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Topic: When to call yourself a magician
Message: Posted by: blva888 (Jan 22, 2010 02:43AM)
When do people call themselves a magician? I mean, some one who isn't could wonder into a magic store and pick up a nickles to dimes trick, then preform for any one who will watch, and then call himself a magician.

I am just wondering about this is all. And when does people call themselves a pro? Can you just call yourself a pro? Is it all a matter of opinion for which I am guessing it is.

And if this has been asked before and I did not find it I'm surely in trouble lol.
Message: Posted by: jake.o (Jan 22, 2010 03:19AM)
You can only really call yourself a pro magician if you actually work professionally as a magician. by that I mean that your main income comes from magic. if you can't call yourself pro then you remain as an amature magician. this is only in the magic world though because at the end of the day if you amaze and entertain someone with your magic then to them you are a magician regardless of anything else.
Message: Posted by: blva888 (Jan 22, 2010 03:59AM)
I think that just sums it all up Jake.o
Message: Posted by: stijnhommes (Jan 22, 2010 06:30AM)
I can't add anything to this. jake said it all.
Message: Posted by: davidpaul$ (Jan 22, 2010 10:39AM)
On 2010-01-22 03:43, blva888 wrote:

I am just wondering about this is all. And when does people call themselves a pro? Can you just call yourself a pro? Is it all a matter of opinion for which I am guessing it is.

And if this has been asked before and I did not find it I'm shirley in trouble lol.

Well to be a professional entertainer of any kind, in this case with the title of a "Magician" you should at the very least exhibit proper grammar skills.
"I'm just sayin" :) Now don't get mad :(
Message: Posted by: Phil Tawa (Jan 22, 2010 10:53AM)
I think it's a personal decision. When I was learning to be a guitarist I would not say I was until I hit a level I was comfortable with calling myself one with out feeling like an "Impostor". My rule for a pro. Pros get paid amateurs don't.
Paid but not enough to live off. Part time Pro.
Message: Posted by: Lion Dope (Jan 22, 2010 11:05AM)
You have to make your primary income from magic performance to be a "magician"? I guess that makes Simon Aronson, John Ramsay, etc. "amateurs"..;)
Message: Posted by: BrianMillerMagic (Jan 22, 2010 11:08AM)
There are about 1000 of these exact topics on the Café already. The debate usually goes the same way. Many people will wager that "the majority of one's income comes from magic" is sufficient but not necessary for being a professional. There are a lot of phenomenal magicians who are undoubtedly considered pros who do not make the majority of their income from magic.

As davidpaul said, the income factors into the modifier that comes before "pro", as in "part time pro" versus "full time pro".

There are many more things that factor into whether or not one is a professional magician, but as I said, there are innumerable threads on this debate right here on the Café.

The only thing I will add is that I have known a numbers of magicians who make a part-time or full-time living doing magic, and yet I hardly consider professional. Something to think about.
Message: Posted by: Bill Thompson (Jan 22, 2010 02:51PM)
Dai Vernon was a silhouette cutter. John Bannon is an attorney. David Regal is a television writer. Many, if not most of the major creators of our favorite tricks would be considered amateurs by the strictest definition, I guess.

You are a magician when you are considered to be one by your audience. They don't know or care if you are a professional or an amateur.
Message: Posted by: blva888 (Jan 22, 2010 06:22PM)
On 2010-01-22 11:39, davidpaul$ wrote:
On 2010-01-22 03:43, blva888 wrote:

I am just wondering about this is all. And when does people call themselves a pro? Can you just call yourself a pro? Is it all a matter of opinion for which I am guessing it is.

And if this has been asked before and I did not find it I'm shirley in trouble lol.

Well to be a professional entertainer of any kind, in this case with the title of a "Magician" you should at the very least exhibit proper grammar skills.
"I'm just sayin" :) Now don't get mad :(


If you don't mine please point out my errors so that I may not make the same mistake and learn.

Message: Posted by: Brad Burt (Jan 22, 2010 08:54PM)
Much of the problem in this area has to do with the historical movement of learning under the direct tutelage of an already established professional. The apprentice would in effect work for the performer doing a host of mundane tasks and in payment learn the craft. The time when the student could call himself a "magician" was not determined by either himself or society at large, but by the "Master" who was passing on the training. This system has much to recommend it, but is almost impossible to achieve at this time.

Except for the very small number of folks that can take magic lessons, etc. what happens in my experience is that more often than not society makes the determination. The student magician comes into a magic shop or buys online. He or she learns some magic and begins to show what they know to friends and family. At some point in this continuum the student will be validated with a statement such as, "Wow, how long have you been a magician?" BANG! The crown bestowed, the metaphorical wand received and suddenly the student begins to 'think' of themselves as a magician regardless of there level of knowledge, experience and expertise.

With focus and work, eventually many do exchange the fantasy for the reality. But, the line is crossed in a haze of unawareness as to what has taken place. For good or ill there it is.....

Message: Posted by: base851 (Jan 22, 2010 10:27PM)
I'm a magician.

Of course, I haven't disclosed if I'm a GOOD magician.
Message: Posted by: harris (Jan 25, 2010 10:07AM)
Your audience will make up their own minds.

legend in his own mind
Message: Posted by: Wes65 (Jan 25, 2010 12:45PM)
According to the dictionary:

Magician- A person who practices magic.

I guess, when you get really good and no longer need practice you become something else.
Message: Posted by: domno (Jan 25, 2010 01:05PM)
On 2010-01-22 03:43, blva888 wrote:

I am just wondering about this is all. And when does people call themselves a pro? Can you just call yourself a pro? Is it all a matter of opinion for which I am guessing it is.

And if this has been asked before and I did not find it I'm shirley in trouble lol.

It should say "And when do people call themselves a pro?" Its not that big a deal I think he was just messin with ya.
Message: Posted by: domno (Jan 25, 2010 01:33PM)
Professional or a professional is one who earns a living in a given or implied occupation.

However it is also a skilled practitioner; an expert.

Both of those were pulled form Dictionary.com. There were many more definitions but I didn't want to put in a bunch of filler. There are plenty of magicians out there that are not that great, and yet people pay to watch them. Likewise, there are many hobbyists out there that are splendid magicians. Whether you conduct yourself in a professional manner, or you collect a pay check, you are still a technically a "Professional". Hopefully if you are getting paid you are also doing a good job. I would not get too wrapped around the axel about weather you are a pro or not... Unless you are trying to market yourself. In that case it may be relevant. If I was looking through the yellow pages and saw an add for a Decent, Okay, or Amateur Magician, I would probably keep looking.
Message: Posted by: Hawkeye (Jan 26, 2010 03:28PM)
On 2010-01-22 12:05, Lion Dope wrote:
You have to make your primary income from magic performance to be a "magician"? I guess that makes Simon Aronson, John Ramsay, etc. "amateurs"..;)

Yes it does. And many, many others who are quite well known to us.

Those near the start of their journey in magic often wonder when they can call themselves a professional... as if that title carries with it an automatic degree of mastery. The reality is that I have met amateurs that are true artists and never fail to delight their audience, and I have met professionals who seem to be unaware that they are embarrassing themselves with ham-fisted attempts at basic magic.

What's wrong with doing something for the love of it? Isn't that what the word amateur means? Better to be seen as an amateur who performs fantastically, than inaccurately call yourself a professional and perform atrociously... Beware of extraordinary claims.

We think the audience will associate the word "professional" with the concept of "quality". We then extend this presumption by guessing that the audience will associate the word "amateur" with a lack of quality. This may be true sometimes, but this is not always true, and it may vary based on the kind of audience you encounter. No matter who they are, the audience is not dumb when it comes to watching our material, and can tell immediately if they are witnessing a quality performance. If you billed yourself as a professional magician and then proceed to not live up to heightened expectations, you may have a tall hill to climb in order to win them over ever again.
Message: Posted by: professorwhut (Jan 26, 2010 03:37PM)
Just go to You Tube and you can see all the wonderful magicians.

Sadly, most think simply ordering a bunch of stuff from an online magic shop automatically makes them a magician. No wonder magic has such a poor image.
Message: Posted by: Wes65 (Jan 26, 2010 04:24PM)
The following quote is from Harlan Tarbell:

"I could teach you fifty tricks and you would be happy to know them — and perhaps you would think you
were a Magician when you had learned these tricks. I know, however, that you wouldn't be a Magician — you
would be only a poor amateur.
Imagine going into a chemical laboratory and doing fifty experiments according to directions given you.
You would be able to do the experiments in a bungling sort of way. Not knowing the why or wherefore — not
knowing the fundamental principles of chemistry — you wouldn't know whether you were getting the correct
results or not; unless of course, you got an explosion. Then you would be pretty sure you were wrong.
If you completed the fifty experiments without disastrous results, would you then be a chemist? No. You
would have an idea as to what it was all about, but you would forget the experiments and with them you would
forget all the chemistry you ever knew. Having no knowledge of the fundamentals, you could never perform
other experiments except those taught you -- and even those, you couldn't do well.
So it is with Magic. Your tricks are your experiments which illustrate and fix certain principles in your
mind. If I did not lay such stress on fundamentals and principles --even above the actual tricks -- you could never
be a Magician. You would do the tricks blindly, not knowing why you must hold your hand at a certain angle or
why you must look at a certain point to get the effect. You would have to guess as to whether you were doing it
correctly or not. Then your explosion would come. Your secrets would be discovered because you performed
like an amateur."
Message: Posted by: Fantasy Knight (Jan 26, 2010 05:39PM)
Bravo Wes65, thanks for adding that here, I think that's a very good exsplanation of when one is considered a professional or not.
I have to add to this as some may think this is not right or they agree with me. When I have customers coming into the shop wanting to buy a certain effect they seen on tv or the internet or what have you...I tend to stike up conversation with them about magic, and you can pretty much tell there level of exsperiance if say the move in the effect requires a bit of misdirection with say a half pass just as an exsample and you ask them if they know how to do a good "invisable" half pass and they take my cards and just do the move with out asking me something meaninful or creating a distraction, if yous know where I'm going with this now, anyways if I feel there not at that level of specialised educational training "professionalism" then I tend to not sell that to them and find something that's more there level sort of speak. Yeah I'm not your typical magic dealer its not about sales to me its about making magicians and having someone to carry on our trade at a professional level long after where gone.
So we as magicians are we the judge and the jury? As said here by many we are not the ones that give this title to be called a professional magician nor do I feel its the audiance that gives this, I'm a firm believer that the professionals are weeded out all on there own from the knowledge that they carry inside.
Before I started doing magic for a living, I was a plastier by trade, I have a ticket that says I'm a journyman, but I also seen guys half my age with the same ticket and worked side by side with them, and if asked if I thought they were a professional, well some I would say yes they were and others id just look the one asking in the eyes and say I don't think just yet but in time, so even if that paper he holds says that, I beg to differ that a professional comes with exsperiance and knowledge of there trade rather it be plaster or MAGIC.

So this is my thoughts not yours!

Rick Anderson
Message: Posted by: DWRackley (Jan 27, 2010 05:23AM)
Ditto, Rick. I have a piece of paper that says I’m an Electronics Engineer. It came (literally) with my diploma and the little sticker set from IEEE. I kept a job for almost six months holding a soldering iron, then moved on to other things. Can I build a computer from scratch? Well, yeah. Am I an engineer? Ha!

I am, however, a pianist, and a pretty good one, too, although I’ve never received a penny for playing. Once, while goofing around in a restaurant with my wife and some friends, I mentioned that I’d love to play this Steinway that I’d spotted over in the corner. Well, that became a challenge. Without asking the management, I went over and starting playing “Time in a Bottle” (remember Croce?) A couple of other diners came over with requests. (One I played, and the other I didn’t know) They offered to buy me a drink, but I don’t do alcohol, so I just thanked them and went back to my table. No payment, no money, no drinks, but I [i]am[/i] a pianist.

I am also a Magician!

POOF! [img]http://www.anchoredbygrace.com/smileys/mgtophat.gif[/img]
Message: Posted by: preston eakins (Feb 2, 2010 11:53AM)
Not sure I will ever refer to myself as a magician if I ever think I achieve that level I might get complacent.

complacency is thine enemy!!!
Message: Posted by: Hansel (Feb 2, 2010 02:44PM)
You are a magician when you have a repertoire, a place to perform and the audiences have in mind that YOU are a Magician.
Message: Posted by: Drosselmeyer (Dec 3, 2011 04:54PM)
Hmmmm.....Interesting thread. I found this topic on search before I was ready to post almost the same question:
'When may one call themselves a Magician?'

Is it only about money?

-I perform in a ballet in a professional venue on stage in front of large audiences. The cast is made up of amateurs, apprentices, semi-pros, and professionals.
-It by no means produces any income for me. I am one of the amateurs.
-My gig is annual and this is my fifth year.
-I perform Magic tricks and entertain in my role.

Audience members have stopped me after the show and exclaimed "Wow! your're a real Magician!"...

Does that make me a Magician?
Message: Posted by: Erdnase27 (Dec 5, 2011 02:49AM)
I consider a professional magician a skilled adept within the art of magic. I don't give h*rse cr*p about the money or if ones main income comes solely from magic.

As the great Pop Haydn once said: "As you may know, magic is the second oldest form of income. Both forms are being butchered by amateurs" (paraphrased). Ok , it is a funny line but it holds some truth aswell. I know professional (as in main income professional) performers which are very good, but also professional performers (as in main income) which are so bad you wonder why they ever got the dellusion that they should "go pro".

So to me, being "pro" is to be skilled in what you do. Expert handling and presentation is all part of it, as well as knowledge of psychology, fundamentals etc. etc. (furthermore, the Tarbell quote by wes65 is dead on).

Just my 2 cents.
Message: Posted by: volto (Dec 5, 2011 03:09AM)
Another good place to draw the line might be in line with Robert-Houdin's famous quote - "A conjuror is not a juggler; he is an actor playing the part of a magician". In those terms, you're a magician once you're able to convincingly portray one. The great thing about this quote is that it allows the line to be drawn in terms of performance, rather than income pecentages, other professions, years of experience, costumes or whatever. Did the guy seem to do magic stuff? Then he's a magician.

It also means that bumbling amateurs (and bumbling professionals) aren't "magicians" - if you take "playing the part" to mean "convincingly portraying".
Message: Posted by: jasonmcconnie (Dec 6, 2011 09:53PM)
If you call yourself a magician too soon you may find yourself performing tricks all night long.
Message: Posted by: Drosselmeyer (Dec 7, 2011 09:30PM)
@Volto...Nice quote...I like that definition. Makes me believe there is hope for me...Also, reminds me of an old TV commercial:

'I am not a Magician, but I play one on stage...'