Magi - The Only Assistant You’ll Ever Need
Reviewed by Matthew Duggan
fair to say that being a professional performer can be challenging. One can
potentially spend a lot of time and effort finding the work and then more time
actually doing it, leaving little or no space in the day to take care of all
those little jobs that you tell yourself you’ll do ‘tomorrow’. You know the sort
of thing: Quotes, confirmation letters, invoices and all those other
time-consuming but necessary documents that you want to send out to look as
professional as possible. So, when I recently heard of something that might help
me save time and get more done, I was curious to find out more.
You see, a colleague of mine had got in touch with me, telling me that a friend of his had just finished working on some new software designed especially for magicians. The application was originally introduced to me as a bespoke contact management tool, but even at a cursory glance, it seemed to be more than just Microsoft Outlook for magicians.
Designed by Mark Tait of MAT Systems Ltd., Magi manages enquiries and bookings through one program. What’s more, some very clever programming allows you to use it to send out mail shots (both electronic and paper versions), create Outlook Calendar entries in just one click and even keep track of what material you performed at all your previous engagements so as not to repeat it if you get re-booked. Whereas normally it might take a lot of skipping between Word, Outlook and a file full of letter templates, Magi integrates all of these together seamlessly, thus reducing the process of issuing invoices or sending out confirmations to just a few straightforward clicks.
The way the application has been designed means that you can customise it to exactly the information that applies to your business. As such, Magi could be used by all types of performers, from mentalists to children’s entertainers. What’s more, it supports multiple acts and users, meaning that if you are also a booker of acts, you could effectively manage a multitude of performers all at once.
The thinking behind the software is very impressive and Mark has clearly done his homework, working alongside magic professionals to put those invaluable little touches into the product that make it so simple to use. For example, one of the features allows you to keep a detailed record of your current and potential clients. Now on it’s own, that’s nothing impressive. However, for each client, you can add the names of any children they might have, with their names and ages. You can then run a search which brings up all your clients who have children with birthdays that are occurring within the next month or so (you can choose the period of time you search and even the ages of the children). In a few clicks, you can send all those people details of what you do, personalised to each client, with Magi filling in all the relevant words and names for you.
Say you’re a children’s entertainer who also performs close-up magic. Here’s how you might use it: Imagine you’ve performed some close-up magic at a client’s 40th birthday party. Thanks to Magi, you can then track when that person’s child’s birthday is and send appropriate marketing materials for that potential booking in just a few clicks. You could be getting two bookings or more, having only done the work for one!
Marketing-wise, the potential of this tool could be huge. Rather than sending out hundreds of letters or brochures to potential clients, you could be sending out targeted, personalised materials which show that you’re thinking about your clients and want to help them put on a great event. The best part about that is that you just have to press a few buttons and Magi does the time-consuming bit for you, in a fraction of the time it would take you normally.
The only potential ‘drawback’ that I can envisage getting in people’s way is the cost. When I first heard the price tag of £499, I was a little surprised… but then I actually thought about it. In terms of the average fees that professional magicians earn, the vast majority of us could pay for their copy of Magi by doing one afternoon at a wedding or a couple of two-hour close-up gigs. Considering that this application will probably half the time it takes you to effectively manage ‘your office’ for the foreseeable future, it suddenly doesn’t seem like that much. What’s more, that extra time could be spent working on new material, perfecting a new act or simply relaxing a little, knowing that you’re admin inbox is taken care of.
Magi is a very simple, clever idea which has been very well executed by designer Mark Tait. Having looked for an application like this for a while and found none that suit the task, I think this product has the potential to revolutionise the way we work and give an edge to those who own a copy. Highly recommended.
You can find out more about Magi at www.magi-software.com
Since trying out a copy myself, I have spoken to
Mark Tait and he has kindly agreed to offer a free trial of Magi in order
that you can get a feel for it. Just send Mark an email
and he’ll send you a license key giving you full access to the application for 7
© Matthew Duggan, February 2008