When I talk to non-magicians (laymen), they’re often astonished to learn that magicians hold (not-so) secretive meetings and conventions. They’re often intrigued to hear about the things we do at such gatherings. But when I tell them about the competitions, their eyes positively light up.
“You guys compete?!” It’s amazing to them, but when they stop and really think about it, it begins to make sense. So much comes from the competitions magicians have with one another that to not have them would seem truly strange.
What’s that? You’ve never created a competition act? That’s okay, most magicians haven’t. Perhaps you’ve never been to a convention before. Maybe you simply have “nothing to prove”. OR most likely you’ve fallen prey to one of the common objections we’ve all told ourselves. Keep reading below and I hope I can convince you that competing is the best thing for your magic!
Bonus section: What are the rewards of competing?
Well, I guess some people like getting a nice trophy or a plaque. Some competitions even attach a cash award to a placement. And any of the placements at next year’s Florida Close-up Conference and Competition will have a cash award. First place will get $1000!
But that’s not always the best reward. Are you ready for another story? One of my first conventions was the Winter Carnival of Magic in east Tennessee (March, 1999). The winner of the close-up competition that year stole the show with a perfectly charming dice-stacking routine (involving a mechanical mind-reading chimpanzee). Later that evening, in the close-up lounge, the room was full of activity. Magicians of all ages and skill levels were sitting around tables, sharing ideas. I learned a lot that year.
Into the room walk Johnny Thompson and Tommy Wonder (with full retinue). I saw over at one table a huge crowd had formed. Seated at the table with some of the big names in magic was the magician who had won first place. They were playing “pass the deck.” And I realized in that moment that the prize of winning wasn’t the plaque or trophy. It wasn’t anything monetary at all. It was that moment. That moment where you’re sitting among those you had always looked up to in the past, that moment where you’re one of them.
That was the prize.
We hope to see you all next May.