How do I train to be a professional magician?
Read lots of books on magic. You can find many in libraries. Magic shops have more specific books that may best fit your focus. Study. Learn. Practice.
Find a mentor and try to learn from the best.
Develop an act. You can start with an 8-12-minute act and work up to a 45-minute to full evening show.
Work as an apprentice with a seasoned magician.
Watch Youtube instructional videos but be aware that many are made by amateurs.
Join magic Meetup groups and magic associations like the Society of American Magicians (SAM) and The International Brotherhood of Magicians (IMB). Attend magician conventions.
Go to local magic shows or search online for different and new effects that catch your interest.
Beware, magicians can tend to want everything and collect everything, so don’t spend all your money in one place. You can learn most of the secrets and techniques from books. If you are clever, you can create an act without buying anything. You can build or even invent your own props. Most important – Practice, Practice, Practice.
You also want to learn basic business, sales and marketing techniques. To be a professional magician you will constantly be selling your act.
It is well advised to have training in acting, public speaking, movement and theatrical productions. You may want to take an acting and improv class, which will help relieve your stage fright and help you prepare for anything that can go wrong on stage.
Now that you have been trained as a magician, it is time to develop your act and become an entertainer.
You are a magician and an entertainer.
You will want to create a style, a look, something unique. Your stage persona is an important ingredient, yet doing a magic show is more about what it does for the audience than what it does for you. Study your audiences. How does your audience react to you? Is your audience engaged with your every move? Are they clapping with enthusiasm? Are they stunned with amazement? If you are a complete beginner, you can start out with simple tricks and grow from there. If you have a clear vision and have created a unique show, work on it in close circles before you market it commercially. What is your “WOW” factor? You must know your audience and must be willing to change up your tricks when you see your audience is not engaged. Also, you need to pay attention to your music, magic props, and learn to talk to your audience…tell a story.
How do I get experience? You may have to work for free.
Perform for your friends, family, anyone that will watch you as often as you can. You don’t need to take up all their time. You can simply do one or two tricks that you’re working on. You can start presenting your developed act to work it out in public at a family, neighborhood or community event.
Become a street performer and learn the art of getting tips. This could help you discover what really catches your audience’s attention and help you forge your public persona. Note that street performing is not for everyone and you don’t have to do street magic. If you do, make sure you have permission or the proper permits. Sometimes you can get a store to let you perform in front of their store or in their store and sometimes even hire you to do so.
You can perform for free or even get paid at birthday, anniversary parties, veterans’ groups, senior centers and many other places.
Promote yourself on social media (trade services).
Produce your own magic show. This can be expensive and if you are not the business type, you need a partner that knows the business side of show business.
What is the business side of being a magician?
Once you have some experience, find booking agents to represent you. Find event planners that can book you for the parties they organize. Get business cards and always have them with you. You never know when you meet someone who could hire you in the future. Have a magic trick or two that you do well always on you, no matter if you are a close up or stage magician. You can impress a potential client in an impromptu situation with the smallest of illusions and your great personality and ability to engage.
Network with people in all aspects of the world of magic. Your magician colleges could have a gig for you.
Take out ads in your local paper or community group publications. Consider some of the online directory services such as Party Pop, Gigsalad, etc. These have costs so choose and test.
Put together a good video of your performances.
Get your headshots/performance photos. Build up your resume and bio.
Grow your social media platforms.
Get your own Youtube channel. You don’t have to put all your material up if you want to keep it somewhat confidential. You can have promo clips and unlisted links to the full video of your acts an agent or buyer might want to review.
Develop a simple website that you can maintain.
Audition for T.V. stage, and variety shows.
Set your mind to being a magician as a business. Develop leads and discover what kind of marketing works best for you and your brand.