Before we can start talking about how to be more successful in magic, you have to realize one thing - you have to be good! There is no substitute for that! Yes, you can use a lot of what I am writing in this book to help you get better shows that pay higher fees for better clients, but you will not sustain that for long unless you deliver. You have to be what the client expects and more. You cannot ever disappoint your audience and a standing ovation should be the norm and not the exception. To accomplish this, you have to be devastatingly honest about what you do and how you do it.
I wrote a trilogy called Making Magic Real, Making Real Magic and Essays. These books were designed to help you be the best performer you can be. As I pointed out in the last chapter, there is a mountain of available information from which to choose your material and your performing persona from. There are books, DVDs, VHS tapes, conventions, lectures and private instruction for you to perfect your craft. There is no excuse for not providing top-notch magical entertainment that is totally professional.
I will not give you a time frame for you to base your progress on as that is totally personal. It depends on your effort and dedication, but nothing good comes easily or quickly. Whatever type of magical entertainment you pursue, there are plenty of professionals already successful for you to compare your own skill level with. Just be honest with yourself as to how good you are. Finally, do not be misled. The technical side of magic is the easiest. The sleights and moves that magicians pride themselves with are, by far, the simplest part of magic to master.
Being good goes far beyond just the technical elements of magic. You must also be a good people person. You have to know how to talk to and handle all kinds of individuals. You have to be able to speak to them and command their attention. You have to say things in such a way as to generate interest and make them want to listen to you. I have often said that you should be able to engage a group in a conversation for some time before you do your magic and still come across as a magician! Try talking to someone new and let them know you are a magician. Your first impulse will probably be to do something to prove you are a miracle man. Instead, try to just talk about what you do and see how long you can go before they make you do something!
You also must project a certain image and persona that says you are professional. You are a magician and that should mean you somehow look and act the part. For some, one look may be appropriate and, for others, a different look will fit. But whatever the look, you should look special! I have written about wardrobe and grooming in other places and Tarbell (magic's greatest teacher) also had a lot to say about it. Be concerned not only with your looks, but how you act, your manners, your courtesy and your friendliness. When you walk in the room, people should look at you and know you are someone very special!
Have you seen the show American Idol? Have you sat back and wondered what the heck some of these people are thinking when they get up to sing? It is laughable, but also sad, to see how many of them believe they are really good when they are pitiful. It just goes to show how self-deluded some of us can be.
Do not be like those contestants. The tried and true formula for determining just how good you are is to perform in front of real people. (This does not include fellow magicians or members of your family.) You should perform at every opportunity that's appropriate and leave whoever you perform for radically impressed! They should walk away thinking you are the greatest magician they have ever seen! If you can do this consistently and in all kinds of environments, you will know you are good. If, however, you come across as a nuisance or someone to be put up with, you are not there yet.
This is a test that I have seen a lot of so-called professionals fail at. They may be fine most of the time, but put them in certain situations or with certain age groups and they just do not shine. You need to be a magician anytime, anywhere and for anyone! You need to do your best regardless of who you are performing for. Even if it is a little off-hand stunt for the waitress at your table, or a quick effect for someone you just met, you should try as hard to do your best as you do for your most important show. That is the golden rule to being good. You must do your best every time you perform with every effect you perform!
Let me end this chapter by giving you the converse of the above advice. Imagine you have just arrived for the most important show of your life. You have been flown in first class, picked up by a limousine, are being housed in a fabulous suite and you are being paid more money than you ever thought possible. When you walk into the room where you are to perform, do you want your guests to be better dressed than you, speak better than you and project a better personality than you? And when you finally walk out on the stage to perform, do you want to come across as ill-prepared, unprofessional or uninteresting?
As I said in the previous chapter, success requires responsibility. It is the total package that you are selling and it is your responsibility to make sure that everything you supply is worth what they are paying for.
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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.