- by Trish
What is a magician; the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a magician as: “one skilled in magic: one who performs tricks of illusion and sleight of hand”.
There are two kinds of magicians; and amateur with a minimal amount of training when it comes to performing magical tricks, and a professional magician, a person who makes practicing and performing magic as their trade and they make a real living doing so.
Which one do you want to be?
Yes, of course it would be easy for you as an amateur magician to expand your knowledge and practice magic as your primary source of income… if you are serious about becoming a professional magician. The information you will need to do this is what I am offering you here.
Or, if you want to you can start your magical career as an amateur magician. Then if you find that you enjoy doing magic, you can learn to become a professional.
Card flourishes can be a very flashy trick and they are considered as attention-getting moves that any magician can use in their performance as part of their card trick routine. Examples are offered in the video below.
5 Card Flourishes for Beginners
When performing for your audience, remember to be entertaining. Not only will they be looking at your costume but they will be LISTENING to you, so make sure you captivate their attention.
There are 3 essential basic requirements that you will need in order to have an unforgettable performance.
- An appropriate costume,
- A case where you keep of your props,
- And sound.
If your audience cannot hear what you are saying they are less likely to appreciate all of the efforts you put into your performance. So, you need a good microphone and excellent sound equipment. Many performers find the Shure clip microphones, and Fendor Can Amp provides the best quality for the money.
What truly matters is that your choice of sound equipment must be able to provide you with crisp, clear sound throughout your performance. This makes it possible for your audience to hear you as well as laugh at, applaud at, and be in awe at just the right moments you want them to.
The only performer that I know of who can well afford NOT to have sound equipment, never mind good quality sound equipment, are mimes. So, if you decide to become a professional miming magician you can skip this step altogether (sarcasm intended).
It is said that absolute ownership of a microphone gives anyone absolute power as well as prestige. This gives the impression that the one holding the microphone is worth listening to. For any performer, this benefit is definitely priceless.
As in any other business, promotion will have a lot to do with whether you gain bookings for magic gigs. So you will need to be prepared to promote your magician skills to those who will likely be interested in hiring your services.
Promotional materials can be simple things that will call the attention and inform the right people about your skills as a magician. These can be anything from a flyer, brochure, video, website, or a business card. Your list doesn’t need to end with these.
Your promotional media needs to motivate the right people to know more about you and either visit your website or telephone you for more details regarding their needs and how you can help them best.
So, now you know that you need to be promoting your skills as to how you can solve THEIR problems and address their needs best and not just tout how great your magical skills are. Once you become fully aware of how you can address your potential client’s needs then you can delve into certain details about your show.
There are times of the year when magic performances are really in demand. Once you learn what those times are, you can adjust when to make your telephone calls to event organizers in order to coincide with those times. This way you will be more apt to find that you get hired, maybe even end up with gigs that are back to back.
Call those event organizers too early and they will most likely forget you. Call too late and they will have already booked entertainment for their events. The best time to call event organizers would be about 3 to 4 weeks before their event.
Be sure not to waste your printed materials by handing them out willy-nilly, as you would be more apt to discover that your costly brochures, flyers and/or business cards have been tossed into the nearest garbage bin. Instead, only hand out your materials when people will be most receptive to the idea of a magic show.
You might even stage a short casual show at a park where there are lots of people, and then have a friend or two handing out your flyers and brochures to those watching. You could do the same at booked shows too.
Remember, you want your printed materials to generate interest in what you have to offer by providing more details to those who will want to know how to contact you, not line the bottom of someone’s wastebasket.
When promoting your skills, avoid presenting yourself as a do-it-all. Instead, find a way to distinguish yourself from all of the other magicians. So, find a specific need that you can address well and build your reputation on that.
A well established performer, a newbie or someone bent on building a career in the magic business can make use of several advertising tools that are available for smaller budgets.
Because your magical business is a local business, why not look to your community newspaper(s) to advertise. If the price is too high, then give serious consideration for submitting a press release and sending it to the paper’s editor. Press releases do not cost you anything because publishers are always looking for extras to fill in the blanks spaces in their layouts. Do make sure your press release is relevant to the paper you are sending it to.
Look to your local TV station(s) and consider lending your services to existing TV shows that may need your skills as a magician. I’m certain that you would be able to work out a deal with the show’s producer where in exchange for your skills, your contact information will be put on the air during the time you are on their show.
Benefit and fundraiser shows enjoy the privilege of FREE radio announcements. So, if you can work out a deal with your local fundraiser organizers, you may be able to have your contact information included in the radio announcement, thus creating awareness of your services.
Other Forms of Advertising to Consider
The internet is growing at a breakneck pace while remaining affordable to the “average Joe”. You have choices you can make such as, a Facebook fan page, a website (free hosting or paid!) as well as other social media platforms.
You would need to have your own domain and it is recommended that paid hosting be used ahead of free hosting. You see, with free hosting your website could be erased without your even being notified, costing you the loss of all the content you share. Website hosting is no longer that costly, and most hosts now toss in the registration of one website with all hosting accounts.
This way, you could create the website yourself or hire it created and maintained yearly at a price you could afford.
It is recommended that you do not simply rely on your website to get you booked either. You may even need to seriously consider hiring an agent or be prepared to do the work required to get yourself booked for gigs. Your website should be used strictly to offer the nitty-gritty details of your act.
Don’t forget to continually work to build on your skills that you are advertising are yours so that your reputation as a magician might take off sooner than you think.
A Brief Talk on Insurance
Now, you also need to have proper insurance for you act. This is not an option but an absolute necessity to be protected with the right insurance. It is so much better to have insurance and not need it than the other way around. Seek out your local, reliable insurance agent for advice on the type of policy you will need or better still, check with the Society of American Magicians.
If you are using balloons or birds in your acts, you will need a different type of insurance as opposed to card tricks.
Be sure to READ the SMALL print on your insurance policy. Some companies are sneaky enough to state that if you are not in your costume at the time your performance that you are not covered. Don’t let that happen to you.
Who you hand something too matters to. Example: if a child wants one of your balloons, be sure to hand the balloon to the parent and NOT the child. This apparently transfers the liability to the hands of the child’s parents instead of you.
It is recommended that prior to your doing any magic act or any public show that as a performer, you tell all of the adults and children in the audience about some specific props that you might be distributing to them during the course of your show. If for example you will be using balloons, announce beforehand that children’s mouths and balloon do NOT mix. Apparently, doing this keeps you from any liability and keeps your audience from potentially choking unnecessarily too.
Should you decide that you need to hire someone to assist you then do be sure to request additional insurance to also cover that person.
You may also want to make sure that your insurance company is able and willing to give you a rider that will cover you if you are working or need to work off the premises and at a particular client’s home, office, facility or any other area that is different from where you normally work.
What is Your Target Audience?
Would you sooner work with children or more mature, corporate environment groups?
At this point in time, you shouldn’t be concerned about which is more apt to be financially rewarding. The intention here is to get you performing at YOUR best in order to increase your chances of referrals and repeat bookings.
Once you know your target audience and that you have created the best show you can for them, you can go out seeking bookings for your performance. Be sure to have a video presentation of at least one of your performances with your preferred target audience. This will help prove your magical skills and how well your audience responds to your performance.
For any prospective client, seeing this kind of information is very important as it will help answer any concern of your effectiveness as an entertainer. This will help greatly increase your chances of getting awarded a gig.
Once your demo video has been created, you will need to know at what times of the year your target audience holds most of their event that may need your services. If you are planning on performing for corporate audiences, it will be advisable to discover when a company’s annual conventions are to be held. Also find out who the organizers are that will be planning these events and be sure to telephone them to let them know of your services. Your initial call is meant to introduce yourself, so be sure to have your demo video available.
Make sure that you are within the organizer’s “radar” at least a month before the event you are targeting taking place. You may even need to place at least 2 more calls over the course of their upcoming event(s).
If you are prepared to do some pro-bono work or perform for a very low fee, then by participating in as many events as you can could gain you exposure to more people. As your skills become better known, interest in your performance could find you getting requests for better paying gigs.
Being truly committed to the profession of magic, it would help for you to become a member of the magic guilds and societies such as the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Society of American Magicians, or even the Society of Young Magicians. These groups can help you not only with your magic skills but also in getting you recognized in the area you are based in.
If your desire to entertain and to interact with your audience is truly genuine, they will be able to feel that and connect with you in return. This is by far the most effective way of getting asked to perform again and again. The rewards for which are not simply measured in terms of money.
Will You Need an Assistant?
Some magicians prefer to work alone. They never want anyone mingling or catching the attention of the audience while they are performing their magic tricks. These are magicians who only perform using cards, balls, flowers, birds, boxes, bottles, and other kinds of paraphernalia commonly used in magic tricks.
Though amusing, for very rare and really mind boggling tricks, a pair or a group of people performing the magic for an audience is more highlighted, making the entire performance longer since the magician can perform numerous kinds of tricks and illusions without having to move around and just concentrating on their master piece.
Oftentimes, magicians are seen doing their tricks in magic with one, two or sometimes even more assistants to help them with a trick. This is done especially when the magic show requires a person as a part of the trick or simply to hold some of the magician’s props for them. Their interaction with the assistants greatly influences the people watching the show. They help in making the audience feel comfortable watching and even joining the show as volunteers in performing some of the tricks. They also attract the audience to applaud by striking a pose. Once the assistants move, the audience may be prompted to clap.
Aside from having another set of hands for the show and keeping the props in their proper place, assistants could also help in entertaining volunteers for special tasks as part of the show. They will be the volunteer’s guide when there is already a need to stand, move or take a bow. Assistants can also play a big role in taking care of any volunteer or who is beginning to act like a nuisance. This can be easily accomplished by informing the security department of the show by simply using their own strategies or following the instructions of the magician to tame the party-pooper.
Assistants play a very important role in drawing the audience’s attention since the audience will look where the assistant is looking while a trick is being preformed. However, since a slight movement could catch anyone’s attention, there should be an agreement between the magician and the assistant when to be still and when to start moving again. The assistant’s reaction is also vital as it causes the illusion of a trick that is happening for the first time, giving more of a thrill to the audience. So, once the magician halts for a few moments of applause the assistant should halt as well.
Whether to have an assistant is entirely up to you. However, if you do as a form of motivation, good magicians should acknowledge and commend the assistant’s great job after a certain magic show. A simple pat on the back or a salary increase can go a long way.
Will You Need to Buy Props?
The only problem with learning to do the different tricks for any beginner is that you do not know what is in store for you in the magic world. Before even buying or trying anything, the very first thing that you should do is get books that relate to magic that tackle the different areas of magic and then decide which specific magic tricks you will be focusing on.
Buying more of the supplies and props for the trick is not as important as really knowing all of the secrets and skills to perform the tricks. Some aspiring magicians have wasted months buying the props they thought they needed only to realize that in the end they should have done things differently. Effort should be made more in understanding and practicing specific tricks thoroughly. Instead of buying props and supplies, books should be studied. Even videos that show how to do the tricks are not as helpful as doing it personally and visualizing the action while reading.
1.) Buy or borrow books to get more information about magic… from its history up to how it is being done in front of an audience nowadays. The Internet could also be a good source of information.
2.) Visualize and ponder about how the trick can be performed effectively.
3.) Go to magic stores to EXAMINE the props and supplies. Chat with some of the magic enthusiasts, ask questions from the shop owner, or even watch demos. Keep in mind that props can be purchased next time when you are sure of the trick you want to use.
4.) Instead of purchasing a brand new deck of cards why not ask someone for their old deck of cards that they are no longer using.
5.) Recycle materials that can be suitable for the tricks you want to practice. Cardboard boxes, matchboxes, sticks and cloths can be available from your home. Practice first and once the trick has been mastered then go out and buy your materials from the magic store so that your whole gig will be presentable to your audience.
Keep in mind that magic lies in the playful imagination of the minds of the audience. The real secret occurs when a magician competently manipulates the minds of those watching into a reaction that experiences the magic.
Magical tricks have been around for centuries and are practiced in every society. They are among the most popular past times for both children and adults alike. Tricks may make use of materials or objects such as coins, cards, tables, game cards, and number tricks. But the one that remains to be the most popular among children and the one that is first learned by a beginner magician is the handkerchief.
Tricks using a handkerchief can be either performed in whatever material it was made of. However, the type of tricks to be performed determines the type of handkerchief you should use. For knots and similar activities, a silk handkerchief is used because they slid quickly in the process of tying up. Other magical tricks using a handkerchief require a hard material like linen as in the case of bringing about a hypnotized effect on a handkerchief.
Below are some of the most common magic tricks that involve the use of a handkerchief together with explanations on how the magic works.
Standing Handkerchief: This type of trick makes use of a hemmed linen handkerchief which is ironed to make it even stiffer. This very same stiffness determines the success for this performance. The handkerchief is taken folded from somewhere and spread on the table. The magician picks it up on the centerfold and raises it up in the air until it takes the shape of a small tent. He will do the usual mystic hand pass while putting the handkerchief in an upright position. The hanky will stay upright as predicted as if it had a spell put on it.
Detachable Thumb: In this trick, you will need both a hanky and a piece of carrot. The carrot should be cut in a way that resembles your thumb. It should be as small and has the same thickness as your finger. Partly cover your hand and parts of your thumb with the hanky. You will need both sleight of hand and dexterity in this kind of activity. Quickness is the rule of the game in order not to spoil the trick. Place the carrot in the same position as your thumb showing only that portion while covered with the handkerchief. Chatter a little bit with your audience describing how you have been feeling about your finger since your accidentally hurt it. Ask someone to participate in doing the inspection and possibly even massaging them. The moment they hold the carrot, release it and act like you are surprised.
Handkerchief That Changes Color: Apparently, this is one of the simplest magic tricks that are usually done by magicians in terms of minimal effect on the audience but one of the most difficult when it comes to preparation and production. The magician will show the audience a hanky and toss it around, up and down, right and left, and it changes color along the way. The hanky does not actually change its color since the magician is holding not one but two hankies. As the hanky is tossed up and down, he makes a point to reverse the position of the topmost hanky so that the one on the bottom with a different color is displayed so that the hanky apparently changes color. This is quite a difficult thing to do for many suspecting audiences are trying to find out if you got several hankies up your sleeve. This requires swiftness in the movement of your hand and making sure that the hankies you are holding do not move independently from one another.
Hanky Tricks Revealed
Tips on Performing Handkerchief Tricks
Be Swift: Try to be mindful of astute members of the audience at all times. Even the most seemingly attentive spectators are keen enough to notice even the slightest mistakes made along the process of performing your tricks thereby spoiling it.
Mouth Shut: Secrecy is the basic rule that magicians should keep in mind. Talking about the secrets of your tricks makes it even less appealing to your onlookers. Allow the audience to make their own guesses and discover the method in their own way. In short, keep them mystified.
Practice: Although practice may not help you mater all of the skills needed for a certain trick, constant and intense practice helps and keeps you on the right track.
Always convey a feeling of excitement and enthusiasm in what you are doing because it helps you connect with your audience and infect them with your attitude along the way.
Let’s Talk Illusions
Box tricks like any magic tricks are all based on illusions. The purpose of these illusions is to amaze and bewilder your audience, generating a belief that something extraordinary just took place. In reality, people knew that these box tricks are just forms of trickery, yet the fact that the action is truly baffling, everyone is entertained.
The Secret of the Girl Crushed in a Box Illusion Revealed
Generally, box tricks entail the disappearance of a person after they were placed inside the box. With a top on the lid, and some magic words, the person inside the box disappears. Usually, the secret to these box tricks are based on the box itself. These boxes are made from a huge cardboard box that is carefully made in such a way that the trick can be executed without having to give the audience even a hint. Hence, the box should be made in such a way that the person who will fit into the box can easily hide behind it without having to reveal any means of knowing the trick.
This type of magic trick is usually known as stage magic, wherein the magician or the performer will do the trick in front of many people. With the demands of the audience, the effectiveness of the box trick as one type of stage magic is based on stage presence, proper timing, comedy value, and other skills that would generate amusement without having to appear that the performer is making a trick out of the audience.
The most important thing when someone wants to learn this kind of magic trick is that you should be able to divert the audience’s attention from one area to another. It is through this moment that the trick is being executed without the audience realizing it.
So, if you want to learn the box tricks, be sure that you have all of the skills properly coordinated with the ideas you will get. Keep in mind that a good trick is only applicable to those who were amazed with your act, so be sure to perform your best.
Once you have been an amateur magician for awhile and you are ready to move up to become a professional magician, it is time that you know and admit why you enjoy magic and ask yourself WHY you are doing this.
Knowing this will help you establish your determination in becoming a pro, simply because it will take a lot of time and effort on your part to establish yourself as a professional magician. That part is NOT magic.
It is said that the 1% are very obsessed with magic… are you ready to do magic for the wealthy?
If you are interested in learning to be THE BEST magician that you can be, you will need the proper training. Check this out: Training to Become a Professional Magician (my affiliate link).