Magic Critique: Can YOU Handle The Truth?

So you worked out a routine. You thought it was great. You showed it to your Mom. Who else? Maw, watch this. Maybe your significant other. Of course you want to hear them say its fantastic. Is that what you want to hear? What if they see ways it could be improved or in performing you inadvertently reveal what you are doing.

A young boy, 8 years old, showed me  tricks he was going to do for his class. Simple tricks, that he handles easily. Problem: presentation. I was fighting with myself whether to correct him or not. Isn’t it enough he gets up in front of the class and does magic. Do I really expect him to be a performer at 8. But he did ask me. So I told him. Look at your audience when you talk to them, which he didn’t do. Don’t tell them in advance what you are going to do, which he did. It takes away the surprise. He explained to me that he had to talk as that was part of the presentation.(It’s in French, not his mother tongue.) So we changed the words around, so he could talk without giving it away. And one trick he wanted to do that I did not consider appropriate, and I told  him its more of a gag than a trick and he would easily be found out. He said he could ask them to dim the lights. I just didn’t think it was a good idea. It involved a nylon thread that was visible. I wanted him to succeed. He wanted to try his new trick. His first trick is an appearing wand, a Mylar wand, about 20″ long.  You open a closed fist as to throw something in the air  and a wand appears from nowhere and you catch it. That was fine. Zig-Zag Rope, Appearing  Flower..and a few others. Everything went well, I am told. Did he take my advice? I don’t know.

I wished I would have told him to take a shopping bag to put the wand in after the production but I didn’t think of it until it was too late. That is  something else to think about. What to do with the trick after its done, especially if the show is taking place in someone’s home where after the show everyone comes up to you when you are trying to put your stuff away. Pre Presentation, Presentation and Post Presentation. Three things you have to worry about or at least think about. Sounds like a good title for a book. But I digress. Now I come back to the original question. Criticism. Do you really want it?  Can you handle the truth?


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5 responses to “Magic Critique: Can YOU Handle The Truth?

  1. Paul Kruse

    Hi Evy! 🙂
    I am not a magician. I hope to be a good amateur at some point before I leave this Good Earth behind. What I have become by accident is a casual collector with a medium level of understanding of how many effects are done. Most importantly, I am VERY passionate about “our” artform. I simply LOVE magic. I think my love became serious when Doug Henning did his television specials, which Wikipedia just told me began it 1975. I write this because for a non-performer like myself, the advice in this blog entry is pure gold. Every beginner needs to learn the lessons you have shared here. The “before, during and after” issue is honestly something I never thought of since I’ve only played with one effect at a time. Every magician at the “beginner” level needs to learn what you have taught here.
    Congratulations! Well done!


    • Thank you Paul, for your most generous appraisal of my post. It is rewarding for me to know that someone out there is being helped. It is encouraging for me, I guess much like the magician who gets a great applause at the end of his or her show!


  2. Paul Kruse

    PS – Though I’m an American I do have a few Canadian relatives and friends. I am a fan of your country. I always feel welcome when I visit, and I am impressed by the pride that my “friends to the North” take in being from Canada. I mention this because it was perhaps 30 years after I watched Doug Henning that I learned he was in fact CANADIAN!! It may seem a bit silly, but I was genuinely excited and pleased to learn that my first “magic hero” was from your country! GO Canada!! 🙂


  3. Years ago I was watching a magic show which included a very famous Canadian magician. We will call him Shawn. After the show Shawn came up and asked me how I liked his new illusion. I told him that I didn’t like it and I told him why. Another magician who was sitting with me looked at me in horror! He said I can’t say that! Shawn looked at the other magician and told him, “I ask Brian because I know I can rely on him to tell me the truth, I can’t improve something that everyone tells me is wonderful simply because they are afraid of offending me”.

    Of course Shawn was not 8, but I do warn people if they ask me for my opinion that is exactly what I’m going to give them, my opinion. Be warned.


  4. That reminds me of an incident at the International Start-up Festival here in Montreal. I am a Grandmother judge and a start-up came over to me with a bottle of wine and two Glasses and asked if we could talk. i said”You think you are going to ply me with wine and I ‘ll vote for you?” He said “No. I know you are the toughest judge of all and I want to go over my pitch with you before I get to the investors because I know you will surely point out my weak spots and its easier to talk with a glass of wine.”

    I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.


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