MAGIC COMPETITIONS - Who judges the judges?
For those who have competed in magic competitions. You may have experienced unfairness or disagreements with the outcome and results of the competition you were in. Unless of course you win or place in the contest, usually you have no problem with the outcome, but for others the judging could be questionable. This brings to me several questions and some of my opinions that I would like to share when it comes to judging for magic competitions. What makes a good judge? Are they qualified and experienced?
Do you use magicians who are knowledgeable of skill, technique, presentation and originality to be judges or do you just use lay people? Perhaps you blend in lay people and magicians in your competition. In my experience, I think it's a nice mix to have both magicians and lay people to judge. This way I think you get a more accurate and fair outcome because you get scores, comments and judging notes from both sides, the magician’s side where they are more knowledgeable and the lay people’s side where they seem to be judging more on presentation. I think getting judged by laypeople offers just as much value because in the end they are the ones that most of us will be performing for outside of magic competitions. At the same token magicians need to be recognized on their skill, time and hundreds of hours that they put into their craft.
I’ve seen some magicians win a magic competition with little to no skill at all. Does it make it right or wrong? I can’t really say because there are way too many variables as mentioned above. You are at the mercy of judges and lay people. Some judges may be more knowledgeable of magic while others may simply be a hobbyist. All judges have different tastes and personalities. Some may be into comedy, others may be into a more theatrical presentation. Not too long ago I was in a competition and my skill was overlooked. Instead I was judged on my music. Apparently one of the judges is a disc jockey and because my music was slow and not high energy music like he plays. I got scored very low. he even told me himself. It brought to me some realization of where some people’s heads are when it comes to judging. I really learned a lot that day.
I started to realize that just because you don’t place doesn’t mean you’re not good or you suck. It could mean several things. Either you need more work with your routine and more stage time. Or that you are really good and that it just wasn’t your time. The only advice I could give you is just keep on entering magic competitions and you will eventually find your way to placing in a competition with persistence and not giving up. I have competed in magic competitions since I was 16 years old and have been in over 14 magic competitions in my life. It took me 30 years to finally place in a competition. Not only did I place, but a won 1st place stage and 1st place close-up at the MagicPalooza 2016.
It took a lot of hard work to finally get to that point. I entered as many magic competitions as I could and I reviewed the judging scores and notes, made changes and tweaked my routine based on my scores, notes and personally talking to judges after the competition.I would love to open this post to your experiences in magic competitions. Maybe you were a judge or maybe you were a contest organizer. What safeguards, methods or techniques did you use to make a successful magic competition?