Skip to content

Advice for Performing Stage Magic On TV

Illusion secrets you only learn from experience

Because things can go wrong

Here’s another reader requested topic. Though this is based around stage illusions, there’s a ton of useful advice for all magicians in this post. I’m lucky enough to have worked on all kinds of stage illusions; levitations, sawing-in-half, car appearances and more. I’ve shot these in the studio and on location. Here’s my advice for studio performances:

Assume every mic is live.

Let’s start with some general advice. From the moment you leave the hotel room to the moment you get back into bed, assume you’re being recorded. I wish I were exaggerating, but I’m not. Even if you do not have a microphone on, someone near you will. Microphones do not get turned on and off; they’re always live and recording from the moment they're activated until the end of the day.

Certain places like the gallery have broadcasting “open comms” being sent out to everyone on the gallery channel—notably all of the studio crew and camera team. I’ve watched magicians step into the gallery to complain about the camera crew and winced, knowing full well that every camera operator is listening in.

I was also there when talent removed their mic, left the studio, and got in a car to go to the train station, and we still heard them complaining. That’s right, they’d left the building, removed their mic and were maybe fifty metres away, and we could all hear them moaning about the crew. A runner had been sent to make sure they got their train, and the runner was sat against their radio button.

Be nice.

Another note is that you do not need to wear a microphone. Sound engineers will pressure you to wear one because it’s easier for them to put one on you at the start of the day and forget about it. But if you think wearing a microphone will be troublesome for your stage illusion. Perhaps it’ll record the sounds of you contorting within a box; ask not to wear one. They’ll give you a handheld mic when you need it.

Continue reading and unlock 200+ member-only posts

Support independent magic writing


Already have an account? Sign In