Magicians and Their Stuff

kapsMagicians love their stuff. We get pictures taken with our colourful props. We all went through the phase where every prop and trick we owned fit neatly inside a compartmentalized briefcase, which we diligently carried to the magic meeting. Silks burst out of overflowing drawers. Three sets of linking rings clang to the floor when you open the cupboard door. I've always leaned towards books rather than props, but it's no different. As I was pulling out a book to lend to a friend, I came upon half a dozen titles on the shelf that I had barely even opened. This is in addition to the dozens of books acquired over my last 15 years that are well worth reviewing. Yet I still have more books on my endless wish list. Why? We seem to share a common mindset that more stuff makes for a better magician. We only need that one prop, just beyond the reach of our budget, and we can be the next Copperfield. ### Expensive does not mean valuable.

Since when does production budget equate to entertainment value? I paid $100 bucks for a ticket to see Jerry Seinfeld in Las Vegas. One guy, in a suit, and a microphone. Total budget for that stage setting, maybe $1500 assuming it was a nice suit. When I sawBill Cosby he came out in jogging pants and a hoodie, wearing rubber clogs, with his headset microphone wire dangling down to his pocket. Total production budget for that show; pushing $500 bucks. Look to the minimalist magicians for inspiration closer to home. Max Maven performs with "nothing". I've seen Eugene Burger captivate a full theatre with the tissue paper hat tear, and small spirit slates. Fred Kaps is remembered as a legend for five cards and a pocket full of salt. (Notice that I'm talking about stage performance here, not close-up)### You've got everything you need already.

Chances are, all the resources you need to become the best magician in your area are easily within your reach, on your shelf, or in a drawer, or with your experienced magician friends. The only hurdles between you and your goal require diligence, not finances, to overcome. Having props in ATA cases does not make you cool. Entertaining audiences does. > "There are many rooms in the house of magic" - Eugene Burger

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against props. I would absolutely love to have a finely craftedWakeling Sawing to add to my shows. I mention that illusion specifically because I've imagined it, and mapped it out in my mind how I could present it in my style and create some amazing, entertaining magic. I said a production budget does not guarantee entertainment, but there's nothing wrong with using all these toys... er.. props to create a fantastic show like Mark Kalin & Jinger. There's something to be said for knocking people's socks off with a well choreographed grand illusion. If I had the budget, you bet I'd try it. The promise of large scale spectacle can sell tickets. As for whether it's worth the extra effort, I suppose that's between you, your accountant, and your chiropractor. In the meantime, I'm sitting here in my office with more magical knowledge than I can use in a lifetime. There's nothing holding me back but my own limiting beliefs. So... time to get to work.

Published: January 21, 2013

Channel: Blog

Access: Public

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