Evolve Your Magic & Yourself Before it is Too Late by ‘Magic Babe’ Ning

J C’s Note: 3 years ago, I wrote an essay called “The Magic Evolution & You”. Ning has expounded on this issue with her own thoughts, mirrored by her ever evolving magic, style & image. Just check out how much her magic and image have changed in just the last 5 years. Here is the essay in her own words:

Question: David Beckham, Madonna, Ellen DeGeneres and Leonardo DiCaprio… What exactly do they have in common?

These stars are all hugely successful mainstream artistes who have kept themselves in the spotlight by creating their own unique brand of entertainment (sports, music, comedy/ talk show, acting, etc) that hold a wide mass appeal. These individuals have also put much effort and thought in constantly revamping their style, image and chops to ensure they remain interesting and current to their audience.

As fellow entertainers, we magic folk can certainly learn much from our sassy commercial counterparts. Magic performers need to do the same constant evolution, prob­ably not at the same radical level but it is so very essential for your magic to be current, relevant and mirror mainstream pop culture entertainment.

Shift and dare to change, or be left behind in today’s fast moving world where the Internet is a double-edged sword. Like with any art or entertainment form, the image of magic evolves over time. The trend of today’s magic is incredibly different from the style magic from just last decade. If you are still performing for today’s audience in top hat and tails, producing silks from a classic change bag, or making a rabbit appear, you are unfortunately behind about three decades.

The recent movie, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”, poked fun at magicians and showed how “out of times” and “out of sync” they are with modern pop culture. In fact, the movie showed how lame magicians generally are. Sad… but true.

The-incredible-burt-wonderstone

The only thing constant in life is change, and I’m sure that you would have noticed that the image of magic worldwide has always been constantly evolving. Every two decades or so, there is a dynamic shift in the presentation of magic. The look of magic is usually set by the most influential magicians of that particular time. Top performers like Robert Houdin, Harry Houdini, Channing Pollack, Doug Henning, David Copperfield and more recently David Blaine & Criss Angel have all been responsible for creating the image of magic of their time.

If you acknowledge your show is not in line with modern audi­ence’s expectations of magic today, there is hope yet because you see the possibilities of growth. Set aside your pride and ego for a bit and challenge yourself to explore what can be done better, since you are a living reflection of the image of magic as much as any other magician.

Now, I am in no way encouraging or even suggesting that you should be a clone of David Blaine, Criss Angel or whoever that may be the hottest flavour of the time. Jumping on the fad bandwagon will just make you look like a carbon copy and part of the indistinguishable ‘me-too’ crowd. So, bad idea to be a cookie cutter! You owe it to yourself to be your own person.

Consider for a moment, without pride or ego… When was the last time you revamped your act or added an act that elevated your performance so that it is reflective of current times? Have you been performing the same material for the past 10 years and not given it a commercial overhaul? And, I’m not talking about technical refinements or changing the colour of your cards/ silks/ birds/ canes/ parasols, so please, don’t even go there, unless you’re a jackass. Then I’ll personally come over to smack you in the face with your plastic appearing cane.

Thanks to globalization, our world is getting smaller and life seems to move faster every single day. Social media, the Internet, growth of new economies and countries influence pop culture trends and trends. There are fads and there are trends. Fads last months, trends last longer. Trends used to last around 5 to 10 years, now they last just 2 to 3 years due to the speed the world moves. Of course, this is dependent on your target market but I’m using international standards as a benchmark. People are easily bored and want to be wowed by the next ‘in’ thing.

What’s needed is to identify and pick elements, which reflect the current evolved image of magic as well as pop culture and infuse it into your style and/or act. Here’s some tried and proven things I’ve personally utilized in my commercial magic career, that you can also use to spruce up your unique image and brand of magic. Dedicate some soul-searching time to consider…

Choice of Material:

Is your choice of show material and props used considered current to your audience  If you are performing an act still using cassette tapes, Walkmans, old-fashioned bulky TVs, ancient typewriters, bulky mobile phones or other things that society has pretty much considered “retired”, your act will inevitably look dated. That is, unless you’ve structured your show to be themed in a “blast from the past” type of feel.

While some things may be respected as iconic and classic in magic, do bear in mind that while these are things magicians embrace, the rest of the world (i.e. mainstream public and media) may regard otherwise when they see top hats, canes, and rabbits. Don’t fall into this trap because when you follow the herd, you step on a lot of crap.

Structure of Magic:

Is the structure of your act just like everyone else’s? Certain acts have almost a template feel to them and the only difference (to the lay public) is just the magician performing it. At one time, everyone was doing doves, zombies and cards. Then it was the incorporation of canes, silks and snowstorms. Now, one of the magic fads is the CD manipulation act.

Can you honestly say you have a uniquely different product, or does your act/ show have the same formulistic structure that other magic acts commonly have? Can you change your act or show order, so it breaks the conventional rules or typical structures of magic shows? Award-winning mainstream movies like “Memento” and “Usual Suspects” did not follow conventional storytelling of film making and stood out from the norm. Use that for inspiration, to shine out!

Dressing:

What do you wear when you perform? Are you still in a 1990s Matrix-style black leather trench coat or god-forbid 1940s black tuxedo or even worse, painfully shiny 1970s sequined jacket? Are you in an obvious costume or dressed in something more normal? Where do you get your clothes from? A high-fashion retail outlet? A costumer? Does your mother/ wife/ girlfriend dress you?

Sure, I understand that magic attire has specific needs, but that is still no excuse not to have a current look that is fashionable or stylish. Consider what celebrities wear. Would they get their outfits from the same place that you do? I’m not asking you to shell out tons of money for designer wear and don’t be a wise ass about Lady Gaga’s Kermit the frog get-up *wink*

Hairstyle:

What do you sport? Does it feel dated? Is it the same hairstyle you’ve had since the 1980s? On the flipside, is your hairstyle too extreme for the general audience? If you are losing hair, do something about it! Comb-overs maybe only work if you do comedy, but you really don’t want your audience feeling sorry for you.

Grooming is important, and whoever said your hair is one’s crown­ing glory, really got that right. But! Here’s a tip from a female of the species. If you are seriously losing hair and can’t get a good wig or hair plugs, just consider shaving it all off. Grow a nice goatee, stay in good shape, tweeze your brows… You may just look sexy and badass. Women love that. Trust me!

Music:

Music is always an accurate reflection of the current time and a fitting piece of music for an act or routine makes a good act, great. Besides creating the perfect mood and feel for your magic, music also puts a time-stamp on your act. If you are do­ing a deliberate classical, themed, or period act to a time period, your music choice will be specific. However, if you are doing a general magic act or illusion, then your music needs to be up­dated every 5 years.

Please refrain from copying the music from other people’s per­formances, though you may find it perfect for whatever your intended purpose is (a similar act or otherwise). If I collected ten bucks every time I hear that particular soundtrack from string-quartet Bond blasting in a magic performer’s show or card manipulation act, and gave all the money to World Vision, I think my adopted kid in Mongolia can afford a PhD by now. LOL!

Script:

How do you write your lines, plan your story, and work on your all-important script? Where do you research jokes or lines?

Unfortunately, many magicians tend to use the exact same lines and this is evident if you attend magic conventions or magic production shows. It does get old quickly for an educated audience and that obviously, works against the performer. Ensure that your jokes are “fresh” and your script is topical. Throwing in current buzzwords are good if they are in context because people like that.

That’s something the most successful comedians and speakers use, so it’d be wise to follow in their footsteps.

 Case Study

As I think it is always important for one to practice what they preach, I thought I would share with you my own process that I have used to evolve my image and magic as my stage character, ‘Magic Babe’ Ning.

When I first started out professionally, I was pretty clueless about most things. Dressed in a dark trench coat, I wore a white long sleeve shirt and black leather pants.

Early Ning

Subsequently, I swapped my conservative top for something a bit more showy. It was a bareback silver sequined number that is held together only by 2 strings. One tied to the back and the other at the nape of the neck like a halter. Obviously, it sold sexiness much more than the previous costume and I used it because my skill sets to agents and bookers were already established. Every year, I changed my wardrobe to keep it fresh; from a sleek black corset, fitted with boning within to a sexy red vinyl corset to a black sequin bare-backed top, which I had professionally customized for a better fit.

Linking Coat Hangers

Earlier last year, I had my long tresses chopped off, a big sacrifice since most women regard long hair as a symbol of femininity, and instead I had my hair layered short with shocking purple streaks. I was completely comfortable being in my own skin. My attitude oozed that, and that gutsy part of me was reflected. FLY Entertainment, my artiste management company, supported the move and the media and fans loved it. Comments started coming in that they liked the fresh change. Now, my hair is actually hot pink! Something, I’ve always wanted to do at least once in my life.

coathangers

Besides my image, my material has also evolved over the years. The illusions I perform with my partner J C Sum are constantly being tweaked, whether it is a change in choreography, update in illusion design or update in music. We also add/ replace one or two illusions every two years to our show.

My favourite illusion “Crystal Metamorphosis” went through multiple changes over a 3 year period. An illusion we are quite known for “360 Sawing” has gone through two complete redesigns to make it even more deceptive. You can watch us perform the 2nd version in the recent NYE 2011 taping of Le Plus Grand Cabaret Du Monde in Paris and the 3rd & current version that we performed on Italy TV.

le plus2009 – 2011 Design

Italy TV

2012 – Present Design

However, my personal solo acts have also evolved since over time. I started with softer acts like a cut & restored rope performed under UV light and a linking coat hanger routine. Now, I perform more edgy acts such as a razor blade act, but with the addition of eating a torch of fire. I also added a “Human Block Head” routine (nail up nose) but with a 4” drill bit. This fits my more matured and edgy image.

For the longest time, I performed my “Straight Jacket Striptease” routine with a custom burgundy straight jacket. The routine has now been improved to a double straight jacket routine where I’m strapped up in two regulation-looking straight jackets. I still perform the “striptease” part but with two jackets “wink”.

straight jacket striptease

straight jacket striptease

For the sake of your pursuit in magic and for the sake of the art, please evolve!

Best of luck with your journey of evolution in magic!

If you enjoyed this article, you can check out my original books/ plans/ DVDs HERE and use this Promo Code “5OFF2014” upon Checkout to receive a 5% discount off all books, sets, DVDs, plans & downloads.

Choosing Your First Grand Illusion for Modern Illusionists

In Nov 2012, Ning & I completed a 5-week 21-city “3 Sides of Magic” lecture tour in France, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany. We also had the pleasure of being invited to tape a second appearance at the world-famous television show, Le Plus Grand Cabaret Du Monde, in Paris during the same trip. It was a pleasure meeting up with almost 1000 European magicians in the course of our travels and sharing our brand of magic.

While our lecture covered our professional work in close, mentalism and cabaret magic, we devoted one segment of the lecture to grand illusions. Specifically, we discussed what would be a good very first illusion for a new performer to illusions or for a close-up or stand-up magician who has been asked to stage a large-scale act for a special show.

So, if you missed our lecture, here are our thoughts on the subject, just for you!

The first thing you need to do is to identify the level of your performance of this first illusion. For lack of better terms, I will distinguish between a professional and an amateur performance for purposes of this discussion, we define a professional performance as a paid gig where you are engaged as a professional entertainer to perform for an audience. For an amateur performance, you may be paid a token sum of money but not a professional fee. This performance might be for a friend’s function, wedding, school show, church event, magic club show or charity event.

This is by no means to look down on amateur performances but it is to highlight the necessity for a stricter criteria when choosing your first illusion for a professional gig as expectations from the client/ audience are different.

For professional performances, you have a certain expectation to fulfill of your client who booked you or your paying audience if you do your own theatre show. They will be more critical of your material, performance and overall show production value. Overly common illusions performed with little original style may not be enough to impress your paying audience. Your illusion (and rest of your show) should look professional. I am not saying that it has to have to be a chromed industrial-looking prop or a painted box, but an old card box put together with fraying duct tape will not make the cut for most professional performances. The exception would be if you were using a “beat-up” prop amidst a professional illusion set to create contrast.

If your illusion is for an amateur performance, you will have slightly more latitude in the look of your props, standard and originality of performance, not implying that artistic quality and standards should or need to be compromised. Makeshift props fabricated with careful detail out of cardboard ala U.F. Grant’s “Victory Cartons” or Andrew Mayne’s “Voodoo Box” will be good enough.

After taking into account the level of performance that you are staging the illusion, basic and practical considerations when choosing your first illusion include:

  • The illusion must complement your performing style and character
  • The performing venue & conditions – size of stage, private backstage area, side wings
  • The audience searing angles, sightlines, audience distance
  • Your mode of transportation – car, MPV, van, lorry, public transport
  • Your illusion budget
  • Your support crew – availability of illusion assistant(s), stage hands, secret assistants

Here are the three most common recommendations for a first illusion.

The Substitution Trunk. This is a classic Houdini illusion where the magician is locked into a box or trunk. The assistant stands on top and raises a curtain. Split seconds later, the performers exchange places with the magician standing on top of the trunk and the assistant inside the trunk.

The Broom Suspension. Created by Robert Houdin, two brooms are placed vertically under a girl’s arms. The girl’s legs are lifted up horizontal so her body is parallel to the ground. One broom is removed and the girl magically suspends in the air in one broom.

A Box-style Illusion. This refers to any “box jumper” illusion where a girl goes inside a box and the box is speared, stabbed or divided. Examples of such illusions include the Sword Basket or Sword Box, Robert Harbin’s “Zig Zag Girl”, Jim Steinmeyer’s “Modern Art”, Gunther Puchinger’s “Mini Kube Zag”, Jack Gwynne’s “Sword Temple” (also known as the Temple of Benares)  or my “Blade Pyramid” (that is available as a free e-plan if you search hard enough. Hint, listen to one of my audio shows).

These are all excellent illusions in their own right as they are relatively inexpensive, can pack flat or fairly small and can be performed in most conditions.

While we agree these are all great illusions and good starting illusions, not all three are ideal as the very first illusion, especially if you are an occasional performer, part-time professional or weekend warrior. The Substitution Trunk and Broom Suspension are not ideal first illusions.

J C Ning Crystal Metamorphosis

The Substitution Trunk is not a good very first illusion as it requires a lot of time to learn and eventually perfect. It is extremely difficult and physical in nature. If you are not a full-time magician or not full-time into illusions, it is unlikely that you can devote a considerable amount of time to practice and rehearse. Realistically, you may have only two to three days of two hours each to rehearse. And, you would have to coordinate your schedule with your assistant who is not likely to be your full-time assistant. The Sub Trunk requires hours and hours over weeks of rehearsal just to perform smoothly, as such, it is not an ideal first illusion although it is a fantastic illusion for a subsequent illusion after you have some experience in illusions.

The Broom Suspension is not an ideal first illusion for several reasons. First, the method requires a harness that should be custom fitted to your assistant. So, you will need to use the same assistant each time or an assistant of very similar build. The illusion also requires the assistant to have strong abdominal and thigh muscles to keep her body straight during the suspension so that the illusion will look good. If this is your first illusion, it is unlikely that you will have a professional dancer or assistant. You will likely be asking your wife, girlfriend, daughter, mother or grandmother to assist you. If they are not trained dancers or fitness instructors, chances are, they will find the illusion very difficult and even painful to perform. The experience will not be positive and they may not want to assist you after your first rehearsal.

There is another reason why the Broom Suspension is not ideal as a very first illusion due to the lack of production value. When a client books an illusion show, they expect to see big illusion props and flashy costumes. While it is a cliche and, as magicians, we know that the prop does not represent quality of an illusionist, laymen clients are different. They expect production value and see it directly proportionate to the money they pay. A Broom Suspension unfortunately does not have tremendously production value as the main props are two brooms. If this is the only illusion you perform in an illusion show, it might not fulfill client expectations.

This does not mean the Broom Suspension not a good illusion because it is very effective in the right context. If you perform a full illusion show with multiple large illusions, the Broom Suspension is an excellent illusion to put in the middle of the program. Once you have established yourself as an illusionist with the “big toys”, you explain to the audience that you would like to present an illusion with some ordinary items that you found backstage. You then bring out the brooms and present the Broom Suspension. In this context, this illusion plays very well and no client will have an issue with it in terms of lack of production value.

levitation

So, the best first illusion to perform is a box-type illusion. First, the box illusion is also a large prop that will satisfy clients looking for production value. Most box illusions can fit different sized girls so it does not have to be precisely custom fitted to your assistant. You can also learn most basic box illusions in one session of two hours and later make the performance smooth with a few more sessions. Your assistant and you can work out the basic choreography of the illusion and the order of movements in a relatively short time.

Finally, a box illusion will also teach you basic illusion presentation skills, movement, prop handling and choreography. This will help you in the performance of future illusions.

One important point to note about box illusions is that it is very easy to perform them badly. You often hear the criticism that illusionists are “box pushers”. This is because many illusionists (professionals included) perform box illusions very badly.

There are many aspects of a box illusion performance that are easy to perform badly and that affect the entire performance. Besides badly designed props that are ugly and not deceptive, the performance of a box illusion contains many non-magic actions that are not magical moments but are necessary for the performance of the illusion.

These include non-magic actions such as opening/ closing a door to a prop, removing a cloth, turning a prop around, taking swords/ spears/ tubes from a stand or stage hand or moving panels, illusion parts or catches. Many performers do not think about how to present such non-magic actions. As a result, these actions are performed without thinking how they look or take too much time to perform. Every non-magic action has to be well thought out and choreographed. The actions must be performed smoothly and with economy of action. That means that any single action should be accomplished with the least amount of movements. In any single illusion performance, there can easily be ten non-magic actions to perform. So, it is critical to ensure these actions are short and look elegant so that the entire illusion performance will be polished and professional.

Magic Babe Ning Spike Box

Here are some final first-illusion tips:

  • If you do intend to purchase or build a standard or common illusion, create a different and enhanced presentation or variation. This will help you make the illusion look different and is a good creative process that will help you develop future illusion presentations.
  • Do not get short-duration illusions as your first and only illusion. If you are performing your first illusion, it will likely be the closer for your show so it has to have a substantial effect in content and duration. An instant appearance may look good but if it takes only 30-seconds to perform, it will not be suitable.
  • Choose self-contained illusions that do not require a pre-load. If you choose an appearance illusion where your assistant has to be loaded, then you have to perform it at the start of the show. If you are not performing on a proper theatre stage, you may also not even have stage wings or a private area where the assistant can be secretly loaded into the prop. Illusions of this nature include a “Flash Appearance”, “Fire Cage” or “Shadow Box”.
  • Instead of performing one big illusion, you can also consider performing several small illusions or illusionettes like “Dagger Head Chest”, “Head Twister”, “Torch through Arm”, “Sword through Neck”, “Arm/ Head Chopper” or “Chair Suspension”. These are all time-tested mini illusions that are affordable and easy to perform.

Best of luck with your first grand illusion!

Working with Female Partners by ‘Magic Babe’ Ning

Featured

Here is a great article by Ning that has been published in a few international magic magazines. It is an insightful and modern look at male performers working with female assistants, partners or co-performers from a female’s perspective. It is a worthy read for all performers looking to expand from a solo act to a show that incorporates other female performers. Here is the article in Ning’s own words:

Ning Revollusion

Stage magicians and illusionists will at some point, seriously consider having an assistant or performing partner be part of their show. This could be an effort to increase the scale of the show, making things look bigger and more lavish, or to be able to employ magic methods and techniques that utilize one more person.

Besides my solo show, I also perform in an equal partnership role with a male magician. JC Sum & I work with assistants (male and female) as well as female dancers. In this article, I will be sharing my perspective as both a female stage performer & an objective audience member watching male magicians work with their female partners and dancer/ assistants.

Define the Role of Your Female Partner/ Assistant to the Audience

So how do we first begin? Well, the very first thing to do when working with a female partner is to be extremely clear what role she plays in the show.

Clearly define: Is she your stage equal? Is she a stage assistant or stage hand?

If she is your stage equal, she must hold an equal role and not just be billed as an equal. It is essential that she have an equal time being the protagonist on stage and hold the stage as strong as you would. Her costuming must be as loud or attractive as yours so that both of you shine as brightly as stars, together.

If she is an assistant, however, her principle role is to support the show and not pull focus from the show and you, the magician. Her position on stage should always be a step behind you and her actions must compliment yours. Her costume must not be too loud so that it pulls focus away from you every time she steps on stage, because you are the star.

Now, if her role is that of being your stage hand, she must be invisible to the audience. Ideally, the audience should not even realize that she is on stage, so her movements and dressing must be completely understated so that she performs the role of supporting your show discreetly. Think professional kabuki performers or stealth ninjas *wink*

Recruiting your female partner/ assistant

If you are lucky enough to have a supportive wife/ girlfriend/ sister who is willing to be part of your show – congratulations! You are a very lucky guy :) But FYI, this can be the best thing or worst thing for your show because it has the potential to go both ways.

As your partner off stage, they will be dedicated to your show and want to make you look as awesome as possible. But! It is also important that they know what they are doing and are properly trained to partner or assist you in a professional way.

If they have any kind of onstage role, they must look appropriate for stage, be it physical appearance or dressing. They must know how to move on stage and must physically and theatrically compliment you when performing together. In other words, have them go for lessons to be stage ready. They need not be professional dancers but the ladies should at least know how to stand, pose and move on stage.

In case you aren’t aware, your wife/ girlfriend/ sister may not be completely crazy about what they are doing on stage but are doing it because of you. If this is the case, for the sake of your show and reputation as a magician, it may be better to consider another alternative. Seriously, not only does it not help your show in the long run, it will also ultimately sour your offstage relationship.

If you are looking for a professional female partner/ assistant, I’d suggest working with a trained dancer; someone with performing experience and training will know how to pose, present, move and look their best for you and your show, on stage. With communication and over time, they will also know how to react if something goes wrong on stage and can assist to misdirect as you recover.

magic babe ning on stage

Play on Your Female Partner’s/ Assistant’s Strengths

The next important step is working out and identifying your female partner’s/ assistant’s strengths so that you (both) can design specific roles that best suit her strengthens. If your female assistant is not a flexible petite lady, PLEASE do not try to force her in small boxes. Contrary to popular belief we aren’t compressible like doves *shifty eyes*

Now, if your female assistant is good in understanding magic psychology and knows how to perform deceptive moves like loads and steals (believe it some of us have the natural knack for these things), do take advantage of that. If she is a good actor/ dancer, incorporate that into your show or act to give emotive texture to the performance.

On a related note, appropriate dressing an costuming is essential. Don’t make her wear “the usual” stage costumes just because you see other women wearing them on stage. Choose outfits that flatter her figure and dress her to compliment your show and not just like the typical cookie cutter showgirl. Allow what she wears to holler her unique character and personality.

Use your Female Assistant Only As Necessary

Some guys don’t realize this and I’ve noticed this happening more often than it should :(If your lady’s role is not that of your equal stage partner but she is just your assistant, please do not overuse her for every small thing. She is a utility and should be used only as necessary. This is where she can be most effective as a deceptive magic tool. Also, if you use her for every small task, it makes you look like an old school chauvinistic performer and that does not sit well in today’s forward thinking society. Food for thought.

If you perform larger stage acts and illusions, my sincere suggestion would be… Please don’t do that cheesy cliche dance thingy at the end if it is not crucial to your act or adds zero value to the performance. The dancing and posing before and after an illusion is a dated (1980s… That’s like 30 years old) piece of choreography and looks especially unflattering if you don’t know how to dance well or move pose gracefully like a dancer.

magic babe ning jc sum

Listen to Your Partner/ Assistant

Gramps used to tell me there’s a reason why God gave us two ears and only one mouth. When I just started University (way before I turned professional), I did a one off illusion show with a local aspiring magician (let’s call him Mr X). Two other guy friends, also magicians, helped out as stage hands for this big event. Sadly, it was a tragically unpleasant experience because Mr X would not listen to our suggestions for show content, choreography or the presentation of the acts.

Though Mr X was uncertain (he was watching VCDs of World’s Greatest Magic) and had no prior experience of how certain things should be done or presented, his ego permitted him from listening, discussing or opening himself to potential ideas. His own acts were under-rehearsed and under-researched and the three of us realized Mr X really thought himself as the star instead of team effort as it was supposed to have been.  One example of being unprepared was his part of the execution of the classic sword basket illusion. Mr X did not rehearse his part well enough and I was the girl in the basket. When I got into the basket in position, I suddenly felt the cold metal blade of a sword roughly shoved down the back of my pants (and panties). Being nervous, he had been clumsy and just stabbed the blade in against my bare bottom skin!

But that’s not it… Mr X’s show opener, a customized torn & restored act, was also a disaster because the clipped pack of papers with the client’s key messages fell from his jacket the moment he ran up on stage. He had refused my suggestion of getting the words professionally silk-screened on cloth, despite the backing of the other guys. His reason? Cost. So he hand-wrote everything with a marker on cheap sheets of paper. Well it certainly cost him the show because the client never touched base again. It cost him our friendship too, because no one wanted to work with him after this horrible experience, more so when Mr X kept a thousand for himself and everyone else got a few hundred bucks, when the contact wasn’t even directly his. Sigh. For obvious reasons Mr X isn’t doing magic anymore.

Anyway. It’s important that when you work with a partner/ assistant, you should listen to hear their perspectives (be they male or female) unless you have worked out with 100% certainty what is to be done exactly. As the magician, you are the chief executive officer and must provide leadership and direction. If you can’t, you need to be willing to see your partner/ assistant as a collaborator. Quite too often, magicians have tragically let their ego rule their judgment instead of a clear logical head.

Having a stage partner or assistant with the same chemistry as you can add tremendous value and production value to your show. However, you have to work well and seamlessly well with them to maximize their value. Treat her well and you will be rewarded with a team member that ultimately benefits your show. Best of luck with that :)

Wishing you all the best with this exciting journey!