Magician

Magician

Ed Sumner

15 Years Experience

Staffordshire, UK

Male, 28

I perform close up magic and stand up magic. I also run a children's magic company called Ready Steady Magic. You can find out more about me on YouTube! =P

As a professional magician and Member of the Magic Circle, I work hard to create incredible events.

Feel free to ask me whatever you wish and let me reveal the secrets of what I do (but not those secrets!)

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67 Questions

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Last Answer on February 22, 2016

Best Rated

What's a simple but impressive magic trick that anyone could learn, perhaps just to entertain at parties or something? Asking for, um, a friend ;)

Asked by Shane C over 5 years ago

There are lots. If you ...I mean your friend, goes to the local library, then there will probably be at least one general magic book with card tricks, and little tricks for parties, just like you asked for. The DDC number is 793.8 - Did I say magicians were all big geeks! They are usually with indoor games but if they can’t find any, ask the librarians and they’ll help.

What's the most amazing magic trick you've ever seen, to the point that you couldn't figure out how it was done?

Asked by Carol d over 5 years ago

Quite a few have fooled me. Often when I watch magic, I try to watch the performance, but if I want to I can work out how it's done, if I think about it later. I don’t know a lot about stage illusions, but I’m hoping to learn about them. They can fool me pretty well. One close up effect that sticks in my mind was pretty simple. A collection of pens are placed carefully on a table so they are standing up. The magician stands about two metres away from the table and says ‘fall’. The pens fall down one by one. He can also make an individual pen fall down, i.e. the one in the middle, or the one furthest away. I remember buying the secret to the trick on a DVD and for weeks I just didn’t want to watch it. When I finally did, I was like, ‘that’s amazing, I love it!’ I still haven’t performed it in public yet, but I will do one day. It’s a simple idea, but the best things are. Easy to understand and beautifully done!

What's the biggest misconception people have about magicians?

Asked by sd neil over 5 years ago

Maybe that we’re all just big magic geeks. Oh wait, you said mis-conception! One that I hear often is, do you do children’s shows? A lot of people think magic is just a kids thing. I do perform children’s magic as well as close up magic, and I love both for different reasons, however I know that some close up magicians get a bit annoyed by being seen as ‘just for the children.' My advice, lighten up! Magic is not just for children, it’s only for children - it’s for the child in all of us. The misconception that really annoys me is that magic is easy. My prices reflect a lot of time practicing and perfecting my routines into a performance of magic, not just doing a trick. I also have a lot of experience and know how to interact with groups and how to work a crowd so that everyone gets the maximum enjoyment from my show. Some people hear my price and think it’s not worth it. They may choose to hire a cheaper magician, however unfortunately for them, cheaper doesn’t mean better value, and a lack of experience in performance art shows. I’m regularly told that my shows are worth every penny. By the way to find out more about me, or to book me, check out www.edsumner.com The other thing that happens sometimes is people think they can do my job. Again, not true. Magic is performance. It’s about the personality of the performer and how he or she interacts with their audience. Just doing a trick, as it says on the instructions is the worst thing you can do. That’s what you get when you book a magician cheap. You get someone who has been interested in magic for two weeks, is already calling themselves a magician, has a website and business cards, and is looking for paid gigs. It’s ridiculous. Yes, magicians only get better by performing, but beginners need to find the level for a beginner, instead of trying to run before they can walk. Swayed a bit off topic there, sorry!

Why do people hate magicians?

Asked by Alright, I Give Up, It's Damon over 5 years ago

I could write on this topic for a long time, and I may do when I have the time. In short, it’s important to remember that when someone sees a bad magician, it sticks with them, as there are fewer magicians around, so we all get grouped together. Unfortunately some magicians let us all down. Bad magic traits that some magicians have include, concentrating too much on fooling people and forgetting to entertain, challenging audiences, being arrogant, being cocky, embarrassing spectators and being rude, using sexual innuendo, being unoriginal, stealing material from other magicians and passing it off as their own, using corny lines that are as dead as Ken Dodd’s dad’s dog, need I go on, ok... trying too hard to be funny, being cliched, wearing playing card ties, treating adults like children, treating children like babies, having no sense of structure in a magic routine. For me everything is structure and performance. You can make a really simple trick, into a masterpiece if presented the correct way. Arghhh... Trust me I hate bad magic. I think as magicians we should be doing more to tell people who are rubbish, that they are indeed rubbish. Never mind about their hurt feelings, they are hurting my livelihood.

Why are there so few female magicians?

Asked by adam_sm over 5 years ago

Firstly let me say that some of my favourite magicians are female and some of my good friends in magic are female. They have a different slant on the art and it’s refreshing to see new ideas and different styles of performing. I wish there were more female magicians, and I think the magic community could be doing more to encourage girls to take an interest in magic. To start with magic is male dominated which doesn’t help to invite females in, and doesn’t provide many positive female role models. The reason I believe for that being the case is that really magic is about power. It’s a case of ‘I know something you don’t'. Magic tends to draw in a lot of boys who are shy, reclusive, solitary types, who obsess over the secrets, learning and studying, and figuring out things which other people don’t have access to. When they finally get to perform, the magic allows them not only to show off, but also gives them something to hide behind. To start with at least, magic is performed from a very tight script. Girls are very sociable. They want to be with their friends, they want to be in groups and fit in. If the other girls aren’t interested in magic, then they are unlikely to be the odd one out. Remember that at the start, it’s a secretive art of studying by yourself. Of course some girls are different and enjoy the study and the secrets, however many female magicians who I’ve spoken too have found magic later in life, perhaps through dance, through circus, through theatre, or perhaps by meeting a magician when they were older and less inclined to follow the path of their friends.

If you had to assign percentages, how much of being a successful magician is attributable to the actual magic versus the magician's personality and showmanship? 50/50?

Asked by Big Finn over 5 years ago

Great question! One other thing to think about is, not only does the trick fool someone, but how is the trick structured? Too many magicians buy a trick, and perform it as it is sold, without any thought about how they can improve the presentation to make the key moments stand out more, to make them more magical. The thing to remember is that if everyone just buys the tricks, and performs them as sold, then all you have is a group of performers no better than karaoke singers. The better magicians, place some of their personality in to their performances. Not only does this offer them a unique presentation that only they do, it makes the trick more real to them. They connect more with what they are performing, rather than just repeating it word for word, the same as everyone else. I think creativity in any art form is more than important, it’s vital, and I wish that magicians understood this, instead of stealing from each other, and copying bland, too often repeated, standard routines. In answer to the ratio, there are some awful magic tricks, that wouldn’t fool anyone, but there are also a lot of overlooked effects that given the right structuring and the right routining can be masterpieces. I use an effect that is so simple, and a lot of non-magicians know it too. I’ve added two tiny little things, and written my own script, and it’s one of my favourite things to do, because it’s very powerful, plus I’m proud that I came up with those additions. For me the for trick : personality importance ratio should be 5% : 95% Anyone can learn to do the trick, but the successful magician, can make it interesting, engaging and entertaining too.

First, I have to say I love your answers! Thanks for doing this!! Are magicians super protective or jealous when it comes to their routine? Like, is trick-stealing a big problem in the industry, and is there anything you can even do to legally protect or "own" your tricks?

Asked by ErikaL over 5 years ago

Well that is a great question too. Stealing other magicians’ tricks and routines is a big problem in magic. The main problem is that when I create something, I’ve put part of my personality into the routine. I believe that art is a way that we connect with people, a way to reach out to others and say, ‘This is me, I was here!’ Just ripping someone off is lazy, but more than that it shows in their performances. It doesn’t seem believable. Magic has to be unbelievable, but you have to be able to believe that it’s unbelievable. Confusing, right? Of course some magicians release their routines to other magicians. That’s fine, but when I use commercially available routines, I still change the scripting to fit my own style and what I want to say. In short, no-one in the world performs the magic I do. If you want to see the magic of Ed Sumner, you need to hire Ed Sumner. There is little that can be done to stop someone from stealing your words, your jokes or your script. Ideas can’t be copyrighted, and they just had the same idea as you, yeh right!? All they have to do is watch you perform it once, and write it down. Like I said though, it shouldn’t be much use to them, and thinking up something for themselves would serve them much better. To overcome this, magicians should keep their secrets more secret. Magicians freely share effects with each other, but maybe we shouldn’t share information so easily. Maybe when another magicians asks for a method, we should just say, ‘No I’m not showing you.’ That’s difficult, because it seems rude. Also we have an accepting stance towards it. In stand up comedy, stealing a joke is a huge faux pas, but in magic we just seem to ignore it. Finally some illusions can be patented, which in theory protect people from making and selling them, but there are still people who will try to rip them off. These people don’t care about the art of magic. They just care about themselves. For me the best way for me to preserve my own magic is to keep it only for my non-magician audiences. There are some things I share with magician friends, some things which I plan to release to other magicians too. However my A grade material is exclusively for the eyes (and ears) of the people who pay me.