Getting Them Talking About My Show!

When I was at an industry tradeshow on Wednesday pitching my show, one of the things I did at my booth was my card routine. This is the meat of the close up magic that I perform. It’s basically a multiple revelation of a signed card. It ends with the signed card as a sticker.

People at trade shows will usually put these on their shirt of badge and wear them all day. They end up being a walking billboard for me. people will ask them about the sticker and they’ll talk about me. I think I originally got the idea for having something visual that sticks around long after the trick from Michael Close. He talked about it in his lecture 20ish years ago and I think did a thing with a bill that turned to a bunny and left that with people.

When I’m at a booking trade show, especially when I’m new to the market, my goal is to get people talking about me. My sticker card trick is a great way to do that!


Trying to Book Gigs I Can’t Do!

One of my favorite ways to book gigs is through showcasing and trade shows. These are ways for me to meet people who book the shows in particular markets. On Wednesday I attended a trade show for librarians for a new geographic area for me. My summer this year is booked up, so I wasn’t there to book shows, but to meet people and start building those relationships that will lead to gigs in the summer of 2025.

trade show magic

All of the booths at this tradeshow were tables and had chairs behind them. The exhibitors were sitting in the chairs, or standing behind the tables. Since I’m basically unknown in the area I wanted to do a couple of things to stand out.

trade show magician tips
trade show magic show tips

The first thing I did was push my booth back to the wall. That visually broke up the line of tables at my booth. Next I stood in front of my table, and that removed any physical barrier between me and the potential buyers. This allowed me to engage them and when I did close up magic for them, really let me showcase my personality better.

Having been involved with trade shows in other industries, I was prepared with a simple booth. I was amazed at how many exhibitors came up and asked to take pictures of my booth because of how professional it looked!

There are definitely better trade show booths out there, mine is OK.

trade show magician how to

There’s not much to it, the main elements are a banner and fitted table cloth. I’ve had both of those for a while and the total cost of both of them was probably less than $250. It may be a few bucks more now, but worth the investment as I use them all the time for all sorts of things, not just trade shows.


A Day Booking Fairs

My core market is performing at state and county fairs across the USA. I do perform in a lot of other markets, but that’s the one that’s the biggest chunk of my income. Magicians and other performers frequently ask me how to get into fairs. Most fairs book at conventions, and here’s what a day looks like at a fair convention.

Get up and head to the coffee shop for breakfast and to do my morning writing and to get any work out of the way as I’m going to be busy until I go to bed. Then it’s a walk back to hotel to get changed and head to the convention center.

I’ll be exhibiting at the trade show as well as showcasing my act later in the day. I get the tradeshow floor early to chat with people and do some networking. You can get a lot of work from friends referring you for a gig because they’re unavailable, or from an unrelated act that a booker mentions they need a magician to.

The trade show was open 5 hours, so I spent most of that time talking to people and doing close up magic at the booth.

fair trade show

After a couple hours in the booth, I ran over to the showcase stage and did a 15 minute showcase.

louie foxx fair magic show

After the showcase and briefly talking to people at the stage, I headed back to the booth to wrap up the tradeshow day doing close up magic. The trade show booth is immediately packed up once the trade show closes.

trade show
close up bar magic

Now that the tradeshow day is over, I head back to the hotel room and freshen up before I head out for an evening of networking. This is where the real relationship building happens. I’m out around town meeting and hanging out with people. I normally just hang out and don’t do a lot of magic for people, but occasionally I do when it makes sense. Also when hanging out, many of the people who run fairs are my friends, so I’m chatting with friends and not always trying to sell my show.

Another thing that I like to do at these is find other magicians and jam with them.

magic jam in salt lake city

Some performers think that jamming is a waste of time at these because you’re not out talking to bookers. I do it for a couple of reasons. First it shows bookers who are all around and see this know that I’m a MAGICIAN, not some dude that does a couple of magic tricks, and second I love jamming magic!

Then I go to bed, and get up and hop a flight home!

These conferences take place over several days and it’s exhausting, but also a lot of fun. I think they’re a great way to book shows, however they’re not necessarily the best way for everyone to book shows. Some people aren’t good in a trade show booth, or can’t nail their show every time at a showcase. Then there’s the financial consideration, these are expensive to go to, and without any sort of guarantee of a payout…and the gig won’t happen for months!