When can I perform?

Discussion in 'Magic Forum' started by Elioconpraro, Jun 20, 2019.

  1. Hello fellow magicians,

    This is my first ever post so sorry if I’ve done something wrong/ posted something irrelevant!

    I would consider myself an intermediate performer and I have lately been performing to my friends from school when the opportunity arises, but recently I haven’t been performing as much, simply because the opportunity hasn’t presented itself as much anymore and I think it would seem rude to just walk up to my friends holding a deck or some billet papers and insist that I show them something in the middle of lunch :p

    I’m at the stage that I have realised that the best way I can test my creative process and my current routines that I’ve been working on is by practicing, but not only practicing but more importantly actually performing!

    Because I am in this situation I am currently learning and creating routines quite a bit faster than I can actually put them to the ultimate test and actually use them, allot of the magic that brings me and others joy is being wasted and forgotten.

    Performing (magic especially) brings me joy and that is why I love it and why it means so much to me that I perform.

    Should I be persistent and insist that I perform for them or should I get over myself and just have patience? Or is there another way you could recommend I could perform the things I enjoy?
    (Such as street magic... (which I’m not to sure about because I am only a young teen))

    Once again sorry if this post is wrong in any way, I’m still getting used to how this site works.

    Even if this is just me being dramatic, I would be super grateful for your thoughts, no mater how critical.


  2. Perform for anyone and everyone as much as you can. You don't have to force it on your friends, but if you ask them "hey guys, I've been working on something new, could I show you?" they will probably say yes.

    If you are creating a lot of routines and other stuff you are worried about forgetting, record yourself- you can keep these recording private if you aren't sure they are finished yet, but at least then you have a record.

    I would also suggest keeping notes about routines you develop as physically writing something down can often help you remember it.
  3. First suggestion - Find ways to find audiences. When I started out way at the very beginning, I did card tricks for my coworkers during breaks. Then I started going to a local farmer's market and did 'street' magic. Shortly after that I started busking there.

    I also found a local magic club and performed there every meeting. I also performed casually at most parties I went to once people learned I was a magician.

    The key to becoming a good magician is finding new audiences. Performing for the same audience over and over will develop very specific habits that don't apply to any other audience. There's probably coffee shops with open mics, or street corners you can perform on. Check the busking laws for your area.

    Second suggestion, which will probably seem very counter intuitive - Stop learning new material. You cannot master anything if you're constantly working on new material. The only time I learn new material is when I write a new show. So this year I learned two new routines which will be in my show premiering in August.

    That doesn't mean I'm not constantly learning. I read more or less constantly and go through at least a dozen magic books a year. But I don't devote energy to things that are not actively going to improve my performances. So to that end ...

    Third suggestion - Start focusing on theory and philosophy of performance. That information will do more to improve your shows than any trick, guaranteed.

    Ken Weber - Maximum Entertainment
    Pete McCabe - Scripting Magic Vol 1 & 2
    Juan Tamariz - The Magic Rainbow, The 5 Points in Magic, The Magic Way
    Ascanio - The Magic of Ascanio Vol 1
    Henning Nelms - Showmanship for Magicians
    Jeff McBride - The Show Doctor
    Robert E Neale - This is Not A Book (Or anything else by him you can find)
    Paul Brook - The Alchemical Tools
    Eugene Burger - Mastering the Art of Magic (and everything else)

    If you can find them without breaking the bank -
    Derren Brown's books Pure Effect and Absolute Magic.

    Our Magic by Maskelyne and Devant is a really interesting read and shows you that the problems in magic haven't changed in a hundred years.

    And a bonus -
    Stop worrying about this. It's literally useless to try to give yourself a level. There will always be more levels to achieve and it leads to assumptions that can hurt you down the road. Just remember you'll always be learning, and you can always improve.
  4. Would you recommend this? I've considered going to my local farmer's market to perform.
  5. It really depends on your style and goals. It worked for me because I was at a point where I really needed to be working for random audiences.

    I do think every magician should busk for at least a little while, though. The reason being that those audiences will absolutely destroy any false ideas one has about their performance ability. They don't care about how clever your method is, or how much work you put into it, or your feelings, or anything else - if you don't keep them hooked, they walk away. If you mess up, they call you out. I've never seen another audience so willing to literally laugh in someone's face (though, thankfully, that never happened to me).

    Nothing humbles you faster than putting weeks into the perfect routine .. only to have your entire audience walk away halfway through, over and over. You quickly learn what actually entertains, or you fail. There's no middle ground.


    To expand on the first point - I wouldn't do a farmer's market today (unless it's a favor). To put it succinctly, I want an audience that is there to see me. Not one where people will be wandering by sometimes. I don't do strolling any more, and I only busk in one place (which is my testing ground for new material). I specialize in parlor shows for intimate audiences.
  6. Thanks so much for your thoughts,
    I have purchased some more theory books such as absolute magic by Derren Brown, and I will take all of your suggestions into consideration. :D
  7. Why?

    Why would it be rude, unless they are in the middle of some conversation? Or are doing something important? Or maybe there's some tension within the group of friends, maybe there was an argument, whatever.

    Other than that, why?

    Note them down then.

    That's brilliant. :)

    Maybe perform for other people in your school?

    Other classmates? People sitting alone because they have nothing to do? Your P.E. teacher, bored out of his/her mind as he/she watches kids waste time in P.E. period? Your crush?

    If magic was only to be performed for people who are already friendly with you and with whom you are comfortable, then where's the fun?

    You are a stupid person.

    Just kidding XD. But seriously, go out and perform for anybody as long as they give off the 'welcoming' vibes, and have fun.
    You might embarrass yourself sometimes. Once I approached a kid sitting alone, and I asked for her name super-politely, but she ran away. Stuff happens.
    But yeah. I think its an accepted idea that you start growing as soon as you start being uncomfortable.

    All the best!
    Elioconpraro likes this.
  8. Kind of surprised I didn't find Strong Magic or Designing Miracles by Darwin Ortiz in here. Though I haven't read either myself, I've heard some great things about both books. Any particular reason you don't like them quite as much?
  9. @MohanaMisra
    Thanks so much for the great advice, I’ll try that next time :)
  10. I usually do include Strong Magic - but I also feel that Strong Magic is inferior to Maximum Entertainment.

    I haven't read Designing Miracles yet. It's on the list, but after reading Strong Magic it's not nearly as high as it once was.
  11. My pleasure.

    0: )
  12. Why is that? I haven't really read much magic theory, but I know of many magicians who will recommend Strong Magic over nearly anything else. Why do you feel Maximum Entertainment to be superior?
  13. Maximum Entertainment is just teaching how to be a better performer, and for lack of a better phrase, stays in its lane. Ken knows what he's talking about, and there's really no fluff or filler.

    I have three main issues with Strong Magic.

    1) He constantly references his other works. This come across as both trying to sell me his other books while I'm trying to read this one, as well as "look at how brilliant I am". It made reading the book extremely tedious at times.

    2) While Darwin Ortiz is obviously great at card magic, and really knows the stuff he knows. As in, within the genres he performs, he's really good. But his ideas of bizarre magic and mentalism are, quite simply, wrong - and if I'm being blunt, they are borderline patronizing. Just because a trick uses a mental theme, doesn't make it mentalism. Just because a trick has a story about a ghost, doesn't mean it's automatically bizarre.

    3) And I think this is the biggest one for me - Ortiz comes across as part of the camp of people like Randi who feel obligated to inform every single person out there, that they (the performer) doesn't believe anything supernatural could possibly exist. They then go on to try to say they're creating magical experiences. With card tricks.

    There are a few 'big' names (mostly older guys now) who try to do this. They basically spend all their time saying every magician-type performer is just doing tricks (which is wrong as well) and none of it 'real'. But then they try to talk about how magical their card under glass routine is?

    No, it's not. It's entertaining, sure. It's skillful, yeah. But it's brain candy. It means nothing, because they strip of meaning before performing it.

    So yeah. Read Strong Magic - it's a good book to have on your shelf. But Maximum Entertainment is better.
  14. Thank you very much for your detailed answer! I really appreciate the time you take to answer questions as well as possible!
  15. Ive really never had an issue. Just keep your cards out, shuffle, toy with them etc. it’s amazing how many people will ask about them. I’ve literally had people I’ve never met ask “are you doing magic tricks?” Just because I was holding cards and being able to go “yep, let me show you one!” Catches people by surprise almost as much as the trick.

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