The average score on an IQ test is 100 with a standard deviation of 10 points. This means for each 10 points, less and less of the population exists at these IQ levels. With an IQ of 130 or more, you would be eligible to join MENSA, where approximately 2% of the world’s population scores. If you could choose, would you like to be in the top 2% or with the other 98%? Why do I bring this up? Well, I find that magic is like this in some ways. Few are willing to take a path in magic that allows for them to be in the top 2% of the world’s magicians…at least in approach. Take a guy like Juan Tamariz – whose magic appears moveless – so strong it kills magicians and lay audiences alike. So, the question is - Do you want to fool 98% or 100% - THINK before you answer, because the difference in how you fool 100% is a very different discipline than fooling 98%. Jami Ian Swiss talked about fooling “that guy” in a lecture, you know that guy. The guy that sits or stands near the back of the group, doesn’t laugh…burns your hands…he wants to know how it is done…he NEEDS to know. Jami Ian Swiss, and others like him, say, you can take the road that lets you deceive those that are easy to fool…or the road less travelled where you aim for that guy, because when you get that guy…the rest come for free. Personally, I want that guy – I want that guy to say to me (with his body language or verbally), “I am going to figure it out”, then when he is done watching, realize there is NO explanation for what he saw. Not sleight of hand, no gimmicks, not fast hands, NOTHING! Even though, it very well might be ALL or a few of those explanations, the concept is that I was fair, did nothing, yet the impossible still occurred – and he had fun getting there still., despite HIS best effort. To raise the bar to this level, I say you almost have to become paranoid…you have to outthink the most astute thinker – you may feel this is a waste of time, but I have seen magicians do things a certain way JUST in case someone challenges them at one point, and he desires the same positive outcome. For example, Ortiz talks about placing a card to the left of a pile, in a Jonah card effect, so if they challenged him to take that one card they didn’t get to choose, they would forget the displacement and he could appear to offer it freely. This may only happen ONE out of a THOUSAND performances, yet he was dedicated enough to make all ONE THOUSAND performances end the same way – with a positive experience. So, 999 times out of 1000 the work seemed unnecessary, but one time it WAS needed to create perfection, and he was able to appear fair due to his preparation – this is discipline, this is sacrifice, this is what is needed to make you the MENSA equivalent in creating deceptive magic. Some other ways that you can focus on being perfect – remember, if the concept is not giving any mental outs for the spectator – these things are a must. Things like cardistry, flourishes and visual effects that look like moves…and many do…must be removed from your repertoire. Actually, when you start looking at magic in this way, you will find yourself removing many effects from your selection. This isn’t to say you can’t do moves with sleights, but to do, study and construct your magic in a way that movements seem natural and don’t appear like sleights. This comes down to efficiency and economy of motion. This is not an easy task; too look at your magic for the outs and weaknesses that audience members will find…perhaps not immediately, but with some thought. Some effects have a delayed too perfect theory that takes place – people react initially because of the visual surprise and shock of what they have seen…but after they calm down and think about it, often the ability to problem solve can lead them to an accurate explanation. I have had this happen with Trident by Richard Sanders – where a corner switch was used as proof of a bill that vanished and reappeared inside a sealed back of gum. People would lose their minds…talk about it for weeks…but then realize that there is NO way that I could get their bill, into a sealed back they were holding…so an out was born through mankind’s need to solve – the only way that it could be done is if it wasn’t the same bill. Sure they didn’t say, corner switch, but to me this was enough. To me – although this effect was a reputation maker, once people would tell me months later that they “think they figured it out” that effect was gone from my arsenal, because the mystery was gone from the moment of magic. A miracle turned to a clever trick. I loved doing it, but it wasn’t strong enough…it didn’t fool 100% I know what you may say – well, you stopped doing a killer effect for a small percentage that figured it out? That is a bit over the top? I mean – what about the rest. Well…I would say this. Strong magic doesn’t fool today…it fools forever. If I fool the few, the masses come for free. I don’t want to amuse them for awhile. I think the strength and power to entertain while amazing is the foundation of what makes close up magic more powerful an art than any other. I want to be a story to their grandchildren – when the topic of magic is brought up – I want them to talk about me. To do that, you have to fool them for their lifetime, not just while you are at the table. Nobody remembers a diversion, but everyone remembers a miracle…even if we all know it is fabricated. The moment of white light astonishment will last them forever, if you make it that way. So I guess it comes down to this: Are you happy being a simple diversion, or do you want to show them something that will create a memory for the rest of their life? Do you want that moment of magic to last, or be solved a few weeks later? The real question is – do you have the discipline to put down some of the effects that don’t fool forever? As it has been said, “a magician can be judged NOT by what he does, but by what he chooses NOT to do, and why”. It won’t be easy to look at your magic with the eyes of a stranger in magic – but you can do it – listen to your audiences, don’t make excuses to keep something, just because YOU like it, or YOU were fooled by it. If you can do this…your magic will rise to new levels of respect and enjoyment; as now you are truly deceiving with your magic forever, not just tricking them for now. Now go fool them all forever!