The Importance of Being Bad

I've heard it called "flight time"... the idea that, before you can become a really good performer, you simply have to put in the hours on stage in front of an audience. No amount of rehearsal can compensate for it. Lance Burton tells young magicians that they need to find a place to be bad. Every performer has to be bad. For me, I found this opportunity at the local magic club banquet shows. Nobody was getting paid, and the audience had the patience of die-hard magic fans. It allowed me to creatively fail in a safe environment. Later I ended up doing a weekly show at a fledgling comedy club, every Tuesday, for audiences ranging anywhere from 15 people to... zero people. The sometimes painfully quiet shows were a delight, as it was a place for me, and another magician friend, to be creative, adventurous, and bad. Plus, there was a free buffet. I think it's so important to be bad that I still consider myself in the stage. I am chronically disappointed in my own performances. Not in a negative, depressing way, but a positive, hopeful, room-to-grow mindset. I set my standards very high, and I rarely meet them. I think this is a good thing. If you are satisfied with your own performance, you stop getting better. If you've reached your goal it's the end of the road. As a guitar player I have plateaued, and lost my drive. In magic I am still working towards my "perfect show". If you are unhappy with your own performance, it simply means you have a higher artistic vision of what is possible. That is fantastic!

Published: November 9, 2012

Channel: Blog

Access: Public

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