Thursday, April 14, 2011

What a Bunch of Tools

Magicians: The members of your audience are a bunch of tools.

Wait, I don't mean that in any sort of derogatory way. They are literally part of your magic toolbox, and you should utilize them just as much as any sleight in your arsenal.

How many times do we, as creators, factor in the audience into the method, not just the presentation? Sure, we design effects that entertain and tickle their magical funny bone, but in terms of intentionally focusing on the intricacies of audience interaction and psychology as part of sleight execution is something I think we can and should do more of.

In my work, which you can see in action on my Brainstorm DVDs among other places, I focus the timing of sleights during audience Action, Interaction and Reaction (A.I.R.). As a result, the moves come across as "airy"—and in many cases, virtually invisible. And while it might all appear casual and off the cuff, make no mistake about it—it is ALL very intentional.

The paradox here is that it is hard to make things appear simple. It takes many hours of practice, preparation and on-air time with real world to make it effective. The reward of all this is that you gain an extra tool (in the form of your audience) in making your sleights appear...well...sleight-less.

So, while your audience comes in to be entertained, little do they know that they are playing a secret vital role in actual the execution of your methods. It's a shift in our thinking. No more laboring over how they might burn our hands; instead, strategically weave them into the construction of the effect so the moves become background noise—and the entertainment factor takes center stage.