What does a magician do?
A magician is an entertainer who performs magic tricks, slight-of-hand routines and card tricks for the amusement of the public at weddings, functions and public gatherings. Magic is a performing art that uses natural means to achieve the illusion of supernatural feats. Modern magic for the purposes of public entertainment typically falls into one of several categories: table magic, performance magic and illusion.
A magician’s responsibilities may be to:
- learn new tricks and practice them to a professional standard
- be entertaining when performing for the enjoyment of public audiences
- arrive at the venue in a timely fashion and perform for the pre-agreed time span
- be courteous, approachable and enthusiastic to members of the public
- work at a specific venue, keep regular gigs or engagements, or work on a contract basis through an entertainment company
- work with various groups, from children to the elderly.
Matt Gore | MAGICIAN | The Ginger Ninja
Why did you choose this profession?
Well, as a youngster, who isn’t fascinated by the art of magic?! I was amazed at the feeling of wonder that magic created, and wanted to share that experience with other people. I was born into a magical family. My uncle, David Gore, was a magician, and the founder and director of the world-famous College of Magic in Cape Town, South Africa. He mentored me and helped shape the performer that I am today.
How would you describe what you do for a living?
As a magician, I get to entertain crowds of people through the art of magic and comedy. I travel the world doing what I love, entertaining anywhere from one to 6 000 guests at a time.
What training did you undergo?
I studied the art of magic at the College of Magic in Claremont, Cape Town. There they teach you all about the art of entertainment and mould you into a performer. After six years, I graduated as Student of the Year and my career began. I am always improving my craft and trying to come up with new material.
What makes a good performer?
Anyone can learn the art of magic, but few will excel at it. It takes someone who is really passionate about their craft, interacting with people and overall being a good entertainer. You need to be a very hard worker and be willing to practice A LOT to master this craft. An air of confidence will also stand you in good stead!
How does experience compare with training?
Nothing can beat experience and in some cases it’s more important. You will spend hours mastering a new effect, then more hours rehearsing it further in front of live audiences. This is where the fine-tuning will occur.
Describe a typical day
A typical day involves interacting with clients by way of enquiries, phone calls, quotations and invoices. In addition to this, I need to ensure my supplies are fully stocked, and must make time to work on my skills and come up with new ideas. Weekends are reserved for shows and gigs. I often have up to five on a Saturday, ranging from family shows to corporate functions and events; this involves travelling from venue to venue to entertain new crowds.
What do you enjoy most?
I love the look of astonishment and amazement on people’s faces when I perform magic. The ‘how the hell did you do that?’ look. I also live for the crowds – there is nothing better than entertaining a large crowd who are laughing with you and enjoying your performance.
What’s been the highlight of your career to date? Probably winning FISM (International Federation of Magic Societies) Africa Magic Championships in 2012, and representing South Africa at the FISM World Magic Championships of Magic twice – once in Sweden and once in London.
Goals for the future? I would like to see how far I can take this magic career. I am currently developing my brand internationally and hoping to travel a bit more and see what this beautiful world has to offer.
Advice for aspiring young magicians? Practice makes perfect. Put in the time, effort and rehearsal hours you need and this career can be very rewarding. Listen to people and give them what they want; you are here to entertain them, after all. Love what you do (very few people can say that).
Your job in three words Unique • Rewarding • Awesome
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO I NEED?
There are no formal educational requirements for the magician profession. Though most magicians have a minimum of a National Senior Certificate, this is not a requirement. It can be helpful to take training courses to learn new tricks and fully develop the magic act, but over time a magician’s training becomes more of a matter of practicing the magic tricks and working on the interpersonal skills required to create a successful act. It can be interesting to keep up with current trends and new tricks, but the best magicians are the ones who offer something unique and interesting, even if that something is old and time-tested.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFO?
South African Magical Society – www.sams.org.za