Magicians have a huge ego.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RDChopper, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. I have been around the forums quite a while now, I used to be pretty active maybe a year or 2 ago, and it was around that time that a section called ¨battlewhatever thing¨was going on. It was a section where you challenged a magician, both of you recorded a trick from what I like to call the CPOV (Crotch point of view) and the other users here voted on who was the best.

    I was actually ranked no.1 when that part of the site was brought down, and before you say to yourself ( Jesus, he is boasting) let me say that I am actually happy to see that portion of the site to be eliminated. For one I started to see that us magicians usually have a huge ego (im not saying that everyone here)

    I actually want to bring a point to the table, recently I was contacted by several magicians from my town to do a group where all of us could share things and knowledge, it was pretty dissapointing actually that rather than grow all toguether it was all just a big competition of who was the best, who had the best sleights and so on disguised as a ¨friendly group meeting¨

    So I began to ponder on the thought of the real reasons of why we do magic, we all as people have the need to actually try to not be another fish in the pond if you get my meaning, some people do this if they have good looks, other actually learn how to play a instrument, some people are really good dancing, others do beatbox etc.

    Or in other words, we learn those kind of things as actual ¨Social crutches¨

    I believe that in order to be a good performer ( im not talking strictly magician) you have to go to the very roots of why you do the things you do, either you do it as a social crutch, you do it because you actually enjoy performing, or you do it because you simply enjoy the spotlight on you.

    I bring this to the table because I have seen countless magicians so much focused on themselves that they actually don´t give attention to what really is important.

    The audience and their needs.

    If you read all of the above you deserve a cookie :3
  2. Where's my cookie man? Ha Ha. Interesting points. I will admit that I do enjoy being the center of attention at times, making people laugh or have fun, but not near as much as watching people go nuts after I've just blown their minds. Entertainment is the name of the game!

    I agree, too many magicians do focus waaaaaaaay too much on proving themselves and meeting their personal satisfaction needs.
  3. I understand what you mean. I can say that perhaps it's rare to bump into another magician locally. So when you have a meet up with a small group of magicians, they want to show you everything they got because they're excited to show other magical peers what they can do. What they're really seeking is approval.

    What do you think the audience needs besides entertainment?
  4. With anything in life, you HAVE to get some form of personal satisfaction from it. Otherwise there would be no reason to do it.
  5. Understandment (did I wrote it right?) I know it sounds weird, but I have noticed that sometimes people are already enterteined, and they may just need something that astonishes them.

    Other times, You may as well need to entertein them and astonish them at the same time.

    For example an ACR is a enterteining routine, but is not as astonishing as I don´t know, doing stigmata or a object levitation etc. Thats where I think we should adapt to what they need.

    Maybe your go to material as default is starting with a long routine like an ACR, and follow up from there, but maybe they just need something quick and really astonishing to complace them.

    Sorry If I don´t make much sense, I´m struggling a little bit with words here.
  6. As meintioned some magicians just focus on their needs and what they want to do and might bore the audience that way
  7. I've had some really great experiences in my local clubs with other magicians. Magic clubs are like a shell you need to crack. The first thing you see are the noisy guys, and the arrogant crowd, and the know it alls. Once you get by that first layer you start to settle in to your niche. I feel like it just takes a little feeling around to see who you can trust and whose opinion is valuable. The good guys often aren't as obnoxious or noticeable as those you first see. I feel like forums have a similar aesthetic in many ways.
  8. Hey RD I sent you PM, please answer. Thanks
    Btw I think that a magician becomes less arrogant as experience grows. For example I used to think I knew a lot and even gave advice to others, even if I had 6 months in magic. Now I have been 1.5 years in magic and when I learn something I now realize how much is left for learning and how ignorant I used to be.
  9. Gotears, that was a perfect analogy of a magic club. I would have to agree. Magic clubs are VERY diverse, however I will also mention that it was the BEST move i have ever made to take my magic to the next level.
  10. This was a great post. I miss the days here where just about every active post on the boards was thought provoking and had good discussions. We need to go back to those days.

    RD you make some great points above, and I want to expand a little bit on it. To the subject of ego, this is something that I've personally wrestled with here in the past year or so. As we gain experience we learn what works for us, what works for the act, and perhaps more importantly what doesn't. To the untrained eye hard earned experience may very well come off as someone with an ego behaving like a diva.

    A personal example to back up this point comes from an anime convention that I work for. For the past few years I've produced a free show for them that includes a minimum of three acts, is 90 minutes long, and has commanded houses of over 2,000 people (on average) for nothing more than the enjoyment of doing a show for that many people. This year in planning for the same show, which has expanded to include 7 acts but still at no cost to the convention, I get static about them wanting to use their own camera crew, limitations on sound and lighting, and not to mention they took over three months to confirm anything with me leaving me with receiving the final confirmations with only three weeks to go to the convention!

    Now some people may claim that I have an ego when I wrote their head division manager in charge of programming an email scolding her for improper correspondance, and reminding them of the level of talent, credits, and acts involved in this FREE production that is benefiting their convention. However what those people wouldn't realize is that I've been doing this long enough to know the following things to be true:
    1) It takes a considerable amount of time and effort to organize a 90 minute production with 1 act, let alone up to 7.
    2) It takes a minimum of 3 weeks to properly promote a show like this to make sure there is enough of a house to warrant the amount of effort (from everyone's behalf) to make this show worth while.
    3) Specific tech needs like lighting, sound, and camera operations are critical to the success of the show. If something doesn't work right, like a badly executed sleight, the performance suffers.
    4) Regardless of how inexpensively the convention is receiving this program for I still want to give this show 110%. I want it to be the best that I can make it, and if I'm not receiving timely cooperation from the other end, it does affect the quality of product I am able to provide.

    Diva or perhaps ego? Not really, but it is experience speaking here. Obviously there's still a right way, and wrong way to politely tell someone they need to pull their head out of their arse, but that's a little beside the point. The point here is that sometimes you need to have a little "ego" in order to get things done the right way.

    I'll wait for Craig to chime in on this one, as he's about do. I'm interested in what he's got to say in follow up.
  11. I actually don´t see it as a ¨diva attitude¨( haha ) I actually see it as professionalism.

    I mean, I don´t have experience to be honest in stage performances, but I understand ( taking the description you gave about your performance in the anime expo) that sometimes your effort alone is not enough, you still need cooperation from the guys making the event, because wherever we want it or not, sometimes the quality of the performance depends on the surroundings and enviroment that the organisators prepare for you.

    As I said, I don´t see it as a diva attitude (or ego) to actually demand the proper conditions that you need to work in, In fact I see it really unprofessional from those guys to make you work under those circumstances ( specially if you are doing it for free).

    But then again, I can´t comment much on the subject since (as I said) I don´t have experience in stage magic and the ideal conditions to make it a good performance.
  12. I agree Rick, best move I ever made. It was really awkward and uncomfortable at first though. Once I got past that I formed some great relationships.
  13. You make a very nice point. I think this is the case with all aspects of life. As people grow smarter, they usually begin to realize that they don't know much (relatively) and are always striving to learn more. This is what makes great people better. Instead of assuming they know everything (which would deter them from learning more), they keep an open mind and strive to get better.

    This is what, I think, makes a wise person, wise. I think the same thing can be translated to magicians. My thoughts.
  14. Anyone in show biz MUST have an ego or else you can't stand up in front of total strangers and do your thing. BUT, whatever genre of study one undertakes (magic, music, acting, etc. ) for most it is a social crutch -- our way of gaining attention and becoming accepted into a given circle of people (usually strangers). The frustration that comes into our little world is when we are surrounded by out own -- our peers -- and we are no longer the life of the party. The result is, we begin to show off more and more out of desperation (though we'd never recognize it as such) and moving into the "oneupmanship" mode. This is what we generally see when it comes to Magic Clubs, but then too, we do have that layer factor as was mentioned by Goatear; so on one hand it's the amateurs (in mind-set at least) that you find on the surface. If you know what to look for however, you known haw to peer through the weeds in order to find a few flowers either sprouting about or well rooted. They don't call for attention because they don't need to -- they are comfortable being who and what they are and have found that wanton forms of attention can be dangerous, even.

    I'm frequently accused of having a massive ego for some odd reason :rolleyes: but it is an "earned" ego of sorts, as well as reflection of some personal desperation or, what some call "Prize Fighter Syndrome" in that old boxers always believe that have one more good fight left in them even as the curtain is coming down around them. I'm arrogant because I've been around this stuff since the early 60s and on so many levels, been spoiled rotten when it comes to access; not just other pros of note but the actual equipment that helped guys like Kellar, Thurston, Dante & Blackstone become legends. I'm one of those guys that would make the entire magic industry panic if I went rogue and started writing "How It's Done" book or videos (and given that Valentino is an old chum of mine. . . well. . . :D)

    There is positive ego out there; it's the stuff that inspires us to be the best we can be when it comes to the things we enjoy doing in life be it magic or wood work. When you voluntarily become a part of theater however, it is this ego that gives you part of your confidence as you first start working the craft and finding your footing in front of others. Sadly, some of us (most of us) are so desperate for approval that this ego becomes a kind of chip on our shoulder that we dare others to knock off. The ugly side of that ego is that we refuse to LISTEN and consider positive critique and direction. For lack of a better term, we willingly keep shooting ourselves in the foot and wonder why we can't get beyond the point of being a $50.00 warm-up act for ice cream & cake. . . if that.

    CONFIDENCE is that inner-kernel of the magic club, the gem most of us are looking for but as the ancients pointed out, "when the student is ready, the teacher will reveal himself". This is the hardest part of the game in that we must wade through all the pettiness (including our own) and ultimately "prove ourselves" before we find those willing to guide us. . . the old timer we've somehow impressed enough for him to share with us a bit of his/her experience and perspective.

    I'm one that don't hold his tongue very well; I'm quite intolerant when it comes to those striving to take short cuts as well as the "Master of all Trade" types. . . the gods help you if you're a spoilt brat insisting that he knows more about life and magic/mentalism than the seasoned old dogs that are attempting to help you out and whose hands you slap away. My expression seeming like purest ego but in truth, it's more akin to nostalgia and belief in a magic culture as it was, not so long ago; a time when the novice respected their elders, learned to walk before running, and understood why there are no elevators in the craft, just steps to get you to where you want to go.

    I'm meandered a bit here but hopefully touched upon the key elements that apply. ;)
  15. Actually yes, it was a great read:)

    I like how you touch the subject about ¨how we all performers have to have a certain degree of ego¨.

    Another question I would like to bring to the table, is ¨What is ego? ¨ (From a performer POV) or if there are various types of ego ( I liked a lot how you define ¨good ego¨)

    For me ego is self-appreciation of one self, the problem I have seen with some magicians is that most of their decisions on what to perform and how to perform is derived from their own needs and likes, I for one believe that we should adapt to our audiences needs and whatnot, but on the other hand , we should make them in one way or another make them adapt to our personality and the way we perform, for me it´s two faces of the same coin.

    I also like how you touched the subject of how ego somewhat makes us thrive to become better. The thing is that I think that if we try to become a better performer it should be for the right reasons.

    For example, I am a working musician, I play in a local bar every Thursday, while another band plays on Fridays. At first my band and I were trying to become better, play better songs and become a better band overall because we just wanted to be better than the other band so that we could take the job in fridays ( They pay better that day).

    A friend who works there as well (He is the barman) told me that he was happy that we were trying to improve, but he told me that we were trying to improve for the wrong reasons, that we should try to improve for ourselves, not just to be better than the other band.

    And it kinda applyes to some of us magicians,the people I met are the kind of people that learn new sleights or moves or tricks whatever, not because they want to be better performers, they to it because (as mentioned before ) they are trying to get approval and demonstrate their dominance over the other magicians.
  16. e·go    [ee-goh, eg-oh] Show IPA
    noun, plural e·gos.

    1.the “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.
    2.Psychoanalysis . the part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment.
    3.egotism; conceit; self-importance: Her ego becomes more unbearable each day.
    4.self-esteem or self-image; feelings: Your criticism wounded his ego.
    5.( often initial capital letter ) Philosophy .
    a.the enduring and conscious element that knows experience.
    b.Scholasticism . the complete person comprising both body and soul.

    As you can see Ego has a diverse set of meanings but I believe this conversation deals with two specific factors; #3 on this list and of course the combination of 1 & 4.

    I suffer from horrid depression at times, which is the absence of positive ego coupled with self-doubt and even self-hate. While I'm not "suicidal" in the sense of wanting to slash my wrists I am technically suicidal because I go through phases of not wanting to be alive. The biggest things that have kept me going the past eight years or so have been the on-line community and my cats (and about 4 psych meds I think it is).

    The irony to this is the flip side. . . I can project a massive ego when I'm on the forums, mainly due to the classic habit an old showman gets into; the "show must go on" syndrome as I call it. Being able to pull yourself up no matter what and check in with as positive an attitude as possible and when that seems elusive you fake it and fake it until it become real.

    I do have a serious ego and as one person pointed out to me some years ago, I've earned the right to have that ego given the work I've done in this industry and the contributions I've made. . . I don't know about that, I think the best contributions I've made to magic is what I'm doing now; helping young folk cultivate their magic and grow with it. I've already had a couple of "students" hit the big time and I'm looking forward to seeing this new batch go even further. I guess you could call that the Proud Papa Bear Ego :D

    The Dark Side of Ego is when it blinds you and keeps you from seeing reality, creating a sense of denial within you and ultimately leading you to total destruction. This frequently includes the whole addiction thing be it booze & drugs or food & sex. . . pick one! Addictions are cruel and rarely have any kind of logical side to them and we are all bad for exchanging one for another. All of it usually adds to the loss of positive pride and the willingness to stand up, be responsible for our past/present & future and so much more. . . it's not an easy thing to process and grow through.

    The other aspect of this Dark Face of the Ego is how we think we are better than others be it a racial or cultural type thing. Just look at school and the whole Jocks vs. Geeks game . . . look at the social issues we face today and the 99% factor.

    In show biz you have those that become cruel & demanding jerks, usually those that THINK they're in the big time and in truth, they are light years away from it.

    I hope this gives you the clarity you were looking for.

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