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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Should non-actors become professional magicians? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Bato William
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I am curious as to what other people's opinion is on this question: Should non-actors become professional magicians? It would seem that entertainment is what the public wants, so should someone uncomfortable appearing before an audience consider becoming a professional magician?


Bato William
You're nothing but a pack of cards! - Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)
othelo68
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Honestly I don't think you should have to be a professional actor although I can see how that would help, But being comfortable in front of a crowd is definitely a must. If you can't talk to a group of people is your routine really going to work?
Josh the Superfluous
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Being a magician requires acting by definition. Feeling uncomfortable can be overcome with experience. Anyone who thinks they'd enjoy performing magic and earning money by doing it should consider it.

I'd rather pursue something I'm interested in than wonder if I should have.
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abc
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Why would you think that someone who is comfortable appearing before people is necesarily an actor while those who aren't are not?
I am a teacher and I am in front of people all the time. I tried acting and I hated it. I love magic and did it professionally for a long time at least until my job started paying more.
john5d
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I can't act enough to be a magician. I am only doing it for fun for friends only. Smile
RobertlewisIR
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Depends on what you mean by "actor." One doesn't have to be interested in theatrical performance to perform magic, but one does have to act in the sense that one has to play the role of someone who can perform the impossible.
~Bob



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Last night, I dreamed I ate the world's largest marshmallow. When I woke up, the pillow was gone.
Bob Sanders
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We are all actors anyway! The question is how well can we deliver the script?

Fear is an entirely different thing. I tell people that I always shake while I'm being brave.

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The Amazing Noobini
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For some people, like me it has most to do with being the center of attention. That is where the problem lies. I would do pretty good as an actor I think if it wasn't for the fact that all abilities leave me when people focus on me. (See 100 other threads about stage freight and nerves).

But it is true that some people can't act at all. I have at least two friends who are so bad at telling stories that it becomes down right uncomfortable at times. It is impossible to even understand what happened in their story. Who is the subject in the sentence? Who did what to whom?

But in magic performances, people with that problem would have the help of a script and a rehearsed set of things to say. If they cannot deliver those lines without sounding stiff and lifeless, they need to change the script to fit their style.

Some people are natural showmen. I'm very much the opposite. In my case I know I cannot be a professional magician. So the answer to your question is that in my opinion, for various reasons, many people cannot and should not try to be professional magicians, no.

But if the case is merely that you are "uncomfortable appearing before an audience", I think your chances are still quite good. You would probably be comfortable with it if you knew for a fact that they loved everything you did. It's the uncertainty and subconscious fear of being judged by them that is distracting.
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Renaldo
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"Should non-actors become professional magicians? It would seem that entertainment is what the public wants, so should someone uncomfortable appearing before an audience consider becoming a professional magician?"

Yes they should, if that's what they want to do.

There is more to being a magician (or any performer/entertainer for that matter) than learning the skill or craft. It's not enough to know how to work the tricks, you've also got to know how to present them. The mechanics + presentation = the performance. Just like you didn't expect to pick up the props and start doing amazing magic, you shouldn't stand up on a stage and expect an outstanding performance.

If you're not used to being in front of people this is something you need to practice just as much, if not more, as working the tricks. Assuming you have the confidence in your skill and just have the fear of being in front of people, you need to start putting yourself in front of people. Start small, one or two people. Maybe on break at work, for a couple of friends, maybe on the weekends for a couple of your kids friends. It doesn't matter, as long as it's an honest audience that are not afraid to tell you that you stink. Slowly build from there.

If you read the community/club announcements in your local paper you'll probably find a Toastmasters group. Join them, they will teach you how to speak publicly and deal with an audience. Check with your local community college or adult learning center, there's probably a Speech 101 or public speaking class you can take and this will also give you the knowledge and confidence you need to be in front of an audience. Don't let the term 'public speaking' fool you, it's as much of a performance as magic; and most of these courses will require you to do several informative or demonstrative speeches that run around 10 minutes. A magic trick or two qualifies.
Bato William
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Thank you, one and all. This is becoming a very interesting thread.

Bato William
You're nothing but a pack of cards! - Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)
Josh the Superfluous
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Bato, if you like this kind of discussion check out the Food for Thought section of the Café.

Best,
-Josh
What do you want in a site? "Honesty, integrity and decency." -Mike Doogan
"I hate it, I hate my ironic lovechild. I didn't even have anything to do with it" Josh #2
Brad Burt
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The problem is that it begs the question as to whether 'ONLY' an actor is comfortable before an audience. I know literally hundreds of non actors who are as comfortable in front of an audience as not.

So perhaps the question should be, "Does someone who wishes to be a performing magician need to also be an actor?" The answer is no, unless the magician wants to assume a 'character' as part of the way in which they present their act. In that case in order to do a 'good' job it would be necessary to be good at "acting the character", etc.

Best,
Brad Burt
Mr. Mystoffelees
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"All the world is a stage" is really true.

You "act" every time you do not tell the absolute, stark truth. Was that soup really good? Does that dress make her butt look big? Etc.

I think the only time acting school would help is when you are not being yourself. As to being uncomfortable in front of an audience, Bob Sanders said it best, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. I guess it boils down to how bad do you want to do it...
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
Bato William
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Thanks, Josh; nice .gif, by the way!

Bato Kornberg
You're nothing but a pack of cards! - Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)
The Big Q
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I actually think we are confusing "acting" with "confidence" and "story telling". Like a previous poster, I'm a school teacher - a drama teacher actually - and great confidence does not make a great actor, but I think it is essential for magic - as is the ability to 'tell a story', whether it be a silent stage routine or fast talking street performance.

Well, that's my 2 cents worth anyway.

Tony
wulfiesmith
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Bato ...
As a Special Education Teacher you are used to being "up front" and delivering class.

As a teacher you also have the knowledge in your field, which gives you the confidence to face class and interact.

It is only because you feel unsure, that you feel apprehensive.
Try performing routines which are 100% guaranteed, and only rely on presentation (which will then use your existing teachers delivery skills).

PM me if you wish ... best
WulfieSmith
Ed_Millis
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You should try it the other way around! I was comfortable doing little things in front of a small group. Then I got on a *real* stage and they turned the lights on - bam! everyone vanished!! No visual clues at all!

Failure is not fatal! But fear sometimes is.
Ed
Bato William
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Actually, wulfiesmith, I was a professional actor: SAG, AFTRA, AEA and all that. I was just curious what the community's take on this topic was.

Bato William
You're nothing but a pack of cards! - Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)
funsway
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While you may be acting out magic being real by employing tricks and artistry you do not have to 'act' as a person or character. You can be a vital person who choses to peform magic, and nothing chnages when you are before a spectator. However, often times assuming a character role enhances the inpact or mystery of a performance. Either way the audience may assume you are a different person when performing or just chatting after church or a movie. People today 'act' in idffeent roles in different settings, with false avitars on the Internet and personalities as changable as make-up. Maybe a performer is closer to being authentic when doing magic that at any other time.

In other words -- "quit acting -- just be yourself."
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

eBooks at https://www.lybrary.com/ken-muller-m-579928.html questions at ken@eversway.com
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