What Makes A Good Magician? Owen Strickland shares some amazing insights that no Bride or Groom to be should miss. Watch now on Wedding Espresso.
Listen to Owen on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…
Owen Strickland Magic
James: [00:00:03] Owen hey. So brides and grooms to be recently have been asking a lot… “What makes a good magician?”
Owen: [00:00:15] Do you know, that’s a really good question actually. And I spent a little bit of time thinking about it because the obvious thing to say is magical skills blah, blah, blah. And that’s an important part of it. But I think being a magician, there’s so much more to it than that. And it’s really important for any magician, they have to be likeable. If you approach guests and you’re not a likeable and warm and sort of an outgoing person, they’re not going to like you. And if they don’t like you, whatever magic you do, and it could be the best magic in the world, they’re not going to like it. So people skills I believe are probably slightly more important, and particularly at weddings, than the ability just to perform amazing tricks. You need good communication skills. You need the confidence to walk up to a table of people who are perhaps already talking and interrupt them. I joke that I’m a professional interrupter. That’s what we do.
Owen: [00:01:09] But then more alongside, you need the ability to deal with a whole range of people. And that might be a little 6 year old that is at the table, and they’re as an important guest as anyone else at that wedding. And not that I’m a children’s entertainer by any stretch, but if children are there, I’ve got a whole section on my website about Photographs with children. You might have the alpha male that you get at every Wedding, who doesn’t like magic, doesn’t really want to be involved and you deal with that. It might be on an evening do, an evening reception when people have been having a few sherbets throughout the whole day. And you’ve got that group of 20 somethings lads, who are all a bit cocky, and you’ve got to be able to deal with them. And you’ve got to deal with all of them in a nice and professional and friendly manner. So I think communication skills is absolutely key and people skills.
Owen: [00:02:00] It’s identifying, I think, what tricks work.
When I started magic as a hobby, I bought every trick on planet Earth. And a lot of them for weddings and professional events, don’t work. It might be that it needs a particular set up. It might need this or that, and without going into the secrets of magic, there’s a lot of preparation. So you need stuff that you can bang out guest, guest, guest, table, table, table, without going back to your bag to maybe get something else, or to reset. You need instant reset stuff, we call it.
James: [00:02:33] Right, yep.
Owen: [00:02:33] If I’m the bride or groom, and every time I look up having my meal and drinks or whatever, and the people who are approaching the table. If every time I look up, the magician is over in a corner, in his bag, it might be that he’s only done that for a few seconds at a time, but if it’s every time that they look up, people will think… “What am I paying for? Every time I look up he’s over in the corner, in his bag.” They need to see you at table, table, table and hear the applause and hear the… Hopefully cheering and whatever. And so the magical skills are important. But other skills are equally, if not more important.
Owen: [00:03:08] And when it comes to wedding magicians, you need one that is experienced at doing weddings, because magic clubs up and down the country have got keen amateur magicians.
Technically they might be brilliant. But we’re… As well as being magicians on the day, I think we’re problem solvers. So we solve the problem that, say if they’re late with their photographs, and all the guests are left mingling and they don’t really know each other. And the two families who have not met before. How do we break the ice? Well a magician does that for you. So we look after the guests when you can’t be with them. And that’s the same throughout the day. There’s not a table plan on the planet that everyone sits with the people that they actually want to sit with. And I’ve spoken to brides at length about this and they tear their hair out for months thinking, “well we can’t put Auntie Jean with Uncle Bob because they divorced ten years ago and we can’t put them on that table.” And it’s just getting people speaking. And that conversation point. So we solve problems very much.
Owen: [00:04:07] Things that they need to make sure is that a wedding magician has got public liability insurance. AND they’ve got good feedback. And they’ve got evidence that they do a lot of weddings, because I see wedding magicians all the time say how busy they are doing weddings. Yet you look at their social media, or the website, and there’s no sign of it whatsoever. I know on mine, this year, there’s 60 something weddings on my Instagram of weddings that I’ve done. So people should look at who is actually as busy, and obviously as popular, and as good, as they say they are. So I hope that answers the question, a bit of a long answer but there is more than just being able to wow them with with magic. There’s a whole range to stuff involved.
[00:04:48] Yeah that’s really interesting because I’d never even considered the idea of really you being a people person first. Because you’d assume a magician would be a magician first. But obviously the people skills are like you say, really, really important. And then secondly being seen to be busy.
Owen: [00:05:07] Yes I think so.
James: [00:05:10] I think that’s something that the bride and groom necessarily wouldn’t think of beforehand. But perhaps on the day would find quite stressful if the magician wasn’t being busy.
Owen: [00:05:19] Absolutely, and they’re paying us a lot of money to be at their wedding, so they need to get the absolute best, and the absolute best value for money. And you could have a £200 magician and not get value for money. Or you can have an £800 magician and get excellent value for money. And that’s the difference. It’s getting people who know what they’re doing and do the 50, 60, 70, weddings a year that good wedding magicians will be doing. They’ll be doing, particularly in the Summer, two a day, throughout the Summer, over the weekends anyway. So that’s what I think. My 10 pennies worth.
James: [00:05:54] Yeah, no really, really good answer. So we’ve got a couple of fun questions for you actually to round things out. “Do you have a favourite wedding ever. And what made it so?”
Owen: [00:06:08] Yeah, the people make a wedding for me. And my favourite Weddings… I won’t name them, it wouldn’t be fair. If you get a good fun bride and groom, and I’ve had a couple this summer that were just brilliant, and when they’re fun and laugh, and want to enjoy the day, everyone does. I think the guests will bounce off how the bride and groom are. And I’ve had a couple, one recent one was they were both in the forces and a lot of forces people there, and I love having forces people. And they all just wanted to have a great time. Very respectful as well, but the whole thing was about fun. And even at a more formal or posher venue, if you can get a fun couple and a fun wedding, then those are the ones. So there’s been a couple this year as well as one last year with a bride, and she’s on my showreel and she was just so much fun. I was like, that’s going straight on my show reel. That will sell me better than me telling people. So yeah, so sometimes when you get to an evening do and they’ve had a wild day, they can be the most fun because I’ll bounce off how people are with me. So if it’s a quiet, calm wedding, you tend to be more quiet and calm. But if it’s a wild wedding and you get there at eight o clock at night and everyone’s like, wow, right, here we go and you just know.
James: [00:07:24] You go full speed.
Owen: [00:07:24] I’m not suggesting drunk weddings are always the best. That’s not what I’m suggesting.
James: [00:07:25] Fun Weddings!
Owen: [00:07:25] But yeah, they can be.
James: [00:07:32] And what would you say is the most important part of what you offer? I think you might have covered that slightly before, but let’s really drill into it.
Owen: [00:07:39] I think so. It’s the knowledge that you’re getting somebody, and that’s just not me, I’m talking about anyone, I’m not that big headed. But anyone who is a good professional wedding magician is, you’re getting… Solving problems on the day. So when there are lulls. A popular booking is the lull between the wedding breakfast and the evening, where if people aren’t staying, or there aren’t any rooms or accommodation. They’re literally sat round, twiddling their fingers, looking at each one going, “what are we going to do, other than drink?” So it’s filling gaps, and it’s keeping people entertained, when the bride and groom can’t be there. And we look after their guest for them.
James: [00:08:22] Right. Again not something that the bride and groom to be would be thinking about prior to the wedding. They’re thinking, I’m going to book a magician, I want magic at my wedding. They’re not thinking about plugging that hole, or you know, keeping the momentum going.
Owen: [00:08:35] Absolutely. Because what I often find is if the wedding ceremony is at a church or a different venue from the reception, it’s amazing how people get lost, even if it’s halfway up the road.
They perhaps pop to the shop because they want to get the little hip flask full or whatever they do. And they arrive at a venue in dribs and drabs, and it can be 40, 50 minutes between the first guest arriving and the last guest arriving. And if the bride and groom perhaps go for photos, well they’ll have some at the church, but sometimes they stop at a local park, or local tourist place. They’ll go for photos there and the guests are just looking at each other and going “what time are they getting here?” And they can get restless, and the canapés can run out, and so a magician will go round and people will just be watching it and they’ll forget about the fact that the bride’s half an hour late turning up to the venue or whatever. So yes I like to call us problem solvers.
James: [00:09:32] Brilliant, so avoiding the buzzkill. That’s a really useful thing. Great, Owen, that’s been fantastic. Thanks very much for your time today. Fantastic information shared there, very impressive. Hopefully we will speak to you again soon.
Owen: [00:09:48] Speak to you soon. Thank You.
James: [00:09:50] Alright, thanks a lot, cheers Owen. Bye for now.