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Anand Khalsa
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I have been practicing and studying magic for about ten years now (since I was six years old), and I started becoming very serious about magic at the age of eleven. I am now sixteen years old, and looking to make my career in magic. I am most experienced with cards, but I also perform linking rings, color changing knives, sponge balls, cups and balls, genuine three card monte, fast & loose, a book test, nut & bolt, and stand-up-monte. I was wondering if there is any advice or insight that could be offered in the following areas:

- What do you think the worst mistakes young magicians looking to go professional make?

- What kinds of opportunities for mentorship exist?

- How does one get taken seriously as a young performer?

- Would it be a wiser choice to seek long-term mentorship or attend college?

- How difficult is it to join/get involved with The Magic Castle?

- Are magic conventions worth attending?

- What are the advantages/disadvantages of living in a large city vs a smaller one when starting professionaly in magic?

- If you had to say one thing you wish that someone had told you when you were just starting out, what would it be?

- What are the best books to buy for someone interested in going pro?

- How difficult is it to penetrate a market?

- What markets are the most lucrative/stable?

- What are the pros and cons of starting a career in magic?

(any other overall advice that can be provided would be tremendously helpful)


~ Anand
1KJ
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Hi. you have a lot of good questions. I'll attempt to answer just a few:

1. I think you should definitely go to college. You just never know where your future may take you, but you will be better off with a college degree.

2. Start performing! You can bid on jobs on the internet on various sites, like "thumbtack".

3. Develop a character. Jonathan Levit said it best when he said that his character is the person he would be if he had no reservations.

Happy magic trails to you.

KJ
Bogbadger
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Wow, to be sixteen and as confident and experienced as you are is absolutely phenomenal Anand! I wish I had been half as confident at that age. Have a look at Dominic Reye's UK Based Merchant of Magic web site. Dominic provides loads of free resources, e-books, podcasts etc on the business side of magic that are invaluable. My advice is to get a great education tailored around what you love to do i.e magic. If you learn the business side of things now you will avoid the pitfalls that many people with great skills, arts or products fall into because they fail to realise how important a good knowledge of business is. Dom's site is UK based but he gets input from magicians around the world. Coincidentally the latest podcast was with Elliot Smith on the business side of magic http://merchantofmagic.podbean.com/ well worth a listen.

Good Luck
Anand Khalsa
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Thank you SO much 1KJ and Bogbadger, I really appreciate it!! Smile
Stanyon
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Ahh, show business! Just remember what is the bigger of the two words. Stay in school and get an education!

Cheers! Smile
Stanyon

aka Steve Taylor

"Every move a move!"

"If you've enjoyed my performance half as much as I've enjoyed performing for you, then you've enjoyed it twice as much as me!"
Ray Bertrand
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Definitely get your education. Continue to pursue magic. Find a mentor if you can. Join one of the magic organizations such as the International Brotherhood of Magicians or the Society of American Magicians. Conventions are definitely worthwhile for someone pursuing a career in magic. You will be exposed to professionals and amateurs alike. You will have the opportunity of rubbing shoulders with the pros. You will be able to attend lectures and have some of the latest magic made available to you by the dealers. Most of all you will experience the friendship of your fellow magi. Bogbadger said it so well. "Wow. To be sixteen and as confident and experienced as you are is absolutely phenomenal."

Most of all Anand, don't ever give up on your dreams.

Ray
EnterTRAINment at its best. Keeping the Magic Alive in Northern BC
Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
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I can't help you with this but want to say this is a great question and the best of luck to you
davidpaul$
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College is good for some but not all. I've seen many college graduates struggling to get jobs with a MOUNTAIN of debt. Not a good way to start out in life. Technical schools are another avenue.
Bill Gates, Michael Dell of Dell Computers, Henry Ford (Ford Motor Cars) Steven Spielberg, John D. Rockefeller Sr. to name just a few, did not have college degrees. Just don't get sucked into the "You have to go to college" mantra, without investigating.

In magic you are obviously communicating to and interacting with people. People skills are a must. You can have super technical skills but if your personality is lacking on the likeability scale well then your magic career is going nowhere.

Yes, absorb yourself in all types of magic. Close-up, manipulation, mentalism ,stage, parlor etc. Watch as many magicians as you can. Observe their personality. Is it serious, comedic etc./ You have to find out who you are. What do you enjoy most? What other areas of magic are you interested in? Go to lectures where possible or on-line. If possible get together with willing successful magicians in you area. Show respect and sincere interest and they might be willing to share. Pro magicians get asked all the time how things are done and often times offered money for the secret. If you don't show a honest respect for the art and your willingness to put in the necessary time and effort then finding a mentor will harder to find.

Enjoy the journey..

http://learnfinancialplanning.com/why-yo......-degree/ (just some things to think about)
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
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Alright so I said I couldn't help but I may have a lil input. College isn't for everyone. I have family that farms and makes 100 grand a year. I on the other hand have 6 years if college and teach middle school science. I will only clear about 1400 a month at the small school I'm at. However I love my job. If you do go pro make sure you learn how to invest and think about your retirement. Again good luck to you
Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
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Alright so I said I couldn't help but I may have a lil input. College isn't for everyone. I have family that farms and makes 100 grand a year. I on the other hand have 6 years if college and teach middle school science. I will only clear about 1400 a month at the small school I'm at. However I love my job. If you do go pro make sure you learn how to invest and think about your retirement. Again good luck to you
55Hudson
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Anand,

If you have the aptitude, then go to college. Although David Paul gives some well known exceptions, the statistics are clear: college graduates make more in their lifetime than non-graduates. More than enough to offset the cost of college. The nice thing about magic is that since the work is on weekends and evenings, you can go to school full-time and work full- time while you build your magic business. Also, most successful closeup magicians I know are very well spoken and educated. I don't know in every case if they are formally educated, but when you speak to them they are articulate, knowledgable about current events, and interesting. Magic is a people busienss and an education certainly helps here.

Now, on to your questions:


I have been practicing and studying magic for about ten years now (since I was six years old), and I started becoming very serious about magic at the age of eleven. I am now sixteen years old, and looking to make my career in magic. I am most experienced with cards, but I also perform linking rings, color changing knives, sponge balls, cups and balls, genuine three card monte, fast & loose, a book test, nut & bolt, and stand-up-monte. I was wondering if there is any advice or insight that could be offered in the following areas:

- What do you think the worst mistakes young magicians looking to go professional make? - going cold turkey. Why not start slow and build up. No reason to quite your day job. All work is on weekends and evenings.

- What kinds of opportunities for mentorship exist? - lots if you join clubs and look for local professionals. It's about building a trusting one-on-one relationship.

- How does one get taken seriously as a young performer? - try reading Over and Under by Joshaua Jay Or just ask him.

- Would it be a wiser choice to seek long-term mentorship or attend college? - Why are this mutually exclusive? Do both.

- How difficult is it to join/get involved with The Magic Castle? - can't answer this one.

- Are magic conventions worth attending? - to degree. Better is to find a local mentor.

- What are the advantages/disadvantages of living in a large city vs a smaller one when starting professionaly in magic? - I don't think it matters. I was in Omaha for three years and there is a very active magic community there. Several make a full-time living with magic. Many more than you woukd expect for such a small town.

- If you had to say one thing you wish that someone had told you when you were just starting out, what would it be? - read books. Get some of the classics and study them. Don't chase one-off tricks. You can spend $30 to buy the latest one-trick DVD or about $40 to buy Carney's Carneycopia or The Book of Secrets Either of which would give you a lifetime of close up magic.

- What are the best books to buy for someone interested in going pro? The Approach by Jamie D Grant

- How difficult is it to penetrate a market? If it were easy, anyone could do it.

- What markets are the most lucrative/stable? Not the right question. What market do you want to focus on and why? All markets can be profitable. You can make good money doing lots of kids birthday parties at $200 each - easily 4 a weekend. Not a bad partime job! Or you can do restaurant magic at $150 for 2 hours one night a week. Or you can do trade shows, or corporate events or .... There are so many different performing venues. But difficult to sell your self as a corporate magician if you just did a birthday party for the HR manager's daughter last weekend. Pick one area and focus on it. You can mover over time, but don't be a jack of all trades and master of none. As a young person, birthday parties might be easier to land.

- What are the pros and cons of starting a career in magic? Success, failure all up to you. (Pro & con).

Good luck!

Hudson
1KJ
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There is a lot of discussion about whether to go to college or not. Keep in mind: A college degree will open doors for you. Yes, there are a lot of famous wealthy people who didn't go to college, but that doesn't mean college isn't important. If you notice, all of those wealthy people sited built their own business. While business ownership is great, not everyone is cut out for that. I don't know a single person where having a college degree hurt them. However, I know many people who have been hurt by not having one.

I own my own company, AND I have a college degree. My business is very successful, and it is in an industry where education is important. I don't think I would be where I am without the degree.

Something to think about.

KJ
jclightman
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These are some great questions. It's good to see you thinking about it so thoroughly!

I'll answer a couple of them as well.

1. I'll chime in on the college question as well. I may be a bit biased as a professor, but getting a degree is a huge step in opening doors for the rest of your life. Not to mention, there are lots of opportunities to practice your magic while in college. It's not the end all be all, but as others have said, if you have the aptitude, go for it! Also, I met my magic mentor while I was in college. He's the one who got me performing and really set me on the path.

2. Conventions. Man, I wish I had started going earlier! I didn't even know they existed until much later in life. The one warning though I'll give you is that you will spend all the money you bring. You'll even try to go to the ATM to get more cash. Seriously tough, you'll be exposed to a much broader world of magic. If you're not far from Texas, the TAOM (Texas Association of Magicians) has a conference every Labor Day weekend. It's usually a very good experience.

The other guys have already covered some really great advice. I think Hudson is right on when he says to read books. There is a wealth of magic in the books. Dig in and try to find your voice and originality.
Terrible Wizard
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I'd probably look at doing a college course in a related field ... Drama, for example. Just a suggestion, I'm not a pro.
Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
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I just want to reiterate my point that college isn't for everyone. I'm finishing my middle school teaching degree and I'll take a pay cut when I quit waiting tables. My buddy works for the railroad making 100 grand a year. My uncle works as a electrician for a prison making 20 an hour with benefits. My mom has a bachelor's in criminology and sociology and was never able to put it to use,she did stay in a small town in all fairness. I'm not saying don't go to college, I'm just saying make sure it's right for you. Just cause you have a degree doesn't mean you will get a job or one where you want to live. I can't wait to teach and it's my dream job, helping children. But the farmers in my family are plenty happy barely finishing high school and making lots of money. Do what you want in life. I could have easily been an actuary and made much more money. However I'd rather help kids
1KJ
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Quote:
On Apr 7, 2015, Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse wrote:
I just want to reiterate my point that college isn't for everyone. I'm finishing my middle school teaching degree and I'll take a pay cut when I quit waiting tables. My buddy works for the railroad making 100 grand a year. My uncle works as a electrician for a prison making 20 an hour with benefits. My mom has a bachelor's in criminology and sociology and was never able to put it to use,she did stay in a small town in all fairness. I'm not saying don't go to college, I'm just saying make sure it's right for you. Just cause you have a degree doesn't mean you will get a job or one where you want to live. I can't wait to teach and it's my dream job, helping children. But the farmers in my family are plenty happy barely finishing high school and making lots of money. Do what you want in life. I could have easily been an actuary and made much more money. However I'd rather help kids


Going to college isn't just about how much you will make. As said by many here on the thread, it is really about OPENING DOORS. Many doors won't open without a college degree. In my business, I get to know many people. I have spoken to many people who didn't go to college because they wanted to do something where they felt college wasn't necessary. Then, as the years went by, their goals changed and not having a college degree stood in the way of their new goals. That doesn't mean that everyone is meant to go to college, but if you can do it, I STRONGLY suggest you do.

KJ
Terrible Wizard
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Meh. I would have done things differently if I had my time again. Most education is wasted, Imho. Depends a huge amount if you know what you want to do ... Drifting aimlessly in education ain't much use. That said, I'd probably still try and get an education ... Just not the way I did. I'd focus a lot less on the academic, more on the magic and life experience. There's no one size fits all, and many end up disillusioned with their degrees. I guess the grass is always greener, and whatever you choose you'll probably regret it at some point in the future ...
55Hudson
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Normally I stay out of these types of discussion, but advising a 16 year-old (assuming they have the aptitude) not to go to college is just plain wrong. Education gives you options and opportunities that do not exist without an education.

Here, from US Census Bureau most recent reports -- see https://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/acsbr11-04.pdf

Table 1.
Synthetic Work-Life Earnings by Educational Attainment
(In dollars. For information on confidentiality protection, sampling error, nonsampling error, and
definitions, see www.census.gov/acs/www)
Educational attainment Synthetic work-life earnings Margin of error

None to 8th grade 936,000 7,000

9th to 12th grade 1,099,000 7,000

High school graduate 1,371,000 3,000

Some college 1,632,000 5,000

Associate’s degree 1,813,000 9,000

Bachelor’s degree 2,422,000 8,000

Master’s degree 2,834,000 13,000

Professional degree 4,159,000 33,000

Doctorate degree 3,525,000 29,000

Note: Synthetic work-life earnings represent expected earnings over a 40-year time period for the population aged 25–64 who maintain full-time, year-round employment the entire time. Calculations are based on median annual earnings from a single point in time for eight 5-year age groups and multiplied by five. The margin of error can be interpreted roughly as providing a 90 percent probability that the interval defined by the estimate minus the margin of error and the estimate plus the margin of error (the lower and upper confidence bounds) contains the true value
Source: US Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey

The facts are clear. On average, education will lead you to be better able to provide for yourself and your family and will provide more work options for you. Also, the days of great jobs with the Railroads with out a college degree are gone -- today's new RR employees don't get the same deal as those who started 10 or 20 years ago. And the hirings they are doing are for degreed engineers.

Certainly college isn't for everyone, but in the absence of a reason not to go, there are many reasons to go. And in no way would attending college negatively impact the ability to become a professional magician.

Hudson
Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
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First off I never said not to go to college but I've seen tons of wasted degrees where people only end up owing money. Exactly what doors are opened for you by going to college except for the degree you get. I doubt this gentleman is going to become part of the skull and bones secret society. There is a huge time and money expenditure when it comes to college. So unless you have a clear goal college can negatively impact you in the sum of years and thousands. I could make a lot more money than my degree is getting me with out it. My friend works for bnsf and makes 100 grand a year, four times my annual salary, and he has nothing more than a high school diploma and just got hired on two months ago. Also those Stats are heavily skewed my medical degrees on one side and fast food on the other. These super Ritch also make for astounding outliers. If you have the drive you can make a great living without a degree.
Kabbalah
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The most successful men I know are electricians, plumbers, masons, contractors, roofers, HVAC and on.

By success, I mean social as well as financial.

The nation is in dire need of these skills...not more liberal arts degrees.
"Long may magicians fascinate and continue to be fascinated by the mystery potential in a pack of cards."
~Cliff Green

"The greatest tricks ever performed are not done at all. The audience simply think they see them."
~ John Northern Hilliard
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