This is a guest post from a magician named Andrew Mayne. It made me laugh out loud and I just had to share it with you.
I have spent a significant amount of my career working alongside magicians as well as performing magic myself (3 years as Octavius at Caesar’s Magical Empire) and this guy hits the nail on the head.
I think the same thing can be said about most talent competitions and about most types of performance, whether its acting, singing or whatever.
Enjoy – and let me know what you think of his perspective. -Kahlil (at) gigsmacked (dot) com
I get a lot of email from aspiring magicians who see America’s Got Talent as their chance at success.
I try to give good advice, but there’s three things I never say directly to any one person because I don’t want to hurt their feelings. Magic is filled with dreamers. Unfortunately, most of these dreamers have no idea how to turn those dreams into reality or are willing to do the work.
Here are three things everyone who is thinking about trying out for America’s Got Talent needs to know:
You’re not special – they ask everyone to audition
If you get an email from the company that handles booking for AGT asking you to audition, it’s because they found your email address and not because they think you have a chance of winning. You haven’t been “discovered”. They did a Google search for “magician” and your name popped up somewhere.
The job of the company that books for this show is to get as many bodies in the door as possible. 99.99999% they know are absolutely horrible. They love to book train wrecks. They won’t tell you this, they’ll flatter you and think you have a chance. But you don’t, because…
You’re not good
All of the guys you’ve seen on AGT are professionals who have decades in the business. Most of them have worked Vegas and some have even headlined. They worked hard to get where they are. Have you worked steadily as a professional? Would you have to turn down shows and take a huge financial risk if you went on? If you answered “no”, then you’re not going to make it. If you said “yes”, then here’s the last reason you’re not going to make it…
Your act is too damn slow
The single number one enemy of good magicians with good magic is that their material is TV unfriendly. All the really good variety television acts have something happening every 15 seconds. Every video I get sent to look at with almost no exception is way too long. These people have no sense of time. On TV this is deadly. A good illusion done at a slow pace by a mediocre magician is worse then a fast paced mediocre illusion. Faster is better.
So now that I’ve said this, I’m still going to get email from hopefuls who think they are the exception. No matter what evidence reality is offering you, you’re going to ignore it. And sadly, I’m going to be too polite to tell you the truth. And for that I apologize. Break a leg!