LEARN AT AN EXPERT LEVEL
I really wish I had this article when I left medical school over 20 years ago to become a full time magician. You will learn how I went from complete beginner to where I am now, a professional magician who gets paid tons of money to perform magic tricks. Here is how to become a magician:
- LEARN TRICKS
- PROMOTE YOURSELF
- GET OUT THERE
- BECOME A MASTER MAGICIAN
- OPERATE AND GROW YOUR BUSINESS
- KEEP PRACTICING
I did not get to where I am through Instagram or YouTube fame, from America’s Got Talent, or by any lucky break. I started at the bottom and did it the old fashioned way- hard work. I put myself out there, took chances, tried my best, made mistakes and learned, slowly grew, and got better and better. Here you will learn exactly how to become a magician.
Learning Tricks & Practicing
The most important thing if you want to become a magician is being able to perform AMAZING MAGIC TRICKS. Your magic has to speak for itself. An amazing magic trick is one that blows minds and gets great reactions from spectators. The tricks you perform have to be cool, practical, and fool people badly, every time. You need to know a lot of tricks, all types, not just card tricks, and be confident performing them. For me magic tricks:
- Have to use ordinary objects.
- Have to fool everyone.
- Have to be practical for me to actually perform.
- Have to have pretty good angles just in case I am surrounded.
- Have to work every time.
- Have to be quick.
I must feel comfortable performing a trick. This takes time. Learning tricks and practicing is at the base of the pyramid. It is the structure, the foundation that everything is built upon. You should be learning new tricks and practicing constantly. I really enjoy working on magic and practicing. I have a process I follow when adding in a new trick and will go through it in detail below. Keep reading!
When should you practice? ALL THE TIME! Practice makes…progress! Never perfect, that is too much pressure. You will improve if you practice, plain and simple. I am always working on something. You need to be strict about the tricks you work on. I have spent so much time practicing the wrong tricks over the past 20+ years. Here is what I recommend you practice so you don’t waste time.
Start with the basics. As a beginner you want to learn magic tricks that are easy to do so you can get comfortable performing and get positive reactions. There is a ton of incredible, practical, and easy to do magic on this website. It is all free. Check out- Magic Tricks for Adults- What Really Works. Every trick there is amazing and super easy. Also check out Where Do Magicians Learn Their Tricks (A Complete Guide).
I believe that you can measure a magician based on how good he is with a deck of cards. Invest your time into practicing card magic, it will serve you well. You should always have a deck on you, it is easy to carry. There is always time to practice. I can’t remember the last movie I watched without a deck of cards in my hands. For some easy and amazing card tricks check out How to Do Amazing Card Tricks That Are Easy.
Check out this Free Video and learn my favorite 4 Ace Trick which I perform all the time at my professional events.
Make sure you will actually perform the trick. This is a big consideration for me. After you choose a trick that you can see yourself performing, you need to work on it. I recommend reading it through, learning the trick, gathering the props, and sitting down at your computer. With props in hand write out step by step instructions of exactly what you will do when you perform the trick. This will really make you think about and understand the trick.
Make sure your choreography flows and everything you do is motivated. Don’t worry about what you will say, work on the steps of the routine. You need to know what you will be doing next so there is no fumbling. After writing up your routine practice the moves and techniques until you can do the trick flawlessly. When you feel comfortable go perform it for friends and family.
Some tricks don’t require much practice and you can perform them almost immediately. Check out Best Mind Blowing Magic Tricks for some amazing tricks you will immediately be able to perform. Other tricks will take hours, weeks, or even longer. The better you get, the better your tricks will get. Make sure you take each trick to performance level before learning another one. Slowly you’ll develop a nice repertoire of magic tricks.
No matter how long you work on a magic trick, if it isn’t getting good reactions or you don’t feel comfortable performing it, get rid of it. All failures are learning experiences and must be seen as motivation to work harder.
Learning and practicing magic is like fitness. It takes commitment, diligence, dedication, hard work, and a lot of energy. Great results come over time, not immediately. Practicing can be difficult. When you feel pain step out of your comfort zone. Push yourself, work hard even if you don’t want to. This will help your growth. Be results driven and know that perseverance and hard work leads to mastery and success.
Be honest with yourself. If you perform a trick and it doesn’t go well, sit down after and think about why. What can you change? What can you do differently? Should you get rid of the trick? When you start thinking about things like this, you are well on your way to becoming a great magician.
When working on a trick, perform it everywhere, every chance you get. Do your tricks for friends, family, at school, at work, wherever. Perform your tricks for the girl at Starbucks, the guy at the bank, for anyone who will watch. You need to get comfortable with your tricks and you need to get used to performing for people. Performing in the real world is different than performing for friends and family.
When performing be happy, be positive, be energetic. Enthusiasm is contagious. I genuinely enjoy performing and it shows. Make sure you smile, stand up straight, and speak loudly. Always carry mints and use them! Only carry tricks you feel comfortable performing, otherwise they are a waste of pocket space.
- Stand Up Straight
- Be Positive
- Speak Slowly
- Speak Loudly
- Make Eye Contact
- Stand Still
- Don’t Tell Long Stories
WHAT IF YOU FEEL NERVOUS
Feeling nervous is completely normal. You need to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone. Just do it! Force yourself to perform the trick. If you fail and it doesn’t go well, so what?? Be proud that you tried your best. Experience is the only way to get past this nervousness. You need to push yourself. Nothing good comes easy. Control your emotions or they will control you.
Over time you will get comfortable and confident in front of people. Believe in yourself, believe in your magic. Constantly work on your tricks to make them better. With success your nervousness will subside. Replace it with confidence. When performing magic tricks you are acting as a leader. You have to be sure of yourself and comfortable in your own skin.
Promoting yourself will only work if you have a great product. Your tricks have to be amazing and your performances have to be mind blowing. This is the most important thing. If you are not there yet, keep practicing and performing until you are ready. Let’s assume you are at that point, you are amazing audiences every time you perform.
I have a website, a YouTube channel, and an Instagram account. I recommend you have all 3. YouTube is the easiest and best place to showcase your talents. Here is a link for the best equipment to film yourself with. Prospective clients will want to see video of you. Having a YouTube channel with performance videos is the best place for this.
How and Where to Get Gigs
You will book events from people seeing you in action. Don’t waste much time emailing, messaging, or cold calling. Get out there! I used to perform in restaurants. This is a great way to be seen and to get work. Go to the hottest restaurants and do some tricks for the staff. Try to meet the management, do some tricks for them. Suggest performing for their guests. This is how you get a restaurant gig.
Always make sure you have some tricks on you. I never leave home without a deck of cards and a few other items. Be ready to perform at least 3-4 strong tricks at any given moment. Perform tricks everywhere you go, you never know who you will meet.
Seek out agents, party planners, and event coordinators. They put together events and usually hire magicians. You can also talk with florists, photographers, anyone who is hired for parties. Sometimes they recommend magicians. Make sure you don’t just contact these people, make sure you do some tricks for them. They need to be blown away if you want them to hire and recommend you.
Word of mouth is the key. If people like you and your magic they will want to hire you. They will tell their friends about you and this will lead to bookings. Promoting yourself is a snowball effect. Keep at it and slowly it will build. Once you get some momentum it gets easier and easier. The more you perform, the better you will get. The better you get the more people will want to hire you.
How Much Does a Magician Make
When you are starting out don’t worry about the money, you need the experience. I used to perform magic at restaurants and got paid $25 per hour. Then I got to a point where I worked at restaurants for free. It was such a valuable resource for booking parties and getting experience. I didn’t care about the money from the restaurant. Most restaurants will eventually not want to pay the magician anyway.
When people ask what you charge have a number in mind. Start out charging $100 per event. You can always increase your price. The busier you are, the more you can charge. Make yourself valuable and desirable and then raise your price. Professional magicians make anywhere from 30K per year to 500K per year. It all depends on how good you are and how you promote yourself. Here is a pricing guide-
|Strolling Magic (2- 3 hours)||$1,000|
How To Dress As a Magician
This is something many magicians get wrong. You do not need an image or a style to be a magician. Let your magic speak for itself. We see magicians with different images on tv. This is for television, not for you and me. We are performing in the real world. I generally wear a suit. If it is a summer event I wear dress pants and a button down shirt. I like to blend in. Here is what I recommend:
- Dress clean cut (jeans & sneakers are fine, as long as you are neat)
- Dress age appropriate
- Comb your hair
- Clean your nails and hands
- Carry breath mints and use them!
- DO NOT wear sunglasses (you need to make eye contact)
I am always polite. I say please and thank you constantly when I perform. I see so many magicians bossing around their spectators- “Give me your hand” or “Hold this card.” I don’t like to be commanded and neither do your spectators. Add please and thank you to your performances. I guarantee you will have more success.
How To Become a Master Magician
There is no formal school or training required to be a magician. You must do it on your own. For me the passion and desire to be the best drives me. The skills you need are:
Learning tricks, practicing, performing, and promoting yourself never ends. Becoming a master magician takes time. You should always be improving. Continuously work on your magic and grow as a performer. In Malcolm Gladwell’s famous book Tipping Point, he discusses 10,000 hours of practice. Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hour of practice to achieve mastery and become an expert at anything. I believe this to be true.
Consider what this means. You will have to practice 10 hours a day for the next 3 years to hit 10,000 hours. Get to work! In all seriousness you must put in the 10,000 hours of practice if you want to become a master magician. It is a marathon, not a race. Just consider- to be a doctor you have 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 4 years of residency, and then 2 years of fellowship. Why should being a magician be any different?
You must also work on yourself as a person and as a performer. I recommend listening to audiobooks so you can practice card tricks at the same time. As a start I highly recommend reading Dale Carnegie- How To Win Friends and Influence People. This book is exactly how you should treat others. Learn these principles and people will want you at their events.
I constantly go through my tricks and evaluate them. Be brutally honest with yourself. Focus on the tricks that work for you, weed out the ones that don’t. Constantly think how you can improve and make your magic better. Improve your skillset and step up the level of tricks you perform. Differentiate yourself by doing tricks nobody else does. Don’t be scared of advanced sleight of hand.
Operating & Growing Your Business
Yes you are doing magic tricks, yet you are also running a business. You need to keep yourself organized. I have an office in my apartment. I have an event info sheet I use when a client wants to book me. Everything I need is on there. I fill in the information and I am set. I recommend you do the same. Click here to download it for free.
I set up a custom database on my Mac. It is called Daylite. It is a contact manager, plus a calendar, plus a “to do” list. I am able to generate my contracts and invoices through this database. This makes everything very easy and I am able to present myself professionally. I live by my calendar, this I highly recommend.
I usually get a 50% deposit upfront when someone books me. This is good for both sides. You can count on them and they can count on you. I send a simple contract which just states the date, time, and important information about the event. The client signs the contract and mails it back with a deposit.
The most important thing is to do a great job. This is how you will grow your business. Make yourself easy to work with, arrive early, be polite, be positive, and amaze everyone. As you get busier and in more demand you can raise your price. Personally I believe you should book all your events. Most of my clients want to speak with me. It is impersonal to have an assistant or booking agent.
I charge per event, not per hour. This might not work for everyone, especially when starting out. When you are new to this field it is a good idea to perform for free at prestigious events. It is a good showcase for you to be seen by prospective clients.
Be creative and take chances. One time I heard of a big black tie Gala at the Boathouse in NYC. It was a few days away. I found out who the organizers were and actually went to their office. I showed them some tricks and got myself hired. Stuff like this happens when you put yourself out there.
The sky is the limit. Just keep hustling and trying things out. Success is moving from one failure to another without losing enthusiasm.