Advice to Young Magicians Starting Out

It's 2018 and we're all barraged with information in the form of books, tutorials, and videos. I've been a professional magician for 20 years now, and I'm gonna tell you what I wish I knew when I was starting out as an aspiring magician.

There are several myths about what it means to be a magician. Let's get those out of the way...

Myth 1: Chicks Dig A Magician

Contrary to popular opinion (among guys at least), most attractive girls do not wake up from a dream of a cool guy who just showed her an amazing card trick. She doesn't hope that a street magician will one day sweep her off her feet, nor does she fantasize about magicians. "But what about Criss Angel? What about David Blaine?" True, girls dig Criss Angel and David Blaine (and David Copperfield in his day).

But that's because they are attractive celebrities (mostly because they're celebrities. There are better magicians than David Blaine and certainly better magicians than Criss Angel.

Take Michael Ammar or Lennart Green..

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Both magicians have more talent in their little fingers than Criss Angel has in his entire chiseled body. But you don't see a host of hot girls screaming Ammar's or Lennart's name.

It's physical attractiveness and celebrity--not amazing magic. Lennart has neither attractiveness (not only physical attractiveness but also his manner--he's just not cool, same with Ammar) nor celebrity (outside the magic fraternity). They are more corny than edgy.

On multiple occasions I've performed for a guy or a couple of guys, and the remarks were, "Oh my god, dude, that is a panty-dropper," or simply, "You must get so much p***y." Even Jay Leno, when seeing a card trick from a magician on his show, said words to that effect, "You must clean up in the bars."

Girls love magic. They don't love magicians (unless you're a hot magician with good game...and celebrity helps).

A magic trick amazes but does not arouse a girl. At best it can charm her if you handle it right. But you know as well as I that the same trick can be charming in one man's hands and off-putting in another's hands.

Myth 2: If You Can Do David Blaine's Tricks, You Can Be David Blaine

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By the year 2000, I could do all of David Blaine's tricks. Indeed, they got outstanding reactions. But if you can master all of Blaine's tricks, and all of Criss Angel's tricks (well, not his tricks, he's got a team of a dozen magicians coming up with the innovative ideas), that still makes you a second-rate David Blaine or a second-rate Criss Angel. Don't get me wrong, they're great for breaking the ice in high-school, but they won't make you a celebrity. 

Neither David Blaine nor Criss Angel got famous because of their magic tricks--name almost any trick either have done and it had been done decades earlier by previous magicians. It was the presentation, the style, the lack of showmanship (yes, David Blaine had no showmanship and Criss Angel has poor showmanship...and that brand made them stand out among the sea of magicians), and a huge budget and network supporting them and blasting them across the nation. 

Once you've mastered the tricks, you still have all your work cut out for you. You need to develop a style and a voice--these will come after a lot of emulating other performers, and from performing in front of a lot of people. You need to develop showmanship. You need to develop an act, then develop a show. You need to balance the astonishment with some humor. 

Once you've done all that, you still have all your work ahead of you. Now you need to develop a brand, make yourself a public figure, build a business, learn how to market yourself (itself an entire career...don't think that an agent is gonna take care of all that for you, it doesn't happen until you've already made your mark).

Becoming a master of the tricks you do is necessary, but not sufficient to make you a great magician.

Author: Jon Finch is an Indianapolis magician who provides remarkable magic for remarkable events.