After falling in love with magic, there might come a day when you begin to wonder if it is possible to do what you love full-time by becoming a professional magician.
What many consider to be a pipe dream is actually possible to achieve.
You can be a professional magician.
Simply believing that you can do so, however, is not enough.
In this guide, we’re going to go through some essential things you need to know about choosing this career path.
Be an entertainer
The first thing you need to remember about being a professional magician is that, above all, you are an entertainer. No matter what level of skills and tricks you can master, if you cannot put on a good show and be an entertainer that people would love to see, again and again, you will not be able to become a full-time, professional magician. The pros are pros for that reason: They put on an entertaining performance that took them years, not weeks, to master.
Even if magic is just a hobby now, you can begin edging your way down the path to becoming a professional magician over the next few years. To make that journey both productive and successful, focus on the following aspects of your career. If you do, you’ll find the journey, long as it may be, to be rewarding in more ways than you can imagine.
This is the most obvious piece of advice a hobbyist who wants to become a professional can be given, but that does not make it any less useful. Practice is key to becoming a pro. Focus on learning two or three effects. Keep doing these over and over until you can do them better than anybody else out there. Don’t make the mistake of trying to learn dozens of tricks at one time. When you’re starting on the road to becoming a professional magician, you must remember that you are only as good as the presentation you can give which means every detail must be perfect. Focus on practicing every minute detail of each effect as you learn them.
Once you’ve mastered the techniques, move on to adding more material that compliments the tricks you have mastered and will prove to be enjoyable to an audience. By doing this, you’ll find yourself with an amazing repertoire of perfect tricks after months and years of dedicated practice.
Find your niche
As you are practicing, you will find that some tricks come more easily to you and others never feel quite right even after months of practice. Consider the tricks that you find most enjoyable to use in front of others and build your niche around these tricks. The effects that you are most comfortable performing will put on the most entertaining show, so build your specific niche around these tricks, regardless of what you see other magicians doing.
Once you have this small niche, do some free shows and low-paid gigs in the area to continue feeling out what branch of magic you can succeed in professionally as you continue your journey.
Be realistic about time frame
This is another piece of incredibly practical advice, but it has to be considered as you think about your future. It will take a lot of time to become a professional magician. If you’re just beginning your foray into magic, it will take you years, no matter how hard you practice. If you have been doing part-time work but are ready to move into the big time, it will still take months or even years to reach your goals. Have a realistic time frame in mine and have a backup source of income available to you in case things doing go as smoothly as they do in your dreams.
Hint: they won’t!
Meet other professional magicians
While many hobbyists make the mistake of believing that magic is all about their personal style and shows, professional magicians know that connections within the magic industry will make your career far more successful.
There are many resources available to all levels of magicians to make other magic loving friends who can help them practice their routines, recommend locations to get small gigs, help them find good agents as their talent grows and more. Having a place to go to meet other magicians will help you not only feel more comfortable in your decision to pursue magic as a career, but it will help you to succeed in doing so.
Some cities are lucky enough to have magic clubs you can check out. There are hundreds of forums online where you can connect with other magicians virtually. You can subscribe to magic journals or join the Society of American Magicians (SAM) or the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM), which are both great societies to connect with other magicians through. There are even magic conventions where you can learn new ideas, brainstorm how you can expand your show and simply be in awe of all the wonder that exists in the world of magic.
While practicing tricks and making friends who you can discuss your performances with is great, there is nothing like actually performing for an audience. It can be terrifying, but the only way to grow as an entertainer is to entertain. Whether your performance goes perfectly or you totally bomb, you will grow as a magician by doing so. Mistakes often teach us more than successes, so don’t be afraid to make them.
Once you’ve got a small repertoire of tricks ready, get in front of an audience outside of your own family. This experience will teach you more than practicing in a mirror for weeks on end. Once you finish your performance, step away and take notes on what felt good and what you would change next time. Repeat again (and again, and again).
Start at part-time or charity events
While getting out there and practicing might sound easy, it can be difficult to feel confident about finding a place where you can do so. The first great place to try to practice your magic is to volunteer your time for free at charity events. You will not have to worry as much about not earning your pay by doing so, and it’s great non-committal practice.
From charity events, move on to looking for part-time work with a local party company or with a restaurant that wants a weekly magic act. As you grow and find that you are having more and more positive performances, look for an agent. Your connections that you should have made with local magicians by this point will help you find a good agent who can help you to book gigs are bigger venues than you know how to contact yourself. Work up this chain slowly, constantly learning more and improving your act so that you can become a confident entertainer.
Create your brand
This step does not come this late in the game but is an ongoing process. After you find your niche, you must constantly reinforce what that means you are, as a professional magician. Is your specialty card tricks? Is it mind reading and mentalism? Do you have a punchline that you are known for? No matter what you choose, keep to your brand and be consistent. Building this kind of reputation will take time but is key to becoming a well-known name within magic.
Use the internet to your advantage. Keeping up a simple blog and a Youtube channel will allow you a place to constantly reinforce the image that you want to project as a professional entertainer. It may not go viral overnight, but as your name gets known locally and people look you up to see if you’re available for bookings, your brand will be behind you to support who you are as a successful entertainer. Keeping a network of magician friends to inspire, encourage, and advertise you will also help build your brand.
Know why you love magic and why you are doing it
With so many things to think about in terms of learning new skills, booking gigs and managing your brand, you might forget why you are doing magic at all. Keep at heart throughout your entire journey as a magician every aspect of why you enthuse about, love, and want to share magic. If you don’t love magic, you should not take the years required to become a professional magician. As an entertainer, your passion for what you are doing will be a key part of audience management and how people perceive you, so never let that passion slip far from your mind.
A great way to keep the “whys” of doing magic alive in your mind is to befriend other magicians. As you discuss magic together on a regular basis, you will be helping each other to continue to pursue what you love for the right reasons, and there’s nothing more valuable than that passion.
Get out there!
That’s it! Those are the basics.
All that’s left now is to get out there and do magic!
If your dream is to become a professional magician, stop dreaming about it, and start taking the steps necessary to take the stage as the performer that you are capable of being.
You can do it.