Should magic look easy or hard?
Well, here's something you may have thought about. As you do a trick, should you make it look easy or hard? Should you show off your incredible one-handed shuffling skills (like you learned on magictrickvideos.com) or should you instead do a regular overhand shuffle -- or, should you even do an overhanded shuffle, because since you are so good at them, it'll look so good, someone might think there's sleight of hand involved... so do you instead choose to just mix all the cards on the table, similar to how you used to mix up cards when you were five years old?
Well, the clear answer is... it depends! But, more often than not, you should make it look easy. Why? Well, if your intention is to really get someone to believe in magic - or at least come incredibly close, then you'll need to get rid of all suspicions. Don't you want people to believe in your magic?
Think about all the little things that go on when you, yes YOU watch a magic trick. You, as a magician, I'm sure are trying to figure out the solution to the trick the instant it begins. Well, it's the same way with your spectators, whether they tell you: "Oh, I just like to watch and it's just easier to belive in the magic than figure it out!" or if they say "It's going to keep me up all night not knowing how that magic trick is done!"
The fact of the matter is that there are all kinds of things going on in your spectator's mind and your job as a magician is to point them toward coming up with the solution of "it must have been magic!".
If you start off a card trick with some complicated, intricate shuffle, or start off a coin trick with a fancy coin roll flourish, you're setting the stage for something. And it's not good. You're planting the seeds that later, when you're doing your trick of tricks, where you've perfected every move... that they'll figure out how it's done.
They won't actually see your "secret special trick handling". But they'll just assume that you did something with sleight of hand. That's NOT what you want in most cases. Remember, we are magicians, we are trying to paint incredible pictures of magic and memories, and memories are much more magicial if the only explanation is "Wow. That must be magic!"
Now, before you start writing me hate mail, let me tell you what some of the circumstances are that you might not want to make it look so easy. If you're getting hired for a show and you are being hired by a person who wants to see your skills, you may want to make sure you do a nice, clean overhand shuffle. It'll show the hours of work you've put into it. Or if you think it will help sell the show as they go tell their boss about you.
Or, if you're doing magic for magicians, and you want to show off, then go right ahead!
Okay, now think back to the last magic trick that fooled you. In your mind, you know they were doing something tricky. I think this has sort of killed the respect for the stage magicians who use big props. People don't give credit to the magicians -- even David Copperfield -- they end up giving the credit to the expensive props. If a woman goes into a painted box and gets sawed in half, people know that the magician isn't really sawing her in half. In fact, they know that it's a special box! Even if they don't know the difference between Thin Model Sawing and the Zig Zag illusion, they still give credit to the fancy prop. The illusion gets the credit, not the magician. And no one was really scared for the poor girl anyway, even though she's the one doing most of the hard work!
So if you strive to make your tricks look simpler and less complicated, you'll get results. If you don't do fancy shuffles and flourishes, then it's not fresh in people's minds. So the solution that they come up with in their head is not "oh, the hand is just quicker than the eye, remember how quickly she shot those cards from hand to hand, she must have just been doing something with those fast hands!
Imagine that you were doing a close-up magic trick for someone who didn't even know you were a magician. Say a gas-station attendant or someone on the street... they'd have no idea what was going on and it would freak them out even more... because they haven't set up their mind to be drawn to the conclutions.
They'll spend half of their time wondering if you were a magician, or just a freak! Now, I hope everyone goes out there and tries the dollar to hundred the next time they go fill up their tank of gas.
And hopefully, the next time someone says, "I know how you did that!", and you ask, "How?", they'll say "It was magic!"