Magician

Magician

To become a magician, you need to be creative and work hard to perfect your skills

Requirements: You need to be passionate about magic and love the beauty of what it can do. Talent is useful, but you also need perseverance: it can take months or years to become expert at certain tricks. You also need to be observant, creative and hard- working.

Qualifications: There is a lot of magic training material available, from video clips on YouTube to teaching kits from the shops, but if you are considering becoming a professional magician, it is best to follow a master as an apprentice.

Average pay: Magicians do not earn a stable income: earnings fluctuate according to the time of year. Festive periods such as Easter, New Year and Christmas are peak seasons.

Cyrus Yu Hoi-wai, a full-time professional magician who has been in the field for more than a decade, said he has earned more than HK$100,000 a month during the peak season, but in the low season he makes as little as HK$5,000 a month.

Yu reminds apprentices, or those starting out, not to treat this as their main job for the first three years, as they are unlikely to make any money, especially if they are working as their masters' assistants.

Work prospects: Yu worked with experienced magicians for about three years as an assistant to learn the skills, while working in a part-time job. He had to carry, move and prepare props for the master before and after each show. It's a lot of hard work, Yu says, almost like being an apprentice car mechanic: you have to do a lot of dirty work without any of the glory. But the apprenticeship is a chance to learn the many types of magic in performances. These include close-up tricks that are performed with playing cards, party tricks that use small props, stage tricks that require larger props and tools, and illusions that involve much more complicated tools and preparation.

Yu explains that magicians start with tricks that require small props and gradually build up to using larger props.

He says additional performing skills such as dance or acting may help engage the audience.

Performances range from personal birthday parties to shows at shopping malls or larger stage appearances at theatres. Yu stresses that stage or illusional magic performance requires extensive experience and skills.

Long-term work prospects: Other than working as a full-time magician and setting up your own company, a reputable and skilful magician can become a star, like David Copperfield. Yu says street magic has become very popular in Asia with the widespread use of YouTube.

Where to apply: Ask experienced magicians if they are willing to take on an apprentice and share their skills.

A day at work

There are no specific working hours or days, but Yu says he usually begins work in the afternoon and may work until late at night.

Other than performing, he spends most of his time practising tricks and maintaining his tools and props for performances.

He also says magicians should expect to work very long hours during festive seasons.

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