One of the most recommended books on learning how magic works and how to perform it with impact is Approaching Magic by David Regal. It's been a best selling magic book consistantly since it's first publication, and finds a home on most successful magicians bookcases.
If you are very new to learning magic, I should give you some background on David Regal. David is a television writer and one of the worlds most respected creators of magic tricks for magicians. He served as head writer for Nickelodeon’s Rugrats, and has written for many sitcoms, including multiple episodes for Everybody Loves Raymond. David Regal magic tricks are performed worldwide.
Dominic Reyes caught up with David Regal to ask him for some quick tips for magicians beginning to learn magic tricks.
If you were at the start of your magic career again, what three things would you do differently?
1) I’d have studied more about all types of fabrication. Woodworking, metalworking, plastic, etc.
2) I should have kept a list of magic that I’ve seen and loved, so I could better try and understand the qualities I admire, both in performance and the principles involved.
3) I’d have learned false transfers earlier in my development. Why? I feel a false transfer is the ultimate lie in a craft built on lies, and the least armor a performer can wear. Getting into magic, we often try to cover ourselves with armor via method; but a false transfer, well performed, teaches us and corrects us – it opens a door.
Have you found that being a writer for shows such as Rugrats has helped with your creativity?
I see the problems one faces when writing episodic television, and the problems one faces when structuring a magic routine or seeking a method, as identical. Both involve what I see as multiple knots, tied one upon the other. Issues that lack solutions. There are many ways one can reach the end – the best are the most elegant, and generally seem simple in retrospect.
Are there any amazing creative tips you learned from them that you would like to share?!!?
The best creative tip I can offer is:
Most people never do that out of fear of the immensity of the task. Most important, when you begin, have intent. Without intent, it is difficult to evaluate one’s movement. Don’t expect to succeed every time – you will and you won’t. Simply have intent, see where you arrive, and compare it to that intent.
What came first for Clarity Box, the method for the trick or the idea for the trick?
Most things start with a problem I’d like to solve, or an image I’d like to create. I wanted to have a clear box that exact size of The Clarity Box, that would do what The Clarity Box does. I drew it while on an airplane, on the barf bag, and took it home with me. I made the first one out of come pieces of clear plastic I’d purchased for another magic trick I was working on, one that never worked right. I taped it all together and tried it out in front of the bathroom mirror.
If you could give a complete beginner one piece of advice what would it be?
A great thing about magic is no matter what age you are when you start, there is always something wonderful that you can do. Find a trick you love performing that fits your skill level, and do it well. Simultaneously challenge yourself. Work on something that you find more difficult. Work on it for weeks, months, maybe a year. Show your magic tricks to a friend who will be honest with you about the good and the bad. There is great satisfaction to be found when one both enjoys the pleasures that come with performing magic for others, and privately works on that “next thing.”
The Merchant of Magic offers a full range of magic books, tricks and DVD's by David Regal. You can visit the David Regal section here.