A series of pointers for developing and improving your magic show.

One of the mixed blessings of gradually finding yourself a ‘senior representative’ in the magic community is that you get increasing amounts of people asking advice about the performance of magic. It is definitely true that after 50 years as a full-time magic professional I have plenty of answers.

Nowadays I feel increasingly comfortable expressing my opinions, because to have an extensive ‘getting paid to perform’ background definitely teaches one things that you can only guess about when you are first planning and plotting to make a serious living doing something that is, to most people, just a rather expensive hobby.

Whether these answers of mine are right or wrong is a totally subjective matter, but they are certainly worth seriously thinking about. You might decide I am totally incorrect, and for yourself this might well be the case. However, one thing I can assure you is that they are pretty darn good questions that are worth thinking about and then defining and postulating your own responses.

With all this in mind I have formulated a 20-part checklist if you want to be a successful comedy magician. Most of the questions and answers are highly applicable or easily adaptable to every kind of magic. I have made my living primarily as a comedy magician since the ‘60s and feel most comfortable using that genre as my primary focus, however along the way my performances have embraced every aspect of magic with the exception of street magic or busking. Therefore if you peddle your performance on the pavement feel free to ignore every word!

I have a list of 20 pointers that might well speed up your learning curve and improve your show. I will dedicate my next 19 posts to the remainder of this list.


1      “How do I book a paying gig?”

 First you get together a show that is worth booking. Not a series of good trick tricks, but a fully developed show where the whole is greater than the various parts. Then you go out and perform that show every chance you get until it is polished and worth getting paid to see. It is always wise to remember that old saying, “An amateur rehearses until he gets it right and a pro rehearses until it can’t go wrong.” While it isn’t as snappy a ground rule but I would amend this to include automatically knowing what to do when things go wrong so that the audience doesn’t realize you messed up!

When you have your show ready to go, then just start performing it every chance you get, without worrying about the salary part. The more people who see you performing a good show then the more likely you are to get bookings. The necessary back up at this point is to have a good business card, a professional website and a strong video. I often notice performers who are trying to break into the business who become obsessed with their marketing/social media plans, while most of them would be far better served by polishing every factor of their acts.



~ by Nick Lewin on March 21, 2018.

2 Responses to “A series of pointers for developing and improving your magic show.”

  1. Thank you, Nick, for sharing the real work.

    Vic Brisbin

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    • Thank you Vic, I am VERY pleased you enjoyed it, the important stuff is to come. It is adapted from two articles I wrote for Vanish. I really did want to see how concisely I could sum up the most important things I have gathered from my 50 pus year learning curve. Cheers, Nick

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