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Magician  What They Do

Just the Facts


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dotMagicians dazzle audiences with sleights of hand and trickery. They perform in a variety of settings -- from concert halls to birthday parties. And they're constantly practicing and learning new tricks. Some magicians perform tricks that are risky and awe-inspiring.

dotMaking people wonder about tricks is part of the magician's job.

dotWhile a few magicians -- household names like David Copperfield and Penn and Teller -- may earn over a million dollars per year, most working magicians hold other jobs or work part time. Those who earn the big bucks in the industry often call weekend magicians hobbyists.

dotMost magicians spend a lot of time traveling, especially if they've got a rare trick or a quality that wows the world. "I'm one of the few female magicians in the world," says Maritess (who only goes by one name), "so I'm regarded with fascination a lot of the time. I travel around the world and country a lot."

dotThe job also means spending a long time on your feet and having the patience to work with children or inattentive audiences. But magicians say being comfortable in front of groups of people is what will get you to the top of the magic world.

For some magicians, the greatest reward is giving people a chance to laugh. Debbie O'Carroll performed for a group of Russian children who were ill from a nuclear accident in the city of Chernobyl. "It amazed me how we were able to transcend the language barriers with our magic and music. There was great fun and great sadness that day because most of the kids were desperately ill," she remembers.

Magicians can use their knowledge of the industry to pursue a career change. Some magicians have become famous authors, inventors and publishers of magic magazines. Others have become consultants, managers of famous magicians and producers of magic shows.

Magic requires a great deal of hand-eye coordination. A good memory is also key. Magician Aaron Jones suggests that business smarts are also helpful. "Good business skills and organizational skills are a must, as you will be doing most of that kind of work yourself. [They] must be able to market and sell themselves, so sales and promotion skills are needed," says Jones.

At a Glance

Dazzle audiences with sleights of hand and trickery

  • This job involves a lot of travel
  • Most magicians work part time
  • You have to have patience