Tips on Booking a Close-up Magician

Tips on Booking a Close-up Magician

A professional magician’s tips on how to book, and best utilize a close-up magician!

Here’s the rough transcript for the video (but watch the video, it’s a lot more fun)!

Hello folks, I’m Ryan Kane, the Bay Area’s magician, here with 5 quick tips on booking a close-up magician.

But what is close-up magic? Well, close-up magic (also called walk-around, strolling, in the hands, or mingle magic) is where your hired magician performs among your audience as opposed to from a stage. He or she performs for smaller groups and moves from group to group throughout the event. This is really great because the performance doesn’t require any sort of light and sound design, or a stage; you have your audience and you have your magician, and everyone has a great time. This is really great because it means every guest gets there own personal few moments with the magician, up close. This interaction can be a lot more memorable than just watching a magician on stage the whole time.

But here’s the good stuff: a pro’s tips on how to book and best utilize a close-up performer.

Tip #1: Find the Right Magician
Make sure you spend some time finding a magician who is well suited for your audience. As much as we may like to think we can read minds, us magicians don’t really know your group as well as you do. So make sure that the magician you book is someone you can really picture fitting in and entertaining your audience. A simple example is: if you are planning a corporate event, don’t book a kid’s show magician, and if you are booking a kid show, don’t book a magician like me.

Tip #2: Combine Services
Get the most out of having your magician there. Most close-up magicians also offer services as emcees, stand-up shows, even event planning. See if you can combine services and save some money.

Tip #3: 1 Magician Per 100 Guests Per Hour
When determining how long to book your magician for, here’s a good rule to follow: one magician per one hundred guests, per hour. An hour is about how long it takes one magician to make it around to about one hundred people and show them each about three minutes of magic. If you’ve booked your magician for a bit longer, that’s great! it just means that each guest will see a little bit more magic. But be careful, never drastically overbook your perform. For example, if your event is only expecting 50 guests, there is no reason you need a close-up performer there for three hours! I would recommend limiting the close-up performance to an hour tops, or booking a stand-up magic show (where everyone watches the show at once).

Tip #4: Inform your Guests
It’s a great idea to inform your guests that there is a magician among them who is there to entertain them. This will get everyone excited to meet the magician, and will also make things easier for your magician when it comes to introducing him or herself to different groups. This can all be accomplished via advertisement prior to the event, or a simple announcement over the PA system during the event.

Tip #5: Don’t Set your Magician up to Fail
As an event planner, it’s very important that you do not set your magician up to fail. As flexible as close-up magic is, there are certain things which can make it very difficult for your magician to give a good performance.

The first one is food: never schedule your magician when there is a meal being served. Appetizers are fine, but a meal means that your guests are hungry, distracted and unable to interact with the magician.

Don’t schedule the magician at a time when there will be a band or DJ who’s music will be so loud that you can’t hold a conversation. If you absolutely must schedule your magician during this timeframe, make sure that your magician knows this so that he or she can prepare alternate, more visual material for the performance which won’t require any talking.

I hope this has been helpful for anybody looking to learn more about close-up magic. If you have any further questions please let me know at and I will get right back to you!


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