how to become a magician

How to Become a Magician

wedding magicians

A guide to becoming a professional magician!

Being a magician is no walk in the park, trust me. It’s not all magic tricks and glamorous encounters. Nope, I was sold a dream as far-fetched as the magic beans young Jack got his hands on.

Is it an absolute blast uncovering the inner secrets of our international brotherhood? Oh, you bet! Is it a thrilling experience basking in the never-ending praise after a mind-blowing performance? Absolutely! But let me tell you, the journey to becoming a successful magician is as challenging as executing a Whispering Walrus Shuffle with finesse (seriously, don’t even think about Googling it).

So for this article, (designed to put off any budding amateur magician), I got in touch with a bunch of seasoned magicians and performers and asked them one thing:

What don’t they tell you about becoming a magician?

The following professional magicians/performers graciously offer insights into the magical journey of becoming a masterful magician, the treacherous pitfalls of making it in an overly competitive (and somewhat oversaturated) market, and even how to keep your sanity intact without resorting to hair-pulling.

So let’s kick back and get ready for some light-hearted, humorous viewpoints mixed with thought-provoking advice for all you aspiring magicians out there, brought to you by yours truly and my gang of up-and-coming magic enthusiasts.

close up magician

Business Skills are the Real Magic

Lee Warren The magician-turned-speaker and author generously offers this:

“I think the big thing that nobody tells you about being a professional magician is that you’ll nearly always spend more time on the business than on the magic itself. In fact, performing magic is best seen as the reward you get for the work you put into your marketing and sales and so on. All service businesses have the following in common – fundamentally, they rest on a bedrock of marketing, publicity, sales, networking, negotiation, paperwork and so on. Anyone who wants to have a successful career needs to be able to master those kinds of activities.”

So to become a professional magician stop cramming your magic draw with new tricks and realise if you want a make it as a magician you’ll need to expand your skills beyond card forces and wand waving.

how to become a magician

A Magicians’ Commitment to Excellence

Attention budding magicians, this next magical tit-bit comes from London iPad magician, Noel Qaulter, who suggests to become a magician you need an unwavering commitment to every performance:

“Every gig is like a first day at a new job. You wanna impress the boss and all your colleagues, arrive early, smartly dressed and over-deliver. In a normal world, after a while at a new job, you might be able to take your foot off the gas every so often. Maybe you are a little late, ask a colleague to cover for you to the boss etc. Well, a magician can never let that standard drop. It’s a new job every day.

For example, being on time. If I’m driving to an evening gig that’s 2 hours away on a Friday. I leave about 5 hours for the journey as I know I’ll get stuck in rush hour traffic. I want enough time to eat before the event without having to choke it down and in case there is gridlock on the roads, anything can and regularly does happen.

So my 2-hour gig really starts about 1 pm and I’ll get back about midnight. Basically, I’m saying magicians are the 4th emergency service. Ok maybe, a touch too far!”

how to become a magician

The Irreplaceable Value of Experience

Top performer and magic consultant Richard Pinner offers the aspiring magician the following:

“There is no replacement for flying hours”

In the world of magic, there’s just no substitute for putting in those ‘flying hours’. Yes, the journey of a magician goes way beyond practising tricks alone or performing for a single audience member (even if it’s just your pet or your endlessly patient partner). It’s about taking that leap of faith and stepping into the spotlight in front of real, expectant crowds. Trust us, it’s a nerve-racking rite of passage where screwing up is not just a possibility; it’s practically guaranteed. Embrace the fact that you’ll stumble at first because it’s in those vulnerable moments that the true magic happens. Embracing failure is the first step in an epic learning curve. Each stumble brings valuable insights, as live performances give you instant feedback, showing you what works and what falls flat. Basically, it’s through these real-life experiences, these priceless ‘flying hours’, that the art of magic truly takes flight, allowing you to reach new heights of awesomeness. Continuous learning is key to mastering the art of magic.

professional magicians

The Challenges of Performing

I asked Magic Circle member Darren Delaney what challenges he faces when performing his magic tricks…

“Trying to do magic in loud, badly lit venues for drunk people who can’t see or hear you properly. Particularly during the Xmas season.”

Other experienced magicians will nod in appreciation at this. The Christmas period is a bittersweet four weeks or so – a lovely opportunity to make a boatload of dosh, fused together with some of the worst performance settings you could muster for close-up magic. Fellow magicians will totally agree that those clever coin tricks and witty lines you’ve so carefully honed will serve absolutely no function as you’re thrown into a bear pit loaded with pitfalls, traps, and rocket balloons. Your magic skills will be pushed to the max and you’ll quickly realize that these gigs aren’t exactly the ones you’ll want to showcase in your memory scrapbook. But hey, they’ll definitely earn you your stripes on the road to becoming a successful magician!

good magician Darren

The Art of Illusion

A truly fantastic magician knows it’s not just about pulling rabbits out of hats and hanging out at their local magic club. Oh no, becoming a magician requires a whole lot more! You’ve got to have some serious acting skills, an amazing stage presence, and a flair for showmanship that’s off the charts.  Luke Howells explains all:

“…people GENUINELY think they’ve cracked the joke of the century when they say “well can you make him disappear” even though you’ve heard it 349 times that evening already”

Here’s when your acting skills come into play as you share a polite chuckle with the audience.

It took me a bloomin’ long time to realise that no one really gives a toss about the tricks you’ll perform, but rather HOW you perform them. There are millions of tricks available you can pull off, but generally, you’ll find that the entertainment factor is the most critical. How on earth do you blend all those card tricks you’ve learned into a smooth performance that offers laughs, gasps, and proper wows along the way?

This skill often separates the amateur from the professional, the budget magician from the world-class magician.

younger magicians

Simple tricks are often the best

Buying magic tricks is quite the addictive game – discovering the secrets of the latest and greatest is an absolute thrill (although it can often be a letdown) that magic shops have you hooked on. In my early years, I used to accumulate a collection of magic props that would rarely see the light of day, as I soon realized they didn’t quite suit my performance style or weren’t exactly practical for the real world (you know, those pesky practical issues).

As the years rolled on, I was filtering out the cool gadgets and gimmicks and found the easier tricks (yet powerful) were finding their way into my act allowing me to concentrate on the entertainment factor.

magic tricks at private events

Be Prepared for Rejection

Performing close-up magic for strangers can be quite the experience, subjecting you to some brutal rejection. No matter how polite you are, or how amazing your set is, people can really be a piece of work! From unsolicited “constructive feedback” to hecklers and tough audiences intent on spoiling your routine, being a professional magician requires some seriously thick skin. And let me tell you, after performing for over twenty-five years, I still come across some problematic customers, despite all the tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way. Unfortunately, there’s no simple fix for this, but hey, it’s all part and parcel of the game!

Approaching a group of strangers can be more challenging than it appears, but with practice, it will instil confidence in your journey. Many magicians would likely agree that the art of engaging with an unfamiliar audience takes precedence over the actual magic tricks themselves.

learn magic tricks

The Charity Fund Raiser!

If you perform magic tricks for a living, Nick The Crooked Croupier suggests:

“Your least favourite phrase will be “We’re planning an event for charity

Woah Mr Magic, you telling us you’re not interested in giving a little back?

Now, it’s not that we’re cold-hearted magicians who’ve banished compassion to the back of our repertoire. It’s just that, well, contrary to popular belief, magicians do indeed need to eat. And last time I checked, rabbits pulled from hats aren’t accepted currency at the supermarket. But worry not, for every aspiring Houdini with the itch to spread goodwill, there’s an opportunity to recommend a keen amateur, eager to dazzle and gain experience while not expecting to enforce a wage from a magic wand. Now that’s what I call a win-win.

magic trick by Nick

You won’t be a Millionaire!

Sure, while it’s totally true that your magic tricks won’t make you a millionaire overnight (bummer, right?), they do come with some pretty awesome perks. Picture this: you get to rub shoulders with fascinating folks at exclusive events, where the rich and famous throw extravagant parties like it’s no big deal. You’ll witness the glamorous lifestyle up close and personal, all while having an absolute blast. Personally, I’ve been lucky enough to perform magic shows in some incredible places like Switzerland, Portugal, India, and Italy. Pretty cool, huh? So, even if you’re not rolling in dough, magic can still open doors to a world of excitement and adventure.

great magician

Consider dipping into your Magic Books

In today’s booming magic industry, there is an abundance of magic shops vying to sell you the latest shiny trick. However, it seems like everyone and their dog are attempting it without any real experience. When we consider that we build upon the knowledge of those who came before us, it becomes apparent that most things have already been invented! My suggestion is to explore some of the timeless magic books that are filled with powerful tricks, offered at a fraction of the price compared to some of the nonsensical offerings being marketed today.

As a young learner, I delved into the world of magic with the Mark Wilson complete course of magic book. At the tender age of ten, this book became a treasure trove of captivating card tricks and intricate illusions. If you’re passionate about magic and part of magic clubs, don’t hesitate to seek recommendations from other magicians on books that can help you further enhance your repertoire of magical tricks.

magic online and books

How to become a magician

So, there you have it. Being a magician is no walk in the park – it takes way more than just knowing a few fancy tricks. It requires serious acting chops, a killer stage presence, top-notch showmanship, and the uncanny ability to entertain and connect with your audience. Oh, and let’s not forget the thick skin you’ll need to handle rejection and those tough crowds.

Within your business, you’ll become a multitasking wizard, effortlessly blending marketing sorcery, accounting magic, and content creation enchantment.

From mastering simple illusions to captivating complete strangers with your mesmerising charm, the world of magic is as intricate as it is mind-boggling. So the next time you witness a magician in action, take a moment to truly appreciate all the skills and hard work that go into conjuring an unforgettable experience for their audience.

Who is Chris?

Chris is a professional magician who has been performing magic tricks since he was ten. From visiting local magic shops to performing for the rich and famous, his magical journey makes him a safe pair of hands for those looking to hire a magician.

professional magician