Magicians: Stop Being Crap (A Guide To Being An Awesome Magician)
Over the years I have seen some amazing magicians. I’ve also seen some terrible magicians. There are amazing magicians that treat magic like the art form that it is. They further the art and make everyone they meet love magic. Then there are the crap magicians I have met. These ‘performers’ suck the life out of a room like a vacuum and make every person they perform for 'hate' not just their performance but magic as a whole.
This is less of a blog and more of a rant. You see, over the years I have noticed that there are several things that all bad magicians do. In this blog I’m going to highlight these and explain why they are bad and what to do about it. If you are reading this and you are a crap magician perhaps you can learn something (although I doubt it).
I should point out I’m not taking about all magicians. The majority of magicians are great. However, any magician will tell you there are some awful magicians that give magic a bad name. And if you are reading this and you think I’m talking to you then I probably am.
So without further ado... it's time to stop sucking.
1. Stop looking for the holy grail that will make you a superstar. Magicians are constantly searching for that special trick that will make them famous. There is no such thing. There isn’t ONE trick that you can do that will make you famous. It’s hard work, determination and a never say die attitude. When David Blaine first went on TV he was doing the same tricks everyone else was doing. That should speak volumes.
2. Stop practicing magic and start practicing performing. Magicians will spend hours and hours practicing moves they will probably never use in order to fool spectators. However, they won’t put any effort into learning how to perform. It’s why so many magicians are crap at performing. You need to start buying books on performance and stop buying books about tricks. Join an amateur dramatics class. Learn about stage craft and voice projection. It’s not all about the tricks.
3. Stop taking paid gigs until you are ready to perform for money. People new to magic rush out to start getting paid gigs before they know what they are doing. I’ve lost count the amount of times I’ve seen on the internet magicians asking for advice because they have a gig in a few days and they don’t know what to do. I’ll tell you what to do - don’t take money to perform at a gig you aren’t ready for. There are loads of places you can perform for free. Open mic nights, care homes, schools, friends and family - the list goes on. Get good somewhere else because if you take money for a performance before you are ready it will reflect badly on you and it will be awful for the magic industry as a whole.
4. Learn something else other than card magic. Now don’t get me wrong there are some
awesome performers that specialise in card magic. Daniel Chard who is part of Slightly Unusual is a great example, he’s one of the best card magicians in the world. But he’s the exception and not the rule. And even Daniel occasionally does magic that isn’t card magic (he just doesn’t like to admit it!). Learn to be an all rounder. Learn every aspect of magic. Not just close up but stage magic as well. Become an all rounder.
5. Learn how to get everyone to love you. Close up magic is all about interrupting people and getting them to want to talk to you in ten seconds. It’s a difficult skill that’s hard to acquire. The problem is that a lot of magicians are social inept and not very likeable. It comes from spending all evening in their bedroom shuffling their decks. Read books like ‘How To Win Friends And Influence People’. Learn how to be likeable. Go and in public and make friends. It will help way more than the latest flashy move.
6. Stop trying to be famous among magicians. I did this for years. I spent many years hosting a review show for magicians because I thought it would further my career. It didn’t. I see new magicians rushing to publish their own original trick (that probably isn’t original - again I have experience of this!). They spend more time reinventing the wheel. Their tricks that they create are normally rubbish and it leads to more watered down crap going into magic shops.
7. Stop trying to be (insert name of famous magician here) and start being you. I’ve met magicians that are competent performers but they are a carbon copy of another magician. It’s obvious these magicians have watched a DVD or downloaded and copied the performance word for word. Create your own character, your own presentations and your own lines. Don’t be the best Jay Sankey be the first YOU.
8. Social media is a great platform but at some point you will have to perform for real people. The amount of tricks that can only really be performed to camera is insane. They are created and released to pander to a generation of YouTube magicians. I get the obsession with performing on social media - I put a lot of videos online. But at some point you have to perform for real people and some of the tricks you have been doing on your YouTube channel just won’t work. Learn how to perform for real people. All that practice you’ve done at learning to speak to people needs to get used at some point.
9. Learn to perform for all types of audiences. I have seen magicians booked to perform at weddings and they have refused to perform for children. They say they don’t know how to perform for kids. Well here’s an idea - Bloody we’ll learn how to. I’m not suggesting you become kids magicians (although there is nothing wrong with that!). I’m suggesting if you are booked for an event you should be able to perform competently for everyone at that event. And weddings have a lot of kids. Deal with it.
10. Stop being jealous of other magicians. I meet magicians that are upset that they aren’t as successful as another magician that posts on Facebook about how amazing they are. Firstly don’t compare yourself to others. All you can do is be the best version of you. Trying to emulate someone else is never a good idea. Secondly don’t believe everything you read on social media. It’s not always true. The grass might be greener on the other side of the fence but generally that’s because the grass is fake.
So there you have it. If I had to give you an eleventh point it would “don’t be shit”. Remember every time you perform you represent the whole of the magic community. You owe it to yourself and all other magicians to be the best you can be.
If you would like to hire the best for your event then Slightly Unusual is your absolute best option. 👇