From time to time teenagers come in and buy magic for kids’ parties. They think it’s a great way to earn some extra bucks. Hey! You gotta start somewhere! So they buy a few tricks and they’re off! Alan Greenberg
is one of the many started that way. He was serious about it and made a successful career out of it.
Alan was 8 years old when he first became interested in magic. He was home with the Chicken Pox and saw Tony Curtis in the movie Houdini on TV and that was it for him. He got magic books at the library and bought a bag of magic tricks at Henry Gordon’s on Queen Mary Road in Montreal (before Perfect Magic was born) for a dollar which was a lot of money then for him, but he was on his way. He started getting paid for shows when he was 14 years old and his parents drove him to his gigs and back. He’s been teaching magic in elementary schools since 1984; he does corporate shows, parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs, fundraisers, etc.
If you’re just starting in magic and you are serious, there are a few things I would recommend.
One would be Complete Course in Magic. It’s a book by Mark Wilson. It covers just about everything from close-up to stage illusions. Being a book, there is no personality to the tricks. You have to find your own personality and put your own twist on everything. You’re not copying someone’s style or jokes…you have to be creative and you have to be yourself. You are unique and if you just tap into your own personality it will come through and you’ll make the trick yours.
I don’t have anything against DVD’s. They’re wonderful teaching tools, but its tempting to just copy the performer, word for word, action for action. The name of the game is Entertainment First George Schindler did a DVD on this and it can’t be stressed enough. You can be the best sleight of hand magician in the world but if it’s not entertaining, forget it! It takes time and effort to put an act together.
For an idea of what is involved Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe and 26 other guys is a good start. Foundations: The Art of Staging Magic by Eberhard Riese is another one. Eugene Burger’s Mastering The Art of Magic is marvelous!
Eugene lectured for Perfect Magic a few times and the advice he gave was excellent, not only for magic but for many real life situations where you have to deal with people.
It’s hard to do magic for people! When you’re alone, it works perfectly; in front of an audience, not always. What do you do when things go wrong? How do you choose volunteers? What do you say to them? They may give you answers you’re not expecting. How do you handle it? Fortunately, others who are successful are willing to share their secrets and ideas. They are your teachers so take advantage of their knowledge. Take the plunge. Just make sure there’s water in the pool. It’s safer that way.
Which books or DVD’s made an impact on you or helped you get started? We’d love your comments.