If you have been performing magic for some time, one of these days you will get the itch to perform for money. In short, if you are like most magicians in the Philippines, you will want to turn your hobby into a profession.
Monetizing your hobby is not a bad thing to do. Except that many clueless Filipino magicians aren’t ready yet to become professional when the thought of becoming professional crosses their mind.
The un-readiness usually boils down to one thing: the lack of a professional act that is worth a client’s money to hire.
Still, when Filipino aspiring magicians go to online forums and post distress calls like, “In three days, I’ll perform at a paid gig. What tricks will I do?”, believe it or not, one or two helpful pros will actually tell these kids to go ahead and perform at that gig. Even though these kids have no act to speak of, they will encourage them to make fools of themselves in a paid engagement—and to run away with the birthday mom’s money afterward.
The reasoning behind this illogical advice is that Pinoy magicians wanting to turn pro will never learn how to perform for paying clients unless they begin accepting paid gigs.
How in the world are they going to do that and come out looking like professionals?
Simple. Give oneself a deadline. The deadline will force the wannabe-pro to work his butt off practicing tricks and rehearsing his show. By the time the deadline comes around, he should be ready to perform.
Give me a break. For over 20 years, I’ve worked as an employee of a large Philippine bank. In the corporate world, one can hear a common comment from the underachievers and mediocre employees. They claim that they “thrive under pressure of a deadline.”
These types of employee can’t snap out of their inertia and get a project going early enough. At the last moment, they would submit slapdash outputs in a photo-finish fashion and call that thriving under pressure.
It’s inspiring to know that some professional magicians could work under pressure of a deadline. But heavens know that for every seasoned performer, there are two or three (maybe more) inexperienced magicians, who would crumble under pressure if they adopt the cart-before-the-horse strategy.
It is the strategy of selling a non-existing act or show.
Many well-meaning pros bandy about this strategy. They think that bluster can get neophyte performers through the crucible of public performance. All one has to do is to perform a non-existing act and then collect a fee from a very disappointed client.
It is one thing for a talented and seasoned performer to market a half-finished act and try to complete it before show time. It is altogether another matter for a neophyte magician—who has no props, no routines, no experience, is average in every aspect of magic—to sell his non-existent act for a fee.
I think an experience magician can wriggle out of tight deadline, but a novice-wanting-to-turn-pro faces dire prospects if he tries playing an exhibition game like that.
For quite a long time now, it’s been a brainteaser to me why some aspiring pros would not do things the normal and logical way. I can’t think why a beginner magician would not first build an act and market it later, instead of market a non-existent show now and build the act later once a hapless client is found and conned into hiring such non-existent show. Isn’t that the classic putting-the-cart-before-the-horse thing?
Pilots know how to fly planes before they fly planes. Surgeons know how to cut up patients and put them back again before they operate on patients. But some beginning magicians think they can book shows even though they have no shows to perform.
Why would magicians think that way is a riddle to me. Why some pros encourage aspiring magicians to think that way is even a more profound mystery for me.