One of the toughest things of performing and teaching magic on DVD, is seeing yourself do things that are wrong, or not effective at all. One of the better things is getting to actually notice and remedy things. So here’s a list of bad habits I have had myself, and now pass on to you.
- Not engaging with misdirection. This is probably the most cringeworthy – I noticed myself doing it, and since I’ve seen a lot of other people do it. It involves using a question to a spectator to act as misdirection for a move. I was using a Jog shuffle (which involves running one, shuffling off, then picking up, establishing the break and shuffling to the break, throwing on top) and to cover it, I ask the spectator a question. ‘So, did you choose the number 17 for a reason?’ or ‘Do you have a good enough memory to remember the card?’ or ‘Did you really think those shoes were a good idea?’. That’s all fine – I then looked at them as they answered, and did the move – perfect cover! However, I never engaged with their answer. They might say ‘No.’ But equally, they might say ‘Yeah, I picked the number 17 because it was the number of my first house’ or ‘I didn’t realise, I’m colourblind’ and either way, I was concentrating so much on the move, I just nodded and smiled. Looking back at it on video, it looks (and is) awful. So, I changed the technique (lift shuffle) and ask the question, but engage and chat about the answer. Better misdirection, happier spectator, and I look less like a douche bag. Result!
- The Riffle Force – This needs to be binned. I think this comes from practicing a trick, or showing it to magician mates first. We need to force the top card, so we cut it to the middle keeping the break, riffle force to it, cut back to the break, and show the card. It looks AWFUL, even under the most casual scrutiny.
- The Casual Control – this comes about from the same thing – we are showing a trick to a magician mate, and it needs a control. We know it, they know it, so we just keep a break and lazily double cut it to the top. But to spectators, it doesn’t look much better, and keep in mind that if they are not COMPLETELY convinced that the card is lost in the deck, your reaction will suffer as a result. So, treat each control like it has to be deceptive – you might even catch the magicians occasionally!