Donovan Tan is lucky enough to pursue his hobby as his career choice. Donovan brings laughter and joy into people’s lives through magic.
What’s your story?
My name is Donovan and I’m a professional magician. I’ve been doing magic as a hobby for over a decade, and it has been my career for the past 3 years. Since I was young, magic has always been a part of my life, and I have no intention of moving away from it.
After I came out of National Service, I was lost like most people and did not know which direction to go. I hopped on the bandwagon to pursue a business degree in marketing. Halfway through my curriculum, I realised I was in the wrong scene. After much debate and thought, I decided to leave school to pursue what I truly love. I was not even ‘knee’ deep in my business when I left university; I would say I was ‘ankle’ deep, but that was more than enough for me.
Life can be challenging sometimes, especially when trying to find stability in the events industry. But one thing’s for sure, life for me has never been happier.
What excites you most about your industry?
Magic is still a growing trend and as popular as it may seem, you’ll be surprised how many people have never ever seen magic happening right before their eyes. If I can put a number to it, I’d say 19 out of 20 people have never witnessed a miracle happening before them; they have only seen it on television, videos or from a far-away stage. You my friend reading this, are probably one of them.
Knowing this, even with 6 shows over one crazy weekend, I am still looking forward to my sixth show on Sunday night. Simply because, the audience is excited!
What’s your connection to Asia?
Singapore is my home. I’m a purebred Singaporean and have always loved this city. This is a place where your kids can run around safely in a park and where your wife or girlfriend can come home safely by themselves at 3am in the morning.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. Singaporeans are intelligent not just with IQ, but with EQ as well and that is very important. Apart from that, this city is made up of people from all walks of life and different parts of the world. Thankfully, magic is a universal language!
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”
Believe it or not, I first heard of this quote in the movie ‘Alien vs Predator,’ when two actors were debating whether to bring or not to bring a gun on a cave expedition. The quote has struck a chord in me and has stuck with me ever since, because this can apply to so many things in life, from life skills, emotional well being and all the way down to a toilet plunger!
On a side note, do not apply this advice when you are on a shopping spree.
Who inspires you?
David Blaine. He is the man that revolutionised close-up magic, with his ‘Street Magic’ TV series. I remember seeing him on television when I was less than 10 years old and I will never forget those moments when I would rewind the VHS tapes to watch his shows again and again. If I can summarise one thing I learnt from his materials, it is that ‘simplicity is beauty.’
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
This is a tough question, I’m always learning new magic effects, sometimes on a daily basis. The last effect that blew me away was when a magician actually predicted a stranger’s mobile number. And yes, I learnt it! Dating is going to be a breeze from now on.
Just kidding; with great powers, comes great responsibility!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Oh boy, I wish I left school earlier. It would have saved me a huge sum of money and more importantly, time.
But then again, as Steve Jobs said, you can’t connect the dots by looking forward, you can only connect them by looking backwards. So, no regrets.
How do you unwind?
I like to swim and coincidently, my hobby magic, is also my job. It doesn’t get any better. I also like to go prawning and fishing – boys’ stuff.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Taiwan. The people there and their accent is just awesome. The food, the atmosphere, I just love everything about Taiwan. I’ve probably been there for a holiday more than 5 times over the last 3 years and I still find it fresh and fun!
There’s also this convention by the Taiwan Magic Association which is held on a yearly basis and is another good reason to visit Taiwan.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber. This is not necessary a book for business, but it’s a book for artists like emcees, dancers, singers and magicians.
Shameless plug for your business:
We provide magic as a form of entertainment for all sorts of events, from dinner and dance parties, weddings, award nights, corporate events, all the way to cocktail or birthday parties.
Magic is an universal language for most demographics and it allows your guests and clients to bring home something memorable, impossible and creates a lasting impression on your special day.
“People will forget what you’ve said, people will forget what you’ve done, but they’ll never forget how you make them feel.”
How can people connect with you?
For corporate events and gigs, please visit:
For children’s entertainment specifically, please visit:
If you don’t require any of my services, do check out my video, which I promise you will find most intriguing:
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>