Best Practices and Tips for Promo Reels For All Magicians

Steve Russell 23 Top Tips Magician Business

23 Best Practices and Tips for Magician Promo Reels


Steve Russell knows a thing or two about putting together great show reels for entertainers like working magicians, jugglers, ventriloquists, stand up comics, dancers, hypnotists, musicians.

Steve is our guest on Episode 11 of the Magician Business podcast.  Use this list to accompany what Steve explains in the podcast.

Here are Steve’s 23 Top Tips:

1.Sell the unique experience, not the tricks you do.

2.Make the info easy to understand.

3.A voice over is a very effective way to convey the message you want the viewer to understand. Often, visuals are not enough. A good VO will connect the dots that go from “this is a video of what I do” to “this is why you need me”.

4.Make sure that you get good audio and video of the audience reactions. Set up an extra microphone, if needed, to get live audio of the crowd.

5.Before editing, set your end mark on the editing timeline. At most, set your timeline to 3 minutes. If at all possible, set your end mark at 90 seconds.

6.Make certain that the footage is congruent with your market. If you are marketing to corporates, you shouldn’t have kids featured. If marketing for schools, it doesn’t make much sense to show adults in business suits.

7.Use a music bed. (Not like Steve’s bed of nails he is pictured with here) Steve Russell Video Tips For Promo Reels Bed of Nails

8.Use royalty-free music, so you won’t get into copyright issues.

9.Let the features of the music guide the editing of some of the footage. If there is a prominent point in the music, match that with visual beats of the video.

10.Don’t feel the need to tell the whole story of a trick or effect. Ditch setups, unless they are essential to understanding what has happened.

11.Avoid flashy or gimmicky transitions or other editing techniques. If people notice the editing, it probably isn’t showcasing the content very well.

12.Don’t have too many things going on at once. For instance, if there is a voice over, there shouldn’t be any visual text to read at the same time (unless it is the same text being read). If there is something visually intriguing, let that stand alone, without text or voice to confuse things.

13.Show different venues. Video more than one show, so your viewer will understand that you have experience in more than one place!

14.Keep the quotes short and readable in 3 seconds or less. Give attribution to the quotes, or they won’t carry any weight.

15.Realize what may be a red flag to an audience. Fire is a big one. Best not to feature fire in your video. It will keep people from hiring you. If you do fire, negotiate that after the interest in booking you is expressed.

16.Go sparingly with video testimonials. They can be persuasive, but if you have too many, it gets repetitive and loses the interest of the viewer.

17.Front load the first 30 seconds of your video with the good stuff! There is a tendency to want to show the arc of the performance, but that really only works live. You should show as much variety as you can in the first 30 seconds. If you wait to reveal that you are also a mentalist in the last 20 seconds, some people will never get there.

18.Consider hiring someone to edit your video for you. The hardest part is being objective in editing. We all have favorite moments, but those moments might not be well-represented by the footage. An outside eye will help you winnow things down.

19.Make sure you have a call to action in the video – usually coupled with a way to contact you or your representative.

20.Make certain that you have included enough branding (logo, visual representation of your name, etc) that it is memorable. The video is worth nothing if, at the end, people can’t remember who you are.

21.At some point, make certain that there is a close-up image of you, either video or still shot. People like to make a connection with a face.

22.When trimming the length of a segment, it is always a good rule to “arrive late and leave early”. Don’t give too much preamble and don’t hang around for the applause.

23.The upshot is: get in, get the booking, get out. Don’t waste the viewer’s time.


You can check out Steve’s videos for other performers and contact him at GigReels

Start here if you have little video knowledge or experience.

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