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Oscar.Abraham
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Ey guys,

I'm not really new to magic, I've been performing as an amateur for 10 years now, with playing cards and few other props -- no coins, sadly, but eventually I will. So after all the money and time invested in magic, I've decided to get myself started as a professional magician, but I'm feeling nervous about it. Fortunately, I am acquainted with many professional magicians who have given me their advise; many of them would agree that the best way to start, due to having so few props in my repertoire, would be in restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and smaller places where I can table hop. I thought that was good advise. What do you guys think?
Regards,

Oscar
Churken2
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Read The Approach by Jamie Grant. It is a great book and outlines the steps to help you get where you are looking to go.
Churken2
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Another great book that you should check out is Close-Up by David Stone.
rhone
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The best way to become a pro is to work for real audience , who pay (directly or indirectly) and wait quality entertainment. the restaurants are a great way to learn timing your act, communicate with people (with alcool and more..), and find many solution at problem you don't think when you're just train or do magic for friends. At the beginning find one -slow - place , where you really could be bad, and one more full of people , with more tables. You 'll progress in no time , because it's easy to understood that if you're not good enough , they ' not pay you or keep you.
The David Stone 's book it's very good beginning, in fact you can check his two dvd (real secret of magic1&2) pack with great materials. i'had seen David work s with this and it's killed people.
The complete guide restaurant from kirk Charles is still full of good advice , as Ammar 's book (chapter on restaurant , social magic..).
And remember it's not only magic that you'll sell to the owner of the restaurant (he don't care) but the value of a good entertainment , the possibility for people waiting (to get a table -remenber your choice N.2 full of people) their food, the ceo looking a place for their events...etc
Senor Fabuloso
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Don't quit your day job. The stress of trying to pay bills with a performing art is overwhelming and could lead to starvation. So how then to make the move to pro? GRADUALLY! Supplement your income by performing on the street aka busking. The beauty of this approach is your can try any and all of your material without worry that your employer won't like it. You will get instant feedback from your crowds about it working or not. Be sure you have plenty of business cards to give to those wanting to hire you for house or office parties. Walkaround magic is essentially the same as street magic as you perform a few tricks at a time for small groups of people. Once you know you can perform and have the chops to make money while having learned key skills like audience management and blocking you might want to try putting together a timed show for a cabaret bar or restaurant. You can still do your walkaround stuff in these venues but you can also develop a small stage show if the venue has a performance area.

That what I've done. I hope it helps get you started and on your way to Vegas and Monte Carlo.
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WitchDocChris
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My own opinion is that one should keep a day job until it is financially viable to switch to performing full time.

Hunger is a huge motivating force, yes. However, in my opinion this often leads to generic, mediocre performances. That is because if someone is making all their income from performing, they absolutely must be performing as often as possible. Which means they cannot turn down a gig. Which means their material must work for any gig/they have to have material for any gig. If the material must work for any gig, it has to work for any audience - which means it's generic/interchangeable material. Hack lines and over done trick-of-the-week stuff.

By keeping a day job one has the security to experiment and explore styles and character and presentations. They can hone their performances to be the best possible they can present, and develop the character to the appropriate degree. Then, when they're solid on that stuff they can shift over to more performing-centric living. This also gives more time to develop the business and financial skills that surprise most of the people I know who try to do this.

There is a danger of being stuck in comfort, of course, and never shifting all the way to performing full time - but if that happens I have to wonder if that's not the better outcome? If one isn't self-motivated enough to get to a position where they can comfortably shift from a day job to a performance income, there's a good chance one won't succeed as a performer full time.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Dannydoyle
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OK in 10 years I was simply working from the perspective that he had the skills necessary and didn't start from beginner.

It seems that magicians plan for failure. Therefore quite often this is exactly what is found. I mean I have never heard an accountant say something like "well if this accounting thing doesn't work out I can..."

OF COURSE performance as a lifestyle is tough. That is why not many do it. But if you are not committed to it then it is even tougher. And Chris one thing you have to learn eventually is that if you are being paid and want to live that way you end up taking the gigs to get it done. Period. There is the "art" and then there is survival. Not many get to the point where they can actually not care what people think.

Without taking those jobs and being able to do the job in ANY circumstance odds are against becoming a full time performer.

Commitment to the process is important, not involvement. For example at breakfast this morning I had bacon and eggs. The chicken was involved. The pig was committed.

It also depends on what type of performance you want to do in the end. What are your long term goals? The answer to that question will greatly affect how you should go about things in the beginning.

First thing I would recommend though is learning how to run a small business BEFORE you try to jump in and run a small business.

The other thing I recommend is to adapt your lifestyle to the amount of money you make as a working performer. Cut down on spending until you spend only what you make from performance. Don't go the other way and try to make what you spend. That is bad business. Spend what you make. This is business 101. If you chase it the other way you spend forever chasing it.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Dannydoyle
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Keep in mind this is only an opinion.

Personally I think being a part time pro is the way to go.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
WitchDocChris
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Quote:
On Aug 10, 2018, Dannydoyle wrote:

Personally I think being a part time pro is the way to go.


I certainly agree with this. Which also ties into multiple streams of income.

Having spent significant portions of my life wondering how I will pay rent and eat in the same month, I am perhaps a bit more gun shy when it comes to throwing oneself into an uncertain financial future. I have also seen many people try to do this and fail, only to end up back at a day job that is worse than the one they were trying to escape. While it's certainly not as romantic to take the cautious route, and it can take much longer to get to the end goal, it is safer financially.

Personally I always assume anyone who is asking questions about becoming a professional performer probably hasn't gotten the education in regards to running the business side of it. If they had that education, they wouldn't need to ask the questions.

I also think those who have jumped in with both feet are (in significant part) responsible for the glut of terrible magic products on the market - they are "creating" and publishing tricks and products as a means to pay bills, not necessarily because the product is any good or that it solves any real need that the market has. If those same people had a solid day job perhaps they would not be so inclined to pump out products that add nothing of real value to the magic world.

Who knows? Maybe I'm just a grouch.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Oscar999
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Chalk up another vote for "part time pro."

I'm a marketing writer and it would be hard to generate that same income using magic only. (NOTE: Did not say impossible, just difficult)

I'd LOVE for that to happen, but it hasn't yet. Plus, I don't feel like starting over ...

Until then, magic will remain my "side-hustle."

Oscar
Bill Hegbli
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Oscar.Abraham,

The first thing you need to have, to get started as a pro is an act, and several sets of smooth running effects that create an enjoyable experience for the spectators.

Lets say you get a restaurant job table hopping demonstrating your skills. The manager comes up to you and say, we have booked the party room tonight, I would like you to give them your show, maybe a half hour of magic at the banquet table. Can you deliver to his request?
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Nov 28, 2018, Oscar999 wrote:
Chalk up another vote for "part time pro."

I'm a marketing writer and it would be hard to generate that same income using magic only. (NOTE: Did not say impossible, just difficult)

I'd LOVE for that to happen, but it hasn't yet. Plus, I don't feel like starting over ...

Until then, magic will remain my "side-hustle."

Oscar


Again you are working backwards and will never move forward. To replace that income should not be the goal. To survive with what can be made from performance should be the goal.

This is ok, most so it this way and in reality it is what I think is the smartest thing to do.

I have had no choice in being a performer. It is simply what drives me. There is no other way through life. If you do not have this mental deficiency then don't force it upon yourself.

I have been quite fortunate in what this has allowed me in life. But the starting point is never glamorous. It is a struggle for some time.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
aligator
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Part time pro is the way to go and as Bill says, you should have an act at the ready. I would recommend at least a 40 minute set and a couple of extras if needed.
Dynamike
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Rarely anyone will hire a non pro magician. So it is best to start off working for yourself. Busking as Seńor mentioned is a good way to start. Do not start off doing it for money tips. Start off borrowing spectator's time. It will help you fight the nervousness. It will help you build up your talent and skill. You can make your own hours on the sidewalk. Study your spectators reactions to tell if they are being entertained or not. Books are good to read. Dvds are good to watch. But the best training is "hands on training." If you want to decrease your nervousness, get out there and build your practice by being a volunteer. You can travel around performing for children from room to room in hospitals. Before you are great, you have to be good. Before you are good, you have to be bad. Before you are bad, you have to try.

I am just giving you my advise in general this moment. If I knew more about what your goals are I will give you specific advice. For example, I do not know if you want to be a child's magician or a family magician or an adult magician. I do not know if you want to be a stand up magician or a close up magician or a strolling magician. I do not know if you want to be a college magician or a gospel magician or a corporate magician.
Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Aug 10, 2018, WitchDocChris wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 10, 2018, Dannydoyle wrote:

Personally I think being a part time pro is the way to go.


I certainly agree with this. Which also ties into multiple streams of income.

Having spent significant portions of my life wondering how I will pay rent and eat in the same month, I am perhaps a bit more gun shy when it comes to throwing oneself into an uncertain financial future. I have also seen many people try to do this and fail, only to end up back at a day job that is worse than the one they were trying to escape. While it's certainly not as romantic to take the cautious route, and it can take much longer to get to the end goal, it is safer financially.

Personally I always assume anyone who is asking questions about becoming a professional performer probably hasn't gotten the education in regards to running the business side of it. If they had that education, they wouldn't need to ask the questions.

I also think those who have jumped in with both feet are (in significant part) responsible for the glut of terrible magic products on the market - they are "creating" and publishing tricks and products as a means to pay bills, not necessarily because the product is any good or that it solves any real need that the market has. If those same people had a solid day job perhaps they would not be so inclined to pump out products that add nothing of real value to the magic world.

Who knows? Maybe I'm just a grouch.


Heqq no! Youse aint no grouch!!! You and Mindpro, and, a couple others, here, are the voices of common sense, when it comes to responding to the OP's question.

I started making $$$, performing when I was 14, in 1945. I was fortunate to meet a few full timers, who took an interest in me. They didn't tell me to go out on the street and, impose on people with "Wanna see a trick?" They encouraged me to learn from Tarbell, Fitzkee, et al, plan and develop a show that people would pay money to see. I did. I made one mistake! I tried as a teen to be "swayve & deboner"! (I wasn't.) I was doing a "look how clever I am act", but, I was the only "act in town"!

In the Navy at 19, an agent told me that if I could make 'em laugh, he would get me work. I did, and, he did. I sold the white tie and tails, bought a tux, and had four years to develop as a part timer. I was making $$$! For 3 1/2 years, I never cashed a Navy pay check! That money went home to the bank. I lived on the show money. I bought a late model used car, rented a place in town, and, the agent kept me booked.

when I was a civilian again, I went to college, and, then worked for the Boy Scouts of America, to get more business experience. I continued booking shows in my spare time. THEN, I auditioned for a school assembly bureau. Those years of part time experience paid off! I "done good". I was never at liberty for fifty years. Managers called ME to find out if I had open time.

That area of the business has drastically changed, now, but, it gave me a lifetime of doing what I wanted to do! I'm retired, and, no longer perform (health reasons) but, I had a great life.

Please, keep writing!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Shadow Art
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Andi Gladwin have a nice book "How to become a full time pro"
WitchDocChris
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Quote:
There is no other way through life. If you do not have this mental deficiency then don't force it upon yourself.


Makes me think of a quote, but I have no clue who said it. "If you can imagine being happy doing anything other than performing, do that instead."
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
SilasJude
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I can only speak on my own experience, but this was my first full year as a part-time pro.

The best advice I've received was from both Penn and Luke Jermay. First begin with performing anywhere you can. I did dozens of open mic events, a year of table hopping at a local restaurant, renting a stage and 4-walling for myself, partnering with small businesses to perform for their clientele, convincing a local theater to host my show, performing for a couple bucks at local lawn fetes and fairs.

Work begets work. Hand out your business cards. Be personable, be kind, be warm and inviting. Make friends with people in high places. Network, network, network.

You need to become a salesman and YOU are the product you are selling. Cold call small businesses, libraries, event organizers, schools, churches, boy scout groups.

Finally, make good on the promises you've made and put on a killer show. Make people want to come back. Make people want more.
Mindpro
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Great hearing from you SilasJude. For a beginner, you offer some great advice. You have to understand the process for a beginner.
Yes, first is having a show you are comfortable with and that is well-rehearsed. No one expects you to be a polished pro, but it at least has to be good and performance-ready. Even if it is only one or two effects that you take into an Open Mic Night or New Talent Night. You need to get stage time in front of a real audience (not just family and friends). I outline exactly how to do this and where to do this in my books "Getting Initial Performing Experience & Stage Time" and "Top 15 Tips For Successful Open Mic Performances." These have helped many get the initial stage time they need to gain initial experience.

You are not just using these initial performances to perform your material, but as SilasJude mentions above to also learn the operational and business side of performing.

The misconception is "well I'm just doing this part-time or occasionally, so that isn't important or necessary for me." This is incorrect thinking from the beginning. Anytime you perform for public audiences or in a venue of any type it becomes more than just about you. These are many other things that you must realize and focus on including the performance dynamics, the management of the venue, any client that has hired/booked you (even if for free), the audience the staff and so on. It is no longer just about you. All this is covered in my books as it has been helpful to many newbies and beginners, but most of all it sets you on the right and proper path from the beginning while helping you to side step and prevent problems that you aren't even realizing you would likely incur. While it doesn't eliminate them it identifies them, and prepares you for them and exactly how to deal with these when encounterd. You must know and face these things as they too are part of the process for beginning performers.

Yes, you need to capitalize and make the most of the opportunities as stage time and work will lead to more stage time and work.

In the books, I even offer a way for beginners to make money for themselves while getting this initial stage time. Many have also had success with this as well.

There is so much more that can and likely will be said here I applaud the original poster here for addressing this, asking for help and insight and sharing his journey with us (as SilasJude has in another forum).

My best advice is to learn and work on BOTH the performance and the business side of poerformaing at the same time, from the very beginning. I can not tell you how many I coach, consult and mentor, that spend all their time only on their performance only to have to then go back and start from the very beginning to learn the busienss side to profit and monetize their performance.
Dick Oslund
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YUP!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
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