What Makes A Good Entertainer?

by : Kim Wist

Hi everyone!

My name is Kim Wist and I’m a professional magician from Finland. Finland is a rather small country, and we have only about 10 professionals who make their living on performing magic.

Despite this above mentioned fact, I do around 150 gigs per year, and that is about as much as I can handle.

I have been around the world in many magic conventions and seen a lot of good performers and sleight of hand artists, but the big question remains; why do some make a living performing this art, and other don’t.

Is it personality?

To some extent I would say yes, definitely. You have to be an open person and you must find it easy to communicate with people. Let’s say you do close up magic (which I strongly suggest you should also do if you want to make a good living in magic) but you find it difficult to confront people up close. This will obviously make you somewhat unnatural and the audience senses this very quickly.

It is of vital importance for a performer to be very bold, strong but at the same time sophisticated and not too aggressive. It is very important to be able to read the audience correctly and to ‘tune in’ into the audience.

A performer is not just anybody. He is someone people are used to look up to, give him the space and enjoy the ride. But if the ride is not enjoyable and the performer is uncomfortable it will end up very quickly.

Is it my technique?

The skill of the performer is also very important. A skillful performer always gets credited, take for example a good juggler; it is enjoyable to watch he’s pure skill and the excitement of the art.

So being skillful is also important and will add up to the total entertainment value. This should also not be overused and never just show off, blend skill into the performances with taste. We are speaking of the whole package here and that is what people are going to remember.

What magic style should I choose?

Well, obviously the one that suits you best, but there can be variations and exceptions.

What I do, is mixing comedy and magic. This is very common and many do this, but you need to be very good and very funny to make it really pay off.

Let me give you an example:

I used to perform more seriously, but I also wanted to have comedy in my shows. I ended up being confusing and probably not funny at all. I thought that the tricks I do will make people wonder and it is not so important what I say. Still after many performances I felt confused and lost. I haven’t found my stage person, and I did not get the reactions I knew were possible.

Then I saw a younger friend of mine perform in a magic competition. He was so funny I could not believe it, the audience loved him and he was having a good time on stage.

This was a big lesson for me.

I started to work with my program from scratch and really going through every second of it. What I say, how do I look, what gestures etc.

I had always on my mind my goal, which was to do good quality tricks but to be very funny at the same time. I rehearsed my show over and over and left out parts that did not really work and finally ended up with a 15 minutes of solid material.

I went to gig with this material and the response was amazing. People laughed, enjoyed themselves, and wanted to get my cards more than ever…

I knew I was on the right path.

Then I started to do the same to my close up magic. I was always a more natural close up worker than a stage performer, but I took my close up to another level also.

Finally I had a stage personality and I knew what I was doing and what I wanted to do.

What a relief and how nice it felt doing gigs and make people happy.
That is the secret how I get so many bookings.

Marketing is important, but the most important is the gigs you do, because there is always someone in the audience who is arranging a party in the near future and need a good entertainer. And the word gets around. Many times when a new customer calls me, he says he got a reference from somebody else who had seen me somewhere.

Customers want to get a good performer, because we all experienced the annoyed feeling a bad performer generates and if you do corporate magic you will never be booked again if you do a bad job.

Summing it up; be natural with people, practice your art, practice and review your show and don’t risk anything. Have a complete script for your show and follow it.

Keep improving and the gigs will come.

I hope you found something of value in this short article and wish you good luck and happy performances.

Magically yours
Kim Wist

web: http://www.kimwist.com