Who doesn’t like to watch magic and why not? As I wrote in a previous post, we love it naturally, from infancy, first trick being peek-a-boo. It doesn’t matter what language, what culture, the baby will get it and smile. You vanish and reappear! Great stuff! When they get older you can remove your thumb and put it back! Amazing. But as we get older and wiser we know its a trick. We know what’s happening. But we love delighting the child, and the child in us. Therefore the magician must come up with something the audience hasn’t figured out.
The problem is delighting them without making them feel stupid. It has to be more than a trick or a baffling mystery. It has to be enjoyable. “Entertainment First” is the cover of George Schindler’s DVD and he has it right. Bill Abbott recently wrote something on Facebook about wooing your audience and making them love you first.
When I first started demonstrating magic in order to sell it, I would just do the trick to show them how clever it is. I’m selling, right? But as a grew older and wiser, more than how clever it is, I show how enjoyable it can be. The simple Svengali Deck. I never say, “As I riffle the cards, put your finger in the deck, anywhere you want.” I always say “As I riffle the cards, put your finger in the deck, anywhere I want, I mean, anywhere YOU want.” It always gets a laugh and I haven’t even done the trick yet, but its already fun. They are going to go home and use that line. The trick is already sold and I haven’t even done it.
So who doesn’t like magic? It’s my opinion that people who think they are smarter than everyone else don’t like it. Sometimes someone will even say “I know it’s a trick!” Of course it is. You are in a Magic Shop, for heavens sake. They are just not completing their sentence. What they are really saying is, “I know its a trick, and I can’t figure it out, and I”m very intelligent, so I should be able to. How the hell did you do that?” One woman actually grabbed the cards out of my hand. I didn’t care for her before, but that clinched it. She was beside herself. I’m not sure that these people will ever loosen up enough to enjoy it.
In my last post about Children and Magic, Jody M. wrote a comment, which is well worth reading, about how he helped his young audience enjoy his magic. That’s what its all about.