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Reviewer EndersGame
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Profile of EndersGame
I came across this while reading The Royal Road to Card Magic recently:

"A routine of card tricks which may serve one person admirably may not be nearly so effective in the hands of another, for the personality of a performer has much to do with the entertainment value which is got from the routine."

To what extent is this true? Does this mean some people are never going to be cut out for performing magic, no matter how much technique and patter they learn? It reminds me of something Michael Close is reported to have said: "If you're not very interesting to talk to without doing magic tricks, you're not going to be very interesting when you do magic tricks." That makes a lot of sense to me. There are magic skills you can learn, but there's also an element that you either have or you don't: your personality.

There are magicians like Bill Malone and Harry Lorayne, who are perfect illustrations of this point because of their larger-than-life personas. Juan Tamariz is another good example, because a trick that works for him (e.g. Neither Blind Nor Stupid) won't necessarily work for someone else.

How important is personality for magic?
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Verona, Italy
54 Posts

Profile of Rebis
I think it's very important, although it's trickier than it seems.

I'm taking "personality" with a very broad meaning here.

Your personality is not the only factor to be considered: how does your personality fit the context?
Sometimes you can influence the surrounding environment with your personality (for instance being "outgoing" -i don't know any other word to express this- in a formal event, that may work very well); other times your personality will simply clash with the context.
Sometimes you have to adapt your personality in order to...survive.

We should set aside "famous" people: when you are the star, the audience is going to adapt -to some extent- to your personality, they're craving for your personality, for something new by your personality, so no trouble there.
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old things in new ways - new things in old ways
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Profile of funsway
I would like to think that they mean having your personality be congruent with your presentation rather than something you can change daily like a dirty shirt.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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Pittsburgh, Pa
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Profile of davidpaul$
Speaking for myself and the restaurant venue, my personality had to be engaging and respectful.
Is my presence at their table worthy of their time. Will they have fun and leave them with wanting more?
Will they come back as opposed to going to another restaurant?

David Blaine captured a TV audience with his specials, and to those who have seen him, would say that he had a pretty dry personality.

IF you love magic and want to share that, just be YOU and your personality will develop.
Guilt will betray you before technique betrays you!
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Profile of DragonLore
On Mar 24, 2022, EndersGame asked:
How important is personality for magic?

My biased view comes from currently reading “Scripting Magic” on the heels of finishing “Strong Magic”.

I think personality will dictate what characters are a more natural fit for someone. And one’s character will (or at least ought to IMO) dictate both the style and presentation of the effect.

I agree that certain tricks will be a better match for character A than for character B. Indeed some effects may be so incongruent with one’s character that they are practically unfit to perform.

Juan Tamariz’ playful presentation of Neither Blind Nor Stupid works great for his character but, indeed, wouldn’t be appropriate for e.g. mine—maybe even most. However, Roberto Giobbi presents a more subdued presentation in Card College Light that IMO suits a broader spectrum of performers.
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Michigan, USA
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Profile of TomB
There is a reason why the best magicians recommend reading books on showmanship.

In the end, a convertible car is not going to make you cool. A new tattoo is not going to make girls like you. And neither will a new magic trick.

The real secret is you need to sell yourself. They need to remember YOU.

So you learned to read minds, now what? What do you do when you read the persons mind. Do you just blurt it out and attempt to impress them. Or do you stare into there eyes and flirt with their other inner thoughts.

Slydini was one of the best masters of sleight of hand. But his showmanship was horrible.

Look to see your favorite magicians. I bet some of them are not very technical. They might not even be able to perform a double lift. The magic skills are simple. But you like them. You remember their name. Why?

Is a new joke going to turn you into a comedian? Is the same joke funnier coming from someone you think is funny?

Can you be taught to be funny? Are you born a leader?

For some it be be natural and easier to pick up. Others will need to work harder.

I don't think Jerry Seinfeld is naturally funny comedian. I think he worked really hard.

With all things you need to look at your SWOT, strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats. Decide where you want to focus. Then practice it and get feedback. Perfect practice makes perfection.

Different people will have different ceilings. The ceilings can be influenced by the environment or other factors outside your control.

What is your goal in magic? Are you a doctor who wants to put a smile on a kids face with a little magic? Do you want your own show on the vegas strip?
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Profile of Nikodemus
The quote from RRTCM can be interpreted in different ways -

1. Some people have "more personality" than others. If you are a boring person, magic tricks won't make you interesting.
This seems to be Michael Ammar's interpretation. And possibly EndersGame's?
There is certainly some truth in this - but maybe it is too simplistic. I think you can be a quieter person, and still be entertaining.

2. Certain specific tricks may suit one person (personality) but other tricks may suit someone else. This interpretation is about people being different rather than some being "better" than others.
I like this because it means we don't all need to try to be like Malone/Lorayne/Williamson or whoever. I guess it's true, unfortunately, that some people could butcher the best of tricks; but I like the idea that we can all develop a repertoire that suits us (but still work on our presentation!)
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So.California / Centl.Florida / retired Florida
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Profile of Russo
I bought a book "Forging Ahead in Magic" by 'John Booth', printed 1939 (I was 1 year old <> LOL.) Bought it when I was 16, at Bert Wheelers Magic Shop, in Hollywood, Calif. A good chapter on Personality and MANY others wonderful ideas, building a show - etc. Hope you can find a copy - I'm keeping mine - even at 85 (in June) ha ha ha ha <> If you live near central Florida, WDW area -Visit and I'll, lend it with an $100. deposit LOL
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Arizona, usa
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Profile of Fedora
"Forging ahead in magic" Is indeed rare, and also a bit valuable, prices seem
to hover around $100 or so.

but, if anyone is just interested in the text, it's available digitaly on lybrary,
Levi Bennett
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Profile of Levi Bennett
Great discussion question. Here's my 2 cents.
I think perceived personality is really important. You could be a jerk in your daily life, and by some accounts some very successful magicians are, or were, but as a magician you're playing a role so whatever character you're presenting to your audience, whether it's a created persona or some version of "you", has to be likeable to the people you perform for.
You could be naturally reserved, quiet, shy, outspoken, weird, quirky, serious, intellectual, etc., but is your personality as perceived by the general audience likeable?
Honesty plays a big part for most of us I imagine. Do you truly like people and want them to be entertained? That should go a long way if you have the skills required to do the tricks well. It will also shine through to a large degree no matter what personality type you convey.
Conversely, there are many very successful psychopaths in this world because they know how to play people. They know how to make people perceive them in the best light and they use it to their advantage so people also receive them well.
There are so many different personas and people that are successful in the magic world I think the only way your "personality" will be a hindrance is if you're someone who genuinely treats people badly. And if done right, to comedic effect, that can even work.
Or possibly you are someone who is so socially inept that connecting with people just isn't possible.
But, there are many different personalities that are outside the social norm, you wouldn't think they would be generally accepted, but they still work because of their likeability.
Teller is mute, but he is very likeable through his facial expressions and behaviors.
Dan Sperry is spooky, but he still presents a likeable spooky character.
Bill Malone gets away with verbal murder, but his schtick is so over the top that people know it's all a gag. He's like the Don Rickles of magic lol
David Blaine is... David Blaine
Shin Lim is another performer that can be silent and win over a theater. But I mean... he's also amazing.
So yes, personality is important I believe, in the sense of having a likeable one, no matter what flavor it comes in.
Performing magic unprofessionally since 2008!
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