--- Continued from previous post
Few, if any magic careers require a huge initial investment. [Some, who think they do, flirt with disaster (like Steve Wyirick, perhaps, but you could either call it poor planning or just wrong economic climate bad timing. Either way it sucks for him)]. There may at some point be an opportunity for a profitable major investment (think Siegfried and Roy), but without proper experience with smaller venues, not only in the areas of technical performance and audience rapport and support, but also in the areas of business management, marketing, contract law, contingency and liability insurance, a general awareness of the mindset and how to communicate, barter, and work with and around other elements of show business and the media, you are more likely to break your career than to make it by plunging in headlong with only a hope, a wish, and a “magic feather.”
So while it is good to let your imagination and creative juices flow cautiously outside the box, and not a bad thing to step out and try a career move in magic if that is your desire, in general it is not wise to consider yourself the exception to most rules of thumb; first get an education, do not (immediately) give up your day job, consider all your options, make a realistic long range plan not only for magic or a livelihood, but for your life, and consider the fact that you may not be Dumbo or the next Criss Angel, Lance Burton, or whoever it is you emulate.
Magic is one of the least typecast entertainment mediums in show business. There are so many “looks” as well as styles to magic and magicians that it is up to you to decide where you best fit in. Well, that is only partly true. Your audiences will also decide whether or not they will accept, tolerate, or affirm, applaud, and amply pay you to assume that role for them. Until, or unless you find it, you may not be as solvent as you might hope.
You may need to try on many magical personas, possibly including creating an entirely new genre, to find the one that really works for you. It may not be the role of magician you initially hoped to play, but not all can portray the suave leading man type of magician (David Copperfield, John Calvert, Tony Clarke, or Lance Burton). Face it; some of us just do not have the looks or the style to pull it off (even if we may think we do).
It would be better for some of us to come across as pitchmen, hustlers and cheats (hopefully lovable and charming ones like Harry Anderson and Martin Nash). Others will be suited to be clowns (Silly Billy – David Kaye, The Magic Clown – Josh Norris and an early James Randi, or Wizzo – Marshall Brodien). Some will, for their day, be the contemporary or avant garde magician (Doug Henning and in some ways Jeff McBride), or just enigmatic or bizarre (Enigma or Bizzaro – but not all who go by those names, often Penn & Teller)]. Others will confine themselves largely to the streets (Gazzo, some aspects of David Blaine, Jimmy Talksalot, or Kozmo); and then there are the mysterious, the mentalists (Max Maven, Dunninger, Annemann, Derren Brown, or Ross Johnson), and those who seem just mental or cartoony but wonderful (Sylvester the Jester, Kevin James, or The Amazing Jonathan), and the list of both styles, genres, and types of magic could fill pages or books. (Sorry if I did not get to your favorite, or all of mine, or list many other great magicians as examples.)
But the point is, just because you feel limited, like you can’t jump out of your box, pull up stakes, and climb your ladder to success or where ever you think it may lead you, it does not mean that you should climb that ladder. It may mean you need to dig a very deep hole and become famous in the magic underground. It can, and often will mean something very different for each one of us, even if it means staying in the box or jar where we are and being the best right where you really already fit in most. Applicable adages for this scenario are “Bloom where you are planted,” or “Polish what you have and you will soon shine where you are.”
We are not all meant to be pressured into moving beyond our comfort zone. Some who do will only “rise to the highest level of your [their] incompetence” (as the business gurus wisely remind us). So, don’t let yourself rise so high so fast that you are bound to take a painful nose dive.
If you don’t like who you are, then odds are that nobody else will either (although some will anyway, you may want to shoot for a bigger and better audience). Perhaps it is time for you to change.
Because we behold and contemplate, we are constantly being transformed, changed, transfigured (2 Corinthians 3:18 KJV/ AMP/ NIV). Be careful what you emulate for it will determine what you become, not only now, but forever.