THE CLOCK IS TICKING!
It's time to organise your child's birthday party. They have asked for a magician! Definitely it's good to choose a date and get the hall booked first or plan to utilise home space or even the garden (risky in British weather conditions!). Stressed yet? Plan ahead and do not leave it until the last minute!
So, how to choose the right entertainer in the London area? Clown or magician?
Some entertainers fill their show with lots of clowning and that is fine if you need that. But even really small children need something with real magic in it. I was booked for a school fair and there was a clown who followed my act. All I can say is, clowning can be brain-numbingly stupid at times! I must add that there are some brilliant clown acts out there too. I avoid too much silliness as it can lead to chaos! My teaching experience can come in handy here.
Has your child seen an entertainer/magician at one of their friends parties or did somebody come to school and put on a magic show? Did your child like it? Have any good friends hired a successful magician?
How to find an entertainer for your party?
Then it's time to get online and google! First and MOST IMPORTANT- you need a real children's magician or entertainer! Some magicians cater for children as a side-line to their adult magic work. This is often not good enough. There are some amazing magicians out there but kids magic is AN ART! I suggest a local search where you put 'children's magician in London' for example.
Make use of reviews and other resources.
Be sure to check local forums for authentic experiences from parents. For example, a conversation started on East Dulwich Forum about choosing a magician and someone had booked me and was happy to share my name and this sparked off a good discussion about how long a magic show should be and what is a reasonable price. So look locally at forums. Places where people with children chat or review things online are popular resources. For example try netmums which has local online services.
Lots of names will pop up and you will know pretty quickly that a few will not quite fit the bill! Also check for photos or a link to a short movie clip on youtube. Also there are agencies that can supply a magician for a price.
How much does an entertainer charge?
THE PRICE! Now that's a big question! Most magicians will not post a price on their website for a good reason. They want to talk to you as It is vital that you have a conversation to get some first impressions. Then talk about your plans and get some advice. I can definitely offer loads of sound and stress-tested advice on how to organise your party. Regardless of whether you book me or not. If you sense any kind of awkwardness when chatting to potential entertainers over the phone, move on and find somebody else. Trust your gut feeling on this!
How long to book an entertainer for your party?
How long is a magic show? Not a trick question! Generally a magic show booking will be for an hour or two. If you have a group of little ones around the age of three or four, a forty minute show is quite long enough with balloon modelling after the magic bit to finish the hour.
Many parents don't want to organise games as this can be stressful too. I offer to organise games which normally happen after a short break for food and cake cutting. I make sure all the children are involved and nobody feels left out. Again, experience is crucial. But also as a dad myself, I know what games kids like and a limbo competition is fun (as long as I get somebody else to demo the method!).
Be genuine too. We magicians have to cope with a lot which is naturally part of the job. Please ensure that once the booking is confirmed, you don't suddenly decide to cancel at the last minute. I can assure you that most magicians are incredibly sincere and try their best to make the children happy on the day. Most people would not take up this career path if they really understood how tough it is!
You should give yourself a pat on the back, especially if you got it all sorted in time! Being a parent is a wonderful but hard life! Why not plan some great food for any adults who might join you on the day? Just make sure you leave a plate for me after my amazing magic show.
What can Tricky Toby offer?
There's a whole bunch of information on my site. Check out specifics about entertainment for your party, see some of my previous magic shows across London, read some of my blog posts. And of course, please feel free to email or call me at any time! Thanks for reading!