I started studying magic when I was 6 or 7 years old. My dad taught me a trick or two, my parents’ friends bought me a couple tricks, and I was hooked. But magic is one of the few art forms in which no one is a prodigy. Everyone starts out pretty bad and I wasn’t an exception. That said, I did have the disposition to practice a lot and I understood at a young age that other people knew more than I did. So I studied books on magic (this was before YouTube…) and started visiting my local magic shop (thanks to parents who had the time and money to take me…). At 14, I auditioned for and was accepted into the Magic Castle Junior Program, a club for young magicians at Hollywood’s prestigious Magic Castle. The program didn’t teach us magic, but it did create a space and community in which to learn from peers. I was then asked to start performing professionally at the Magic Castle soon after, and was subjected to criticism from the Magic Castle’s adult members. The experience taught me a lot about performance, routine structure, and how to take criticism more broadly. During this time, I never considered being a corporate magician for hire. I simply wanted to be good. In retrospect, I was lucky to have a high school job performing at the Magic Castle; it taught me a ton about performing and was much cooler than working at Blockbuster…
After graduating college in 2012 and having a few jobs here and there, nothing really pulled me in one direction or another, so I decided to take the plunge and try to perform full time as a magician for hire at corporate and private events. Though I’d love to say I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and my success is simply the result of hard work, that would be misleading. When I started performing full time, I was in a lucky position: I didn’t have much college debt (my parents paid for most of it), and I didn’t have a mortgage, or kids. This economic privilege allowed me to take the risk of performing full time. The simple, but very big advantage of not having any financial responsibilities outside of the basic cost of living allowed me to take unpaid gigs, to turn down gigs, and invest in new opportunities.
Having a successful career performing takes more than being a good magician. I bought courses on marketing: most of which were useless. The thing that helped the most was my connections within the magic community. Peers who were a few years ahead of me gave me invaluable advice. And if I brought anything to the table myself, it was that same disposition that helped me when I first started in magic: I knew I could always improve. Every trick could be better, every website could be rebuilt, every piece of marketing could be redesigned; everything could and needed to be improved.
And being a Los Angeles magician is unique due to the proximity of the Magic Castle. On the one hand, we have more magicians than any other city in the world, making competition tough, and on the other hand, having a network of LA magicians to talk to and brainstorm with is refreshing.
I’ve been performing full time for about 5 years and things are going well. Though I travel nationwide, and have performed in over 20 states, most of my work is still in Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. I am still learning plenty, but I’m also now consulting for other Los Angeles and New York magicians, and lecturing to the broader magic community. It’s been a weird and fun ride so far.