A red happy-faced pencil standing out amidst gray sad-faced pencils

In my previous article, we talked about how to follow your inspiration but still remain one-of-a-kind. Now let’s continue where we left off and discuss more tips on how to be original and how to set yourself apart from other kids entertainers.

To be original, you need to have a mental funnel, a unique outlook, a world view that’s specific to your tastes. You have to know your own style so well that each new routine fits the mental parameters that you have chosen. It’s more than saying, “I saw another guy kill with it so I’ll do it, too.” It is having a specific set of guidelines that represent your artistic tastes.

Here’s an example: I have never been able to care deeply about playing cards, so I do no card tricks at all. I know I’m missing out on tons of materials, but no matter how wonderful the routine, if there’s playing cards involved, it won’t fit through the narrow end of my mental funnel.

Not all of my mental funnel rules are artistic. Some of them are quite practical. For instance, if something requires a complicated, expensive, hard-to-replace gadget, it isn’t for me because I’m a boy scout and I need to have multiple backups in case of loss. If it requires lots of set-up and preparation or an expensive expendable, it’s not for me either.

Now say I’d like to do a standard trick. How can I add a touch of originality to it? Simple. I’ll make sure that I add something to it to make it my own.

Here’s another one: If I have a new routine, it can’t involve the same type of effect or props of another existing routine of mine unless it’s better. This is why I have no other rope tricks besides my great rope routine that I’m proud of. There will be no other rope tricks for me unless the new one is stronger than the one I already do.

I stand by these rules but I still come up with new pieces all the time. I never let what I can’t do stop me from doing what I want to do.

You can do the same. Just figure out what things are specific to you and stand by them. This way, you’ll be distinguishing yourself from other kids entertainers and getting that elusive thing called originality.