Running out of magic tricks? What should you do if you burn through your material at a gig?
Okay, this is something that happens to every magician. It doesn't matter how carefully you build your magic act, construct your sets, or time the length of your magic tricks, sometimes you find you are running out of magic tricks and need to come up with something new FAST.
This can happen several reasons:
- The event only has a few guests.
- You're feeling very energetic and moved through your material too fast.
- It's a repeat booking, and the guests have seen you perform before.
- The layout of the tables means that all the guests are sat together.
- The room is very small; so you are performing to the whole group.
- You have been booked for an extended period of time.
When this happens, you need an action plan. Spending a few moments thinking about what you going to do in that situation will save you a lot of headache on the night.
Multi purpose magic tricks
There are many magic props that can be used for several different tricks. Here's 5 magic tricks that have a huge range of uses when you are running out of magic tricks:
DO THIS: Go over the props you already use and see if there are alternative tricks you can practice as backup.
If you use these items in your core act, take a moment to research alternative presentations you can do with those props. They may not be your staple material, but if you are running out of magic tricks to perform, you can go back to the items later and recycle them.
False Shuffles and Cuts
A deck of playing cards is a wonderful thing. There are more magic tricks you can do with your playing cards than you could learn in several lifetimes. Go back to the beginning and strip everything down to it's basics. A simple card location trick, a card force, or a colour change can be perfect for those moments when you are running out of magic tricks to perform. Learn how to do false cuts and shuffles. These simple techniques will allow you to demonstrate that you can locate any card in a deck. Quick to learn, and great material you can use as impromptu magic when you need more material.
Teaching people magic tricks
Every magician has been asked if they can teach a simple magic trick. Most magicians prefer not to do this, but it can work well if you choose something that is entertaining whilst not exposing the secrets of magic. Magicians never reveal their secrets and I don't suggest you should teach them professional magic tricks. There are lots of public domain simple puzzles that are fine to teach. Simple proposition tricks and bets work well. Choose tricks that naturally teach the method to the spectator as part of the presentation. A trick with matchsticks, where the matches are placed in a square and need to be moved to a new position with just a few moves is a typical example. It's more of a puzzle than a magic trick, but your presentation can make it appear to be something special. Never expose REAL magic secrets. Present a puzzle as a magic trick and you should be fine. The spectators don't need to know that you arn't really teaching them a magic secret, they just want something cool to show their friends and family.
Many simple bar bets can be dressed up as magicial effects. You probably already know 5 or 6 bar bets you have picked up over the years. Take a moment to create a list of them and work out a way to give them a touch of magic.
DO THIS: Make a cheat sheet of 5 bar bets and keep it in your close up case or wallet.
If you get a mental block when you find you are running out of magic tricks to perform, you can take a quick look at the cheat sheet and all will be well with the world.
Give a short talk about magic
How many times have you been asked this question, 'How did you become a magician?' It's on the tip of every spectators tongue. Create a short, entertaining story about the history of magic in your country, and how you discovered your magical powers. Talk about good magic on TV for spectators what would like to see more. Pepper the story with a couple of short magic effects. You can present this to the whole group if you are performing to a small crowd, or you can revisit responsive groups that would be interested. Clients love after dinner speakers, so offering to present a short talk on magic, goes down very well at the right type of event. It can kill quite a few minutes and really sets you apart from ofther close up magicians.
Build in more magic
Even a simple bar bet or puzzle can become magic. The perception of the trick is in the presentation that you fame the trick within. It's likely that one or two of your core effects have techniques within them that could be performed in isolation as their own trick. If you perform The Ambitious Card, could you take a single phase and present it as a stand alone effect with alternative props? Maybe your business cards could be used instead of playing cards? Perhaps the playing card levitation you showed everyone, could be repeated with an object from the spectators table?