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General_Magician
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I think personally one of the secrets to success as a magician and professional entertainer is not to play a charcter that is not you, but to simply be yourself. If it's not you in your magical performances then you are not living up to your full potential as a professional entertainer. Interesting, that is the same thing that some professional comedians have told me. Part of the key to comedy is simply to be yourself. And that's the real magic: you.
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light shining somewhere nearby." -unknown

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Mary Mowder
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It gets pretty confusing. There is a lot of conflicting advice.

Build a character. Do only what that character would do.

Be yourself.

Brand yourself (that was painful, I can tell you).

I've always been myself (I work mostly Stand-Up for Kids and Families and get seasonal Adult Close-Up and a little Stand-Up) but I get a lot of advice telling me to specialize which is not where it's at for me. In the end I created a new character to seperate the markets but in fact the way I perform there is a lot of crossover which is a little confusing for me. I don't play to the under 3 set but a lot of my Magic is entertaining to all ages. Some of my Close-Up is more for Adults but a lot of it plays for anyone over 5.

While I do believe what you are saying in my heart, I am true to myself but I can't say I've been wildly successful.


-Mary Mowder
Dannydoyle
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I have to ask. From what experience and how many years are you speaking?

I am not saying it is bad if it is low, I am just curious as to where this comes from is all.

One of the best comedians I know is Jake Johansen. He speaks nothing like that on phone when we talk. Mac King is not nearly as dumb as he plays on stage. He lives up to his full potential if you ask me.

I am not saying you are wrong. I am saying there may be another school of thought.
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Close.Up.Dave
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As Orson Welles would say, "Acting is playing a part of a character that is within each of us." Characters have their value in professional entertainment, as do people who go on stage and show their most confident selves. Neither necessarily make you successful, spiritually or financialy.
SIX
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A great tip I learned is to be an exaggerated version of yourself. When you play a character, its hard in many ways, unless done right. When watching a movie, if one of the microphones pops in it kills everything and breaks your imagination.

When being a character a theater setting with a proper backround builds it all. The issue is that in magic we tend to be a character everywhere we go. Being a character while doing walk around is hard. Now, if its a very human, modern like character it easy, but if your a pirate magician, it doesn't go, unless in the writing setting where you build a scene.

But I do think be who are is best...just show your best attributes more and your not so good ones, less.
General_Magician
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On 2012-11-02 16:53, Dannydoyle wrote:
I have to ask. From what experience and how many years are you speaking?

I am not saying it is bad if it is low, I am just curious as to where this comes from is all.

One of the best comedians I know is Jake Johansen. He speaks nothing like that on phone when we talk. Mac King is not nearly as dumb as he plays on stage. He lives up to his full potential if you ask me.

I am not saying you are wrong. I am saying there may be another school of thought.


Well, personally, I don't have experience as a stand up comedian, but I am studying stand up comedy from resources recommended to me by a successful professional comedian. The source of my information also comes from experienced, successful comedian and to me, it makes sense. It just don't come naturally if you are pretending to be somebody you are not and without that natural flow, it kills a lot of things.

Now, you do have to come up with a script but it's based on rehearsals that you make that are also based off who you are as a person (and of course you want it to be funny and have a punchline). And I agree with SIX's post above. Even the old timer Tarbell recommends being yourself when performing magic. Most of the principles that I have learned from Tarbell has helped me tremendously in the real world though some of his tricks need to be modified in order to be good in the modern era, the principles of what he teaches still rings true today.

When I am being entertained by somebody, I want to know "is this the real person I am seeing or is this some kind of fake facade he is putting on?" I personally prefer to be entertained by somebody who is real rather than somebody who is playing a character that is not even himself. Of course, I have heard in many cases that what you see of the entertainer in his show is not who he really is in real life. I think an entertainer can be entertaining AND funny AND be who he really is in real life in his show and achieve success as an entertainer without having to play some kind of character he really is not in his show.
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light shining somewhere nearby." -unknown

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AGMagic
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Yes! No! Well maybe. Ask 1000 performers this question and you will get 1000 different answers. That is the beauty of Magic being an art. You can do what works for, and appeals most to you.

I can tell you that I have seen dozens of characters that I hope I never see again. On the flip side, I have seen at least as many Magicians "being themselves" that would be much better off being ANYONE else. That said, unless you are an exceptional actor, your persona should probably have some basis in and reflect, your real self. How much is up to you.

Mary...Very funny on the branding. Smile
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General_Magician
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I mean, if you have like a terrible personality, then it probably wouldn't hurt to figure what might be pyschologically wrong with you. I mean, nobody is pyschologically perfect, but if your personality is soo terrible, that you can't find any good out of your own personality to use for entertainment value, then you probably should be seeking some pyschological help first before attempting to do anything else. I mean, even if you are not going to be an entertainer, having a decent personality is important to be successful.

If you had a terrible personality, nobody is going to want to do business with you, even if you aren't in the business of entertaining people. You could be the best at what you do and you will still shoot yourself in the foot because you are bad as a person because even if you did get some business, their will be many more who will refuse to do business with you, solely on the basis that your personality stinks even if you are the best at what you do.

I know I have personally refused to do business with insurance companies soley because of the way they treated me even though their coverage was way better than what I would find with other insurance companies. So, I dumped the insurance company that treated me badly and did business with the insurance company which treated me well, even though their coverage wasn't as good. Being likeable and having a decent personality goes a long ways. If being yourself has absolutely no entertainment value at all, then I would think that person needs some help to fix whatever underlying psychological problems they have.
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light shining somewhere nearby." -unknown

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55Hudson
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I like to think about acting as a model for magic. Do the best actors play themselves or the role? I believe the very best actors play the role - it is much easier to play themselves. Some get by with a very successful career playing the same role (themselves) over and over again, but the greats move from character to charecter throughout their career.

For magic,what role/character do you want to play? If it is yourselfe, then fine, but if it is a different character, then you need to work on it.

Hudson.
General_Magician
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Quote:
On 2012-11-03 01:20, 55Hudson wrote:
I like to think about acting as a model for magic. Do the best actors play themselves or the role? I believe the very best actors play the role - it is much easier to play themselves. Some get by with a very successful career playing the same role (themselves) over and over again, but the greats move from character to charecter throughout their career.

For magic,what role/character do you want to play? If it is yourselfe, then fine, but if it is a different character, then you need to work on it.

Hudson.


I kinda think Danny hit on something when he said something about "two schools of thought." My personaly opinion is that true greatness can only come by being yourself. Their is only one you in this world and only you can play it best. Sometimes and for some people it might take work just to be themselves.
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light shining somewhere nearby." -unknown

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Dannydoyle
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Well if you are not as interesting as you think that is where acting comes in.

Most magicians are too lazy to study another dicipline.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Gary T.
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It's just a matter of finding a character that can entertain, if that is you naturally then excellent, you're set, if it's not, you're gonna have to take on a role and learn to act, it's that simple. acting classes can help any magician, but that doesn't mean that you have to create an entire new character to be sucessful, sometimes it's just small things.
S2000magician
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Quote:
On 2012-11-03 14:48, Dannydoyle wrote:
Most magicians are too lazy to study another dicipline.

In their defense: usually it would be a waste of their time.
Zombie Magic
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Quote:
On 2012-11-02 18:03, General_Magician wrote:
When I am being entertained by somebody, I want to know "is this the real person I am seeing or is this some kind of fake facade he is putting on?"


That goes through your head? Do you stop their show and ask them?
sirbrad
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My character is just an over-embellished form of myself, that part hidden deep down inside that comes out once in awhile. I would not want to be that all of the time so that is why I play a character. But I am myself at the same time as well. But it is still me. There is nothing wrong with playing the part. I see a lot of clowns playing the part of a goofy clown and dunk tank clowns etc, and thank God they stop being that character after the show. Kinda like Gary Busey in Carny, if he was himself in the tank it would be pretty boring to watch, (well maybe not today) and if he was the clown all the time he would probably get burnt out quickly and have no voice after at all after a few hours, and not have anyone come near him ever.

When you watch movies you also know actors are playing a part but you don't care, so why care if a magician does it? He is not really a magician so it makes sense to play the role. I personally don't care if an entertainer is themselves or playing a character, as long as I enjoyed it and was entertained. That applies to ALL types of entertainers.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Alan Munro
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I was told to be myself, after competing in a contest when I was in college. There was one problem. I, like so many, didn't have a good understand of who I was. It's a good understanding of what is out-of-character for you. I had to experiment, over the years, to see what audiences reacted favorably to during my shows.
General_Magician
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That goes through your head? Do you stop their show and ask them?


Dude, I like to pay my money to entertainers who are genuinely decent people, who are not dirtbags and are real. I don't care how entertaining they are, if they are a dirtbag, I am still not going to hire their services or buy any of their tickets. I like my money to go to good people and I also like for my money to go to what's real and genuine and not fake. My money is not going to support dirtbags or that which is fake and ungenuine even if the entertainment was awesome. But that's just me. It's kinda like refusing to hire Madonna because even though the music she lip synced at half time during the super bowl was awesome and entertainining, it still wasn't real.
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light shining somewhere nearby." -unknown

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bishthemagish
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I always thought that the secret of success depends on the opinion of each one of us - on whatever being a success happens to be.

My opinion of being a success in magic is to be able to book shows and perform the shows I booked. Have happy and satisfied clients that would want to book me again. Perhaps there are as many roads to get there as there is opinion on what success in magic really is?

I blogged about my own opinion of a formula of success in magic and show business several days ago.

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Zombie Magic
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Quote:
On 2012-11-04 17:30, General_Magician wrote:
Quote:
That goes through your head? Do you stop their show and ask them?


Dude, I like to pay my money to entertainers who are genuinely decent people, who are not dirtbags and are real. I don't care how entertaining they are, if they are a dirtbag, I am still not going to hire their services or buy any of their tickets. I like my money to go to good people and I also like for my money to go to what's real and genuine and not fake. My money is not going to support dirtbags or that which is fake and ungenuine even if the entertainment was awesome. But that's just me. It's kinda like refusing to hire Madonna because even though the music she lip synced at half time during the super bowl was awesome and entertainining, it still wasn't real.


Dude, how do you know if someone is "good people" and not a dirt bag? Thieves, con artists, pedaphiles, drug dealers, etc. go to church, are seen as 'upstanding" members of the community, etc. So dirt bags can go under the radar.

How do you go about determining this?
Dannydoyle
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Actors have an entire profession designed around having a fake facade. This is the point of being a good actor.

While it is common to vote with your dollars and not see movies or support those who do things you disagres with that might not be as easy with table magic.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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