When I was much (much) younger I prided myself on trying to create a show that was “totally original”. I vowed that I would steer clear of any trick that screamed magician.
Once I was booked to do company party and the secretary I had dealt with brought the company president over before the show. We chatted for a while - he explained how much he enjoyed magic and was looking forward to the presentation. As we were wrapping up he said, “Are you going to do that trick with the rings?” He excitedly moved his closed fists up and down as if linking two invisible rings.
I proudly said, “No.”
Based on his reaction, he clearly heard, “Your dog has just died.”
He seemed seriously dejected.
I realized in that moment that he saw the Linking Rings as something a magician does. To not do them, meant I was not a magician – or at least less of one.
Magicians can be a jaded lot.
We see certain tricks performed constantly and it’s very easy to forget that’s not true for our audiences. I was avoiding magic that I thought was “hacky” but that was like a painter avoiding the color blue because it was associated the Picasso – or a musician avoiding the G, C, and F chords because they are used in so many songs.
Over time I started working on classics and I began to realize these were powerful icons of the art. Using them correctly could not only entertain an audience but also connected me to a deep rooted image of the magician.
Performing a classic does not make you a hack.
Having a promo photo holding a fan of cards does not make you a hack.
Being a hack makes you a hack.
Do good work and try to bring something of your true self in all that you deliver.
Don’t worry about the rest.