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Topic: Help from the pros
Message: Posted by: cycloid (Jan 18, 2004 06:58PM)

I started doing magic in September 2003, and since then I have refined my skills and learned a lot about magic itself.

I usually do magic at school, people stop me and say, "Hey, show us a magic trick." And so I do a few and walk off feeling wonderful.

But what I am really interested is in actual performance. I would really like to do a whole magic routine (which I already thought up of) and perform on stage or maybe in a bar or restaurant. I wouldn't do it for the money, just for the entertainment, and see if I could actually do it.

I was wondering if the "pros" could give me a few pointers on how to start off?

Thank you in advance! :bigdance:
Message: Posted by: pbg739 (Jan 18, 2004 07:32PM)

Whasup brother? If you want to do a show for school or something, go and talk to the principal or the administration, and volunteer your services. A bar is cool, but you might have to work up to that. I would suggest you look into working for hospitals, and retirement homes. You are doing magic to enhance the art. Share your gift with others and trust me, they will appreciate it. PM me if you have any other questions.

Message: Posted by: Vanished Zauberer (Jan 18, 2004 08:00PM)
I just started out doing birthday parties professionally for kids (about a year ago). Right now I want to get some experience so I'm planning on volunteering at a hospital. You should try it out too. It would get you great experience and you would be ready for your first show.

Get a solid routine together with tricks that you have refined and perfected to the tee. Make sure to have a climax, then memorize your routine and go through it every day for a couple of weeks.

When you're ready, which I'm sure you are, go to a local school. Tell the principal that you've been doing magic for a year and you would like to get some experience and exposure doing some shows and you would like to do one there. Hopefully they'll accept and walla, your first show. My friend did this a few days ago and now has his first gig.

I have absolutely no idea about bar work, but you should definitely do a couple of shows before you start at a bar. Restaurant work is brutal because you need to have new tricks all the time (or people will see the same trick twice) and you walk around ALL THE TIME.

For advertising your shows, make flyers and post them around Calgary. If you want to go furthur, get into a newspaper. Just phone them up and say that you're a magician and so on...You could also make a press realese (look on Google). You should really do some birthday parties too because all kids have parties and if you can get your name out there, they'll have YOU at their parties.

Good luck, and if you need some help, email me at magicty_256@hotmail.com. I'm not doing this for a living, but merely for fun and a bit of extra cash. Also, get yourself some business cards, a web site and email address (with your magicial name) and flyers.
Message: Posted by: MattWayne (Jan 20, 2004 02:29PM)
First off- congrats on finding a good- wait let me reword that- awesome hobby! or even a profession if you keep it up. Your ambition for performing is awesome- however I did notice one comment you made. You mentioned that you wouldn't mind not getting paid for your magic. It's great to know when to be nice- but your digging yourself a hole if you continue not to have a rate or a set fee for your performances. When I first started doing restaurant work my first restaurant gig was at a Hilton Hotel- gorgeous place inside- big time money was in this place. I thought I hit it big- ha- well that wasn't the case. I wasn't getting paid for my services. After about three months there- I started to get annoyed; and you will too! Because all I was getting was a free meal- plus I already signed the contract to work there for six months. You need to take the 'upper hand' and not be afraid to charge for the entertainment that you are providing. Trust me- I made that mistake many many years ago. When I did eventually mention it to the manager and 'demand' compensation- I got it. I'm now on my third year of working for them- getting paid- and enjoying it. Think about it.

Also- get some business cards- distribute them everywhere. They will help tremendously!

Get photos taken of yourself- don't get Joe Smoe either. Get a pro that knows what he/she is doing. Might I suggest Anne White- when she is in town. She is a great photographer who is known for her work w/ magicians.

good luck- contact me anytime
Message: Posted by: cycloid (Jan 20, 2004 11:10PM)
Well what I really meant is to not be paid straight away. I am a person who doesn't sign contracts and I wanted to start somewhere just to gather my "skill" and "confidence".

Today, I just went to the local mall and started doing tricks to complete total strangers, and it was good!

Soon everyone in the food court was looking at me, so I had to leave with a big bang... :dance:

Thanks for the advice.
Message: Posted by: JJDrew (Jan 21, 2004 12:44AM)
If you're performing in a mall anyway, you might want to talk to the mall authorities about getting permission. If you're polite and do good magic then you're adding to the ambiance of the mall and they may be willing to pay you for it. If you prefer working without a schedule or simply for the experience, ask them if you can perform there for tips (make sure they know that you will not block traffic or harass people for money). You may not make much cash, but I think of things like that as being paid to practice.

Keep in mind, however, that they may deny permission for you to collect money there as it is private property and trust me, malls do everything they can to squeeze their customers for every penny. They may see money given to you as money taken away from the stores that pay them rent. Your best bet is, if your mall has a stage, to ask for permission to perform there.

Finally, if you like the practice there and don't care if you're not paid, DON'T ask permission. As long as you don't bother people and don't collect money, the mall probably won't mind your doing tricks in the food court, but if you ask permission to stand in the food court and perform for free, they may very well say no because they fear it will negatively affect the shopping experience for the customer. You know that it won't be a problem, but they don't. Once they've told you you can't do something, that's it. Just some food for thought.

Oh, one more thing. If you follow the latter route and simply perform for free for the experience, if you ever have problems with the mall authorities (ie. a security guard walking up and telling you that you can't do that there) do what they say. Be just as nice and sweet as you can be and politely apologize to your audience and tell them the show is over. If you've done a good show, they'll defend you more eloquently then you could have defended yourself and you'll come out of it looking like a hero.
Message: Posted by: cycloid (Jan 21, 2004 04:37AM)
Good point Drew :thumbsup:
Message: Posted by: Thoughtreader (Jan 22, 2004 01:39PM)
If you want professional advice in how to be the best you can possibly be, how to improve on what you do now and how to avoid most of the mistakes magicians usually make then get a copy of "Maximum Entertainment" by Ken Weber. This book will not only help you but will help professionals as well. It is NOT a book to skim and glance through but a book to be studies for years to come and you will not regret it. You can thank me after you have read it twice.
PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Message: Posted by: paulnathan (Jan 25, 2004 05:22AM)
I've been a professional magician all my adult life. I started doing kids parties. It's not a bad gig for someone young or someone starting out. Resturants are great gigs as well. You can go to a local restaraunt (especially one you have a contact with - a cousin who works there or one you go to often so they know you) and offer them a chance to have a magician work there for free for a couple of nights just to see how it goes.

I know a couple of guys who will do this at restaurants when they get slow. They don't charge the restaurant anything they just work for tips and give out cards. They tell me that the tips and the work they generate from giving out there cards is worth the unpaid time.

when I was young I offered a couple of places a free night to see how things worked out... You know try if for a night for free if it works out we'll do a few weeks paid. that kind of thing... It always worked out well for me.

Good luck,

Message: Posted by: cycloid (Jan 27, 2004 12:13AM)
Thanks guys
Message: Posted by: filem (Feb 27, 2004 06:53PM)
On 2004-01-18 19:58, cycloid wrote:

I started doing magic in September 2003, and since then I have refined my skills and learned a lot about magic itself.

I usually do magic at school, people stop me and say, "Hey, show us a magic trick." And so I do a few and walk off feeling wonderful.

But what I am really interested is in actual performance. I would really like to do a whole magic routine (which I already thought up of) and perform on stage or maybe in a bar or restaurant. I wouldn't do it for the money, just for the entertainment, and see if I could actually do it.

I was wondering if the "pros" could give me a few pointers on how to start off?

Thank you in advance! :bigdance:
Start off by doing it for free at every occasion you can. I'm not (only) talking about in school. I'm talking about birthdays and every time there's a group of people invited. This will develop your material and yourself.

After you've done maybe 30 shows like this, then you can go to a restaurant and ask. It is not easy to get a job like this though because your performance must make more customers to the restaurant.

There is another alternative; make your own show! Sell/give out tickets, put up posters etc and invite people to your magic show. Maybe there's even a drama group in shool that can help you?
Message: Posted by: KerryJK (Feb 27, 2004 07:42PM)
This is all good stuff regarding close-up magic, thought I might add the way I and my partner (I don't like calling her an assistant because we work together creatively as a team) are going about getting our fledgling illusion act off the ground.

Similar to the mall thing, we're setting up our initial act deliberately so that it can be done anywhere we can throw a rope down (this is closer to my experience as a juggler in any case, and juggling and other circus skills will inevitably be a part of such an act), with a few other ideas which are just for the stage. Leeds is awash with open mike nights, so it's not hard for us to get chances to premier smaller routines that don't require too much furniture, and though it's not my speciality by any means I do a little card magic to everyone I can just to get some practice on the psychological side of impressing spectators and looking like a magician.

Our main target for our first big performance is a free festival we have here in Leeds called Unity Day which takes place in a big park (lots of rope space!) plus, from talking to one of the commitee members there's a cabaret tent there too where we could get a slot on stage. I still need to do some work to secure this gig (though the whole point of the festival is it's an inclusive thing), but it's a perfect occasion to be aiming for and provides a good time structure for our rehearsals.

Have you checked out free festivals in your area? If you want exposure, there's none better, and there's plenty of time until the summer season when they all take place to be good enough to make it count.

As regards to payment, my philosophy, garnered from bitter experience of being a jobbing musician and learning how it made me hate something I loved, is that whatever art I work in, be it music, magic, circus, writing or anything else, has to be done for the right reasons, which means I have no problem with playing for free if I feel like it, because then it belongs to me. However, people will take advantage if they can, and my rule is that if anyone else is making money out of my efforts, whether directly or otherwise, then I want a cut, and if someone books me for something specific then they're hiring me; I'm not great at marketing (I'd be a far richer person if I was, but I wouldn't be the same person) and am far too good-natured for my own good, but over time I've had to learn to become harder to stop people doing me. There's a difference between working for free because you want to and working for free because you're desperate, and if people get the idea you're doing it for the latter you might as well print up a t-shirt with "wannabe" written across the chest for the amount of respect you'll be shown back. While we're on the subject, when you do go pro/semi-pro resist the temptation to charge bargain fees in order to get more gigs; people will assume that's all you're worth, you'll annoy other performers by wrecking the market rate for everyone and good luck raising your fee later when everyone knows you as the "cheap guy".