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David Nathan Magic
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Hi Guys!

I just turned 21 and I've been doing magic full time for a few years now.
Everything is going well and I've got steady bookings but I'm still working on who I am as a performer.
Now my problem is so much mixed messaging that I'm not sure what to do.
Very recently I have been thinking of putting together a new show that's really me, and I'm getting stuck at clothing...
I was thinking of starting out with a suit and saying something like "Ah, who am I kidding, I'm 21." then changing to something more contemporary.
Now on the other hand, when I'm wearing a fancy suit and use top notch props, the clients gets more perceived value.
I want to make some decent money with my shows and give the clients the feeling they get value for their money but I also like the idea of "just being a normal 21 year old".
I have trouble deciding between the two conflicting strategies. What would you advise?

Magical regards,
David
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Clients don't want to know the prices you paid for your props. They could care less. They want you to deliver what they hired you for, and nothing else.

Rule of thumb for dressing for paid gigs. You are hired as the most important person to your client that will be at the party. So you dress according to the type of event.

You should be the best dressed person at the event, so people will know that you are important to the event.

This area of business is so large and diversified that you should read the many books on marketing yourself. If you are not a natural communicator with total strangers in everyday life, then you will need to study hard, or just hope for plain old luck, being at the right place at the right time.

If you want help you need to be more clear at who you are and what goals you have set besides more money.

You will need several types of shows, all rehearsed and ready to perform at any moment the telephone rings.

Go to the best department store or men's store and have the clerk / stylist help you with the latest styles that are right for you and your body type.

Go to the "Tricky Business: topic and start reading all the topics.
David Nathan Magic
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Hi Bill,

Thank you for your answer. Thatís exactly my problem though, Iíve read MANY marketing books, seen many lectures and DVDís about the topic.
And you also said the performer should be the most well dressed person at the event... now my point is: I would like to try and make a show thatís more casual and actually fits a 21 year old, with casual clothes, and acts about social media, pop culture and that kind of stuff. The problem would then be, that it doesnít feel for the client as if they get as much value for their money as when Iíd be performing in a 3 piece suit even though the show could be a lot better...or am I just imagining this?
MagicVin
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Staten Island, New York
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I could be wrong but I think you need to consider the venue and the situation, different clients may expect different things. That being said, if you plan on making a point about your age and that is to be a running trend through out your whole act I could see how starting out as them best dressed in the room than doing a costume change that is relevant to the theme of your act COULD work.
Smile Smile Smile Magic is all around us we just have to be willing to see it.
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Feb 26, 2020, David Nathan Magic wrote:
Hi Bill,

Thank you for your answer. Thatís exactly my problem though, Iíve read MANY marketing books, seen many lectures and DVDís about the topic.
And you also said the performer should be the most well dressed person at the event...


I think this is likely your first problem is reading/viewing marketing advice and resources. Marketing only comes into place once one is at the point of being market-ready, which as you mentioned you are not. There are many elements that come into play between performance and the marketing. Also, some of the business aspects will decide or determine many elements in your performance and eventually the issue of dress you are seeking.

I think Bill offered you some great insight and direction directing you to the Tricky Business forum here on the Cafť. So many of the questions and issues you are or will be facing are covered there and there are some rich archives as well.

MagicVin makes some good points here as well which are more long the lines of what I too am thinking would help you.
WitchDocChris
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York, PA
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Speaking from personal experience only - I found it more useful to think in terms of being "stylish" rather than "best dressed". And, also from personal experience, if you don't know what "stylish" is, ask a friend who does.
Christopher
Witch Doctor

Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Dave Scribner
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Lake Hopatcong, NJ
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Quote:
On Feb 25, 2020, Bill Hegbli wrote:
You should be the best dressed person at the event, so people will know that you are important to the event.


To a point, I believe this is a bit old school. When I started out over 50 years ago, the standard dress was a suit or tux regardless of where the performance was to be. Later on, I changed to a black silk shirt and pants. In the current day and age, neither of these would fit as a formal tux (tails etc.) is almost out of place unless you are performing at a high end venue and a silk outfit is dated. A standard tux is fine for most gigs however. Look at performers like Dan Sperry. He wouldn't be caught dead in a formal tux but his "dress" fits everywhere he performs. On the other hand, watch performances by Johnny Thompson. His tux is exactly what his act demands. If he were to perform that act in a regular suit, it just wouldn't work. Can you imagine Jeff McBride performing in a tux? Of course not. The dress must match the act. Watch a few episodes of "Masters of Illusions" and look at the type of dress being worn.

Personally, I would follow Bill's advice and develop several acts. That would prepare you for any gig that might be offered. I would pay less attention to the dress and more attention to the type of act you are doing. The dress should blend in with the type of act. I would also not dwell on the fact that you are 21 and wouldn't point that out to the audience. They don't care. They are looking at performance not age. Perform your act to the best of your ability.

I would disagree with the suggestions given here to use the Tricky Business forum for this question. You are not looking for ways to book your act as you said you have not problem with that but rather how to dress for the gigs.
Where the magic begins
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Feb 26, 2020, Dave Scribner wrote:
Quote:
On Feb 25, 2020, Bill Hegbli wrote:
You should be the best dressed person at the event, so people will know that you are important to the event.


To a point, I believe this is a bit old school.


I feel kind of the same way, and also tend to agree with Chris about "stylish," but to me there is even more to consider.

So many magicians create an act, usually based on nothing more than their own preferences and perceptions, and then try to find someone to book that act. This has always been the default approach to most. However, there is something to be said for first determining the performance market(s) you want to specialize in and then create a show for that market. It becomes much easier and affordable to target market to, and often it has input on things like what you will perform and how you should dress. Also, by looking st it from a market perspective it may alone dictate some of your decisions. A kids performer would likely dress differently than a corporate performer.

This is why I agreed with the suggestion of it being something more for Tricky Business. Also if you are full-time you should have made some business foundational decisions that would play greatly in this.

In general, more to Bill's point, I feel performers these days dress like nothing special. Go to a comedy club and the comedians look like everyone in the audience. Nothing special or unique. Magicians used to have a mystique or some special presence about them. Not anymore.

Also anther consideration is your performance material and type of magic. Do you need extra pockets, lining, or topits in your outfit? Do you need a jacket?

I agree with Dave that if you may need multiple acts, this may affect your wardrobe as well.

To many magicians, there seems to be either the old-time cheesy tux and tails, or the casual contemporary Cris Angel/David Blaine style, or the corporate 3-piece suit guy. In reality, there is much ground between these choices. Things like comfort, practicability, imaging, branding, positioning, (many of these are business elements) and other elements come into these thoughts and decisions.

I have always felt that the performer should dress differently from their audience Special. SO that others immediately know you are the entertainer. Now I am not saying you need to look like Liberace (look it up) or 70s Elton John, but you can still accomplish "special" in other ways, some perhaps exclusive to you (think Mac King, Doug Henning, Amazing Jonathan, etc.)

Also, what is your performance style? Whee are you located, what markets do you work/target? More information could also yield better suggestions from us as well.
Mindpro
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...OR... for the best in comfort and style you could dress like Dave - black on black on black and always carry that pillar stand with you everywhere you go https://www.google.com/search?client=fir......Q4dUDCAo Stylish, yet unique!
Dave Scribner
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Actually that pillar belonged to the photo studio where my pictures were taken. The black tux with a black shirt fit my act at the time.
Where the magic begins
Mindpro
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Just having some fun with ya Dave. No offense meant at all.
Dave Scribner
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I didn't take it as offensive. At the time I was doing lectures and thought leaning on the pillar was a nice advertising pitch. With the exception of the goatee is gone, the hair is gone, the outfit doesn't fit any more and I'm not lecturing, everything else is the same. LOL
Where the magic begins
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Quote:
On Feb 26, 2020, David Nathan Magic wrote:
Hi Bill,

Thank you for your answer. Thatís exactly my problem though, Iíve read MANY marketing books, seen many lectures and DVDís about the topic.
And you also said the performer should be the most well dressed person at the event... now my point is: I would like to try and make a show thatís more casual and actually fits a 21 year old, with casual clothes, and acts about social media, pop culture and that kind of stuff. The problem would then be, that it doesnít feel for the client as if they get as much value for their money as when Iíd be performing in a 3 piece suit even though the show could be a lot better...or am I just imagining this?



David, Guess What? At 21 years of age you are man, fully grown. Your not a kid anymore. When I was 18, I was in the Army, they sent me to Viet Nam to fight in a war. You now have to pay taxes and follow the law.

As far as you designing a show with a special topic you wan to follow, as previously said, you need to go out and find a client with your beliefs and willing to pay you to present you special topics. Your you can rent a theater, and sell tickets and sell your show, and see if anyone is interested enough in your beliefs to pay for a ticket.

Or you can design a show more general that will fit a wider range of people and be more about the magic and you being a magician, then whatever it is you are trying to convince people your idea you are trying to sell them on.

So it time to think and act your age, as well as dress your age.
Harry Murphy
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Maryland
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David, lots of advice here. I was getting ready to jump in but decided I'm a bit too 'old school' or old fashion to real speak to contemporary upscale casual dress for a young guy. I was going to recommend conservative, classic styles but then I had to stop because I haven't a clue what a conservative, classic style is today!

You might try to emulate your namesake. David Nathan. He seems to have managed the "look" across a number of different venues.

https://www.davidnathan.nl/en/

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/DavidNathanMagic/
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
David Nathan Magic
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Quote:
On Feb 27, 2020, Harry Murphy wrote:
David, lots of advice here. I was getting ready to jump in but decided I'm a bit too 'old school' or old fashion to real speak to contemporary upscale casual dress for a young guy. I was going to recommend conservative, classic styles but then I had to stop because I haven't a clue what a conservative, classic style is today!

You might try to emulate your namesake. David Nathan. He seems to have managed the "look" across a number of different venues.

https://www.davidnathan.nl/en/

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/DavidNathanMagic/



Hi Harry, good to hear because that actually IS me. Smile
My problem I guess is that I'm still a little too interchangeable at this point and I've been struggling with finding my USP and my identity for a few years now...
Glad to hear you think my current look is good!

David
Bill Hegbli
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I have to admit I don't know what young upscale men are wearing these days, either. I did notice there is a new very small men's store downtown, they display a new style means dress shirts, that I wish I could a ford to buy several. Italian style collars and spots of color on the collar and stylish strips in color. Would be perfect for a show and being noticed. The clerk came out to get a coffee, and hinted at the price, he said they had a sale at $75 currently. I would guess that means they would normally sell for a hundred or hundred and fifty dollars.

Men's clothing have not changed in the last hundred years of so, pant, shirt, jacket. Very boring.

My advice is the same, go out and shopping, and look what is out there at appeals to you.

I quickly looked at your website, the only advice I would have is don't wear a casual or T-shirt, looks sloppy. I did not see your pants, but please no jeans either.

Good luck in your search and hope you find something that is you.
Dave Scribner
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Quote:
Men's clothing have not changed in the last hundred years of so, pant, shirt, jacket. Very boring

Quote:
I quickly looked at your website, the only advice I would have is don't wear a casual or T-shirt, looks sloppy. I did not see your pants, but please no jeans either.


Hey Bill, you and I are from the same era and I agree that men's clothing in general has not changed but we're not talking about general clothing. Magicians clothing has gone from extremely formal to very casual depending on the venue. As for T-shirts and casual shirts, take a look at what Shin Lim wears. Many of his shirts are casual and T's but usually with a jacket, sometimes not. His appearance fits right in with his personality and act, so David again just work on your act and make your outfit follow suit. I do agree with Bill as far as jeans are concerned. I would say that only in extreme situations would jeans be acceptable.
Where the magic begins
MagicVin
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Staten Island, New York
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Could just be me but I still think that if your youthful age is a running theme in your act and you start well dressed and you make a spectacle of your costume change that makes sense & works with your act. Than it COULD not only be ok but might improve your act overall thematically. Again thatís IF your youthful age is a major theme throughout your act, IF you make a show of it (not that it just happens between tricks when you have a moment), IF you explain it, and IF it makes sense with the act.
Smile Smile Smile Magic is all around us we just have to be willing to see it.
Bill Hegbli
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Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Quote:
On Feb 27, 2020, MagicVin wrote:
Could just be me but I still think that if your youthful age is a running theme in your act and you start well dressed and you make a spectacle of your costume change that makes sense & works with your act. Than it COULD not only be ok but might improve your act overall thematically. Again thatís IF your youthful age is a major theme throughout your act, IF you make a show of it (not that it just happens between tricks when you have a moment), IF you explain it, and IF it makes sense with the act.



I don't think this about David Nathan building an act around his "youthful age", it is about his feeling of, "When will I become and be perceived as man." I went through the same feeling in my early twenties. Why don't people look at me as a full grown man. It is question more about success and how a male person wants to be looked upon as obtaining more success in life. How people perceive you. I never found the answer, but now I like that people don't think I am the age I am.

If bully guys try to pick fights with you, you just have to stand up for yourself, and they will find out they can only push you so far. In a work environment, it was hard getting promotions, but in the end you just have to move on and keep looking for that opportunity you desire.

Truth is, you will never get that feeling that you have arrived at the time you turned into a man. You just keep doing your best for your goals in life, and don't worry how the bullies perceive you. Just build on your other qualities, how smart you are, how creative you are, and friendly you are. I would say you most likely have a good "solving Problems" mind, and that will benefit you more and set you above all the rest.
MagicVin
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Bill,

I may be wrong, however in the opening post David says he is putting an act together thatís more in-line with his personality but heís stuck on clothing. He goes on to say he was thinking about starting out in a suit than saying something along the lines of ďeh who am I kidding, Iím 21.Ē And changing into something more contemporary. David says heís concerned with perceived value from clients who he believes feel that they get more for there money when watching someone in a 3 pice suit with fancy expensive props. Than in his first response to your first reply David says the act heís working on is more casual with tricks about social media and pop culture. So maybe I missed something but I think David is asking about clothing in his act, not about when he will be ďperceived as a manĒ or ďbeing bulliedĒ but like I said I could be wrong.
Smile Smile Smile Magic is all around us we just have to be willing to see it.
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