How To Make The Most Of Jamming at a Magic Convention
When you attend a magic convention, you think of lectures and shows and competitions. But the real action isn’t at the events...it’s between the events and late at night: jamming in the lobby. What follows is an essential magic convention guide to jamming.
When to Hang
All the cool kids show up at our magic conventions thinking that the hang time is round the clock, from start to finish. But you have to be strategic about it. The freaks come out at night, and so do the killer card tricks. So during the day, sleep in and enjoy the lectures and close-up shows. Then, between events and late at night, you can enjoy a robust lobby scene with some of the best magicians in the world jamming all night long.
No, not really. What’s wonderful about our craft is that this isn’t rock music or literary fiction: for the most part our superstars are VERY approachable, and like nothing more than being surrounded at a table by other magicians appreciating their work. As long as you’re respectful and have a genuine interest in observing and learning, there’s very much a seat for you at any table at a magic convention.
Bring Something to the Table
The most important part of a really good jam session is equal contributing from all members. It can happen that Asi Wind or Joshua Jay or Weber sit at a table and do an hour of magic nonstop, but it’s better when everyone is contributing equally. Maybe Andi Gladwin teaches his Master Pushoff, and then George Luck amazes everyone with a card location, and then Damian Jennings does something with the Chinese Sticks. But have something set up and ready, so you can be part of the jam session without feeling like the new kid in class who didn’t come prepared.
The best way to think of a jam session at magic conventions is that it’s a chance to take a free lesson from one of your heroes. It's a great way to learn. But this only works if you ask the right questions. David Williamson doesn’t know what your top change looks like, or that you may want to improve it. But if you ask him, he’s likely to spend time on it with you. You’ll also endear yourself to the talent at a magic convention if you can ask specific, intelligent questions based on their work or presentation. So come prepared to interact in a meaningful way, and not just, “Show me something”. Our favorite magic conventions are all set up to allow and encourage this kind of interaction - make the most of it!
Meet Your Heroes
Think of it like this: when you come to The Session, you’re going to get to interact with some of the finest magicians alive. And as there are only 500 people in attendance, you’re going to get face time with that person over the course of three days. So don’t just get excited that you’ll meet your heroes...think critically: what will you ask them? What will you show them? Imagine something even more intimate. This is what makes The Retreat so much more than a magic convention. Even fewer delegates and shared experiences that make it impossible not to get to know the special guests and presenters.
Why Our Hang Times Work
At our events, we cultivate a culture of jamming and hanging between events. That's how we make our magic conventions work so well. And we do this with one simple rule: for every hour of programming we have an hour of free time. We WANT people to mix with each other and make new friends and create a scene in the lobby. And the only way that happens is if they have the time to do so. Ironically, when we started spacing out events at The Session and Magifest, our attendance at the actual lectures and shows went UP. We believe this is because people felt rested and relaxed and that they HAD ample time to spend with friends. So they felt good about coming back into the events. It also gives the next generation of magicians a chance to improve and try and fool you too! It's another reason why young magicians are so important at our magic conventions.