Magic Contests... useful or not?

Luis Vega

Elite Member
Mar 19, 2008
Leon, Guanajuato Mexico
Hello everyone!!

I have another matter that concerns me in my magic club!!...

The point on the matter...FISM, Flasoma and other magic contests...are they really important for a magician?

Most of the magicians in the club are convinced that in order to be a good magician you have to win a magic contest...and I mean like a jump to success...they have no real world experience doing magic...just 1-2 gigs every six months....and they are mostly bedroom magicians...anyway... they think that by winning an important contest...they will became great magicians...

I agree at some degree...just not the one they think...I do believe that winning a contest like FISM puts you in the eye of the magic world...but not people...I feel people wouldn´t be impressed if you get to a place to offer your services like event planners and the like...and claim you won a magic contest...but it depends of what kind of approach to magic you want...if you want to live going to conventions, giving workshops and so on...of course winning a FISM would help...BUT if you have the approach of being a succesfull and famous magician...the "normal" people are the ones who you need to impress...not the judges in a contest..

Anyway... thoughts? opinions?
Jul 27, 2010
Chicago, Illinois
I completely understand what you are trying to say, but I have to disagree. First of all, you say "they think that by winning an important contest they will become great magicians." I think it is the other way around. They practice enough to become "great" (however they define that word) and then seek validation for their efforts. Couldn't we apply your argument to actors? Are the oscars, grammys, etc. useless? I don't think so.


Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
Personally I dislike magic contests. I don't believe you can compare (and thus choose the best) two things which should be unique. How could one say that John Archer doing his bank night is better or worse than Yann Frisch doing his cups and balls? In my mind the only way to be able to have a contest is if the magicians are doing material that is similar enough and therefore less artistic to be compared.

The comparison to the Emmy's or Grammies is poor because those awards are not given due to a performance that night. They are a response to the performer's performances over the year.

A contest like FISM will add some prestige to your resume, just as having a bunch of certifications helps IT guys, but it won't have the same impact on laymen as magicians.

Personally, since I distance myself from most magicians, I have no desire to compete with them.
Oct 8, 2011
I think that winning an official magic competition is good even for the layman, i mean imagine this was an excerpt from your website

" magician (insert name here) has performed in multiple countries, including...etc."


"Award winning magician (insert name here) has performed in multiple countries....etc.

At least to me, the latter seems to imply more credibility in the eye of a prospective client.


forum moderator / t11
Elite Member
Sep 14, 2008
Louisville, OH
Interesting topic Luis. I enjoy watching contests, however, I have no desire to compete in them. My reasoning is that I do not wish to try to entertain a group of 200 magicians who are not viewing the routine for its entertainment value, but rather sitting there and saying, "That is dumb...I was doing that effect 3 years ago." or "Ohhh....he flashed just a tad on that turnover pass..." or overanalyzing every little action.

I would however enjoy a contest in which the general public was voting on the winners. I learned that sometimes politics comes into play a lot when there is a panel of judges. Just my two cents.
Feb 4, 2008
Very interesting question. If I am reading your intent correctly I think I basically agree. I think the process of develop[ing a competition act can certainly help you to become a better magician. And winning one certainly could have some career perks. That said, I doubt it is a substitute for earning live performance experience with the lay audience.

Let's just say that if a friend of mine wanted my help picking a magician for an event and all I had to go on was two different websites (after guilting them because they didn't hire me) I would tell them to go with the guy who has more testimonial quotes and videos posted on his sight over the guy who has a lot of awards listed.
Dec 14, 2012
Magic contests tend to focus on skill and artistry. We know how difficult some things are to do, and the people who can do those thing with ease and no tell tale signs are those that win the contests. In terms of artistry, many of the winning acts are artistic, but not necessarily commercial.

That being said, the best marketing is word of mouth. The more you perform and the more people like you, the more they hire you and talk about you to others who hire you.
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