Why This Close Up Magician Is Never Going To Apply To Britain’s Got Talent
I get asked this at least a few times at every gig I do.
Now don’t get me wrong – it’s a flattering question to be asked.
Being compared to magicians that are (mostly) good enough to have performed to the whole country on television is a lovely boost to the old ego.
So why don’t I do it?
What is there to lose?
More Than You Might Think
I’ve never gone through the process of applying to BGT, so I don’t know the ins and outs of auditioning, the different pre-TV stages, and the time required.
But even before I get onto the main reasons why I’m not going to audition, that last point is already a big hurdle.
I do happen to know friends of friends who have gone through this process themselves, and it takes a huge amount of time.
Not just travel time, waiting time etc. but time to prepare.
With the hundreds and (probably) thousands of magicians already applying to be on the next iteration of the show, you’d better believe I’d have to rehearse for weeks upon weeks to feel even slightly ready for the ordeal.
But That Goes Without Saying – What’s The Real Reason?
However, there is a larger, more personal reason why I’m never giving it a go:
I know I wouldn’t enjoy it.
‘Being a professional magician’ is a surprisingly varied term. In a blog I wrote a few months ago, I briefly talked about the main variations of magicians and magic performances that exist in the professional world.
What I do is one of those variations, and it happens to be my favourite.
To those who don’t know me, when I say that I am a professional close up magician, they usually default to asking ‘Oh so you do magic shows, then?’
This is understandable, as most people’s experience with magic has been watching magicians, on stage, on TV.
The vast majority of the country (although this is slowly beginning to change) do not know that there is a small group of individuals, me included, performing close up magic for private events all over the country.
And it’s being a magician in this capacity that I enjoy so much.
So You Don’t Like Performing On Stage?
Simply put, going on BGT would require me to perform on stage, which I don’t particularly have any interest in doing.
Magic on stage is an entirely separate discipline to performing close up.
Even if the trick uses smaller props, such as cards, and a camera which is streaming footage to the audience during the trick, it’s completely different to a stage performance.
I have performed magic on stage, and I still do occasionally put on parlour-type shows at private bookings for smaller audiences.
Do I despise it? Of course not!
Quite the opposite – there’s nothing quite like an entire room of amazed audience members all reacting to the climax of a trick at the same time.
Preferring one thing does not mean disliking the other.
Nevertheless, despite enjoying it from time to time, for me, it doesn’t come close to performing close up for groups of as little as two individuals instead.
So Why Close Up Magic?
The main reason is that, when on stage, the performer does not get to really talk to and engage with the spectators.
Not nearly to the same extent, at least.
Close up and in person, I can give them props to hold and interact with, and get them involved with the magic. I can go off-script and alter what I’m doing just for them. I can chat with them about themselves, and relate what I’m doing with their own experiences.
Ultimately, I believe this results in a far richer experience than if they were sitting in a seat three rows back in an audience of 100, never once even making eye contact with me.
To those magicians who thrive on stage performances – and I know plenty – hats off to them.
I fully believe it is much harder captivating an entire audience than a small group of people. In fact, I know from experience.
So there it is – the reason I’ll (probably) never apply to go on Britain’s Got Talent.
I love what I do in the way that I choose to do it, and that’s more than enough for me.