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RayJ

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Professionalism

pro·fes·sion·al·ism
/prəˈfeSHənlˌizəm/
 
noun
  1. the competence or skill expected of a professional.
    "the key to quality and efficiency is professionalism"
    • the practicing of an activity, especially a sport, by professional rather than amateur players.
      "the trend toward professionalism"


      Dedication, integrity and responsibility are elements of professionalism that make a person successful in her field. By taking ownership of their roles and duties, professionals make names for themselves and usually find promotion, opportunities and repeat business come easily to them.

      Professionalism, in and of itself, is not one skill but the blending and integration of a variety of skills.






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RayJ

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There have been a number of threads recently where someone has said "I'm not a professional".  Generally when someone says that they are wanting to communicate that they are a hobbyist and don't make a living, either full or partial, out of magic.  As I read statements like that, I always wonder whether there's a disconnect somehow.  A disconnect where perhaps a person feels that because they don't make their living from magic, they aren't subject to the same rules and/or 
behaviors.

It has always occurred to me that if you love something you will want to always present it in its best light.  That should be the case whether you are getting paid or not.  So to me, professionalism has absolutely zero to do with money.  What it has to do with is attitude, committment and respect.  There's a bunch of other nouns you can substitute or add, but my point is that just because one is not reaping financial benefit it doesn't mean they are exempt.

Always strive to make even the simplest routine as professional as possible.  Practice it, work out all the details, your blocking, how you get into and out of the trick.  Develop a presentation and make a script.   Trust me, the difference in impact on your spectator is worth it and it will be palpable.


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TheAmazingStanley

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Nothing to do with money indeed. I saw Van Halen in 1984, and to say they sounded like a garage band would be an insult to garage bands. Roth was totally drunk and didn’t even sing half the words, Eddie wasn’t singing at all and was obviously fed up, and the sound was so bad you could barely hear anything above the bass frequencies. And I can only imagine how much they got paid for that show.

Someone is sure to bring up Blackstone Jr’s legendary 1987 Orange Bowl performance. Ouch. But I’m assuming it was a good payday.

Two top “professionals” in their field who turned in performances that would embarrass any “amateur.” And we’ve all seen “amateurs” who blew us away. So really there are those who care about their craft and those who don’t (with the caveat that some professional meltdowns are just bad days. Blackstone and VH had plenty of great performances too). Even though I don’t get paid, I want people to think I do. “That was very professional looking.” Of course if they want to pay me I won’t argue.

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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAmazingStanley
Nothing to do with money indeed. I saw Van Halen in 1984, and to say they sounded like a garage band would be an insult to garage bands. Roth was totally drunk and didn’t even sing half the words, Eddie wasn’t singing at all and was obviously fed up, and the sound was so bad you could barely hear anything above the bass frequencies. And I can only imagine how much they got paid for that show.

Someone is sure to bring up Blackstone Jr’s legendary 1987 Orange Bowl performance. Ouch. But I’m assuming it was a good payday.

Two top “professionals” in their field who turned in performances that would embarrass any “amateur.” And we’ve all seen “amateurs” who blew us away. So really there are those who care about their craft and those who don’t (with the caveat that some professional meltdowns are just bad days. Blackstone and VH had plenty of great performances too). Even though I don’t get paid, I want people to think I do. “That was very professional looking.” Of course if they want to pay me I won’t argue.


Sadly, I've seen the video of Blackstone Jr.  I think that was a case where the environment just wasn't conducive to magic.  I don't know why, other than money, he would have agreed to it.  When you are on a stage, you can have control.  That performance had nothing that resembled control.  I wish the video was taken down because it paints him in a light that I believe is unfair.  Yes, it happened, but that performance didn't measure up to the Blackstone Jr. I knew.

Anyways, your story about VH is interesting.  And yes, they got paid but they certainly didn't act professional.  They didn't try to portray their art or themselves in the best light and that, to me should be a given.

I've seen performers that weren't having the best time of it still bring the house down because they tried.  The audience was aware they weren't at their best, but they gave it all they had.  Respect.
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Paco Nagata

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Reply with quote  #5 
Many have been the times that I have been asked why I never became a professional.

I usually answered in a humorous way:

"I was always a professional ... but I just never found a position."

Well, thanks to your remark, Ray, regarding the concept of professionalism, I can see that my usual answer to that question wasn't only a humorous answer, but a true answer; so, certainly you don't need to get money to be (to act like) a professional.

If you really like what you do and really want to be good at it, you have it; you are a "professional" that make your people enjoy your talent not for money in this case, but for their attention, applause and appreciation.

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TheAmazingStanley

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


Sadly, I've seen the video of Blackstone Jr.  I think that was a case where the environment just wasn't conducive to magic.  I don't know why, other than money, he would have agreed to it.  When you are on a stage, you can have control.  That performance had nothing that resembled control.  I wish the video was taken down because it paints him in a light that I believe is unfair.  Yes, it happened, but that performance didn't measure up to the Blackstone Jr. I knew.

Anyways, your story about VH is interesting.  And yes, they got paid but they certainly didn't act professional.  They didn't try to portray their art or themselves in the best light and that, to me should be a given.

I've seen performers that weren't having the best time of it still bring the house down because they tried.  The audience was aware they weren't at their best, but they gave it all they had.  Respect.


And that’s the difference between VH and Blackstone Jr. I have no idea why he tried that routine in that setting (or anywhere), but I’m guessing he probably regretted it, that he still cared about his art. Which is why I made the caveat above. On the other hand by 1984 VH were a totally dysfunctional band and they probably really didn’t care in the slightest. They probably don’t even remember it.

As an aside I’m still glad I went because I don’t know what Alex was on but he was all over those drums, so I just ignored everything else and took in a master class. That guy has some feet.

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