How do you win the World's best Magic Competition?
Ask Shin Lim! Shin has done immensely well this year, not only being crowned as FISM Card Magic Champion but also amazing everyone and 'Fooling' Penn and Teller on their hit show 'Fool Us'. Big congratulations go out to Shin for achieving these titles, his videos were shared and went viral across the internet on news sites and You Tube, clocking up millions of views in under a week.
The real secret to Shin's success is practice. You must practice and plan your magic, Shin's routine was no accident. It didn't all fall together by some miracle or someone handing it over to him. He perfected each move and method through repetative training sessions that hammered each move directly into both his long term memory and muscle memory. If you wish to learn more about effective practice sessions then check out this article: Magic Practice Techniques
Music and verbal silence
Another factor that has been widely discussed is Shin's use of music and verbal silence whilst performing. By simply watching Shin perform you can follow every bit of magic that is occurring. His performances do not need explaining as it is all clear to see. His timing is very well structured, he does not rush anything. He pulls focus at the correct times leaving you enough time to follow along with him so that your brain is not trying to catch up all of the time. He gives you a moment to register before a magical moment occurs and also afterwards, this allows you to enjoy and appreciate every moment of magic. Next time you are practicing make sure to allow for pauses to let that magic moment sink in.
We have been fans of Shin's work for a long time now, he has released some great products to the magic society, here is an interview we did with Shin before his release of Flash Deck Switch. Shin talks about his history in magic and practice sessions
Jamie Raven caused a massive stir in the UK when he appeared on Britains Got Talent. Because Jamie has been shopping at the Merchant of Magic for over a decade, we are constantly being asked how Jamie Raven did his magic tricks.
Jamies performance did more than impress the judges, it fired up interest in close up magic amongst the public in a way not seen since Dynamo Magician Impossible. Only 36 hours after his performance aired, it had already been watched by over 1.3 Million people on Youtube.
Many working magicians were surprised that commonly available, commercially magic tricks could amaze the public in this way, but that misses the point. The tricks he used were tried and tested modern classics. There were no elaborate formats, no fillers of fluff, just strong magic performed by a magician who understands dramatic build and how to structure distinct tricks into a magic routine.
Sales of the magic tricks performed by Jamie Raven have gone through the roof
It's understandable for magicians to see a magic trick performed on TV and for them to want to do it themselves. The tricks were so great they propelled a magician to almost win Britains Got Talent (He came second by only 2% of the vote) However, the tricks he performed are not the whole story.
Cardtoon and Extreme Burn, and Invisible Deck have been used by professional magicians around the country for many years. They get consistant results and have been shaped and crafted to iron out almost all performing issues. Equally, To the Max is popular magic trick that you can see performed in restaurants and parties any night of the week. The specific magic tricks Jamie Raven used are of little value as a lesson in magic. He could have used any number of similar working effects. As magicians, there is something much more important to copy:
Take time to look at all the tricks you perform. How could you build them together to create a flowing structured routine that builds to a climax.
How did Jamie Raven do his magic tricks?
With care and attention to the WHOLE performance rather than as individual distinct effects. Jamie wisely chose to perform classic close up magic tricks. He could have spent his time developing new material to be unique. That was the right decision for him because it allowed him to spend his time on the more valuable work of routining. He didn't try to reinvent the wheel.
Check out Oz Pearlman's brilliant performance on America's Got Talent. It's a valuable lesson on presentation:
Oz Pearlman isn't just a talented magician and mentalist, he's a highly respected magic triainer and lecturer on the subject of sleight of hand.
Watch his performance again. What does it teach you? He's relaxed, confident and most of all, he looks like he WANT'S to be doing what he is doing. He's having fun and it comes across in his performance. That presentation isn't just luck. It's the result of performing the material over and over again both in private and in live performance. That natural style is what you get from performing your magic live, often, and to people you don't know. It's the final step in every magicians training: Performance.
Want to present your magic as smoothly as Oz did? Get out and start performing live. Perform the same tricks over and over again in as many live situations as possible. That process will remove any nervousness you have, give you the perfect lines and comebacks, and show you subtle comments and convincers you can add to your presentation to give it more impact.
How does Oz Pearlman do his magic tricks?
The same way he always does, there's nothing new there outside of his working material and it shows. He's performed this material for many years and it's made him totally comfortable with it. That's the difference between a magician who is constantly playing with new magic tricks and one that spends a great deal of time with a few effects performed countless times.
If you would like to find out more about Oz Pearlman and learn from him, here's his best magic tricks and training DVD's:
Download your free magic trick FINK courtesy of Ben Harris. Fink is an interesting effect: a crazy concoction of Luke Dancy's GRAB, Ben Harris's Through the universe backwards, and Fandango. Created by Kyle MacNeill