Occasionally, I am asked why I charge such an amount for a performance. If I do an half hour Mentalmagic -show for a corporate client, I will invoice over 1000 euros for it. And especially private customers are often surprised and consider my performance fees high.
In reality, this half an hour performance holds inside many costs that may not be visible from the outside. Next, I will go into more detail about things that affects the formation of professional magician’s performance fees.
PATH TO A PROFESSIONAL MAGIC
Path of becoming a professional magician is surprisingly long and demanding process. Something about this is evidenced by the fact that in Finland there are fewer than 20 professional magicians, while there are about 20,000 trained doctors. This is probably due to the fact that one does not prepare to become a magician from school desk. So, if you dream about making a career as professional magician, it requires self-study and practice for years to obtain the required skills.
Magic belongs to the field of esoteric secret knowledge. This means that most of the magician’s secrets are exclusive information, which is not easy to obtain. I have used tens of thousands of euros for lectures, teaching materials and networking.
So, improving my professional skills has not come cheap. Not to mention the work hours that I’ve had to invest in practicing skills and techniques. Also, maintaining skills requires its own investment. I estimate in total I have invested over 15,000 hours to reguire my skill set.
It is also good to mention the tools needed for magic performance. Although I use relatively few tools compared to many of my colleagues, I also have some tool expenses. Money goes to things like card decks, pencils, and various props, such as performance costumes and stage equipment. For example, I ordered a box of playing cards from a store in 2023. The package cost 1500€.
Entirely its own area in the life of a professional magician is full-time entrepreneurship and the associated costs that go with it. It is often difficult for those working in salaried employment to comprehend these costs. This is of course completely understandable.
As an entrepreneur, I need to keep in touch with my clients, produce marketing materials, update social media, and do other “office work”. Without these actions, my chances of getting clients and succeeding in the industry would be weak. And I am not compensated for any of this.
Regular expenses related to entrepreneurship:
- Bookkeeping, which is handled by a professional.
- Marketing. For example, significant amounts of money need to be invested in maintaining online advertising.
- Websites produced by a professional. I have to pay an annual fee for the website platform.
- Travel expenses to performance locations and costs related to maintaining a car.
- On top of all this, I have to pay income taxes, value-added taxes, and entrepreneur’s pension contributions.
- Just for taxes, I spend 20-40% of my annual business profits, depending on how much money is left after expenses. All other expenses come after this.
PROFESSIONAL MAGICIAN’S CAREER DEVELOPMENT
The internal pricing trend within the industry significantly affects performance fees. The entertainment business in general has certain standards, based on which most professional performers, such as magicians and comedians, operate.
At an individual level, the price of an artist is affected by their professional skills, awards, experience, reputation, and how in demand they are. So, it can be said that the longer an artist has been performing, the higher their level of skill and recognition has grown. This is all naturally reflected in the artist’s prices.
When a performance day arrives, I have to prepare for the upcoming show for most of the day. First and foremost, I have to focus, which means putting aside all of my worries, troubles, and other daily tasks so I can shine on stage. Performing is mentally demanding process. I also have to sort out my performance equipment, load my car, and go through the flow of the upcoming performance situation in my mind.
Most of the performance venues are located outside my own city, so I spend several hours on the road each week. I have to arrive at the destination on time so that I can familiarize myself with the performance environment and get everything ready, such as sound equipment.
The actual performance may take from half an hour to a whole day, depending on what the client has booked. Once the job is done, I still have to drive back home. Sometimes it’s better to stay in a hotel instead of driving home late at night.
After the performance, I write a bill for the client and wait for the payment to be credited to my account. Incoming money should be enough for a normal basic life and for developing and maintaining my business. And why not enjoy life to a certain extent from time to time – as a performer, I have to take care of my well-being and make sure that my mental resources are sufficient for future challenges.
Based on this text, it is certainly easier to grasp all the factors that influence the formation of a magician’s performance fee. Although the list could have been continued, the text still provides a sufficient overall picture.
I hope that readers have developed a new appreciation for all of us who work to create culture. Hopefully, everyone will be able to pay the artist’s bill in the future with a smile knowing that work has been done for every penny.