Booking a magician – Case Studies

Booking a Magician - Case Studies

UPDATED: 25th MARCH 2018: It’s true that no two events are the same and what is great entertainment for one party, may die a horrible death at another. If you’re planning a house party, make sure that, when you talk to entertainers on the phone, you give them as much information as possible. This allows them to see whether a) they are the best entertainer for you, and b) exactly what they can do for you, to give you the best night possible.

To illustrate this, I thought it would be helpful to give you a few examples of some events I’ve been booked to perform at in the past, including weddings and corporate events, just to give you a few ideas to bear in mind.

Just to give you a few practical examples on how I can help your event be the best it can be, I thought it might be helpful to detail some of the recent events that I’ve performed at. These will help give you an insight into the process of booking a magician, along with how to best use one to get maximum impact, as well as the questions I ask, and you ask, to work out the best way forward.

The Daily Mail – Corporate Event

The Daily Mail contacted me about their Christmas event. They were having a small (in number) celebration for their executives in a Manchester bar and was wondering if I could help entertain them. The client explained that the restaurant was going to be made up like a “Dickensian Christmas” scene and they were wondering if there was anything I could do to fit in with that.

We bounced a few ideas back and forth and I suggested that I could find a costume to suit the occasion and that I could also source props that would match the era (so no iPhone magic tricks for this gig!).

I had to search, but I eventually found Paula at the Chester Costume House, who, among rails of gorgeous clothing, had this outfit.

John Holt - Victorian Corporate Magician

I also managed to buy some specially aged cards that I could use in my tricks (although I was unable to locate a quill that could write on playing card stock).

As the clients were having a sit down meal, they wanted to book me for the afternoon to mingle with small groups round the table between the courses and as people gathered and chatted in the restaurant in small groups afterwards. It was only a small group of 25 or so, so there was no rush and plenty of time for everyone to see some magic.

We had the pleasure of John’s “magicalness” at a Christmas event we were organising and I can honestly say the 2 hours flew by! John seemed to have a knack of being able interact with each guest, making them comfortable enough to participate and be involved. He worked the table so everyone saw his magic tricks and I can honestly say I still cannot fathom how he did them! If you’re looking for a genuinely talented and fun entertainer, who will seriously impress, then John is your man.

Nicola and Mike – Wedding Magician

Nicola contacted me as she was wanting to book some entertainment to keep her guests happy. She had heard that magicians at weddings were popular, but wasn’t sure where and when she should use one. I asked her how many guests she was expecting and what else she had planned for the day.

Magic works best as a ‘filler’ for when there’s nothing else going on. It keeps the atmosphere fun and the energy up. As Nicola had booked a string quartet to play during the wedding breakfast, we decided that this probably wasn’t the best time to perform. You can have too many good things at once.

I asked if she had any worries about specific times of the day and she told me that the one thing she wasn’t sure about was the photo period – a 90 minute gap where there was nothing going on for the guests. The wedding was taking place at a beautiful venue with gorgeous scenery, so she wanted to get some great shots outside. I suggested that I perform during this time, as I can keep the guests occupied, giving them all the time they need to get those perfect photos. As soon as they finished the ceremony, I was ready. I mixed from group to group for 90 minutes, giving the happy couple the space and time they needed to get photos with everybody.

John, Thank you so much for entertaining our wedding guests last Friday. We were so sorry not to have a moment to spend with you especially when we heard from all of our guests that you were fabulous and funny too! The main reason I wanted you at our wedding was because I’d heard you were funny and that is certainly reiterated in the feedback from our guests so a BIG THANK YOU John.

Colette – Birthday party in a village hall

Colette phoned me as she was holding a birthday party for approximately 90 guests in a local village hall. She was interested in booking a magician, so I talked to her about the event and what I could best help with. Initially, we talked about me performing close up magic, as guests arrived and then table magic between courses of the meal.

However, the more we talked, the more I realised that Colette was more interested in having a feature show that she could base the evening around, so we talked about me performing a stand up show for everyone after the meal.

As she also booked a DJ for after the meal, we arranged for him to play some music as people arrived and ate so that there was something to create some ambience, before I took to the stage.

Colette was initially worried about my show being suitable for some of the younger children, but I assured her that not only would they appreciate it, I can ease her worries by actively getting them involved with some of the tricks.

After the meal, I performed my stand up magic and mindreading show for everyone. This show has a great deal of interaction and gets lots of people involved. It’s all about fun and getting people laughing!

Thank you so much for your show on Saturday. So many people said they haven’t laughed so much in ages! Very clever skills combined with an ability to draw people into the whole process. If I have another ‘do’ I would definitely book you again but in the meantime will highly recommend you!!

Tracey Bailey – House party

Tracey contacted me to see if I could help provide some entertainment for her son’s birthday party which they were having at their house. She wasn’t sure how magic would best work, so we had a chat about what else she had planned for the day, how many guests she was expecting, as well as their ages and whether it was just a family event. This may sound like niggling details, but events where guests are family only can be a vastly different dynamic to events which also include friends, work colleagues and clients. “Family only” events tend to be more relaxed, as everyone knows one another already, so there’s less of an emphasis to help break the ice.

As they were having a buffet style dinner, I advised me starting shortly after this, as there is no point in me performing for people who are clambering to get to the food! This would also give me a solid block of time in which I can perform, my ideal preference, as I don’t like to stop once I get started.

For forty guests, I suggested a performance time of 90 minutes; probably a little longer than most magicians would recommend, but I find that, at family events, you can easily get diverted from the actual trick and have some great interactions with the guests. It’s great to be able to spend time in creating these kind of “unique interactions” that make each gig different and memorable.

Tracey was going on holiday the next day, so she was glad that all my booking is done securely online, meaning that there’s no licking envelopes and no running to the postbox – it’s all sorted with a few clicks.

We booked John to come along for our Son’s 21st birthday gathering with ages ranging from 3-80 and a small guest list of around 40.  He was brilliant! An amazing magician but much more than that as he’s a fantastic entertainer. He kept in touch regularly during the booking process and I was 100% confident that he was the right choice before I’d even met him! He had everyone enraptured with his magic and his personality – my guests literally followed him around the tables because they were that impressed by him! Everyone was talking about him. I would strongly recommend John to anyone looking for a reliable, entertaining and clever magician.  Put simply he is Magic! Thank you !!

Hydro66 – Trade show Magician

I had been contacted by Hydro66, who were looking for a magician to work their trade show stand at the Cloud Expo Europe event, held in London. Specifically, they were looking for a way to use magic to convey some of their key messages and benefits, and also to draw footfall to their trade show stand. Once I had done a bit of desk research into the company, I came up with a few ideas, such as using ice cubes in a dice stacking routine, to emphasise the fact that the company cuts cooling costs as it’s based in Scandanavia – where it’s always cold! I also shot a quick video for a trick which highlighted that they could save half of their storage costs by using them.

In fact, here’s the exact video I sent them, once I had come up with the handling:

(You’ll be relieved to know that I added some scripting to it later…).

Using magic as a media to convey your sales idea or presentation is a fabulous soft sell – it gets the information across, but not in a way that make it seem salesy or sleezy. There’s no hard sell. People aren’t intimidated to come right up to your stand and see some magic.

We had a great time at the show and it was a big success for the company.

Here’s what they said a few days afterwards:

“Thanks for bringing to life what we do right in front of people’s eyes! You really struck the perfect balance on the stand and made the show a big success for us.”


Like I said at the beginning, if you’re thinking of booking some entertainment for your event, speak to different entertainers and give them as much information as you can. It really can be the difference between having a good event and having a GREAT one, that your guests will remember, talk about and thank you for, for years!

If you’re looking for even more ideas, you can read some more event case studies here.