Showmanship and Presentation contd….

I wasn’t sure whether to publish this extract since I have already done it in an earlier entry. However, I am supposed to be posting the second chapter of my unpublished book in sequence so it behooves me to do it again. So here it is:

 

  1. USE PATTER TO MAKE YOUR MAGIC ENTERTAINING.

This is where 75% of all would be wizards fall down. Even experienced magicians are often run of the mill performers simply because of poor or badly delivered patter. I believe this is an important subject, in some ways more important than the trick itself. You see, patter is the vehicle of your showmanship; good patter can lift a performance into the heights of entertainment-bad patter can make a trick resemble the sinking of the Titanic. In other words, a disaster.

Admittedly you will have seen magicians on stage and television perform in pantomime to music. These performances are known as “silent acts”. However this book is not trying to teach you to be a stage magician, but rather to instruct you in the art of card magic for your own satisfaction and the entertainment of your friends. With regard to the purpose of performing in social situations for our family and friends good patter is essential.

Now where do you acquire this silver tongue, you may ask? It’s not really difficult; it just takes some application. First of all, after thoroughly learning the mechanics of a trick, why not spend a half hour or so thinking about what to say for it. Use your brain, that’s all you have to do. With a little imagination you should be able to come up with something. In fact, you can get ideas from almost anywhere. Look around you and see if there’s some object in sight that will give you an idea for a patter line. Perhaps you can pick up a book and browse through it in search of inspiration. Whatever you do try and make it interesting, even whimsical or perhaps a little nonsensical. You may prefer to make your tricks appear dark and mysterious. If so, mould your patter accordingly, but don’t try to be something you’re not. In other words, if you’re not really suited to being a comedian there’s no need to make yourself look ridiculous attempting to tell jokes with your tricks. Be natural, be yourself, but be entertaining.

Now of course this may create a conflict because you may not naturally be an entertaining personality. On one hand I am stating that you should be yourself and on the other hand I’m saying you should be entertaining. So you may well ask, “How am I supposed to be myself and be amusing at the same time? My conversation is as dull as dishwater, I don’t like speaking in public, I am naturally a quiet, shy person, so how am I supposed to transform to a product of Barnum and Bailey combined with shades of the Ringmaster to the Greatest Show on Earth?”

Actually the answer is you don’t. You will find that the more you perform card magic the more interesting your personality will become anyway. You don’t have to change overnight to a reincarnation of Dante, Blackstone, Houdini or any other great magician of the past. As time goes by your personality will become more interesting anyway. However, you do have to help it along a tiny bit. For example, if you should make an amusing remark extemporaneously try and remember it for future occasions. You will find as time goes by you will accumulate a stock of these remarks and you can weave them into your performances. If you think you’re as dull as dishwater and you lack confidence, don’t worry! Magic is an incredible confidence builder. Every time you hear gasps of astonishment it will do wonders for your morale.

We seem to have gone away from the subject under discussion, namely patter. Well, here we are again; all I have to say about it now is that I do NOT recommend learning it off by heart. You will certainly sound stilted and ten to one you will forget the words halfway through the trick. It’s a far better plan to get a general idea of what you wish to say, rehearse it aloud a few times with the cards in hand, going through the motions of the trick as you do, and finally when you come to perform you will sound more spontaneous than if you had learned the patter word for word. After many performances you will find that you tend to say the same words over and over again anyway, but with more flexibility. If someone interrupts you will not be put off whereas if the patter was learnt off by heart a break in the performance could throw you off completely.

There are many more rules of magic I could give you but I think the above five are the basic ones.

Showmanship and Presentation contd….

SHOWMANSHIP AND PRESENTATION—Continued.

OK. Here is more from the chapter.

But how do you develop this capacity for showmanship? Well, we’ll come to that but first, here are a few general tips:

 

1.NEVER REVEAL HOW A TRICK IS DONE

This rule should be obvious to most readers although some beginners feel tempted to show how smart they are by revealing the secret. This is a mistake for instead of impressing people with their cleverness they have lowered their standing with the spectator. Once the secret is know the viewer’s opinion of the performer’s ability will decline since the secrets of some tricks are so simple that the spectator will think, “Oh, is that all there is to it?” and give the matter no more thought, whereas if he is in the dark he will puzzle over it and be impressed simply BECAUSE he doesn’t know the secret. Remember, a good trick is like a precious diamond; protect it and it will give you much joy. A secret exposed is like a burst balloon-there’s nothing left.

 

  1. NEVER REPEAT A TRICK BEFORE THE SAME AUDIENCE

 

This, like the above, is one of the standard rules of magic. There ARE a few exceptions since there are a tiny minority of tricks that are actually improved by repetition. By and large, though, it is not wise to repeat a trick for the simple reason that the audience is more likely to figure out the secret on the second showing. The first time a trick is performed the audience does not know what to expect; the magician might make a card disappear or he may change the four of spades to the four of hearts; perhaps the pack of cards will rise mysteriously in the air without visible means of support; in other words, anything could happen. The point is that the spectator doesn’t know what is coming so he is at a disadvantage when trying to figure out the secret. On the other hand, if the trick is repeated, the onlookers have far more chance of deducing the method since they know in advance what is going to happen and consequently are on their guard. They are in a better position to know what to look for and as a result are often able to work out the secret after proclaiming so in a loud voice much to the magician’s discomfort.

 

  1. DO NOT SAY WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO BEFORE YOU DO IT.

 

For the reason outlined in rule two it is unwise to let people know what is going to happen in advance. A possible exception to this would be just before the climax of a trick when all the secret moves and preparation have been completed. It may then be in order for the purpose of showmanship to announce the climax of the trick. Generally speaking though, the less said about what is going to happen the better.

 

  1. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

 

As I stated in the first chapter, even the simplest card illusions require practice. For some of the more difficult tricks and sleights that follow in later chapters I recommend practice in front of a mirror. This will help you to judge the effect as the spectator sees it. However do not overdo the use of a mirror since too frequent use may cause you to get lost in front of an audience. You will be so used to seeing things from the point of view of a mirror that it’s absence will feel strange and you will flounder.

 

Another possible argument against injudicious use of a mirror is one that I have not personally come across. However, since various authorities in magic have stated this view I will give it for what it is worth. That is that frequent use of a mirror will cause the magician to develop a nervous habit of blinking whenever a secret move is executed. This may or may not be true, but I would certainly say that used sensibly a mirror is a useful asset to the budding performer.

 

SHOWMANSHIP AND PRESENTATION—Continued.

Pinterest

titlepic3

I am hardly a fan of social media mainly on the grounds that it is beyond my comprehension but I have been amusing myself lately with this Pinterest thing. I have no idea what it is for but it is amusing me nevertheless. I intend to create photos of magicians and post them there until I get bored with the whole idea. So far I have been posting pictures only of myself which is no doubt the reason for this holding my attention so far but sooner or later I will run of of pictures and videos of myself so my self admiration will have to come to an end at some point. When it does I shall post pictures of other magicians or magic related topics.

Right now I have three pinterest boards. One has virtually nothing on it although I could have sworn I posted stuff there but the internet has always been a bit beyond me. That was my psychic related board where I would post palmistry and tarot related material.

However, I have two other boards which are magic related. One consists of videos and photos of my trade show work and the other is made up of everything else that is magic related.

Anyway, here it all is:

https://www.pinterest.com/lewis086/

Pinterest

Advice for Magicians

titlepic3

I haven’t written anything for  a couple of weeks as I have been touring Western Canada with my hypnotism show. Now that I  have returned I can’t think of a thing to write about! The best I can do is give an extract from a book I wrote about 35 years ago. The second chapter consisted of advice for magicians on showmanship and presentation. I figured it might not go amiss to produce it here as I haven’t changed my views on these matters even decades later. So here you go!

 

  1. USE PATTER TO MAKE YOUR MAGIC ENTERTAINING.

 

This is where 75% of all would be wizards fall down. Even experienced magicians are often run of the mill performers simply because of poor or badly delivered patter. I believe this is an important subject, in some ways more important than the trick itself. You see, patter is the vehicle of your showmanship; good patter can lift a performance into the heights of entertainment-bad patter can make a trick resemble the sinking of the Titanic. In other words, a disaster.

 

Admittedly you will have seen magicians on stage and television perform in pantomime to music. These performances are known as “silent acts”. However this book is not trying to teach you to be a stage magician, but rather to instruct you in the art of card magic for your own satisfaction and the entertainment of your friends. With regard to the purpose of performing in social situations for our family and friends good patter is essential.

 

Now where do you acquire this silver tongue, you may ask? It’s not really difficult; it just takes some application. First of all, after thoroughly learning the mechanics of a trick, why not spend a half hour or so thinking about what to say for it. Use your brain, that’s all you have to do. With a little imagination you should be able to come up with something. In fact, you can get ideas from almost anywhere. Look around you and see if there’s some object in sight that will give you an idea for a patter line. Perhaps you can pick up a book and browse through it in search of inspiration. Whatever you do try and make it interesting, even whimsical or perhaps a little nonsensical. You may prefer to make your tricks appear dark and mysterious. If so, mould your patter accordingly, but don’t try to be something you’re not. In other words, if you’re not really suited to being a comedian there’s no need to make yourself look ridiculous attempting to tell jokes with your tricks. Be natural, be yourself, but be entertaining.

 

Now of course this may create a conflict because you may not naturally be an entertaining personality. On one hand I am stating that you should be yourself and on the other hand I’m saying you should be entertaining. So you may well ask, “How am I supposed to be myself and be amusing at the same time? My conversation is as dull as dishwater, I don’t like speaking in public, I am naturally a quiet, shy person, so how am I supposed to transform to a product of Barnum and Bailey combined with shades of the Ringmaster to the Greatest Show on Earth?”

 

Actually the answer is you don’t. You will find that the more you perform card magic the more interesting your personality will become anyway. You don’t have to change overnight to a reincarnation of Dante, Blackstone, Houdini or any other great magician of the past. As time goes by your personality will become more interesting anyway. However, you do have to help it along a tiny bit. For example, if you should make an amusing remark extemporaneously try and remember it for future occasions. You will find as time goes by you will accumulate a stock of these remarks and you can weave them into your performances. If you think you’re as dull as dishwater and you lack confidence, don’t worry! Magic is an incredible confidence builder. Every time you hear gasps of astonishment it will do wonders for your morale.

 

We seem to have gone away from the subject under discussion, namely patter. Well, here we are again; all I have to say about it now is that I do NOT recommend learning it off by heart. You will certainly sound stilted and ten to one you will forget the words halfway through the trick. It’s a far better plan to get a general idea of what you wish to say, rehearse it aloud a few times with the cards in hand, going through the motions of the trick as you do, and finally when you come to perform you will sound more spontaneous than if you had learned the patter word for word. After many performances you will find that you tend to say the same words over and over again anyway, but with more flexibility. If someone interrupts you will not be put off whereas if the patter was learnt off by heart a break in the performance could throw you off completely.

………………………………………………………………………………………………..
After all this I waffle on about other performance matters. If I can’t think of anything else to write about in future posts I may well post more of those thoughts here.

 

 

Advice for Magicians

PAUL DANIELS

Paul Daniels

I was very sorry to hear of the death of Paul Daniels just a few days ago. I knew him slightly and admired him greatly. As a cabaret stand up performer he was as sharp as a razor and very funny indeed. And he could do some very good magic. His performing style wasn’t to everyone’s taste but nobody could deny his success. I was always highly amused to see that the TV Times did a survey years ago asking the readers to to vote for the 10 most popular television personalites on British television and also the ten most most unpopular. Paul was on both lists!

I first met Paul when a friend dragged me backstage to see him. I am a bit reluctant to bother celebrities but my friend was more intrepid than me so I embarrasingly tagged along behind him. The doorman (maybe he was the stage manager) opened Paul’s dressing room door saying to Paul, “there are two lads from the Magic Circle here to see you” despite the fact that neither of us was actually a member of the Magic Circle!

The  doorman  continued, “Are they here to find out all your tricks?” Paul surprised me by saying, “Oh no, this fellow has made a career out of one trick!” pointing straight at me. I had no idea that he knew who I was but responded, “Do you know me?” and he responded, “Everyone knows you. You have sold the svengali deck (a trick deck of cards) all over the place” And then he astonished me by listing all the venues I had sold them at all over the United Kingdom. I had no idea how he knew where I had been.

He then regaled us with gossip about not only well known magicians but lesser known names too. Names of amateur magicians that did magic only as a pastime and were members of magic clubs. I was quite taken aback at how he would gossip about people the public had never heard of who were simply ordinary folk who happened to belong to magic clubs.

He was also very rude about well known names in the world of magic but I shall spare their blushes and follow the path of discretion being the best part of valour. I shall merely say that some of them were (and are) celebrities in show business.

I later did some business with him regarding a magic concession I had in the Paul Daniels Museum in Blackpool.

About a year ago I did an interview with the well known mentalist and magician of the mind, Paul Pacific who asked me a lot of questions about Paul Daniels and I expressed my admiration for him. Paul somehow found out about it, viewed it and modestly told the viewers to ignore what I said about him but that the rest of the interview was “pure gold for magicians”

Here is a sample of his work:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgRCOLwIJAQ

 

 

PAUL DANIELS

Another Card Trick!

psychic

 

OK. I still have no idea what to write about so how about another card trick? Another trick from my unpublished book.

The next piece of magic is based on an old schoolboy trick but with an added variation which makes it twice as effective. It is known as the

TWENTY-ONE CARD TRICK

Deal twenty-one cards face down on the table into three piles consisting of seven cards in each section. The cards should be dealt alternately from left to right rotating between the packets until there are seven cards in each packet.

When this is done ask the spectator to select a packet. When he does so turn the pile face up so the faces of the cards are visible. Now ask him to mentally select one card and keep it in his mind. Now turn the packet face down. Gather up all three face down piles from the table placing the selected pile in the centre of the three packets.

You now have a complete packet of all twenty-one cards in your hands. The first seven cards consist of one of the formerly tabled piles, the next seven contain the selected pile with the chosen card among them somewhere and the remaining seven cards consist of the last of the three packets. Thus the selected pile is sandwiched between the other two packets.

Deal the cards face down from left to right into three heaps of seven cards each in the same way you did at the beginning. While doing so you chatter amiably asking the spectator if he considers himself to be a good guesser or not. Regardless of the answer ask him which of the three face down piles he thinks contains his selected card.

He makes his selection and you pick up the chosen heap and show him the faces of the cards. Ask if his card is there. If it is then congratulate him on his intuition. If it isn’t then remark that he is perhaps only an average guesser and invite him to try again. If he gets it right this time then congratulate him, if he doesn’t then commiserate and remark that there is only one possibility left and ask him to confirm that his selected card is in the last pile.

Once you have ascertained the correct heap pick up all twenty-one cards from the table just like you did before, placing the packet with the mentally selected card in the middle once again.

Deal them all out face down once more alternately from left to right until you have three packets on the table again. Repeat the process of asking the spectator to guess which pile his card is in. After this extravaganza is completed and the relevant packet identified it will be very easy indeed for the magician to hone in on the spectator’s card since it will be smack in the middle of the packet occupying the fourth position! It works out this way for some odd mathematical reason that is beyond my understanding.

Now of course at this point you could simply reveal the selection out loud and apparently prove you have telepathic powers but I propose a more effective and streamlined procedure.

Take the relevant pile in your hands face down and transfer one card from the top to the bottom and say out loud the letter “T”. Now take the next card and place it to the bottom and this time you say the letter “H”. Repeat the transferring process and say the letter “I”. Now repeat again placing the top card to the bottom saying the letter “S” You have just spelled the word “This” transferring one card for each letter. Now discard the top card to one side.

Continue in this fashion spelling I-S transferring a card to the bottom with each letter you spell. Again discard the top card and lay it aside. You have just spelled the word “is” Continue by now spelling the word “the” thus:-T-H-E again transferring a card underneath with each letter spelled and again finish by discarding the top card. Now repeat the whole procedure with the word “card” as in C-A-R-D and again discard the top card to one side. Now repeat with the words “you” and “took as in -Y-O-U and -T-O-O-K. and at the end of each word lay the top card to one side with the others that have been discarded. You have just spelled the phrase “This is the card you took” When you get to the K in “Took” you will have two cards left. Discard the top one and you will have only one card left. Ask for the name of the selected card. Turn the card in your hand over and there it will be in all its amazing glory!

 

Another Card Trick!