The magic of the paid engagement, in which you are doing magic for the public, for money, and your entire reputation is at stake — or at least, being built-up.
The magic of the magic club, good though it may be, is still amateur, and if you think that way, it will be reflected in what you do. If you plan to be a professional, you must start thinking and doing magic as a pro, and every aspect of your magic must fit professional standards.
Nobody pays any attention how you get in front of the crowd when you are doing magic club magic. Professionally, however, being on stage is a trade, an art, that must be studied, starting with the point where you walk on stage. The professional studies his props and tables — he is careful to avoid overcrowding or conditions where anything could mar the performance. Every table and prop is in the same relative position each time it is used — the professional doesn't want to think about tables and props when he is performing. He is too busy being a pro. He wants attention on HIM, not on his surroundings.
Amateurs get very involved in methods, which is right, at their stage of the study of magic. But later, methods, having been learned, must be put in a lesser position to make room for accent on effects. Methods are important, but when you are a professional, effect is more important. Start by studying all the methods for your tricks to find the best one for the effect you want, and then concentrate on that. Make sure the effects are the best you can find
— a professional must be using the best effects he knows.
Think about that in your own magic life
— what are the best effects YOU do?
In the amateur field, it's easy to be the life of the party — tell a joke, sing a song, do a little trick. Lots of amateur magicians, getting the applause of their friends, let it go to their heads. It doesn't really mean they are ready for the stage because they are the life of the party. It isn't easy to be a professional. A good working magician doesn't get that way by accident — it isn't luck alone! Study the professional and see why he is successful. Get to a point in your magic life where you aren't too lost in appreciation of slights — start spending more time on effect.
— most really successful methods are SIMPLE. Think how some of our best and most popular effects are produced: a shell fits over a ball — a metal ring has a cut in it, etc.
Many tricks have the same finish — a large ball, a giant cigar, giant cards, large die, etc. A SIMPLE idea, but proved to be very successful and therefore continued to be kept in use in magic.
Think "simple" for best results in professional tricks.
In selecting tricks — consider that to the layman, four coins, four balls, four cigarettes, four thimbles — are all the same effect! If your professional act is to be really professional you must avoid too much of the "same effect", even though different objects are used.
Think of magic as an art. For instance, I can buy a piano, I know exactly how a piano works, but I cannot play it until I have studied, practiced, polished and perfected my music. So it is with magic.
About YOU. Perhaps one of the most common faults of magicians is trying to be somebody else. You see many lecturers, for example, but take and absorb from them only the knowledge of methods and effects. Don't try to copy their talk, personality, peculiarities, etc. Be yourself. Anybody copying Slydini, for example, can only be a second rate Slydini. How much better to be a first-rate YOURSELF. There is no way to copy fine performers with success.
Your own personality and character enter into your professionalism. Behave like a man
— not like a boy showing off his toys. The "challenge", where you practically dare the audience to find out how you do it, has no place in professional magic. Just because you own and "have" all this stuff isn't going to impress the public. What are you going to do with it to make yourself an entertainer, and to entertain them?
Whatever character you select (or finally arrive at after study) — stay in it. That is how reputations are built. Think of all the famous pros you know, and remember how, from performance to performance, they are still in character. They created it, and they stay with it. This is important.
Along the same line of thought, if you select to be a Chinese magician, don't you use tricks that no Chinese would know about, or have, or use — for instance, a top hat, a cane, etc. If you are going to work in a business suit, stay away from the Oriental effects. You can carry on this analysis by going over your tricks and making these comparisons for yourself. There is one 'out' — you can get out of character without marring the performance if you have a GOOD EXCUSE for it. A man in a tail suit could produce a Chinese umbrella — wrong by most standards — but corrected by the fact that he explains how he became a magician — he was shipwrecked on a Chinese Island, etc., etc.,
— the story covers it up and makes it possible.
Remember that you can't give excuses like that in a silent act!
A professional knows his work so well he doesn't have to be thinking about it all the time. He can devote his time to winning over his audience and being a professional entertainer. For instance, when palming (actually hiding) an object, forget about it! You should not be conscious of the fact that you have an object palmed. It is easier to hide an object than to actually palm it, and a pro finds it best to do things the simple, easiest way, even when it comes to sleights.
A pro always has an 'out'. After many years in the business, you see me doing the same tricks over and over again. Almost nothing can happen or go wrong any more, because I think everything has happened already — but if something did, I make it a point to have an 'out'. If I never have to use it — Good!
Amateurs always like to have and do something NEW. They need this because they are still learning their magic. Professionals don't worry about something new — the audience doesn't know new tricks from old tricks, and you can't be a pro by continually changing and adding to an act. I find I have thrown away much more than I have ever used — sometimes a fine move, a great trick or routine has to be dispensed with for the sake of continuity or effect of the whole. This is professional thinking and it has to be done eventually if yoy are going to make a professional act out of all the magic knowledge you have accumulated.
I will be glad to welcome you to the professional ranks whenever you are ready. Best wishes!
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.