Magic Musings

Magical Beginnings of a Boston Magician part 5

Boston Adult Birthday Magician

Boston The Best in Magic Entertainment's Favorite Adult Birthday magician

Society of American Magicians

Continuing from my last entry, I was at Diamond’s Magic getting to know the owner, Eddie Gardner. It pleasantly surprised me to learn that Eddie discounted all books at 20%. I believe it was the same with VHS Videos. (It was a long time ago.) Well, at this point in my life, I had some expendable income, so my library quickly filled in.

On one visit to the shop, Eddie was telling me about a lecturer coming to SAM 104. (SAM stands for The Society of American Magicians.)

I hesitated, as I am a bit of a loner. Never joining clubs as a young boy. I think Eddie took my hesitation as a sign that I didn’t want to pay the fee for the lecture. So, he invited me to be his guest… no charge. That was nice, but money was not the issue, just my insecurity, so I took a leap of faith and joined the club. It was a great experience. I learned a lot from the lectures and had a place to perform without judgment.

Learning the Craft of Performing Magic

The members of the club were welcoming and encouraged me to perform. I made a few friends who remain friends to this day. I still was not performing for “real people.” which refers to laypeople. However, a few of us who wanted a little more than a monthly meeting began getting together once a week. It was an additional safe space to perform. 

I learned several members performed professionally or semi-professionally, something I never considered, as I always thought I was not good enough to do so.

With all the information I had with my library and videotapes, I learned Strolling/Walk Around Magic. Even when I thought I was ready, I did not want to take anyone’s money until I was confident in my ability to entertain with magic.

A friend of mine knew a woman who was putting on a graduation party for her son and recommended me as entertainment. So, I had a job, well not an actual job, as I would not take any money. I insisted on working for free.

My first performance at the Graduation party went very well. It was obvious the graduates enjoyed the magic by their excited reactions. The success of that performance gave me the confidence to proceed performing as a semi professional magician.

My Website

I now felt ready to go to work, and at just the right time, another friend offered to set up a website for me, at no charge. This was a game changer. I had met Walter Osterman through the SAM. We shared an interest in magic and enjoyed each other’s company at the local club and attended a few local conventions. I didn’t realize it, but Walter ran his own business, Social Mavens a marketing and communications agency.

Walter did it all. He came to my house, took pictures and some promo video. He put together a professional website and ran it for me for ten years, simply out of kindness.

If not for Walter’s efforts, I would not be doing what I enjoy in my retirement years. All I can say is THANK YOU. (In capital letters.) 

Performing as a semi-professional Magician in Massachusetts

Over the last eleven years, I have had a great journey. I still perform much of the same material I used in my first performance. The material evolves with repeated performances. You get some of the best lines by listening to your audience. The more opportunities you have to perform improves every aspect of the material. I am still learning and working at being a better entertainer each time I perform.

Referring to being a semi professional is intentional to not ruffle the feathers of the “professionals”. I deliver professional caliber magic, but I don’t pay all my bills, health insurance, etc. from my magic income. (I pay taxes on it.)

As for the full-time professionals, I have the ultimate respect. A serious professional needs to work constantly, and earn enough to pay for their own health care, not to mention, setting up their own investments for their retirement. This requires serious self discipline, and few “pros” really commit strictly to this regiment.

Advice on becoming a Professional Magician

 If you decide to take this path, I would recommend you seek the wisdom of Paul Gertner.

If you ask nicely, I know Paul will share the “secrets of success”. I’m talking about the business side requirements. Paul is one of the most successful trade show magicians of my time.

What he cannot share is his hard earned talent. His list of accomplishments is very long. You may have heard of him from his appearances on Penn and Teller Fool Us. Magicians know Paul for his Steel and Silver routine. Which is a cups and balls routine with steel ball bearings. The steel balls make the trick “impossible” to understand for magicians and laypeople. He has contributed magic to David Copperfield. Also contributing material to the fraternity. He put out a VHS/DVD series named after his book Steel and Silver. One of his most popular card tricks in his book and videos series, “Unshuffled” has found its way into the repertoire of many working magicians.

If you are in the Boston area, you can catch Paul at his show, Miracles and Other Deceptions.

If you live in the Boston area and want a Parlor Show or Strolling Magician, please contact me. 339-927-4710 The Very Best in Close-Up Magic! (except for Paul Gertner and a couple others, call me and I’ll let you know who they are.)

Thanks for making it through 5 blogs of Magical Beginnings.