Should the effort to learn magic tricks be greater than the effort to perform them? If you find that you sometimes don’t get reactions to your magic tricks that you think they deserved, it could be that you are not communicating how much effort your magic takes to accomplish.
It’s normal to want to appear as skilled as possible to your audience. Often you may be claiming skills that you don’t really possess. This urge to demonstrate how effortlessly you can perform your magic tricks could work against you. Making your skills look trivial.
Magic is an unusual performance art because much of the most impressive detail, by its nature, needs to be hidden from the audience. Spectators don’t understand how easy or hard it is for you to perform a magic trick. How can they, as you hide the true method from them. Unless you give them some indication of a magic tricks difficulty, they can only judge it from how quickly or apparently easily you accomplished the trick.
The Speed of Your Magic Tricks is Not an Indication of Their Difficulty.
How fast you perform your magic tricks doesn’t always suggest how skilled you are. A quick series of cuts and shuffles looks impressive, and to other magicians, who understand just how hard the techniques are to master, it can amaze them. Spectators can often react quite differently. Fast can signal easy, to an audience. By slowing down sections of your card magic tricks or coin manipulation, you may find that you impress your spectators much more. Experience with the speed of your manipulation, you may be very surprised by the results.
Learn Magic Tricks That Draw Attention to the effort.
Even if, a flourish our move you perform is easy, try drawing more attention to is, by making it look much harder. Build this into the stories you present your magic tricks within.
Show that you need to concentrate. Pause as you prepare to do something impossible. Fake a false start, or even fail at your first attempt. Let the audience think they are seeing something special, something you have worked to perfect for many years. By communicating the effort, you will be adding value to the feats you are performing for their entertainment.
Learn Magic Tricks that Make the Audience Care.
Showing effort engages your spectators and makes them care about your magic tricks. They identify with the performer. Everyone has something they wish they could do. We all have unfulfilled dreams. People relate to other peoples challenges and their hard work to overcome them. That’s why reality TV shows are so successful. People want to see others overcome their challenges. We all want to see David fight Goliath.
What Would it be Like if you Could do Magic?
The effort you display doesn’t have to be over the mechanics of your sleight of hand. It’s doesn’t even have to be natural. Imagine you actually do perform magic. How would it be done? Maybe through countless hours of memorizing spells? Perhaps rituals needed to take place first? Could you learn magic tricks that communicate this, that require you to reciting a spell silently under your breath? If you do a bill switch, could you be reciting something quietly to yourself at the moment the bill changes? Perhaps you need set some objects into a specific pattern around your performing area, for the magic to work? Anything that shows that the magic that is about to happen is special helps communicate effort.
What Price do You Have to Pay and How Can You Express that?
Maybe your powers come from amazing mental abilities? Do you need to build up concentration before doing something amazing? Maybe you have close close your eyes in thought, to prepare yourself for what needs to be done? You could have to pay a cost for the magic. It may drain you mentally to perform a trick. Think about ways to show spectators that you are paying for the powers you show them.
Pause and Fail.
Before performing the magic, take a moment to pause and gather your thoughts. Perhaps you could do a false start, and have to begin again. If it really is impossibly hard to do the magic you will show them, then you don’t need to succeed the first time you try.
At a critical point, just as you make the magic happen, could you show tension in your body? As your hand hovers over coins, to make them move, does your hand shake a little through the effort? Tension can demonstrate effort, without you having to draw attention to it.
Learn Magic Tricks Using the Too Perfect Theory.
The too perfect theory suggests that it may be better to get a magic trick slightly wrong. The small flaw makes the magic look more believable.
For example: If you were to perform a full deck colour change, it may look better to have one card fail to change. If you draw a prediction, maybe you get it slightly wrong, but so close that it looks like you ‘almost had it’. You can see how strong this sort of ‘almost right’ result can be, by watching Derren Brown in action. Derren’s creative team are experts in the too perfect theory.
Don’t Overdo it – It’s a Fine Line.
Be careful not to overdo it. You want your show of effort to be subtle, otherwise it can look terribly fake. When you learn magic tricks be careful in rehearsal, to make your acting believable is very important. If in doubt, remember that less is more. Ham it up too much and your audience will see through it and the results will be terrible. Care to learn a little acting is just as important at your time to learn magic tricks.
Choose your favourite magic trick and identify the moments when the magic or amazing skills happen.
Video yourself performing. Pay close attention to how much effort you seem to be applying.
Ask yourself it if you communicate great skill in those moments, or just that the method it easy if you know the secret.
Introduce a few ‘effort signals’ into the presentation, and audience test the results.
This kind of practice and act development will set your magic far above the level of most magicians. We are confident that you will be astonished by the results a little effort to do this can give you.
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