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Bill Palmer
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I, too, would have to agree with the naysayers. If you don't have a really stable relationship with your girlfriend, then having her as an assistant can be a disaster. If you break up, she can RUIN your show for you.

My wife and I have a really great marriage. This is partially due to the fact that I don't expect her to be a box jumper and she doesn't expect me to participate in Scottish Country Dancing. I go to her performances, applaud and enjoy myself. Sometimes I run sound for her. But I am not a Scottish Country Dancer.

She knows I'm a perfectionist and she is afraid she will mess something up. However, she also knows that I am not going to run off with some little cupcake just because she can fit in the Indian Basket Illusion.

I have had some wonderful assistants, and a couple of dogs! But the wonderful ones were great, and I was never tempted to wander off with them.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."
Bill Hegbli
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A lot depends on wheather your girlfriend or wife really enjoys magic. Not many do, so if she is doing it because you want her to, forget it.

I have never found a woman that I had a relationship with that wanted to perform in my show. Thus I am going on 25 years with a wife.

The other side is how jealous will your girl friend or spouse be if you hire someone. This can cause problems if you travel a lot. When you get home the house may be dark or your cloths on the lawn.

Very serious considerations to be made up front.
Rob Johnston
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I think the greatest Assistant I have ever seen is the WIFE of Johnny Thompson. She cracks me up and adds so much to the show. I love to see her on stage with The Great Thomsini.

If you have doubts about using a girlfriend or wife...just watch Johnny perform.
"Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable." - Margot Fonteyn
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Profile of SWMagicsPinkLady
I think it's a great idea. And, too we do keep Magic Secrets to ourselves. I am dating a Magician but has no calls for me to be his at this time. And, I love too be involved because it is a wonderful thing to share.

"I Love Magic"..
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Profile of Red_Magic_Jones
Boy what a sticky topic!
This was somthing that I know that Robert wrestled over when we got together. We didn't end up hooking up like a normal dating couple, a friend of ours (who also happends to be a magician) got us together under the pretense that Robert needed a new assistant (I had no idea he was intersted in dating me till later). So poor guy wanted me as his assistant and wanted to date me at the same time. From what he had told me he tried using a girlfriend before as his assistant and it didn't work out. Our first date was to a magic show and our second to a lecture, and neither one of us really wanted to mix business and personal, but we decided to give it a shot. Turns out that it worked out amazing for us. With our crazy schedules we could spend time together practicing and performing. And later on down the road we ended up tying the knot, and I made the move from assistant to partner in show. So I guess I would say it really depends on each of you as individuals. No one answer is going to be right for everyone.
Bob Sanders
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Looking at this topic again after four months, there is one more factor I feel should be considered. That is competition. Some people are simply too competitive to assist anyone without being in charge. If competition within the act causes a problem, the thing to do is keep shopping. The act needs a solution, not a contest. Multiple relationships are a fact of life. They work when the boundries are honored. I've been very lucky.

Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz
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Profile of salsa_dancer
It is hard enough these days getting the girlfriend to even let me practice on her let alone become an assistant!!!

Congratualtions to those that have managed it Smile
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I agree!
Laughing Otter
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Whoa, there, Briansmagic!
Whaddaya mean you wouldn't have to pay her as much as a dancer?
If she has the ability to do as good a job as someone off the street, and the two of you decide she will be your stage partner, you had darned well better be willing to pay her exactly as if she were a stranger!!
Anything else would be just plain wrong.
Kenn Capman
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I have to go with Laughing Otter on this one, Briansmagic.

If your girlfriend is doing the work of a dancer/actor, she should receive the same pay that a dancer/actor would.

I used to run a fairly large show with my wife, in addition to my solo stand-up and psychic shows. Whenever the large show was booked (i.e. the show that included my wife) the fees almost doubled due to the fact that she deserved a decent payday for all of her rehearsal time and performance energy. (Not to mention the fascinating collection of scrapes and bruises she collected while we developed our sub-trunk routine, but that's another story!)

Bottom line is; anybody that performs a service to enhance your show should be fairly compensated. It doesn't matter if they're running your lights and sound, acting on stage with you, or managing your backstage logistics (or in some cases all of the above). Further, it doesn't matter if they're your girlfriend, boyfriend, aunt, uncle, kid next door, or the stray mutt you load into your Temple of Benares.

If someone wants to apprentice under you in order to learn, that's another story. There is a different implied relationship there. Interns are not typically paid very much, if at all. Even then, be good to your student. Pick up the check when you go out after the show once in a while.

But I repeat; if someone is doing the work, they deserve to be compensated regardless of their relationship to you.
"The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents."
- Salvador Dali -
Brent McLeod
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I got busted a few years ago with my then Girlfriend of a few years.

My act that involved 3 Illusions all using her was redundant after we split up-remained friends.

I now work solo for majority shows with my eldest daughter coming into the first Levitation Illusion!

If your relationship is going places go for it & have fun - Make sure you pay your assistant!
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Hey Everyone,
I am the one who first started this post over a year ago and I thought I would let you know what happened! In March 2004 I got in a pinch and NEEDED someone to do a show w/ me b/c my regular couldn't do it. So she agreed to do it and was horrified, I have never seen anyone more scared in my life but we went out there and did it and she LOVED it. So she became my regular and we did TONS of shows together all over the place, we even flew from Seattle to St. Louis to do the Stars of Tomorrow Show for SAM. Everything was working out pretty well for us although sometimes things were hard. It's not easy to be "directed" by your b/f. But it went ok, mostly pretty good and we had a blast traveling all over the place doing these shows. Then a month ago we had a very sad, ugly, unfortunate break up. So now I'm back to strangers!
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Familiarity breeds contept! On the other hand, there is nothing more comforting performing with someone you have full trust. Being on the road with a girlfriend involved in the same business takes its toll. Fights happen and that's normal, but believe me , in a situation like this, it gets worse.

If the relationship is solid and the maturity is there, GO FOR IT !


"If you can't teach an old dog new tricks, trick the old dog to learn."

-Rannie Raymundo-
aka The Boss
aka The Manila Enforcer
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I have had problems with this in the past. I have started two ways: the first is that I started using my girlfriend and then I have also found an assistant and after spending so much time with her (on the road, theaters, hotels, etc.) we started dating. In both cases it has failed. Not saying that it will always. The reason that it didn't work for me is that even though she was my girlfriend when we were working I was her boss. I am passionate and serious about my magic (its my living) and if she isn't willing to do what I say in the show than she should'nt be in the show with me.

I will say that since I have realized this I treat my assistants with a lot more respect. I also realized that no matter how good of a magician I am that she can make my show. I have two assistants right now Emily and Emily, one of them is my girlfriend. It is nice to travel with my gf, but honestly the one that isn't my gf is a better worker. I think that I tend to push her a little harder, but it really pays off.

Matthew David Stanley,
Comedy Magician
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Profile of jl
I have been working with my girlfriend for a year now sometimes it's bad but mostly it's better than working with just anyone we are just about to start our second season together so fingers crossed!
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It really goes both some respects it great working with someone you are comfortable with but you always run the risk of losing an assistant if you split. It's great if you can make it work though.
Zaubern Smile
Bob Sanders
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This is not a "Do as I do" post. If I had the answer carved in stone I would not have read the posts here. (Do you realize how long the same crew has been posting here?) It's something in over forty years of magic has deserved a look over and over.

For the most part, I can safely say of my wives (three of them), they never helped me on stage before we were married. Likewise, I have had plenty of other assistants. My wives have always had professional careers of their own (a college dean, a computer wizard MBA, and a physician who also performs separately in her own stage shows). Therefore, they were not available much of the time either. There is also the period between the time of the loss of my second wife (she died) and when I remarried (about a decade without a wife).

When it works, wives are certainly the best assistants. I can't remember ever being sorry that my assistant was my wife. I hope the feeling was mutual!

Assistants are part of the cast with important jobs that have to be performed with due care. That is more important than the source. The cast is a team. Fit is everything. I have also had assistants that did not fit well. Perhaps it is because I have also always been an entrepreneur, but I have never had a romantic relationship that began with an employee or even a member of the audience. It is a case of focus.

I know I have blind spots in this area. But perhaps that has served me well too. On stage I need support for the show and not some other agenda. In my younger days, I owned my own airplanes that I used in my work. One day when I recognized that I was trying to land at about twice landing speed, I decided that hiring pilot was just smart. There are limits on what I can juggle well at one time.

These are two entirely separate and unrelated roles. I don’t think I would force a merger. That also leaves the other options wide open. (I hope that is different from a definite "Maybe".)

Keep posting. We might learn something!

Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

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Profile of magicalmischief
On 2003-09-26 22:43, crazyhands wrote:
It's just my opinion that you shouldn't mix business with pleasure, just my .02 cents

I have to agree... It's never a good idea to mix Marriage (business) and Magic (pleasure)...LOL
Seems to me that death is just natures way of telling us to SLOW DOWN!
Nick Wait
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I tried this when I was and still am doing very few shows due to school. Although we still rehearsed, I made my act to consist of a majority of solo stuff and 3 easy assistant illusions. I choreographed it for her, and because we're not always in each others faces we were fine. She was also in control of clothing!!! She had an input and I tried to make it more like a 50:50 venture.
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Hey I thought I'd comment on this.. I am the now ex-girlfriend of briansmagic and I just wanted to say I thought it worked pretty well. There were pros and cons. The pros were that we knew each other so well that I knew when to help and when to stay out of the way. I wasn't afraid to tell him when something went wrong or praise him when something went well. I thought that overall things went pretty smoothly. The cons were that sometimes it's hard to take crtique from someone you're so close too, and also to keep personal problems off the stage... I think we did a pretty good job though. I would tell someone that if they think their relationship is strong enough than to go for it! And just for the record we have worked together since the sad, ugly breakup! I guess it shows we could handle it since things went fine on stage! -kat
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