• What is the most important part of a magic trick? (Pt 2)

  • July 22, 2019

  • I realise it is a bit strange to write a second piece about the most crucial part of a magic trick since surely there is only one answer. I covered that answer yesterday by the saying that there are three parts; practice, more practice and even more practice. There is another part to that, and it isn't more practice, although that is kind of the case. This time I'm referring to the extra something that is key to making your magic exceptional.

    The answer is you. You are the most important part of the show. Of course, the magic you've chosen to perform, the patter that goes with it, the jokes you use (or don't use if you're more serious), how you dress, your voice and your body language are all essential. However, your character or persona that you take on while performing, which is the amalgamation of all of those factors and many more, is what is truly important.

    I mentioned in one of my previous articles that other magicians and I are often booked by the same clients again and again because of who we are. They keep coming back to us and book us because of the rapport they, and the other guests, build with us. We are memorable, both for our effects, but what is far more crucial, is how we do them and why. Finding someone's card in a deck is a lovely magic effect, but it is several times more powerful when there is a reason for it that fits with our characters and our performance.

    I have a terrible habit of laughing at my own jokes, something I would not recommend by the way, but I have stopped trying to prevent myself from doing it and made it part of my character. As you begin performing more and more regularly, you will notice certain things about yourself. I laugh at my own jokes even when I'm not performing because, unfortunately for everyone around me, I find many things funny, including myself. So rather than hide that part of who I am, I have integrated into my persona. My audiences often make comments on the fact that I laugh so much, and that I have a rather peculiar laugh, but I don't hide away from it, but rather make a joke around it, which makes me laugh again of course, and it tends to win the crowd over because I'm being honest.

    It can be strange to be honest during a magic show which is inherently made up of lies and misdirection. From my experience, it has always brought my audience in closer as they get to know me better and see me for a human being. This fits my character though as I don't profess to have magic powers, but rather portray myself as being along for the ride as much as my audience is. Instead, I have to rely on magic to get out of sticky situations that I have inevitably gotten myself into, one way or another.

    Another example of how you will discover these details about yourself is how you handle hecklers from your audience. Do you prefer to invite them into the fold so they can be a part of the act, winning them over? Or, would you rather go a more aggressive route, using put-downs and dismissive comedy? Both have been shown to work well, and both have failed miserably, turning the audience against the performer.

    I always try and invite them to get involved, but I will get progressively more aggressive towards them and use various techniques to turn the rest of the audience against them while bringing them onto my side. This is my favourite strategy as it almost always ends up with the audience telling the heckler to shut up, sit down and be quiet.

    Both of these factors and many more will present themselves to you as you perform. They are all opportunities to learn more about yourself as an individual and as a performer. So take these chances to discover all that you can, and you will find how out what the best version of yourself. It does take practice, though!

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