Are you a card man? This will improve your show.

Posh Bangers

England: Home of the Posh Banger.

Where HAVE I been?

Thanks for asking. It’s been a super exciting start to the year. The last month brought England, a convention, a lecture tour, corporate events in Las Vegas, bar magic, and a week on the main stage at The Magic Castle. WHEW!

And it was great! I got to work in so many different ways for so many different types of crowds. It keeps you awake, thinking and growing. It gives you good stuff to blog about.

Real card magic is physical

No matter how many passes you can do, or how many coins you can palm, the most important magic tool you can learn to use is your own body. That’s one reason so many authors have written about the value of theatrical training for magicians.

Here are just a few of the incredibly valuable skills you’ll acquire if you choose to study our parent art form- the theatre.

Vocal Training

If your audience either can’t hear you or has problems understanding your words, even the most beautiful presentation will fail. Especially if you have some regional dialect people regularly comment on, talk to theatre professionals in your area and get their opinion.

Your native dialect isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You may perform as a river boat gambler and your voice may suit the role perfectly. But what if you live in a place where a truly authentic dialect can only be understood by your immediate family? Unfortunately, many strong dialects only confuse the audience. Be honest with yourself, and your magic will benefit.

A great book to help you explore this topic is here. Take a look at it and read the reviews. It changed my life, but it’s only for those who are ready to get serious.

AARON-003

Movement Training

I’ll say it again. The performance of magic is a physical activity performed primarily with your body. Whether you work on stage or as a walk-around entertainer, learning to use your body effectively will profoundly change your approach to magic as well as the results.

In fact, any work you do with your body, either at the gym or outside, can greatly aid your performance process. Look for a separate post on this topic later this week.

Acting Training

For all the talk since Houdin of magicians being ‘actors playing the parts of magicians’, the truth is, most of us spend our time learning how to honestly and accurately play the one role we will ever take. We strive to play ourselves, as accurately and honestly and compellingly as we can.

Basic acting training can really help you here. Don’t worry about the trappings – fancy accents and weird physicality helps advanced actors create vibrant, believable illusions. But you won’t need much of that to accomplish your immediate goal.

Focus on the truth of the moment on stage. Learn how to stand still under hot lights without worrying about ‘entertaining’ the audience. You’ll develop the ability, with help from your professor, to respond honestly and spontaneously to what the other characters give you to work with. Through this process, you’ll develop a taste for authenticity – a need to express yourself truthfully on stage. You’ll begin to truly understand why so many performers fail to grab your heart – and why others win you over immediately.

Once you really begin to learn these lessons, the audience will give you positive feedback – you’ll see the difference yourself, and fast. And it won’t be the private victory you celebrate when you master a long sought for sleight-of-hand technique. The entire audience will know how much you’ve improved.

Your turn: What do YOU think?

I’d love for you to send me some comments on this post. Perhaps you’ve had a class like this, and you want everyone to know how much it helped you. Perhaps you’ve thought about taking a class but didn’t go through with it. Why not?

Or maybe you really just want this blog to talk more about card tricks – I’d love to hear about that too. This blog is about how my experiences can help you become a better performing card man. Let me know if it’s working.

Thanks for reading!

Aaron

Advertisements

9 Responses to “Are you a card man? This will improve your show.”


  1. 1 Hanes March 17, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    You got that right.

  2. 2 Rosemary Eve March 17, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Hey Aaron,
    Nice to hear from you again! It sounds like the first couple months of the year have been awesome for you.
    I really enjoyed this post but many of the points were very general, I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on these subjects in greater detail in your next couple posts.
    Talking cards can be a lot of fun, but it’s even better when you know you have a good presentation to back up your trick. Like you said, you can have an awesome effect but if it lacks showmanship, proper vocals, etc. it won’t go over well with any audience.
    -Rosemary

  3. 3 Drew Tomlinson March 18, 2008 at 2:44 am

    For me, magic is still just a hobby, not my profession. However I did take a beginning acting class at the local community college and it helped my performances immensely. At a minimum, I gained confidence when performing in front of audiences. It also helped me project my voice when performing. I learned not to mumble.

    I recommend an acting class for everyone interested in performing magic. After all, you spend hours and hours practicing sleights and methods which no one should see. Spend some time practicing the parts of your performances that people DO see.

  4. 4 Drew Tomlinson March 18, 2008 at 3:18 am

    For me, magic is still just a hobby, not my profession. However I took a beginning acting class at the local community college and it helped my performances immensely. At a minimum, I gained confidence when performing in front of audiences. It also helped me project my voice when performing. I learned not to mumble.

    I recommend an acting class for everyone interested in performing magic. After all, you spend hours and hours practicing sleights and methods which no one should see. Spend some time practicing the parts of your performances that people DO see.

  5. 5 Josh Medeski March 18, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Hey Aaron,
    I am glad to see you are growing as a performer and having a great time traveling around. I definately agree with all you have been saying and i intend on reading that book you mentioned (sounds good). I know personally i have been in musical theatre for about 6 years and it has helped me alot when i perform magic. I am also very interested in taking my magic to the next step, and this topic is very important for me to look at if im going to start performing much more for real world people.
    Thanks for the help, and i think you will hear from me soon!

    From Josh

  6. 6 Keith Brown March 18, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Aaron,

    I went to see a “magic show” at a bar with my parents one night. Let’s just say it wasn’t the best performance on the performers that were there. My dad noticed that when I tried something later the same night, that I had way better presence than them. That thought could be bias because he is my dad but these guys didn’t have direct effects. It wasn’t because of a poorly constructed effect, it was because of the patter wasn’t direct, overworked, not well known and more confusing. Confusion isn’t magic… it’s just confusion.

    I have found that my experience in musical plays throughout elementary school and being in a drama program where you have to push your boundaries, do something new and be comfortable with has helped me a lot.

    Another exercise that I find can really help is get a friend or somewhere to have a bell or clicker and watch you perform. Everytime you pause with uhhh before you continue with what’s important, they make noise with whatever they have. It’s annoying as hell and and the only way it will go away is if you stop saying uhh every other sentence.

    You have to comfortable with what you are showing people so whether it’s a high school drama class or a presentation or anything where you have to get up and be out of your comfortable zone can help.

    I would love to hear your more in depth thoughts about the subject though. Glad the traveling has been going well my friend.

    Talk to you soon,

    Keith

  7. 7 Matt G. March 19, 2008 at 12:11 am

    Hey Aaron,

    First of all, let me just say it’s great to see you tackling these types of issues. Most people focus on technique and sleights but I believe this is what makes the difference in between an amusing trick and a memorable illusion.

    Personally, I’ve taken acting classes when I was a child and never really followed it through. However, I think I’m able to take on a different role fairly well. When I was growing up I learned that I had to act as differently around different people to get them to like me and I’ve been naturally good at acting I guess. When I started out in magic I never thought that acting had anything to do with it but right now I’m studying ‘Magic and Showmanship’ by Henning Nelms and I’m seriously considering taking a course in acting. I think it could help me with my audience interaction and my confidence as well as may other areas.

    As for the book on Voice Training, I think I could benefit from it. I would like to be able to use my voice to be more charismatic and commanding. Orson Welles was an expert on this and I really want to improve in this area.

    Cheers,

    Matt. G

  8. 8 Tony Noice March 19, 2008 at 12:33 am

    Hi Aaron,
    Since you know that I’m a full time actor/director/Professor of Theatre, it will come as no surprise that I agree with you 1000%. I do think the Lessac text, as brilliant as it is, is best approached in a college course with a qualified Lessac instructor. For a self-teaching text, I would suggest the new edition of MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD by Chuck Jones. As long as I am here, let me try to take advantage of you and give myself a plug. I do a lecture called ACTING TECHNIQUES FOR MAGICIANS. In a review in the Linking Ring, Phil Willmarth wrote, “Not only did he give the clearest, simplest explanation, backed up by practical demonstration, of what acting is and isn’t,he also showed how to apply it to magic. Great stuff that would help any magician.” The next large magic venue that I’ll be lecturing at is the MIDWEST MAGIC JUBILEE in August. If any of the Aaron Fisher bloggers are there, please introduce yourselves.

  9. 9 aaronfishermagic March 20, 2008 at 12:30 am

    It’s great to read these comments – there’s a lot of value here. I think Tony’s correct that the Lessac Book was really valuable to me because of the training i received – it was the class textbook. I may pick up Tony’s book.

    Henning Nelms!!!!! What a book!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s





%d bloggers like this: