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In our house, my wife is in-charge of name calling. I hand it to her huge talent and creativity that she is tops when it comes to naming people. Until now, not one of our children has declared plans to sue us in court because of the names we gave them.

PhotobucketWhen my wife is angry, she calls me by my ancestor’s name—homo habilis! When she is nice, though, she calls me Mel Gibson for no apparent reason. This happens every time she asks me to give her the weekly budget for grocery. Over the years, I have been racking my brain thinking of a Mel Gibson movie where Mel keeps giving his wife grocery money. The title of that movie escapes me until now.

Speaking of  names, do you notice that many magicians in the Philippines  today no longer use real names like Tom, Dick and Harry? Instead they give themselves  stage names like The Amazing Tom, Dick the Great and Harrydini?

Actually, I see nothing wrong with stage names. I use one myself.  My issue (and probably the public’s too) is that in some misplaced display of creativity, some magicians go overboard when it comes to choosing or creating stage names. The result is that while some names lack creativity (like the stage name Leodini) many other stage names suffer from a surfeit of imagination. Sometimes, because a performer overreaches for the most creative and memorable stage name,  he ends up walking around burdened with a bizarre name that is neither easy to pronounce nor easy to remember.

To avoid the extravagance of over-creativity, here are some tips on how to choose stage names that will not drive your audience to suicide. Follow them to your own peril…

PhotobucketDon’t name your professional self after famous persons. While Whitney, Britney and Eminem are names many performers may covet today, think of the day when the popularity of these names dims.

Fifty years from now, when your magic career celebrates its golden anniversary, magicians then will be called RHA-23-X-759 and XPS-20-w-842. Out of style and out of place, the name The Amazing Britney will certainly not sound cute anymore.

PhotobucketDon’t name yourself after notorious persons. Bin Laden is out. So is Jack the Ripper and Son of Sam. Don’t call yourself Saddam Jr., unless Saddam Hussein was your father.

Don’t name yourself after popular TV programs. Don’t even think of taking CSI: Miami or Alias as stage name. When I started out in magic, I contemplated naming myself  Thorn Birds after a popular love story serialized on television then. My close friend said that was not a good idea. (Why you can name yourself after a saint and not after TV programs beats me.) My friend was right, so I’ll echo his excellent advice: don’t take a stage name after TV programs.

Don’t name yourself after TV stations… CNN and ESPN may sound good, easy to remember, and a breeze to spell, but believe me, naming your professional self after TV stations borders on audience abuse.

…or Movie Studios. MGM and Paramount may make oodles of money from their hit movies, but that doesn’t mean you will also earn millions just because these studios are your namesakes.

PhotobucketDon’t name yourself and your assistant after your breakfast. Ham and Egg, Bread and Butter and the like sound delicious, but if spoken as names of a magician, they sound ridiculous.

No matter what people say, stage names have something beyond comprehension. If you are like many magicians, who are  not sure what stage name to take, please remember: there’s nothing wrong with Juan, Pablo and Pedro—if those happen to be your real names.

But, of course, don’t take my word for it. I’m not an expert with names.

Stay magical,