What TV Producers are Looking for in Magicians

Thanks for all the responses from magicians looking to be on the new season of M for Magic! We have received just under 2 dozen “applications”, including several from magicians from Season 1.

I’m very encouraged by the enthusiasm and effort the magicians have put into filming videos and sharing photos. The videos are important to showcase personality and what makes them unique.

There is about one week left for anyone who is interested to be part of this milestone local production. Send us an email at info(a)conceptmagic.biz if you want a chance to be part of this show.

For those who have already applied and for those thinking of applying, here is some insight to what the TV producers are looking for. And this generally applies to any TV show.

Personality

In an assemble (multi cast) show, producers are looking for a variety of personalities, looks and magic content so that the show is textured and showcases a wide range of talents. Producers are not interested to have 10 magicians who dress the same and perform David Blaine’s “Two Card Monte”. So, in the event there are two magicians who seem alike, they will pick the one they feel best fits the show.

Producers are looking for magicians who have personalities and can communicate their personalities across camera. The magic is secondary (but this does not mean it is not important). But the truth is, between a magician with a great personality and good magic and a magicians with a bland personality and great magic, the producers will almost always choose the magician with more personality even if his/ her magic may not be as good (but is still of a high, above average standard).

The sure-win formula is to have a strong combination of solid magic with an engaging personality.

Material

Producers are generally not magic thinkers and even if they have shot magic before, they will not understand the principles of magic for TV. Some basics including framing the shots correctly and editing to take into consideration of continuity for the TV audience.

Unless you are filming your very own magic TV show, you will have to work under the production timeline, production limitations and show format. As such, the magic you design for the show should be camera friendly and well protected from general filming angles.

While you can request the magic be shot from a certain direction for maximum effect or to protect secrets, it would be difficult to expect the production crew to shoot only from a specific point, at a specific time and move in a direction you require at a precise time. So, choose routines and acts that can play in “all conditions” as far as possible.

Effective TV magic tends to be visual magic, especially if you are being featured in a short segment. Unless you have a tremendous captivating personality that can hold the TV audience with little visual elements, the safer route is to choose routines that are visual and have multiple moments of magic.

Avoid common routines or plots that may seem too familiar for TV audiences. This is to also avoid performing the same material as other magicians if you are performing in an assemble show. “Pick a card” tricks feel the same to lay audiences so if you do one, make sure it “feels” and ends up differently.

One final thing to always bear in mind is that producers are looking for magicians that are a fit for their show. So, if you get rejected, it may not mean you are no good, it just means that you are not right for this particular show.

I wrote an entire chapter about “Producing Magic for TV” in my 2007 lecture notes. There are also many other chapters with invaluable information for new (especially) magicians at an inexpensive price. Check it out HERE.

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About J C Sum

International Headline Entertainer, Content Creator and Investor
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