Tips for marketing in publications

How to market yourself as a performer using publications ~ by Colin Underwood

Let me first and foremost say that without a good show and pleasant performing character as well as an efficient business sense you will battle to get the bookings you desire but as with all things if you stay focused on trying to give the best show you can and really get into character … whether it be a magician or clown, the more the children can relate, the better you will do.

parlourshot2The main area of advertising that I have used before the internet was the local newspaper. These publications are produced by an independent company and are localized in their news content. I placed a regular advert in the classifieds under children’s entertainment. I would also contact the editor and try and get to see him or her and get them to print a story about my performance. I would sometimes meet the local reporter at a function and would get news coverage for the event. I have learnt it doesn’t harm to ask if they could put your contact details next to your picture.

The actual advert is not simply a mixture of odd words but a carefully thought out plan as it will be one of your major expenses for the month so you want it to work for you.
I have always tried to make sure my name was at the top of the list or near the top as possible. I believe people will not call more than three other performers and if you have your telephone selling down to a tee you will be the only performer the client phones. It stands to reason then that you want them to call you first!! Remember you are not only competing with fellow entertainers but with other kid’s attractions such as jumping castles, pony rides and other crazy attractions.

You have to remember that your advert might not generate much the very first day it comes out. It is very useful to make a feed back logbook so you can see how many calls you get from the adverts, to do this simply ask at the end of the conversation where they got your number. Here is something to remember, you might do hundreds of shows and forget peoples names but you are a celebrity in their mind and they know you!! So when Mrs. So and So says she got your number from her friend Gladys, don’t reply, “who??” At least pretend you remember them!! You miss a very big chance of bonding with the total stranger over the phone. Any telesales person will tell you the same.

I have found certain times of the year are subject to less bookings and I would adjust my booking of advertising space accordingly. There is definitely a lesser demand during the holidays as most moms plan the parties during school terms so as to have access to the children’s friends. The moms will most often use the class list to promote the party. As you get more busy you will find you stop placing adverts from around November as most big companies have booked their Christmas parties and the birthday party market has dried up over December.
It is a good idea to block out the two last Saturdays of November as they are prime Christmas company functions (certainly in South Africa )
The wording should have a catchy line to hook them and a basic USP line in the advert thereafter.

I have used the following:

  • A big clown for little people.
  • Abracadabra magic/clown show for kids
  • Absolute best clown for you next kids party
  • Take a look at the wording and you will see the alphabetical arrangement of the first few words will get you to the top of the list.
  • The USP or unique selling position is one that you have decided on before you have placed the ad!! This line is something along the lines of “fun with every function” or “A successful show every time” – mine was “Kids just love him!”

Experience the magic!  Ideal for corporate venues, weddings, tradeshows and more!

Call Colin for more details : +27 (0) 78 625 9663 or drop him a mail:

#JHBMagician #corporatemagician #teambuilding #CharacterMagic #entertainer #close-up magician #SouthAfricanMagician

Experience the Magic !


– Video yourself and practice your moves and make them appear more natural. People pick up a nervous character and will react accordingly.

– Try out new tricks and routines, keeping it as simple as possible without losing the magic effect.

– Performing as a magician means you must get into magic mode no matter how small a thought it might be … but it is essential to get into character. I have found breath work to be particularly useful in focusing your energy inward and entering onto the stage with a bigger experience or feeling.

– Experience does help create your character but there are some short cuts, which can be incorporated at a very early stage.
The more you can get the public to believe in your magic the more impact you will have as a performer and entertainer. This is where studying other magicians especially the top ones to see how they have put their own style into their magic.

– Enhancing the magic… It is also useful to study theatre skills. Even dancing and singing classes aren’t too ridiculous to think about. These other skills, when applied to your magic, will enhance the magical experience. I have seen that performing magic is more than just showing tricks. It is an experience!!

– The mind will forget the magical details required to perform the illusion and rather will have a lasting memory of the effect itself…the very essence of performing magic! That’s why performing your magic as the layman sees it, for me, is the correct criteria. It is all about perceptions and psychology.

Experience close-up magic!

Ideal for corporate venues, weddings, tradeshows and more!

Call Colin for more details : +27 (0) 78 625 9663 or drop him a mail:

#JHBMagician #corporatemagician #teambuilding #CharacterMagic #weddingmagician #close-up magician #SouthAfricanMagician

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Magic Tips from a real corporate magician Part 2!

Colin Underwood, Corporate Magician on Audience Participation:


Colin Underwood – Corporate Magician

“Shoot the heckler! Ok, maybe not… but here’s how to deal with him:

Generally there is always one guy who wants to be the comedian and upstage you. Most of the time it can be handled by acknowledging the guy and if his comment received laughter then acknowledge it with a smile but then take firm control and direct the audience back to you.

The more attention he gets the more he thinks he can continue with his comments. Most cases are as a result of the excessive intake of some of earth’s finer nectars!! If you are not in a stand up comedy venue I would not suggest using any stock heckler lines on such a person, you will more than likely alienate the rest of the audience or group.

I also found that obtaining two audience members from the same group or party is a definite no!! The one will lead the other on and then you have major disruptions.

I choose two from different parts of the theatre. I try choosing the happy looking guy or the real weird hairstyle or clothes type – I can get some sort of humour from the guy without belittling him which is so much the better.

I also try not performing too long at functions especially corporate or private parties where the alcohol (or drugs) takes over. Yes I mean drugs; I was ONCE booked at a big rave to perform close-up magic for the party animals!! I certainly received some of my best reactions for some of the simplest effects possible. I would love to know what the guy saw coming out of his hand when all there was were two sponge balls because he jumped about 3ft backwards!!!!

The formula for drunk people… jokes more, magic less and keep it fast paced and do not hand them anything to hold. I had my bowler hat filled with beer, the chosen card torn into pieces and the deck of cards dropped onto the wet bar floor!!!

I have come to see that the move or sleight can be done much later and slower than one expects. The more comfortable you are in the space of others the more time you have to do the move.

For example the card is returned to the deck, I hold a break (this is the hottest moment to do the move), and I will pause and direct my attention to an audience member by looking up and away from my hands. At this point I might ask a question or make a more assertive and slightly louder sentence to direct their attention up to my face.
I also freeze my hands and you’ll find the spectators will get bored with watching nothing and will then look up at me. It is then that I will do the move.
I have found there is ample time to perform a move before the spectators refocus on my hands again.
I have often stalled the move and routine because one guy is keeping watch on my hands, this is where I will direct all the attention onto him!!

Normally he will be forced to look up with all the attention on him. I do this by saying something like “check this guy out he is going to watch my hands all night and nothing else” or something to that effect. I obviously do the move as everybody looks at him and as he looks up at me!!
My kind of magic!!

Directing the attention is a better word than misdirection and this is a Tommy Wonder principle, which I firmly believe in.
However I don’t advocate sloppy sleight of hand either. I just like making life easier for myself.”

  • In short:
    Audience participation is key – but choose the “right” helpers on stage.
    Don’t pay hecklers too much attention.
    Limit performance time at functions with alcohol or try a different approach
    Timing is everything for the big move.
    Direct audience attention to help your move.


Experience close-up magic! Ideal for corporate venues, weddings, tradeshows and more!

Call Colin for more details : +27 (0) 78 625 9663

#close-upmagic #comedymagic #corporatemagician #teambuilding #entertainer #weddingmagician #close-up magician

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Magic Tips from a real corporate magician Part 1!

Colin Underwood, corporate magician shares some more of his magic performance tips :


“This all depends on the type of venue and function and your frame of mind at the time. If it is a family restaurant then it is easier to approach the tables, as most adults will be comfortable to have Mr. Magic come over and entertain their little darlings.
The environment of such restaurants allows for the approach to be more direct… “Hi I’m here to show off my tricks whether you like it or not.” Normally works!
There is a certain amount of subtle persuasion on your part to break into their space and not to back off. But I have to remind myself if they do not want the experience it is their choice.”

Some pointers:

  • I have found that if you can get the people into a receptive mood before you approach them the easier it is to entertain them. That is why the time you perform can make a lot of difference. This is actually one of the core methods of hypnotists.I believe as performing entertainers it is our job to get the bulk of the audience into this happy state as quickly and smoothly as possible. The first few minutes can make or break your performance. Performing too early at a function is disastrous and vice versa where an audience has had so much on in the evening and have drunk too much it is also not ideal. They are distracted very easily. This is where experience counts, to be able to suggest the time of the performance to the booker.
  • Do not agree to perform for too long at a function. You can do the overkill and ruin everything by trying to make up time by doing less than adequate material.
    I work on a 2-hour performance per 100 people for a closed function. Less is better! If they want longer I suggest they hire another performer or I will offer some of my other skills depending on the function. In other words I am able to sustain the entertainment.
  • Be aware of the audience BEFORE you are in their space. I scan the room when I arrive and then constantly keep updating who’s where and who’s still waiting for food etc.
    The best time to perform is just after the main orders have been taken and to finish just before the meal arrives or after the desert menu although this time at a family restaurant is when mommy wants kids to go to bed so your rising card routine can very easily be cut short.
    It doesn’t take much to see if the table is OPEN or CLOSED. I do concede there are the ones you just do not expect but hey that’s life and my system isn’t perfect…. yet!
    My belief is this – if there are enough tables to get through in my allotted time I will leave the undesirable types of tables till last or never!!
  • I have found that a silent, quick and visual routine gets me off to a fine start. I have either done enough or they then warm to me by seeing I can actually entertain them and not interfere with their space – enabling me to continue with some more effects. But even here I keep it short unless encouraged!
  • This “you are bothering us” attitude projected from clientele is a common attitude in the more pretentious venues and corporate functions where they (the delegates) are trying to conduct business and you seem to be a nuisance! I find a big smile and a louder than normal voice (ok so I m softly spoken) helps project a more confident attitude to the clients, added to this a short confident routine and I find there isn’t a problem. I am aware there is experience, which plays a big role in this as well. How to read the crowd, the general mood of the room and to go with the flow all help the performer when a crowd is tough.
  • I have found that at male dominated conferences there are a lot of male egos and business maneuvering which you have to deal with. You don’t score brownie points with anybody by coming in with the “Mr. Big Deal, check me out” while they are trying to talk business.
    A more low key approach is better and then slowly take control of the group with more psychological methods.


Read our blog next week for more…

Experience close-up magic! Ideal for corporate venues, weddings, tradeshows and more!

Call Colin for more details : +27 (0) 78 625 9663

#close-upmagic #comedymagic #corporatemagician #teambuilding #entertainer #weddingmagician #close-up magician

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Magic Tips from a real corporate magician !

colin-underwood-jhb-corporate-magician-magic-tipsColin Underwood, corporate magician shares some of his magic performance tips :

We’ll start of with a basic intro and over the next few weeks, we’ll look at and share various aspects of magic such as time misdirection, slycology, the salticrax trick and more!

I have two different approaches on performing magic. The first one is when I play magic as a comedy routine, here the actual magic effect is secondary to the big surprise laugh or applause. The second is in the more normal surroundings of close up magic where I am entertaining them with STRONG magic.

I try and visualize what a real magician would do to achieve the same effect. I have to admit a real magician wouldn’t walk around a restaurant making sponge balls appear out of someone’s ear!!
I had to look at what I was doing there then and I realized that entertainment is the key element otherwise there would be no reason for my waltzing around doing card effects to the unsuspecting punters.

The routines are the mere fabric for the bigger picture of entertaining them, placing a cloak of mystery over them, allowing the audience to participate in a moment of magic, a moment where reality and disbelief merge.

I leave a table or show knowing that I have tried to get the bigger picture through, where all the parts of the performance merge to make a lasting impression on the audience and they leave knowing they have participated in something special.


Ask yourself why are you there? , What is the meaning for this and you will see it will help give you a better focus point when performing your magic.
So after all this heavy theory lets get into some of the more nuts and bolts stuff in magic!”

Read our blog next week for more…


Experience close-up magic! Ideal for corporate venues, weddings, tradeshows and more!

Call Colin for more details : +27 (0) 78 625 9663

#close-upmagic #comedymagic #corporatemagician #teambuilding #entertainer #weddingmagician #close-up magician

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