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:

Podcast 008: Do You Really Need A Website?


How To Be A Professional Magician, Podcast 8

Do You Really Need A Website?

In this episode of the How To Be A Professional Magician Podcast we ask if you really need to have a website. It used to be essential; but with the dominance of social media platforms is spending money to design and host a website a worthwhile expense?In this episode we ask if having a website is necessary, especially with social media providing alternative platforms.

To answer in a single word: “Yes!”

Nowadays many magicians don’t actually have a website, relying primarily on using a Facebook business page (not their own personal Facebook page, though even then some do). However these magicians are often amateur magicians who wish to give the outwards appearance of looking professional, but don’t want to to invest either the time or money into creating a unique website.

With a website a potential customer will know you are more professional than a magician who links to a Facebook page. The website domain name should be used for your email address too, ‘free’ email addresses such as Gmail and Hotmail doesn’t look professional in the eyes of a prospect.

Remember that by relying on a third party social media platform you don’t have control. The format of the pages could change, or at a time in the future you may need to pay to continue using the service – or as least pay for even those following your page to see your posts. Essentially your business model is reliant on the business model of the social media platform’s business model, and that may not be in your interest.

Whilst researching you, your prospective clients may link from your business page to your personal page; and if you haven’t amended your privacy settings they may see things you would prefer they didn’t (such as political views, opinions, personal photographs and “banter” between your friends).

There’s the possibility that your social media account could get hacked or your account suspended. The worst case would be having your entire account deleted. This would mean you lose complete control, whereas with your own website you can upload a back-up and continue business.

Website are quick, cheap and easy to design, develop and host; and easy to update and expand as you and your business develops. You can continue to use social media, and link between your website and social media accounts to obtain clients and keep them engaged.

If you have any questions about building your magic business please email [email protected].

Please subscribe so you can get more weekly bite-size magic business lessons.

You can also listen to the Podcast on the following formats:

Apple Podcasts (iTunes):




Podcast 004: What Should You Do At A Networking Meeting?


How To Be A Professional Magician, Podcast 4

What Should You Do At A Networking Meeting?

In this episode we ask what the benefits of a networking meeting are, what you should do when you are there and how to prepare before you attend.

Networking meetings are events were people in different professions get together to explain what they do to other professions; with the view of exchanging business between each other.

Often at the meeting each attendee will be asked to stand up and give a short (often for one or two minutes) pitch. Therefore, if you are attending a networking meeting prepare in advance what you will say. This is sometimes known as an ‘elevator pitch’.

Ensure your pitch makes it clear why someone would want to book you; just saying you are a magician and list the type of events you work at isn’t enough.

Ensure you make clear the benefit to others – not just to those at the meeting. Often people will refer friends and family to others they met at a networking meeting.

Don’t just perform a trick in your pitch. It will be fun and entertaining, but it won’t give the benefits. You may not even want to introduce yourself as a magician at first, but explain the benefits first.

If people are interested in the service you offer they may come up to you at the end of the meeting, and this is then a good opportunity to show a demonstration.

Networking is a two-way street, and you will be expected refer business to the other attendees. If you turn up expecting people to give you business without giving any in return it’s likely they won’t.

Take plenty of business cards.

Some networking groups have membership fees, and you will need to be a member before you can take full advantage of the benefits of the group.

As well as membership costs there are costs for food and travel, as well as the time taken to attend. It’s likely that you won’t recoup these costs straight away, but as time goes on people will still remember you and pass you business years afterwards.

If you have any questions about building your magic business please email [email protected].

Please subscribe so you can get more weekly bite-size magic business lessons.

You can also listen to the Podcast on the following formats:

Apple Podcasts (iTunes):




Podcast 002: Should You Be A Magician For All Occasions?


How To Be A Professional Magician, Podcast 2

Should You Be a Magician For All Occasions?

In this episode we ask should you advertise that you are a “Magician for all occasion” on your marketing.

It’s likely that as a professional magician you already work at all types of occasions, and you will want to work at all types of events.

However, you don’t want to come across as a magician for all occasions to your prospective customers.

Firstly, it (and variations of it) are popular, and it is a phrased used by quite a lot of magicians on their websites and therefore it doesn’t make you stand out amongst the others.

What you really need to do is come across to your potential clients that you are an expert, and specialise and have experience in exactly the type of event they are arranging.

This could be be that you have the perfect act or perfect trick for their event, and this is communicated to them. Of course, it may be the same act or trick – but it is customised to fit.

This demonstrates you are an expert in this field. They will know that you are experienced at working at similar events, and makes you stand out against the other magicians who may now come across as “generic” by not specialising.

Setting up a website, having business cards and brochures that focus on a particular type of event will really demonstrate that you are expert in that field. At a minimum you should have separate pages on your website.

Once you have established to the prospective client that you are the expert magician they want, you can then cross-sell and tell them of secondary services you offer in addition to the primary service that they initially required.

This adding of extras to the primary service can increase the total income you are also able to generate from each individual booking.

Once at the booking you will be demonstrating that you are an expert in that field, but you can use the opportunity to let the guests know you can also be booked for other events, and therefore increase the number of repeat bookings and referrals you get.

If you have any questions about building your magic business please email [email protected].

Please subscribe so you can get more weekly bite-size magic business lessons.

You can also listen to the Podcast on the following formats:

Apple Podcasts (iTunes):




Brand Awareness – Video Business Lesson

HTBAPM Brand Awareness

In this business lesson we cover the subject of branding yourself, and creating brand awareness.

Before you even start to think about ways to market your magic business you need to develop your brand. It is important that your brand is unique and stands out against others, so don’t just copy another magician’s style.

Your brand doesn’t need a logo, simply deciding on what fonts and colours you will use is enough to get started, and it can develop as times goes on and your business evolves.

Ensure that you come across as an expert, and that your branding looks professional and conveys the style for the type of events you want to be working at.

Use your brand consistently in all your marketing, that way it will build the awareness with the audience; meaning that they will have familiarity with you when it comes to deciding which magician they want to book.

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.

Making Your Magic Commercial

When I made the decision to turn professional I decided that I needed repertoire of commercial tricks that I could perform for my close-up act; but I realised that I couldn’t just do a pile of card tricks, or do tricks that I liked doing.

I shortlisted tricks, practiced those, and worked on the patter; knowing that as they got performed to real live paying customers they would evolve. As the tricks developed I could add new ones and remove those that weren’t so strong.

Then I looked at what I already performed, what I liked performing, my character and the way my magic had already naturally evolved since I started learning.

I mainly thought of myself as a mentalist, and started to pursue that direction and learnt mentalism tricks and routines (probably due to Derren Brown sparking my latent interest in the art). However, I had come to realise that it lacked commercial appeal for the type of events I was promoting myself for.

But then I didn’t want to go too far the other way. I didn’t want to be a “comedy magician”, or have a whacky/zany character.

Let’s look at an example. I’ve have sponge balls, I learnt a sponge ball routine and performed it, people actually LIKED my sponge ball routine’ but it just didn’t feel comfortable for me.

Creating Your Commercial Repertoire

So how do you do this, well, pick about six tricks that YOU feel comfortable doing and that others will like and practice them. Also come up with patter and script the trick. Each time you practice you perform like you are performing for an audience so you practice the lines, not just the moves. I personally chose tricks covering many styles of magic, so my style and short-listed tricks could be refined using the Darwinian principle of Survival of the Fittest.

I came up with a set of rules and criteria to help me shortlist my tricks:

  1. Have variety – not just card tricks
  2. Can be stored in a jacket pocket for close-up
  3. No re-set (or at least very quick)
  4. Something that doesn’t need lots of explaining
  5. Visual enough to be seen by everyone round a large table
  6. Multi-stage (ideally)
  7. Involve spectators

As time went on I found my style and dropped the material that didn’t fit the direction I was wanting to go in (such as sponge balls and rope tricks) but it gave me a solid foundation to build on with a repertoire that meant from the moment I turned professional I had good tricks that worked and got positive reactions.

I still perform many of the effects that went into this original set, and have added more that fits this criteria. Not all the trick in my repertoire fit the criteria, and are perhaps more artistic and aimed to illicit a more emotional connection.

Having a routine that is new, fresh, touches emotions, takes risks but may occasionally fall flat is not a good opener for a corporate audience. A solid routine that will even entertain those that have been at the free bar. These latter routines are normally the ‘workers’, tried and tested a million times by every working magician.

My aim is to have tricks and effects that fall into both criteria. This way I have some solid material to open with and engage everyone, but can have material that is more ‘artistic’ once a connection has been established.

Note, this article is based on the “Art Vs Entertainment” lesson in the Magic Theory and Presentation section of the course, as well as 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.