What It's About
A magician sets aside the magician's code to share the secret behind his magical side hustle.
Words of Wisdom
For aspiring magicians, David has been happy to share some advice—there is no magician’s code stopping him here. Start by having solid routines that you can perform blindfolded. Put together a showreel, no matter how small and limited it might be. Magic is ultimately a sensory experience, and you need to make sure that people are as intrigued as you are. Once you have the basics down, you can start expanding your repertoire and catering your performances to different audiences.
A deck of cards generally does not last much more than a single gig. There are several reasons for this: 1) the audience generally likes to keep signed cards as souvenirs, 2) there’s an abundance of heavy-handed shuffling techniques, and 3) drink-soaked surfaces often result in the speedy destruction of a deck.
Notes from Chris
Ever since he was given a magic book of simple tricks as a child, David Nolan—not to be confused with David Copperfield—has been enthralled by magic. But while he enjoyed his tricks in private and performed occasionally at a friend or relative’s birthday party, he never sought to practice his art in public. To David, magic was not just about performance; it was about the theory and history behind every trick. Mastery was his priority, not the spotlight that came with performing. But later in life, when David heard that a magic-themed bar in his area was holding auditions for magicians, he jumped at the opportunity. A British graphic designer by day, David was happy with his work and never considered performing magic for strangers, but he realized that this was a challenge that he just had to take up. So even though the idea of performing was terrifying, he auditioned for the role. His years of practice would pay off as the bar hired him as their resident magician! This gig would lay the foundation on which David would build his new creative outlet. Six weeks after landing the role at the magic bar, he performed his first show. It was during this first act that he realized how much he loved the adrenaline he felt as he performed every part of his carefully rehearsed set. Even though doing three stand-up shows each night was more challenging than he had anticipated, he knew that there would be no better reward than amazing others. It was also a good complement to his day job: Life as a designer meant a lot of work in isolation, and performing magic gave him an opportunity for creative expression and meeting new people. Determined to accelerate his magic career, David decided that he needed to build a name for himself beyond the Houdini bar. He would give out his business cards to spectators who came to watch him at the bar, which sometimes turned into bookings for him months down the road. He also resolved to build up his social media pages—this turned into another avenue for potential clients to get in touch after watching his showreels. It wasn’t quite as easy as pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but these efforts turned into opportunities to perform at corporate events, private parties, and even at weddings. Quite the sleight of hand for someone who not too long ago had never performed publicly! Although he initially had no intention of making money from performing magic, he’s now managed to generate enough profit in year one to cover his share of his mortgage. With stronger branding, marketing efforts, and an increased skill set, he’s confident that he will do even better in his second year. Like David, you too can turn your dream into reality. It might take more than a wave of the wand, but the reveal is worth the effort.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- David Nolan | Magician: Learn more about David and his magic act over on his website!
- Magician Brothers Make Money Appear From Playing Cards: Twin brothers turn their art of “cardistry” into a highly profitable business. It’s all fun and games as long as they don’t let their profits vanish…
- Mindreading Performer Goes from Dorm Room to Paid Corporate Gigs: A fascination for why people think helps a performing artist shift from earning $2,000 for college shows to $20,000 for corporate events
- “Cosplay” Photographer Earns $47,000 from Epic Star Wars Portraits: A Texas photographer combines his love for art and science fiction to add magic to his photography specializing in cosplay and all things geek
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