It’s a question I’m often asked.
“Do you do Zoom parties?”
Of course, by ‘Zoom’ they mean a videoconferencing or online collaboration app. It could be Zoom, or Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet, or many more. Some are more suitable than others for a virtual birthday party, but they are all far from ideal.
The best birthday party your child will go to this year
I say that I put on the best birthday party your child will go to this year. And I stand by that claim. I honestly believe that my birthday parties are as good as – and in most cases better than – any other birthday party you can arrange for your son or daughter.
But I cannot claim that for a show I put on via a video camera. No one can. Because a video link is a poor substitute for being there, in person, in the room, interacting with the children.
And that’s how a Magic Peter birthday party works. I’m part of the party. I don’t perform at the children or for the children; I perform WITH the children. We have a great time TOGETHER. And if we’re not together, I can’t do that.
The bond I build with the children relies on the immediacy of being with them, reacting to them instantly. That’s why so many clients tell me they’re amazed that their children sat entranced for the whole hour or two-hour party. It’s because of that bond I’ve built with the children.
Peering at a laptop screen and waiting while I search a wall of faces to find the child that made the funny noise or pulled a funny face destroys that instant rapport I have with the kids. And the bond is broken. To be honest, you might as well watch a pre-recorded video rather than a live show.
And that, essentially, is why I don’t offer virtual magic shows
Oh, I know there are plenty who do, and I’ve seen lots of them. In many cases, I wish I hadn’t!
There are some very good ones, but there are far more that are doing it not because they’re good at it but because they have bills to pay.
I’ve chosen a different path. Rather than offering a show I know wouldn’t be the best I can do, I’ve found alternative employment to take me through and pay my bills until Covid is well and truly behind us. Doing so means I won’t need to charge you for a party I wouldn’t be happy to buy myself.
(What am I doing for a living right now? You’ll have to wait and see – I’ll be blogging about that soon.)
You need to be able to trust your children’s entertainer
My clients put a great deal of trust in me when they hire me to join their family and celebrate their birthdays. So they deserve the very best from me. And the very best Magic Peter party – one I am proud to be paid to perform – isn’t delivered through a video camera.
There’s no doubt that with a lot of thought, preparation and investment, it’s possible to put on a good virtual birthday party. It still won’t be as good as having the performer there with you, interacting with the children in the room, but it will be a good party. And if you really want to hire a magician to perform a virtual birthday show in your living room, I’ll be very happy to give you details of the very best. Just let me know.
But as a parent, until these restrictions are eased, my advice is to get the kids together on Zoom (or Teams or Meet), stream a good film to your device, share your screen, and watch the children enjoy themselves. Frankly, with all the money in Hollywood, they can put on a far better 90 minutes of kids entertainment than we ever could – and it’s a lot cheaper than hiring a magician – even a virtual one.
Stay safe, and I hope I see you at a Magic Peter party – an in-person party – very soon.