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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » I want to be an Illusionist (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Jade Ferrer
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Philippines
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Hello!

I've been doing magic ever since I was 8 and have been performing professionally for about 10 years now. I've recently finished my degree in Technical Theatre and am planning to pursue illusions. I have no idea where I will start. I have researched about plans and yet I still find myself clueless on where to begin.

I've recently just finished S. H. Sharpe's book and I somehow have some of the concepts done.

What illusions should I try building first, given that I have very limited resources, but I can go the extra mile in doing carpentry and painting.

I would really appreciate the guidance.

Thank you!
Mark Boody Illusionist
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Inner circle
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Jade

Are you interested in just building illusions or performing? Or both?

Here are some resources that can help you:

https://abbottmagic.com/So-You-Want-To-B......oryId=-1

https://davidandteesha.com/product/on-stage-with-illusions/

http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S20291

http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S13326

http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S22223

This should be more than enough to get you started!

Best of luck

Mark
jimgerrish
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East Orange, NJ
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Do you want to create an illusion experiences for an audience, or do you want to build boxes and have a lot of big stuff to haul around? That's the question you should be asking yourself at this point. If your idea of being an illusionist is owning a lot of big boxes, each one capable of doing one thing illusion-wise, then good luck and I hope you have a lot of money to invest in your dream. If you want to create an illusion experience that does not depend on a lot of big props or having a lot of money, then good luck, you have your work cut out for you, but you'll believe in your own magic more than in the boxes you own.
Frank Simpson
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SW Montana
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While a degree in Technical Theater is a very valuable thing, to be a performing illuisionist you would have done well to have pursed a degree in acting.

The building/painting skills you've acquired will undoubtedly be useful in building/refurbishing illusions. Very much so. But they won't help you to present an effect. The most important thing an illusionist needs is a personality that engages an audience all the way to the back row. And that's not something you can build in the shop with lumber and paint.

I'm sure you understand from production meetings with technical directors, designers and the director how important it is to have a unified vision for a show. The director's only goal is to tell the story as effectively as possible, and to that end he'll have certain ideas, demands, suggestions etc. to bring those about as he consults with the tech team. He also collaborates with the actors to achieve the same goal, utilizing the actors' skills in movement, diction, emotions, etc., etc.

An illusionist is an actor. Nothing more or less. Well, unless he's a box-pusher-arounder in which case his career will be a short one.

Showmanship is far more important than most people who call themselves magicians realize. And honestly the best way to hone those skills, at least initially, is to get experience performing in shows that have absolutely nothing to do with magic. Get cast in some plays and/or musicals. The rudiments of performing (blocking, projection, choreography and more) are often better learned when we aren't focused on the "cool magic trick", which honestly is only a distraction until one has a thorough understanding of stagecraft.

If you're lucky, when you begin to present illusions you can find a director who understands both magic and theater. Though magic is theater, and good direction is a must, magic has its own peculiarities and needs that many directors cannot or will not understand.

It's a slow process, but if done methodically and with purpose there's no reason you can't become an illusionist. But there is NO shortcut.

Best of luck!
Frank Simpson
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SW Montana
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I just came across an interview with the legendary Johnny Thompson. His answer to the first question is worth its weight in gold!

Click here to watch it.
FrankFindley
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Quote:
On Apr 27, 2018, Jade Ferrer wrote:
What illusions should I try building first


What type of venues and what team will you have? A cruise ship performer working alone has a very different act vs a two person travelling platform show vs a multi-person stage act. All of these will draw upon your technical skills but in different ways.

Also, what illusionettes and other effects do you already have? And what is your performance style?
Chezaday
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Naperville, IL
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Let's start with David Seebach's book "So You Want to be an Illusionist" that's a good place to start. Build your show up slowly, one illusion at a time. It's not an easy road to survive ... trust me!

Steve
Jade Ferrer
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Philippines
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Quote:
On Apr 27, 2018, Mark Boody Illusionist wrote:
Jade

Are you interested in just building illusions or performing? Or both?

Here are some resources that can help you:

https://abbottmagic.com/So-You-Want-To-B......oryId=-1

https://davidandteesha.com/product/on-stage-with-illusions/

http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S20291

http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S13326

http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S22223

This should be more than enough to get you started!

Best of luck

Mark


The end-goal really is to be able to tell stories through illusions. The reason for asking about how to build illusions is mainly because I don’t have the financial capacity to purchase illusions. Thanks for these! Will definitely check these out! Great thanks!
Jade Ferrer
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Philippines
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Quote:
On Apr 27, 2018, jimgerrish wrote:
Do you want to create an illusion experiences for an audience, or do you want to build boxes and have a lot of big stuff to haul around? That's the question you should be asking yourself at this point. If your idea of being an illusionist is owning a lot of big boxes, each one capable of doing one thing illusion-wise, then good luck and I hope you have a lot of money to invest in your dream. If you want to create an illusion experience that does not depend on a lot of big props or having a lot of money, then good luck, you have your work cut out for you, but you'll believe in your own magic more than in the boxes you own.


At the end of the day, what I want is for people to see beyond what is possible. This philosophy of mine is never exclusive to grand illusions. The reason for the bigger investment and commitment is because I believe I’ve come to the point in my magic journey that I believe some of the stories I want to tell will require the use of illusions.
Jade Ferrer
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Philippines
61 Posts

Profile of Jade Ferrer
Quote:
On Apr 27, 2018, Frank Simpson wrote:
While a degree in Technical Theater is a very valuable thing, to be a performing illuisionist you would have done well to have pursed a degree in acting.

The building/painting skills you've acquired will undoubtedly be useful in building/refurbishing illusions. Very much so. But they won't help you to present an effect. The most important thing an illusionist needs is a personality that engages an audience all the way to the back row. And that's not something you can build in the shop with lumber and paint.

I'm sure you understand from production meetings with technical directors, designers and the director how important it is to have a unified vision for a show. The director's only goal is to tell the story as effectively as possible, and to that end he'll have certain ideas, demands, suggestions etc. to bring those about as he consults with the tech team. He also collaborates with the actors to achieve the same goal, utilizing the actors' skills in movement, diction, emotions, etc., etc.

An illusionist is an actor. Nothing more or less. Well, unless he's a box-pusher-arounder in which case his career will be a short one.

Showmanship is far more important than most people who call themselves magicians realize. And honestly the best way to hone those skills, at least initially, is to get experience performing in shows that have absolutely nothing to do with magic. Get cast in some plays and/or musicals. The rudiments of performing (blocking, projection, choreography and more) are often better learned when we aren't focused on the "cool magic trick", which honestly is only a distraction until one has a thorough understanding of stagecraft.

If you're lucky, when you begin to present illusions you can find a director who understands both magic and theater. Though magic is theater, and good direction is a must, magic has its own peculiarities and needs that many directors cannot or will not understand.

It's a slow process, but if done methodically and with purpose there's no reason you can't become an illusionist. But there is NO shortcut.

Best of luck!


I couldn’t agree more! The degree I finished was BA Theatre Arts Major in Technical Theatre. Though I spent most of the time behind the scenes doing Technical work, I’ve had my own fair share of Directing, Movement, and Acting Classes. Heck, my advisers were even wondering why I took the entire Acting Series (Beg., Intermediate, Adv) when all along I wanted to finish off as a Tech Major.

I see where you’re coming from and since the ‘Magic is Theatre’ concept in the Philippines is so young, I am on finding the perfect director for my show
thomasR
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You were quite smart to get a degree in technical theatre. So many stage performers don't understand (or worse think they know better) when it comes to theatre tech.

In addition to David Sebachs book I would also reccomend J C sums book on producing a solo illusion show. With your tech. Background I think it will give you LOTS of ideas and it goes through creating a full stage illusion show with no "trained assistants"
Jade Ferrer
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Quote:
On Apr 29, 2018, thomasR wrote:
You were quite smart to get a degree in technical theatre. So many stage performers don't understand (or worse think they know better) when it comes to theatre tech.

In addition to David Sebachs book I would also reccomend J C sums book on producing a solo illusion show. With your tech. Background I think it will give you LOTS of ideas and it goes through creating a full stage illusion show with no "trained assistants"


Wonderful. Thank you for this! I will surely check this out. Smile
Lin_
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I would(or will) not be an illusionist, however, as the illusion researcher, maybe I could make another comment:

1. The next trend for Stage illusion is Media art. So if you want to top-leading illusionist, you have to learn to way of media creation and computer techniques.
The Ehrlich brothers introduced the new way of illusion some years ago, however, it should not the end of revolution. At the present, in the illusions which using the Media arts, the Illusionist and the assistants are busy to follow the exact time of movies: this is very problematic. with some sensors, we could operate illusions with the sync of real-time movement of assistants, which will block the malfunctions in presentations.

2. The reality-visibility of the effect will be important.
The audience in nowadays have develop their media literacy and their eyes, and this is the only threat to magicians. The new leading illusions have to be perfect in the visible level, which do not show the any clues to the audience, but at the same time, it have to make assistants more safe and comfortable. The recent illusion of sawing in half effect of Steve Wyrick, satisfy this criteria.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkNj583yRiw

3. The character of illusionist would be have to be revised.
I do not agree with characters of the modern magician. most of them wear the formal suit, shirts and jeans, and some of costumes (in India or China). Is it only option which we could think of? Some years ago, the Primavera, the Idol group in Japan, have made the illusion performance with their J-POP(they have PVs with Op art Illusion, etc). We could find more creative powerful way of illusion performance.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggH4JPh7xvI

4. Read books·movies with illusions & imagine new illusion idea.
I would like to recommend some more illusion books. The Illusion books of Paul Osborne (with illusion systems 1-4, and the black book) and Illusionworks 1-4 by Rand Woodbury, Advanced Illusion Projects of Tim clothier, and the vivify of mark parker, show the present movement of stage illusion. and See the many illusion movies in Youtube(I have made some playlists, and others have more many playlists), and think of the ideas of your original illusions- which will be the your IP.
George Ledo
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Magic Café Columnist
SF Bay Area
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You may want to check out my post on "How to get into illusions" in the Buffet section here. My degree was in Set Design and I've spent most of my life around the entertainment industry, so my perspective is based on that.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=173

And sorry about the blanked-out photos. They were the victims of Photobucket's decision to start charging $400/year for posting photos on third-party sites.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
Rodney
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Texas
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Keep in mind Illusion shows are Built overtime. I would suggest starting out with an illusion that can be performed on stage or smaller platforms, such as Modern Art or zig zag. In the beginning most Illusionist don't have a dedicated assistant, Illusions like these allow you to work with someone your not paying for Hours of rehearsal time. The illusions are angle proof and can be transported without the need of trailers and trucks which you probably don't have at this part of your career. Try to stay away from tricks at first that require special costuming and long hours of practice with your assistant. Even a trick like Metamorphosis takes months of practice too perfect and a rehearsal space with very high ceilings. As your show grows and you learn how to market this type of show you will eventually be able to afford the equipment, Storage, rehearsal space, transportation and dedicated personnel you'll need to have a full evening illusion show.
Congratulations on your degree. Becoming an Illusionist is a tough path, however, when you achieve it you'll be in a small minority of top paid performers. good luck push and hard.
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