I usually think I am there only to entertain. Many times I have been proven wrong. Some birthday moms expect me to fulfill a mission bigger than I’ve bargained for. Sometimes it is so big it feels like a burden upon my shoulders.
One birthday mom called me two days before her party. She told me she had chosen me over other name magicians in the Philippines. “The success of my child’s party rests on your shoulders,” she said. “Please don’t let me down.”
That’s a ton of pressure, in case you were not paying attention. Every time a booker tells me that the party’s success depends on me, I feel like Atlas carrying the world on my back. It guarantees that I quake in my pants at intensity 7.5 in the Richter scale.
Just recently, a mom was trying to get a date that was already confirmed by another client. She had to scramble and find another date, because she had already a confirmed date for the venue. The reason for insisting to reconcile our schedules?
“I wish to book early,” she wrote, ” because the last time I inquired you were already booked. I have seen your show a couple of times… and I enjoy them all the time. I’m sure my daughter will enjoy your show too because she loves magic and animals…actually she has seen part of your magic show at Dinos Alive, and she enjoyed it very much…My daughter told me earlier today she will cry and get sad if you are not available…”
Last December, an aunt rang me up to book me for the birthday party of her sick nephew. “He was diagnosed for cancer of the nerves since he was three years old. He is now 11. Though always in constant pain, he loves magic, so we thought to give him a magic show on his birthday.”
She said the party was small. Just about 10 children. Could I come and make his sick nephew happy?
A couple of years ago, a birthday mom booked my show. She was ready to pay the required down payment, when days later, her husband called me on the phone and haggled with the price. It appeared to me that the husband and wife did not agree on how much was their entertainment budget. So in the end I turned down the show, lest I’d be caught in the crossfire between quarreling spouses.
When I informed her that I’m not accepting the show, the mom wrote, “Please…please…you and I talked about the show many times. I planned to make my daughter’s birthday special. I hope you can do my daughter a favor. Don’t disappoint her. Please, I’m asking you…please…”
That message broke my heart…
Next time you are performing at a child’s birthday party and think you are doing it only for the money, think again. We may perform magic every week, on auto-pilot, and don’t think much about its significance to the client.
But for the birthday child who celebrates his 7th birthday only once in his whole life, your performance means more to him than it is worth the money to you.
Make your show not only good but great! Heck, make it outstanding.