7 challenges professional magician encounter

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1) Getting the right price

The entertainment industry is swarming with all kinds of average artists at a cheap price. Though average in their performance these artists still serve the purpose of entertaining the audience. Your clients don’t know much about the difference between an average magician and an exceptional magician initially, so obviously, they go for a magician with low price and you get rejected only for quoting the high price. Because of this an exceptional magician who charges high struggles to get the more shows in starting years.

2) Getting the full attention of the audience

Even the extraordinary magicians performing for a private party goes through a scenario where all people don’t pay attention to magician’s performance and disturbs the whole surrounding with their chatter. After this kind of shows, magicians don’t feel good about themselves even if they get the good money for the show.

3) Waiting for the show to start

As a professional magician you value the punctuality and reach to the venue on time, but guests arrive late sometimes too late. Client requests you to wait more and more till maximum guests arrived. The result is you get exhausted and your time gets wasted which could be put to good use and client don’t pay you extra for waiting time. Because your show begins late, you may also have to curtail the performance time to accommodate other sequences of the party.

4) Cancellation of the show from client

You prepare and plan your week for the next show and couple days before clients inform you about the cancellation of the event because of unavoidable reasons. This is annoying for the magician because he must have denied other leads which came from other clients on the same day, same time because your date was already occupied. This is a straight loss to the magician because he don’t get paid fully and he loses the performance at both the shows which may have fetched him future shows.

5) Cancellation of the show from magician’s side

Sometimes even the magician needs to cancel his performance for the event because of an emergency situation like severe sickness, family issue, flight cancellation etc. This is an unfortunate situation and nothing makes magician feel bad if he himself had to cancel. This puts clients event in jeopardy especially when your performance was the only entertainment activity planned for the event.

6) Managing back to back shows

A magician wishes to perform every day because he loves doing magic and it gets him good money. Sometimes a magician gets lucky and he gets two shows back to back with a time gap of an hour in between. But reaching to the second show on time is challanging because most of the times your first show will start late and that puts magician under pressure because he had to reach the other show on time especially if the client of second show is ready to start the show on time. If magician reaches to next show late, it spoils his reputation.

7) Maintaining a sense of wonder for himself

Magic creates instant wonder, a solid surprise and a delightful mystery for the spectators. This wonder was the primary reason why you became a magician. As a professional magician, you know many secrets, techniques to achieve the end result of a magic trick. Even if you watch other magicians perform you tend to be less surprised. This feeling of not experiencing the wonder may force you to question the purpose and meaning of your work and you may feel that you are not doing enough.

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist) 

18 habits of highly professional magicians

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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.

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)

How to learn magic?

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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.

– 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.

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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)