I’m just passing on my experience, it may not be for everybody, but it worked for me!
- First and foremost you need a good mentor – someone you really respect and look up to. (I was lucky enough that my mentor was Roy Johnson, and occasionally Ken Brooke offered me some invaluable advice). I never had a teacher as such, as sometimes this restricts you from developing your own style. This person has to be someone who can give you constructive criticism that you do not take offence to – who not only criticises you but most importantly offers you an alternative and a improvement to their criticism. If they just criticise you without making it better it will just knock your confidence. It will also piss you off!
- Read books rather than studying DVDs, as watching too many DVDs encourages you to clone the person you are watching. I’m not saying don’t watch DVDs, just don’t rely on them as your only source of information. Also when you read books you tend to think more outside of the box as your imagination runs freely into wondering how the author might do it?
- Be careful when accepting advice from family as they see you differently to an audience. How many times have you heard magicians say, “my wife doesn’t like magic!” This must make the magician feel very deflated and it makes me feel really sad as I think what the wife is actually saying is “I don’t like you doing magic because it takes you away from me!” I don’t think there is a person in this world that doesn’t like seeing a good magic trick? (Okay, maybe I am exaggerating) When somebody says they don’t like magic I think there is an insecurity issue somewhere?
- Practice your microphone technique as I think there is something really stylish about a performer who uses a microphone on a stand (all the best singers use a handheld microphone). The way I used to practice is: I would have the microphone on the stand and a loop of string around my neck to the microphone stand and then go through my act, and every time the microphone stand moved I knew I was out of range. I used to always practice with the radio on low, and the music would help me maintain a rhythm to my performance.
- When making your entrance always do what I call ‘ Z’ the audience and what I mean by that is, as you are walking to the centre of the stage your eyes go from the rear left of the theatre to the front right (in real time, this only takes a couple of seconds , however, everybody in the audience will feel that you have looked at them (I think I got this tip from Showmanship For Magicians). When doing a trick try and stay still, in that way all the focus will be on the important part of the action. If you are moving all over the stage , it just confuses the whole presentation.
- most importantly get the audience to like you – because if they like you, they will like whatever you do! And if you do good magic It is a bonus! There are lots more points I could raise and as I think of them I will post them. Finally , “Only Do what you are good at, and it will look like you are good at everything you do!”
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