"Your opening effect must achieve two very important goals. First, it has to win over the audience. Second, it should set the tone or the rest of the act." – Strong Magic Darwin Ortiz
Card tricks that will be used as openers need to meet some requirements:
1. The card tricks need to be fast.
Trying to perform multi phase tricks with a long build up before the magic happens can easily switch off your spectators attention. You have the groups attention, so your tricks should create a magical event as quickly as possible.
2. Perform visual card tricks.
Card tricks that have a strong visual element work really well. This captures the audiences attention. Visual tricks require less thought from the spectators, who will not be as engaged in your performance at this point.
3. Make sure it's amazing.
These first magic tricks need to hit them hard and show them something totally impossible. People will judge the quality of your whole act, by the first magic trick you show them. Make sure the magic tricks you choose as openers, establish your skills and demonstrate how entertaining you are.
4. Easy to perform card tricks.
When you approach a new group of spectators, you will be doing several things at once:
- Introducing yourself
- Setting the tone
- Assessing the group dynamics
- Defining your performing conditions
- Setting pace
- Capturing attention
- Establishing control
Using card tricks that are easy to perform as your first tricks, gives you one less thing to worry about. If you are 'breaking in' new material, it may not be wise to use them as openers, until you are very comfortable performing them.
5. Set a good tone for the rest of the performance.
The card tricks you use as openers will set the tone for the rest of the 'set'. What is your magicians persona? Which card tricks would help to communicate this to the spectators. Choosing tricks with a comedy presentation, before moving into a dark mentalism act, wouldn't flow correctly and will confuse the spectators. Build each of the tricks into 'set's that have a common theme and select an opener that sets the tone and style of the whole act.
Here are some suggestions for good openers. You can learn them from most good magic shops:
Using Sleight of hand.
An alternative to structured card tricks, would be to perform some card flourishes and manipulation as an opener. This would establish your skills and grab attention. With card tricks, magicians are fighting against the "Card tricks Uncle" cliche. Performing some flourishes, or a demonstration of sleight of hand can establish your credibility right away.
Performing a series of colour changes would also be a great way to capture attention and set a pace for the rest of the card magic.
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