Recently I was preparing for an upcoming lecture and considered a magic routine I particularly like. I thought, Maybe I should share this in the lecture and explain how it is done.
The next thought to come to my mind was, “No, there is no point in showing it because it is too hard to learn. Most of the people in the lecture won’t be interested because of the degree of difficulty.”
This awareness bothered me. It bothered me to directly acknowledge something I have known for a long time. Many who come to lectures and seminars do not really want to put effort into learning great tricks. They are looking for easy magic. If something involves a difficult move or sleight they quickly dismiss it as “not for them.”
I cannot count the number of times I have heard someone say, “What can you sell me that is ‘no skill required.’” They are looking for things they can purchase today and put into a show tomorrow.
As well, I have discovered that products (tricks and routines) for magicians that involve work to master rarely sell well.
I will let you in on a secret…when we have our display at a magic convention there are times when I will teach our young female assistants to demonstrate a particular trick that is not selling well. I do this because I realize, when I demonstrate the trick, people assume the effect looks good because I have the skill to make it look good. They then do not purchase the effect because it appears skill is required. However, if young ladies, barely out of their teens, do the same trick they will buy it. Unfortunately their attitude seems to be, “I guess, if they can do it, it can’t be that hard after all, so I will get it.”
It is not good that they fail to recognize just how talented the ladies actually are. It also is not good that they originally shied away from a wonderful bit of magic because it appeared they might have to practice it before it could be performed.
I want to make it clear that I know this is not true of all who attend lectures and seminars. There are definitely those who are willing to study, practice and tackle a challenge. I am delighted by those who have an industrious and disciplined mentality.
As well, I am also okay with those who want easy magic. I have accepted the fact that there many are in this category and such will always be the case. I am glad they are able to enjoy doing ‘self-working’ effects.
I accept the above fact, but it frustrates me. The frustration is over how those who have chosen the “no skill required” route cheat themselves. Their lack of ambition will keep them from ever performing some of the most wonderful effects in magic.
Do we really want to say, “I’m only interested in tricks in which no skill is required?” And “Please sell me things that I can purchase today and use in my show tomorrow?”
Do we not understand that magic is more than knowing secrets? It is an art and a craft. Artistry and craftsmanship are great things. Why would we not pursue being a artist and craftsman with our work on stage?
There is satisfaction and fulfillment in doing something well. Especially when it is a thing that not just anyone can do well. There is reward in knowing we have taken on a difficult task and achieved it.
The routine I mentioned at the beginning of this article, that I thought about sharing in a lecture, is a good one. It is not something one is going to learn overnight, or even within a few days, but those who might bother to learn it would have a wonderful routine at their disposal to use for years to come.
I admit it. I did not show the routine in the lecture. Anticipating a “That’s cool, but we will never bother to learn it” response discouraged me. I kept it out because I believed it would be a waste of time to present it.
Maybe I should not have thought that way. Maybe there are more magicians out there than I think there are…who are willing to learn some of the more difficult tricks in magic.
If there are such magicians, it would be nice to hear someone say, “What can you show me that requires work and practice to master, but is worth mastering?” And “What can you show me to today that I will not be able to perform tomorrow, but if I practice, someday I will be able to perform it and it will be a wonder for audiences to behold?”
It would be nice to be faced with that attitude more often.
Note: I have noticed that those who take time to read my articles are typically also those who care about learning to do magic well. The same people who take time to study and think, will work on a challenging routine. Thank you.
Second Note: Another frustration of mine is how many people are not interested in reading about the art and work of a magician. When magic is done well it is such a wonderful thing. It is worth the effort to learn and know all about it we can. To those of you who do read, think and work at educating yourself about our art…thank you.