Have you heard of Dee Christopher? He’s not been on TV yet, so he is isn’t in the mainstream public’s eye, but amongst magicians, his work is becoming very well established and respected. If you haven’t already experienced Dee Christophers work, check out his site here.
I want to look at a few important things we can learn from his approach to magic.
Knowing your own style.
Did you check out his website? If you did, chances are you understood the style of his magic within just a few seconds of looking at the first page of his website. Why is that? Because Dee has decided not to be a generic close-up magician. He has a persona and has created a character around the attributes associated with that persona.
Do a quick Google search for magicians in your area. Browse the sites and look at the themes and styles of the performers. 99% of them are all the same and interchangeable (I know, because I’m one of them myself) Now contrast that, to Dee’s site and the image he portrays.
A big fish in a small pond.
We are often taught that it’s better to be a small fish in a big pond, than a big fish in a small pond. That may be true in life, to give you room to grow and experience new things, but it’s not always the case when it comes to being a performer.
Now, you might love the image and style Dee presents, or it may leave you cold, but chances are, you DO have an opinion on it either way. It produces a series of preconceptions about both Dee Christopher and the mind magic tricks he would show you. Most other magicians tend to look generic, and their style gives the public very little clues as to what they will perform or if they will fit into the event a client is looking for. Because of this, they appeal to the middle ground. That’s the most competitive, crowded place to stand out in.
Dee Christopher has a niche. His appearance and magic makes him highly targeted to exactly the customers that are most likely to be the right fit for HIM. By doing this, be makes himself a big fish in a small pond. That’s a good place to be if you have a product to sell in the pond.
You don’t need to be a generic magician.
Have you ever watched a magic show where the magician is wearing a dinner suit and just looks all wrong? Maybe you have seen a young magician trying to perform a routine designed for an older magician and watched as the gags and references fall flat? That’s because beginners often feel they have to fit into a predetermined mold of what a magician SHOULD look and act like. That’s a big mistake. There really are no ‘ideal magician’ only entertainers who entertain people, and more importantly, entertainers who entertain groups of people that they fit in with and understand.
The famous magicians during the early 1900’s didn’t wear those suits because that’s what magicians traditionally wore. Previous to that, magicians tended to wear much more elaborate costumes. They dressed and acted as they did because they were copying the upper class theater audiences that would see them.
The lesson we can learn here is that your style must be your own. It doesn’t matter if it’s not the mainstream. If you have an authentic, original style, you will reach an authentic and enthusiastic market for your act. Staying away from the middle ground can really pay off, as you stand out from the crowd.
Dee Christopher is ‘Knowable’.
I talk to Dee quite often and catch up with what he is up to, and the shop often gives tips about that’s in the pipeline and what we think he would like. It’s very easy for us to do this because he has an authentic and consistent style, not only in his character, but also with the magic tricks he performs.
Fan’s of Dee Christopher can look at a new trick and instantly think ‘That would suit Dee’. Just like it’s possible to hear a song and know that it would suit a particular singer. It works in reverse too. A great trick may come along and even though it would play really well with his audience, Dee won’t perform it. He can’t, because it would not be a ‘fit’.
The magic Dee Christopher performs tends to be mentalism and psychokinetic demonstrations. His metal bending skills are world renowned, catching the attention of some of the biggest names in that field, including Uri Geller who personally endorsed him. Again, this is another niche that allows Dee to stand out from the crowd.
1) Think about the magic you are currently performing. Does it have any consistent elements running through it, or is it a collection or random tricks that have impressed you enough to master?
2) If you do have a tendency towards a particular style of magic, could you work on building that into a full themed act and develop a persona that complements both the magic and your own style?
3) What could you change to make your act more memorable and targeted to a specific target group?