Every parent wants to make their child’s birthday a special day that will be remembered fondly forever. Often children ask for a magician or a children’s entertainer. Finding the right one can be daunting so here’s a list of Do’s and Don’ts to help.
- Ask to see a video of the performer.
The video should show the magician performing live and interacting with their audience. Any videos that just show a collection of still photos is not of much use. The video should give you a feel for the entertainer’s style and ability. Watch for the reaction of the children. The reaction will show if the magician can connect and command an audience. If the magician does not have a video then they are probably very new and unlikely to be professional. You want to see what you are getting.
- Look at their pictures.
While pictures in a video format are of no use, photos on their own can be very revealing. Look to see if the magician’s costume is of high quality and clean. See if the magician is well groomed and the props they are using look well cared for. It never ceases to amaze me that performers post pictures where they are unshaven and you can see bored children in the photos.
- Check out their website.
Be very suspicious of magicians who do not have a web site. While finding and booking magicians on Facebook and Instagram is perfectly acceptable, it always worries me when the is no address or name listed for the entertainer. This lack of information makes it look like the magician is not legitimate and may not have insurance. If they are hiding their identity and location it raises several questions, none of which reflect well on the entertainer. All good magicians have a website.
- Call the magician.
While it’s easy to zip a message on Facebook, it’s always best to have a quick chat with whoever you are considering. You will know within two minutes if the magician has a love for his job or is just in it for the money. A good magician will put you at ease and will probably even get a laugh out of you. A quality entertainer should be a people person. Remember, Mum’s and Dad’s will be at the party too. If the magician can’t make a connection with you then they may not be able to make one with the birthday boy / girl.
- Book a trainee.
Some companies offer discounts for you to book an entertainer who is listed as a “trainee”. These entertainers have received almost no training, and will struggle to control and audience of excited children. I’ve seen companies running ads where they offer to train in performers for birthday parties with a 90 minute course. These companies don’t seem to care whether your party goes well. The goal seems to be to send out as many entertainers as possible so that they can collect your money and move on. While everyone has to start somewhere you don’t want your party to devolve into mayhem then disappointment. Look for an entertainer with years of experience.
- Base your decision on price.
Make your decision based on the video and your chat with the magician. You know your child better than anyone so contact the entertainer and use your best judgement. While it may be tempting to book a low cost entertainer, these performers usually lack experience or even worse, they just don’t care if the shows go well. You can spot these performers easily. They don’t have websites, insurance, an address listed, and they don’t have videos of their shows. Also, don’t think that because a magician charges the most that they are the best. Some magicianss charge outrageous amounts because they know that this will make people think they are really good. The best way to determine who is good for you is in the Do’s. Check out their video and give them a call.
- Have low expectations.
Back when today’s parents were children, most birthdays did not have a magician and the entertainers that were around weren’t very good. Not surprisingly this has led many adults to assume that children’s entertainment is poor. Raise your expectations. There are good children’s entertainers out there. A good entertainer will have you, the children, and all the adults laughing as soon as they arrive. While the majority of the entertainment will be focused on the children and making the birthday boy / girl the star of the show, a good magician will bring up a Granny, Uncle, God Parent, or Mum too. Everyone at the party should enjoy the show, so look for someone who can do that.
Once you see the video and talk to the magician you should know exactly what you are getting. Don’t feel obliged to contact tons of magicians. Looking at their videos should allow you to narrow your selection. Heck, even one good video may do the trick.
Once the magician arrives, point them to where you want the show. Then, try to make sure to leave some time for yourself to enjoy the fun!
— Jack Flash is a professional magician as seen on RTE. Jack has performed at the White House, Leinster House, and performed to over 11 million people, including his daughter’s Senior Infant Class. Jack performs magic shows in Dublin and Kildare. Jack has a wife and two kids and loves to make people laugh.
Video Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONfjefePscU&t=4s
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