Do you need to perform magic or know magic tricks to be a magician?

Dec 22, 2016
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I love magic, I practice it but I don’t perform, I really don’t think I will ever perform.

I am a student of magic both read and watch everything I can; I love reading essays and am very academic in my learning and love of magic in how the tricks work and the theory behind each trick.

I attend a magical society and love it, I am always with my head in a magic book or watching lectures and where I do practice magic I won’t ever perform, I am just not comfortable performing but I love to write about magic and I love to study it.

In the same way that the movie director is not an actor I am sure of the fact I am not a magician but what am I?

Is there even a name for it?

Are there any fellow members like this?

I am confused a little in where I go I suppose, magic is a lifelong thing for me but I won't be learning a set or the like.

Interested in what you all think about this?

I do have gimmicks and as mentioned already I can do tricks but I just don't think I am a magician.
 
Any art form is subjective and I consider magic to be an art form. There are so many people that just perform tricks to a camera to get likes on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, etc. who will never actually go out and perform for people in person. They still consider themselves magicians. I wouldn't consider myself one unless I was performing for people and I would consider myself a professional unless I was making a regular income at it. So I personally don't consider those people magicians but rather hobbyists or enthusiasts. If they consider themselves magicians that's fine since it's their opinion. My only beef is when the the enthusiasts try to rain on the parade of the performers when they have no idea what it's actually like to perform live.
 
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WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
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Like in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell - you're a "Theoretical magician".

I think it's perfectly fine to be a magic enthusiast, or a magic historian. You can even join the Magic Castle as a historian, last I checked.
 

RealityOne

Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
3,595
3,889
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There are all types of magicians and I think you can call yourself a magician. Paul Harris hasn't performed for years, but I doubt anyone would say he isn't a magician. Jim Steinmeyer very rarely performs, but I would consider him a magician. I don't perform professionally and I'm pretty sure that most folks on these forums would consider me a magician.

If you want a different title feel free to pick whatever fits you best: magic enthusiast, magic collector, a student of magic, a magic guru or even the walking encyclopedia of magic.

Finally, I would encourage you to go out and perform. For friends, for folks at the bar, for your magic buddies or for anyone. You will understand magic so much more by performing it.
 
Dec 22, 2016
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Thank you all for the replies, I am not looking for a title as such its just when someone called me a magician and I said I am not, I then got asked, "what are you then?".

I think I would probably prefer to write about magic than perform it which may seem a bit strange, I would never rule performing the odd tricks here and there but at the moment I just cannot ever see it.
 
Thank you all for the replies, I am not looking for a title as such its just when someone called me a magician and I said I am not, I then got asked, "what are you then?".

I think I would probably prefer to write about magic than perform it which may seem a bit strange, I would never rule performing the odd tricks here and there but at the moment I just cannot ever see it.
You can take the pretentious term I use to call myself of "visual effect artist". :D
 

ProAma

Elite Member
Jun 13, 2013
214
103
Thank you all for the replies, I am not looking for a title as such its just when someone called me a magician and I said I am not, I then got asked, "what are you then?".

I think I would probably prefer to write about magic than perform it which may seem a bit strange, I would never rule performing the odd tricks here and there but at the moment I just cannot ever see it.
All you say is "what are you?". Thats how you reply.
 
I agree with Grant. I wouldn't worry too much about labels. What I would do is focus on a very clear and specific vision/goals you have for yourself. What people define you will come later. Like if you want to write a book on magic, have a specific dream for that book on what it's going to be and how you want it to be received and a time frame you can set for yourself. Then set a short term goal of writing three pages a day for example. At the end of the day it's your successes that define you and so I wouldn't worry too much about what to call yourself right now and focus more on your vision of what you want to achieve with what makes you happy.
 
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Dean Magic

Elite Member
Jun 13, 2013
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I don't think you need to perform to be considered a magician.
The definition of magician is:
"A person who performs magic tricks for entertainment."
but another definition is:
"A person with exceptional skill in a particular area."
So you can be skillful in magic and not perform it but still be considered a magician.
Then again the main definition of magician is "a person with magical powers" so it probably doesn't matter what you call yourself. :D
I wouldn't really be concerned with labels unless it was something you were making a living doing.
 
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Apr 1, 2013
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You should look up Jim Steinmeyer. I think you will find inspiration in him. He has written a number of history books on magicians not to mention he has created some of the greatest illusions for some of the biggest names in magic and he is the first to admit he is not a magician. He has never performed yet he has done so much for our art.
 
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DominusDolorum

Elite Member
Jul 15, 2013
894
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In the film industry, we call people like you "critics." It has negative connotations, but I don't think it's a negative thing at all. A "magic critic" is an interesting idea.
That's an interesting point of view actually. "Critic" sounds rough but it certainly is not a bad thing at all as it can actually foster growth in a magician's performance. As long as it's constructive and not meant to demonstrate one's knowledge for the sake of it.
 
Oct 23, 2014
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That's an interesting point of view actually. "Critic" sounds rough but it certainly is not a bad thing at all as it can actually foster growth in a magician's performance. As long as it's constructive and not meant to demonstrate one's knowledge for the sake of it.

People typically misunderstand good criticism. It's not about what's good or bad; it's about why something is good or bad.
 
Dec 5, 2016
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Tennessee
tjfritts.com
One thing I like about magic is that really, the difference between absolute beginner and highest-possible-level is skill. If somebody wants to call themselves a magician and they really aren't, it's really no foul. It's not like law enforcement where you either have the authority or you don't.

By traditional standards... maybe 1% of the members of this forum would qualify as a magician. There are some who are of the mind that you're not a magician until you're working on stage, everything else is just a hobby. I disagree. There's enough snobs in the world, I'd just as happily not have any of 'em in magic.

I've caught flak for it before but I stand by it: I'm an entertainer. I use about 3% magic and 97% not-magic and if at the end of my performance people feel entertained enough to applaud, throw money, or even react positively in any way... I'm happy. There's no real place in my world for labels because I don't like being told what I am and what I'm not. As such, I don't do it to others. If you're worried about not being "enough" of a magician to wear the label... don't. Call yourself an enthusiast, a student of the craft, a historian. I'm easy to deal with: if you're happy with what you call yourself, I'm happy with what you call yourself.

I'm kind of a... performing floozy. If my jokes, my tricks, my presentation, or my mannerisms get a response, I'm content. I don't care how I am entertaining, just as long as I am. I'm like a prostitute of the performing arts: I'll do whatever the audience is willing to pay for with applause, laughter, or remuneration, lol.
 
Jun 13, 2013
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Personally, I think labels are real, labels are important, and they're very helpful. Just ask yourself what makes a person a Doctor? Is it someone who reads a lot of medical journals and watches a lot of National Geographic documentaries on disease processes? No. A Doctor is someone who got a recognized degree from a medical school, did a residency, earned his license, and works in some field. The arts aren't all that different. In the arts, one gets the recognized education, practices (daily), begins to perform, contributes to the field in some way, teaches others, and is recognized for his/her accomplishments. I don't think it's necessary to have to make an income as such a notion makes the art a business. However, there are definitely parameters to the arts... and unfortunately, this all occurs all-to-frequently after the artist has passed away.

With that said, I understand the struggle. As I have mentioned in another thread, I'm not entirely a "hobbiest" as I have been heavily involved for 20 years. With that said, I don't consider myself a magician yet. Hence, I've started contributing my knowledge through the forums here. I typically just refer to myself as a passionate hobbiest.... or obsessed. Which ever works for me.
 
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