By Dominic Reyes
Opps! The magic tricks gone wrong! You asked them to pick a card and lost it in the deck, then with a sophisticated flourish you proudly revealed completely the wrong card.. Awkward silence..
What to do:
Don’t worry, it’s not a big deal. Magic tricks go wrong sometimes and no matter how much you practice, it can happen. The key is to be prepared in advance. You are not pre-recorded, you are doing something LIVE and part of the thrill for the audience is that it’s real, happening before their eyes, and they can interact with you. The audience has not invested in you, and have nothing to risk from you making a mistake. You are there to entertain them, and if something goes a little wrong, but you carry on and DO entertain them, then they get what they want. After all, Tommy Cooper made a living from making his magic tricks go wrong. The important part is the entertainment.
Having said that, there are some things you can do to make it go much better:
1) Always have an ‘out’
As a magician you are one step ahead. You decide how the trick tricks should end and what that ending is going to be. There is no reason your magic tricks need to follow a pattern unless you told the spectators in advance what the ending is going to be. Avoid doing that!
A few easy outs to get you started:
A playing card is picked and lost in the deck. You intended to find it with a flourish, but something didn’t go right. Just change the ending. Ask them what their card was and act confused that it could not possibly be their card as that one is not even in the deck. Go through the deck to show them it’s not even there, before taking off your shoe and letting their card fall out from inside!
Don’t know an impromptu card to shoe? Rus Andrews BOLD teaches a great impromptu version on DVD or Download
Go through the deck of playing cards looking for their card, then take out your wallet and show that the card is inside a sealed envelope in your wallet
Ask them which playing card they chose and show it’s the only face down card in a face up deck that’s been in your pocket the whole time. We are thinking Invisible Deck here folks!
2) The magic trick goes wrong, and you expose the method and it’s a total disaster.
‘Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so
But, sadly, it’s true
Can happen to you.’ – Dr. Seuss
Sometimes they will spot the coin, the gimmick will fall apart in your hands, you will flash a card or maybe a heckler will expose the method half way through a trick. These things happen to every magician. The secret is…
Don’t worry about it.
Just stay relaxed and confident and don’t ever apologize or make it a big deal. Just end the magic trick and start a new one. Perhaps with a smile and little positive joke comment. If you stop and act embarrassed, your audience will feel embarrassed too. This can express itself as either sympathy for you or they will mock you, neither of these are good!
When magic tricks go wrong, Don’t frame the error.
If you draw attention to the failed magic trick, your audience will pay more attention to it. (Pretty obvious really.) Instead, just move on and perform your next great trick. The impact of the magic tricks that follow and the magic they create will overshadow the bit of ‘nothing’ that happened between the first trick that amazed them and the next trick that impressed them.
For example: You perform a vanish using a pull and a spectator sees a flash of it flying away and comments on it. Simply say ‘oh, did I not throw it quickly enough?! I tell you what though if you reach in here and grab a card…’ By moving straight on to something else it will help blur the moment and you are away and onto another trick, no hang ups, no framing of failure or apology, just more magic tricks!
3) Minimize the chances of error.
Practice, Practice, Practice and then rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. We don’t really need to tell you this do we? Good practice doesn’t just make your magic tricks look good. It irons out the chances of failure and allows you to spot the places the magic tricks could go wrong. You can then build in ‘out’s and be relaxed enough to handle a problem should it spring up.
Do you have a story about when magic tricks go wrong? How did you deal with it? Please share the experience in the comments section below: