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fallingblood
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http://belzianmagic.blogspot.com/

I'll be writing essays quite frequently now. If you just check back to my blog every so often, I'll keep having it updated.
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Quote:
To follow will be a series of essays on how to start a career as a entertainer; more specifically looking at magicians. I'm breaking the essays up in parts so that they don't become overwhelming. Also, I will be releasing various booklets soon also dealing with this subjects. These essays will be included in them, but will be rewritten and expanded on. These essays were written somewhat quickly, so they may not be written in the prettiest manner; but the information is there. So here we go.

Many new magicians are under the impression that making a career out of magic is an easy task. They learn a couple of effects, and then figure that they deserve to be paid. But it doesn't work like that. So, in this essay, I've decided to offer my help on the subject of beginning a career in magic, as well as how to keep that career going.

The first step, on in which is often overlooked by beginners, in becoming a professional magician, is having a quality product that you can sell to potential clients. This may seem to be obvious, but I've seen many magician sell a client a show, even though that magician had yet to create one. It is very important to first create a quality show before you accept any bookings. I know it may seem tempting to be paid for something you love doing, but it's not worth ruining your reputation as an entertainer because you decided to accept a job you weren't prepared for. And don't worry, they will be many more bookings in the future.
Before you can create a show though, there are a couple of things you have to decide on. What type of entertainer do you want to be? Do you want to specialize in just one area of magic, or do you want to dabble a little in multiple areas of magic? What type of shows do you want to do? Do you want to do just kids shows, or do you want to be able to perform a variety of shows? Are there certain venues that you want to specialize in such as bars or clubs? Do you want to do stage shows, or are you more of someone who like doing close-up? Do you want to add other forms of entertainment to your act, such as juggling or dance? You really need to decide on what type of performer you want to be, and the type of audience/venue you want to perform for.

Personally, I've chosen to expand my options and offer a variety of services. I do school assemblies (lecturing on multiple subjects), psychic entertainment, psychic lectures, comedy shows, comedy mentalism, escapes, consulting, pantomime, clowning, ventriloquism, juggling, balloon sculpting, kid shows, etc. I'm constantly expanding my services. Right now, I'm expanding to custom made props and clothing. However, others decide in specializing in a couple of fields of magic. Both are options to look into, as both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Being a specialized performer, your able to focus on those specific fields of magic that interest you. By doing so, this can give you an advantage over the competition. It can also save you money in promotional material, as you can design everything around what you specialize in. Plus, you can focus your advertising to specific groups that are more likely to hire you. However, this can limit your performances . Meaning, there simply will be some shows you can't do. You limit your availability.
On the other hand, if you offer a variety of services, you don't have to limit yourself as much. Your availability increases as you are more diversified. So you are able to provided shows for a larger number of people. However, cost goes up in promotional material. For instance, I have multiple promo DVDs, business cards, promo kits, etc. Each one serves a different purpose, and tells about a specific service that I offer. It was something I decided I need to have done. Doing so though increased the time and money I had to put into these materials. Also, you may run the risk of spreading yourself to thin. This will cause your shows to suffer, and can really wear you out.
There are other disadvantages and advantages of each. However, each of you have to decide what's best for you. Also, take into consideration what you personally enjoy. If you don't like kids, don't do kids shows. If you really enjoy one branch of magic, specialize in it. Make sure you enjoy what you are doing. This way your performances will improve, as you will be enjoying yourself. Also remember, just because you are a magician, doesn't mean you're required to perform whenever someone asks. Do not be afraid to turn shows down. It's better to politely decline a show, than ruin your reputation, and the event your performing at, by providing a poor show.

That's it for now. My next post will deal with building your show. Until then though, think about the information just given. Hopefully it will help.
James Munton
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How long have you been performing full-time, Mr. Falling Blood?

Don't you think it is important to have testimonials from clients on your website?

Also, do you think you might get a few more phone calls for shows if you provided a telephone number on your web site?

I'm always on the lookout for good marketing advice.
Looking forward to the next installment!

Best,
James
Dannydoyle
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I gotta admit I am curious as to your credentials to be posting about the subject.

That would go a long way to helping us understand that the things you say actually work for the long run. For example, if you have been a professional for the past 20 years, then the methods have some validity.

If on the other hand you have been doing it for maybe 5 years, not so much track behind you to judge the methods.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Donald Dunphy
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Danny -

In Dustin White's blog profile, it says that he is 19 years old. So I doubt he's been performing for 20 years. Smile (In fact, it says 3 years on both his website and MySpace page.)

There's also a link to his website and his MySpace page in his blog profile.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
fallingblood
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Quote:
On 2008-02-29 12:08, James Munton wrote:
How long have you been performing full-time, Mr. Falling Blood?

Don't you think it is important to have testimonials from clients on your website?

Also, do you think you might get a few more phone calls for shows if you provided a telephone number on your web site?

I'm always on the lookout for good marketing advice.
Looking forward to the next installment!

Best,
James
It's been nearly four years now that I've been performing full-time. I have 10 years of experience with magic, though. The last five of those being the most important. (I'm only 19, close to 20 years old.) Oh, and if you want, you can call me Dustin.

I'm assuming you went to my website and seen that it lacked quite a bit. There is a reason for that. Earlier this month (February), I had a contract to do a series of 12 shows. However, there was a problem with that, because in January, I ended up being hospitalized (I nearly died because of some blood complications). Now, I had gotten this contract in late December, just before Christmas. Right after Christmas, I was sent to the hospital, and then after I got out of the hospital, I had to take some time to recover. During that time, I needed to get a website up in order to promote these shows, so I allowed my mother to do so for me (not a good choice on my part, but again, I wasn't in the best physical condition). So to say the least, my website lacks quite a bit. Which is a big reason I don't give it out to clients. I do plan on redoing it this weekend, though. I ended up being able to postpone the shows, though, which allows me time to get the site working correctly and looking decent. In short, that site really doesn't represent me. But it shortly will, once I get the chance to do a little work on it.

Quote:
On 2008-02-29 12:27, Dannydoyle wrote:
I gotta admit I am curious as to your credentials to be posting about the subject.

That would go a long way to helping us understand that the things you say actually work for the long run. For example, if you have been a professional for the past 20 years, then the methods have some validity.

If on the other hand you have been doing it for maybe 5 years, not so much track behind you to judge the methods.
I've been a professional for nearly 4 years. I know that's not long. But I have done the research. I have purchased many different courses on this subject, as well as studied business, marketing, advertising, etc. I've also grown up in a family that has ran various successful businesses, so I've gotten a first hand look at that.

So basically, I've taken a great chunk of the information that is already out there, tested a lot of it for myself, and am not passing it on to everyone else. I've spent thousands of dollars on researching this subject. That becomes a lot of information that I've come across, and instead of making other people wade through all of that, I'm saying what has worked for me, as well as for many professionals in the industry (the people I got the majority of this information from).
Dannydoyle
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Four big years, huh?

We are right back to this again. LOL

Look, you have no idea how to start a successful magic career, as you haven't HAD one yet! LOL.
Wait, when you are 40, tell us how to do it. Then, you have a background to draw from. Till then, it is just a bunch of things you hope will work.

Your family credentials do not pass on genetically to you. My father was a carpenter, but I can't make anything. See how that works?

I understand the enthusiasm, and admire it. But come on, man, to pretend to have the vast storehouse of knowledge to pass on to people who want to do magic for a career and hope they listen to some kid with 4 years experience is crazy.

Really, you want to do this, and it is admirable, but take a breath. Why not spend 10 years learning what REALLY works, keep a journal and, when you have a 10 year career to look back on, then start telling others how it needs to be done.

This is not something you can just research and write about and be right.

I am not trying to bash you, but trying to give you some perspective is all.

And for the record, passing information on to others so they don't have to pay the creator seems a bit shady to me.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Donald Dunphy
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Dustin -

I'm not one to jump on others normally, but to say you've been full-time for 4 years is not being honest. On one of your sites, you clarify that you graduated high-school in 2006.

As a high-school student, surely you must have only made a part-time salary, because you were focused on school work most of the week.

So you've been a "full time pro" for less than 2 years, and you were a "part time pro" before that.

- Donald

P.S. Steve Taylor shared an interesting observation in one of his KidShow Kaleidoscope CDs. It was that you really haven't got adequate experience to pass on to others until you've hit about the 3000 show mark. He was also speaking of those who teach before they have earned the right. It's an interesting number, and I tend to agree with it.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
James Munton
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I missed this place! LOL!

Dustin,

Sorry to hear about your illness. I'm glad you are on the mend.
Now, stop all this nonsense about being a business coach and go to college and have some fun. Maybe do a few magic shows while you are there!

Best,
James
Dannydoyle
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James, that is not all he should be "doing" while in college, you gotta agree.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
James Munton
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You are quite right, Danny.

He should read lots of books and get a good education.
Dannydoyle
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Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd? LOL.

Lots of girls in college, as I remember it. College age girls, too!
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
James Munton
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Shame on you, Danny. I'm trying to help the poor boy become rich and successful, and you are trying to distract him with visions of college girls, drunken dorm parties, wet t-shirt contests, etc.

Besides, Dustin has no chance with the girls, as he's a magician.
fallingblood
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One of the reasons I tend not to frequent the Café is because of the attitude that is shown by many here. Yes, there are a lot of experienced people here who have great information to share. But then there are many people here who are just a little too quick to throw out the information of others. For the people who criticized me, I didn't see anything actually pointing out anything incorrect in which I wrote. Either meaning that the time wasn't taken to read it, or being that my age is still quite young, people have a prejudice about it and don't want to consider that I could know anything.

I'm not hurting any creators out there by passing on this information. I'm not stealing from them. Actually, I advise people to go out and look for more information. I didn't do that in this essay, but it's only the beginning of a series of essays. When I talk to magicians and entertainers on a personal level, I always tell them to learn as much as they can. Also, I stated that I'm telling people stuff that has worked for me; things I've tested. So it's stuff that I use. What do you think all those other people did? It's not like one day they woke up and knew everything that they taught. They did the same thing I did, a lot of research and testing. So I don't see why it would be shady at all, unless you would acknowledge that all of the other people who have products out on this subject, and who talk about this subject, are shady as well.

Also, I never stated that my family's credentials were genetically passed onto me. Growing up around business, and hearing about it constantly, does rub off on a person. I picked up a lot of information by just being around my family. It also didn't hurt that I participated as much as I could, which does give me more experience with business.

What do you consider full-time? During school, I was a full-time professional. Many high school students work full-time (they may not technically be considered full-time simply because some businesses don't want to label them as such, but they work 40 or more hours). I got out of school at about 3, and then had rest of the time to do what I pleased, as I never had to worry about homework or studying. And if by chance I had to worry about such, I found a way to do it. Working full-time and being a high school student isn't that uncommon anymore.

I'm not trying to pretend that 4 years is that long in magic. However, it's not just four years that I'm taking all of this from. I said for four years I've been a professional magician. For 10 years, I've been doing magic. I did odd shows throughout those six extra years. I studied throughout those entire 10 years. I took many courses and learned as much as I could. Just because I'm only about 20 years old doesn't mean I don't know what I'm talking about. I may not have the experience that some of you have, but I do know what has worked for me. For four years now, I've made a pretty good living off of entertainment, and it just continues to get better because I'm still constantly learning.

Finally, why not me? I may be young, but I know what has worked for me. Why not pass on that information to people who need it? I could see if it was bad information, but I don't see anyone saying that. I see people commenting on my age and their beliefs about me, but not on the knowledge that I'm passing forth. Beginning magicians need this information, so why shouldn't I try to help them out? I have done my fair share of shows, I've drawn off that experience, and I've done the research in order for me to get the shows I've done, as well as get my career going. I have a solid foundation in entertainment and business.
Dannydoyle
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Yeah, you really show your ability to learn here, and to take information on board.

You want your article critiqued? Fine, here is a point.

You are 19. And at 19, you are telling me you have mastered all those crafts already? Lecturing on several subjects, psychic entertainment, comedy mentalism, vent, escapes, clowning, balloon sculpting, kids shows, after which you have the NERVE to put, "ETC"?

So at 19, you have mastered all this stuff, right? Your shows are top notch quality entertainment in all of the fields of study which you put forth?

I gotta tell you, I thought I was going to see the words "And Grill" after the list!

The very idea that at your age you think you have mastered any ONE of these skills on a professional level is laughable. The implication that you have mastered ALL OF THEM enough on a level to be considered a pro is nothing short of hilarious.

You will run a client away the SECOND you show them this list and they see your age. Oh, and still, you have time to watch your family run a business. LOL

So, there ya go. You wanted us to comment on your work; there it is. You are teaching people to be mediocre at lots of stuff, as opposed to being good at one.

Now, come up with some excuse, and let us know why this is wrong of me to say.

I didn't want to do it, but since you insist.

How do you think anyone will take you seriously?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
BrianMillerMagic
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"Jack of all trades, master of none", eh, Danny?
Dannydoyle
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Brian, if you would have said that earlier, it would have saved me a lot of trouble. LOL

Thanks for summing it up so well! I knew I liked you.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Jim Snack
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With only four years (give or take a few years) of professional experience under his belt, I don't think Dustin should present himself as an expert at making a living at magic, but he could offer a valuable service for anyone starting a career in magic by writing about his journey so far, chronicling his successes and failures along the way. That could be interesting and informative.


Dustin makes a few good points about starting a career in magic. He advocates you "first create a quality show before you accept any bookings," but does not take that any thought any further. How does one create a quality show with no experience? You can select routines, rehearse in private, but the polish does not come until you perform countless times in front of real audiences. How can you do that without accepting bookings?

A beginner needs to understand that there are levels in the business, and someone starting out has to get experience in front of live audiences at the bottom of the career ladder, presenting free or very low paying bookings at nursing homes, senior citizen centers, etc. At this level, you are not likely to have a "quality show". I certainly did not way back when I began. Even Michael Ammar, on his Making Magic Memorable tape, said that "Everybody needs some place to be bad." For him, it was the four nursing homes in Bluefield, WV.

Dustin also recommends that the beginner should decide "what type of performer you want to be, and the type of audience/venue you want to perform for." While it is true that one must confront the questions he writes about during the course of building a career, the beginner probably is not equipped with the knowledge or experience to answer those questions. Furthermore, the answers to those questions depend a great deal upon the opportunities available in one's area.

Most beginners start out as a generalist, doing all kinds of shows, gaining experience, before beginning to specialize. You have to discover not only what types of shows you enjoy doing, but also what types of audiences respond positively to your personality and act. That can take years of performing in front of many different types of audiences.

I have to agree with Danny. It is unlikely that Dustin has mastered all the crafts and services he provides in his own business. (Especially "etc.", that one's really difficult to get a handle on. I've been in this business for over 35 years, and I have yet to master it!) But that should not preclude him from discussing his experiences so far, and I encourage him to continue writing about his journey in world of performing professionally.

Jim
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
fallingblood
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Jim- I really appreciate you taking the time to reply. I've learned a lot from you on these boards.

I don't even pretend to be an expert on this subject. My goal is simply to help others. The reason for this is because I've seen many beginners who struggle with starting a career. I know I did at first, and I want to help them. There is a lot of information out there, but it's not always the easiest to find, especially if you don't know where to look.

Also, this is just the first part of the actual essay. The essay is actually about 10 pages long. I just cut it up into pieces as to not overwhelm others. I do cover how to build a show, as well as much more in the essays that will follow. I just tried to break everything up into easier to digest snippets.

Again, I really do appreciate you taking the time to respond.
Bob Sanders
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Guys,

I have real problems with this pompous line of discussion about age, experience, and expertise. Who are you fooling besides yourselves?

Age and experience are good crutches for those who can only make progress with them. They are not the “real thing”! Like weight, blood pressure, and eye color, they are mere descriptors.

Next month, I will be sixty-three. I will have had fifty years in the professional entertainment industry. By the time I was old enough to apply for a driver’s permit, I had made more money as a professional entertainer and performed more shows than some of you “pros” do now. The disability of age and experience is not something I’m willing to buy into.

Objective study of the lives of the most accomplished people in world history will also point out that most were not “one pony shows”. They were very successful people in several fields of endeavor. Multi-tasking is a very common trait of the most successful people on this planet. Being able to walk and chew gum simultaneously is not an undesirable talent. The handicap of only being good at one thing is not a total disability. However, it is certainly a handicap.

This young man’s thread here is titled “Starting a Career in Magic”. That is not necessarily an old man’s game. It is decisively not the same as recycling a “has been”.

Among the problems with age and experience is that age includes missed opportunities and experience includes mistakes.

We race the young horses for a very good reason. Help build a champion!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

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James Munton
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Bob,

But time is limited and most people want to learn from people who have demonstrable experience - it is one way we can quickly determine if the person has anything worthwhile to say.

I have a problem with someone claiming expertise in marketing magic shows when his own website doesn't have a phone number and there are zero testimonials from satisfied customers.

I understand he was sick and he asked his mom to do it for him, but this is clearly not someone I am going to choose as a mentor!

If Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) came on here offering advice, I would listen to everything the 15 year-old has to say.

But as Danny says, based on the evidence, Dustin doesn't really have any useful advice to offer. However, as Jim pointed out, it may be interesting for others to read his experiences as he starts out. And as Silverking mentioned, Dustin might do well to listen and learn from those with more experience. And my advice is, as always, the best of all - go to college and get an education!!!

I think many of us ARE giving good advice to this young man.
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