“How do I become a magician?” – the question we get asked MOST often here at Conjuror Community.
The answer depends entirely on who you are and what your goals are.
Some people feel they are a magician the instant they perform a trick for an audience – whether it works or not. Some people feel they’re a magician as soon as they fool someone. For others it takes a standing ovation from a large crowd and for still others, they don’t feel they’ve ‘made it’ until their craft is monetized.
If you want to know how to become a magician, the first thing you will do is begin learning. Looking into tricks, watching magic and studying the magicians you appreciate and respect.
We know from experience that it’s tough to sift through all the information out there, which is why we compiled this advice from some of the best magicians in the world on how to become a magician.
Whether you’re just starting out, or looking to take your magic to the next level, we think hearing from these amazing magicians will help! Be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section, or if you have any advice of your own…
Get a mentor. Someone who you look up to, is proven successful in their field and be respectful of their time and their material.
Know what makes you different.
R Paul Wilson
Think twice. I’m not saying “don’t” but one should be wary of turning their passion into their profession. What might you lose if your decisions are dictated by matters of money or commercial appeal? Will you be a marketing asset or maturing artist? Is it possible to be both? It’s a difficult path and it takes a long time to learn to say “no” and determine your own path. Perhaps you never will and that’s okay too. Just know it’s a tough business that’s already over-saturated. If a client just wants “tricks” it’s hard to assert yourself when so many will do the same almost for free. If you see a way to offer more than “tricks” and convey the value of that to people, you may rise above the rest. I always remember Trevor Lewis’s advice: Magic is good cake and bad bread.
Show up early, stay late, charge a lot, write thank you notes.
Jamy Ian Swiss
Do as many shows as you can. Go anywhere, work anything, work for anything or nothing, but try to avoid competing with working pros while you’re doing so (meaning, working for nothing or next to nothing is good, but underselling the main market by a third or half in order to get the gig is not good, as it drags the price down for everyone).
But along with this comes my best piece of advice for hobbyists wanting to become good magicians and good artists. And that is:
Learn as much as you can, as widely as you can, for the joy of it, for the sheer sake of learning. Seek excellence in your own work and also the people with whom you surround yourself. Seek mentors. If you don’t spend time with people who are smarter, more talented, and more skilled than you, you will never find excellence for yourself, you will simply make do with being as good or better than your eternal inferiors.
And whatever you do, please do not guide your studies by merely seeking to learn “what works.” While this may well make you a living, it will never make you stand out, because only a distinctly artistic point of view will do that. Being a good artist and contributing something to your art – and there is no more important contribution you can make than doing genuinely good work – therefore also becomes a commercial advantage, should you care to do the work, albeit that work is far from easy. But whether you wish to “break into the professional market,” or to do beautiful magic and never earn a dime from it, please show the respect that magic, and your audience, and above all, that you yourself deserve, by avoiding the lowest common denominator, and aiming high. Because the pursuit of excellence has nothing to do with money. And, because the higher you aim, then if you miss, you might at least land in a good place.
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Make sure your girlfriend/boyfriend has a good job!
Read every business book you can find about the market you want to work in. Talk to every professional (magic and non-magic) you can who works in that market. Then do a 100 free shows in that market. By then you will know what you are doing. Its called going to school.
Find a mentor you trust and respect. I’ve had many in my 25 years of performing, including David Regal, Gordon Bean, and John Bannon. Meet face to face and through the interwebs. Be open to honest feedback. Ask a lot of questions. And continually improve.
Take a business, accounting, and marketing course.
Take EVERY show that you can. Especially shows that you know are going to suck. You will learn more from shows that don’t go well than you will from shows that perfectly well. When you start showing up to professional gigs and find that you were mislead by the client about the venue and or audience, you’ll probably have already performed in worse situations.
Perform as often as you can, wherever you can
Don’t quit your day job … yet. Before I turned professional, I spent about two years building my performance career while having the comfort of a day job and a regular salary. This two year period gave me plenty of time to make mistakes and to build my magic career with the luxury of it not being my only source of income. Once I got to the point of matching my salary with magic, I knew I could then comfortably leave work without panicking about where my gigs were coming from. It eventually gets difficult to maintain two jobs (when your performance career starts to pick up speed), but the benefit is the comfort you have knowing that you won’t starve for your passion!
We definitely agree with the one consistent thread: perform as much as you can, as often as you can, everywhere you can.
Getting material up on its feet and into the world is the time-tested surefire way to make your magic improve FAST. Once you start putting yourself out there, you’ll be surprised at how everything else starts to fall into place… including getting connected with a mentor who can really help you. Click here to discover all the ways Aaron Fisher’s teachers helped him become a success in magic.
What do you think about the advice these world class magicians share? Do you have any advice of your own? Let us know in the comments below!