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PhotobucketMost mommies who are in search of quality live entertainment for their children’s birthday bash don’t know much about magic and magicians.

For that matter, the answer to the question what tricks we do may be obvious to us magicians in the Philippines. However, it is probably a mystery to a mother who wants something special for her child but doesn’t know what exactly it is.

PhotobucketThis situation reminds me of the instance when I absentmindedly went inside a department store, not knowing exactly what I wanted to buy.  So I just roamed around the store, asking the salesperson of the price of various items, what other styles or colors they had in stock, until I spotted one that I liked.

Well, most birthday moms are like that.  They call to book you but don’t really know if you are the right performer to entertain at their children’s party.  Many of these moms will ask you to give them an idea what you have in your show.  All you need to do is go over your phone script (you should have one, if you want to improve your closing average). In many instances they are  happy to book you after getting a glimpse of your program.

Last week, however, one mom needed dozens of text messages and several emails from me, detailing my program, before she was convinced I was the performer to hire for her child’s birthday party.

PhotobucketRight off the first text message, she declared the reason she was difficult to please.

“My guests and I have seen so many magicians in the past,” she said in an email.  “We are kind of jaded already when it comes to magic shows.  That’s why, for my child’s party, I want to hire somebody who will perform tricks we have not yet seen before.  I have hired a magician in the past who assured me his repertoire of tricks is  different from other performers.  But on the day of the performance, he showed tricks we already have seen before. If I hired you, will you guarantee that you perform tricks we have not seen before and that if you showed us tricks we already saw, will you refund us our money?”

I was half-amused and half-annoyed by the requirement.

Half-amused because she has been driven to a jaded state of mind by the proliferation of magicians who have identical repertoires. In the past, I have written rants about the same tricks, the same music, the same everything .  I don’t want to write about them again today.  This post is altogether about another subject.

PhotobucketI was also half-annoyed because I don’t give guarantees nor offer refunds.  I think giving guarantees is one way to massage one’s ego.  A magician who does that has gall.

A magic show is a live performance.  It is subject to the vagaries of the performing conditions, venue, make-up of the audience and many other stimuli beyond the control of the performer. Anything can go wrong, even to the best performer, not because of his own making but on account of things outside his control.  To guarantee nothing will ever go wrong is to me like playing Russian roulette.

Neither do I offer refunds.  I try to earn a living, not give money away.

I’m aware some magicians offer guarantees and refunds, but I don’t.  They have their own reasons for doing so, and I respect those reasons.  I have my own reasons for not offering them.

PhotobucketSo in response to the mom, I told her I do a lot of research to make my show unique.  Still, I couldn’t guarantee exclusivity in everything I do in my show.  I offered to email her a list of tricks that I might perform at her child’s party.  I invited her to choose from the list, promising her that I’d perform only the tricks she’d choose.  In that way, we would be both sure I would perform only tricks she liked and had not seen before.

She was pleased with the suggestion and said, “Okay send me the list.”

I emailed her a list of about 20 tricks, some of them are in my current show, some already retired. I described each trick in the email, so she could make an informed decision. It was a lot of work on my part, but I didn’t mind as I was trying to help her as best as I could.

The wish-list came back in 20 minutes.  She checked every single trick on the list.  Now my problem was to reign in her over-enthusiasm.  I told her I wouldn’t ‘t do all the 20 tricks, otherwise the show would run for close to two hours. I said I’d picked just enough number of tricks from the list to fill a one-hour program.

After several more email exchanges, she finally hired me.  I’m looking forward to that party, because I know I’ll be on my toes to entertain at an event where the guests are jaded when it comes to magic shows.

I will tell you how the performance will turn out.

Stay magical,