How do we learn magic tricks that have a context and meaning that relates to us as individual magicians?
Ask yourself: what do you love to do? Not just in the sense of magic, but in general. What are your hobbies? What gets you excited and motivated?
We asked master magician Garrett Thomas to take a few moments to give you some advice on this subject:
It’s common advice to build your character and persona around your own personality, rather than being a clone of other magicians. However, to do this you need to understand exactly who you are. The old saying goes: ‘You are what you do’.
What else do YOU do?
Draw inspiration when you learn magic tricks, from your passions. If, like Garrett Thomas, you enjoy puzzles, how could you build that into the exaggerated version of yourself that you present as your magic persona?
Ok, I know, your first love is magic.. But what else do you love? The best magic you create in your life will be inspired by what you pull out of yourself, your own interests and personality. Perhaps you love gambling? If you have a passion for that, outside of magic, then it would be a good fit, for you to learn magic tricks that fit that theme.
Maybe you love reading books on a specific theme? Could you choose magic tricks to create an ‘act’ that reflects and communicate that passion?
Paint by Numbers.
Garrett Thomas suggests that you should look at the magic tricks created by other magicians as a form of ‘paint by numbers’. As we search a magic shop for new magic tricks to learn, it’s easy to forget that we are looking at the collective work of thousands of different magicians. Each of the magic tricks is offered OUT OF CONTEXT from the magicians complete act.
Looking at magic tricks in isolation from their context, does not give us a common theme for the tricks to be presented. The result: We tend to pick magic tricks simply because each magic trick fools us, and we feel we could also use them. We don’t consider if they fit our own consistent theme or personality. It’s very important to think about how any new magic tricks will fit in with the tricks that will also be presented in the set or act you perform. When fitted together will they present a common message about you as a performer, or just be a random series of ‘cool’ magic tricks any magician could do.
The way to stop being interchangeable.
Most magicians are interchangeable. It’s a sad fact that magic entertainment agencies will hire out magicians as an ‘out the box’ product.
‘You need some table magicians? No problem! I can supply 3 table magicians for the event, and you get a discount!’
That’s not how YOU want to be sold to a client. You want to be hand picked and a feature of the event. Generic magic tricks make generic magicians. The way to prevent being generic is to have a unique feature. The best unique feature is your personality, communicated to the audience through the act and the magic tricks that form it. THAT is the reason why you should think about context when you choose to learn new magic tricks.
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