Take me seriously

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Guest » 07/26/01 06:02 PM

Im a 25 year old magician hoping to make a career from magic in the future. I think my reportoire is strong enough,and my handling of my material is good and will get better but I'm not sure how to present myself.
I have fun when presenting magic but I dont want to do a comedy act. My magic can be quite dark and I'd love to look like Max Maven or Eugene Burger but I'm an average looking young man.
Do you think it helps a presentation if the performer looks like a "magician" in some way?
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 07/27/01 07:14 PM

What DOES a magician supposed to look like?

When I was a mere lad, I thought that magicians were supposed to look something like Mandrake (of comic book fame). I also thought that Dante looked like a magician. Yet how many famous magicians, if you never saw them perform anything and only saw their photograph, or simply saw them in the street, would look like magicians?

How about Malini?
Blackstone Sr.?
Thurston? (He looked like a banker.)
Don Alan? (Shoe salesman)
Channing Pollock? (Movie star.)
Goshman? (Deli owner)
Ammar? (Ad man)
Daryl? (Ski instructor)
Mac King? (Scoutmaster)
Burger? (in the cast of "Fiddler on the Roof?)
Vernon? (Retired military man)
David Blaine (Hip-hop rocker)

In short, how you look is far less important than what you do, how you do it, and what your dominant attitude seems to be.

Max Maven has a great voice and a forceful presence; and he works hard at creating a distinct and slightly strange but compelling persona. This is great for identification purposes; however, it can be limiting and end up being a curious curse.

Aleister Crowley was certainly unique and unmistakably identifiable; He was in a class by himself; however, central casting would have been hard pressed to categorize him as anything other than what he worked to become.

So, my advice is don't try to look like somebody you are not...
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Postby Guest » 07/27/01 08:26 PM

sorry Doomo I didnt mean that there is anything wrong with a magic act based around comedy, I love watching them I just dont think it suits my personality. The question I was asking was more about the first impressions a spectator may get from me. Are acting lessons useful? Should I try vocal training? Psycology?
Thanks for the advice though.
PS Im doing a show for a vegetarian society.Any ideas?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/29/01 08:57 PM

Newton,
Don't let stupid responses to your questions bother you.
Racherbaumer's response is good.
The important thing to remember is to try and develop a character that is within your ability to portray. If you are tall and gangly, then trying to be deadly serious is going to be more difficult because your body shape lends itself more readily to comedy. These are the types of things you MUST consider. Max Maven has shaved his hair into an odd configuration--that's extreme, but it gave him a look no one else has. You have to be very careful when doing something like that not to cross the border into being silly, or looking funny.
It's quite a difficult challenge, and the one that keeps most magicians just doing card tricks with some funny lines: that's the easy way out.
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Postby Guest » 07/29/01 10:04 PM

thankyou richard. i appriciate your response. ill keep it in mind. hope to bump into you someday on my magical journey.
good luck matt :p
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Postby Guest » 07/31/01 04:01 PM

Newton,

Vocal lessons could prove very useful. Proper use of the voice is amazingly important, especially when booked for all day contracts.

For fun I took an Improvisational Theater workshop and found it helped my magic so much I have continued with it. It has given me insights into interaction with audience, interaction with spectator assistants, and strengthened my story creating ability which has unleashed a presentational floodgate.

Because of all this my magic has become more alive...more real.

Keep in mind, "Magic is Theater"

Tom Cutts

[ July 31, 2001: Message edited by: Tom Cutts ]
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