How to Practice Magic Tricks – Part 1: Creating a Practice Program
In this short video, Dominic Reyes talks about the technique used in Merchant of Magic Personal Training Sessions, to help magicians develop a structured practice program. The video expaines how to practice magic tricks in a practical and focused way.
Magicians will find this useful if they:
Feel they put in a lot of effort and time to practicing tricks, but don't feel they make much progress.
Have limited time available for regular magic practice.
Find that they jump from trick to trick without mastering any of them.
Lose interest over time and find it hard to me motivated.
Want a method to assess their progress and know when they are ready to perform a trick.
Aim to build up a working set of material to perform as an act.
How do you currently approach your magic practice? How often to you work on your technique, and how do you judge when you are ready to perform? If you have any tips that you would like to share with other magicians, please leave a comment in the comments section below:
Where's the best place to store your magician's case?
Michael asks: 'Where do you store your equipment when you are doing walk-around magic? Should I keep everything with me, or have an area that I use as a base?'
It would be lovely if magicians only performed material that allows them to carry everything they need with them at a magic gig. Working without a bag or case is a great position to be in, as it allows you to just turn up and start performing. However, in reality, that's just too limiting. Unless you are performing only mentalism or card magic, chances are you will need to take a wide range of items with you to most gigs. Take a look at this post about essential items to keep in your magicians case.
Here's a short video I recorded at a recent gig that talks about something I highly recommend you start doing when you take magic bookings:
Ask for a private room
Whenever possible, either myself or my agent will ask the client for a private room or area to be put aside for me to set up. It's worth taking a moment to ask for this, as it's often easily provided. Most venues do have small side rooms that could be put aside for the magician, or they will be happy to set aside a screened off area for your use. Don't assume that this will be an issue, as almost all venues are used to this request. You may also find that either the venue or the client will provide some refreshments in that area for you. There is never any harm in asking…
Finding your own place to store your magicians case
Most of the time, you will need to turn up at a gig, have a look around, and choose a place that will be best to store your magician's case. You need to pick an area with the following 2 features:
1) Easy access
You will need to return to your magician's case several times through the event, so it's important to make sure you will be able to gain access easily when required. At the same time you need to find an area where the case won't be in the way. It's a balancing act between accessibility and consideration for the guests and event staff.
A lot of magicians have had their magician's case stolen over the years. That's really not a nice feeling! Pick somewhere that is quite hidden, so your case it not in view to people passing by. Keep items like your wallet or car keys with you if possible.
Put your business card on your magicians case.
Leave one of your business cards on the case when you are away from it. If a staff member or security find the case when you are away, they will know who it belongs too and why it's there. Your business card as a 'marker' will also stop them moving the case to reception or a cloakroom.
There's a skill that magicians should master that can be more important than their magic tricks.
As magicians, we all want to find the perfect magic tricks that will impress our spectators, but is that all there is to it? Does our success as a performer depend on the magic tricks we perform?
Dominic Reyes took a bit of time out at a gig, to record this video on the subject:
Why people book YOU as their magician
People tend to book magicians from two main sources:
1) They have found out about you from advertising.
2) They have heard about you from other people.
The first source depends on your marketing skills and the amount of effort/money you are prepared to invest in promotion. It has very little to do with your skills as a magician or the quality of the services you will actually offer. Anyone can pitch themselves as a brilliant entertainer and 'sell their services'. The second source (what people think about you) is far more important for your long term career in magic, because it brings in many times more work. If you give great service and people spread the word about you, you get new gigs through their advertising, but you also get REPEAT BOOKINGS.
You can't advertise your way out of bad past experiences.
It doesn't matter how great your website is, or how big your advertising spend can be, if you didn't impress a client when they hired you, they won't book you again. If you didn't stand out amongst the other entertainers, they have used in the past, you won't be their instant choice of the magician to hire.
Average doesn't cut it
So how do you make sure you stand out in the minds of your clients? I'll let you into a secret:
IT'S NOT THE MAGIC TRICKS YOU PERFORM
Most working magicians tend to do very similar tricks. They all have their own presentations and styles, but on the whole there is often little to tell one magician from another with the average material being performed nightly by close up workers. Tricks come into fashion and become the 'latest craze'. Classic magic tricks continue to be used because they are, well, classics. So what's the difference that sets one magician apart from the others and makes some a success, whilst others continue to plod along? I think the secret extra 'something' is this:
HOW THE MAGICIAN MAKES PEOPLE FEEL
It's not the magic tricks that take a magician above the average, it's the performer's personality. It's how they talk to the spectators, how they communicate. Most importantly, it's about making spectators feel good about themselves and performer. When a skilled magician leaves the event, the people are sad to see him or her leave. They then look forward to seeing the magician again, because they felt good when he or she was there.
Learning to make people like you
Some people are naturally great at talking to people, whilst others find it a challenge or even a complete mystery. Are you a likeable, social person? You need to ask yourself that, even if it's uncomfortable to do so. If you think you are not very good at this sort of thing, not all is lost. It's a skill that some people have, naturally, but it's also a skill that can be learned over time.
The first step is to stop and actually look at how you come across. Should you spend a little less time learning moves and magic tricks, and instead work on your character and conversation skills?
If you want to develop in this area, invest in a few good books on communication. There's loads of them out there, mainly aimed at sales and business.
Download your free magic trick FINK courtesy of Ben Harris. Fink is an interesting effect: a crazy concoction of Luke Dancy's GRAB, Ben Harris's Through the universe backwards, and Fandango. Created by Kyle MacNeill