Having spent an unknown amount of money on books that claim to teach you magic, I finally stumbled upon the Ellusionist. It was eye opening, and I found that video is the only way to really capture the experience. Learning speed is increased incredibly. You see first hand what a particular effect is supposed to look like. You also get a great view on what is happening behind the scenes, unbeknownst to the audience.
Anyway, after learning and practicing sleights for a while, I have finally created my own routine. I talk about persistence and how the art of illusion and sleight of hand taught me the value of hard work. I go on to perform a card transformation (Brad Christian refers to the move as a color change, so I don’t know the proper nomenclature). If possible, I like to change a 2 of Clubs into either an Ace of Spades or a King of Hearts. Something dramatic to illustrate my story of a lazy fellow into a hard working superstar. I go on to explain that those at the top have it hard, and often they are dragged down, pushed into the bottom. I move the Ace of Spades into the middle of the deck. From here I perform the Ambitious Card. I talk about how the Ace of Spades is a fighter and through persistence and more hard work, he will always make his way to the top. I “drag” the card from the middle to the top and reveal.From here I move on to talk about the way I used to be able to pick pockets. Over time, through lack of use, I lost this skill that took enormous dexterity. I wanted to regain my mastery of manual manipulation. Because I had given up my criminal ways, I needed a new art. And I found it in the art of sleight of hand. I ask the spectator to pick a card. She returns it to the top of the middle of the pack. I give her her card to hold on. I tell her to hold it between her thumb and fist at roughly waist level, because that is where your money usually is: around waist level. I talk about how many pickpockets will try to distract you. They might spill something on you, pretend to pick off lint, flirt with you, or simply try to bump into you. By then my hand has already moved near their shoulder and I give them a hard bump. At the same time, I use the closed pack of cards in my other hand to bump into the cards. I tell her that in a split second, I have just stolen her card. I tell her that like a good pickpocket who can tell how much money you have in your wallet, I can tell what card I just stole from her. I tell her it is the six of diamonds. I say that you might think it is in this pack of cards somewhere. But like a good pickpocket, the evidence is not where you would expect. Most pickpockets will have passed off the wallet to an accomplice. But since I don’t have an accomplice, my own pocket will have to do. And then I produce the six of diamonds from my pocket.I performed it for these two girls who were working the streets of Manhattan (for an environmentalist group, not as hookers) and they were absolutely floored. It is a very satisfying feeling to successfully deceive and mystify someone.
I gave some thought to putting up a video of my performance, but then I decided against it. See, I haven’t mastered all of my techniques yet. I hate all these people who put tutorials and reveals in YouTube. They ruin the world of magic. These people are not magicians. They have violated the magician’s code. Now everything is available for public consumption. The difference between a professional and an amateur is that an amateur practices until he gets it right; a professional practices until he doesn’t make any mistakes. There are way too many amateurs on YouTube who accidentally reveal a trick by not practicing it enough. And for what? A couple hundred hits on your grainy little video?
At first, I thought it was ridiculous to pay any sum of money to learn a magic trick. But then I realized that it is one of the things that keep out the casual observer. You must put down a certain amount of money, an investment if you will, in order to learn the secrets behind a particular effect. Most people simply learning the trick for reasons other than performing it will not bother to pay for the privilege.
After what seems like a month or two, I am pleased to say that I have learned at a rapid pace and well enough to perform my routine in public. After trying to teach my brother, who has decided to become a card magician, I saw that I just might have a proclivity for sleight of hand. Or for many other forms of deception for that matter.
I’ll be writing about how I hate smartasses and know-it-alls next.