The Magic Café
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Enhancing Your Ability to Work Wonders - by Brad Burt » » Let Me Look At That... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Brad Burt
View Profile
Inner circle
2675 Posts

Profile of Brad Burt
Let Me Look At That

By Brad Burt

Part One: The Set Up

This is a topic that is incredibly important to magic, but not in the way that most folks would think. It deals with the long term impression that our magic will leave with those who watch and experience it. I dealt with it a couple of times over the last year or so, but I thought it would nice to post a fuller examination of the subject.

What’s the subject? What do you do if someone asks to see your magic props? Here is what I stated elsewhere with some editing for this essay:

Consider the following formulation: When the cards or coins or whatever props you are using are in your hand they produce magic. Once they leave your hands AT THE REQUEST OF THE AUDIENCE they become a PUZZLE!

There is a thought, and I believed this myself for some years, that a magic trick is made MORE magic if it can be examined. But, IS it more magical or is it merely more puzzling? They are NOT one and the same thing. I can be puzzled by the solution to some mystery show, but there is nothing magical about it.

Magic is: Creating the ILLUSION of being able to bend the Laws of Reality! This Illusion is created through the performers technical skill, belief in the illusion (which creates your body language conviction), and thirdly, the amount of credulity (or ready belief) of the audience. It is important to remember this. We are creating illusions that MAY be puzzling, but we do NOT want to thought of merely as offering puzzles.

Consider the following: Let's say that you are a 'real honest to goodness' wizard. You can really abrogate basic reality and make lead into gold. So you get an audience and you fill a large iron tub with lead fishing weights and toss in some rubbish that no one REALLY wants to know about and ZAP and FLASH the iron tub emits some sparks and smoke and when everyone can see again the lead fishing weights are taken out and examined to discover that they are in fact REALLY solid gold!

Guy walks up and looks at the iron tub and kicks the sides, etc. and says, "Wow, that's a pretty cool trick! How did you do it?"

Looking somewhat askance at the goof that just watched a real miracle you attempt to convince him that it was in fact REAL? But, he's examined your magic tub and found nothing to indicate that it was a trick and yet you can't convince him otherwise.

See the point? Letting folks EXAMINE our props EXCEPT as part of the routine in which YOU are in charge of LETTING them examine them is fruitless! You just say, "No, sorry, but I don't let anyone look at my stuff." And, then what?

The guy says, "Well, then it a trick!" And, smugly walks off as if he's proven something. But, nothing would have been proven if you HAD given him the prop. Well, something would have been proven. You would have proved that you could hide the actual method from the audience. Since that is pretty much the basic job description of the magician that's no big deal. But, proving that you can HIDE the method is, again fruitless. And, so.......

This is what I say when they ask if they can see something: "I'm really sorry, but no, it's a trick." And, I put it away.

See this admission shuts all the other stuff down about 98% of the time. Where are they going to go? What, are they going to do? Start arguing with you that in fact it's NOT a trick, that it's real?

Cut to the chase and just short circuit the entire awkward affair. To summarize:
Don't let your stuff be examined, it's just pointless, fruitless and frustrating.

Part Two: The Other Part

Does the above mean that I NEVER have props examined? Nope. But, I try to build into my routines and my act as a whole the IDEA that in fact if they HAD asked that they could have looked at whatever it is that caught their eye.

If you are working for friends there is almost nothing you can do to avoid the problem except deal with it as above. But, if you are doing shows then there is a lot you can do!

Rule #1- Never, ever, ever, EVER use the word EXAMINE in your patter. EVER! Why? Because, once you have implanted the concept in the minds of your audience, once you have LET them EXAMINE something one time then you are on the hook to do it whenever your audience would like to.

Here’s what you want to do: “Mary, would you shuffle this deck for me. Oh, and give it a couple of cuts also. That’s great. Are you a card player?” “Bob, if you would help me out here…I’d like you to hold these four half dollars and warm them up for me.”

At appropriate times in your show have a spectator hold, shuffle, cover, etc. some, not all of your props. What you want to do is to implant the suggestion that they ‘could’ examine something. You want to give the studied impression that your props are not ‘tricked’ up in any manner: That the cards are just cards and the coins just coins.

Rule #2- Attempt to always end with something that you can ‘leave’ out and let it be examined when you are not around. Your audience will then impute this normality backwards to the rest of your act.

That’s it. The rest is pacing and timing past and around problematic areas. If you really work at this and are aware of the problem you will be surprised how much less you are asked to hand out your props for examination. That’s a good thing!

All best,
Brad Burt
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Enhancing Your Ability to Work Wonders - by Brad Burt » » Let Me Look At That... (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.15 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL