In the past, I had several negotiations to perform magic in Mindanao or Visayas. While I welcome the prospect of a trip out of Manila, most negotiations would fall through when we get to the price part. I ask not only a higher fee for out-of-town shows but I also demand free airline tickets for three, shuttle to and from the airport, hotel accommodation and meals during our entire stay.
Once in a while, though, I bump into people who have deep pockets. They love the birthday celebrant so much that money is not a concern. They want something special for him and his guests, and so they end up considering the brand of entertainment I offer.
My client in Cagayan de Oro (we did all the negotiations by email, cell phone and text messages) wanted to give her 80-year old dad something different for his birthday party. She confessed she mulled over hiring a singer. In the end, she nixed the idea, because she thought her guests had singers in their past parties.
Her idea of “something different” is a magic show. She began scouting the local entertainment industry for magicians. I don’t know what she found (or did not find), but she started casting her net wider toward Manila.
One of her requirements was that the magician has a program suitable for adults, because the party comprises mostly adult guests (there were only five children present during the show). Second, she wanted a wholesome program, one that is for adults but no “adult” materials as in blue or double-meaning jokes.
I believed she called several magicians aside from me, because it took her a few days after her initial call to get back to me and started serious negotiations.
I was glad that when she finally booked me she took care of my team’s travel arrangements. I sent her a list of our technical requirements, and she did not flinch, although it was quite long.
We arrived around 3PM at the hotel, went down to the restaurant on the ground floor by 5PM, set-up our stuff and did the technical tests (music, microphones, light). By 6:30PM guests started arriving. I entertained the early birds with quick tableside magic.
The restaurant served dinner to the 200 or so guests by 7:30 PM. At 8:30 PM, they put me on.
I had so much fun performing to the guests. They responded warmly to the show far more than I expected. They laughed at all the jokes and clapped their hands at the right places. I was lucky to have such a good audience. They made magic shine through that evening.
If you have a chance to perform in the provinces, grab it. Most people there have not seen live magic shows, because magic has not made great inroads yet in local markets. When audiences in the province get to see a magic show, like the one I did last Tuesday, they respond to it very warmly. The ovations that I harvested that evening made my trip worthwhile. I think it also put the art of magic in a good light.