Presenting Magic

There are a lot of young hot shot magicians these days. They can handle a deck of cards and do tricks that would dazzle anyone.

So one of these hot shots comes in the other day and asks what he could get to take him to the next level. So we had a little discussion of what he does, who he does it for, etc. After our little chat I suggested he buy a book on Presentation, as I could tell from our conversation that it was not at all what he was focusing on.

He turned his nose up at that. He wanted a gimmick. Something that would enable him to do even greater feats of magic. A book means he has to read. I wonder if a DVD on the subject would be more appealing. Can anyone out there recommend a book or DVD on presentation that would interest a 12 year old? I haven’t given up on him yet.

We once had Eugene Burger here for a lecture and he had wonderful advice on presentation. His book is no longer available, but he has a DVD on the subject. I’m wondering it Magical Explorations DVD is too much for a 12 year old, even one who is serious about magic. Any thoughts on the subject?

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Looking Beyond Magic Instructions

All tricks come with instructions. Otherwise we would have no idea how to work the magic we buy. Sometimes instructions are easy to follow and sometimes it takes a bit of figuring and then there’s always the magic dealer to help you out if you’re really stuck. But once you have it, it doesn’t and shouldn’t end there.

The person writing the instructions doesn’t know you and your personality. Nor does he have your imagination. I once wrote about someone that came in and showed me a routine he did with Nickels to Dimes that blew me away and I got Phil away from his computer to watch him, a feat in itself! It was a 2 minute routine and was amazing. You may wonder, if you’re familiar with Nickels to Dimes what he could possibly do. What if the cap became loose and didn’t hold what it was supposed to? You might bring it back to your magic dealer to replace it or as this fellow did, turn it into a miracle. That’s all I’ll say about that.

We have a trick called Coin Slide. It’s a beginner trick and costs under $3.00. If you are not familiar with it, it can make a coin vanish, appear, or change to another coin. The routine I use to demo it to adults is to ask them for a quarter. I tell them I will change it into a Toonie for them. They are keen on that. I take their quarter, put it in the slot, slide the sleeve over it and then remove the sleeve and lo and behold, it has changed into a dime! I give them the dime and say “Gee, it didn’t work. Let’s try again. Got another quarter?” It always gets a laugh, I give them back their quarter and that works well with adults. That’s not in the instructions.

Last week some kid asked Phil if he had a quarter. The kid said, “If you give it to me I can double your money.” Phil gave him the quarter and the kid put it  in a Coin Slide. Without the use of the sleeve he tossed out the quarter and another one appeared in it’s place, which he also tossed out. Then the kid asked him for a quarter again and  put it in the coin slot, heads up, and in a flash it without cover of the sleeve, it had miraculously changed to tails. We were floored. Did I mention that this 10 year old kid is our grandson? In case you’re thinking, well he got help from us, let us clarify. We had nothing to do with this. We gave him the trick 5 years ago and he has not mentioned magic at all. We thought the magic thing was over for him, at least for now. How wrong we were. His sister told us that he always carries a magic trick in his pocket.

Sorry folks, what he did is not in the instructions. It was in his imagination and he made it happen. He is working on other routines with it as well. Take another look at your magic tricks! There may be more to them than meets the eye.

 

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So You Think Magic Is Just For Fun

A few weeks ago I posted “Where Magic Takes You.” My point really was that you introduce a child to magic, the child becomes a man, the man’s boss is impressed with the man’s magic. It counts. This brings me to Michel Deslauriers, a friend and customer of ours for many years. He read the post and made this comment and I got his permission to share it with you.

“I’ve been doing magic practically my whole life but it has never been my full time job. What it has done is given me a ton of skills that I take to my job. Things like presentation skills, the ability to ad lib and even the ability to sell.”

I think that says a lot for magic. Thanks Mike. You said it better than I ever could. I could say it but people might think I am pushing magic. I am. Not only because that’s what we sell, but because of the effect it has on the recipients. School has started. Give your kid an edge with magic. Not only will it increase his confidence but it will increase his learning ability. Magic lets your brain in on a whole new way of thinking. You even learn how to get out of awkward  situations when you mess up. Someone even wrote a book about it called “Outs”.  So if you have to get a birthday, Christmas or Chanukah gift for a kid, instead of getting him  or her another electronic gadget or game which will soon be passé, get him a magic trick or a Gift Card from Perfect Magic and we’ll steer him or her in the right direction.

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The Big Changes in Magic

Phil and I started Perfect Magic almost 40 years ago. I posted my first blog 6 years ago. I’ve written almost 300 posts. I went to see what I wrote the first time. All I can say is that there were big changes from 40 years ago to 6 years ago, but from 6 years ago to now, there are no big changes. What changed is who is hot in magic! Many magicians today don’t know who Frank Garcia is although they are familiar with Daniel Garcia. They don’t know who Albert Goshman is but when they buy sponge balls they want Magic by Gosh brand. They never heard of Fantasio but they know about vanishing and appearing candles and canes. Now the names asked for are Shin Lim, Greg Wilson, Jon Allen, Dan and Dave to name a few. Most of the oldtimers are gone, unfortunately.

At one time a legend remained a legend, but now new kids come on the block quickly and often the star today is forgotten tomorrow. We have the internet to thank for that. It’s good and bad. Everyday there is tons of new stuff. We try to weed out the bad.

The other big change is the arrival of Downloads which I have written about. Many people haven’t tried it yet, but those who have really like it as it is much less costly. There are downloads of DVD’s and Books. We have over 1900 downloads to choose from.

Another thing has happened. DVDs that were so popular, sell less than they did as they are often copied and sent to friends etc. Now to combat that, most DVD’s also contain a gimmick so the DVD alone is useless unless you have the gimmick.

If I missed any changes, please comment and add it on. I’d appreciate that and so might the other readers. Thanks!

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Where Magic Takes You

Perhaps you got a Magic Kit as a kid. Maybe that’s what got you started. Maybe you saw a magician at a party and you got the bug there. It doesn’t matter how it started, it’s like falling in love. The attraction becomes stronger. Some people lose interest, but for those who don’t, its magic. You may not make it your career. Probably that’s a good choice because it isn’t easy. No matter how good you are, it’s a hard business to break into. But that doesn’t mean it can’t take you places. It can make you a hero to your grandchildren or even your boss!

Someone came in the other day looking to buy magic. He said he used to come here often as a kid with his father and he had a list and would buy the stuff on his list. It was a great time for him. Then he grew up and had other things on his mind, but he never gave up the magic. He fooled around with cards and coins and other close up stuff that he had. One day his boss came into his office and saw a deck of cards on his desk. He works for a big company.

“What are the cards for?” he asked.

“Oh, let me show you.”

He did a trick for him and blew him away.

“I didn’t know you did magic!

“Well, now you know.”

“We’re having a conference in a few weeks, maybe you’ll do some magic there.”

“Sure.”

So this fellow goes about practicing up on his walk around magic and one day his boss comes up to him and says, “By the way, just let me know what kind of lighting you need or tables, etc. Whatever you need.

” Just a minute. What kind of magic do you expect me to do?”

” Oh, you’ll be on stage for about 30 or 40 minutes. They’ll be over 100 people.”

“I thought I would just walk around and do magic for small groups at a time.”

“Oh no. We want a magic show.”

I guess it’s hard to say no to your boss.  This customer has the personality for it. He pleasant, outgoing, and a great sense of humour. All we have to do now is put a show together for him. We’ll try to steer him in the right direction.

To be continued….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reading Magic

When we started our business almost 40 years ago, people were not learning magic over the internet. There was no internet. There weren’t even magic videos. They read books. There’s an idea for you. New books were highly anticipated.

Now many people  learn magic on the internet. You may learn a trick or several tricks and even do them well, but unless you read books, which you can get on the internet, (perfectmagic.com) you won’t understand  what is involved in the art of magic. There are many kinds of magic books, how to do magic, history of magic, card magic, money magic, close-up magic, street magic, trade show magic, stage magic,  mentalism, illusion building, magic biographies, party magic, you name it, there’s a book on it. What you also get in many books is the back story of the trick, who invented it, who improved upon it, who made it famous, different ways of performing it, in what setting it works best, what you can use to make it easier for you.

At some point the internet learners decide they want to go to a real magic shop. The other day a young man came in. There are many things he didn’t know existed and and was happy to learn about them like Fanning Powder, Fingertip Lotion, Wax ( soft and hard) Coin holders, Roughing sticks, Reels, Octopalm, etc . These are not tricks in and of themselves but you can do do real magic with them or make tricks possible or easier to accomplish. They would go under the heading of  accessories. Most of them come with instructions on how to use them and some come with effects as well.

Magic goes back thousands of years. The first mention of magic that I am aware of goes back to  the Bible, Exodus 7:10-13. It tells how Moses threw his staff to the ground and it turned into a snake. If you don’t read books on magic you are probably not aware of whose shoulders you are standing on and of the valuable information they passed on, and if you are not aware of the importance or use of accessories, you’re missing a lot.

 

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Understanding Magic

We’ve been in the magic business almost 40 years. Besides that I have a knack for figuring out how most tricks could be done, even if it’s not the way they are done.

I have a customer who is into mentalism. I have many customers who are into mentalism but this particular one buys a lot of good magic. He was ready to make another purchase so I decided to look through a lot of mentalist  effects so I could make a recommendation to him. I looked at a lot of stuff, from inexpensive to very expensive and I did like a lot of them. One that I liked was in the $30.00 range. I liked it because I was sure it worked on the hot rod principle but it didn’t. I could not figure out how it could be done, but Phil had an idea, and said it was the only way, but to me it sounded too complicated. If you have it please don’t reveal it, but if you don’t have it, see what you think. the effect is called Symbol.What do you think?

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Teaching Your Brain To Do Magic

The brain is a wondrous thing! It is under used. Many years ago I was walking along the street with a friend and a chill came over me. I said to her, “I just got a chill. That happens sometimes and the next morning I always get a cold and sore throat. It’s like a forewarning.” And she said, “You expect to be sick and you will be. Why not tell yourself over and over that you are not getting sick.” I went to bed that night saying to myself I am not getting a cold. I am not getting a sore throat.” Guess what. I was fine the next morning. I haven’t had a cold in years. What does that have to do with magic?

We had a customer that was trying to teach himself how to do the one handed cut. He said he was working on it for weeks. I told him to keep on going. He would get it eventually if he kept at it.  Then a couple of weeks later he came in and told me he got it, but said he realized he could have saved himself a lot of trouble and learned it a lot faster. How? I asked him. He said he should have tried with his left hand first. Once he learned it with his right hand he thought it would be cool if he could do it with his left hand and to his amazement he could do it almost immediately. I had a good laugh. I explained to him that he had established the pathways in his brain when he had learnt it with his right hand and the switch to his left was a minor change.

The point is if you are trying to do a move that seems impossible, and give up, of course you will never do it. But if you keep at it, you’ll get it.

Which brings me to my granddaughter. When she was 6 or 7 she saw a juggler doing the Devil Sticks at a street festival and everyone was encouraged to try out the props. She was determined to learn how to do it. I gave her a set from the shop and she practiced and practiced all year. She finally learned how to do it and could do flips in the air and all kinds of stuff with it. The following year I went to the festival with her. She picked up a set of the sticks and started performing. Two guys were standing beside me watching her and one said, Hey, let’s try that. It looks easy enough. That little kid is doing it. So they both tried and could not for the life of them understand why she could do it and they couldn’t. Practicing teaches your brain. You just have to keep going until your brain gets it. If you give up learning a move because you think it takes too long to learn or that it’s too hard, that’s what separates you from the greats!

 

 

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Comedy Magic or Magic Comedian

There is a difference,  at least to me. There are tricks on the market that are comedy tricks, like, Tricky Bottles, Comedy Egg Can,  Comedy Funnel, Comedy Rope Trick, Cut, No Cut Scissors, Comedy Book Test to name a few, and these are effects a magician can put in the act to get a laugh. And that’s fine, we all like a good laugh. The trick has built in comedy.

But then there are comedians who put magic in their act. They are comedians first and magicians, second, not that their magic isn’t top notch, but it sort of a by the way thing.  They can perform a serious trick, but their comedic mind turns it into something funny.

I remember going to the Comedy Nest at the old forum in Montreal. Every so often David Acer would have a Magic Comedy night and the performers were magicians of course. Many of the spectators were also magicians. I forget who it was, but one of the performers did Cards Across,  but instead of using cards he used Kraft cheese slices in the cellophane wrappers. For the magicians it was hilarious.. The non magicians must have wondered why there was such an uproar in the place. He was a funny guy. The Great Unknown (Daniel Raymond)

Typical Daniel

The Great Unknown

was also a comedian first.  Romaine, although his magic is serious, has comedic bits throughout his act.

The Chinese Linking Rings can be a thing of mystery or comedy or both. It all depends on the magician. This is where one has to find oneself. Sometimes that’s not a problem, sometimes it takes work. Not the magic, but the kind of show or persona you want to portray on stage; a magician with some really funny tricks, or a comedian doing some magic. One is not necessarily better than the other. It depends on your personality and your comfort zone.

 

 

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The Most Important Element In Magic

It’s a pretty large field to cover in a post. It would depend on whether it’s close-up, stage or walk around, or street magic. In general, however, I think its important to have the audience, no matter how big or small, on your side. They should begin by liking you. How do you get them to do that if they don’t know you? It’s that first impression that going to help or hinder you. How do you start your show? How do you dress? Are you well groomed? What are the first words you utter?  How do you introduce yourself? Are the effects you perform appropriate for the particular crowd you are performing for? How do you react if you screw up a trick? How do you treat your volunteers? Everything counts. How do you engage the people? You could have a great show but  have you connected personally with the audience?

These are things you should think about before you get on stage. A lot of this comes with experience, of course. Something works, you leave it in,  it doesn’t, you take it out.

 

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