How to Choose a Magician or Mentalist in Singapore
1. Type of Performer
The first thing to do is to decide whether you like to hire a magician or a mentalist, or someone who can do both. Magicians do more visual stuff. They make things float, disappear, transform, and so forth. Mentalists create the illusion of mind reading, psychological influence and lie-detection. You can read more here.
Next, do you need a performer that caters to children, adults, or both? A large number of magicians are children’s magicians. In contrast, other magicians and mentalists specialize in performing for adults. Always check with the performer whether they best cater to adults or children. You can also see how they dress and their pictures to get a rough idea.
Next, some performers specialize in close-up or walk-around settings while others specialize in parlor or stage settings. Close-up and walk-around performers tend to select less angle sensitive tricks and have to use small and light props that can be carried around easily. Stage performers can handle angle sensitive tricks better and can use many larger props. Both types also manage the audience differently and the presentations are different. To note, there are quite a number of magicians and mentalists who can do both (and excel in both).
Q: So what kind of performer is Frederick?
A: Frederick specializes in mentalism and also does some magic. He caters only to adults. He is best for parlor or stage settings though he can easily adapt to close-up and walkaround settings as well.
2. Determine your Budget
You should determine your budget. This will help you to narrow down your choices to performers that fit within your budget. After all, there’s no point in trying to compare so many performers if they do not even fit your budget. To note, many magicians and mentalists do not like to put their prices online. You have to contact them for a quotation before you can filter out those beyond your budget.
Does cheaper pricing means lousier performances? This is a common line of thought. In fact, some mentalists and magicians claim that performers who charge low prices or fees are not professional and do not perform well. This is NOT true. Prices are determined by the performer. Someone who just started can simply choose to put high prices, while someone who is a long time performer can choose to put low prices. The choosing of pricing depends on a number of factors for the performer that mainly has to do with their business strategy. Pricing does not necessarily correspond to their skill level or experience.
For a sample of Frederick's prices, see here.
3. Meeting the Performer.
In choosing a performer, it is best to actually meet the performer and ask to see a trick. This will give you a sense of what the performer is like. This may however be hard to determine if you’re looking for a performer to cater to a stage or parlor setting.
Frederick makes it a point to try to go down and talk to the client to better plan his show to meet the needs of the client better. He can also demonstrate something in person.
4. See Pictures and Videos
Pictures and videos on the performer’s website can give you a rough sense of places they have performed and the kind of things they perform. Videos are more informative than pictures as you can see how the performer talks and performs. Also you can also see how engaged the audience is from videos.
Take the pictures and videos however with a pinch of salt. Performers filter out the best ones to display, so it might not be reflective of their usual performances.
5. See Testimonial or Reviews
Do not decide based on testimonials or reviews on a performer’s website. These are usually always good. After all, when a performer asks a client for a review, clients usually give good reviews. Performers then post the best reviews on their website.
Instead, see third party websites like Facebook and Google reviews. Still, take reviews with a pinch of salt. They can be rather subjective.
5. Should you decide based on Awards?
I think one should not decide whether to hire a magician or mentalist based on whether the magician or mentalist is an award winning one unless you are familiar with the award. There are many performers with so-called awards. Some of these so-called competitions have barely any participants. Also, competitions among magicians are usually judged based on a certain “magician” criteria. For example, in some competitions, the higher the level of difficulty of sleight of hand, the better the magician is. Such competitions do not test how well the magician entertains a lay audience in various events.