People you will do business with if your magic career does well…….

Here is a brief primer on some of the useful, not so useful, necessary and not so necessary people you will meet up with as your career moves along in the entertainment world. It is often easy to forget exactly who does what and who does not. Sound a little nebulous so far? Good—it usually is! Everything in this little article is liable to vary dramatically from performer to performer in the various situations in which they find themselves. Therefore a few definitions are in order:

Agent Agent.


1 a person who acts on behalf of another, in particular:

• a person who manages business, financial, or contractual matters for an actor, performer, or writer.

• a person or company that provides a particular service, typically one that involves organizing transactions between two other parties.

ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense ‘someone or something that produces an effect’)

An agent is the person who should have the contacts that will bring in work for you. He is also the person who should handle the contacts and work offers that come into you directly. He should keep an overview of your career and keep your datebook filled, he should also handle the contracting.

The normal fee for an agent is 10%-15%. There may be occasions when he splits a fee with another agent, what he should NOT do is take a slice of the top and then receive a commission as well. This is known as ‘double dipping’ and happens all the time.


A Manager.


• a person who controls the activities, business dealings, and other aspects of the career of an entertainer, athlete, group of musicians, It is not a manager’s job to supply you with work. His job is to oversee your career and have contacts i.e. agents who will make job offers. He gives personal and professional advice that will assist you in advancing both personally and professionally in your career. For this service he generally receives 15%-20%.

A danger inherent with both agents and managers is that they will take contacts that you present them and then disperse them to the other acts they represent. Of course, if you are receiving benefits from their other clients that outweigh your contribution then this is no real danger. It does remain something that needs to be carefully evaluated throughout your working relationship.

I particularly like this definition, which states ‘it is left to a manager to deal with the cancelled concerts.’ When you reach a certain performance level elegantly and painlessly canceling dates can be well worth the percentage you are paying!


A Producer.producer wanted


1 a person, company, or country that makes, grows, or supplies goods or commodities for sale: an oil producer.

• a person or thing that makes or causes something.

A producer is the person responsible for the gig you will be working at. He may be a show producer, a corporate producer or the representative of the production company that is hiring you. It is the job of your agent and manager to bring in some producers to hire you. The performer never pay money to a producer, he gets his money from the production fee, and not the performer. If the producer wants, or expects money other than this it is called a ‘kickback.’ Giving ‘kickbacks’ is a long slippery slope that is very difficult to stop once you have started. I strongly suggest you avoid doing so ever.




publicist1 a person responsible for publicizing a product, person, or company.

This is a fairly easy concept. It is the publicist’s job to present you to the world in a good light and make it easier for you to get booked. He does this primarily through the means of print, multimedia and television exposure. A publicist will usually expect a monthly salary but not a percentage. He will often be able to book you onto television interviews etc. due to his rapport from booking previous clients. Usually these bookings will be unpaid.



a person or thing that promotes something, in particular:

• a person or company that finances or organizes a sporting event or theatrical production: a boxing promoter.

If you land yourself a one man magic show in Las Vegas (about a 75% chance, the way things are going currently!) then you may well need the services of a promoter. If you have a good producer then he will probably act as promoter—or hire one. The promoter’s job is as difficult as it is simple—getting people to sit in those chairs front of house. A promoter is usually paid a monthly salary, although it is not uncommon to organize a deal that could involve a percentage of the ‘house.’ Most Las Vegas shows are fighting for the same audiences, a good promoter could well be the key to success. Of course, an effective publicist may be able to do much the same thing—but don’t bank on it. It is one thing to write about how good a show is and quite another to have ‘bums in the seats’ to prove it.

In a future blog I will give some personal stories and thoughts on how to juggle these elements into a cohesive whole.

I have some great products and videos online. Check them out on my web site.

~ by Nick Lewin on May 10, 2013.

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