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The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ New to magic? Ľ Ľ If You Had To Start All Over Again (14 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Theodore Lawton
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For all you experienced magicians, looking back on your careers, what is one thing you would do differently?

Of course, feel free to list more than one thing, but what is something that really sticks out to you that set you back in starting you career. Maybe something that held you back business wise, or practice habits, the way you learned certain tricks, the way you marketed, or failed, to market yourself, etc...

Thanks in advance for any replies.

I'm going to be moving and will be looking to start performing again in my new area after a layoff from paid gigs so I'm looking at this as a clean slate. Any replies are appreciated.

Since I am starting again I'll start- I need to listen to more experienced magicians when they discuss the business side of magic. I neglected the business aspects too much in the past, but I want to seriously learn and grow as much as I can in this area, so that is where most of my focus is at the moment.

Thank you-

Theodore
Magic is the bacon in the breakfast of life.

............................................

God bless you and have a magical day
WitchDocChris
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York, PA
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Read more books, put more work into learning marketing.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Russo
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Baack in the late early 60's - did a series of shows for a church carnival- between shows a City Clerk - approched me and asked for my licience- "for What' I asked - Your getting paid , right. "yes" I replied - If your getting paid, your in business and have to have a Business licience- . He gave me a ticket and TOLD me to be in his office(city hall) next Mon . It cost me $50. a year -last 3 years (fine) and $50. for the current year - and from then on - or be audited and possible Jail. SO BE CAREFUL.
Dougini
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The Beautiful State Of Maine
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At 62, I look back and think I just did not take performing seriously enough. I was young. I did not mature until my forties. The mistakes...the failures...I guess the most important thing is taking advantage of opportunities, which I did not. I was a dim-witted kid. No rhyme or reason or goals. Just wing it. It worked some of the time. Most of the time...it did not.

If I had to start over? I'd prefer the wisdom I have today. And mentors like Dick Oslund, Harry Lorayne, Michael Rubinstein and many more. I'd have stayed in California. How I got to Maine...Ha! Another time...Oh! I'd also learn how to handle hecklers. I'd like to have JoeJoe or Whit Haydn for those lessons. There IS a LOT I would do differently if I could...

Doug
psychod
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If I could give my younger self some advice, it would be to have fewer tricks but focus on making them entertaining. In my younger days, I would just buy neat tricks and then show them to people without giving any thought to presentation. Now, I spend time learning how the effect works and then spend a lot more time thinking how to make the presentation worth viewing!

Dave
Just adding my 3 cents worth because anybody can add their 2 cents worth...
Theodore Lawton
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These are some great replies, thanks!

Here's a summary so far:

Listen to more experienced magicians when they discuss the business side of magic.
Read more books
Learn marketing
Get a business license
Take it seriously
Take advantage of every opportunity
Stay in a good market
Take advantage of mentors
Less tricks and more focus on entertainment / presentation

Christopher- I totally agree about reading more books! Too much money spent on one off tricks vs books that contain principles. I don't know if you were also meaning this, but lately I've been thinking I need to read some other kinds of books that can also help with my magic. Like: books about business and marketing, books about being a better entertainer, books about customer service, books by other magicians about the business side of magic, etc. So much great material out there that I've ignored or overlooked in the past.

Thanks again for the replies! This is great stuff to keep in mind. Great for people totally new to magic to avoid in the first place as well.
Magic is the bacon in the breakfast of life.

............................................

God bless you and have a magical day
Theodore Lawton
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Speaking of principles...

I've come to realize that I have a major weakness- performing impromptu with everyday objects. I have spent too much time focusing on learning the moves to do a trick and then doing that trick without putting much thought into the principles I might be learning that can then be applied to whatever I have lying around.

I realize that there are many magicians who are in this same boat and some even earn a nice living performing only with cards or other props. But when I see someone like Gregory Wilson perform with everyday objects it's then that I realize that THAT is who I want to be as a performer. I don't want to be a magician who can't perform without his bag of tricks.

A couple of years ago Funsway was kind enough to send me an ebook with impromptu material in it that I didn't study nearly as much as I should. I was putting some time in with it, among other things I was practicing, but then my computer crashed and I lost all my downloads so here I am at square one. I'm breaking out any books I have on the subject and might invest in some more. Any suggestions are welcome.

I'm taking the time to think about moves and principles and how they can be applied to things around me. It's revolutionized my thinking toward magic and it's actually exciting to think about magic this way because it opens a door for creativity that wasn't available when I was wearing the blinders I had on up until now. It also inspires me to imagine where I'll be a few months from now, being able to perform a whole repertoire with only things lying on a table, etc.

So yeah, now that I'm starting again I'm going to focus on more principles and impromptu. In my mind this will help me be a better and more rounded magician, at least, the way I envision the magician I want to be. Your opinion on this area may vary, of course. I'm just speaking to my own shortcomings.
Magic is the bacon in the breakfast of life.

............................................

God bless you and have a magical day
55Hudson
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Read more books, participate in magic clubs/events and keep learning.

For many years I had a small set of "party tricks" I would do - cards and coins. I didn't keep learning to expand my knowledge of magic. It wasn't till I was in my 40's that I started getting serious about learning professional-level magic.

Even though most professional performers have a limited number of routines they perform regularly, their broad background in magic positively influences their performance.

Hudson
Dick Oslund
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Very well said, 55 Hudson!

I do plan to add some comments of my own.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
WitchDocChris
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Quote:
On Jul 11, 2018, Theodore Lawton wrote:
Christopher- I totally agree about reading more books! Too much money spent on one off tricks vs books that contain principles. I don't know if you were also meaning this, but lately I've been thinking I need to read some other kinds of books that can also help with my magic. Like: books about business and marketing, books about being a better entertainer, books about customer service, books by other magicians about the business side of magic, etc. So much great material out there that I've ignored or overlooked in the past.

Thanks again for the replies! This is great stuff to keep in mind. Great for people totally new to magic to avoid in the first place as well.


I was an avid reader from a young age - got it from my mother. When I first started I did what everyone does - got the single trick downloads and DVDs, limited use gimmicks, etc. Stuff that seemed easy. It didn't take me long to want more, though, and I started buying books and realizing the value in them.

But I focused on nothing but card magic for over a year, and then still did mostly card magic for another year and a half after that. Reading all those card magic books burned me out - nothing but method after method, mostly. When I started finding books on theory and philosophy of performing, that's when I got real value of them.

Marketing books, business management books, theory, philosophy - these are the subjects I wish I'd started with. Not only are they the "real" secrets, I find them far more satisfying to read.

My bank account and book shelf may not be so appreciative, though.
Christopher
Witch Doctor

Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
stevefaulkner
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This is a really interesting topic Theodore. I agree with all of this. It all changed for me when I took a leadership course. I was good at the magic, but as a street performer didnít see myself as a business person. 15 years later I'm now running that same leadership course, and have read a lot of business and development books which have informed my magic so much.

I still love my magic books of course and I think itís so important to read the classics. There are some amazing new books, but I always seem to end up back with Vernon, Larry Jennings etc I know DVDís get a bad wrap, but those Bill Malon DVDís we're a revelation to me. I learned a great deal about what makes a commercial effect from those, and others such as Bob Sheets etc.

What I would do differently is not forget to play. A few years ago, I realised that I had lost the passion for magic and was researching only to find tricks I could perform. This meant that I missed so much inspiration that I used to find in effects I wouldn't find initially useful. I now learn for the fun of it again, and it's amazing how much seeps into my performance. I enjoy magic again now, and the audience can feel it I reckon.

Anyway I hope that helps, I'm sure we all have our own preferences and routes to success and I wish you all the best.
www.cardmagiccourse.com
IBM UK Close-up champion 2013
Award Winner at The Magic Circle Close-up Magician of the Year 2010
National Street Performing Champion 2009
British Street Performing Champion 2005
WitchDocChris
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Quote:
On Jul 12, 2018, stevefaulkner wrote:
I still love my magic books of course and I think itís so important to read the classics.


Our Magic is one of my favorite books so far. Amazing how words written so long ago can be so relevant to today's magic culture.
Christopher
Witch Doctor

Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Dick Oslund
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Yup. "Our Magic" IS a bit "dry", BUT, you'll certainly benefit from STUDYING it. I know that I certainly did"

The Public Library will have a copy of "How To Win Friends, And Influence People" It should be REQUIRED READING for any magician.

You have my book. Do you have the dvd??? Much of my working repertoire, uses generic props (rope, silks, coins, golf balls, sponge balls, ETC. I learned most of the principles that are in my working act, from Doc Tarbell!!!!! (His patter & presentation, is a hundred years old, but the principles just need updating.) See my book for up to date presentations! (SIMPLE & FUN)

What city will you be in, or near? I may know someone. I haven't toured Oregon-Washington-Idaho, in more than 20 years. Leo Haglund, Jerry Andrus, Emerico, are all gone.

PM me.

O
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Theodore Lawton
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PM'd you
Magic is the bacon in the breakfast of life.

............................................

God bless you and have a magical day
Theodore Lawton
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1565 Posts

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This thread is so full of great information in just a few posts. Thank you all so much for commenting.

Here's a continued summary so far:

Listen to more experienced magicians when they discuss the business side of magic.
Read more books
Learn marketing
Get a business license
Take it seriously
Take advantage of every opportunity
Stay in a good market
Take advantage of mentors
Less tricks and more focus on entertainment / presentation
Study principles that can help with impromptu and overall performance
Participate in magic clubs
Keep learning
Don't forget to play / keep it fun for yourself

Steve- I agree with the "keep it fun" mind set. I allowed myself to get discouraged by lack of work in my area and quit performing for a time. I forgot to keep it fun and just enjoy the work I did get. I love magic. I can't believe I walked away from it. Going forward I need to keep that mindset of keeping it fun for myself. I like your insight into the fact that this seeps into your other magic and performances. I'll definitely keep that in mind.
Magic is the bacon in the breakfast of life.

............................................

God bless you and have a magical day
stevefaulkner
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Thanks Theodore and glad it was helpful. I know itís strange how I did too. Itís a bit of a paradox that if we just try to love what we do, and communicate that when we perform, it tends to generate more work that when we actively try to generate the work. Of course a bit of marketing on top of that helps, but it can be easy to get it the wrong way round in my experience.

Iíve found your list really useful too so thanks for that 😊
www.cardmagiccourse.com
IBM UK Close-up champion 2013
Award Winner at The Magic Circle Close-up Magician of the Year 2010
National Street Performing Champion 2009
British Street Performing Champion 2005
Russo
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When I was 16(now 81) - read 'how to win friends---' one chapter ended with a dare(?) "'tomarrow - keep head up and smile- say 'hello' to most even if you don't know them'" Being introverted at the time - friends(?) came up to me and said ' Ralph!- what happend to you' it was positive ever since.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ New to magic? Ľ Ľ If You Had To Start All Over Again (14 Likes)
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