David Ranalli, aka “The Corporate Illusionist,” has been practicing magic since he was 13 years old, first gaining exposure in nightclubs before moving to the business world where tricks like mind reading and Russian roulette wow crowds of around 1,000 people (or more if needed). Here, he shares his secrets to being a successful entertainer.
ILM+E: Why bring magic into corporate events?
DR: I think it’s very important to have highquality entertainment at otherwise serious events because it helps people relax, adds flair and creates bonding experiences. Sure, you’ll get awards or learn important business information, but a successful event enhances the experience for each individual and creates memories—and entertainment is a great way of doing that.
ILM+E: How can companies customize their entertainment experience?
DR: I’m able to incorporate branding into a performance as an added value for my clients. Most often this is done by simply adding their logo to a prop, such as the playing cards I use at a cocktail party. Since I give away the cards as souvenirs, this creates a conversation piece later that will provide another brand touch point. Other times, we can create metaphors, like turning a company sign into a $20 bill to represent the success of the organization.
ILM+E: What tricks work particularly well within a corporate audience?
DR: During cocktail-style events, or before the main show, I provide close-up magic (like making rings float) and do mind-reading tricks. This scaled-down performance helps add excitement to an otherwise casual portion of the evening, and helps enhance socializing among guests.
ILM+E: What legacy do you hope to leave after an event?
DR: We bring the “magic” to events and ensure that guests are engaged and absorbing the experience. Events can cost thousands, or even millions, of dollars to produce, but if the attendees can’t wait to get home or aren’t engaged and present, it’s at risk of being a total waste of time. My goal as an entertainer is to help make sure that never happens, and that people walk away glad they attended.