HOW TO BECOME A MAGICIAN
How to become a magician? People always ask me, how did you get into magic, but the way I got into magic is going be different to how other people will or did get into magic. There are many different moves to get into magic and it may be because you’ve seen somebody on TV, it may be because you’ve been inspired by your friend. But whatever it is, is a great skill to have. Even if you’re just an amateur, it’s a great skill to pick out to really get the party started and get people excited about something a little bit different party or if you’re just meeting friends, in a bar, or in a coffee shop.
It’s a nice little hobby to have a deck of cards fits into your pocket or in your backpack or in your work bag and can say in the drawer next to your desk. It’s almost the perfect fidget spinner. Remember those from a few years ago, you can always be practicing with cards, and yet you can still be concentrating on something as well. So, what’s the best way to start? How do you become a magician?
See what the professionals are doing.
There are many different types of magicians. There’s close up magician, there’s a mind reader sometimes called a mentalist. There’s a stage magician, a cabaret magician as magicians who perform quick change act. There’s magicians who perform underwater escapes. There’s digital magicians. There’s people who just specialize in corporate events or weddings or private parties or you may decide you want to become a talent show magician performing magic, which is perfect for TV, but will struggle if it is performed in front of intimate audiences. So, in the last 10, 15 years, with the advent of Britain’s Got Talent, or America’s Got Talent, and before that the X-Factor, there’s been hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of opportunities, and performers performing magic on these entertainment platforms. However, the standard is not always great and it’s a risk if you decide to choose to perform on one of these platforms. There can be some corruption involved and you’re not always going to fulfill your potential because after all, they’re an entertainment show, and not a magic show.
Consider performing on magic-exclusive TV shows
That said, you could also consider purely exclusive magic entertainment shows such as Penn and Teller fool us. But maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves. How do you become a magician? Well, first is looking at what the professionals are doing. People who have made it on TV, or successful professional magicians earning money from performing. There’s probably only 10% of these, as of all of the professional magicians or amateur magicians in the world.
Most magicians are just hobbyists and while there’s nothing wrong to being a hobbyist, if you really want to elevate your skills, or if you really want to become a magician, you may as well start by being inspired by the best. The best place to start is maybe watching people like David Blaine, and his TV specials or if you want to go down the more mind reading or mentalism route, watch Darren Brown, a UK, mind magician. Watch them on TV to get some ideas of how professional performs and if you really want to get to know how a professional magician performs, go and see them live.
Derren Brown has performed and still does perform live stage shows around the UK and in America. David Blaine does the same. Then of course, you can look at some of the Britain’s Got Talent or America’s Got Talent magicians. To perform on TV, you have to have a certain level of ability. Now, don’t be worried. These magicians will no doubt have had a production team behind them, teams who specialize in TV magic. So, yes, aspire to be similar to them.
But don’t be put off if you think it’s too far out of reach. Often some of these performers perform close up magic, and they’re just elevated into larger performances. So, once you’ve had some inspiration and you’ve had an idea of what kind of magician you want to become, whether it’s a pickpocket, a mind reader or a close up magician, and escapologist, quick change act, a TV consultant.
If you want to learn how to become a magician then you should learn some magic.
Next is to maybe get started and learn some magic. Where do you start? Well, you could start by going to your local magic shop. Now, there’s very few bricks and mortar magic shops left anymore. So, you could try some reputable online retailers, such as Alakazam magic, Penguin magic, there’s illusionist, and a number of others. A quick Google search will help you find these magic shops, and then maybe even call some of these establishments up and you’ll get to speak to some professional magicians who work in the shops, who may be able to advise you on some good start tricks.
Be careful though, they are businesses, and they will more than likely pushed their own brand products on you for a better margin. However, if you want to find something that truly suits your performing style, they can certainly help you. Not just with tricks or gimmicks but an even better place to start is with books. Unlike videos or DVDs, or YouTube tutorials, which is another option, books allow you to inject your own personality and performance. You get the structure of a magic routine.
Those great magicians who perform on TV and are successful in their own right don’t try and copy other magicians, but they put their own spin on a particular routine or a trick. So, you’ve got some books, maybe you’ve chosen the Royal Road to Card Magic, which is an excellent place to start if you want to learn how to become a magician.
Here are some books and resources to start if you want to learn how to become a magician:
If you want to learn how to become a coin magician, you could maybe try Jay Bobo’s book about coin magic. Equally, there’s Mark Wilson’s Encyclopedia of magic for a broader range of magic if you’re still not sure what kind of magician you want to become. Alongside that, you can buy a number of DVDs. These have now transitioned into more online downloads, but you could buy them nonetheless. If you search penguin live, you can even see some great lectures and live performances of a range of magicians. These are an absolute bargain at $30 or so. Then you can see the reviews that people leave these performances and make your choice accordingly. This is a great opportunity to find an online mentor. Now, I’m of the belief a mentor doesn’t have to be somebody you meet in person.
It’s great to have a mentor you meet in person. But with so much information being uploaded to the internet every day, you can have two or three mentors and they wouldn’t even know that they are your mentor. You could choose one magician who produces great magic is a creative thinker, and explains how they do their performances and you can follow their books, read their books, watch their online lectures, and buy some of their tricks and props. But of course, we are human. We love social connectivity. So, there’s no replacement for finding a mentor in person. Just Google magician in your local area, or magic club in your local area and you’ll be sure to find somebody who may be able to give you some tips and advice. I mentioned there about a magic club. If you want to learn how to become a magician, then you could join your local magic club. They’ll give you some tips and hints on how to do that.
Of course, the most famous magic club in the world is the Magic Circle. Again, 90% of these people are amateur magicians. So, my advice if you want to learn how to become a magician, find a mentor who is a professional or semi-professional magician. An amateur magician with years of experience, their experienced may not be the kind of experience that will help you elevate the craft of magic or help you become a magician. Most local magic clubs have meetings once a week or once a month, and they invite local or international or country specific speakers or performers in to teach some of their tricks. This can be a great way to meet famous magicians but equally meet other local magicians in your area who may be able to support your goal in learning how to become a magician.
Practice is the biggest commitment you need if you want to learn how to become a magician:
So, you’ve got a mentor, you’ve watched some DVDs, downloaded some downloads, read some books, watch some online tutorials, and even spoken to a few people. Now, it’s time to Practice. This is the biggest part that most magicians don’t do, spend enough time practicing. There’s nothing worse than performing magic if it’s going to look bad, and there’s no replacement or substitute for performing for live audiences. So, try performing in front of not just the mirror, but try performing in front of your friends. Ask them for feedback. If you really want to learn how to become a magician, this can be the most valuable opportunity. See what they think of your magic and don’t be disheartened if they don’t think it’s that good. Either practice more or choose something more appropriate to your personality. Don’t forget, the actual magic trick itself is only part of learning how to become a magician.
If you really want to become a magician, you also need to learn how to perform, how to speak, how to communicate, how to direct your audience to do what you want, after all you are performing for them. So, you are in control. So, show some friends and family over Christmas, show them over local parties and then once you’ve done that, maybe start showing strangers. If you’re a drinking age, maybe pop into your local pub, or go to your local scout group if you don’t drink or go to your local community club, show some strangers your magic and get their feedback. It doesn’t have to be formal feedback, but you can often gauge by the reactions.
Watch Duncan's stage showreel below
How to start performing in front of live audiences:
Then the next step up might be going to fetes and festivals. Here is another opportunity where you can have a range of people performing I knew would fit in perfectly. Maybe you’ve got some time under your belt and you’re now a performer. You feel confident that your magic is good enough to earn some money. Now, there’s a phrase in magic which is find a place to be bad. I don’t believe this is a good phrase and a mentality to adopt. You should never find a place to be bad. You should always find a place where you can practice your material. You should never go with the mentality of it’s going to be bad. So, maybe speak to an agency, there’s plenty of agencies online like pop-top bark, who will happily put your details on their site. You don’t have to charge a lot because you don’t have the experience. So, start with a small amount. Maybe you’ll get your first gig.
After that, I would also suggest speaking to some of your friends or friends of your friends, and ask them if they could refer you or know anybody who’s having a party who’d be prepared to pay to have a magician like you at their party. Again, this doesn’t have to be a lot of money because you’re simply wanting to practice your skills. But you’ll be at a level where you think your skills and the effort you’ve put in is worthy of payment. Once you have referrals, maybe you could then start getting some photography.
Ask some of your friends or family to take photos and video of you performing, capture the reactions, capture the magic and once you have that, now is the time to perhaps build a website. If you really want to learn how to become a magician, you need a website. A website is an online business card. It showcases your skills and your abilities, a video is the best form of advertising, because people want to see what you can do.
Here are some business suggestions if you want to learn how to become a magician:
Once you have that, you can also build a Facebook page. There’s no easier opportunity to get your name out there than creating a Facebook page, or even start filming some of your content and uploading it to Instagram or TikTok. Be warned, there’s already an awful lot of magicians who upload to TikTok, Instagram and Facebook. So, you will be faced with an awful lot of competition. But my suggestion is just get started. Commit to the process and being consistent in uploading your content. Surely, and slowly people will start to see it and then over time, people will pay you more and more as they can see your expertise. The final opportunity is leveraging online agencies.
These agencies will actively find clients to work with and take a small commission. If you really want to learn how to become a magician, speak to these guys. They will advise you on the kind of website, the kind of things that they are looking for professional magicians and then hopefully you would have built a community, a community of fellow like-minded magicians, and often in the UK and internationally there are conventions where all magicians come together, share ideas, share stories perform to one another and every year, once a year, the biggest convention in the world is held in Blackpool.
This is where over three and a half thousand magicians all convene to talk magic and see some great performances. The people attending maybe some of your friends you’ve already met or your local club or if you want, you could also join the Magic Circle. Often touted as the most prestigious magic club in the world but really there’s only a few magic clubs with the level of entry requirements that they asked for. So, I hope that has given you a brief overview, an idea of how to become a magician and I look forward to potentially working with you in the future.