Backstage: Discovering New Magic

Some magicians love to collect every new effect for the pure joy of it. It is an expensive but exciting hobby.

I have a different process. I schedule time to play.

Alone or with an assistant, I go to the practice space and get out a few properties. Generally, I begin with a concept, sometimes it is an approach to a routine, sometimes it is a story with a magical theme. Always I begin with a pencil and paper.

These steps help me think about and incorporate new magic routines into our show:

  1. I brainstorm ideas on my floor-to-ceiling whiteboard. All ideas are scribbled down, and no judgments are made. Other times I sit among a collection of props
  2. Eventually, some idea strikes me as special, so I write a description of how the illusion will be experienced by the audience. At this point, I give no thought to method. This is a critical point. Beginning magicians often want to know how a “trick is done,” but how it is done is not an important part of magic. Only the wonder a magic effect brings to the audience matters.

Most ideas are fun to work on, but do not result in usable magic. But every once in a while, something wonderful happens.

Just last week, Krissy and I added a new facet to the our opening sequence. I was searching for a pair of color matched props, when she suggested, “Why don’t you just magically change the color”? Of course, she was right. We added the color change and the whole routine is improved.

Most ideas are fun to work on, but do not result in usable magic. But every once in a while, something wonderful happens.

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