I touched on this a little in a previous blog so I thought I’d expand a little bit. Let me start by talking about some of the amazing things we do effortlessly as magicians.
We are great at learning - Generally, we enjoy the process of learning. When we were children, I’m guessing most of us didn’t particularly embrace education. I’m obviously not going to generalise here and presume, not everyone was the same but I know for me certainly, it wasn’t until my mid 20’s did I really understand the importance of learning. But we are almost addicts to methods. Metaphorically injecting ourselves with the latest release so we can get that ‘magic high’ before the inevitable crash and then we start looking all over again. We LOVE collecting methods and we are constantly wanting to grow and develop.
We are courageous - Performing magic isn’t easy. The interesting thing is, some audiences view magic as a ‘fun thing for kids’. They trivialise it through lack of understanding. One of the universally accepted fears or phobias is speaking in public. Most, if not all of those members of the public who think that way stood in-front of an audience of people and presented a skill, I’m fairly sure they would mostly likely crumble. To have the courage to stand in front of hundreds, if not thousands of strangers and perform is something magicians are never given full credit for!
We are dedicated - If I were to take all of the time I’ve practiced magic in my life, put those minutes together, I’m guessing that a HUGE chunk of my life has been dedicated to magic. Think about all of the time you have spent practicing in your life time. I’m guessing you are likely in the same boat. But, we never complain and almost train ourselves to enjoy practicing. More than that, we practice EVERYWHERE! On the train with a deck of cards, a coin or a magic book. Walking around with palmed coins. Repeatedly solving a Rubik’s cube as we watch TV. We are, quite frankly, obsessed! And I’m absolutely here for it!
We persevere - When everything goes wrong, when beer gets spilt on our props, when we get turned away from a table for the 50th time, when we get shoved by a drunk at a wedding, when we get told ‘we are no Dynamo/David Blaine’, when we are told the thing we’ve practiced for 20+ years is ‘very clever, well done’, when we are spoken down to and under appreciated, we still get back on the magic horse and keep riding. Nothing holds us down. It doesn’t matter what is thrown as us, we solider on and remember our love for what we do and remember the joy it brings to audiences. For every 1 member of the public that doesn’t ‘get it’, there are 15 more who are thankful for us taking them away from their troubles for even 5 minutes!
We are progressive - We constantly analyse our theory and adapt to change. As a community, we try to understand the larger implications of what we do and look back at our history to determine if magic is just a fun hobby or an art form. During the pandemic, lots of magicians just found ways to cope and adapt. If you work in an office (not that I’m underplaying that importance of office based roles in anyway, god knows I couldn’t do it!) when those people moved to homes, it was still a familiar set up and they could still mostly function in the same way. Even film editors had their homes set up with the same equipment as in their office. However, magicians had to change their environment entirely. They couldn’t physically function in the same way anymore. We had to find ways of interacting with an audience through a screen. But we did it and I for one and incredibly proud of all of us.
On the set of the first season of Fool Us at The Fountain Studios in London. Whilst never made it onto
the show, still had the opportunity to try and fool Penn & Teller! Ignore the fashion choices!
I could go on and on about things we do incredibly well as a community. Honestly, magic has got me through some very tough situations and times in my life. I almost think of magic as an invisible parent. There from the beginning, helping me, guiding me. However, there is a big key thing we don’t do well a magicians that I think needs to be addressed.
We need to be kinder to others and more humble ourselves - I think a lot of magicians think that they are ‘less than’ or not as ‘good’ as other magicians. I think this is wrong. We should all be supportive of each other more and understand that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. I, for one, couldn’t really perform a good Manipulation act. In fact, I couldn’t even do a sub-standard one! Or second deals, bottom deals, centre deals, tabled cuts or most tabled false cuts. I would quite honestly be terrible! But, I’m happy to admit that! I don’t mind! It just means, I get to watch and appreciate others do those things. Does that make me a bad magician or less capable of entertaining and amazing? Nope! I’m sure some of those performers would crumble at the idea or engaging in some of the story telling I’ve invested my time in studying. We all have our strength and no one person is better or worse than anyone else because of it. And if you think you are better than someone else, then you are completely missing the point. It’s not about us. Magic has never been about us. The existence of magic is for an audience. We are simply a medium for providing it to them. The amount of gigs you get, the amount of money you make, the amount of books or tricks you own does not make you better than someone else. I could give 100 of the worlds best magic books to one person, but if they don’t enjoy it or put the hours into practicing, those books are pointless.
This brings me to my closing point. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Just do you. We all do things differently and there is no right or wrong. Find what works for you and do it. Just because someone else does it, it doesn’t mean you have to. Stop putting pressure on yourself to achieve certain things and certain ways because other have done it that way. Never try to measure yourself on others. Be unapologetically you and have your own little stamp on magic history!
Stay dedicated, persevere, be courageous, always stay progressive and thrive to always learn. That is how you become a successful performer.