Tips and Advice from a Young Magician - Part 2

by Cathal Kielty

In part 2 of my essay to help beginning level magicians, I will provide tips on performing for real audiences, presentation and developing a performing persona as well as originality.

I will presume you have read Part 1 and will also presume that you are practicing more often and only performing tricks that you have mastered. Now I will move into an important part of magic:

1. Your Performing Personality

This is an important area in magic and will help you with the presentation of your magic once you have found your performing personality. A performing persona is the personality you try to give whilst performing. You may try to be mysterious like David Blaine or funny the way Tommy Copper was. Look at your own personality and think would being funny suit me? Would being magical suit me? Once you have found what suits you best you will have made great progress in the art of magic.


I personally believe that presentation and patter are the most important elements in magic. It is this that turns a technical feat into something of wonder and intrigue. But it is something beginner level magicians tend to overlook until later on in their magical lives. For example you could get a spectator to pick a card replace it in the deck and then you could run through the deck and find it. This is not very magical and doing that is what I call leaving a trick naked but if you 'dressed up the trick' by having the spectator pick a card and you then proceed to tell them their card by reading their body language is more magical and with a little bit of imagination it could be turned into something spectacular. Good books to help with presentation is 'Strong Magic' available at most magic shops. Good ways to practice presentation are by getting involved in a local theatre or acting school. By doing this it will not only help your presentation/patter but it will also give you confidence. You should have your presentation work with your performing persona, e.g. If you have your performing persona, to be funny well then your tricks should be funny by using jokes and quick gags throughout the routine. How I work on my presentation is quiet simple, I try to have my performing persona both mysterious and magical so when I have mastered a trick, I look at myself in the mirror doing the trick and I say to myself "if I were magical would I really put my hand in that position?" Or "if I could really do that would I say something like that?" And by asking these questions that I believe are necessary and then by readjusting ones performance you will find your magic will be enjoyed by more.

By this stage I will presume now that you are putting deep thought into presentation, patter and your performing persona, I feel it is time to move into an area known as:

3. Originality

If you want to make it as a magician, I strongly feel you have to be different and original with your magic, which is probably why I am a huge fan of David Blaine and Derren Brown. They went out, were original and are becoming quiet successful. You must find a style that suits you and your performing personality and stick with that and you'll find for being different, you can become successful. So have a little think and be amazed with what you might think up.

Here I will give some tips on performing for real audiences:

4. Tips on Performing

1. Don't be shy; think what's the worst that can happen, you can only gain from the experience.
2. Never perform a trick till you have it fully mastered.
3. Don't charge any money at first only accept what you are given.
4. Stay relaxed, don't be fidgeting.
5. Never perform a trick twice unless you can do it two different ways.

This brings me to the end of my essay. I fully believe those who have read the two parts will benefit greatly. For more tips or advice don't be afraid to email me,

Cathal Kielty

Cathal Kielty June 2002