OK. I had the bright idea yesterday of posting the entire chapter Two of a an unfinished and unpublished book on card tricks I started to write 35 years ago. This chapter does not give magic secrets away but gives some hints on how to present magic in the first place.
It will help me to fill up space on this blog for quite a few future posts as I will post it all in installments. I think it will also help beginner magicians in presenting their card tricks. I believe it may also help more advanced magicians too if they read it carefully particulary the latter half of the chapter.
OK. Let’s get it started:
SHOWMANSHIP AND PRESENTATION
Now that you’ve learned a few easy tricks, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to perform them. Notice I said PERFORM, not do them. You see, magic has to be PERFORMED if it is going to be effective. If you just go through the motions of a trick mumbling your words, perhaps fumbling slightly with the cards, talking too much OR too little and generally struggling through without any attempt at showmanship you’re not going to impress too many people. You may, if you’re lucky slightly puzzle a few spectators who have been able to sit through your effort but you certainly won’t have ENTERTAINED them.
And entertainment is what magic is all about. Always remember entertainment comes first! Mystifying people, although not unimportant, must come second, I’m afraid. Even experienced amateur magicians tend to become so fascinated by the secret of a trick that they neglect to present it properly. The professional magician is less prone to let the ingenuity of a trick distract him from his main purpose-that is entertaining his audience. Since a man who earns his living by magic has to please his public or be out of work, he is not likely to let his enthusiasm for secrets affect his capacity to deliver an entertaining performance.
This book is for the beginner in card magic, not the professional. However, the same principles apply-if you put showmanship and good presentation into your performance you will be repaid a thousand fold. The amazement and delight you will see in the faces of the onlookers will be your reward. When you become proficient, people will treat you as a minor celebrity; you will be feted and admired for your talent; you will find spectators laughing and exclaiming with astonishment at your miracles and you will experience great feelings of satisfaction at your new found ability. Unfortunately, you won’t get any of this without good presentation. The best reaction you’d get would be polite indifference; the worst reaction would be downright hostility.