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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Magician, or someone who does magic tricks? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

danaruns
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What is the difference between a magician and a person who just does magic tricks? Is there a difference? Or is anyone who does magic tricks a magician?

I have definite opinions on this, but would like to hear what others think. Personally, I think there is a huge difference between the two. And it's not a "pro vs amateur" thing, it's a matter of how the magic is served to the audience, and the audience's perception of the one doing the magic. I'll post about that later. But for newbies, one of the big hurdles to get over is having their friends and family think of them as magicians, rather than their friend/son/parent/etc. who does magic tricks. If they see you as a magician, they are much better audiences for you.

Do you get people challenging you? Trying to take your props? Demanding that you do something different in the middle of a trick ("Hey, shuffle the cards again!")? Openly and vocally trying to bust you? Wanting to take command of your performance? If so, chances are they don't see you as a magician, but just as their friend who is trying to "fool" them with a magic trick.

So, if there's a difference, what is it, and how do you get from "Uncle Frank who does magic tricks" to magician?

Dana
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
davidpaul$
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Quentin Reynolds had a great lecture which addressed your post.
In short:
Person who does magic tricks vs Magician

The magic trickster DOES magic....The magician IS magic

For example, being an American is something you are... not something you do. ( waving american flag)
You can wave an American Flag, but it doesn't mean you are an American.
Realizing who you are and that becoming your persona makes a world of difference in how you present yourself
and how you perform.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
funsway
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My experiences are different from most thus my perceptions on this issue are different, and my opinions even more so.

First, the way most lay people view what a magician to be is far different than what performer's think or wish for.
If you sell tickets to a Magic Show, no one in the audience will care if you mix conjuring, fast change artist, mentalist, sand painter and contact juggler.
Each will be doing something they consider to be impossible, non-possible, other than possible or just extraordinary.
If they enjoyed themselves and were occasionally bewildered, enchanted, bamboozled or mystified they will remember everyone as a magician.

Only the performers will be having fist-fighst in alley over who was or was not -- whatever ...
.....

No one can DO magic. If you could it would be science for you. What a performer can do is create a situation or conditions
under which the astonishment produced will be labeled "magic" by the observer. It happens in their mind. However, It can be influenced.
The observer has to expect magic to happen, by whatever definition they hold. They can be entertained by many mysterious things.

So, a person a calling themselves a magician attempts to get a desired response from an audience. They may not be able to tell if the shouts, applause,
taunts are because of their skill, shock value, their fly is undone or something special has occurred in the mind of spectators.
The accomplished magician knows when the reaction is "bafflement" over having experienced something more that puzzle or 'fool me' or confusion.

For me, the difference is that the magician offers effects based on the expectations and appreciation of the audience -- based on engagement,
empathy and presence. They have special effects that have been waiting for years for the right setting and moment.

My point is that even the most accomplished magic technician is only doing tricks until they connect with the audience in an "inexplicable" way
and whatever they do will be perceived as magic by the audience. It is my opinion that many performers never achieve that level,
or create the possibility of magic, by a poor selection of tricks, failure to pay attention to the audience and egoic m*sturbation of some sort.

....

On the flip side I have performed tens of thousands of demonstration of "inexplicable phenomena" that was not perceived as magic, nor was that my intent.
If the observer does not expect magic to occur, does not know you are a person intending to do magic, then it does not happen!
Instead, the astonishment turns into internal reflection of what they consider to be impossible.

So, a within the context of the OP I would suggest that "a magician" is a person trained in deception, guile and psychological ploys
who makes an observer desire to see a magic effect and then surpasses that expectation.

However, even the most fumbling trickster trying to be a magician is better that playing video games or bullying folks in some way -
so, I will happily call them a magician if that will encourage them to strive for more.

Me? At fifteen I uttered a phrase I have no reason to change ..

"I do not do magic. But, it happens all around me and sometimes I get blamed."
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
thatmichaelguy
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I think at a very basic level a magician is one who crafts an experience for an audience, and a person who does magic tricks uses an audience to craft an experience for him/herself.
danaruns
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Quote:
On Mar 23, 2018, thatmichaelguy wrote:
I think at a very basic level a magician is one who crafts an experience for an audience, and a person who does magic tricks uses an audience to craft an experience for him/herself.


Interesting thought. Thank you. But are the two mutually exclusive? Cannot the magician create an experience for both herself and her audience?

For me, there is nothing like that moment when an entire audience is suddenly blown away. It's palpable. It feels like a wave washing over me. It's a rush better than the best drug. That part of the performance is just for me. It's what keeps me coming back.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
thatmichaelguy
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Quote:
On Mar 24, 2018, danaruns wrote:
Quote:
On Mar 23, 2018, thatmichaelguy wrote:
I think at a very basic level a magician is one who crafts an experience for an audience, and a person who does magic tricks uses an audience to craft an experience for him/herself.


Interesting thought. Thank you. But are the two mutually exclusive? Cannot the magician create an experience for both herself and her audience?

For me, there is nothing like that moment when an entire audience is suddenly blown away. It's palpable. It feels like a wave washing over me. It's a rush better than the best drug. That part of the performance is just for me. It's what keeps me coming back.


I don't know that they're necessarily mutually exclusive. I just think it's more a matter of intent. Speaking specifically to your example, I see that as an interchange between you and the audience. You gave them something with them in mind and they gave you something back - something that is wonderful and valuable to you. But you started with them and their experience as your focus.
Cub Sines
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IMO, I think magician is the one who can do more than just perform a trick. For example, if you ask someone to choose a card, lost it in the deck and find it (no matter how), you are just a person who did a magic trick. BUT if you ask someone to choose a card, create a little moment with the card they selected (maybe a story etc) make them lose it in the deck and producing their card (= finding it). What is the word.... Showmanship!

So what makes you a magician? It´s not any trick you show, it´s the way you do it. I think that magicians are like actors, you can be Macbeth in a play but you have to get in the mindset of Macbeth to master that role.
Black Hart
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A very interesting question Danaruns. A person who does magic tricks gets the reaction, "How did you do that?" Look at the many YouTube videos where the 'performer' simply demonstrates the trick. "I do this and then your card disappears" - type of thing. That is a person doing a magic trick.

In the genre of Bizarre Magic, we go for a different reaction, where the 'effect' is tied up in the story and we aim for the reaction, "How did that happen?" A very different thing and in our genre that is a Magician. Smile

We aim to create a magical or mystical experience for our audiences rather than demonstrating a series of 'tricks'.

You should pop into 'The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre!' forum here at The Magic Café.

Keith Hart
Black Artefacts, manufacturer and dealer of weird, bizarre and psychic magic: www.blackhart.co.uk
davidpaul$
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Interesting comments..
Im my restaurant work, children often ask me if I can make them dissappear or hand me a spoon and ask me
to change it into something as an example. There is an expectation/persona when you claim to be a "magician".

When I think of the true definition of a magician, I think of David Copperfield or Lance Burton to name a few.
They are not limited in what they do. Producing doves, transporting people, walking through the blades of a spinning
industrial fan, floating themselves or others or objects in mid-air to intimate close-up miracles.

I cringe when I hear a so-called "magician" when asked to see something reply "I didn't bring anything with me.
If you are a "magician" you shouldn't NEED something . The magic is not in the props it should be in you.

That's why I quoted Quentin Reynolds " the magic trickster does magic tricks, The "magician" is magic.
I enjoyed reading the other insights on this topic.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
thatmichaelguy
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Quote:
On Mar 26, 2018, davidpaul$ wrote:


I cringe when I hear a so-called "magician" when asked to see something reply "I didn't bring anything with me.
If you are a "magician" you shouldn't NEED something . The magic is not in the props it should be in you.


This is one of the reasons I moved into mentalism. First, that I have the ability to create mystery with very little or nothing at all, and second, that it's all about people and not things. (Though, to be fair, many mentalists are just as guilty of "needing" props and gadgets.)
Black Hart
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Yes, and you don't need 'anything with you' for cold reading either. Smile

Keith Hart
Black Artefacts, manufacturer and dealer of weird, bizarre and psychic magic: www.blackhart.co.uk
thatmichaelguy
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On Mar 26, 2018, Black Hart wrote:
Yes, and you don't need 'anything with you' for cold reading either. Smile

Keith Hart


That is very true. It's one of the reasons I love to add a reading to any effect whenever I can. It makes it more personal, more special, and more mysterious. Even if it's very brief, the effect is now no longer just about revealing information - it's about the spectator.
Wilktone
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What is the difference between a magician and a person who just does magic tricks? Is there a difference? Or is anyone who does magic tricks a magician?


Interesting questions. Ultimately, it's a matter of defining the term "magician." If we were to substitute another performing art, what's the difference between a musician and someone who plays music? What's the different between a dancer and someone who likes to dance? What's the difference between an actor and someone to plays a role?

Quote:
And it's not a "pro vs amateur" thing, it's a matter of how the magic is served to the audience, and the audience's perception of the one doing the magic.


I like the concept of "serving" the audience.

Quote:
But for newbies, one of the big hurdles to get over is having their friends and family think of them as magicians, rather than their friend/son/parent/etc. who does magic tricks. If they see you as a magician, they are much better audiences for you.


It's situational, of course, but I would argue that one of the reason new magicians struggle with showing magic to friends and family is precisely because they are asking the audience to view the performer as a "magician" and that's not really going to happen with people who really know you. But to return to your "pro vs amateur" idea, I think this is more reflective of "formal performance vs casual performance in a social situation." If you are performing for friends and family in a casual, social situation it may actually be better for their enjoyment if you take the attention away from the "magician" and instead put it on your social interactions. It takes choosing your material carefully and presenting it in a way that isn't so formal and presentational, but I think it works better for social performances.

Consider again another performing art. If I were to invite some friends out to a restaurant for dinner and then just after desert launch into Hamlet's monologue out of the blue it would make for an awkward social situation. But magicians often do the same thing, just with a card trick or thumb tip. Your spectators are grabbing props and trying to bust you? Perhaps it's because they were just hanging out with a friend who suddenly demanded to be the center of attention in a way that doesn't set them up to sit back and enjoy the presentation. In other words, they see their friend/spouse/family member trying to act like a "magician."

If you were not a magician, how would you want your friend with an interest in magic to share that art with you? Would it be by being a "magician," or would it be by giving your you an interactive and amazing experience that doesn't feel like a magic show, but something a little different?

Dave
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I probably keep it simple for myself:

If you make a living from it, or part living from it, you're a magician. If not, you're someone who does magic tricks.
Not nuanced, but hey ho.
funsway
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Quote:
On Mar 28, 2018, Terrible Wizard wrote:

If you make a living from it, or part living from it, you're a magician. If not, you're someone who does magic tricks.


oops! SInce I never charge for a performance, I guess I have to give many thousands a refund -- those that thought I was magician.

Actually, I am sad that anyone "does tricks" -- even those who are charging for it.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
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