For the Love of It

Some people make a great living doing what they love.

I watched an Oprah Winfrey interview with David Copperfield today.

You can catch the interview here:

David Copperfield’s “Lovingly Abusive” Childhood | Oprah’s Next Chapter | Oprah Winfrey Network

During the interview, David commented on magic as a profession.

He spoke of his mother and how she tried to discourage him from pursuing magic as a profession.

He said that she was concerned that he would not be able to feed his family on the income generated from a magical career.

He said of her conviction that “in most cases, they are right.”

To me, that meant that the greatest among us, and I do think David Copperfield is the greatest of my generation, believes that in most cases the pursuit of magic as a career is a dead end street. The Master more or less said that magic is not capable of providing a sustainable living for the majority of those who attempt to earn their living from the performance of the art.

I know many full-time performers.

And I know many more who want to be and still many more who try and try again but never seem to get where they want to go.

There is a bit of snobbery in the magic community.

Full timers tend to be treated like royalty like they have “made it” while the rest of us mortals are struggling in the salt mines.

In promotional material, we often read, “from the repertoire of a working pro,” as if to imply that if it comes from the repertoire of an amateur, it is somehow of lesser value.

But does this mean that the show of the amateur is of less value than the show of the pro?

Does it mean that the show of the pro is always better?

As a connoisseur of magic, I can tell you that this is not so.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word amateur as, “one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession… one lacking in experience and competence in an art or science.”

Is it any wonder then that amateur magicians are perceived as less competent than their full-time counterparts?

But this definition does not tell the whole story.

The word amateur is from a French word meaning, “one who loves.”

The real amateur performs magic for the love of doing so.

Who would you rather watch, one who does magic because he or she loves to do it or one who does it because it pays the bills?

Fortunately, you do not have to choose.

Most full-time pros love their art as much if not more then the part-time pros or amateurs.

But you should know that part-time or full, the magician you are watching has probably had a love affair with magic that has spanned his entire life.

Watch close, and you will see, hear, and feel that love in every movement or gesture.

Much love,

David Dellman