Ask a Magician, a series of blog posts answering your questions! - Issue XIV
John asked me this through a website where I was signed up to answer questions. I thought this one was particularly insightful as it isn't just asking, "what are the secrets of magic?" / "how do you do it?" but rather about a specific issue that many magicians struggle with. Fortunately, I have some good advice for him, and others. The question was:
How do you speak so smoothly during a performance? I cant seem to do both the trick and the talking at the same time.
The first thing I wanted to note is that often people who see my magic say that I make things look effortless, smooth or even easy. I'm grateful for the compliment, but the truth is it has taken a lot of effort to get to the place I am today.
I've written about this before, and how sometimes this misconception about my magic performances can be quite frustrating. Sometimes, I even teach someone a simple trick while I'm at an event, and only then do people realise that I make it look easy.
The secret element is experience. There was a time when my magic wasn't as good as it could be. In fact, you might say that it still isn't. I'm always striving to improve, and if I manage that then I will only get better. For those considering hiring me as a magician, it's useful to remember that the reason my price differs from others is because of that simple concept - experience.
Back to the question at hand though. How does a magician go about creating routines that appear effortless. It's a simple process.
No magic routine should be performed, until it has both been practised (that is the basic moves learnt), and rehearsed (that is in full 'costume / outfit' with the correct timings, as if it were for real).
For me after every single performance I do a short analysis or WWW (what went well) and EBI (even better if) - sometimes this is a physical process of writing in my notebook, other times for events such as close up magic and stage magic, both of which I am very experienced with, it's simply a mental thing as I drive home.
Even with all of the preparation, mentioned above, it can feel daunting to perform a routine for the first time in front of a live audience. That's why I have one final tip - don't try to sing and dance at the same time. A friend gave me this advice when I was in the same position as our questioner. I had practiced and rehearsed a routine and wanted to try it out at one of my open performance evenings, but something was holding me back. He advised that I separate the two actions, say the lines, then do the magic movements (open movements, or secret ones ?) and then I say the next line. Eventually, as the routine improves and evolves, the words and actions come together. And that's why there's a picture of Beyonce above!
And here's an example of me singing and dancing (aka. speaking and doing magic) at the same time in Spanish, no less!
Got a question to contribute? I would love to hear it! Leave a comment, or click here to email me.