It greatly saddens me how most (but not all as shown by this thread) adult magicians in the world now think negatively about the youth doing magic because of the amount of kids who don't perform well. Just because the majority of underage magicians at this moment in time are "Youtube, Blaine, Angel, exposers" does not mean that all of them are. Sure, there are many out there, sure I have encountered more than I can count, and sure I have given them advice only for them to not follow it and tell me the next day that they "Prefer to do it their way", but there are also the magic protÃ©gÃ©es that are underage.
I know of a 12 year old magician who has been doing kids shows for over 2 years, for pay, and (not sure of the exact amount) probably does around 2 shows every month for private parties. He is incredible, and has even been able to teach me some things about magic. He is devoted to his art, and spends all of his spare time doing magic. He has been doing magic longer than some of the "Professionals" here, some of which may/may not have even posted in the previous thread criticizing young magicians. I have only seen him make a mistake in an effect once, ever. And he has wowed me with even tricks that I knew the methodology behind. He will be incredible when he grows up, and is incredible now, and I am very grateful that he did not read the previous thread a day before his first show and then give up on his dream.
Magic IS suffering an epidemic of young magicians exposing out art, but there are also the you magicians that are working wonders in our art, who will be the next Banachek, the next Paul Harris, the next Johnny Thompson.
Now look back on this post and try to guess my age.
The sad thing is, I, at age 14, am open-minded enough to realize this. To realize that not every kid is a "Youtuber".
The kid talked about above is not me, but a kid at my local SYM assembly, assembly #29 of the Boston, MA area.
My story is the following:
I saw my first trick from my dad at age 4 and was interested in magic ever since. At age 6 I started to get interested in how the tricks were done, and my father taught me very simple tricks (the only few tricks he knew that were not card effects that he was taught) and although I screwed them up (I was 6, so I was allowed) I loved performing them every single time I had the chance. At age 7 I got my first magic book, and started practicing the card and rope effects in them (at 7 I was not too fond of coin magic and could not afford stage props), I practiced them until I got them right, and although I WILL admit to getting anxious at times and showing them to my mom or dad when they were not perfected, I never, even at age 7, showed them to anyone else until they were perfected. By age 8-9 I had started getting better in magic, and showed a new trick about every week at school, I'll also admit to repeating them, but it was the practice in front of REAL people that mattered then, not the fact that I repeated a simple trick that half of them already knew. Around age 10 I bought Mark Wilson's Complete Course in magic, and started learning from that. I then turned into what you would call a "Teen" when I was about 10-11, and started buying everything I could from Penguin...And I mean EVERYTHING that I could afford, ripped open the packaging, and played with the tricks before reading the instructions...But I learned, and I kept the spark of magic alive in me. I then put on a show for my grandparents around the age of 12. I then kept trying to put together a stage show, but being the know-it-all that I was, I "knew" I needed to 100 dollar props to make my show a success and continued buying things and doing close-up magic with cards and coins at school (I did magic at school from 5th grade until now, the end of 8th grade).
I have now created a stage act, and am working on a second one, and now also have 3, 10-minute close up acts for kids, kids and adults, and purely adult groups. I have done 1 paid show, at age 13 might I add, which was a strolling Christmas party gig, a charity show for the Knights of Columbus for a Christmas party, and a charity show for a festival that my synagogue hosts every single year. I also have a show lined up for June 6th which will be a stage show for the kindergarten at a local school, and am also going to talk to the principal of one of the elementary schools in the next town over to see if I can also do a charity show there. They don't hire me out of pity, they hire me because I tell them how long I have done magic, give them a brief description about what will happen, and show them the strongest thing I have been working on lately. I also hook them in with the "freeness" of the show, but what they may/may not realize, is that me doing the show there IS paying off, because they are *forcefully* publishing me and my number in their publications that go out as e-mails and newsletters.
I AM also going to talk to a local restaurant about having a summer job there under a contract as a strolling magician. 2-3 days a week for 1.5-2 hours a day. What resources do I have on the subject of restaurant magic? Kirk Charle's Complete Guide to Restaurant Magic. What did I learn from it? Always carry extra props because [edited] will happen. How to make a good contract. How to get a 99% chance of being hired for at least one night. How much to charge. Who to perform to and who to avoid. How to approach a table. And when and when not to approach a table. The best way to dress, and to not over-dress compared to the manager. What did I think up on my own? To create a "Rate the magician" card for the first night that I work. Show the manager how many people liked me, and how many didn't. Also to show the manager if they will now mention the restaurant to a friend because of me (which every restaurant worker here knows, basically tells the manager that I am justified in charging "x" amount of money).
Am I in magic to make money? Yes AND No.
Am I into magic to become famous? No, however nice that may be, it is not the reason I do magic.
Am I in magic because I love it? Yes.
Is the only reason I wish to make money doing magic is to make a living and support myself and my future family doing what I love? Yes
What is my main reason I love magic so much? The look of astoundment, amazement, and astonishment in a spectator's eyes when an effect is perfectly executed.
If you skipped ahead most of this reply because of the length, stop here and continue reading please.
And now to everyone who still believes I am too young to start doing magic professionally (even though I already have shows lined up and have shows under my belt, it does not make me a professional) I will tell you what Johnny Thompson himself told me when I saw him at Hank Lee's Annual Cape Cod Magic Conclave on the last day of the convention when I sat down and talked one on one with him for a few minutes.
He told me to do as many shows as I can, do them for free, and do them everywhere. Do not do them to get rich, and do not do them to become famous. Work at hospitals, do shows for kids, perform every minute you can and anywhere you can.
Now, I already planned on doing the above but was hesitant; hearing them from Johnny Thompson himself made all the difference to me.
He started out that way, and he started out in his teens. He NEVER did magic to become famous, but to make a living and support his family doing what he loved.
I know I probably did not turn many of you with my post...I know everyone except a special one or two of you read the entire thing (and for those that did not, I encourage you do take the time and do so when you get a chance)..But as long as I made one of you see the light, even if just barely, with this post, then my job here is done.
I also apologize for the lengthiness of this post, but I believe everything that was said, was essential to be put out there, out in the open.
All the best to all of you, and all your magic,