Does the world really need another magician going out and performing close up magic? That’s a common topic of conversation between working magicians. Close Up Magic has never been more popular, both as a performing art and as a private hobby. Should we be worried about a diluted market for live magic?
Does the world need another book or painting?
There are millions of books and paintings in the world. Far more than any person could hope to encounter or even archive. That doesn’t reduce their worth or value. In the same way, the popularity of magic and it’s availability isn’t reduced by its rarity. Being entertained is an insatiable desire. People don’t care how common place a form of entertainment is, only that it IS entertaining. If rarity had anything to do with is, then nobody would be interested in watching movies or listening to music. The value of any entertainment is in its quality. You could say, ‘Does the world need another bad magician?’ Then the answer would be yes, but quality is always in demand.
When you buy a new car, you will start seeing that same make and model everywhere.
It’s a psychological effect called Perceptual Vigilance and has been demonstrated in many studies. Psychologists are interested in this because it’s evidence that we process visual information about our surroundings at an unconscious level, BEFORE we become aware of doing do. There is so much data in the world. Our minds fade out information that is common place or not relevant to us, and instead, draws attention and focus to information that is useful or relevant.
Chances are you are just like me and are totally obsessed with magic. It’s become your passion and you work at improving your skills at every chance possible. You seek out friends who also love magic. You read books on the subject, watch magic DVD’s and practice your close up magic tricks like crazy. Because of this, you will have perceptual vigilance about magic. You probably will be the first to notice magic sets on sale as you walk around a superstore. Dlites for sale in Toys are Us, and that many family restaurants have a ‘magic night’. You will spot magic shows being advertised on TV far more often that non magicians. Because of this ‘tuned in to magic’ view of the world, it’s easy to assume magicians are everywhere and common place. The truth is that most people are as blind to magicians being all around then as they are to everything else.
If you want proof of this, read some books on ventriloquism, watch some shows and read some blogs on the subject for a week or so. You will start noticing how much more popular it has ‘suddenly’ become.
The life cycle of magicians on Youtube
Try typing in ‘how to do magic tricks’ in Youtube, it my depress you. You will find countless children performing close up magic tricks in their bedrooms with varying degrees of success. It’s easy to conclude that ‘the games had it’. However, that’s not the case. Ever since, the first magic sets were sold to kids, they have been playing with them in their bedroom. The only different is that they film their play, and put it on Youtube for their friends to watch. Nothing has changed, only our ability to watch kids at play.
The life cycle of a beginner in magic is, on average, 6 months. After half a year, most people with a casual interest in close up magic tricks move on to their next new hobby. If they continue past 6 months, there is a second drop off point after 2 years. Every day, hundreds of people discover magic, and hundreds forget about it. It’s a constant renewing cycle, and on the whole is a good thing. Out of this ‘churn’ rises a handful of magicians that continue to develop and become excellent. It’s just like panning for gold. The more full pans of sand, the more nuggets of gold get found. The sand will simply drop back into the river.
When you see kids or amateur magicians performing close up magic tricks, smile to yourself. It shows that magic is alive and has a future.