Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Case for Competition, Part 2

Another type of competition that I think is very useful for growth as a magician is through magic contests.  In these contests, you create an act or routine that fits the criteria of the contest then enter the competition with the hopes of winning the approval of a panel of judges.  This is an excellent process.  If you choose to enter a competition you know that you will be up in front of your peers.  That alone is a very compelling reason to enter.  More than likely you will work hard to represent yourself well.  You will also have a deadline.  Having a hard deadline that cannot be changed is also an excellent way to push yourself to produce.  The best thing that most magicians can gain from this type of competition is not a first, second or third place.  Oh no.  The best thing that most magicians can gain from competing in a magic contest is the growth that comes with setting a deadline, working hard on your material and then getting useful feedback that you can apply to your act or routine.  Again, it really is an act of growth.  I have seen numerous decent magicians turn into really good magicians through the process of competing in magic contests.  That is what we as magicians and entertainers should strive for in our magic.  We should strive to grow as creators and performers.  
When I was actively competing I was forced to use all of my creativity, my routining and my performing skills in order to have a shot at my end goal, which was to win.   What I gained in the process of competing was so much more valuable than winning a place or a prize.  I forced myself out of my comfort zone.  I forced myself to take chances on my magic.  As I got feedback from different judges and other magicians who offered up their thoughts I got some fantastic ideas that I wouldn’t have come up with by myself.  My act evolved and so did I.  The act of competing helped me grow as a magician.
Finally, we should compete against ourselves.  I have the tendency to hold myself up to some relatively high standards.  That can be both really great and very difficult at the same time.  I used to hate watching video of myself.  Now, I know that a lot of people hate watching video of themselves too, but my reason for not enjoying watching myself was because I felt like I was watching someone that could be so much better. 
There were times when I watched video of myself that I felt embarrassed by what I saw.  I knew I was so much better than what I was seeing on that TV screen.  Seeing what I saw, and feeling the way I felt about what I saw forced me to continue pushing myself to grow as an entertainer.  Over time and through constant work I was able to get to a point where I am now proud to watch the performer that I have become.  Sometimes, I actually think I’m pretty good.
The truth of the matter is that in today’s magic world, many times, the act of creating or selecting material, routining and performing is an act that is done by the same person…you.  Consider pushing your limits through friendly competition with your peers and with yourself.  I think you’ll find yourself a better magician because of it!
Until next time...Make An Impact!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Case for Competition, Part 1

I want to explore the idea of competition in order to foster growth as a magician.  While I do fully expect to explore magic competitions as part of this discussion, that wasn’t my initial intent.  My initial thought was that magicians have no competition.  Stick with me for a minute while I explain myself.  I realized that when I was acting and studying acting full time as a student that I was constantly being challenged by other actors.  I was certainly challenged by my own interest in growth but, and maybe more importantly, I was being challenged by and was competing with every other actor who was interested in being cast for the same roles that I wanted.  I knew that every time I auditioned for a role, I was competing for that role with other actors who were just as good, if not better than I was.  Because I was in competition with other actors who also were well trained and wanted the role just as badly as I did, I learned how to fail.  And as I failed in obtaining every role I wanted, it spurred me on to continue seeking out training, workshops, and classes to help me grow.  That is a very difficult, yet wonderful process.  It’s a process that allows driven actors to continue working to become the best they can possibly be.
Magicians don’t have a process like this.  Let’s not complicate things here.  The reality is, that becoming a magician is really as simple as learning a few tricks.  Consider this…once you know a few tricks and share them with your friends and family they will start looking at you as a magician whether you want them to or not.  The bar is not set very high.  The last time I checked, you didn’t have to audition against other would be magicians for the role of a magician.  Once you learn the tricks…you’re in.  That’s both a good thing and a bad thing.  For those of us out there that want to be thought of as someone with special knowledge and skills, but don’t really want to make a living at it, it’s great that you can learn a few things and share them with family and friends.  However, for those of us that have aspirations to become a paid amateur, a part-time or a full-time performer, perhaps we should think twice before we buy a few tricks at the magic shop and go out and perform them without any thought.
As I think about the auditioning process that actors go through, it makes me wish that there was something that would force each and every one of us to hold ourselves to a higher standard.  It was this thought that made me think of the times when I have worked hand in hand with other like-minded performers.   For several years, I performed in shows with friends who were also very fine entertainers.  Knowing that I would be sharing the bill with these other performers forced me to hold myself to a very high standard.  I didn’t want to go onstage after someone who had just had a great set and bring the show energy down.  Likewise, I didn’t want to have someone go onstage after me and completely overshadow what I had just done.  I knew that the other performers would do their very best to be excellent and I wanted to be excellent as well.  It was this type of friendly competition that really forced me to up my game.
To be continued...

Until next time...Make An Impact!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Know Thyself, Part 3

This is the continuation of an essay that I wrote for a set of lecture notes years ago.  I am adapting that essay for this blog.  To read the initial blog post, Know Thyself Part 1, click here.
Part 3
When I initially write this essay, one of the big trends in television were shows about makeovers.  There were many numerous shows that basically focused on changing someone. 
First, the show would introduce you to the subject and then that person shared with the viewer what it is that they didn’t like about themselves and what they wanted to change.  These makeover subjects then typically would undergo surgery to physically alter the way that they looked.  After a period of healing, the show then revealed the “new” person to their family, friends, and the viewer at home.
When I saw these programs, many times, they bothered me.  It’s not true in all cases, in fact in some cases I believe that these shows did a good thing for their subjects.  What bothered me was when I saw someone changing themselves in order to please the world.
As a performer, I want to be an original.  I want to be myself onstage.  I want my audience to perceive my authenticity.  No makeovers.  No plastic surgery for my magic.  I don’t want anyone to ever feel as though I am interchangeable with any other magician out there.  That is why understanding who you are and where you come from is important.
You don’t want to be a clone magician do you?  You shouldn’t, you have much more than that to offer.  Trust me.  It’s there within you.  It may take some time and effort to bring to the surface, but it is sooo worth it.
I wanted to share this essay with you to outline a few ideas of why knowing who you are is important.  I sincerely believe that if you are comfortable with yourself (and that can be quite a large step itself), that comfort will allow you to open up creatively and play with different ideas that you have.  Your creative process will be unleashed because you will not be hindered by fear of ridicule or failure, you won’t be worried about what other people think, and your imagination will be given freedom to create.  So again I say, know thyself.
Until next time...Make An Impact!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Know Thyself, Part 2

This is the continuation of an essay that I wrote for a set of lecture notes years ago.  I am adapting that essay for this blog.  To read the initial blog post, Know Thyself Part 1, click here.
Part 2
So, why is it necessary to explore and seek your personal truths?
Well, this path of self-discovery will help you identify subjects that are important to you.  And if the subject is important to you, the energy, the enthusiasm that you have for it will permeate your performance every time you share it with someone.
That type of enthusiasm, the kind that comes from genuine passion, is not something that can be faked.   That kind of enthusiasm is highly contagious to others.  We owe that kind of thought and energy to our audiences. 
If someone is willing to give you several moments of their life, we should respect that gift and be willing to give them back a gift of equal value.  The gift that we can offer is a piece of ourselves through our magic.  That is a gift that no one else can give.  That is a gift worth something.  
Now, it may not be necessary for you to be talking about a subject that you find highly fascinating to make this connection with your audience.  I believe that you should have topics like that in your magic, but every piece of magic does not need to be that way.
In fact, the voyage of self-discovery may simply be the journey that you need to take that will help you grow comfortable in your own skin.  This may be an opportunity for you to identify with and accept yourself just the way that you are.
As you begin to understand your strengths and weaknesses, your likes and dislikes, not only will you grow as a person, but your creative insights will become clearer and your choices will be more personal and real.  As you learn more and more about whom you are, it is possible that you may find things that you don’t like, but it is my hope that you will embrace your individuality.  It is this individuality that makes you unique.
Your uniqueness, your personality, your originality may be what is needed to make that important connection with the audience.  If you are comfortable being yourself, if you allow your personality to shine through your magic, audiences will appreciate your honesty and that will hopefully help them connect with you on a deeper level.
Click here for Part 3.  Until next time...Make An Impact!
Jason's original cups and balls routine which was inspired from his interest in classic magic and classic theatre.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


That’s right, show me those pearly whites.  Think about this for a minute.  Do you smile enough when you perform magic?  Well, do you?
I’ve recently realized that a smile is one of the most powerful things in the world.  A smile is infectious.  Whenever I see someone else smile and laugh, it puts me in a better mindset.  It makes me smile too.
In fact, a smile (and many times laughter) is one of the most common reactions to a great magic trick.  There is usually a brief moment of amazement that is immediately followed by a huge smile and laughter.  And this is a natural reaction.  It happens over and over again.  The more you go out there and perform magic for others, the more smiles you see as a direct result to the magic you are sharing.
So, if the natural reaction to a great magic trick is for your audience to smile and laugh, shouldn’t you and I be smiling too?  One of the reasons I say that a smile is one of the most powerful things in the world is because I’ve seen the reactions to my smile when I perform.
I love magic.  I really do.  I love to perform it for others and I am blessed to be able to do it.  In fact, it’s that feeling of being blessed that makes me smile.  And when I smile, it’s a very real smile.  When I take the stage, my smile comes from deep within and I believe that it shines out there for everyone to see.  It lets my audience know that I’m here to have fun with them.  It lets them know that I am thrilled to be there with them.  It lets them know that I am a friendly, happy person.  And when I smile, my audience smiles back at me.
I believe that a smile relaxes my audience.  It puts them at ease.  It sends the message that this experience is supposed to be enjoyable.  The experience is supposed to make them smile and laugh too.
And it’s okay to be a serious magical performer and smile.  You can have more than one emotion in a magic show or in a set of magic.  You can have something that is very serious and dramatic which is immediately followed by something that makes your audience smile and laugh.
Why else would we be told to smile for a picture?  Take a look at a picture of someone very serious, and then take a look at a picture of someone with a big smile.  Which one makes you feel more at ease?  Which person do you feel more trusting towards?  Which one seems to be having more fun?  It’s the smiling picture.
Here’s a little exercise for you.  The next time you walk into a busy room, walk in with a huge smile on your face.  I think you’ll find that the people in the room will be way more receptive to you and to your magic if you have that smile.  People aren’t as open to others when they seem to be very serious.  Serious people have a certain intensity that isn’t warm and inviting.
So, the next time you go out there and ‘wow’ someone with your magic, try a smile on for size and see how much better it goes.
Until next time…Make An Impact!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

You Might Be A Magic Junkie If…

…you find yourself listening to hours and hours of magic podcast interviews on your iPhone when you are exercising every day.  Ok, guilty as charged!
I admit it.  I’ve gotten hooked on a podcast that interviews all sorts of brilliant magicians.  On the days when I’m riding the stationary bike at the gym, I listen to these really interesting interviews and the time just flies by.
I wanted to share this awesome resource with you.  If you’re fascinated by all things magic, you’re going to love these podcasts.
I love how you really get a feel for what the person is like.  They are able to relax and just be themselves during the interview and you and I get to listen in to their little conversation.  It’s like being a bug on a wall during discussions with some of the top minds in the magic world.
You’ve gotta check this out!  It’s called the Magic Newswire.  You can go to the website by clicking here.
Until next time…Make An Impact!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Are You Collaborating?

Some of the most fun, creative, exciting times during my magic career have been during times of collaboration.  I’m wondering if you have any friends or colleagues who also have an interest in the art of magic.  And if so, are you guys getting together to show each other magic or work on the latest mystery?

Collaborating, working with, and throwing ideas around with other like minded individuals can be incredible satisfying.  The very best magic I have created has always been improved on by sharing my ideas with my closest magic fiends.  Other people are able to look at a problem and come up with a unique perspective or solution that you (and I) would have never thought of.

I urge you to seek out other like minded individuals in your local community.  Use the internet to your advantage and don’t be afraid to reach out and contact other magicians.  Trust me, the magic community is one of the most friendly and closely knit communities around.

And if you haven’t joined the MagicianMaker.com community on Facebook, click here and become part of the conversation.  You can also follow MagicianMaker.com on Twitter, here.

Until next time…Make An Impact!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Do You Use a Script?

Well, do you?
As you learn the magic on MagicianMaker.com and go out there and share it with friends, family and complete strangers, you’re going to have to have something to say.  You are going to have to ask someone to take a card, or to write something down, or to remember something.  A script is as simple as that.  How you communicate those things is your script.
So, what are you going to say?  Do you want to throw in a funny joke or a really cool story?  You certainly don’t want to have a bunch of ‘Ummmmms’ and ‘Ahhhhhs’ distract your audience when you are trying to create a moment that they will never forget.
Think about it.  Your performance can be brilliant or it can be painful to watch.  The difference between those two is usually the script.
It’s funny; I’ve seen brilliant technical magicians be out and out boring because they had nothing to say.  I’ve also seen people take the simplest of tricks and turn them into blockbuster moments with a good script.
So, how do you do it?  How do you create a good script?  Don’t worry right now about writing something down word for word.  You can do that, but it often freaks people out because they are afraid they won’t sound natural reciting something that is planned out.  I think the best technique is to come up with an idea or a subject that you find interesting.  Once you have something that really speaks to you, write down a few facts, or a joke, or an interesting story that relates to the subject.  From that point, just see where it goes naturally.
The truth of the matter is that you are going to create a script one way or another.  When you perform a trick enough times, you will naturally start saying the same things over and over until they become your script.  The question is, will you create a script that is purposeful and meaningful, or will you just say whatever pops into your head and hope for the best.
My vote is for a little bit of preparation in order to create a moment that sticks in your spectators mind forever.  With a good script, I promise you can do that!  That’s it for now.
Until next time…Make An Impact!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Give Your Audience a Sense of Wonder

So, I was flipping through the channels the other day and I got stuck on the Oprah show. Yeah, I know. I feel like a real man when I watch Oprah (lol).

Anyway, there was a story about a homeless man named Ted Williams who became a huge internet sensation several months back with his incredible “radio” voice. I remember watching the YouTube videos of this man and being amazed by his story. If you haven’t seen any of his videos, watch the one below.

So, I’m watching this show about this supremely talented man who got caught up in alcohol and drugs and really went on a downward spiral. The show documented how he had become homeless, what he had endured, and the incredible story of how he was able to get his life back together.

At one point Oprah commented on how she got a feeling of wonder at his story. And I must admit, watching his story and seeing him overcome such difficult circumstances to regain control over his life really was inspirational and heart-warming.

So, here’s my question to you. What can we do as magicians to give our audiences a sense of wonder? Please don’t think that I’m downplaying his situation by comparing it to magic tricks. I’m not. I just want to know what we can learn from how his story is able to touch so many people and give them that sense of “wonder”.

Wonder is an amazing emotion to feel. It makes you feel warm inside. It opens your eyes to what is possible in the world. It’s a very powerful feeling that we as magicians can tap in to. And we should. We should absolutely try to tap into creating a sense of wonder through our magic. It’s very rare that people are able to cut through all the distractions out there in the world to really have an eye-opening, inspirational moment. It should be one of our goals.

Until next time…Make An Impact!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Getting Started in Magic

So, I was on Facebook the other day and got a message from one of my friends asking me how to get started with magic.  (By the way, click here and join the MagicianMaker community.)
You know that’s really a tough question that has many answers that could take hours and hours to share.  In fact, this MagicianMaker blog is really all about that topic.  With every blog post, I attempt to post something that I believe is important for someone getting started in magic to know.  As you progress and as the blog progresses the subjects get more and more in depth on both the art and the business of magic. 
Here’s basically what I told him.  Perform as much as possible for as many people as possible.  Give it away if you have to just so people will see you.  Go perform in a busy public place and build up your experience as well as visibility.  That experience will help turn you into a seasoned performer who is comfortable in front of your audience.  It will also put you in front of all sorts of different age groups, socio-economic groups, etc.  It will help you learn what grabs people’s attention, what they respond to, and what really plays out there in the real world of performing.  It will help build a level of confidence that a great entertainer should have. 
Now, if you are looking to get hired you need to decide who exactly you want to hire you.  Getting hired and paid to do magic really falls into the category of sales and marketing.  Please keep in mind that sales and marketing is a huge subject that encompasses entire libraries.  People go to school for a long time to learn about it.  If you really want to get hired over and over again, you will need to learn the basics.  But that’s a good thing.  By learning the basics about marketing you are going to learn more about what people want, what drives them, etc.  You will gain invaluable insight that you can use as a magician.
Let’s tackle some of the basics though.  Do you want to work restaurants, private parties, kids birthdays, what?  You must decide what exactly you want to do so you can then decide who your marketing audience is.  Once you know who you are going to be trying to speak to, then you will need to create a marketing plan that will reach them.  Unfortunately, this is the side of the business that people don’t really enjoy.  It’s not as much fun as working on a new trick to show your friends, but you have to do it if you really want to thrive in this business.  What makes it difficult is that you have to put away your “magician” hat and put on your “people” hat.  You want to really get inside the person’s head who you believe is going to be hiring you and speak their language.  I’ve found that it actually is quite fun.  It’s like trying to solve a puzzle or figure out how to do a really cool magic trick.  Besides, the payoff is so cool!  It’s hard to beat when you go do a gig and someone hands you money!
Basically a marketing plan explains what actions you are going to take to get your message (in this case your message is hire me to come do magic for you) in front of someone who could potentially hire you.  You just have to decide what those actions are.  Some actions could be to develop a website and then email a link to a potential buyer you met at a show, or they could be to do a free show (for the exposure) for a local group that is trying to raise awareness or money for a cause, or it could be as simple as creating a tear sheet with your name and phone number on it and hanging it up on a bulletin board at your local grocery store.  That marketing plan should outline what steps you are going to take to get your name out there.  It may seem like a lot of work, but building a small business (and getting paid to do magic qualifies as a small business) is extremely satisfying.
Well, that’s plenty to digest for now.  I’ll go into this stuff more in depth in the near future.

Until next time...Make An Impact!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Controlling the Environment

So, I recently worked a high end corporate gig and made a major mistake.  This one mistake really threw my show off.  To be honest, most of the audience didn't even pay attention to me.  This is a pretty rare occurance for me, so I analyzed what happened and posted my thoughts.  With one simple fix I could have had a great show.  Don't make the same mistake I did.  You do not want this to happen to you.  Check out this link and learn how to guarantee you grab everyone's attention when it's time to perform -


I know that not everyone that reads this blog post performs on a stage.  Seriously though, think about how controlling your environment will improve all of the magic that you do.  It doesn't matter if you are on the street, in someone's living room or on the biggest stage.  This is a great lesson.

Until next time...Make an Impact!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Know Thyself - Part 1

Ok, listen.  This topic is heavy.  It is not something that you can skim through without any thought.  If you do, you are really wasting your time.  I believe that what follows is critical in order for you to understand my philosophy of performing.  So don’t go any further until you have some time to think about what is said.

I also want to mention that not everyone is in the same place.  You may know exactly who you are and you may create magic that is 100% true to you.  On the flipside of that coin, you very well may have never thought about this subject in the context of magic.  I am going to try and approach this topic as if we are starting from the very beginning.  And off we go…

In order to make magic your own, you have to know who you are.  Period.  That is what it all boils down to.  Stop right now and think about it.  Who are you?  Wow.  That is a tough question for many people to answer. 

Do you know yourself very well?  Who are you as a person, as a member of the human race?  What are your beliefs, your values, your loves, and your hates?  Take a moment and think about who you are deep within; your authentic self. 

This is not an exercise that you can do quickly.  It is an undertaking that requires time and real effort to accomplish. 

Knowing yourself, from the deep personal beliefs that make up your core system of values to your funny habits and quirks that make you special and unique, is the first step on the path to creating something that is uniquely your own. 

Taking a self-inventory, stepping back for a moment and doing some inner-exploration is not some ridiculous esoteric new-age idea. 

No, it is the base, the rock that your creative process will work from as you take the steps to make the magic you perform your own.  As you begin to learn and understand who you are, you will naturally make choices that ring true for you.  You will choose material, subjects and approaches that speak to you and you will reject that which is not authentic.  You will throw away the junk that does not conform to your ideals. 

You will begin a filtering process that will guide you in your choices.  Learning about yourself is a deeply personal journey that will challenge you immensely and one that will give you great satisfaction as you create your own personal masterpieces.

So, who are you? 

Well, let me help start you in the right direction.  What do you love?  For instance, do you love sports?  How about movies?  Is reading one of your passions?  Or perhaps you love to cook?  Does your family give you great satisfaction?  Maybe you love someone else…or just yourself.  You must be honest with yourself. 

You have to look within to find subjects that strike a chord deep within.  What subjects get you energized and excited? 

Go ahead and write them down when they come to you.  You should definitely keep a journal or a notebook where you can express your thoughts and ideas. 

How about those little things that drive you absolutely crazy?  What are they?  What pushes you to your breaking point?  What makes you sad? 

Understand this, the answers that you seek may not come to you right away.  The first step is to pose the questions.  Once you have asked yourself the questions then your brain can begin to search for the answers. 

Once you have been made aware of the subject, you will begin to take notice of the things that influence you in your everyday life.  As these realizations come to you, you should have a notebook, a journal, a tape recorder, or a file on your computer set aside to record them. 

The personal truths that you seek need to be recorded and compiled for you to study.  These truths will help guide you on the path that you should pursue in your performing, your creating, and ultimately in your everyday life.

To continue this essay, click here for Part 2.  Until then...Make An Impact!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It’s Not About You

So, you’re looking for a way to make some money with magic tricks, huh?  Among the magicians I know that is one of the hottest topics around. Not only is it natural, there’s also something incredibly satisfying about getting paid for doing something that you love to do.
So, once you have some good experience and you are comfortable performing the magic, how do you make some cash with it?
Well, let me ask you this first.  Did you read the post titled Getting Paid to Do Magic and do what it told you to do?  Getting paid to do magic is really about taking action.  You can’t be scared to share your magic with strangers.  You can’t be scared to try and sell yourself to someone.  You have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and take a risk.  If you haven’t actually done the exercise in that post, click here, read the post and do what it says.  Once you’ve done that, come back and continue reading.
Alright, you’ve taken action and spent some time sharing your magic with family, friends and even some strangers.  Good for you!  That’s step #1.  In fact, you can never get enough of step #1.  Go do it some more and get some more experience.  Now, on to step #2.
Step #2 is to realize that when people pay you to do magic, it’s not about you.  Huh?  Wait a minute.  What? 
That’s right, it’s not about you.  It’s about them.  Every time I get hired to do my magic by an event planner, a restaurant, a private party, etc, it’s not about me.
Let’s think about this.  Let’s say that a mom wants to hire you for her child’s birthday party.  Why?  The reality is that she is hiring you because she thinks that by having you entertain her child and his or her guests you will make the child’s birthday extra special and super memorable.  She wants to thrill her little boy or girl.  By hiring you, it fulfills her wants and needs.
A restaurant doesn’t hire you because they love the tricks you can do for their customers.  A restaurant hires you to add value to the dining experience.  They want to make the rather lengthy wait for the food, seem like it never occurred.  They want you to keep people entertained so they don’t leave while they wait for a table in the lobby.  They want you to give the people a unique experience that they can’t get anywhere else.
A cruise ship doesn’t hire you because you can do great magic.  A cruise ship hires you because they have confidence that you can entertain their guests.  They believe that you can give the cruisers a fun experience that they will enjoy.  A cruise ship wants their guests to enjoy themselves onboard and they are hiring you to help provide that enjoyment.
Someone who stops to watch you do a street magic performance stops out of interest, but they stay because you are keeping them entertained.  They're laughing, watching intently, and enjoying the experience.  You are doing something that they find interesting, so they stick around.
It’s all about them.  When someone pays you, whether it’s in money or in their time and attention, you want to make sure that you are fulfilling their specific wants and needs.  This is the question you must ask yourself.  When someone wants to hire me, what is it they want or need?
If you can answer that question, not only will you probably get the gig, but you will also be ready to actually entertain the audience.  You’ll be able to speak “their language” and make everyone happy.
You see, it’s very easy to fall in the trap of thinking that it’s all really about you.  But if you keep in mind that the most important person in the world to someone else is themselves, then you’ll start seeing why this is such an important point.
I hope you enjoy and keep reading these posts.  As we delve further into these discussions, I’ll share specific information with you on how to work restaurants, do street magic, produce your own show, and more.  For now though, please realize that we are setting groundwork.  I want to get you in the right mindset, so when it’s time to go out there and get the show, you’re ready.  Don't worry, we'll get there.  Until next time...Make An Impact!

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Thought I would briefly talk about originality in magic.  I say “briefly” because this is a subject I could go on and on about.
When I first started in magic, I mainly learned by watching video.  Because I was watching other magicians perform, when I learned the magic that was being taught, I used their exact same scripts, ideas, etc.  That’s actually quite natural.  Most beginners do exactly that.  They learn the magic as it is taught, then they perform it the same way.  No problem there.
After some time though, I think it’s important to start to imprint some of your own personality into your magic.  I guarantee that you have a different style than the person whom you learned the tricks from.  You probably have a different sense of humor, different interests, and different ideas for what makes magic good for you.
Your audiences want to see and get to know you.  They want to enjoy you doing the magic.  Your audience does not want to see you doing your best impression of Criss Angel, David Blaine or Jason Michaels.  They want to get to know you. 
That is one of the things that makes magic so powerful.  It’s a performing art.  Magic is not nearly as good when it’s seen on video.  It’s not, trust me.  Magic is best experienced live.  That‘s why it’s so important to not be a clone of some other magician.
As you learn more and more magic, find ways to share your personality.  Feel free to change the magic so that it represents your sense of humor, your view of the world, and your ideas.
I’m sharing a video on this post of Shawn Farquhar performing his multi-award-winning act Shape of My Heart.  Shawn recently won FISM (the Olympics of magic) and is a grand champion of magic.  I think it’s important to see how he used his own ideas and inspirations, along with numerous sleight of hand techniques to create a beautiful routine that his audiences go nuts about.
On a related note, Shawn is a personal friend of mine and he and I have talked about this routine before.  He put a ton of time and effort into creating it.  Unfortunately, numerous magicians have seen him do this act and have decided to rip it off.  Don’t do that!  I’m not posting this here so you can steal Shawn’s routine.  I’m posting it here to inspire you to use everything around you to inspire your magic.
Remember, be an original.  And never forget…Make An Impact!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Getting Paid to do Magic

So, one of the most common questions I get asked by magicians is, “How do you make money with magic?” This is a great question.

The first thing you have to take into consideration is your bag of tricks. Do you have enough magic and is your magic good enough to warrant charging a fee? Well, if you are a member of MagicianMaker and have been learning the magic in the site, the answer is yes. The magic from MagicianMaker is hand selected to be top-notch magic that will amaze, but is easy to learn.

Next you have to consider who you are, what kind of magic you like, and where you want to share your magic. For instance, are you interested in performing for kid’s birthday parties? Do you wanna do close-up magic in a restaurant? What do you think about setting up a table on a street corner and giving street performing a real shot?

Let’s think about this. If you’re just getting started, who do you normally do magic for? When I first started, my first audiences were my family, friends, and my church group. Now, those audiences didn’t pay me anything, but I did get really valuable experience from showing my street magic to them and from doing actual shows as well.

In fact, one of the best things I can advise is to perform as much as possible for as many people as possible. Penn, of Penn and Teller, calls this “flight time”. The idea is that the more “flight time” a pilot gets, the better pilot he or she becomes. The same holds true with magic. The more you perform, the better you will get. And the better you get, the easier it is going to be to start getting paid.

So, do this first. Go out and perform your favorite magic for friends and family over the next couple of days. In fact, here’s a challenge. Find an open, public space. Go to a party, a coffee shop, wherever. Go somewhere there are people milling around and hanging out. Take one of your buddies and begin by showing your buddy a few tricks. See if you can build interest from the people hanging around. If they start paying attention to what you are doing, do some magic for them and try to build a crowd. It’s actually pretty easy.

If you have the guts to do that, you definitely have what it takes to start making some cold, hard cash with magic. So, get on that now. In the next blog post, we’ll deal with actually making some bucks. I’ll share real world advice that has worked for me over and over again. Until then…Make An Impact!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wanna Work a Cruise Ship?

Ever wondered what it was like to be a magician working on a cruise ship? Click here to get a play by play of the adventures.