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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Becoming a professional magician? What books/dvds to get? (11 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Moncle
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It's so refreshing to hear all of this from others, I think where I reside magicians haven't quite worked this out. I feel like a lone voice.

Thanks Motown for the book tip, will search that one out.

Ed... youre the man... spot on!
HerbS
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There are many good sources, like the book thread mentioned, to discover resources for learning magic. However, I would also strongly suggest making sure to expose yourself to other influences like photography, art, theatre, history etc. You would be surprised how directly inspiring some of these things can be. For example, David Copperfield has often spoken about how he was inspired by old movies and Jeff McBride's act is heavily influenced by Japanese theatre. Anything that you're interested in outside of magic can help give texture and more meaning to your act. While you're working on learning tricks there is time to let some of this other stuff seep in.
pradell
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In our modern age, everyone wants everything now. It is debated that it takes 10,000 hours to master something and become an expert. See, e.g. article, Why The 10,000 Hour Rule Is A Myth, at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/08......506.html

Don't expect to be a "professional" or an expert immediately. Take the time to hone your craft.
55Hudson
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Pradell,
Nice article. Unfortunately the title is a little misleading. Seems like the adage, Practice makes Pemanent, not Perfect, applies here. That is, 10,000 hours of crappy practice won't make you a great magician. It didn't really address whether 10,000 hours of focused, good, practice would make you an excellent magicain.

I subscribe to the belief that whether it is 10,000 hours or 1,000 hours, it isn't buying the latest trick that makes one a magician. But rather, dedicated effort over a long period of time where improvement is the goal and practice is suplemented by research from past masters and coaching from contemporary masters.

I think we agree that the journey to becoming a skilled magician is measured in years and not months or weeks.

Thanks for the link to the article!

Hudson
rklew64
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Yo DJ Ayur, please tell us the time frame you had in mind on becoming a paid professional magician with mentalism down the road.
The saving grace is if you have a pleasant charming personality and can engage people of ALL ages - you have a tremendous head start - if you don't, the train wreck will be a higher possibility. Since obviously no one on this board knows your aptitude for learning. I'm always amused at how folks jump right into advice without screening the person.
As you practice, keep in mind the experience you want to leave with spectators - As a matter of fact I would venture to say read about magic theory and performance first for a month concurrently with very light study of card and coin magic- realize that what you learn trick wise is basically mechanics training, you are establishing new muscle memory and coordination, etc - magic conditioning if you will - your may be doing the trick, but you're not performing magic, we haven't even addressed timing (tension and relaxation), audience management, outs, improvisation, routining, marketing, booking, scripting, character building, misdirection/re-direction whatever they call today etc.
Yes, do watch you tube and it is very obvious who are the hacks and who are the Pros. Besides, who doesn't learn magic from a 10 year old. Seriously I'd rather point out that the bus is headed for us than throw you under it , because support through a forum is not enough and generally misguided although well intentioned.
If you can, breakdown your magic goals, be your own project manager or you'll just be lost and overwhelmed with sleights, moves, articulating sensible patter, being aware when you flash and correct/adjust.

this is just my opinion, I'm sure there are many who will say everything I just wrote has nothing to do with learning magic. That is why I hope you educate yourself to make the best choices that fit you and your inner being.
rklew64
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D.J. Ayur
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Rklew64 - Given the recommendated sources of books/dvds with a considerable amount of practice, I don't see why I couldn't achieve this within a couple of years from now, 2-3 years roughly.
davidpaul$
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Quote:
On Apr 9, 2014, D.J. Ayur wrote:
Rklew64 - Given the recommendated sources of books/dvds with a considerable amount of practice, I don't see why I couldn't achieve this within a couple of years from now, 2-3 years roughly.


Everyone is different regarding ability, aptitude, natural talent etc.,like rklew64 mentions. (2-3 years) ?, I hope you do it.
You can practice for hours on end, think that you are getting pretty good and when you start performing in the real world in front of real people with different personalities, that's when you'll find out you've got ALLOT to learn.

I've been enjoying paid performances several times every week for the last 12 years in restaurants, corporate functions, parties etc. I started my journey 19 years ago. Re-Read what rklew64 posted above. (timing, relaxation, tension, audience management) I'm still honing those attributes. Just learning a Classic Pass correctly and smoothly will take years.....We are not trying to be discouraging rather realistic and if you stick with your goal you will find out and more importantly your real world audience will in no uncertain terms tell you how good you are.

I'm glad you have a goal and are enthusiastic. I really hope you develop a passion and love/respect for the art. There is just so much more than (as was stated above by rklew64))learning the mechanics of an effect. You are going to be dealing with PEOPLE with different backgrounds, personalities, demeanors, intelligence levels and those who won't think twice to tell you they saw through everything you did. To be "good" and most important "entertaining" focus as much time learning theory, people skills, body language ad infinitum as you do learning effects. Your audience will be your best teacher provided you are sensitive to the messages they are sending to you.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
D.J. Ayur
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Thanks davidpaul$, I appreciate the feedback.

It sounds like audience management + people skills are a must. Do you have any recommendations on certain books, videos, etc. that specializes in such departments? Or is it one of those "things" you learn as time goes by with experience, life journies and such?
D.J. Ayur
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Nevermind on the audience management! Thanks motown!
DallasFrank
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Hey Rocky watch me pull a Rabbit outta my hat...oops wrong hat!
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I would like to make a suggestion on a book that I believe is invaluable to any magician and especially beginners.You should start with the Amateur Magician's Handbook by Henry Hay.Don't let the title fool you...there is enough material there to keep you busy for quite a while and will lay a strong foundation in most every aspect of the magical arts.It also includes a section on performance skills. Good Luck and don't get discouraged when you find out what you are up against.
A Journey of Miles starts with a single step.
Frank
adrianbent
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DJ, how old are you or rather what stage of life are you at? Are you living at home with your parents, or retired and looking to start a new career?
What is your source of income right now? If you are anything other than independently wealthy, then as they say "don't quit your day job".
You have to have a source of income for right now. Being a pro doesn't necessarily even mean being a great magician. It could mean being a shrewd businessman. WHAT IT DOES mean is being able to feed yourself with your act. Pay your bills. If you want to choose magic as a career, the best books you might need to read, and training you need to get, may not be about magic.... but about business. So many performers think the money will just "happen". These same people also have their head in the clouds. "Show. Business. " Its two words, consider both carefully.
davidpaul$
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The study of the cups and balls will help in many areas of sleight of hand. Such as timing, retention of vision vanishes, in-transit-action, direction of attention, tension vs. relaxation, spectator management etc. etc. etc.

It would be worth your time and investment to pick up Rafael Benatar's Elegant Cups and Balls DVD. He goes over many of the concepts that you can and should incorporate into all of your magic. http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S6140

I hope you are studying right now...
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
kekoa1
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A lot of great advice from the members here on the Café. It's hard to pin point exactly what advice to give you as far as exactly what books or DVD's you could read/watch in order to become a professional magician. A lot of us...(hopefully, I'm not wrong in saying this...nor do I wish to put words in the mouths of other Café members)...have had to find our paths on our own. Meaning, we bought tons of effects...books...DVD's...lecture notes...etc...that we found interesting and thought it might be that one trick, book or DVD that would propel us into the status of professional magician when we first got the magic bug. It hardly ever works out that way...at least not for me...and many other professional magicians that I know personally.
Anything we want to learn or do in our lives will take time, effort and patients in order to learn, grow and have a greater understanding of what it is that we are doing...whether it be with learning magic or learning how to drive a car.
A good question to ask yourself is why? Why do you want to become a "Professional"? And what does being a so called Professional provide for you? Is it because you want to make a living performing magic? Do you want people to look up to you and worship the ground you walk on...or levitate over? Are you stroking your own ego and just want to be famous? It might be one of these scenarios...or all of them...there might be a reason that only you can provide to yourself. Just saying you want to make people happy isn't enough...I think we all strive to make people feel "something" before...during and after our magic performance. Sometimes it isn't a feeling of happiness. Sometimes it's a feeling of bewilderment...perplexity...or maybe even sadness to some extent.
I guess what I'm trying to get at is this...the best advice I can offer you is to stop asking other magicians for their own magic formula or what their idea of what a magic formula is for YOU. Nobody will be able to give you a recipe to becoming a better magician. Lower your bar my friend. You gotta learn to crawl before you can run. Start out with simple effects that are within your level as a beginner.
Having said that...I do not want you to think that I don't have faith in you. I believe that If I can become a professional magician...heck, anybody can. Wait...I take that back. I've known several people over the years that really should stick to their day jobs. Magic isn't for everyone.
Sorry..got off track...having said that...here are some crumbs from my vast vault of knowledge. If you see someone perform an effect that interests you...learn it. Once you learn it...practice it exactly as you saw that other person perform it. Move for move...word for word. You should be able to perform it exactly as you saw it being performed by that other magician. I truly do not see anything wrong with imitating someone we look up to WHEN WE ARE FIRST STARTING OUT...after all...how many of us have done this? Raise your hand if you have...my point exactly. If you have to fake it in order to make it...so be it. Once you are able to fake it...then think about how you can make it your own. You first have to have a complete understanding of the effect...and the only way you can do that is by copying someone first. This method of learning is not for everyone...I'm just suggesting it as a mode to learning new effects in order to help give you somewhat of a foundation to build upon.
Once you've mastered the art of mimicking...then go out and perform that effect for a real person or people in general. Do not perform for your web-cam and post the video on YouTube. Perform it for an audience. Get your feet wet. Take the plunge. When you get home...take notes as to what went great about your performance...and what didn't go so well. Learn from every performance. Then go out the next day and perform that same effect again. Perform it 500 times. Literally...perform it 500 times (OK...maybe just a couple hundred times). You might think I'm joking...I'm not. I've performed the same trick over a thousand times. I would not suggest you do something that I have not. The only way you will get better at any particular effect/trick is to perform it. The effect I've performed over a thousand times is my rope routine...and I can tell you that the way I perform it now for crowds of over 500...is not the same way that I learned it in the beginning. Our effects will evolve as we evolve as people...entertainers and magicians in general.
Once you've gotten to the point where you can perform that effect in your sleep...and have worked out all the bugs..tightened it up...and made it your own...find another effect to work on. I know for myself...I'm at the point where I can work on a couple different tricks at the same time...but for you...just stick with one at a time. Trust me...otherwise you will end up like most of us magicians...with a house full of unused magic...or magic that we thought was perfect and it ended up in that infamous magic drawer. And no...you cannot have any of my old magic effects/props. Why....?
Because you have to earn my respect as a magician. I truly feel that kids today have it really easy in regards to learning magic. I can say this because I'm one of them. I'm not a kid...but I appreciate the fact that I can learn pretty much anything I want with the click of my mouse. I hear stories from old timers like Allen Okawa say things like, "If you want to learn magic...read a book on magic." Personally, I feel he is right to some degree. Books are a great source of learning magic...and it forces you to use your own imagination and ideas on what the effect should be for yourself...but, books are not the only source in this day and age. Kids today think that if they just learn a bunch of tricks poorly...and then go out and perform them poorly for strangers...all the while videotaping themselves...praying for that ginormous reaction where the lady starts screaming, "Oh my god...how'd you do that!!?? You're the devil!" and then faints...falls to the floor...and the last thing we see on screen is you springing the cards all over her lifeless body. Oh wait...the last thing we see is the palm of your hand as it reaches for the camera lens...fade out. Kids today think that they are now professional magicians and start making their own business cards. I say please listen to somebody other than yourself...get a mentor.
Lastly...join a magic club in your area. Whether it be the S.A.M...or the I.B.M...or the F.B.I...it doesn't matter...just join a local assembly...and the National while your at it. You can find a mentor there. If that person doesn't work out..find a new magic buddy or mentor. If that doesn't work out...

You can always sit alone in your room and make videos of yourself performing your perfect pass and then upload it to YouTube.

Seriously, best of luck on your journey....hope something I said made some kind of sense for you. Just be yourself and find people who you can learn and grow from.

Aloha,

Kekoa
hdejong
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The 2 most useful resources for me when I was starting out by far was Mark Wilson's complete course in magic and penguin's born to perform card magic.
D.J. Ayur
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Kekoa1, that was very helpful indeed and it made plenty of sense, thank you for taking the time to write that essay!
kekoa1
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@D.J. Ayur ...I'm glad that you were able to see through my sarcasm and hopefully, you understand that I do wish you all the best on your magical journey! We all have to start somewhere and learn not only from our success but our set-backs as well. Never give up...

Good luck and aloha!
Terrible Wizard
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I'm not a pro, and only a beginner. But from my research into hundreds of reviews and 'best' threads etc, my personal 5 year plan for magic development is based around:

a) Mark James Supercharged Classics - chop cup routine (with Morrisey Chop cup)& cards
b) Richard Sanders Fibre Optics - rope routine (with BTC 1)
c) 'Pop' Hadyn Mongolian Pop Knot - rope routine
d) Messado rings - close-up linking rings routine
e) Baxt, Boy and Bucket - Miser's Dream routine
f) Bob White Mailini Egg Bag - egg-bag routine (with Malini egg bag)
g) Tony Clark Paper Balls OTH2000 - PBOTH routine

Cards - Selected material from: Royal Road to Card Magic; Gerry Griffin's Complete Card Magic DVD; Ammar's Easy to Master Card Miracles DVD series; Scarne on Card Tricks; Mark James Supercharged Classics; Lovell's Packet Killer DVD; Schultz's Miracles without Moves DVD; BBM's Ultimate Self-Working Card Tricks series; Lorayne's Close-Up Card Magic.

Extras: Jamie Grant's Industrial Revelation; Hecklau's Newsflash 2.0; Scotch and Soda coin trick; CMH rubber band trick; Joshua Jay's Hand-Picked Astonishments: TT

Theory: Ken Weber's Maximum Entertainment; Darwin Ortiz's Strong Magic; Fitzgee's The Trick Brain; Jamie Grant's The Approach

That's enough to keep me going for a lifetime I reckon, and at least 5 years of practice and performance development.

Maybe you might benefit from my research too. Smile
Kbuck54
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The best success is gained by learning to perform just two or three effects, and do these three better then anyone else. Then add material as you deem worthy. If you are really new, then as mentioned earlier, the Tarbell books and the Mark Wilson complete course in magic will give you principle knowledge. Just my two cents worth. Good luck and welcome.
Keith
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Terrible Wizard
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I often see Wilson's course recommended, and I agree it's a good general magic book.

But how many of Wilson's effects (straight from the book) do professionals perform?
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