Alright I’ll just say it: magician is a sucky word.
It fails to accurately describe what most magicians do, and the general public’s view of a magician is far too narrow to encourage them to go searching beyond the connotations and stereotypes the word brings forth.
I mean let’s clear things up: I don’t do kids shows, I’ve never pulled a rabbit out a hat, I don’t fool you to make you look and feel stupid, and my apartment isn’t crammed with doves! But I am a magician.
And it would be great if there were two or three syllables which the general population understood as a word which communicated all of that.
FAILURE TO DEFINE
But guess what, mindfreak, prestidigitator, conjuror, reality bender, illusionist, master mystifier, surrealist, sleight-of-hand artist, magus, etc. aren’t gonna do the trick.
Nobody knows what those words mean! By calling yourself any of the above terms you are raising more questions than you are answering. And don’t mistake that with being a good thing. All it means is that you and your confused onlooker will dance around the word “magician” until finally you choose to either A) admit that that’s what you are, or B) firmly deny that you, a person who performs seemingly supernatural feats, should be called a magician.
It comes off as shameful.
Are you ashamed of being a magician? Here’s one reason why you shouldn’t be!
Michael Kent has an article on his blog where he discusses his own struggles with the term “magician.” He recounts a networking event he attended where he decided to very directly introduce himself with “I’m Michael Kent. I’m a magician.” No following up with, “but it’s not what you think,” or “but I make people laugh too.” Very simple. His “personality, [his] appearance and [his] rapport would tell the rest of the story.”
And here’s the coolest part: Michael says that “every set of eyes I said it to lit up. It was a total different reaction.”
In a way, us magicians (especially us professional ones) are like astronauts. Nobody expects to meet an astronaut. We know they exist, but come on, being an astronaut is just a fantasy every kid dreams of being when they grow up. Nobody actually accomplishes it!
[pause for your to think about that for five seconds]
Honestly, I think it is wrong of us to deprive our audiences, or anyone else we interact with, of that moment when they are introduced to a real magician. I want to see more people’s eyes light up just from that encounter. Sounds magical.
But we aren’t going to get there if we are running shamefully from the best word which describes what we do and who we are. Yes, the word is not perfect. It has a lot of bad connotations, but it also has some good ones as well.
Lets embrace those. Lets embrace the fact that being a magician is a rare and special thing. Lets embrace the fact that our presence, even our existence, has the power to cheer-up, enlighten, and inspire others.
Introduce yourself as a magician. Pure and simple. Let everything else about you and your performance speak for itself. Let them enjoy the moment where they go to meet a real life magician.
It’s probably the best opening effect you’ll do.
Know somebody who needs to hear this? Please pass it along to them!
Have your own insights? Please comment below!
Did you really read this far down? Thank you so much, you are awesome!