Be a process oriented magician not goal oriented magician

amit kalantri blog

We have been taught and trained to set a goal for ourselves in order to be a successful in any profession. I won’t comment about other areas, but being a professional magician I can responsibly say that a magician should be process oriented and not goal oriented. Imagine at the current state of your preparedness you set a goal and start working towards it. In reality, you have limited the possibilities for yourself by setting a goal.

You can set a goal only on the basis of your present knowledge, skills, perception. You have not experienced all the scenarios in the business of magic. Even if you are a skilled magician you may have set ambitious goals like to be the most famous magician in the world. When you reach to it, you may realize that you could have been the most famous artist in the world leaving behind actors, singers, musicians etc had you taken some steps in the past.  But you missed those steps in the process, you kept your eyes only on the goal and now you are sad in spite of achieving your set goal.

Let’s say you want to grow oranges, orange is your goal. But is the orange going to appear by always thinking of oranges, no it won’t. To grow oranges you will need orange seed, soil, sunlight, manure, water etc. None of these raw things taste like orange but eventually they give you orange, this is also a magic. You take care of the process to grow orange and oranges will come.

Similarly, imagine you want be a professional magician, so your priority should be the process of being a skilled magician. You learn right sleights rightly, you research rightly, write right script, buy right props, you practice right, do right marketing. When the opportunity arrives you will give the best performance like a seasoned professional magician. You need absolutely devoted to the process and need not think about the goal.

Your ability to enhance your magic business is possible if you are undeniably committed to the process. Watch the people we call successful, look at their faces and you will be surprised to know that hardly anybody of them is joyful. They probably achieved the goal they set it for them, but now they realized it was a meager and insignificant goal so they disappointed. Those who couldn’t achieve even the small goals are frustrated because they avoided the process. What is the point of being a man of this kind.

When I just started into professional magic, I set the target of doing 50 shows in a year. To get my first ten shows it took little time. It seemed to me I will not be able to fetch 50 shows in that year. Then I realized, I was not making significant impact on the audience and also that I was not marketing myself enough. I changed some of my magic effects, I updated my scripts, I learned the sleights I was afraid to do  and I added more acting and drama to my performance etc. During this process change I had forgot about the target of 50 shows in that year. After I enhanced my process, my leads enhanced and I got more and more shows. At the end of year I had performed more than 100 shows in that year.

Initially as per my understanding I was good enough for 50 shows, but when I dedicated myself to the process of learning magic, I surpassed my own expectations. So don’t worry about result, target, goal. Just take care of the process and just like magic everything will fall into place.

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)

Why “sleight of hand” is the most important skill in magic?

These days many magicians keep looking for easy to perform self-working magic props. They keep on buying most of the automatic magic props which hit the market. It is possible to be a good magician using only props along with good storytelling and showmanship skills. But it is not possible to be a great magician without being good at sleight of hand. A magician who is good at sleight of hand not only satisfy the people with entertainment but also satisfy himself with his skill. Following are some worthwhile reasons why you should practice and get good at sleight of hand.

1) You can truly perform impromptu magic tricks anytime anywhere

2) You can perform magic tricks with borrowed objects

3) At the end of sleight of hand magic trick, the magician is clean, spectators can verify everything

4) Sleight of hand is not easy to catch using eyes and logic

5) You need not buy expensive fancy props, so ultimately you save money

6) Because of fewer props, you can pack less, travel light and still play big in the show

7) Sleight of hand magic makes you look like real magician

8) Sleight of hand makes you respectable even in the magic fraternity

9) With original sleight of hand moves, even magicians won’t be able to catch you

10) A magic trick which is performed with original sleight of hand moves does not get copied easily unless you reveal the moves

11) Once you get good at particular sleight and stop performing it after few days, you will still be able to recall it quickly when required in the future.

12) With enough sleight of hand moves, you can repeat the magic trick without getting caught.

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)

 

8 little things to grow the reputation of magic show

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.

details

1) Punctuality
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.

5) Vanishes
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.

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)

How to handle hecklers trying to spoil your trick?

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.

hecklers

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.

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)

10 clever and powerful marketing ideas for magicians

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.

marketing

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.

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)

11 secret tricks for magician’s website to get more shows

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.

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.

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)

 

 

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.

amateur.jpg

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)

Why magician must not reveal the secrets?

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.

top-secret

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.

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)

Best Opener Magic Tricks

An opening magic tricks should be quick and eye catching. The purpose of opening trick is to hook the audience to the stage and set the expectations to high of whats coming next in the show. Following are some the popular openers, which does not involve the participation from the audience.

  1. Bowling Ball from Drawing Book
  2. Basketball from briefcase
  3. The ring, watch and wallet
  4. Splash bottle production
  5. Vanishing cane in newspaper
  6. Newspaper tear and restored
  7. Flash paper to cane
  8. Polka silk with vanishing and restoring dots
  9. Chinese sticks magic
  10. Pom pom pole magic
  11.  TT Silk Vanish
  12. Linking rings

-Amit Kalantri (Magician and Mentalist)

Must-Have Content For Magician’s Profile

Whenever new clients hire a magician, they would want to see magician’s profile. In general, a professional magician’s profile should contain the following information, not necessarily in the same order as given below.

  1. Name: Your screen name (Performing name)
  2. Profession: Write specifically if you are comedy magician, street magician, corporate magician, mentalist, illusionist, motivational speaker etc
  3. Skills: Write if you perform close up magic or stand-up magic or stage magic. If you perform all kinds of magic write that as well.
  4. Experience: Your professional experience in magic. Don’t count those years when you were learning magic.
  5. Languages Known: Mention all local and international languages you speak
  6. Events: Write for what kinds of events your show is suitable. Corporate gatherings, social gatherings, trade shows, weddings, birthday parties etc
  7. Bio: Write the summary about your magic show explaining how it is better and different than your peers. Do write about entertainment and interaction your magic show provides.
  8. Career Highlights: Mention about awards and accolades you received in the field of magic.
  9. Clients: Write the list of prominent clients you served over the years
  10. Photos: Include high-quality photos of your magic shows. Do not forget to include the photos of any press releases and media coverage.
  11. Contact details: Email, Contact number, Website etc.

-Amit Kalantri (Magician and Mentalist)