In this interview, Al The Only talks about how he’s found success in being a “general practitioner” of magic. He also talks about how he came up with his brand of Al The Only.
For over 35 years Al has traveled the country with his magic, performing for corporate clients doing their trade shows, conventions, business meetings, hospitality suites and holiday parties. This includes companies like Apple, General Motors, Coca Cola, AT&T, and McDonald’s. You may also remember him from “Ask The Only,” which was his column in the Magic Menu where he fielded questions about the business side of magic. Today he’s here to share his thoughts on show business with us.
Perception is everything.
Don’t sweat the big stuff.
You never know when you’re making a memory.
Being a General Practitioner of Magic
• Defining general practitioner as it applies to being a full-time magician.
• Accomplishing the needs of his clients’ magical needs whatever they may be.
• If the client asked him if he could do something, he always said yes.
• Talks about “niching down.”
• Weren’t really any gigs he wouldn’t take, but there are some that he wishes he had been able to do.
• Talks about how he’s now in the school show market and how he couples them with corporate gigs he’s doing.
• Talks about some of his selling techniques and strategy.
• How he travels with two shows.
• He has two of everything he does.
• Talks about the most unusual show he did which was being hired to steal from a department store.
• Talks about hiring a colleague sometimes to help serve the client in which he becomes the producer of a show.
Other Topics Covered
• Being “present” with the people you’re performing for.
• Talks about some of the things he did to get gigs initially after getting laid off from his day job.
• You can get anything you want in life if you help enough people get what they want in life. — Zig Ziglar
• How his full-time restaurant job was the foundation of his business.
• Talks about his branding of Al The Only.
• How his name is instantly recognizable.
• Does the name make the individual, or does the individual make the name?
• His take on successes and failures.
• Dealing with multiple time zones.
• It’s not about the magic, it’s about the people you’re working with.
Tells about how he’s lost all his money three different times within his career.
The relationships with his clients.
1. Don’t do free shows.
2. If you think a show is out of your league, pass it up to another pro.
3. Never say you can’t do something for a client.
4. Don’t believe your own PR.
5. Marry a spouse with a job that has benefits. #tongueInCheek
Recommended books and resources:
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We all have smart devices, but the smartest device we have is our brain! Listen to people. Listen to your friends.
The Business of Restaurant Magic by Al The Only (Out of Print)
Confidential Booking Reports by Dick Ryan (Out of Print)