Magic For Friends

November 13, 2017 | Author: Claudio Probando | Category: Magic (Illusion), Shyness, Leisure
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This books talks about common issues around the topic of performing magic for family and friends and how to avoid making...


Pitfalls of showing magic to your friends A

M e r c h a n t o f G u i d e

M a g i c


CONTENTS They know you are not magic......4 Prop grabbers..................................7 Do another one!..............................10 Being the centre of attention............13 How not to spill the beans................16 Quick tips.........................................20

What’s next.................................22 2

The Authors Ben Williams is a full time close up magician and a member of The Magic Circle. He is head of sales at The Merchant of Magic and a magic creator. His magic tricks and books are sold worldwide.

Dominic Reyes is an international sleight of hand magician and a member of The Magic Circle. He is the founder of The Merchant of Magic and a magic creator.




Your family and friends know you don’t have magical powers. You are just a normal person to them and now suddenly you are showing them something amazing that they can’t explain. At first this will evoke certain responses within your friends. Immediately it will make them feel like you have just out smarted them, this can be fun to play with but it is very easy to let your ego go over the top which will leave you open to a big fall should they figure something out or pressure you till you crack next time you perform something. It will be hard for your friends to take you seriously, although they will most likely be excited about seeing magic each time the see you. So how do you deal with this? Try not to present your magic as a challenge. Take the approach of, ‘I learnt something cool this week, would you like to see?’ Try to focus on how interesting the magic is, and get them in the frame of mind that it is amazing and their attention will shift to a ‘just let it happen’ attitude rather than a ‘you watch his hands and we’ll figure this out together’ approach. Let them know it is a bit of fun and it isn’t to be taken too seriously. You will have a certain amount of ‘I know something you don’t know’ about your performance, otherwise it wouldn’t be deemed as magic. It is how you deal with this that will determine how much your friends relax, watch and enjoy the magic tricks as opposed to being on edge, not really watching and not treating it as fun because they are just trying to figure out what you are doing.


Choose tricks that don’t have a ‘challenge’ or ‘bet’ theme. Make something else the source of the magic. Have the magic come from another source, such as a special coin, a box, a wand or candle. Don’t change your personality while performing. They know you are not a mystic from the far east, or a southern states hustler. Be yourself. Don’t hog the limelight. Make sure you pick the right times to show your magic. Your family and friends are not a paying audience that have chosen to watch you. Show them your stuff, then they are happy to see it. Be honest. Don’t compliment a friend on their ring or their watch, then go into a trick. They may have enjoyed the compliment, then found it was just a lead in to a trick and feel a little cheated.




Friends at first have a tendency to grab at everything, they’ll want to shuffle the cards at all the wrong times, or they’ll want to examine the coin really closely if you have just bitten a chunk out of it. They’ll grab your sleeves if you vanish something and they will test you with other objects, ‘hey Magicman, can you vanish this coin or this cigarette now??’ Hey, magic man, can you vanish this coin or this bottle now??’ This is inevitable, it’s the curious nature of us as human beings. What you need to do is decide how you want to play this. If you only want to perform a few effects that are examinable at the beginning and end then you can be fairly free to let them examine things that is ok. The problem is that the more you show these effects the more they will zone in on times when you cannot let them see everything. If your approach to letting them touch your props is open then a question at the wrong time, ‘can I look at the coins now?’ can really make you feel uncomfortable and highlight weaknesses in your effect, this is not how you want to feel when performing. 8

You need to keep control. The more you let spectators look at your props, the more control you are handing over to them. If you ‘own’ your performance and take control, simple actions like placing people where you want them at the beginning, structuring your patter so you are engaging, knowing your tricks back to front, will help to subconsciously suggest where the limits are to your spectators. This will immediately make some people just relax and watch It may only be the real tough cookies that still challenge you and in this case you will have won over pretty much the whole crowd and more often than not they will help you deal with the tough spectator by telling him/her to just leave you alone.

Not letting them examine everything can strengthen a performance rather than be seen as a weakness in the effect.




These questions are something that you will have to deal. Every person who begins showing magic will be asked to, ‘do another one!’ This can be particularly problematic as some gimmicks make you look like you can do amazing magic with anything, however the gimmick may only be tailored to one trick.

The best advice we can give in this situation is to practice your magic tricks well so you are comfortable with them and be sure to let your friends know you are only showing them one or possibly a couple of magic tricks. There is no harm in saying at the beginning, ‘I have a couple of new magical things to show you, do you want to see them? There’s only two but I am sure you are going to love them!!’ This directly says that you have two tricks to show and that is all, yet it hasn’t weakened your performance at all, in fact it only helps to give you the control you need in that situation. Explain that your magic takes a LONG TIME to master, and you will only show them, magic when it’s totally ready.


If a new trick isn’t ready to show just tell your friends you are working on something that will blow their minds and it will be worth the wait!

With new tricks it is important to practice them properly and give them the time they deserve, we all have tricks that we don’t feel comfortable with because somebody maybe figured the method out one time or maybe there is a move that hasn’t been practiced enough and it resulted in a flash mid performance. The discomfort here can easily be attributed to the trick, but usually (if you are honest with yourself) it comes from a lack of practice, and isn’t necessarily a fault with the effect. Keep your magic fresh for your friends but don’t compromise on the integrity of your performance


Being the centre of attention


This is something that will happen naturally when beginning to show magic. Maybe you are someone who is naturally outgoing and an extrovert at heart so this will be second nature. If that’s the case GREAT, go forth and attract as much attention as you can with your magic!! But then maybe you are not, maybe you are fascinated by magic yet shy in public, or just a regular person with only a little shyness but also no desire to be the centre of attention in a normal setting, how do you deal with this spotlight when it’s on you?

It can be overwhelming when you are surrounded by people and everyone wants to see what is going on. It’s important to remember that the reason they are watching you in the first place is that they are interested in what you are doing. This is a positive thing and should be seen as that, use it to your advantage. They are here to listen to you and to be entertained by you. If there are too many people around you and you are worried about angles, ask them to back up a bit and maybe let some of the people at the back of the group know you will go over and show it to them close up in a minute, a simple phrase like:

‘Everyone, thank you for being interested, but this looks much better close up, I tell you what, if you tell me where you are sitting I’ll come over and show you all in a minute’ A lot of people will feel pleased about that, they will feel like seeing it up close will give them more chance of figuring it out or just a better viewing of the trick when it may actually help you out by moving them from a bad angle.


There is a lot of pressure in this situation but the pay off can be huge and intensely gratifying, a huge round of applause, screams and shouts, expletives being blurted out or just stunned silence can feel amazing when it is directed at you so when you feel the pressure turn it into excitement for the reaction you will get, as long as you keep control you will have a blast, just remember this! 15

How Not To Spill The Beans


When you first show magic to your friends the immediate response will be that they want you to share the secret, you share other information with your friends all the time, why would this be any different?

But DON’T!! A lot of your friends will be unaware that you have practiced hard behind closed doors to produce this result, as one day you were just standard old Joe Bloggs and now suddenly you are Mr Man of Mystery! The change to them is instantaneous and they are unaware of all effort you have put into learning these amazing magic tricks. Ben Williams will paint a picture of his experiences for you...


I began learning magic on a cold dark winter’s morning, the frost on the window-pane slowly melting in the sharp sunrise... That is enough picture painting, I’ll just get down to the nitty gritty! Showing my friends and over the first year or two I had many friends want to learn how I was doing these things and I refused to tell them. One day though my close friend was bugging me to teach him some tricks, he was studying at College and performed juggling in his spare time, he was genuinely interested in learning so I thought it would be a great idea if we both did magic together. I began teaching him the basics and I supplied him with some props like cards and some rope and let him watch some of my DVDs on the subject to help him get up to speed. However even with his want to learn he very quickly found that he didn’t have the time to practice as his commitments in life were very different from mine at the time, he had lots of college work to do, a part time job to hold down and a pretty rocking social life. All of these other things going on in his life meant that the magic took a back seat, it quickly dawned on me that his interest and desire to learn was really just a frustration of not knowing how it all worked. I believed that his commitment to learning juggling was a sure fire sign that he would be committed to learning magic, this was not the case. If you think about it, he had learned juggling off of his own back, he had the desire enough to go and seek out information about the subject and spend time learning it himself. Although he wanted to learn magic and assured me he would practice he was looking at me to provide a quick solution, this is not the case with magic, there are no short cuts. If my friend had really wanted to learn, he would have trawled the internet and found out information on the subject himself. It wasn’t just that though, everyone goes through life on their own path and his path was set in motion with his college courses, his job, commitments with rent, being young and care free, all of these things contributed to filling up what time he had in his life, there was simply no room to dedicate the time it takes to studying and practicing magic. Magic was the weakest link in his life so it took a back seat...


One of the problems with this situation is that I had spilled the beans and opened his eyes to our world, he now finds it hard to be fooled which is a shame as he really enjoys the feeling. It is easy to ruin the ‘magic’ for someone like this, (just ask my wife!!) so just think twice or maybe three times about letting someone in on the secrets, you wouldn’t want to potentially ruin magic for the rest of their lives would you?If someone wants to learn something I always say if they go off and learn something, study it and practice it and come back and PERFORM it on me only then I will show them something to help them progress, and I won’t show them too much, it is a steep learning curve and it is better if they take that journey themselves rather than being pulled up by you.

Remember, in the long run it is better for you and it is better for them if you simply refuse to teach your friends the secrets you know. Hold these secrets close. Without them what you do is just a toy or game.




Don’t force your magic on your friends. Never reveal even one secret. Don’t show ‘unpracticed’ material. Don’t play the magic down. Never repeat a trick to the same person Don’t say you got it from a magic shop. Accept constructive feedback


What next?


Performing for your family and friends can be very rewarding. Magic is a great hobby and can become a life long obsession. Showing a trick, leads people to want more, and spurs you on to keep learning. However, to develop further, you will need to take the next step and perform for the public. The dynamics are quite different.

There are many places you can get experience of public performance. Charity events, residential homes, local school events are all great places to approach to see if they would like you to entertain them for free. You help your community and get valuable experience in the process.


Here are a few articles related to this subject that may help you: Studying Close-Up Magic - Avoid the Traps Magic Tricks for Magicians Vs Magic for the Public Magic Needs Misdirection If you found this ebook useful, please pass on a copy to your magic friends. You can get more tips and news by visiting us on facebook HERE You can also share how useful this book is by sending out a tweet. Simply click HERE


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