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Nathan Hastings
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New user
Minneapolis, MN
78 Posts

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I've been into magic for years, but I've only been seriously practicing for almost a year. I would like to know, once I have a solid routine down, how do I start generating income? I have magic lessons to pay for and I always want to learn new things, so I need a way to make money with my magic. How do I make the jump from performing for friends and family to being a professional magician? And if you don't think that at age 14 I should be worrying about this, don't be afraid to tell me. I would really appreciate any advice.

Thanks for your time.
"As my plastic surgeon always said: If you gotta go, go with a smile."

-the Joker
mrunge
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Inner circle
Charleston, SC
3717 Posts

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Hi Nathan. Welcome to the Café! You'll find some great people here and some fantastic advice.

Well...you asked, so here goes. At 14, don't even worry about becoming a professional magician. Focus on your school and building your "chops." As you get older and more experienced, you'll then be in a better position to make such decisions.

What does your magic teacher tell you about this? If you want to earn some money, try street performing or put the word out around your school that you're available for parties, birthdays, etc...

The main thing is to just have some fun, be a kid (I was that age once and am now a little older than 14 so I can say that) and don't worry about becoming a professional anything. Have goals and desires, but focus on graduating high school at the moment.

Good luck. Mark. Smile
Louis.P.M
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Loyal user
Montreal, Canada
214 Posts

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I'm not an expert but I am kind in the same position as you.
I have been into magic for more than a year now, and taking classes since January. From what I have read, to create an income I need more than to perform magic tricks. I need a magic act that will entertain and bring something to the client (ie: a succesful party, more guests in a restaurant..).
Birthday parties look like a nice venue to start in. I read a lot in the "Little Darlings" section of the forum and there is loads of tips about children psychology and to entertain kids.
Anyway, I am 22, and on this date I don't even feel ready to get my business cards done, passing the word that I am avalaible for parties. I'm still "building my chops" with free show for the salvation army, daycare, etc...
Like anything else, it must be done carefully to avoid mistakes, and it's a decision worth thinking over.
Andy the cardician
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Inner circle
A street named after my dad
3370 Posts

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Before you take money for your act, try to do as much for free as possible. There is no substitute for the experience of performing for real people. No mirror in the world can do that

Andy
Cards never lie
JamesTong
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Eternal Order
Malaysia
11208 Posts

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Hello Nathan,

Welcome to the Café and also the wonderful world of magic.

My advice for you is to enjoy your life at 14 first. You only get to live the life of a 14, 15, 16, etc once. After that life challenges begins.

This does not mean that you don't work towards becoming better in magic. To earn money in magic you need more than just a couple of routines. You need to have a good entertaining act, a large repertoire of close up effects, marketing skills, etc.

And you also need a lot of experiences. Knowing how to deal with people and audience management are also other skills you need to develop. The best way to start would be performing free shows - for the purpose of testing your materials and improving on your act.

You can also seek the help of your mentor or even the magic shop you hang out with. Join some magic clubs like IBM, SAM, etc to know more people so that they may be able to offer you some support.

Meanwhile enjoy your youth and excel in your learning of magic.
Nathan Hastings
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New user
Minneapolis, MN
78 Posts

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Thank you all so much for your advice. I've finally realized how off track I was. Here I am with a year under my belt trying to learn restaurant magic and wanting to be paid. What a fool I was.... But again, thank you all very much, your words will all be taken very seriously.
"As my plastic surgeon always said: If you gotta go, go with a smile."

-the Joker
mrunge
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Inner circle
Charleston, SC
3717 Posts

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You're not a fool...just inexperienced. Keep those goals in mind and work towards them. Just don't rush the process.

Good luck. Mark. Smile
sethb
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Inner circle
The Jersey Shore
2700 Posts

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Nathan -- every magician has the urge to perform, otherwise they wouldn't be interested in magic, so your desire is pretty normal.

But performing and getting paid for it are two very different things. You must first have something worthwhile, something worth paying for. You must have enough effects (6-10) to have a routine, and you need to perform them well enough so that they are consistently effective.

It's tough to get this sort of experience anymore, there are very few venues where you can learn peformance skills. But take a look at the "Tricks Are On Me" section of the Café', right below the "New To Magic" section you're in. This area deals with places you can perform for free to get experience and polish up your act -- libraries, schools, senior citizen centers, etc. Then you can think about restaurant magic, birthday parties, etc.

Also remember that once you start taking money for your shows, you will have a whole new set of concerns and responsibilities, like negotiating contracts, showing up on time, giving the client their money's worth, keeping records, paying taxes, getting insurance, etc. I don't say this to discourage you, but just remember that there are two words in "show business" -- "show" and "business" -- and they are both important.

Welcome to the Café' and best of luck to you. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Keith Mitchell
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Special user
796 Posts

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I am about to turn 45 and been studying magic for almost two years. The more I learn the more I realize that I have more to learn. Still not ready to be a real magic performer, NO WAY!

Just keep learning, practicing, and having fun.

One good advice for all teenagers, just make sure you are able to get along with a diverse group of people. Learn to respect everyone, then people will have more respect towards you as a magician/individual.
JamesTong
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Eternal Order
Malaysia
11208 Posts

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Nathan, this could be a good starting point (with so many tips shared) for you to develop a goal to become a professionally paid magician. Find out from the experienced magicians here the necessary info you need to achieve your goal. Plan and work out a long term goal, a mid-term goal and also a short term goal and move on towards that dream, if it is really your dream.
jimhlou
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Inner circle
3622 Posts

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Nathan:

There's lots of good advice here for you. Perform for as many groups as you can - cub scouts, mom's card parties, etc. Do it for free, the money will come later. And if you don't already have a business card, get some made up.

Jim
Jaz
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Inner circle
NJ, U.S.
6112 Posts

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All the suggestions above are very good and Jim has similar ideas to mine.
Volunteer! Read "The tricks are on me!" category.

Hospitals, scouts, community fairs and picnics, nursing homes, charity dinners will all build your chops as well as get you networking.

Since your interest seems to be table hopping and strolling I suggest that your routines be a few modular closeup sets of 2 or 3 effects. Use these in your voluteer work.
At some point, and if you're good, you will be asked if you do private parties and other events. Many of these will likely want a parlor type show rather than strolling. If you're not ready then say no but get contact information.
So, while you build you chops strolling, I suggest that you put together a 30-45 minute parlor act for private parties. This act should include entertaining effects for both kids and adults. When ready start promoting get some biz cards and call on those who asked about private parties earlier.

You've got time.
Best to ya,
Nathan Hastings
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New user
Minneapolis, MN
78 Posts

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This forum thing is going to be very very useful. Already I've learned so much, it seems I learn something new or get a great tip with every post someone writes. Once again, thanks to everyone who took the time to help me out. I'm already working on some effects for the venues you've all mentioned.
"As my plastic surgeon always said: If you gotta go, go with a smile."

-the Joker
JamesTong
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Eternal Order
Malaysia
11208 Posts

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Go for it and you will be rewarded in many ways. You are already progressing, Nathan.
Andy the cardician
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Inner circle
A street named after my dad
3370 Posts

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Way to go my friend . . . if you are good, people will ask you after a show "what do you charge for my event?" That is the point where you know that you are there . . .
Cards never lie
Dynamike
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Eternal Order
FullTimer
24098 Posts

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Nathan, one thing that is important is how your goal is set. Do you want to be a professional close-up or stand-up magician. If you are looking forward for close-up, try restaurants and hospitals. If you are looking forward to stand-up, try volunteering in schools and non-profit organizations like the Salvation Army.
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