• Why did I want to learn to be a magician? Pt 8 – Self employment and Mentors

  • November 04, 2019

  • Despite being suspended from the magic circle, I was able to still perform at any event that would have me. Before my membership returned, I resigned from my lofty position in the corporate office job to pursue magic full time.

    The next couple of months involved me partying a lot. Instead of focusing on my career, I just partied till all hours and became relatively self-destructive. That was a bit of a bleak period, which I’m not going to delve into, except to say that I was potentially abusing magic to get what I wanted from people, in the form of party favours and attention. These were not my proudest days as a performer.

    Before long, I realised that I had no structure and needed to get my sh*t together. So, I did what all respectful aspiring performers do and got a bartending job. It was a lovely pub to work at, which would be my new time filling distraction for almost a year. Combine that with a costly day trading scam that I got sucked into, which did nothing but bleed me of all my savings, which was another good reason to get a job in the pub.

    As with the last time I had worked in the service industry, I was reminded why I wanted to get back to magic. Magic performing became a side hustle as I supported myself through bar work. I climbed up the workforce political ladder to “supervisor”, which came with a mediocre pay rise, but none of the responsibility of a manager or assistant manager. I turned down the AGM role, because as someone famous once said, the Prince gets all of the trappings, with none of the hard work of the King.

    I was able to grow my magic skills and the business side of my being a magician, all while working at the pub and began to re-enter the magic community. I began to grow my network and made some new friends in the world of magic. In the drive to expand my network, I met two very talented magicians who unofficially took me under their wing to mentor, and I couldn’t be more grateful. That’s why I won’t mention their names, as I know they prefer to keep a low profile, probably in terms of not wanting to be hounded by new mentees and also because they aren’t doing it out of any desire to self promote.

    I cannot recommend highly enough the fantastic benefit a mentor will provide to you. Not just in magic either. If you are looking to improve any aspect of your life, find someone who is where you want to be, and start emulating them. I wouldn’t recommend copying them exactly, but they will no doubt have some incredibly useful information and tips that you should definitely at least try out.

    With their guidance, my confidence as a performer began to return, and I was able to pour my attention into the areas of my performance and business that mattered. With a bit of help and education, I began to learn new effects that would turn out to make all the difference to my audiences. The most shocking realisation was that the main reason for some of my performances being weaker than others came down to the routines and the types of magic effects I was performing.

    I wrote down the entirety of my standard performance and saw that of the twenty or so effects I would perform; only around five didn’t involve a deck of cards. Now, there is nothing wrong with doing an entire performance with cards; they are a fantastic tool for magic. The problem is the connotation and the predictability your audience will lay at your feet as soon as they see them.

    A deck of cards are a cliché in magic. There is no way around this, but that should not stop you from using them in magic. I still use them in my magic, but now I do more effects that use objects my audience have on them; coins, notes, cigarettes, drinks if the setting is suitable and also some mentalism to mix it up.

    That sort of tip was something no audience member would ever be able to provide.

    With the pub now far behind me in my rear-view mirror, (a strange analogy when you consider I don’t yet have a driving license) and some phenomenally helpful advisors, my magic was able to take me to a place where I was performing full time.

    So it took me a while and a somewhat circuitous path to get here, but that is more or less how I ended up a full-time magician performing in London!

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