10 Mistakes new professional magicians make

Most of the magicians in their first year as a professional magician feel very satisfied with their skill and their earnings. But when they hear about some other magician charging a high amount for almost same kind of show which they offer, the seed of dissatisfaction springs in their mind.

They even get disturbed by a particular effect other magicians perform which they cannot do. If their lead doesn’t close and the show goes to some other magician they get more restless and they assume several things which lead to following mistakes.

1) They think other magicians are their competitor: But if more magicians perform more people will get aware about the art of magic and it will increase the demand in the market which would give you more shows. Because you can not be present at several places at the same time.
2) They try to charge too much too early in their career: Some magician charging Rs.50,000 (USD 800) for one hour show could well be a rumor. Even if they get it, they must have spent several years and efforts to build the reputation. You must focus on building your network by charging a reasonable amount and automatically you would be good enough to charge like a celebrity.
3) They use fancy ready made props and very fewer skills:  If you keep searching for magic props which require no special skill and is easy to operate you are going to rank among amateur magicians. The most entertaining effects in magic can be done with skill like misdirection and sleight of hands. You will never build a great reputation as a magician if most of your professional tricks are based on self-working fancy props. This point is not directly applicable to illusionists who perform big stage shows.
4) They use stooges, pre-show work and assistant’s help: Magicians and Mentalists who lack good magic skills try to compensate it by using secret accomplice who looks like a randomly chosen volunteer and pre-arranged conditions to perform effects which make them look like real magician or mentalist. One or two tricks doing it occasionally using above things is fine, but if you do it regularly in your every show, people will figure out your mediocrity.
5) They copy tricks of other magicians: In magic, there are limited principles but unlimited tricks. Ask ten great magicians to perform the same trick, for example, a bill in a lemon. You will see all of them have added something of their own. To build your individual reputation as a magician people must see something unique and original in your show.
6) They consider audience as ordinary and themselves extraordinary:  Doing a magic is very rare art unlike other art like painting, stand up comedy, music etc. This feeds the ego of some magicians who think they are special because they can do something impossible. With that false sense, they worry too much about their persona and not enough about their performance and the audience. Magicians must remember that audience can live without magic, but a magician cannot live with magic.
7) They try to learn every good trick: If a magicians see other magician performing a good trick which they couldn’t catch each hurts them. They will waste considerable time trying to learn its secret. Whereas they should have spent that time improving their tricks which they have been doing. There will always be a magician who will fool you with his new trick. Once you spend enough time in professional magic, you will catch many tricks just with a second glance for which you had to spend a lot of time in your starting years. Don’t try to learn all tricks, get expert at those tricks which are entertaining and suits your audience.
8) They focus on techniques and not on performance:  Some magicians get delusional with their technique and assume that audience would catch them. They try to improve their sleight which is already well enough to perform as a professional effect. In a process, they forget to check the entertainment value their undetectable trick creates because their ordinary presentation and the mediocore script does not create the required impact. Such perfect magicians get applause but no standing ovation.
9) They take credit of other magicians: I have met few magicians who perform Aces Transposition trick where they hold the folded aces one in their mouth and other in spectator’s mouth. Then they do a kiss like a move where cards touch each other and seemingly cards change places. All of them said they have created that move. Obviously most or all of them lying about it. They probably picked that presentational move from some legendary magician who may not be alive today. As starter magician, you must give credits to the original inventor. If you will respect other magicians, one day you will be respected.
10) They don’t spend much time on marketing and personal branding: Magic is an art, if you want to keep it as an art then don’t think of earning money from it. But the moment you have decided to earn your living through magic you must think like an entrepreneur or businessman. You must invest money and time in marketing your art and establishing yourself as a brand. Getting enough shows from only your previous shows and not external marketing will take a long time. Treat your magic show like a product and do everything it takes to sell a good product just like other businesses.

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)

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