1) A professional magician practice and rehearse every day.
2) He may perform someone else’s trick but he prepares original content for the trick.
3) He doesn’t offer shows for free unless it’s for a social cause.
4) He learns from other magicians who are better than him at the craft of magic.
5) He doesn’t reveal the secrets of his magic as well as secrets of other magicians.
6) He doesn’t perform dressed like a hippie, he is always well groomed and well dressed.
7) A professional magician study art of magic like an academic subject.
8) He doesn’t overlook the details and the quality of his magic tricks.
9) He doesn’t repeat the tricks for the same audience at the same show.
10) A professional magician invests in the magic.
11) A professional magician performs a particular trick only under right conditions.
12) He never runs out of his business cards.
13) He doesn’t step out of the home without at least one magic trick.
14) He never insults or offends his audience.
15) He never claims to have superhuman powers.
16) He doesn’t misuse his magic skills.
17) He not only market himself but also promote the art of magic as the great source of entertainment.
18) He adds value to the lives of people through his performance.
A professional magician is adept and master of sleight of hand. He can make people wonder with his skill. But even if you are an expert magician few little things in your show can double the positive impression of your show. It takes 20% effort to score 8 out of 10, but it takes 80% effort to go from 8 to 10. A magician should never get complacent, he must think that every magic trick ever invented can be improved and so does your magic show. A magician should be sharp-eyed to notice the changes in the reaction of audience whenever things happen coincidently. He must note those occurrences and adapt it to his shows to take the shows to next level.
If audience arrives late for the show you wait to start the show, but if the audience is on time, don’t make them wait even for 5 minutes. Starting the show on time makes the audience have a favourable opinion about the magician, and also your client will appreciate your punctuality which would help you in the future.
2) Background music
If the audience is large and music system is in place using the power of music to heighten the senses of the audience can be a difference-making factor. Don’t use rare and unpopular music, instead do some research and adapt popular music to your tricks. Presence of music in your show make your show look extravagant.
3) Mass magic tricks
Do at least one significant trick in your show which involves the whole audience (Don’t do twisting the hands gag, it ain’t effective). If your mass magic or mentalism trick is impactful, the audience will talk about it more than any other trick because here you have affected everybody at the same time.
4) Use Humour
Having a right balance of humour in a magic show is a thing missing even in the greatest magicians. Making people wonder is not enough, you must make them smile. Developing a sense of humour is not that easy, but to pretend to have a sense of humour can be done by writing a comedy script for your acts, it will take some efforts. A magician pretty much controls everything during the show, so using a scripted version of your humorous presentation will make people remember you as a great entertainer.
As a magician, you might perform a transformation, transportation, transposition, restoration, escapology, levitation, mental magic, productions effects but you must not miss doing at least one trick which makes something disappear. No type of magic is stronger than pure vanish because as per popular opinion magician is someone who can make things vanish.
6) Perform an inspiring act
During your magic show include an act which explores the art of comprehensive storytelling. Use a story which would inspire the audience, make them feel good about their lives and imply how impossible things can be achieved, but don’t preach, don’t act like a self-help or motivational speakers. You must inspire through an entertainment.
7) The closing effect
You last trick has to be the most influential magic trick of your show. That trick must get the loudest applaud or even standing ovation. Imagine, you are ready to perform the penultimate trick of your show, but client tells you that they have limited time and it has to be the last trick. You must abandon the trick you were ready for and perform your closing effect. This happens frequently so keep yourself ready for this scenario.
8) Post-show discussion
If your audience is curious and wants to know more about your life and your skill, do stay at the venue post-show and talk to them. Sometimes you can do it right after the show so that all the audience get to know more about you. If selective people come to you, do give them access to talk to you and hand over your business cards in the process.
Catching a secret of the magician is one of the strongest way to prove your intelligence. But for a magician, any heckler is a destructive because it spoils magician’s reputation instantly. Magicians cannot avoid hecklers from attending their show because they exist everywhere. A magician must learn to handle the hecklers to save the sanctity of his magic tricks and his magic show. Following are some diplomatic ways to handle hecklers who are trying to spoil your magic show.
1) Change the method
If a spectator shouts the secret of your magic trick, offer to repeat the effect if you have another method to perform the act. While performing the effect specifically point out that you are not doing what he said you were doing. This proves your expertise and proves heckler wrong.
2) Subtly ignore the heckler
Sometimes a heckler won’t be too loud, he will speak in a soft voice trying to spoil your trick. You can guess it as you end the trick. In such cases don’t give attention to the heckler. If you give attention to them trying to justify your effect, they will ask you more and more questions. If you avoid them it shuts them and they don’t attempt it again.
3) Convert the comment into a humour
Even if spectator finds the secret don’t accept it but reply to their claim with a humorous comment, like say, “That could be another way to do it, thanks for telling me.” You can say, “You are right, but don’t give the secret to others.” Say the second comment in such a way that remaining audience sees it like you are just satisfying the heckler but not really acknowledging the secret.
4) Challange heckler to perform the act
Sometimes there is a heckler who will repetitively interrupt you. For, one of the tricks where you know that even if performer know the secret they cannot actually perform it like a magician. Tell such heckler if they know the secret come and perform it for all and they will never try it.
5) Make the disclaimer
This is a preventive measure if in the start you make a disclaimer that whatever you do is just for the entertainment and not to fool anyone and you don’t claim to have super powers then even the aggressive heckler won’t interrupt you.
6) Let audience handle the heckler
You are running the show and not the heckler, the remaining audience have come to see you perform and not to listen to the analysis of heckler. So when heckler disturbs you, keep calm and just play with words and waste some time. If spectator still tries to spoil your trick few people from the audience will talk to the heckler voluntarily making them understand to enjoy the show and not to spoil the sense of wonder for all.
7) Accept your goof up in the trick and convert it into humour
Sometimes the whole audience becomes heckler because apparently, your trick has failed. In these cases, you politely accept the failure of the trick and say something like, ” I’m not as good as the other guys.” , “That didn’t happen in rehearsal!”, “Never liked that trick anyway. “, “Never rely on a new assistant for setup.” The audience will not criticise you but they will love you of course if you amaze them with rest of the show.
8) Make audience take you seriously
During your introduction create a perception such that audience you are some kind of celebrity. Tell them about the countries you have travelled, the other influential people in the world you performed for. If the audience believes that you are a man of high stature, they won’t have the guts to prove you wrong during your show.
9) Do fake moves
Just to fool the hecklers, do a move where they think is the secret but in reality, it is just a move to misguide them. For example, while producing a coin make a move which looks like you are taking out the coin from your sleeves but you have just palmed the coin. Now, when they claim they know the secret, roll up your sleeves, so that they can see there is nothing up your sleeves and do the same trick again.
10) Use movie analogy
If there is a difficult heckler who is not ready to keep quiet, you can handle them leading the conversation in following way. Ask them do they watch movies in a theatre? Who is their favourite action hero? Ask them if they know who does the stunts of a hero? They definitely know that it is not a hero who does stunts by himself. So, while watching a movie in theatre do they stand and shout, “Guys, that stunt was done by another man and not by Bruce Willies” this logic will make them sit quietly for rest of the show.
Henry Ford said, “Stopping marketing to save money is like stopping your watch to save time”. Anybody who wishes to earn money cannot avoid marketing. If you avoid marketing, money will avoid you. If your marketing is unconventional then it brings better results faster. Following are some rare and unique ideas for magicians to market themselves and gather more shows.
1) Always carry business cards
Always carry your business cards whenever you step out. You don’t know when an unexpected client has the requirement for a magician. Leave your card behind in a restaurant, on your bus sit, movie theatre sit. Magician’s card is not something they can ignore.
2) Put on a t-shirt with text you are a magician
Buy a t-shirt or a jacket and on back of it get a text printed which conveys that you are a magician. Like, “I am a magician”, “Do you want to see a magic trick?” etc. Put on a t-shirt as much as possible and people will certainly notice it. Do the same thing for your car and print your information on the back windshield.
3) Show a magic tricks in public places
If you are prepared and conditions are right around you in a public place, start performing magic tricks for strangers. Gradually more and more people will stop and take a look at your magic tricks.
4) Perform newsworthy stunts
If you want extensive publicity in no time, perform magic stunts like blindfold car or bike drive, impossible escape, walking on water, next day headline prediction, making the statue of liberty disappear etc. These events to be planned in advance if you successfully deliver it the results are massive.
5) Give business cards to even children
Most of the magicians avoid giving business cards to children they generally hand it over to parents. Their parents will take the card but they might forget or misplace it but for children a magician is a hero, they will preserve your card like a gift and when child’s family need a magician, the children will instantly produce your card.
6) Do “catch me if you can” type of shows
If you are an expert magician who can fool even magicians, then arrange a show where you challenge the audience to catch your trick. If they catch your trick give away the reward. People quickly share the news of these kinds of shows.
7) Do some free shows
Volunteer to perform for orphanages, old age homes free of cost. But you ask them that you also want to invite some more people to your show. Market your free show as much as you can and get maximum people to watch it.
8) Use your circle of influence
With the availability of social media, we can easily build a working friendship with maximum people. Tell all your friends and relatives that you are a professional magician. Also, try if they have seen at least one of your magic tricks which influenced them. If they see someone need a magician they must voluntarily suggest and recommend your name.
9) Collect and use customer database.
Email, send a text message or send a postcard to your old clients. Send the communication few days before the same date they hired you in previous years. They might have a recurring requirement for a magician. They would love your professionalism and if they had liked your show in the past, they certainly call you again.
10) Viral videos
Research and learn an impossible, mind-blowing magic trick. The performance time of this trick should be short but it must create a jaw-dropping impact on the viewers. Record the performance of this trick and post it on social media. If the trick is truly a great trick, people will share it and soon it will get viral and you might earn a million views giving you quick publicity.
A website can promote you throughout the year 365 days 24 hours which even you can’t do yourself for yourself. But only building a website is not enough, you must build a website that sells. Spending some money to have a quality website is not an expenditure, it is a lucrative investment. As a professional magician, your website will differ from other professions, your website should serve your business. You need not follow generic instructions of web design. Your website should be designed as per the user flow of your potential clients. Following are the proven tips for magician’s website.
1) Your intro should be on the homepage
In magic, you are selling yourself and not some other product. There is no point in having a home page with some photos and videos and a separate page for “About me”. Don’t cause trouble for clients by asking them to go to another page to read about you.
2) Write about why the client should hire you?
In your introduction, there should be at least one paragraph explaining why the client should hire you. This content must be written like “marketing copy” content. This content must make your skills saleable.
3) Your contact details should be visible all the time – Call to Action
Many websites have a separate page for contact, but in case of magician’s website, contact information should be available on all pages. So you either put it on a header, footer or sidebar. Also don’t just write label like “Contact” write a label which inspires action from clients like “Call Now”, “Contact here”, “To book the show email us here” etc.
4) Photos are better than words
Photos make your site comes to life. Shortlist some good, high-quality photos and post them on your website. Most of your photos should be of your actual performance with the audience in the frame and it must capture audience’s expressions. Keep solo photos for your Instagram account maybe but for website keep solo photos to a minimum.
5) Videos are better than photos
Have the trailer showreel of your best magic tricks on the home page of your website. But also have some more organic videos of your actual performances on a separate page. A trailer will hold the visitor on your website but to make him contact you a client would want to see some full performance of your magic tricks, make sure you give it to them.
6) Video testimonials
Video testimonials are much more authentic than written testimonials. Especially if you have few video testimonials from a celebrity it will make a far greater impact. Visitors cannot question the legitimacy of video testimonials because they see a real person appreciating your performance on record.
7) List of clientele
Ultimately every magician wants to perform for corporate clients as corporate clients pay better. But closing a corporate deal is tricky because they think their reputation is at stake. Corporate feel comfortable with an experienced artist, so why not flaunt your previous clients showing them that you are an expert magician and have been performing for even bigger clients than them.
8) Media Coverage
If you have been covered by newspapers, news websites, magazines, tabloids put the photo clippings on your website. Try to get some media coverage even if you have to offer a show at free of cost. Media still considered as an authentic source, if media says you are a great magician, then people say you are a great magician.
9) Update your website
Don’t keep your website idle for a long time. Keep updating it with latest photos, videos, your upcoming events. Imagine one year back you had posted a video of your best magic trick, but a year later you learn a new trick which you now hold it as your best trick. So your latest best trick should be on your website to impress the clients.
10) Social media integration
Your website must have the direct links to your Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn profile etc. Some of your website visitors will also visit your social media pages and if they like your social media pages they may start sharing it, which might fetch you some more clients.
11) Sooner the better
To start your website don’t wait for having all above things in place. Some of these things like having a video trailer might take considerable time. Make your website live with some basic information, some photos and then keep improving and updating it. The sooner you are on the inter-web better are the chances of you getting found through search engines.
A magician’s competitor is not another magician but other artists like dancers, stand up comedian, mimicry artist, singers, juggler etc. In India when people hear about a magician, they imagine an old man in shining colorful clothes with a hat on his head performing old and traditional magic tricks. Most of the Indians don’t even know that art of magic has advanced to some unimaginable level. They don’t know that many youngsters are professionally doing a modern magic show. They are even more ignorant about the art of mentalism which is a very unique addition to magic shows.
Magicians shouldn’t behave like archers who always pursue to find out who is better. But magic is not like archery there is no such thing as best magician in the world. Anyone who loves magic shows would want to see the magic shows of different magicians. If you frequently go to Las Vegas would you see David Copperfield’s show every time? I don’t think so, sometime you might go for Penn & Teller’s show, isn’t it? Magicians shouldn’t be envious and competitive towards each other because “being the best” is not the goal of a magician “being unique” should be the goal. Following are some strong reasons why magicians must help each other for mutual benefit.
To establish art of magic as mainstream entertainment:
A magic show is still not considered as a mainstream entertainment, in spite of the fact that it is a suitable option for all kinds of social and corporate events. If you are not available for a magic show because of prior booking, you can give the client reference of another magician who is available. If the client gets another magician he will continue to plan to have a magic show for the event instead of looking for some other entertainment option. Naturally, if more magicians make more magic shows happen, people will start treating it as mainstream entertainment and ultimately there will be more inquiries for magic shows.
To prevent clients from going to amateur magicians:
Let’s assume that client is determined to have a magic show for their event. He calls you but you are not available because of some other show. You know a magician who is as good as you but you don’t recommend that magician to the client. Now, the client will search for other magicians from various sources and eventually he will find one. Now, the magician who performs for the client is an amateur, he doesn’t create the impact which a magician suppose to create. The amateur magician has not only spoiled his show but he has damaged the reputation of the art of magic and in the future, the same client may not opt for the magic show again.
People want to try different magicians:
You can perform for the same client two or three times but they would like to try a new magician fourth time before they hire you once again in the future. So even if you recommend other good magicians to the client first time, they might call him two or three times, but fourth time they would want some other magician which could be you.
More business for everybody:
Even if you are a magician, you cannot perform at two places at same time. If you are already booked for another show, you can give the lead to other magician and you can charge some fees from the magician, let’s say 10-20% of the deal amount and if the deal gets closed, you earn extra 10-20% without even performing.
Referral is contagious:
There will be a day when you would want to perform and make some money but you don’t have any lead. But, magically some other magician to whom you have recommended to clients in the past recommends you and you get the show, wouldn’t that would be cool? If you refer other magicians in your unavailability they would want to return the favor in their unavailability by referring you and that will build more business for you.
1. The force
Mentalist use forcing technique to perform prediction effects. Mentalist force the spectator to make a particular choice but to a spectator it looks like a free choice.
2. The peek
Mentalist use this technique to perform mind reading effects. Mentalist secretly or using some mechanism take a quick look at what spectator has written, drawn etc.
3. Cold reading
With cold reading, without prior knowledge, a mentalist can quickly obtain a great deal of information by analyzing the person’s body language, age, clothing or fashion, hairstyle, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race or ethnicity, level of education, the manner of speech, place of origin, etc. Cold readings commonly employ high-probability guesses, quickly picking up on signals as to whether their guesses are in the right direction or not, then emphasizing and reinforcing chance connections and quickly moving on from missed guesses.
4. Memory and mental calculation
Mentalist uses fast mathematics methods to perform quick mental calculations and to remember a long list of objects. Mentalist tries to show the power of his mind using these effects.
5. Dual reality
Dual Reality is a ploy in which spectators assume that everybody witnessing the same performance effect, but in actuality, different people are finding different meanings of certain deceptive words in the conversation. Generally, in dual reality effects, either spectator gets more amazed than the rest of the audience or the audience gets more amazed than the spectator.
Use of standard magical methods like misdirection with the use of magic props or sleights to accomplish a mentalism effect, it is also called mental magic. Any magic effect can be presented as a mentalism effect with the right script.
A suggestion is a psychological process by which one person guides the thoughts, feelings, or behavior of another person. Mentalist who also performs hypnosis use these techniques for entertainment.
Equivocation (or the magician’s choice) is a verbal technique by which a magician gives an audience member an apparently free choice, but frames the next stage of the trick in such a way that each choice has the same end result. For example, the performer may deal two cards to the table and ask a spectator to select one: if the spectator chooses the card on the left, the performer will say something like “you keep this card, I’ll take the remaining card”. If the spectator chooses the card on the right, the performer will take that card. Thus, the choice of which card to use is really made by the magician.
9. Secret Accomplice
Some mentalists employ their assistant backstage to accomplish some mind-blowing mind reading and prediction effects. Some mentalist uses secret accomplice called stooge who sits with rest of the audience behaving like a stranger. During the performance, mentalist select the stooge as a spectator who looks like a randomly chosen volunteer.
10. Pre-show work
Few mentalist before the show will approach and talk to some of the members of the audience starting with the casual conversation, but in the process knowing some clues and information about their life. During the show, mentalist will select those people as volunteers and with the use of some clever presentation mentalist will use those clues to perform some super mentalism effects.
What is misdirection?
Misdirection is a skill in which the attention of an audience is controlled to focus them one thing in order to distract its attention from another thing. For example, a magician first show the audience his both hands as empty then using some script/story/patter he will make the audience see his left hand in order to take something out from his right-hand sleeves in his right hand. Managing the audience’s attention is the aim of all professional magicians; misdirection is the central secret of all magic, most important principle of magic.
How to misdirect?
There are three basic ways to “misdirect” an audience. One is to encourage the audience to look away for a fleeting moment, so that the sleight or move may be accomplished undetected. The second approach is to make a large visible movement which looks significant but has no direct role to play in accomplishing the magic and behind large action make a small action which actually matters to accomplish the act. First two methods are used by almost all the magicians. The third approach has much to do with maneuvering the audience’s perception, where the minds of the audience members are distracted into thinking that an extraneous factor has much to do with the accomplishment of the feat, whereas in reality, it has no bearing on the effect at all. This approach is generally used by mentalists.
How to practice misdirection?
1) Magician Harlan Tarbell suggests trying this little experiment to prove to yourself that people follow your eyes. Pretend you are throwing a coin up into the air and look up to an imaginary point that the coin reached — but really retain the coin in your hand. The eyes of the spectators will look upward just as you did. You can do this many times and each time the audience will look upward.
2) Stand before your mirror and watch yourself. Take a coin in your left hand. You are going to get the effect of passing it to your right hand. For a few times really pass the coin from your left to your right hand. This is to give you Naturalness in faking the pass and also to give you an opportunity to observe how your eyes go from your left to your right hand. After you have done this a few times, go through the same moves but retain the coin by finger palming it in your left hand. Close your right hand as if you had the coin. Your eyes must follow the pretended passing of the coin just as they did when you actually passed it. Your audience will follow your eyes to your right hand and will not even notice your left hand. It is unbelievable until you try it yourself how easily large objects like bottles, glasses, balls and even rabbits and pigeons can be moved about almost under the very noses of the audience without their seeing or suspecting anything if you know the Art of Misdirection.
While applying misdirection magician need to be careful about the glance of his own eyes. The audience follows magician’s eyes. If you are showing left hand to the audience hiding something in your right hand, then you must never look at your right hand, you must keep looking at your left hand only. Your audience will follow your eyes to your left hand and will not even glance at your right hand and you can comfortably achieve the desired result. Even a sleight glance at your right hand will lead someone in the audience to follow your glance and suspect that you have something concealed in your right hand.
Almost every trick has some element of Misdirection in it. So remember, in performing your trick —never look at the opposite end of your effect. By the opposite end, Tarbell means the thing you are really doing — that is, looking at your hand which is holding the coin, rather than looking upward for the effect. If you look at your hand, the audience will look at your hand—that is the opposite end. If you look upward, the audience will look upward — that is the effect.
One thing you must keep in mind is that it is a psychological fact that a person does not hold his attention on any one thing for more than a few seconds. Your job is to keep renewing his attention by the things you say or by varying the thing this person is to attend to — until you get your work out of the way. You must work fast so that you don’t bore the spectator and find him watching you instead of the thing he should be watching. You must remember that his attention wanders and you must be quick so that you are through with your “opposite end” before his attention comes back to you. Nearly the whole art of Sleight of Hand depends on this Art of Misdirection. Your seemingly miraculous effects depend on speed and cleverness in directing the attention of the audience away from the opposite end of the effect – away from what you are really doing.
Benefits of Misdirection:
Once you learn the art of misdirection you can perform unlimited magic tricks with it. With misdirection, you can perform magic tricks at any time and anywhere with no special props. A magician should never repeat the trick for the same audience but sometimes it may be necessary to repeat a trick within a short period of time and some of the old audience may be in the new one. You can throw these spectators off the track by presenting the trick by a different method of working. You can add some little twist to the trick, and even those who see it for the second time will not discover how you do the trick. There are “close investigators” in some audiences. You will have no difficulty in mystifying them if you vary your effects, even just a trifle. A magician with expertise in the art of misdirection often fools another magician with this skill. He will introduce a new twist of some kind or a new method of working and he has his fellow magician puzzled.
A considerable information of this article comes from magician Harlan Tarbell’s work.
There are all kinds of magic tricks but a magic trick whose climax takes place in the hands of spectator adds considerable more value to the entertainment. This kind of magic makes the audience believe in real magic because it looks free of sleight of hands as they were the one controlling the trick. Magic in spectator’s hands is particularly effective in street magic. As a professional magician, you must know as many tricks taking place in spectator’s hands and must perform at least one in your performance.
1) Sponge balls to spectator’s hands
2) Aces transportation
3) Ashes on their hands
4) Bill to spectator’s wallet
5) Las Vegas Leaper
6) Cards Across
7) Spectator’s watch stop
8) Paper to hat
10) Do As I Do effects
1) First, learn the art of magic
To perform mentalism you must have the knowledge of magic principles. First, you need to learn magic, then you will learn mental magic and in the end pure mentalism. Mentalism frequently applies tricks and techniques used in magic. You need not be an expert magician to become a professional mentalist. Knowledge of important magic principles prepares you for mentalism.
2) Learn the mentalism tricks
Buy books like Annemann’s Practical Mental Effects and Corinda’s 13 Steps to Mentalism and video lectures which teach mentalism. After you have the knowledge of magic it is easy to understand mentalism. Mentalism does not use complex sleights used in magic. Comparatively, mentalism tricks are easy to learn than magic tricks.
3) Present like a mentalist and not like a magician
The presentation is the most complex part of mentalism. Watch the performance of best mentalists in the world and see how they convince the audience about the power of their mind even if they really doing a sleight of hand. Do not present like a magician if you want to project yourself a pure mentalist.
4) Learn about mind, psychology, body language
Read books about psychology, working of the human mind, conscious and sub-conscious mind, gather knowledge of body language reading, learn about NLP. Use this knowledge and apply it in your day to day conversation with other people.
5) Learn maths tricks, memory techniques, mind tricks
Mentalist must always sound smart and the quickest way to show it is to perform mental calculations correctly and swiftly. Learn fast math tricks, learn memory techniques like peg system to remember the long list of things. Learn about a human calendar, making a magic square in few seconds.
6) Learn about cold reading
As per Wikipedia cold reading is a set of techniques used by mentalists to imply that he knows much more about the person than he actually does.Without prior knowledge, a practiced cold-reader can quickly obtain a great deal of information by analyzing the person’s body language, age, clothing or fashion, hairstyle, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race or ethnicity, level of education, the manner of speech, place of origin, etc. Try to learn as much cold reading as possible.
7) Train your mind
Develop the sharpness of your mind by solving riddles and puzzles. Learn to solve Rubik’s cube. Work on your deductive reasoning and critical thinking skills. Learn about probability and its practical application in everyday life. All of these are things that can help you increase your mind power.
8) Learn Hypnotism
If you wish to go an extra mile then learn the art of hypnotism. A mentalist with hypnosis skills is like cream on the strawberries. Hypnotism is such an impactful skill that it instantly establishes you as a professional hypnotist/mentalist. If you know hypnotism you can showcase your mentalism skills anytime anywhere with no use of props.
1) Attend any basic course in magic
This is the fastest way to start well in magic. If magic classes available in your city, do attend one, it is worth the money. The class won’t make you a professional magician but it will create an unending interest in magic. Practice the tricks you learn in the class alone, then perform it for family and friends and lastly perform it for strangers.
2) Collect the source material
Do some research and shortlist the best books, best magazines and best video lectures in magic. Try to befriend any magician ready to guide you on the subject of magic. While collecting the material follow the order from steps 3 to 8.
3) Learn self-working card tricks
Self-working card tricks are the tricks requiring almost no sleight of hand. You need to remember few steps and follow them as it is to create some amazing magic. Learning card tricks does not demand you to invest money to buy expensive props. If you are really going to stay in magic, interest in card tricks will sustain it. Practice these self-working card tricks alone, then perform it for family and friends and lastly perform it for strangers.
4) Learn complex card tricks
You cannot impress the people enough with self-working card tricks. It is good to start with self-working card tricks but to really make an impact you must know at least ten killer card tricks. The killer card tricks in magic require some advanced techniques and sleight of hand. Practice the tricks alone, then perform it for family and friends and lastly perform it for strangers.
5) Learn magic with simple props
There are lots of magic props which are designed to perform magic with no special skills. These props are like machines built to perform only one function. With right presentation, these props can create an undetectable magic effect. Practice these tricks alone, then perform it for family and friends and lastly perform it for strangers.
6) Learn magic with utility props
Utility prop is an object using which a magician can perform multiple tricks. You need several skills to include utility props in your magic. Some of the utility magic props are: Must have utility magic props
Practice the tricks with utility magic props alone, then perform it for family and friends and lastly perform it for strangers.
7) Learn classic magic tricks
Classic magic tricks like three ball routine, rope routine, linking rings, a bill in a lemon and much more are the foundation tricks of magic. Once a time these tricks are what brought magic into an entertainment industry. These tricks use some props and some essential sleights of hand needed to understand the philosophy of magic. You may not perform these tricks but you need to understand the working of these tricks to understand the magic in detail. Practice these tricks alone, then perform it for family and friends and lastly perform it for strangers.
8) Learn magic with everyday objects
Once you are good at basics till steps 7. Now you should be ready to perform magic tricks with anything and anywhere. Use a spoon, coins, finger ring, paper, cloth, pen, pencil, rubber bands and create a mesmerizing magic. Doing magic trick with any object any time is the job of a pro magician. There are some simple tricks with everyday objects but it will not build your reputation as a good magician. Learn advanced tricks with everyday objects. Practice these tricks alone, then perform it for family and friends and lastly perform it for strangers.
9) Learn about illusions:
Even if you are not going to be a stage performer, you still need to learn the secrets of stage illusions. This will not only make you the expert in magic but it will also help in improving your own performance and one day you never know even you will get interested in doing stage illusions.
10) Focus on limited tricks:
Don’t try to learn all the tricks. Don’t learn all tricks first and then perform all the tricks at once. Instead, learn one set of tricks, get good at it then perform it and then go for learning next set of tricks. You should have the working knowledge of maximum tricks but you need not perform all the tricks. Get expertise in limited tricks and build your reputation performing those magic tricks.
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.
A true magician never reveals the secret and that makes a true magician a famous magician. A magician must treat safeguarding his secrets like safeguarding his money. For a professional magician, his magic tricks are the source of money. Let us consider an example of vanishing a silk using T* prop. Imagine that you have revealed the secret of this trick to some people. Let us consider following effects.
You have ended the fun: You made silk disappear several times before for the people and they were amazed to see it every time you did. You have repeated it few times but they were still amazed. But now they know your secret and if you perform it one more time, don’t expect an applause because you have killed the sense of wonder.
Not your right to reveal the secret: You are not the inventor of vanishing a silk a trick using T*. The original inventor must have designed the T* to keep it a secret. People had praised the inventor to perform vanishing a silk magic routine. But now you have revealed the secret, you have tarnished his reputation as well.
People will further spread the secret: You get emotional and reveal the secret to your close friend or a relative. They even promise you to keep it a secret. But when your friend sees the vanishing silk magic somewhere else by some other magician, they quickly respond to people sitting beside them that they know how to do it, watch magician’s T****. People want to sound smart all the time. They think catching a magic trick is the smart move. Someone rightly said, “three men can keep the secret if two of them die”.
They will ditch you when you perform: Let’s assume you have revealed the secret to your younger brother. Now your cousins visit your home. You show them vanishing a silk magic trick. Your younger brother will shout that he knows the secret and your other cousins will believe that you are no magician it is just a trick, spoiling your performance. Afterwards, your cousins will convince your younger brother to tell them the secret.
After your show, a man comes and congratulate you for an amazing show. Then he mentions he had seen a magic show before who was good and unique like you, but he can not recall the name of that magician. You say thank you and give smile to the man but in your heart, you feel why he did not remember the name of the magician.
Truth is most of the people after enjoying your show remember your tricks but not your name. With the presence of social media, correct mention of our name leads to search of your name on the internet and it may fetch you the next show. Following are some of the ideas you can use to maximise the number of people who would retain your name.
1) Put a backdrop with your name and photograph
2) Ask your clients to spread the news of your magic show
3) Ask the anchor/emcee to mention your name during your introduction few times
4) When you come to the stage introduce yourself by saying your name couple of times impactfully
5) During your show tell a story about your life where you say something like people would ask you, Hey Amit can you show me a magic trick?
6) Repeat your name, your website, your Facebook page address while you close the show.
7) Give away as many business cards as possible
8) If you can reveal your name through a magic trick it makes a great impression on people
9) If your first name is very common, ask for a volunteer with the same name as yours for one of the trick.
Apart from entertainment, magic show is probably the only art which also adds an amazement and sense of wonder. Your guests won’t remember the skill of a singer, musician, dancers. They won’t remember the jokes of stand up comedian or catching skills of a juggler. But a good magic trick, they will remember it for years to come. With a magic trick, they will also remember that they have seen a magic show at your party. Making your party a truly memorable event of their life, and that is your ultimate goal. Following are some of the reasons you must have a magician at your next party.
1) Suitable for guests of all ages from children to adults
2) Appropriate for varying size of the crowd from few people to large gatherings
3) Magic show is cheaper compared to other entertainment because it requires limited logistics
4) It has more entertainment factors comprising storytelling, humor, magic skills all in one show
5) A good magic show is always an interactive entertainment
6) Greater Flexibility with respect to the size of the venue. Magician can perform on the stage or he can go to your guests and perform up close magic at their table
7) Magic tricks can be customized at short notice to suit your event
8) Having a magic show makes your event unique and different
9) Magic show makes your party a memorable experience
10) Magic is making an impossible thing possible, which makes it unique entertainment experience for your guests
11) Apart from entertainment it silently adds an inspiration to people’s lives and that is an invaluable thing
Getting a magic show is not a complete success for a magician, getting more shows from the previous show is the real success. There is no better marketing and sales technique than your own performance. But apart from your professional and immaculate magic skills, there are several things clients look in a magician. These things will affect the number of inquiries and bookings you will get in the future.
1) Quality of magic tricks and routines – Perform some original and unique routines
2) Professionalism of a magician with prior communication
3) Work experience as a full-time magician
4) Style and aura of the magician
5) Interaction of the magician with the crowd
6) Costume of the magician
7) Cost of your magic show
8) Punctuality of a magician
9) Time management of magic tricks
10) Adding extra value to the event in terms of humor, extra time, special magic effect
Any stage artist is more concern about logistics and management of his event than his art. An artist can control his skill, but for other things, he needs to depend on other people. Audience management, audio-visual failures, power cut are some of the frequent shocks an artist had to go through. This risk can be reduced if magician states his requirements and knows his event setup well before his magic show. A magician must ask following questions when a client approaches him for booking a show. All of these questions to be asked only when the client has finalized you. If the client made an initial call with a casual inquiry, don’t throw all the questions on him and consume his time.
1) What type of show client needs? – Close up, Stand Up, Stage show
2) How many people will be attending the show?
3) Type of audience – Only children, only adults, children and adults both
4) Is it a themed event? – So that you can dress accordingly, create a magic tricks suitable to a theme
5) Is there guest of honor (Chief guest or any celebrity)?
6) What is the venue, date and invitation time?
7) Tell your requirements – Ask if they can arrange tables, chairs, PA system etc?
8) If you live in multilingual locality, ask them for their language preference
9) Is the show going to be in an open space or closed venue?
10) What would be their budget for a magic show?
11) Is there other entertainment program planned along with a magic show?
The art of magic is not a usual and regular type of entertainment. Having a magic show at your event is straight away making your event a special one. Being a very unique art, magicians get hired by limited entities, but there are plenty of opportunities for magicians who can get the paid shows from following entities.
1) Restaurant and Resort Owners
2) Amusements Parks/ Theme Parks
3) Tourist cruise ships
4) Travel agencies
5) Event managers for all kinds of social and corporate events
6) NGOs, Charity Organizations
7) Talent Agencies/Talent Managers
8) Social Clubs
9) Summer Camp Organizers
11) Retirement Homes/ Old age homes
12) Theatre groups
14) Toy shop owners/ Toy Libraries
15) Activity Centers
As a professional magician have the of knowledge maximum tricks possible but you need not practice all of them. Sensibly choose the effects which would suit the audience you going to perform for. As a magician, you may love particular magic trick but it may not necessarily impact the audience. A magic trick should be performed like a pro salesman sales the product.
1) Divide a magic routine into small pieces, practice in pieces and then integrate all pieces to practice full routine 2) Practice in front of mirror, be a spectator of your own performance 3) Record your practice videos, watch them and improve your sleights, script and voice tone 4) Practice with exact script/patter you are going to use 5) First practice the effect as performed by expert magicians and then practice your version 6) First decide if you really wish to learn a particular trick, then practice till perfection, do not leave the trick in a middle way because it taking a long time 7) First perform for family, then friends and then strangers 8) Practice in front of your magician friends, ask for their feedback 9) Wherever possible, in place of cell phone, hold the deck of cards in your hand, practice moves like palming, one hand cut etc 10) In place of carrying an empty hand, palm a coin, practice classic palm, finger palm, thumb palm etc 11) Practice when you cannot perform, for example, when traveling by train, flight or waiting at a restaurant or in public place 12) When practicing magic, stay focused- avoid cell phones, television, the presence of people around. Give quality time to your practice. 13) Do not buy a new magic trick or a prop unless you get good at the previous magic trick you bought 14) Get rid of the magic props you don’t need anymore, declutter your collection to save your time.
Depending upon the venue, audience and event following are some of the tested tips to approach strangers and get their permission to perform magic tricks. You need to ensure that they allow you to perform more than one magic trick.
1) Approach a group of adults with their kids. If you ask them if their son or daughter want to see magic, they will mostly agree. Perform one or two tricks which would impress kids as well as adults and then if you perform your best effects for adults they would enjoy your presence.
2) Go to a group of young people like college students, young couples. Nicely ask them “Hey guys, I am a magician and if you are not busy, would you like to see some different kind of magic?”.
3) Make sure when you perform for the first group, their applause reaches to other groups. This establishes your presence and the applause from the first group signifies that you have been doing something wonderful.
4) Sometimes you can ask a host to introduce you to the group. The guests will never turn down the host.
5) If you are going to perform for a group containing both boys and girls, do not talk to the girl first, talk to the guys first. They shouldn’t feel you came e to impress the girls.
6) Don’t start with a magic trick where you have to borrow their money, ring, mobile etc. They should feel comfortable with you before you use their things.
7) Avoid those groups which are in deep discussion with each other. They are probably discussing something more personal and important than a magic trick.
8) Observe the body language of people. Don’t go to people who are in a pensive mood, people who are talking or chatting over the phone. But approach those people who seem to be getting bored in the party.
9) While performing for strangers in street or table hopping magic do not use long scripts or wordy patter. Keep it short and direct. Impress them with your magic and not with your mouth.