This strategy is a 180-degree turnaround to my strategy when I was still learning the trade. I used to spend inordinate time choosing tricks that fooled people. Since my audience was mostly made up of magicians, this strategy worked well for me. It also gave me a lot of satisfaction and sense of fulfillment.
However, when I launched myself on the more difficult task of entertaining lay people, I noticed that, unlike magicians, they didn’t readily warm up to displays of skillful manipulations. Nor were they keen on being fooled.
All this have slowly dawned on me over the years. I didn’t discover this truth overnight. And when I eventually did discover it, I was slow to put it to good use in my program. I was not quickly convinced that magic for family audiences had to be fun first and amazing second.
Today, however, I believe my program is biased for fun and comedy over amazement. Before I break out my big guns, I usually start my show with silly routines—breakaway wands, gags, look-no-see sequence, etc.—to put the children in stitches.
Since I started doing this, I noticed the number of parents buttonholing me after the show has increased. They not only asked for my business card, but they also inquire about my rate and availability. Once in a while, I get booked on the spot.
I had no idea what caused on-the-spot booking until last week. A mommy approached me after the show and booked me right then and there. The date was not available, so she moved her party to the following day. It was still not available, so she took the date the week following the date of her child’s birthday. She didn’t even asked for my rate. She was decided to hire me regardless of the price.
I was amazed by her determination. I didn’t know why she decided so quickly and so determinedly to hire me. She herself provided me the answer. “By the way, it was my son who laughed the loudest during the show.”
So that’s the magic ingredient for getting an on-the-spot booking. Make the children laugh out loud, give them a good time, and the parents will book you for their kids’ birthday parties. And they will do it before you have finished packing your stuff.
Now how exactly to make children laugh is altogether another topic of a future post.