little tips...

Struggling with an effect? Any tips (without giving too much away!) you'd like to share?

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Postby IAIN » May 25th, '07, 10:21

cause and effect:

for me, if i bend a coin thats marked, i want a visible/physical showing of it transforming...

so as a simple example, draw a big X on a borrowed coin, when you bend it, for me, it looks extra special if the ink has now smudged a's those little things that i love...

take off your watch too...

saying the same thing:
i hate it in mentalism, people just rounding off the effect with "oooh, isnt that wierd!"...yeah...ok...makes what you've done just...wierd...rather than a display of mental energy, or thought transference..

a look of shock on your face as you get the thought through very powerfully...allow yourself to be taken aback...thank someone for being so good at pasing their word onto you...and for allowing you to read their mind (if that suits what you do obviously)...

behave naturally to the unatural...


Postby IAIN » May 25th, '07, 12:41

other ramblings...

enjoy the silence...especially before a big finish (phnarr!) let that tension build...stop everything...raise a finger..then talk softly, as if sharing a secret, alot of the time, people will suddenly go quiet...make eye contact around the table with each and every person if you can...BOOOOM!

the revelation...

if you have a loud-mouth, talk softer, the ones who want to hear, will tell him/her to shush cos they want to follow what you're saying...BUT!

if you notice two or three people just not interested, dont force it...go back to where you were, and just casually say to anyone who is interested "please, you're more than welcome to come with me somewhere and we'll continue..."

fun, fun, fun:
be appropriate - would a gang of geezers really want to see some serious mentalism or have their tarots or palms read? they might..but i doubt it...

one bad apple:
if youre with a group, and they're all enjoying what you do, but there's one trouble-maker...make him the star of the show...something "in the hands" if you can...let him have centre-stage and bragging rights...then he'll be more inclinded to behave...

its good to talk:
dont be scared to sit and chat before you do anything...see if you can pick up on what they like, if there's any potential for good people to use during an, it builds an expectation of is eventually going to happen...

refuse the second request:
if you say you're leaving, and they ask for more, do it...if they ask for another after that, smile warmly and thank then generously, but make your excuses...but leave them with something...not a business card necessarily, but a bent coin, a ripped up card...or even a little sealed envelope and say "i'll see you all again soon though..."

thank them all again, shake hands, hug if they wanna - say it and mean it...let it all be as emotional as it was really real...well, it was wasnt it...the emotional hook is the be all and end all as far as I'm concerned...

i personally would much rather see someone perform 3 effects of their own, or at least existing work changed to suit them and they make mistakes, than a complete robot regurgitating someone else's lines and mannerisms...i dont want to watch a second hand brown/blaine/whoever...


Postby Adam Boyes » May 25th, '07, 14:17

Thanks for this abraxus. Makes interesting reading and I can see this being useful to me in the comming months/year.

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Postby Schwen » May 25th, '07, 14:19

Yeah thanks, a fantastic thread, i don't know if maybe it could be stickied?
(Note from Mods: It's now been stickied!)

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Postby I.D » May 25th, '07, 17:17

more rant...

let the audience respond: If you are doing an ACR, and one particular revelation whether it be first second or whatver, sparks a strong reaction.. just stop and let the audience react.

For example, the other night I was doing an ACR as a request for a friend whilst on the way home and he had about 6 mates in his car. On one reveal the card ended up in my mouth.. first there was silence, then laughter.. I just stood still. said nothing.. then one of them almost dropped to his knees, he was really affected, got back into his car.. and then it spread to the others, like a contagious plague.. I let that response go on for about 2 and a half minutes.. the card still in my mouth..

All Im saying is that reactions can build.. to unbelievable levels.. if you let them.. try it..

Know what to do in between effects.. its all good having great patter and structured effects, but what do you in the transitional period between a card and a coin trick? Its just as important so if anything its this area that you need to concentrate on so as not let the audience get bored while you fumble around to get ready for you next effect. If you are culling cards, perhaps tell a story or relate an experience, just to keep the audiences minds occupied.

Know your persona: Its perfectly ok for your performance style to be 'a smilar style' to a known performer.. but to 'mimic' another performer is just wrong. No two people in this world are exactly alike, get to know yourself, and base your performace style on what suits you!! If you like someones style, but you cant pull it off, dont chase it, adapt your own and draw inspiration from others, elements of their persona IF it is along the same lines as how you yourself think.

Timing: Can be applied to many elements really. If you have two minutes to perform an effect, do you go ahead with A dream of Aces, or OOTW, with storyline and all.. or do you go with twisting the aces or a coins across. know when to perform effects and when and what not to perform in certain situations.

Routining: Each effect must flow on to the next. Always open with a strong effect to establish credibility, then slowly build each effect with the closer in mind. Never close with a weaker effect than anything performed prior to it. The last thing we hear, read or see is most often the thing we remember first!!

expectation level: Doesnt apply to all effects, but I have learned that reactions always exceed my expectations when the spectators expectation levels are low. so.. if I build up tension.. then apparantly fail.. the expectation levels are high, then drop.. so when I come good and close the effect.. the expectation levels shoot through the roof.

NEVER LET THE CUSTOMER KNOW WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO DO!! Never draw attention to the fact you are about to make their card travel to an impossible location.. that is a prime example of expectation levels dropping.. but not in a good way. The element of surprise is one of the best weapons in a magicians arsenal. Use it!

Be natural: If you are nervous, thats ok.. but the easist way to overcome it is to enjoy yourself.. and BE YOU!! If you are stiff, and if the motions you go through are just that.. motions.. then your audience will pick up on this and you wont shine like you could. Make sure that your actions suggest nothing is out of the ordinary.. imagine a line down the centre of your body.. mirror the left with the right when no specfic actions are taking place.. look the spectators in the eye confidently.. and use your eyes as midirection. They are also very strong tools !! Youtube Project started.. early days

Reading: Nothing right now
Studying: loving band redemption
Performing: Speechless, Stand up Monte, Coinvexed,
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Postby Jae » May 26th, '07, 03:21

Just to echo - what an excellent thread. :)

When practicing make use of video cameras or even PC Cameras. They are far better than mirrors for showing you what you look and sound like from the spectators perspective. Keep to wide shots rather than where the action is taking place as this will possibly reveal a lot more about your stage presence than merely the ability to accomplish a trick or effect.

Very obvious but sometimes the obvious is the first to be overlooked; do not test or try out your new feat until you are 100% happy with what you are doing. There is nothing worse than something going wrong or being accidentally revealed because of lack of practice or sudden bout of nerves. Ensure you are confident in what you are doing before going public.

Do not be shy about making eye contact with people. Look at their foreheads if that makes you more comfortable, they won't notice the difference. Also ensure you scan your audience regularly as it makes tem feel more included and appreciated.

Your volunteer(s) are important so make a fuss of them, remember their names (repeat it each time you talk to them if you have a poor memory as it will help it stick). Thank them when they volunteer and when you are releasing them, if appropriate incite a round a of applause for their help.

When using volunteers remember that you are not performing to them but the audience. Slight difference with some mentalism but even then don't forget those looking in.

Brush your teeth, use mouth wash, chew mints, use soap & deodorant. fairly obvious but I bet we've all encountered people who have 'forgotten'.

Especially when working with children or if you are tall check out those nasal hairs. I've seen a few student teachers cut right down by a little kids 'innocent' comment. :)

Enjoy yourself. If you are not having fun you need a new hobby or profession.

Never allow yourself to believe that you can't be taught something new by the most recent beginner no matter how long you've been doing something. Chances are that you probably HAVE forgotten more than they know but one of those things may be important or they may have a fresh insight. Learnt not via magic but I regard this tip as very important.

Think about acting and use of your voice. Perform your magical feat rather than simply show or do a trick. Be prepared to improvise too.

Rabbits and other animals (including children) are the natural enemy of the magician!

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Postby IAIN » May 29th, '07, 08:18

the voice thing is important...projection, but not strained...straining :shock: can lead to throat nodules and so on...bring people closer, rather than shout...

take advantage of this place:
once you've contributed, reviews, given back what you take so to speak, do NOT be afraid to post up ideas and small effects in the secrets area - you get great feedback, different slants to the thinking, all kinds of tiny details that you might not of thought of in the first place...

there's not many places where you can get that...for FREE!

minty fresh:
i completely agree with the mints thing too...and there's a great opportunity there and then if you have the linking polo mints effect too...clean mitts too!


Great post, Thanks

Postby Trickyfied » May 30th, '07, 23:33

I have been put off of watching some magicians because of their constant patter, cracking non stop jokes when they really are not funny. Silence is a powerfull tool that can help draw out great reactions. :wink:

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Postby IAIN » Jun 1st, '07, 08:16 have a very large range of old booklets, usually for only 2to4 quid each..T.Ts, I.T., cards/ can learn alot from these older books...

and even if they're not for you, well, its only a couple of quid...


Postby Michael Jay » Jun 1st, '07, 15:00

As everyone else has stated: This really is an excellent thread.

Look natural. Taking the French drop as an example, get in front of your mirror and do it at least a dozen times, without the sleight. Look at the position of your fingers and you hands, study the muscle movements that accompany the action of taking that coin from one hand to the other.

When you do the sleight, make it look exactly as it looked when you did it for real.

All too often I find magicians doing sleights that are unnatural in action, but then they change their natural actions to match their unnatural actions, as if this will convince an audience that they just do things in an odd way - as a cover up for their unnatural handling. That's the wrong way to go.

Everything you do should look ordinary and natural.


Michael Jay

other little snippets...

Postby monkeyman » Jun 18th, '07, 19:31

I have to say this is becoming a very interesting thread and certainly a worthwhile read (unlike some...).

A few minor points to add would certainly be make strong use of anchoring. When a spectator is enjoying something or amazed, touch their shoulder or tap their hand. To repeat the same emotion you simply have to repeat the touch. This is a very simple yet effective way of controlling the spectators amazement as well as making it seem more personal for them. If you ask a participant later they will not remember that you touched their shoulder however they will remember that there was a strong personal connection between you.

Learn to walk away, you must always leave them begging for more. As the Royal Road outlines, this does not mean give them less than they want but make them want more than you give them.

For presentation, remember the four p's:

the PERSONALITIES - who is being involved
the PHENOMENON - what is being exhibited (mentalism, sleights, strong-man feat)
the PURPOSE - why is the routine performed (most important)
the PROOF - how is the purpose acheived

Always make it magic never make it a puzzle. You want the response to be amazement, not "How did you do that?"

Always think about WHY you are performing the trick. If you could actually read minds, would you do it for cheap laughs or would it be very serious? Think realistically and in terms of introduction, how do you get the props that you need? Do you pull them from your pocket or off-stage or do you borrow them or improvise?

Always think of progression and adaptation. Even once you've 'perfected' a trick, you need to accept that you won't perform it like this every time. By adapting to suit different audiences, environments, or times of day; your magic becomes more real and personal. If anything, try avoid doing a trick in the same way you've done before, even if it is just altering your patter by a few simple sentences.

Try not to script your tricks (unless they really need it like some hypnotism/mentalism effects). Some story tricks will need slight scripting as you have to remember a variety of elements however if it sounds more improv, it feels more improv, and if it feels more improv it IS more improv.

And a stupid thing I'm sure everyone guessed, but I remember when I was mentoring a guy once and he couldn't grasp this: Clean hands, short (dirtless) finger-nails, and a clean appearance. No-one'll take you seriously otherwise.

Just a few little snippets of advice off the top of my head, I'm sure I'll return with a few other words of wisdom another time...

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Postby BanaZombie » Jul 23rd, '07, 01:47

wow I should have read this thread before starting my street magic thread. All of this information is a wealth of info the kind of responses and information that should be freely shared. This is all very thought provoking and very functional advice. This information should be put into a guidebook format. Awesome therad guys, it refreshing to see so much usefull inof openly shared among peers.

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Postby Gary Dickson » Jul 28th, '07, 11:35

Before he went onstage, Ali Bongo used to jump up and down repeating the phrase "I love the audience. I love the audience. I love the audience."

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Postby moodini » Aug 26th, '07, 00:28

Head the advice given in the movie The Prestige..."If the effect impresses everyone the secret will impress no one"

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Postby Al Doty » Sep 7th, '07, 09:35

WOW!!! You guys and Lady of Mystery have about covered just about everything, so I'll just say take some time and organize your library. I have two binders just for instructions that come with tricks. I never throw them out even if I don't have that trick. Also, learn how to research a trick by using old magazines, books, lecture notes and videos. I also keep a notebook on things I would like to build, you could call it your idea book.
If you are a closeup magician, get some books on stage magic and put a routine together just to be able to do something different. Learn to read your audience so that you don't pick a volunteer that doesn't want to be up there because they think you might have fun at their expense. Watch the pros perform. They don't rush their act, they take time to talk and lead into the next part of the routine.
Well, keep this up, its great to see all the comments.

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