'I would like to start entering magic competitions but don't know where to start. Will it help me become a magician? What's the best magic competition to win?' – David K
Magicians all over the world are taking part in magic competitions, both at their local magic clubs and also in national and international convention events. Just like any talent competition, contestants perform for a group of judges who decide the winners. The most popular magic competitions cover close up magic, childrens magic, and stage performance.
Where magic competitions take place.
Magic competitions tend to take place on a stage. Even close up magic competitions will be structured with an audience comprising mainly of fellow magicians and their partners. If you take part in a close up magic competition, it's important to note that the environment you will be competing in can be very different from that of a normal working area. You will need to invite spectators up to join you on stage to perform for them, or assume that the whole audience are your spectators. This can impact the types of magic you should choose to showcase and your presentation.
Winning a magic competition.
Judges watch each act and give points based on a wide range of criteria. Sleight of hand ability, presentation, stage craft, originality etc etc. Magic competitions have set time limits. Your act should be specifically rehearsed so that it fits in the time permitted. Ending too soon or running over time can work against your score.
Once all the competitors have performed,the juges meet and decide the winners.
Why it's good to win magic competitions.
If you win a magic competition it's great for your marketing. You hold the title as the winner until the next competition takes place. You can advertise your win, and feature it in your promotional material. Winning magic competitions will also bring you into the spotlight within the magic community and can help you gain respect amongst fellow magicians, and be a gateway to lecturing on magic, or releasing magic products.
How to start taking part in magic competitions.
The best place to start is your local magic club. If you are not already a member JOIN NOW. Local competitions are small and tend to have the same magicians entering each year. New talent is always welcome and it's a great way to learn about what does and doesn't work in magic competitions. As you gain experience, you can look to enter national competitions and expand your title collection.
The best magic competitions.
There are many competitions run by magic clubs and societies across the country. Some of the highest profile competitions run by:
The Magic Circle close up competition takes place each year. They also run a stage magic competition every other year. This is a very prestigious competition to win and the results are noticed by the whole magic community.
The Blackpool Magic Convention runs both stage and close up competitions. These competitions attract the largest crowds as they take place at the worlds largest magic convention.
The most respected magic competiton in the world takes place at FISM. Winning FISM lifts you into the world class catagory of competition winners.
The IBM run a competition in the UK which is quite popular. Smaller than the competitions above, yet highly respected.
Should magicians compete in magic competitions?
Winning magic competitions has little to do with entertaining the public. The audience and judges are comprised of magicians that are reviewing the magic from a technical standpoint, whilst trying to view the magic in the eyes of the general public. That's no easy task, and some magicians that do well in competitions may not do so well performing magic to the public.
Winning competition titles can be good marketing and publicity. Being recognised for your abilities is highly rewarding, but it is not a full schooling in performing magic for the public. Some magicians can be very good at winning competitions yet fail to entertain audiences outside of magic. Magic competitions are run by magicians for magicians, so it's important that you don't focus all your time and attention in this direction.
Sometimes, results could be based more on club politics than ability. A competitor may be prefered simply because it is 'their turn to win', so don't be too disappointed if you enter a competition as an unknown and don't get a winning place right away.
Magic Conpetitions are fun and rewarding, but not a place to judge if your magic is suitable for paid performance. Unlike competition judges, audiences don't care about the method or seeing a new variation on an old technique. For the public, it's about how much they enjoyed the performance.