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!

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