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Magic Pros and Serious Amateurs

Here is information for the professional magician and serious amateur: resources for effects, the business, rates, and reviews of instructional media and tricks. Once you've got a great act, this section is all about the business of making money (and it doesn't just appear out of thin air).
  1. In the Works (4)
  2. Life As a Professional Magician (11)
  3. Tips for Turning Pro (4)
  4. Women in Magic (8)

Interview with Wes Iseli: "Charitable Magician"
Wes Iseli is a Virginia-based magician who often performs for charitable causes. In this interview, Iseli talks about his "24 Hours of Magic" project and more.

Review of Spider Pen Pro by Yigal Mesika
Yigal Mesika's Spider Pen Pro offers the next generation device for levitating small objects. It offers definite improvements over its predecessor.

The Pushpin Gimmick by Matthew Vizio
Matthew Vizio generously teaches how to make and use his holdout, which is based on one by Jean Hugard. You'll find the holdout useful in a cups and balls routine or any table-based routine where you need to store and ring in small objects.

Anatomy of a Magic Music Video
If you were interested in the moves, effects and techniques used in my magic music video with playing cards, in this story, I discuss them.

Learning Magic Via Books or DVDs: Bannon’s Bullet Party
Is it better to learn magic from books or instructional magic DVDs? In a unique situation, I compare learning some great tricks from John Bannon's "Bullet Party," which is available in both book and DVD formats.

All About The Magic Square
The magic square is a mathematical curiosity that is sometimes performed in mentalism and magic acts. Here's background on the concept that Corinda refers to as a "brain teaser."

Why Are Beginning Magicians So Over-Confident?
Why do beginners commonly have out-sized expectations of their magic abilities? Here's a commentary based on my story about David Letterman's "Close-Up Magic Week."

Tell Us About Your Toughest Magic Show
I want to hear about your most difficult and challenging magic shows. Despite our most careful preparations and contingency plans, anything can and will happen. What transpired? And how did you get through it? What have you changed so the situation won't occur in the future? See submissions

iPhone for Magic
Is it truly cool to own and use an iPhone? I can’t really say for sure, but I am definitely finding the device useful in my day to day magic shows.

Reader Question: Tricks With Ungimmicked Cards
A reader asks for my opinions on some good card effects that rely on no gimmicked cards.

What Inspired You to Pursue Magic?
What inspired you to want to learn and pursue magic? Here's an area where you can share your experiences with your fellow readers. See submissions

Cut the Candy - Magicians Cut the Candy
I have seen bad magicians produce bags of candy and then whip the kids into a greedy frenzy as the candy is dropped on the floor in a wild free-for-all or tossed into a crowd of jumping and yelling kids. In my opinion, there is no room for candy in a good magic show and here’s why.

Has Exposure Caused You to Give-Up a Trick?
I recently thought of a trick that I performed often in the past, but stopped after it was exposed on television. And then the question occurred to me, are there lots of tricks that magicians have stopped performing because of exposure, whether it comes from television or the internet? I know that there's one trick that I no longer perform.

Readers Respond: Exposure Caused You to Give-Up a Trick?
Readers respond to my article on tricks that I have stopped performing due to exposure.

Should Magicians Ever Put Spectators in Danger?
Are there performance situations where a magician can justifiably place a spectator in danger of being injured? My answer is an emphatic "no" and here's why.

YouTube Magic Exposure? No Problem
There's lots of talk that many of magic's secrets are but a mouse click away. To see what's out there, I recently evaluated exposure videos on YouTube and concluded that there's little to worry about. The majority of the exposure videos fell far short of being dangerous for a number of reasons that I'll explain.

Handling Magic Secrets With the Public
Does our protection of secrets hurt our image as accomplished entertainers? I'll discuss how I handle inquiries about secrets in what I feel is a positive way.

Review: How to Create Kid's Magic And Triple Your Income by John Breeds
Have you prepared your routines and now feel ready to entertain kids at parties and other functions? And, in particular, do you want to make money at it? For this, John Breeds' "How to Create Kid's Magic And Triple Your Income" is must reading.

Review: Tales From the Street by Kozmo
This DVD promises to teach you the techniques of Kozmo, one of our foremost street workers. While it teaches the routines that make him such a success, you also get to learn the true magic secrets of drawing and maintaining a crowd that is free to walk away.

Review: Corporate Close Up II Volume 2
If you want to effectively work a corporate close-up event, here's a DVD, the second of two titles, that dispenses advice from eight magicians. As these types of DVDs typically go, you'll find some useful information and suggestions to try out, as well as other advice that won't connect as strongly.

Review: Corporate Close Up II Volume 1
If you want to effectively work a corporate close-up event, here's a DVD that dispenses advice from no less than eight magicians. As these types of DVDs typically go, you'll find some useful information and suggestions to try out, as well as other advice that won't connect as strongly. There are also a few strong opening effects that you can learn from this disc.

Street Magic Resources
Want to learn street magic? Here are resources for working those urban areas and filling hats.

Magic Based on Popular Movies
Movies are a natural theme for magic tricks. There are the plots, characters and celebrities. If you would like to perform magic with a movie or celebrity theme, here are tricks that use them.

Cheesy Costumes and Magic? Not If I Can Help It
I don't understand why magicians wear character or other style costumes (wizard, pirate, clown...etc.) to shows and perform standard magic tricks. Here are my thoughts on the topic.

Five Steps to Deal With Magic Exposure
Worried about the exposure of magic secrets to a curious public? In our high tech world, it sometimes seems as if our art of magic is being bombarded on all sides. Exposure will always be around, but here are five steps that we can all take as a community to minimize its impact.

Pinnacle Studio 12
If you're working on your promotional video, Pinnacle Studio is the best entry level video editing software out there that effectively balances ease of use with features and comes at a reasonable price. The most recent Version 12 is truly the latest and greatest.

Resources for Card Through Window
Ever since David Blaine caused a spectator's selected card to seemingly pass through a window and adhere to the other side, there have been several versions of the effect that have come to market. Here are versions that we have reviewed.

Magic for Kid Shows
If want to perform magic for kids, here's a collection of DVDs that we've reviewed that teach you how.

World's Greatest Magic DVDs
L&L's "World's Greatest Magic" DVDs compile routines from famous magicians and each DVD has a theme. By combining routines, you can watch a DVD with routines related to the same subject to help you build your own routines.

Review: Kings Fool by Kipp Sherry
To promote your magic business, Kipp Sherry's "Kings Fool" provides you with artwork and everything you need to make and distribute a simple trick that is essentially a business card.

Five Steps to Perfect Your Sleight of Hand Moves
One of the joys and challenges of being a magician is working up new effects and sleight-of-hand moves that you present to your audiences. If you're developing a new move, whether it's a color change, side steal, pass or other, here are five steps that will help ensure success.

iTricks.com
This site does a fantastic job of staying on top of and presenting the latest news and even rumors in the magic world. You may also enjoy their weekly audio podcast that features various magic celebrities and experts who comment on the magic news of the week.

The Australian Institute of Magic (AIM)
The Australian Institute of Magic is an organization that’s dedicated to furthering the standard and reputation of Australian magicians both nationally and internationally. It is the only organization that represents FISM in the Oceania region. The AIM website is an online magic resource for agents, historians, magicians, businesses, media researchers and the general public.

DVD Review: 23rd FISM World Championships of Magic 2006 - Stockholm
Every three years, the magic community comes together to compete in its version of the Olympics. This excellent DVD presents an entertaining look back at the 23rd FISM World Championships of Magic 2006 that was held in Stockholm.

Book Review: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe
Scripting works well in theater, television and movie production, so why not magic? Pete McCabe drives this home in his excellent "Scripting Magic," a thorough 450-page book that offers scripts for well known effects by skilled magicians and insightful interviews and essays. With "Scripting Magic," McCabe has created a must-read book that will inspire you and help script and burnish your magic routines.

Review: Funny Business - Niagara Comedy Magic Seminar 2007
If you're an aspiring comedy magician or want to learn how the pros perform comedy magic, this DVD offers helpful interviews, informative panel discussions and hilarious performances from the Niagara Comedy Magic Seminar in January 2007.

Rope Magic
Here's a round-up of our reviews of rope tricks and routines. Whether you want to cut and restore a rope, perform classic Professor's Nightmare or do other outrageous feats with ropes, here's our resource.

IT Resources
Bills float, cards hover and decks mysteriously cut by themselves to reveal a chosen card. If you've been wanting to work with IT, here are resources to learn how.

Tricks with a PK Ring
If you own a PK ring, here are reviews of products that teach you tricks with the popular gimmick.

Resources for Cups & Balls
If you want to perform tricks with cups and balls, here are resources at Magic.About.com.

Guide to Packet Card Tricks
Here's a guide to some of the many packet card tricks on the market. Are they worth the money? Read our reviews and find out.

Book Test Resources
In a classic book test routine, a spectator turns to any page in a book and selects a word or sentence, and the magician can name the word or offer an impression of what's in the sentence. It's a traditional and powerful mentalism effect. If you're interested in performing a book test, here are some resources.

Coin Magic Resources
If you want to improve your coin magic, here are resources that you can tap.

Poker Themed Tricks
Here are magic tricks and products that are related to the game of Poker.

The Razor Blade Trick
If you've always wanted to swallow razor blades and thread and bring it all back up, strung together, here are resources to get you started.

Coins and Other Objects in Bottle
If you want to put anything into a bottle: a coin, label or other object, here are DVDs that will teach you how.

My Favorite DVDs and Tricks
Here's a list of the tricks and DVDs that I have reviewed and use in my strolling and stand-up sets. There's a definite tendency towards close-up and card routines that don't require a table for my restaurant work, which I do a lot of, and less for stand-up because my act is fairly mature. But here are my favorites that I currently use.

Book Review: Highway to Success
So you’ve got a decent magic act and are ready to make money at it. As any entertainment pro can tell you, it’s quite a leap to turn a magic obsession into a profitable business. Fortunately, magicians Elliott Smith and Ian Quick have written “Highway to Success,” a road guide, so to speak, that offers a solid foundation in business basics with an emphasis on entertainment. The book is a useful and easy read that dispenses excellent advice that can help you make the move into show “business.”

Scam Targets Magicians & Entertainers
An internet scam that targets magicians is trying to separate you from your money. A con man recently tried to pull the scam on Lyndel, who graciously provided Magic & Illusion with a detailed time line of events so magicians can better understand the scam and recognize it.

Do You Need an Accounting Program to Manage Your Magic Business?
Are you adequately managing your magic business on paper? Or is it time to consider some computing horsepower? This article discusses the basics.

Review: Giving Clients What They REALLY Want!
Julian Franklin’s excellent audio CD helps you understand what clients are looking for when they hire magicians.

CD Review: Julian Franklin’s The Business of Magic, Year 1
If you enjoy reading Julian Franklin’s “The Business of Magic “ column in the IBM’s Linking Ring, you’ll enjoy listening to them on CD while you walk or drive. Franklin has lots to say and says it well. And his advice can boost your business.

Heckling: The Michael Richards Incident
Aside from the despicable language and behavior, the recent incident with comedian Michael Richards brings to light the problem of heckling. I’m not here to condemn or judge Richards, the public and media are doing enough of this and Richards is paying his price, but I wanted to offer some thoughts about heckling that the incident brings to mind.

Buying Magic on the Internet
A young magician recently asked me after a show for some advice on purchasing a particular magic prop. His question prompted some thought and the following article that discusses purchasing magic via the internet. I hope that you find this helpful.

Book Review: Ken Weber’s Maximum Entertainment
Far more important than the slickest new card move or latest stage effect is our ability as magicians to entertain. For this, Ken Weber’s Maximum Entertainment offers solid advice for improving one’s show and is must reading for anyone who performs magic.

The Magic of MP3 Players
If you play music in your shows, you may want to consider an MP3 player. I have long relied on a wireless system, Sony MiniDisc and CDs, but felt it was time to purchase and try out an MP3 player. Here’s the first in a multi-phase story that discusses my MP3 odyssey.

Magic of MP3 Players: Part 2
Last week, I purchased an MP3 player for my shows and wrote about why in an earlier article, Magic of MP3 Players: Part 1. After performing several shows and using my MP3 player to provide my music, I now have some real world experience to talk about. The player delivered in the ways that I had anticipated, but I did run into some problems. I hope that based on my experience, you can avoid them.

Magic of MP3 Players: Part 3
After writing a couple stories about the advantages of using an MP3 player in my shows, I’ve somewhat come around full circle. Like Dorothy in Oz, who always had the power to return home, with my Palm PDA, I already had the best MP3 player that I could use to provide music in my shows.

Pro Tip: Managing Shows on a PDA
Instead of managing your busy show schedule on paper calendars and your computer, you may consider a personal digital assistant (PDA). These electronic devices, which include those from PalmOne and Hewlett-Packard, are portable, easy to use and can adequately manage busy show schedules. In this first of two articles, I write about my experience with a PalmOne device.

Video Review: DVD Xpress
If you've been wanting to edit your magic performance videos into a promo video, you may consider the DVD Xpress.

Review: Pinnacle Studio 9-Edit Your Magic Video
If you want to edit your magic video, Pinnacle’s Studio 9 software offers the easiest, and lowest cost way to do so.

McBride's Magic and Mystery School
Jeff McBride's "Magic and Mystery School" offers high-level seminars and classes for the magical performer.

Genii Magazine
Genii Magazine is the oldest and most respected magic magazine in the United States. Each month, the publication is filled with magic advice, techniques and reviews. Also, the Genii forum is among the most active in the field of magic.

How to Hire a Great Magician
Do you know of potential clients who can use some guidelines to help them find and hire a good magician? This primer explains everything that they need to know to hire a magic professional. When potential clients have questions, send them to here.

The Magic Resolutions
This New Year’s eve, as you vow to spend more time with family and friends, lose weight, exercise, make serious financial decisions or take on new ventures, don’t forget to include your art of magic. For 2006, here are some magic resolutions for consideration.

Handling Magic Secrets With the Public - Dealing With Magic Secrets
Does our protection of secrets hurt our image as accomplished entertainers? I'll discuss how I handle inquiries about secrets in what I feel is a positive way.

Readers Respond "YouTube Magic Exposure? No Problem"
Readers respond to my story about magic exposure on YouTube.

Should Magicians Ever Put Spectators in Danger?
Are there performance situations where a magician can justifiably place a spectator in danger of being injured? My answer is an emphatic "no" and here's why.

Why Are Beginning Magicians So Over-Confident?
Why do beginning magicians often have these out-sized expectations of their abilities to perform magic and entertain?" I welcome your comments.

Show Us Your Magic Video
Do you have a great video that promotes your magic? Here's the place to tell us about it and provide a link. See submissions

iPhone Magic is Lacking
There are numerous iPhone apps that are magic tricks. I recently evaluated a collection of ten apps called "Virtual Magic Pro" that was good, but left me concluding that magic on the iPhone is, in general, lacking. And no matter what the skill of the magician or the presentation, I think that this will always be the case. Here's why.

New Pro Tool for Magical Vanishes
A new tool in a magician's arsenal is the TKO. With this device, you can vanish objects such as coins and cards and you don’t need to wear a jacket. Furthermore, there are no use of pulls, sleeves or magnets.

Reduce Magic Exposure on YouTube With a Simple Step
There is no doubt that there's far too much magic exposure on the internet in the form of video. However, magicians are contributing to the problem with their own uploaded videos by ignoring a simple step. Are your YouTube videos part of the problem?

Magic With Silly Bands
It's the latest craze with kids. New rubber bands, often called "silly bands," come in various shapes and are seemingly everywhere. These bands have definite possibilities for close up magic routines.

Don't Waste Time With "Magician Foolers"
Lately, I've been seeing magic tricks that are marketed for their ability to "fool magicians." But is this a good thing? I think not.

Review: "Sleights of Mind"
Every magician knows that "magic" happens in spectators’ minds. It's all about leading spectators down that proverbial garden path: the magician places something here, shows this and that, and, at the end, something unexpected, and hopefully unexplainable, occurs. This is why a new book, "Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals...

All About 3 Card Monte
Three card monte is a scam that employs three playing cards and is often performed on the streets. The practitioner shows three cards and one of the three, the "money" card, contrasts with the others. The cards are tossed onto a table where they’re mixed, and the mark (victim) gets to bet on which card is the money card. In the end, the apparent...

Interview with Christopher Handa - Spooky Magic, Part Two
I talk with magician Chris Handa who acts as the Magic Director for Castle Blood: a theatrical, haunted attraction in Beallsville, Pennsylvania. In this interview, the second of two parts, Handa discusses how to apply haunted themes to magic and make a connection with audience members.

Interview with Christopher Handa - Spooky Magic, Part One
Christopher Handa is an expert in spooky magic. In this interview, Handa defines "spooky magic" and discusses how he applies and interacts with spooky magic and connects with spectators. This is the first of two parts.

Beginning Versus Pro Tricks
So what's the difference between a beginning and pro-level effect? In this article I compare two marketed effects.

Please Don't Get a Bunny - Adding a Rabbit to Your Magic Show
Got an opinion about adding a live bunny to a magic show? Here's where you can express it.

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