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!

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