your end goal, but it’s a damn-sight closer to being a
professional magician than doing your regular day job!
can be a tougher and less forgiving audience than adults. If something goes
wrong or you aren’t entertaining enough they’ll let you know, whereas adults
will still politely applaud. If you want a good show (and you do, otherwise you
wouldn’t be reading this) you need to tough it out, that’s how you get good.
You also need to deal with interruptions and things going wrong calmly and remain in control through-out. You need to do this without shouting, swearing or even acknowledging something has gone wrong and interrupting the flow of the show. If you even consider doing corporate work (where some of the audience may have had a few drinks) then you’ll appreciate these are important skills to have.
‘turn-over’ time scale is a lot quicker for children’s parties. On average the
booking will be made 4-6 weeks prior to the event, whereas close-up bookings
can be 6-8 months prior, and on occasion 2 years for weddings. This means a
much longer wait before recieving any income, whereas children’s magic starts
admit that I currently do not perform children’s shows, and didn’t intend to in
the long-term. when I put together my business plan I realised I could take
advantage of the quicker financial turn-around to establish my business
I ensured that the shows were of a good quality, with material that was thought
out and rehearsed. I developed my brand, style and invested heavily in market.
Children’s magic got me through the first few years of being a professional
In this introduction I’ve just covered a few of the main reasons why I feel it is essential that anyone looking to make the jump to being professional includes this type of entertainment as an option, or is a least experienced and knowledgeable. Read through the two sub-topics which are lists that break it down further and give even more reasons why you shouldn’t skip this Section.
I fully admit that it wasn’t part of my overall objective, and I don’t regret performing children’s shows. You’ll be surprised at how many magicians also performed for children when they first turned professional – and some of these are well known within the industry for their corporate work. Don’t knock it.
If being a children’s performer isn’t part of your long term plan you still need to invest the time and effort into doing it properly. You need to get new props, write scripts and rehearse them. It may be a “means to an end” for you, but remember, for the customer it’s a special day. Don’t ruin a child’s birthday because you have an attitude or think it’s beneath you. It isn’t.
Regardless, you MUST put on a good show. Although I didn’t want to be a children’s magician for any longer than necessary I still ensured every show was the best it could be, and every child had fun and was suitably entertained. This must have been the case as in the last few years most of my children’s shows were repeat bookings and recommendations. In fact I still got enquiries for children’s shows over five year after I stopped.
was actually getting so successful that I had to force myself to set a retirement
date and turn away business for people wanting to book me after that date.
Children’s magic can be such a good earner that even after five years of
building up my close-up magic business it was still a few more years before
close-up magic exceeded what I earned performing for children.
hope that this has encouraged you to at least keep an open mind about
children’s magic and hopefully realise the advantages of it, for both the
business and magical development of your career.