Towards the end of 2014, I was asked by Careersoft to feature in a short 2 minute video briefly outlining what I do as a professional entertainer and magician, how I went about achieving my career and why I do it…
Careersoft – Job Explorer Database Entertainer Career
This short interview and video of me performing was going to represent the entire career and job description of an Entertainer in their Job Explorer Database, which is used by students in schools and colleges across the UK to help them find out more about career choices available and to motivate them to taking steps needed to enable them to start working in their desired field… no pressure then!
I almost forgot that I’d filmed this in December 2014, when a couple of days ago I received an email through with the video featuring last year’s former glorious goatie and a glimpse of my close up magic for customers at Red Hot World Buffet in Leeds – where you can currently find me most Saturday and Sunday afternoons between 12:30 – 3:30pm.
Professional Entertainer – Oliver Parker – Careersoft Entertainer Video
Of course, as soon as I’d finished the interview and the videographer had left I thought of a whole array of wonderful things I should have said. D’oh! Too late! But I’m quite happy with the above result – it’s interesting to know that this will be what teenagers see when browsing the database of 2200 job titles looking for something they actually want to do in life, hopefully I’m representing for all the other entertainers out there and inspiring enough for all those who wish to become one of us!
This has inspired me to write another post detailing my story of how I became a professional magician. Stay tuned to learn about my journey and tips of how to become a professional entertainer but until then, as I always say:
If you use Facebook or YouTube at all, recently you’ve probably had these Volvo Commuter Hijack adverts thrust in front of you. Basically 5 different people, selected via volvocommuterhijack.com, had £5000 each to spend on their Volvo Commuter Hijack day doing the most random, fun and entertaining stuff! They had a Volvo V40 R Design to transport them around on their day, along with Danny Wallace and a film crew to capture all their happenings, but they were only allowed to spend the money on experiences or something consumable (not a new tele or a load of beer unfortunately!). This is so that each of their days can then be judged by the public from the 10th April 2013 at volvocommuterhijack.com, giving each voter the chance of winning their own Volvo Commuter Hijack style experience day, I think with £5000 to spend on doing their own crazy things, but the person out of the 5 days already filmed who was voted to have put on the best experience wins the Volvo V40 R Design car!
So how are you involved in this, Oliver?
Last month, 20th March 2013, I received a very last-minute call at around midday from an agency asking if I was available to come to Millennium Square in Leeds to perform close up magic for an hour from about 3pm! After negotiating a fee they didn’t actually confirm they wanted to hire me until 2:20pm, which made things quite interesting, especially as I was already hired later that evening for another Co-operative Regional Operations Managers team building evening.
So I rushed to get ready and managed to make it there at the same time as my friends from The Dance Mob, who had also been hired for this Flash Mob type event along with an Elvis impersonator and lots of free pizza for passers-by.
After a few minutes of waiting around and still wondering what the heck was going on an entire film crew appeared from nowhere and we filmed a few shots of Will and Danny Wallace instructing us on our mission – to provide a flash mob and entertain the people of Leeds over the next 45 minutes or so!
I set to work astounding groups of students on their way to college, families having a day out in the centre and other randomers as the Dance Mob put on a stunning choreographed show, Elvis handed out free pizza and the film crew captured bits of what was going on.
With March being incredibly chilly in comparison with last year, my hands were freezing! It actually started hailing whilst I was performing for people so I was surprised I still managed to perform my sleight of hand close up magic!
Remember to vote for Will and his Leeds experience!
The monthly touring circus themed club night is in Bristol tonight!
Here’s a glimpse of the magic and mayhem from Nottingham in February:
Unfortunately, my hands/cards are only in the above video for a split second (3.7 Brownie Points if you actually spot me) but there’s plenty of footage of Bruce and Zayne – my friends/colleagues/crew members at work entertaining the crowds with acrobatic stilts, fire breathing/fire eating, angle grinding and general nonsense!
Last month’s Cirque Du Soul was awesome fun driving to Nottingham, watching Zayne and Bruce have a laugh with the queuing clubbers before my slot, then performing my close up magic from midnight until 2am. I met some lovely people, even received some tips and had a great time blowing peoples minds! I was trapped in one corner literally for about half an hour as a crowd began to grow and grow around me because everyone kept telling their friends to come over and check out how crazy my magic was!
I was disappointed that I didn’t take a change of clothes to the first event in Leeds in January, so I made sure I got changed out of my suit when nightclub magician mode was over and did a bit of b-boying (breakdancing) with the guys.
Then the most inspirational thing happened at the end of the night – a guy who’d been watching us dance got up and joined in… (this usually happens quite a lot with drunken idiots) he didn’t really know exactly what he was doing, but you could tell he had a huge amount of enthusiasm and passion to join in and be part of what we were doing, so he was going for it – then out of nowhere he just got up and tried to do a front somersault! His feet hit the floor, but he landed on his bum, so he got straight back up and tried again!
Bruce stepped in and gave him some quick tips and we all gave him some encouragement then he threw it again and landed it! BOOM! For the first time in his life, whilst drunk, this guy threw a front somersault and landed it on a hard floor!
You can tell when somebody is dedicated and just going to do something. You could see it in him, he was absolutely focussed, enthused and was determined to succeed… so he did!
Myself and Bruce had an in-depth conversation about this which lead to discussing psychology and other interesting things on the journey home.
We also stopped off at a service station just before 5am and whilst waiting for our food, Bruce couldn’t resist the temptation of a large smooth floor so tried to pull out some moves, haha! Here’s how that went:
So after dropping Bruce off, I didn’t get to bed until after 7am…
But tonight is going to be even more challenging as it’s twice as far to Bristol!
I wanted to stay over in Bristol and have a lovely day by the seaside, but I’ve been booked as a close up magician at a 40th Birthday Party in the afternoon on Saturday, so I have to come straight back!
It looks like tonight is going to be the 3rd Cirque Du Soul in a row to sell out so it should be a huge amount of fun all over again, can’t wait!
I should be fine for Saturday (in theory), but I apologise if I’m looking a little tired at Sunday’s Wedding Fayre at Southwood in Halifax…
If you’re getting married and planning your wedding, come along on Sunday 3rd March 2013 to see this wedding magician flaunting his skills in person – a great opportunity to meet me and see my magic in action as well as discuss any requirements or questions you might have. There’ll also be lots of other lovely suppliers to check out and get wedding ideas from, and probably cupcakes… there’s usually cupcakes
Valentine’s Day St. Pancras International Station – Magician London
Last Thursday (14th February 2013) I was hired by the fabulous handbag company Jack French London to be their corporate magician at a Valentine’s day promotional event held at London’s St. Pancras International Station with media and celebrity attendance, exciting stuff!
Keep read on to find out what happened…
Corporate magician – branding magic with Jack French London photo:
I prepared several brand specific magic tricks leading up to the event to help the name and image stick in people’s minds in a truly memorable way! There’s a video above of me showing my sceptical brother and his partner just one of the bits of magic I was performing on the day.
Last minute I also thought about doing something with one of the Jack French London t-shirts they gave me just a day before, but I wanted to dress marginally smarter on the day so decided not to go with a t-shirt, here’s a quick video of me practising though for your enjoyment:
Magician for promotional events – T-shirt magic trick:
(Apologies for the crumbs on the kitchen surface, I’d just made sandwiches to fuel me for the long day ahead!)
Thursday morning I hopped on the train straight to London for the grand unveiling – Jack French had designed a limited edition St. Pancras clutch bag with only 50 available, but not only that – they’d created a gigantic mock-up to style out the lady of the ‘Meeting place statue’ upstairs at the end of the Grand Terrace.
Before guests started to arrive I kept the waiting photographers and reporters happy with close up card magic, but a crowd quickly gathered around mid day for the big unveiling with press, photographers, videographers, a string quartet and ballroom dancers all building up the excitement…
Whilst I was in full mix and mingle magician mode with a group of guests, one of them turned and mentioned: “Oh, Kate’s arrived.” – Kate Moss was stood not too far away with her big anti-paparazzi sunglasses on, a second later a photographer pushed passed me and ran towards her! Unfortunately, the rush of photographers scared Kate Moss away before I had chance to meet her as she legged it into a nearby restaurant for lunch to avoid all the attention! But not before Jack French managed to get a photo with her – all good for their promotion I suppose!
So with the champagne distributed amongst the guests, Jack unveiled the spectacular clutch bag on the statue and things got started! Some guests moved into the private bar area for canapés and others headed straight for the pop up Jack French London shop, which is open until 13th March in St. Pancras station – if you’re passing and you like shopping, why not pop in? – Not me though, I hate shopping… and I’m also not camp enough to pull off a ladies handbag, but you might be…
Oliver performing for Martin Penny – GHD co-founder/Jack French London chairman and son James Penny – Jack French London Marketing Manager
During the 3 hours I was booked as their corporate magician I ‘worked my magic’ for their guests, press and also members of the company to give people something different to talk about, including:
Martin Penny, chairman and also the co-founder of your girlfriends favourite hair straightener company – GHD, who had this to say about me:
“It’s annoying how GOOD you are!”
Martin Penny – Jack French London LTD Chairman, GHD Co-founder
I also met legendary soul singer Beverley Knight who was so stunned when I got her and her friend involved in my close up magic, she couldn’t help but say:
“How the F@£K did you just do that with my phone?!”
I tweeted Beverley after the event and she replied with this lovely comment:
“Your act was insane! I cannot for the love of god figure out how you did that, ace!”
So throughout the afternoon people kept mentioning that Kate Moss might come back after her lunch but with about half an hour left of the event she contacted one of the staff to let them know she wasn’t up to all the media attention and wouldn’t be returning. Shame, I’ve read she’s a fan of magic too, her loss I suppose…
But sales were still ringing through in the shop and there were other VIP’s for me to entertain, so I was having a great time chatting to some exceptionally lovely people!
After the event I conveniently walked over the road to Kings Cross station and got on the train straight back to Leeds – easier than driving to a local event! Most importantly I was back in time to take my gorgeous girlfriend out for a delicious Thai meal – a magical day overall
Towards the end of the hectic wedding magician season last year, I entered the Wedding Industry Experts Awards 2012, along with hundreds of professional wedding suppliers including wedding photographers, wedding videographers, wedding florists, wedding venues, wedding bands and of course other professional wedding magicians – pretty much every kind of wedding vendor you could think of from England, Scotland, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand!
I asked brides, grooms, previous clients and their guests who had actually seen me perform as a wedding magician to vote for me as the Best Entertainer (Non Musical). Not only was I competing against other wedding magicians, but a whole range of other professional wedding entertainers such as caricature artists, casinos, photo booths and other top wedding entertainers in Leeds, England and worldwide.
I was delighted that in the short space of time the voting was open I received lots of votes and encouraging messages from people who had hired me for their weddings showing their support!
Wedding Industry Experts 2012 Awards – Results
So for those lovely people who voted, you’ll probably want to know the results…
Oliver Parker – Close Up Magician Best Entertainer (Non Musical) Total number of votes: 109
Not only was I awarded the best wedding entertainer in Leeds award, but I was also a finalist coming 4th overall in the country and ranking in the top 10 (coming 8th) in the whole world, wow!
So, a massive thank you for all of my previous clients and fans – the wonderful Brides & Grooms and their guests who voted for me as the best wedding entertainer in Leeds – you deserve a magic trick (just ask me to show you some magic next time you see me!).
I already have plenty of weddings booked in for 2013 so look forward to another fun year helping couples celebrate their special day in style!
If you want to add a bit of extra magic to your wedding day, I’d love to be your wedding magician…
Before preparing for tonight’s Christmas Eve party in Harrogate (which will be the 3rd year in a row they’ve hired me!) I thought I would do a little bit of magic to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year… (Looks better full screen and HD when watching)
(Note: I have changed my phone lock pattern just in case any evil people are watching too closely and planning on compromising my phone at some point in the future…)
Thanks for watching and following me on social media sites (find links at the bottom of the page and in the sidebar on the right if you want to be kept updated), thanks to those of you who have hired me to perform at your event (or several events) throughout the last year and thanks for just generally allowing me to share my passion and make people happy – because that’s what makes me happy 😀
As you can assume, this Christmas party magician season has been pretty hectic – even busier than previous years including some small close up magic shows at private parties, loads of mix and mingle magic/strolling magic at corporate Christmas parties, staff parties, office parties and promotional events for previous and new clients such as Red Bull Technology, Asda, Squire Sanders and many more! But it doesn’t even stop here, as well as tonight’s Christmas Eve party, I have several corporate Christmas parties booked in throughout January – so if you’re company is planning a delayed Christmas party in January, please get in touch, I still have a bit of availability so might be able to come and add an extra special magic twist to get people talking!
If you’re interested in some awesome entertainment for next year’s events please get in touch as soon as you can before I’m fully booked…
Recently I’ve been pushing myself to expand and learn some new magic effects and play around with things that I don’t normally do. Here’s a quick video of me practising a new effect I recently purchased… I wish I’d thought of it myself, but it’s not my own creation – still cool though…
Bending the laws of physics – Yorkshire Magician Oliver Parker
Hope you enjoyed that small portion of awesomeness today!
It’s inevitable that every time I perform people will ask me: “So how did you learn magic?” or “How do you learn new tricks?”…
Close up magic is incredibly intriguing and definitely stimulates thought and conversation – that’s why it’s a brilliant ice breaker… or perhaps they just can’t think of anything else to say and want to make small talk with me, who knows?!
But it’s an interesting question, after all how do you learn magic in the first place and then continue to learn new tricks if a magician is never supposed to reveal their secrets??
A lot of people assume that a magician is never supposed to reveal their secrets, which is mostly true, but that isn’t the entire picture…
The rule is more that a magician should not share their secrets with non-magicians along with many other rules such as never performing the same trick twice and so on. But a lot of magic shops and societies exist worldwide where people with a genuine interest in magic can learn new tricks and share with each other to help expand our art form.
So I think that’s the key, in order to learn magic in the first place, you must have a genuine interest in actually practising and performing magic. When that spark and interest is there, the individual will seek out how they can learn and get started in magic – finding beginners magic books in local libraries and department stores to get their foot in the proverbial magician’s door and start on their journey to becoming a magician. But you have to start simple and work your way up!
People who merely wish to find out the secret to the latest trick probably won’t get very far – If you have no interest in performing a particular trick, you’re very unlikely to spend £30 on a lengthy in-depth book or DVD teaching you how to do it. Even if you did, you’d probably be bored with the results of magical jargon you’d just spent your hard earned cash on! But to those who have a passion for learning, practising and performing magic they are much more willing to make these investments and put the time in perfecting it and work their way up gaining an understanding of sleight of hand techniques and terminology to make sense of this kind of a product.
Obviously once a magician has spent money learning the secret to an incredible effect, they’re not going to be willing to freely give away these secrets to just anyone! Here’s where a lot of parody reveal videos crop up on YouTube – young magicians who’ve just spent £60 on a DVD often put up joke videos teaching a completely fake method as a laugh in an effort to prevent piracy and stop real magic secrets being revealed on YouTube. Because YouTube is now so saturated with these hilarious “reveal” videos, you’re not likely to find a serious explanation to a real trick.
So if you have a genuine interest and passion for becoming a magician and learning how to amaze people I encourage you to get started today!
Here’s how I started after my Granddad introduced me to a very simple card trick… my parents gave myself and my brothers gifts of magic sets so I experimented and practised simple tricks learned from children’s magic books as well – practising them repeatedly before showing my parents and school friends.
When I saw the results of friends being completely amazed by these pieces of magic I had been meticulously rehearsing I was inspired to learn more!
I took trips to the library to hunt down any magic books they had and learned all I could from them in the time I had to borrow them. I practised in front of a mirror non-stop and sometimes used a camcorder to record how my presentation looked before going out and performing street magic and showing tricks to my school friends.
Once I had dedicated hundreds of hours to learning these basic principles I was ready to learn a bit more advanced sleight of hand and purchased some instructional VHS tapes (yes, pretty old school, I know) then set to work practising these techniques.
Once I had developed these principles and foundation techniques I was able to create my own effects based around these methods and develop my own presentation style further.
Every day I dedicated hours to practising – during school lessons I was rolling coins over my knuckles and learning tricks with Biro pens, during break and lunch I was performing the tricks I’d been practising for teachers and friends in the halls and after school I was flourishing and practising sleight of hand card magic while watching the television. Although they encouraged my magic, my brothers and parents quickly hated the sound of cards being riffled, but it didn’t stop me from pursuing what I love!
The results of all this practise were impressive enough to fool myself so I kept on practising and performing every day for friends at school – their reactions inspired me to continue. There’s something about putting a smile on somebody else’s face that makes you feel great inside!
I soon joined several junior magic societies (The Northern Magic Circle Juniors, Merlin’s Magical Academy, The Bradford Magic Circle and later the Leeds Magical Association) to gain feedback from different perspectives and expand my knowledge about presentation, showmanship and build my experience as a performer!
So like anything in life, learning magic tricks and becoming a magician takes a lot of dedication and patience to master. If you have a genuine interest, you’ll stick with it and enjoy the results. But don’t expect to be walking on water within a day!
“The appearance of things change according to the emotions, and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.”