ADVICE for Magicians – How to get booked as a Professional Magician


– I am Daniel Madison,
thanks for being here. I really do appreciate you choosing to spend a bit of time with me when maybe you’ve got better things to do. In this video, I wanted
to address and answer a question that gets asked
to me quite a lot these days, very recently, it’s a
very common question, how do I get booked as a working magician? Now, for anybody who
doesn’t know who I am, hi, I’m Daniel Madison,
I create, I perform, and I teach magic, slight of
hand, and closeup deceptions, typically, with playing cards, usually specifically with
my own playing cards. Many years ago, before I became a teacher, I used to be a performer of closeup magic, closeup deceptions, and slight
of hand, with playing cards. Usually at smaller venues, they’re great for closeup environments like
parties, night clubs, pubs, restaurants, weddings, et cetera, and a lot of people, they
learn the skill, they learn the trade, but they’re not
sure how to get bookings. My knowledge and my
experience in this field isn’t very vast, it isn’t huge, but because so many people are asking me, and the people I’ve given this advice to and told this story to, they’ve taken it and they’ve achieved something with it, so I thought it’d be a good idea to share it with everybody watching, or in case anybody’s got
that question on their mind and maybe some people out there, there’s some magicians watching this who struggle to get bookings and get gigs at these close events where
they can show off, showcase their magic, and get more
gigs and generate more work. I used to perform constantly,
that was my only form of income about 20 years
ago when I turned 20, I got out of card cheatin’
and out of being a naughty boy (laughs) with deceptive practises, and I decided to turn my skills towards slight of hand
for the use of magic, and for me, I just took the logical steps. I didn’t really look
into it, I just followed my own path and followed what
I thought was the right thing to do, and it turned
out to be a good idea, and I worked as a closeup magician for a very long time around Leeds, but then, you find the more you work, the more that you get bookings and events, you take about 100 business
cards with you a night and you hand 100 business cards out. Out of 100 business cards you hand out, you might get two people calling you, but at least that’s two more gigs, where you can hand out
another 100 business cards. It’s a bit different these days because of the social networks. Instead of business cards it’s now, oh, are you on Facebook,
are you on Instagram, and it’s all on the phone, still. What I did back then, I got thousands of business cards printed,
and nobody knew me or knew my skill, and I did try, a few nights, going to the clubs and going around pubs and performing magic and handing my business card out, giving myself hopeful bookings, so if you wanna book me, call this number, book me, I’ll cost this much, or sometimes I wouldn’t give a given amount, and it was a very slow process. It didn’t happen as fast as I wanted it to, so I didn’t keep doing it. There’s that saying, “if you always “do what you’ve always
done, you’ll always get “what you’ve always got,”
I think that’s the quote. Anyway, what I decided to do, the clubs that I went to in Leeds, specifically the clubs and the bars
on Greek Street in Leeds, I went back to those bars in the daytime when they just opened
up, when it was quiet, (squeak) thank you, when it was quiet, and I went, and I found the manager, so I started off at the bar at the top of the street and I found the manager,
and here’s how I got booked, and it’s quite a funny
story that doesn’t really end well, but at least I got booked. So, I went to the manager, and
I was straight up with him. I said I’m a closeup magician, you want more people in here, or you want this place to be a talking point, I can show people closeup magic like this, and I showed him a quick impactful trick. I believe it was the invisible deck. If you don’t know what
the invisible deck is, the guy holds a deck of
playing cards in a box, and here’s my story, I say, just before I came in here, just outside the bar, I was showing somebody a trick and I dropped all the cards, I gathered them all up quickly, but I noticed one playing card was face down, the rest were face up, I didn’t have time to straighten out the
deck, when you’re holding that deck, I want you to get a feeling, like, see if you can pick up, see if a playing card comes to your mind, and whichever playing card he names, you take the cards out and you spread and you show the card
he named it’s facedown. Invisible deck, I showed him that, I did show him something else, I think it might be the
advocate pocket index, beside the point, the point is, he wasn’t into it, but after I showed him two powerful tricks, he was like, wow. I saw that he was getting into it, and he loved what I did,
and instead of saying book me for this much,
I said, I tell you what, I’ll come here on Friday night, you don’t have to pay me, and just watch the reaction, watch what happens, so I did that, the reactions were great, he came straight to me, he’s like, I’ll pay you 150 pounds for a one hour, like, I think it was
between seven and eight, no, it was six and seven,
and all I had to do was bring people in, create
a bit of a reputation talking point for this
bar to get people in, and it worked, so all of the sudden, I had this one gig, on a
Friday, between six to seven where I was getting 150
pounds for one hour. Not bad for one hour,
especially 20 years ago, not bad 20 years ago, but still, 150 pounds a week, I would’ve
had to rely on other gigs, it wasn’t good, so what
I did the next day, I went to the next bar in the daytime, and I did exactly the same thing and I said, you know, here’s some tricks, I’ll come here for free,
I’ll create a talking point, get people in, pay me 150
pounds between seven and eight I’ll do an hour, and he said yes, so I went to the next bar,
and I went to the next bar, and I went to the next
bar, so all of the sudden, I owned Greek Street, in Leeds, six to seven I was in,
I won’t name the bar, six until seven, I was in this bar. As soon as I finished, seven until eight, I was in the other bar, eight from nine in the other bar, and so on, all the way down the street, and all of the sudden, I was earning like, a thousand pound for one night out, every Friday night I’d have a good night out in Leeds, doing tricks, practising
, practising new things while also getting
bookings at the same time. So I’d be making a lot
of money on that Friday, but also I’d be handing out
thousands of business cards, and I would get called, I would get booked for weddings, for private parties, and I no longer had to hustle, so that number one hustle
that I did on those streets was the number one thing
that put me on the map and got me all the bookings
from so many different people because you go to a wedding,
you hand out your business cards, somebody else
books you, and so forth. As long as you keep accepting bookings and keep going, but it didn’t last long, the bookings on the street, eventually the bar owners just found
out that I was doing that. So the first bar said, “I
found out you were doing “the same thing for the
competition, for the other bars, “so you’re sacked,” basically, and then the other guy
said the same thing. “I found out what you’ve
been doing, you’re sacked.” It got down to one bar,
so I was just working at one bar and I decided
it wasn’t good enough and that’s how I begun,
that’s how I begun my gigs, but at that point, when
I lost all those gigs,. I was already being booked enough for private parties and weddings, and restaurants, and special events that I didn’t need that anymore. But I think the message I
want to give in this video, the lesson is, the initiative
and the creative approach to get a booking by
doing something for free. Give somebody a booking for free. Go out on the nights out, on your own, take a deck of playing cards,
give nothing but tricks, all night long, constantly
handing your business cards out, constantly make it where everybody knows that you are a performing,
a working magician, and another tip that I will give you that I started to bring into it, when people figured out that
I didn’t have a manager, obviously it meant that I
wasn’t worth a certain amount, so eventually, I decided to
create a fictional manager, so my business card now
said a false name on it, with a false email, it
was a real email address and a real phone number, but the person who answered those emails and
answered those phone calls, it was me, pretending to be my manager. This did two things. The first thing, it made me
look more important than I was, and at the same time,
I didn’t have to give a cut of the earnings to a manager. But the second thing is,
it allowed me the freedom to negotiate, without feeling
too bad because it wasn’t me. Like, if I take a phone
call and somebody says I wanna book you for
two hours for 20 quid, I’m like, no, I think I’m worth a bit more than that, how about 100? And they say no, okay, end of call, I’ll book another magician, whereas if you’re a manager, you can negotiate so much more because it’s not you. You remove yourself from the situation, then it becomes a negotiation, and it becomes a battling process that’s much easier to do
when it’s not you directly. I’ve never really been too good at that because I’m more, I’m the creative, I’m the performer, I don’t have that mind, ’cause I just wanna perform,
so when you take yourself out of that and you put yourself in the mindset of a
manager, and you pretend to be a manager, it makes
everything so much easier. I don’t want this video
to go on too much longer, I just wanted to share those thoughts while they were in my mind and hopefully answer the question that could’ve been up in people’s minds and it might inspire you to get a little bit
creative with your approach to getting bookings and
generating more bookings. Times have changed since then though, man. It was like 20 years ago, so maybe everything’s completely different now. So, I hope you got
something from this video. Thanks for watching if you still are, and if you enjoy this kind of video, if you want more advice like this, let me know in the comments
and I’ll look forward to making more content like this. I’m Daniel Madison, see you next time. (electronic music)

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56 thoughts on “ADVICE for Magicians – How to get booked as a Professional Magician”

  1. Eugene Ng says:

    First like and comment!!! Love your content

  2. Juan De La Cruz Arriagada says:

    Thank you Daniel!!!

  3. Woopize says:

    Make a video about the process of designin a deck please!

  4. SunithaRamesh * says:

    Never clicked sooo fast. I love you Madison.

  5. Elric Williams says:

    Light suits you ❤

  6. Joey Sonal says:

    I was just watching your yesterday's video and you post this. You put me in such a bug dilemma of which one to watch.

  7. Eric afferback says:

    Thats amazing story and great advice

  8. kiki magistic says:

    That story really got me goose bumps

  9. Dane Valnes says:

    Daniel you’re on a roll with these videos! Thank you! Love this video, Great Advice!

  10. WHITE WIZARD says:

    very nice brother

  11. Crunchy Crackers says:

    This was very helpful.

  12. Dean says:

    You are awesome!

  13. Magician Mayank says:

    This was amazing piece of advice man. I loved it. Thank you very much. And good luck 🙂

  14. Baiatul Comentator says:

    take it eazy , there are too many vids boy , i dont have to for all of the

  15. Rodi Kyriakou says:

    Quality advice. 🙏✌👍🙂

  16. Raj Das says:

    sir i am greatly need of cards .can u send a deck of card to me

  17. Mysterious Gaming says:

    20 years ago u were 20.
    now ur …?????

  18. Bret Pendlebury says:

    This just made me reach out about doing a show I've always wanted to do.

  19. suj mij says:

    How much charge is for good for starters

  20. younes mohssen says:

    I was that bar manager. You've grown into a man Daniel

  21. Uros Mirkovic says:

    I just want to say that i got my hands on the knights cards and i am very pleased with them absolutely love them they are like made for me so thank you

  22. Roy Lokang says:

    Thank you so much for the information.. 🙏

  23. Ian N.R.J. says:

    Love that white shirt with Charlie on it. Is Charlie pink on this one I wonder. 😉

  24. suj mij says:

    This video is sooooo oooooo great

  25. Gildas Dollo says:

    II'm just a hobbyist and don't plan to mmove to magic as a full time job but I found it interesting nonetheless.

  26. Daniel Payne says:

    Yes please more advice!

  27. herve lejeune says:

    I'll love to ear more advice from you!!!

  28. Raka RSP says:

    always lit !!

  29. Cosmin Perișan says:

    Part 2, please!

  30. the tricking genius says:

    thank you 😊

  31. the tricking genius says:

    plz do more, we are watching

  32. Carlos Silva says:

    Hi Daniel
    How are you?
    I hope you’re doing well!
    Great video!
    Sometimes we need to read between the lines to get the full message and this video has a lot of value.
    Anyway…I love how life works…
    Most people don’t pay attention and quickly skip through the messages and end-up not getting the full value.
    So for the damn few that pays attention…
    Penguin has Franz Harary LIVE 1 & 2 for free!
    Franz has a lot of important advices on the business of magic 🙂

  33. Mario.B Alegria.jr. Alegria says:

    Thanks for the information yes i do struggle with my cheap home made buisness cards so they take it me more seriousely so i had to redo my shit alover again nice advice ;..

  34. Chris Wible says:

    This video was actually really very helpful. When I first set out to get a gig I I did fairly well because I know the restaurant industry and got myself a weekly spot but unfortunately it was not exactly my thing because it was supposed to be family friendly children's magic and there were no children and because of corporate rules I was asked not to approach any tables without children. So I left that gig and I've been a little lost since then.

    The thing that you said that hit me the most as absolutely brilliant is the manager thing. In fact, I may even ask my girlfriend who majored in finance to represent me and then build her a little website as if she's my agent or manager.

    Beautiful, concise advice. Thank you very much.

  35. Alasdair Sutherland says:

    Hi Daniel, this is a really great video for people getting started! One thing I would say is that offering your services for free with no strings attached can give the wrong idea to the client, and you can get completely mugged off. This happened to me a few months back by a football club in the UK (who I will not mention) who took advantage of the opportunity completely. My suggestion for anyone thinking about doing this is to set a target that represents some degree of commitment from the client, e.g refunding the cost of the first performance after 5 bookings. This helps to filter out the clients that are going to take advantage of the free gig. If anyone wants any help with getting bookings, I'd be happy to help!

  36. Patrice Sacco says:

    Good advice….keep it coming!

  37. Riley Hoverd says:

    This is a very good story which has given me a couple of good ideas on how I can get booked when I turn 18

  38. Random World Of 5_8teen says:

    Wow…very helpful…I struggle with this

  39. paul moody says:

    Mate, that's incredible to hear. I was literally thinking of doing exactly this, I even already have business cards made up! Thank you for this, bit of a confidence booster! My Instagram is @paulmoody24 if you want to see my content, I'm only 10 months into my magic journey, but I'm loving every day. Your videos are so inspiring.

  40. KRISS says:

    Really i was finding the same thing everywhere….and see what you answered my que thank you so much this helped me alot

  41. A Private Death says:

    Thanks for sharing Madison.

    This sort of reminds me of my personal experience. Bars are my proving grounds.

    As for creating a fake manger, it's so funny I l was entertaining that notion just the other day! Reminds me of Saul Goodman if anyone watches that ;D

  42. GeoLitz says:

    Daniel, more content like this. Advice for magicians. Thank you.

  43. Chris Annable Magic says:

    Some good advice here! Thanks Daniel!

  44. Landon Kiraly says:

    I heard that dynamo was the first person who showed you cardistry….

  45. Landon Kiraly says:

    I'm too young to go in a bar…

  46. Mahdi The Magician says:

    This is something very misunderstood in magic. Work doesn't find you most the time. You have to be very active in finding work if you want to make a living performing magic.

  47. Zephyyy 11 says:

    Thank you for the tips and advices. I actually got emotional on this, sharing your past that lead you to success (right now). Oh man. I love your hard work, you're my inspiration. Keep up the good work!

  48. Yash Kemkar says:

    Daniel, where can we buy one of those Charlie t-shirts?

  49. The Saint says:

    Yo. Bro keep putting out this fire. Ur pushing our Art form to the next level

  50. eli y garber says:

    He just falls on the floor

  51. Kristian Treen says:

    these videos deserve way more views, top work

  52. Adam Cain says:

    Thank you daniel madison .. Love your story
    Also love the fact you played the part of your own manager .. U were "acting" like ur manager but at the same time u actually were lol very weird

  53. Rob Krampus says:

    Great advice, this was your most interested video yet

  54. Max Kiaw says:

    it did worked.happened in my real life too ! bars and clubs are the fastest way to connect to ppl

  55. mohammed akil says:

    Love it more contents like this please

  56. Josh Maddocks says:

    Want another one of these boss! X

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