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KenRyan
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Hi. I'm new here and actually wrote some of this in the "Introduce Yourself" forum before I saw this forum. But I think my question is better suited to this forum, so I'll ask it here. I hope that's not a problem.

Anyway - I am in San Antonio, TX and have been interested in magic since I was like 8 years old. But I've never pursued it and I've never performed - even for family or friends (except once when it was part of a play I was in, which was pretty cool. People came up to me afterwards saying "I think I know how you did it! And none of them were right:)).

Anyway, I retired from the Air Force a few years ago and I just turned 50. I have always realized that it would take a ton of time and dedication to get anywhere near "good" at magic. That's why I haven't "pursued it." I felt like I didn't want to do it half-assed. It was either all-in, or nothing.

I still feel that way. And even though I have retirement income, I work from home to make extra money for us to keep our house:-P. So I'm pretty busy doing that and just think it would be too much time and effort to get into magic. An now that I am 50, I wonder if it is actually too late!

What do folks think about that? Am I right? Or is there a way to "dip a toe in" and not have to jump into the deep end and devote every waking moment? I am (and have always been) a performer. I've acted in amateur plays and musicals, and I am a singer-songwriter who performs in front of audiences large and small. I love performing in general and think I'm rather good at it. Hopefully that will stand me in good stead when (if) I decide to enter the world of magic. So I would really love to hear opinions from the experienced folks. What advice do you have for a total newbie who has had a life-long fascination with magic of all kinds?

Thanks!

Ken
Terrible Wizard
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I'm no expert, nor am I a experienced or professional magician.

However, one way of thinking about it might be to think in terms of current life expectancy. I reckon the average male life expectancy in the US is what, about 80+ these days? That gives you, what, 30+ years. How long does it take to get good enough to perform professionally? Guess it varies massively, but given that some pros seem to discover magic as a teen, yet start performing in their early twenties, I guess it can't take much longer than 5 to 10 years max. So that gives you about 25 years of professional magic performances (which would equate to half your total life so far, or, if you discount childhood and start counting from 20, gives you only 5 years less than the total amount of adult life you've already had). I one sense, then, you're only a little over half way in your life ... So no, no where near too late Smile
george1953
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Go for it, there are many hobbyists who get a lot of fun out of it. I have been a performing pro for 40+ years and I think if you get interested you will find it is a hobby that is not only fun but can also be rewarding financially, though its getting tougher all the time. First thing you should do is to decide which branch of magic interests you, cards, coins, close uo , stage, mentalism etc and then concentrate on that. You will meet all sorts of people on the way and its fun to practise, the feeling you get when you fool people with your magic is great. So I say its never too late, go for it and good luck on your journey.
By failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail.
KenRyan
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Wow, Terrible Wizard. Like a good magic trick itself, you made me change the way I look at things and sort of blew my mind with that perspective change:). Thanks very much,. I really appreciate it!!

Cheers!

Ken
Terrible Wizard
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Thanks. It's a trick I try to use on myself to gird my loins and not get too discouraged with thoughts about never having enough time, or wishing I'd started younger, or whatever. Glad it works for you too Smile
KenRyan
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Thanks George! Wow, I'm already amazed at how quickly I've gotten multiple responses. I'm so glad. These responses have already decided me on at least starting. I signed up for my 5 free tricks. So maybe I'll start with that.

As to what kind of magic interests me the most - I'm not sure yet. But I'll maybe try a bit of all of these things and see what draws me in the most. Interestingly, though I've done a LOT of research into human information processing, irrational decision making, hypnosis, and NLP (mostly for either self-help or most recently, marketing and copywriting), I don't think I have the right personality for mentalism as a performance art. I love close-up stuff and card tricks. I learned one illusion on the internet back in like 2002 where if you stand with your back partially turned toward your audience, you can me it look like you're levitating. I found that soooo cool. So maybe I've answered some of those questions right here in this response:).

Thanks again everyone!

Ken
Mifune
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The reason why the majority of amateur magicians doesn't perform well is usually not the time they started at magic. The reality is that they lack showmanship because they haven't learnt how to perform. If you have experience in performing you already have more than most of the hobbyist magicians.
Yellowcustard
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Go for it.
If I was seating down with you I would probaly show you a a few card moves for a simple Ambitious card routine. A rope trick like professors nightmare. Also check out the egg bag Particular Jeff Hobson version. These all take time to master yet you can have good effect early on and just keep fine tunning and learning more.

Hope this helps and keep asking.
Enjoy your magic,

and let others enjoy it as well!
MVoss
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Also, think about this, studies show that people with meaningful hobbies they enjoy live longer, and keeping your mind active helps to fight alzheimer's (not that you'd need to worry about that for a long time). Point is, if you enjoy it, and it makes you happy, go for it.
KenRyan
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Again, thanks to everyone! YellowCustard - I wrote down the tricks you mentioned. Thanks!

Ken
MGordonB
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I've been doing magic for about a year now.

I have learned a number of routines including cups and balls, some rope triks and several card tricks (using a ordinary deck with basic sleights). I have performed mostly for family and friends and have done two shows so far. While I'm a long way from being good at this, people seem to enjoy it when I do some tricks for them.

Oh, and I just turned 53
zoescout
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Age doesn't matter at all! I am close to your age and am just getting serious into magic and working with my 11 yo son. I certianly don't feel tool old for this and my son is not too young. Everything is about practice and showmanship!
SDMoore1
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Quote:
On Nov 9, 2014, KenRyan wrote:
Hi. I'm new here and actually wrote some of this in the "Introduce Yourself" forum before I saw this forum. But I think my question is better suited to this forum, so I'll ask it here. I hope that's not a problem.

Anyway - I am in San Antonio, TX and have been interested in magic since I was like 8 years old. But I've never pursued it and I've never performed - even for family or friends (except once when it was part of a play I was in, which was pretty cool. People came up to me afterwards saying "I think I know how you did it! And none of them were right:)).

Anyway, I retired from the Air Force a few years ago and I just turned 50. I have always realized that it would take a ton of time and dedication to get anywhere near "good" at magic. That's why I haven't "pursued it." I felt like I didn't want to do it half-assed. It was either all-in, or nothing.

I still feel that way. And even though I have retirement income, I work from home to make extra money for us to keep our house:-P. So I'm pretty busy doing that and just think it would be too much time and effort to get into magic. An now that I am 50, I wonder if it is actually too late!

What do folks think about that? Am I right? Or is there a way to "dip a toe in" and not have to jump into the deep end and devote every waking moment? I am (and have always been) a performer. I've acted in amateur plays and musicals, and I am a singer-songwriter who performs in front of audiences large and small. I love performing in general and think I'm rather good at it. Hopefully that will stand me in good stead when (if) I decide to enter the world of magic. So I would really love to hear opinions from the experienced folks. What advice do you have for a total newbie who has had a life-long fascination with magic of all kinds?

Thanks!

Ken


I hope not! (I'm a touch older than you!)
1KJ
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I wouldn't worry about how long it is going to take to be an expert magician. I would suggest you think about how you can put together an entertaining set. It doesn't have to be technically difficult to be entertaining. If you get a chance to see some professionals like Mel Mellers, you will see that their routines and effects are within the capability of any intermediate magician. However, they are very entertaining. That only comes from within and by getting out there and getting comfortable performing.

KJ
ALEXANDRE
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Ken, not too late at all, but you will have to put some time into it to do it right, but you already know this. A lot of what we learn is trial and error, it's you as an individual perform and how that gels with an audience.

At your age mentalism may be something to consider and perhaps try out if that sort of thing interests you. If so I may help with some suggestions.

- What kind of magic do you like? Cards? Sponge balls? Colorful silks? Dissapearing things? Levitation?
- Where will you mostly perform. Of course casually at first, but what are you sort of aiming at? Close-up? Parlor? Stage?

Anyway, again, not too late. Go out there and win! What else is there to do anyway?
bowers
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I think your age is irrelavent to start learning magic.
Decide which route you want to pursue and go for it.
No matter how advance you get.The fun is in the trip
getting there.
Todd
MRSharpe
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I say go for it too. I've had a career in the professional theatre and am no longer able to work in the areas I used to. Now magic is how I keep my hand in. I've been doing magic since I was 7 and am now fifty-four. I've made some money at it. My experiences tell me that if you are already a performer, especially an experienced actor, you should be able to pick up magic with ease. You don't have to spend all your time practicing as many people seem to think. It does help to have a mentor, so look for a brick and mortar magic store (getting harder and harder to find unfortunately) or a magic club in your area. If you decide to purchase magic props, it's best at first to select things that have several applications as opposed to unitaskers. Magic books are also bargains by and large since they contain a lot of information. Video is also a great way to learn, but generally you get more bang for the buck from a book than with a video. And go to your library before you purchase. Most public libraries have at least a small collection of magic books. Good luck!
Custom Props Designer and Fabricator as well as Performer from Indiana, USA
Malakim
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Just out of Interest,
are you aiming at becoming a Star in Vegas or do you want to do magic?
The first aim might be hard to achieve (but that is independent of your age I guess), for the second one I
do not think there is a problem with your age.
And then, there is a whole world inbetween ranging from doing magic just for your own pleasure (or collecting props and things), doing magic
for small crowds (family, friends, ...) up to doing magic on Stages.

I know what you mean when you write
Quote:
I have always realized that it would take a ton of time and dedication to get anywhere near "good" at magic. That's why I haven't "pursued it."

I have the same problem with many things. But to be honest it is not needed to become the next Houdini in everything we do. Sometimes it is quite ok to be good on a smaler scale.
Black Hart
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You are never too old or too young to enjoy performing magic. You just need to perform as appropriate for your age.

For example it does not look right (in my humble opinion) for a youngster dressed in old fashioned black tie and dinner suit performing like a middle aged adult. Likewise a middle aged person trying to look 'cool' is also wrong.

I have found that the 'gravitas' that age gives you is perfect for performances involving storytelling magic.

Just be yourself and adapt your presentations to suit

Good luck and enjoy your magic.

Keith Hart
Black Artefacts, manufacturer and dealer of weird, bizarre and psychic magic: www.blackhart.co.uk
Foxlute
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Quote:
On Nov 9, 2014, KenRyan wrote:
Hi. I'm new here and actually wrote some of this in the "Introduce Yourself" forum before I saw this forum. But I think my question is better suited to this forum, so I'll ask it here. I hope that's not a problem.

Anyway - I am in San Antonio, TX and have been interested in magic since I was like 8 years old. But I've never pursued it and I've never performed - even for family or friends (except once when it was part of a play I was in, which was pretty cool. People came up to me afterwards saying "I think I know how you did it! And none of them were right:)).

Anyway, I retired from the Air Force a few years ago and I just turned 50. I have always realized that it would take a ton of time and dedication to get anywhere near "good" at magic. That's why I haven't "pursued it." I felt like I didn't want to do it half-assed. It was either all-in, or nothing.

I still feel that way. And even though I have retirement income, I work from home to make extra money for us to keep our house:-P. So I'm pretty busy doing that and just think it would be too much time and effort to get into magic. An now that I am 50, I wonder if it is actually too late!

What do folks think about that? Am I right? Or is there a way to "dip a toe in" and not have to jump into the deep end and devote every waking moment? I am (and have always been) a performer. I've acted in amateur plays and musicals, and I am a singer-songwriter who performs in front of audiences large and small. I love performing in general and think I'm rather good at it. Hopefully that will stand me in good stead when (if) I decide to enter the world of magic. So I would really love to hear opinions from the experienced folks. What advice do you have for a total newbie who has had a life-long fascination with magic of all kinds?

Thanks!

Ken


Hello Ken. I only took up magic a few years ago myself (strictly as a hobbyist and performing mostly for friends and family) and I have just turned 60 so I reckon you've got plenty of time. I still work (from home) and I have another absorbing hobby (early music) but I have still found enough time to learn some basics and put together a few effects which I can perform as the occasion demands.

Learning the techniques is one thing. Presenting them well is quite another. I see you have some performance experience as have I, both from performing in many music concerts over the years and also having often made presentations to large numbers of people in my "proper" job. This has been invaluable for me as I don't suffer from performance nerves quite as much as some beginners do.

One thing I would caution you against. Try to resist the draw of the "latest and greatest" magic products. Very few of them live up to the hype and none of them are a substitute for honing your presentation skills and learning your routines backwards. I am sure I am not the only member of this forum who has a drawer full of "magic" cr@p I will never use. Yet there are miracles you can perform with just a deck of cards, a handful of coins, three paper cups, some rolled up paper napkins and some fruit, a length of rope, maybe a TT or a DT. These are items which have been around for a long time and they can still amaze and entertain when deployed well.

Also, there are some very helpful giants of the magic world on this very forum plus a few who self-describe as "hacks" but who are themselves in fact very knowledgeable and always ready to help (you know who you are Vlad!). Some of these people have an unbelievably encyclopaedic recall of the magic literature and they are always willing to proffer help and advice.

Good luck and keep us posted with your progress.
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