As I am sitting here on Granville Island waiting to head out to my show tonight at 8:35pm at Studio 16, I keep thinking back to a conversation I had about who magic is for. As a performer of Magic myself, I have a very strong view on this subject and whether or not it is popular opinion, it is my opinion and I am sticking to it.
Remember! Magic is for the general public. Laypeople… Sorry non-magicians, this doesn’t mean your lame, it’s just…your muggles okay…you’re muggles. But this is okay. Without people who don’t understand how magic works, my job would not exist. But my point here isn’t really for the general public, it’s for the magicians in the group who are only trying to do magic that will fool magicians. I think there is a time and place for that at places like the Magic Castle, conventions, personal jams, etc… but out in ‘public’, be aware of your audience. They want to see stellar magic and probably don’t care that you can do 27 really awesome card slinging moves. My shows are simple, pack a punch, and my audiences love them. That… Is all I care about.
Remember! Presentation is everything. Even the most simple of trick can be made to seem grand as long as your presentation is on. If you are a boring presenter, no matter the effects, people won’t want to watch you. This doesn’t mean you need to have nine dancers and four tigers on stage while you run around and wave heavy silks while your assistant climbs into a box and disappears… you can do that if you want but having an interesting story would work just as well, if not better to captivate and hold your audience. The worst thing you can do, as a new magician especially, is get a trick, read/watch the instructions once and then start performing it as is. You have no patter, you have no presentation. Even if you are executing the trick perfectly, no one cares because the presentation lacks.
Which brings me to my third point…
Remember! To Practice. I am terrible for this myself. I get bogged down in other activities or work that seems to pile up and I forget to practice or worse, purposefully put it off. Don’t do this. Set aside time to work on your show. Even if its 10 minutes a day, it’s something. Like the old analogy, it’s like riding a bike, you never forget…. I don’t think this is necessarily true. You may not forget but you do get rusty, your moves might not be as fast, your patter might not be as flashy, you might forget one portion of the routine. Practice is important for all these reasons. The last thing you need is to get to a show and blank on something that used to be routine simply because you ‘didn’t have time’ because that is when it counts… you’ll be wishing you made time now.
Remember! to Write. Writing is such an important part of the creative process. By writing, you let your mind go to places is never would have without the encouragement of pencil to paper. Whether its journaling, scripting, routining, joke writing, or whatever else you may have to write about. Just write. And if you are thinking to yourself, ‘I’ve tried writing, I’m no good at it’, try again. Sit down with your notepad or journal or book, give yourself a task, for example, “today I am going to write a new coin routine”. It doesn’t have to be a new effect, just take a coin routine you currently have and re-write the story or presentation. By giving yourself a structure, you are pushing yourself in one direction, thus eliminating the burden of trying to decide which idea to pick from when you are free-thinking/ writing.
Remember! To sell yourself. Now, I don’t mean to go to the corner in a scantily clad outfit and wait for Johns…NO! I mean when you are marketing your show to clients, be sure they know who you are or your character is. They want to buy you to be at their event. Yes you do magic and that is interesting but you need to be interesting yourself. Sell yourself to your clients, not your magic.
Remember! Why you got into magic in the first place. Chances are you are like the thousands of other amateur and professional magicians who started magic at a very young age and it stuck with you for many years as you grew into an adult. Think back to the time you first got interested and what that feeling was like, fooling your mom or dad with a vanishing silk or watching the statue of liberty disappear or seeing Michael Ammar on the Tonight Show. When your appetite for magic starts to subside remember why you got hungry for it in the first place.
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Until next week,