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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » How good can an hobby magician become? (18 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Magical Moments
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With lots of practice and determination, one can get very good at performing magic.

To some extent, natural born ability, personality, speaking voice, and some other variables determine how good one can get. It is not for everyone just like anything else. For example, I cannot sing...lol
Ado
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I'd rather be an amateur like Guy Hollingworth than a pro like many here...

P!
Gaz Lawrence
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It’s all about presentation and routining imo . We can all do great effects that kill layman without major sleights .
A professional means it’s your main source of income that’s all .
Example I know a lawyer who earns more from this than his magic work .
However he still earns far more from magic than other people I know who are Pros .
Meaning than earn very little from magic but it’s still their main source of income making them a pro and the lawyer is still an amateur .
So it’s all relative and I know far many more technically gifted amateurs than pros .
Best wishes Gaz 🙂
TomB
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A professional means its your main source of income that's all

Gaz is correct. A professional makes money, a hobbyist loses money. That is the difference.

It has been said, the professional does a few tricks to many audiences, whereas the amateur does many tricks to the same audience.

Therefore, you would expect the professional to be very good at a limited number of tricks. The magician has had many audience reactions to fine tune the act. These reactions include patter and character development as well.

There also should be a distinction between successful professionals and your daily worker. The successful magician has name recognition and can sell out large crowds.

Up until now, we really have not discussed skill level. It was said Kellar had limited sleight of hand skills, yet was one of Americas top magicians/illusionists. One thing he had done was improve older tricks. I watch Tommy Wonder on video, I am amazed how calculated and smooth his moves are. When I watch Visions of Wonder and other lectures, and he shows how he improved the tricks he employed. It is here when you notice the dedication to the art, whereas you are now employing master builders to improve your act. Simply practicing the old trick is not enough. You need to find a way to make it better, to make it perfect, to make it magic.

In the two examples above, the magician always had constant improvement and dared to make the impossible, possible.

I think it's the genius, this dedication to the art, which caps your limitation as a hobbyist or professional. For me, everything is possible given the the right amount of money and time to create it. Magicians need to be dared to do the impossible. But first, they need to imagine the impossible. Then, they need to create it. If not, you need a big budget and buy someone else's idea. And then we are back to where we started. Those who make money off the tricks are professionals. Those that collect the tricks are hobbyists.
funsway
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TomB - some interesting views with considering. I disagree with some but the variety of options for the readers here is good.
The problem, methinks is the attempt/desire to lump people into limited groupings at all, when creativity and imagination are so vital.

One phrase stands out: "You need to find a way to make it better, to make it perfect, to make it magic."

I can heartily agree except that the concept of what is "magic" has changed so dramatically in recent decades.
Many posters use "magical" which automatically dilutes your statement. They do not want a trick that produces the memory "must be magic."
The want one the is cheap, easy to learn and entertaining to the audience of choice (easy reset nice too).

I have created dozens of new ways to make popular tricks more magic and have shared these with hundreds of performers around the world.
Most are never accepted or performed with feedback, "It is too perfect. This would make my other effects look dismal."
Some rely on psychological ploys which limits use to settings with an attentive and appreciative audience. Performers what universal appeal with no need of focused attention. Sigh!

Regardless, my ability/desire to look at any effect and think of ways to make it "more magic" has nothing to do with my status as an amateur or professional by any definition.
I have many more "enhanced" effect ideas that have never been released as there seems to be no market for such notions.

I do not mean "sell for profit." All I ever ask is a commitment to feedback as to the effect description and any performance so that I can produce better effects.
In the last 12 years and more than 400 documents given away with such a commitment, only 27% ever responded at allI so much for "being professional."

Of those who did meet their commitment, a majority liked the concept but need an effect that plays "anytime-anywhere." "More magic" has little fit.

Yes - you are correct that all performers should strive to improve what they are doing in response to what is learned from performing.
But, the desire/need to "make money" easily overrides the motivation to make any effect "more magic" whatever that means.

What is the expectation of your planned audience? Do you want magic or repeat bookings?
If I ever decide to do kids shows agin I will learn balloon tying and not magic.
If I want to perform in bars I would never do my best (most magic) effects.

But, at a private gathering with when "conditions for extreme magic" are vibrant, I can perform an effect and be the "best in the world" when I do.
May have carried that mastered effect for ten years waiting for the right moment. Whether or not I get paid has nothing to do with that special magic.

I choose not to charge money for any performance. That does not reduce me to a "hobby magician" or make my performance less professional.

If I had to generalize, I would say that the moment you sell your magic soul to either "it's just entertainment" or "how to get paid," the concept of "better magic" goes out the window.

I'd rather be the best at what I do by my own standards and refuse to be stuck in a box defined by someone else.

For me, the notion of "make money off of tricks" being linked to "professional" is way off - certainly related to the OP question "how good can one be."
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
Kong
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In my mind, the only difference between a "professional" and an "amateur/hobbyist" is that the pros earn a regular income from the activity whereas the amateurs/hobbyists do not. The activity can be anything - photography, football (soccer), boxing, "DIY" etc etc.

That's not to say that keen amateurs aren't capable of producing "professional results" of course, but that's not the same as "being a professional".

So, to answer the question "how good can a hobby magician become?", I'd say as good as anyone, providing they put the time and effort in. They just won't make any money doing it.
Gaz Lawrence
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I agree with you Kong except your last sentence .
I know loads of semi professional , amateurs , hobbyists whatever you want to call them who make a small but reasonable second income performing magic .
Infact some of the best kids magicians in the UK have 9/5 jobs Monday to Friday and do 2/4 shows on a given weekend .
They sometimes pull £500 / £1000 for that .
So we are not just talking pocket money here Gaz 🙂
Kong
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Fair enough, Gaz. To me, someone who earns a regular income from their magic (...or boxing, photography, soccer, music, comedy, DIY etc etc), especially in the region of £500-£1k per show/gig/bought/job or whatever, is no longer an amateur hobbyist. In my mind they're firmly in pro/part-time pro territory.

It doesn't affect their ability though, of course. They're the same magician/photographer etc they were before. It just means they're making some money.
Gaz Lawrence
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Yes I agree Kong , but just to clarify they are not getting £500 / £1000 per show but £250 each one .
Sometimes they get 2 a weekend and sometimes 4 .
Of course sometimes 1 and zero .
Over a year though it supplements their income by another good £20000 plus at least on average Gaz 🙂
Drylid
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I'd have to mimic and just say it really depends on the time you put into your craft, not if you are getting paid or not. I do magic shows every day at my normal 9-5 job to boost morale of my 300+ employees. Most of it is in the walk around format as my jobs layout is beneficial for that. I am not being paid to be a magician during that time, it's just who I am at my core. When I'm at home I'm usually not focused on magic for more than 6 hours a week. During tv time I do find myself making gimmicks, practicing sleights or just messing about with some of my props. If something is new and I want to get it down that is when the obsession goes on. I do work with two other magicians and am often told by them as well as lay people that I should "have my own show, that I should charge for my stuff, that I should be in Vegas, etc" BY NO MEANS DO I LET THIS GO TO MY HEAD AS I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING ISN'T ROCKET SCIENCE NOR IS IT BEYOND ANYONE ELSE'S ABILITY TO DO WITH TIME INVESTED. I do know that I could charge for my shows, however passing out my cards is against my company's solicitation in the workplace policy, so all my people get to benefit from free shows. I am often hunted down in the neutral parking lot for bookings though.That being said, I think it is very much within the realm of reason to look at a hobby magician as someone who can break minds so long as they practice enough period. Natural talent level is the other factor that may hold some people back.
TomB
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If you are doing free shows, no matter how many, no matter your skill level, you are a hobbyist.

There is nothing wrong or being reduced or insulted by that comment.

As said before, you can be a musician or a photographer with the best equipment. You can be more skilled than a professional. Until you decide to make money, you are a amateur.

In boxing, you can participate in the Olympics if you had not turned pro. Turning pro meant you got paid to fight and registered a license. Those amateurs that got the golden gloves are typically better than amateurs that turned professional after just a few fights. You cannot simply just look at a record, you also need to look at the competition to state how good they are. I think Mike Tyson as an amateur was better than over 90 % of the professionals. This was clear when he went on to turn pro and dominate and then quickly win the heavy weight title.

Likewise, an amateur magician skillset can be great.
Drylid
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The question wasnt about becoming pro...it's how good can an hobbyist become. defining pro vs amature isn't what the topic is about and where it derailed. But, heres my p.o.v. I dropped amature from my name after the 10 year mark of doing magic almost daily. At 20 years I'm pro. I don't lose money from magic at all. If doing some shows boosts my working staffs morale to make them 25% more productive Im making bank lol. One must be a scarecrow in wharever they are trying to do...meaning to stand out in their field. If one applied for a job and did a 5 min routine once and that got them the job vs the others...you could ask, did they lose money from buying the effects to perform one private show or did they make money for the rest of life thus making them a pro? According to the definition, in theory, they made money from magic even if never done again.... Though I feel this topic belongs on a philosophical thread if one exists.
Kong
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Quote:
On Jul 30, 2019, Gaz Lawrence wrote:
Yes I agree Kong , but just to clarify they are not getting £500 / £1000 per show but £250 each one .
Sometimes they get 2 a weekend and sometimes 4 .
Of course sometimes 1 and zero .
Over a year though it supplements their income by another good £20000 plus at least on average Gaz 🙂


Fair play. I have the utmost respect for anyone who can earn money like that from their skills on a part-time basis.

I'd like to have a go sometime in the future but for now my "performances" are strictly between me and the practice mirror, and a few unsuspecting friends!
Bob G
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Adrian,


This summer I'm taking magic lessons -- in addition to the piano lessons that I've been taking for seven years. So I understand the pressure you feel. People have offered lots of insightful comments already, but perhaps the following is worth saying:


Early in my piano work, my teacher told me that "one can play beautifully at any level." I found that really inspiring. I've learned quite a few piano pieces on the road to improving my craft, but I've memorized a few intermediate-level ones that really grabbed me. I don't know if I play them beautifully, but I certainly play them with enough expression and precision to please myself. Of course Helene Grimaud or Vladimir Horowitz would/would have played them better, but that's their problem, not mine. Smile


I'm going to guess that what my piano teacher said about piano is also true of magic. At whatever level you're at, choose music/tricks that you're excited about and that are within your current skill range, or that will challenge you (but not so much you get frustrated and toss your cello or wand in the trash). And then bring them up to a level that pleases you. Take your time, and don't try to do too much at once.


That's kind of advice to myself, but perhaps it will help you a bit, too. Smile


Best wishes,


Bob
Drylid
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Leave it to the piano player to make the elegant post that was needed. XD
Bob G
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Ha! Thanks -- much appreciated.
Kong
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An interesting thing I've only recently realised is the tendency, especially among amateur hobbyists like myself, to conflate difficulty with professionalism: the assumption that professional (i.e. earning) magicians perform effects that require more advanced/more difficult moves or sleights than amateurs, and that the more difficult the moves that we learn, the nearer to "pro's" we become.

While this may sometimes be true, I've come to realise that it's not necessarily so. There's far more to performing magic than an effect's "difficulty rating".

Edit:
It reminds me a bit of amateur photographers. Always eagerly chasing the latest & greatest lenses, filters, tripods etc etc whereas the working pros just want "something that works".
Gaz Lawrence
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You are bang on the money Kong with your last post imho Gaz 🙂
Kong
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Thanks Gaz, I have my moments - even a blind squirrel occasionally finds his nuts!

Cheers.
Gaz Lawrence
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😂😂 Kong it’s a pleasure my friend , Gaz 🙂
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