When have you practiced enough magic tricks?
Paul Knight Another thing, check are you acknowledging everyone at the table, whatever event it is, are you noticing everyone because it’s easy to just focus on one person.
Ben Williams Yeah, very much so. When I first started working, I had to get something out of my system. Approaching a table. I always had to practice what I’d run through, because there’s nothing worse than nervously hanging around and waiting to get people’s attention when it should be you controlling that situation. Practically everything, including the approach.
Paul Knight So how do you know when you’ve practiced enough magic tricks?
Ben Williams When you’re good like me. [Laughter]
Paul Knight What you can’t actually see reader, is that Ben closed his eyes when he said that.
Dominic Reyes I think that you never know. Until you start performing, until you start performing it in your set or you’re doing it to the public and you’re getting those reactions.
Paul Knight The last reaction is huge for any effect I think. That can either make you run with it or break it.
Ben Williams But you should run with, because most of the time it’s not the trick that’s bad, it’s a harsh reality that your performance may have been bad, or there’s a slight change that the person you show it to hates magic or has a personal problem or some really horrendous thing happen in their life and they’re not in the mood for it.
Paul Knight That’s a sign you should work on it really isn’t it, if you get a bad reaction.
Ben Williams What, your marriage? [Laughter]
Paul Knight If you get a bad reaction, work on your marriage. [Laughter]
Dominic Reyes I think that’s why there are a lot of magicians that would like to perform to the public and they’re practicing like mad with that goal, but they never feel that they’re get to the stage that they’re ready to actually do it. They’ll spend years and years learning magic tricks, learning all the moves yet they always feel like they’re still in training. I think that’s because you’ll never get to the stage when someone’s going to say ‘ right well done, here’s your certificate’. You may have mastered that trick years ago, but the only way you’re going to do it is start getting some experience out there ‘in the trenches’ You need to be able to say ‘I’ve learned that well enough to perform it’ then you can continue through and develop it though live performance.
Ben Williams Very much so.
Paul Knight It’s a case of dip your toe in the water. Is it too cold? Yes it is, jump in.
Ben Williams It’s funny that you actually mention this, because I said to Paul just the other day that we had a new magic trick arrive to the shop and I was practicing it. But I didn’t feel I could go out and show it yet. For the next couple of weeks I was showing people in the magic shop. They were all going ‘oh yeah, that’s really good and I discovered that the thing I felt un-confident about was the fact that I hadn’t yet performed it in front of people, I hadn’t properly performed it. That was the missing link. I had perfected the moves, I’d run through them so much. Everything was so smooth. The only thing that was holding me back was the actual performance of it. I now know, with this magic trick you have to show people to find which angles are good.
Paul Knight So are you going to do that with friends or are you just going to jump in the deep end next booking and try it.
See, this is the thing, I would do that with friends, but friends don’t give you an entirely true response. At a gig, I might perform it to a group I’m really getting along with and they’re just happy that I’m there, and I’m having fun with them. I can say ‘Look, I’ve never done this before, shall we try it?’ I don’t tend to do this at paid gigs though.
Dominic Reyes It’s hard though to add a new piece in my set. I’ve got to the stage where I a new item is ready to introduce but it may be months before I get around to actually adding it. I know my set, I know it works well, I know the timing. So it’s hard to mess with that.
Paul Knight It’s second nature. The act has been a part of your practice.
Dominic Reyes It never needs to be added in because it’s all going really well. I’ve got a beginning, a middle and an end. I can have a new magic trick ready to go and I’ve got it there on the back burner for months and then something may happen, perhaps I need extra time or a repeat booking and I’ll try it and bang, it’s finally included. I mean it’s a hard thing to introduce new magic to a working set.
Dominic Reyes Right, guys, we’re almost out of time now. Anyone got any last quick tips.
Paul Knight Not any sensible ones, no.
Ben Williams Practice makes perfect.
Paul Knight If you practice in front of a mirror, maybe try it with one eye closed, try that approach. No, see I told you.
Ben Williams Yeah, you could practice in glow in the dark clothing in the dark.
Dominic Reyes Right time to wrap it up I think.
Ben Williams I do believe.
Dominic Reyes Let’s go home.