Happy New Year!!
For my first blog of 2023 I wanted to have a little chat about New Year's resolutions. Many people say you should not have to wait until the new year to make changes and I wholeheartedly agree BUT there is something clean about the start of a new year. It feels fresh and a great starting point for making changes, So, what does this have to do with magic? Well setting yourself little magic goals is the perfect way to improve your magic. You don’t have to be a performer; you may just be someone who loves learning magic as a hobby for your own satisfaction and setting goals with your magic is the perfect way to improve what you do.
Let me tell you about some of the changes I have made recently.
I purchased myself a nice-looking close-up table (it looks like a piece of furniture and does not look out of place in my front room). This table means I can get up and practise an effect without having to go to my office/magic room. This little change means I’m practising more often than I ever did before. I don’t have to set aside time. If I’m watching a programme on TV, I will have a little practice during the ad breaks etc. This one small change has really helped. I have started learning or relearning effects that I feel are out of my comfort zone.
For years I have performed mainly card effects and mentalism, but I have been pushing myself to relearn some other genres of our art and that started with the release of the Mirage Coin Set. I really can’t tell you how much this set inspired me. It allowed me to perform coin effects I never thought I would be able to perform. Yes, I have learnt coin sleights in the past but I was never willing to really put the time into coins (as it really wasn’t my thing) In my working set I would perform about three coin effects and that was it but now with the Mirage set, I have more killer coin effects in my arsenal.
The Mirage Set also inspired me to create some of my own routines (which I filmed and added to the Mirage Coin Set project as a bonus video). If you are looking to add a few coin routines to your act you really should check out The Mirage Coin Set. It’s really an investment that will pay you back tenfold! It will open new doors and get you excited about coins!
So, what if you can’t set up a table in your living room? No problem at all. Try to set yourself a time slot during the week to practise. This can be as little as thirty minutes a week but obviously the more time you give to magic the more magic will give you back! If you are a pro, it’s a great time to run through your act and if you are a hobbyist, it’s a great time to master that effect you are working on. It’s a common problem that we try to work on too many effects at the same time. This usually means you learn the effect but do not master it. As a pro we can usually go out and wing it as they say but your magic will feel far stronger if it has been rehearsed and mastered. Now I don’t personally have a word-by-word script I stick to, but I do have a loose script or presentation that wraps around every effect I perform. You need a start, a middle and an end.
Every time I believe I have mastered an effect I set up my phone and film myself performing it. I say performing it because that is what I do. I do not look in a mirror at the moves. I imagine I have spectators in the room with me and I perform to them. When I watch the video back, I don’t only analyse the moves, I can now analyse everything. The patter, the misdirection, my angles and of course I look out for how and where I emphasise the magical moments. Learning the effect and truly understanding what magic is in the effect will help you tweak the routine to generate stronger reactions from your audience (whether they are your friends at work or your clients at a paid gig).
A good goal to set yourself is to create a fifteen-minute routine (let’s say for a parlour set), where you have a table to perform on, it’s up to you whether you want to be seated or standing with the audience in front. Try and vary the magic within the set, (this will challenge you to think outside the box), Think about how you segue from one effect to another without continually saying things like, “ok now let me show you a trick with a cup and a ball” or “now let me show you a coin trick”. Think of a story or theme that will travel throughout your routine. Don’t get me wrong you do not need an in-depth script or story for each effect, but the aim of this exercise is to create a set that will run smoothly. You will find that you will change effects along the way. You may feel certain things fit the act better and that’s great because it gets you thinking more in depth about what you are doing and at the end of it all you will have a great fifteen-minute act that you can perform anywhere!
It's important to also remember not every magician is creative. You certainly don’t have to create your own material. There are thousands of great effects out there, that you can piece together for your act. I set myself this task last year and I’m still working on it. It’s an exercise I think will be ongoing. Analysing, tweaking, changing, and improving every step of the way. This to me is a mental exercise that I do for my own pleasure. There is no end goal apart from keeping my magical brain active. I spend at least one hour a week running through the routine and I really enjoy it. The other thing I would certainly say is a good goal is to set aside some time to study new magic. Download an Alakazam Academy course or grab yourself a book and start exploring different genres of magic and see what magic excites you.
I hope this blog gave you a little food for thought.
Good luck with your set!