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From free to fat stacks: Card magician Jason Ladanye on the power of restaurant gigs


“How will I make money?” That’s the question just about every entertainer asks themselves before making the leap to full-time professional performer. You may be asking that question yourself after the many hours of practicing your illusions, dreaming of making the leap to a Vegas show or an international tour. We dove into the archives of Jason Ladanye’s blog for some answers. Perhaps the most surprising one is a place where you’d normally be spending money: restaurants.

When it comes to restaurant gigs, the card magician, author, and teacher gave advice pulled from his own real world experience. Ladanye’s overall take of about $1,000 a month is nothing to sneeze at; nor are the jobs he secured from the connections made while dazzling diners.

Dress sharp for meetings with managers, and be prepared to show them a short trick that shows your chops. Ladanye recommends “a short phase ACR [ambitious card routine] that ends with a card to wallet.” And as with any performance field, be prepared to hear “no” a lot before you get that first “yes.”

During a restaurant gig, you’ll need to be alert to when and how you approach tables. Be sure to ask if patrons want the entertainment; you’ll get fired real quick if you become a third wheel on couples’ romantic date nights or on important family moments. If you’re good at the job, patrons may want to hire you. Have your own business cards ready, and Ladanye suggests you be able to take their contact info as well to improve your odds of landing the next job.

Maybe you haven’t been dreaming of doing strolling magic at the local steakhouse, but even your most famed magic idols probably worked their way up from similar roots. Check out the whole blog post here.