The Intelligent Illusionist

The Intelligent Illusionist



Benjamin Graham’s “The Intelligent Investor” is considered the bible of value investing.

In the book, Graham’s teaches how the intelligent investor is not just a person with a high IQ but one who approaches all aspects of investing in a smart, strategic and emotionally-separated manner.

The same term can be applied to the illusionist or magician. When one thinks of an intelligent illusionist, one likely equates “illusionary” intelligence to originality or creativity. I’ve discussed creativity and innovation in illusions previously here.

However, as a commercial professional (whether full-time or part-time), originality or creativity alone is not enough to be successful. The intelligent illusionist has to be intelligent in many ways to be relevant and commercially successful in today’s market.

J C Sum Buzz Saw

Here are a few other ways one can be an intelligent illusionist:

Illusion Selection

The intelligent illusionist will always choose illusions that are best for him/ her and not just what is popular among other illusionists or “easy” to perform.

The intelligent illusionist will be strategic in his/ her illusion selection. Criteria that the intelligent illusionist will carefully consider include:

  • The illusion must fit the performance character, style, branding and image.
  • The illusion must not be commonly performed by others
  • The illusion must be within budget
  • The illusion must be physically practical to be staged in the target performing venue
  • The illusion must complement the rest of the illusion repertoire.

I also discuss illusion selection extensively in my book “How to Be An Illusionist”.

Ethics & Professionalism

A real professional will never have questionable business practices and will always be ethical.

Some clients, especially established show bookers and agents will also want to work with an entertainer who is professional and has professional ethics.

A reputable agent or meticulous client will not take the risk in booking an entertainer who has a drinking or substance abuse problem, has a reputation of saying inappropriate things on stage, has inappropriate behavior offstage, does not turn up on time or writes offensive statements on social media.

They may do some research on an entertainer’s social media accounts, online media coverage, forums and blogs from industry insiders or ask past clients/ audience members to bring to light any potential issues they might want to avoid.

Another consideration that reputable show bookers make is whether an artiste performs original material or pirates other entertainers’ material. For example, some acts are heavily pirated and stolen from the original artist such as the Laserman Act that originated in France.

These show bookers would never ever book such an act as they know the act is a thief. With the Internet and experience in the industry, it is easy to uncover unethical entertainers who steal from other entertainers and try to pass themselves off as the original to unsuspecting clients.

Branding & Marketing

The intelligent illusionist understands that developing a brand is essential in differentiating him/herself from the competition and standing out in the marketplace.

The intelligent illusionist will spend as much resources (time, money & effort) on producing a good show as he/ she would on marketing his/ her show and brand.

Check out these marketing tips to inspire.

Market Focus

In my book “Big Money Shows: How to Get More Shows that Pay More”, I highlight that an entertainer can get more shows that pay more by increasing his/ her value to the client and/ or market.

The key to increasing an entertainer’s value can be summed up in a single sentence:

An Entertainer has a Higher Value when the Consumers Believe the Entertainer Offers a Differentiated Quality Product in the Relevant Niche Market.

So, The intelligent illusionist will always focus on a niche market that he/ she can dominate and own.

You can read more about this in my Free Ebook “Secrets to Getting Big Money Shows for Entertainers” by requesting it here.

Money Management

The intelligent illusionist will ensure he/ she manages his/ her money well as it is earned through shows. It is natural to fully reinvest back in one’s show to make it bigger and better.

However, there will come a point in your career where you have to stop buying new illusions for the sake of buying new illusions.

As mentioned above, besides selecting the right illusions, money should also be reinvested in branding and marketing. It is the brand and marketing that brings in more shows and more money as well as higher value shows for even more money.

In addition, money should be placed into investment vehicles to create wealth and financial security upon retirement.

So, are you an intelligent illusionist?


Learn how to book more shows that pay more, check out the Backstage Business Academy, a website dedicated to creating highly successful entertainers

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