Nov 3, 2012
Hello guys!

I, just as everyone else, is still trying to figure out ''what I want to be'' in magic. I have been learning different slights and techniques, and right now im learning from ''The royal road to card magic''. I should also say that I don't perform much. At all. I practice alot of techniques and moves, but I just don't perform much. That is because of a lot of reasons I suppose, but probably because I don't know who to perform for. Anyways, to my question. When I do perform, doesn't matter if it is for, say my mom, or a friend, they always try to figure out what im doing. I don't perform unless I feel that I can do the effect ''good enough'', and yet their goal always seems to be to figure out what im doing. I just did a little ''trick'' for my mom, a card transpo if you will, that required a control to the top. I did the control, my mom saw some tiny little thing that indicated something was happening, and immediately said, ''I believe the card is there''. She was wrong, but that didn't feel important at all. This used to happend all the time before, (when I was starting out magic), and that was because I didn't practice enough. But I feel that is not the case now really.

This doesn't happend all the time. Sometimes I prepare a patter and perform scripted. Then I usually end up making a story about the cards. So, is it something im doing that is making the 'audience' want to scream out what they think? Would patter help? Is there something I can work on?

I do feel that people I have performed for earlier, that have seen me fail or similar, usually tend to be a little more eager to ''bust'' me.


William Karlsson


Elite Member
Jan 25, 2013
If you are preforming for you mom is she supposed to simply be a spectator or is she the person you are using to see if what you are doing is really working and she is supposed to be looking at what you do with a critical eye? If she is simply a spectator you shouldn't be preforming for her when the effect is only 'good enough' that is not a level you should be aiming for.

If you are doing an effect silently it is more likely people will be burning you hands as you are doing less to misdirect their attention so it is even more important that your moves are flawless. Also if you are preforming for people that have seen you fail multiple times in the past they are more likely to try to catch you again as you have exposed yourself and they have ideas of what to look for, even if their ideas are totally wrong in regards to the effect you are showing them now.

If people are focused on figuring out your methods then you need to work on your presentation which is just as important, and sometimes more important, by you handling skills. Reading the above it sounds like you need a bit of work on but skill and presentation. The technical skill can be worked on alone but presentation need to be practiced in front of people.

Also it is okay to have someone like your mom burn your hands looking for moves because you will know when something is ready for others to see when you hear she can't see the move anymore. Having someone to be bad in front of is a useful thing, especially when starting out.

I heard or read somewhere reciently that a amateur will practice until the can do the move right, a professional will practice until they can't do the move wrong.

Keep practicing and put extra time into your presentations.
Nov 3, 2012
Hi thanks for the feedback!

When saying that I didn't perform effects until i felt it was ''good enough'', I didn't mean good enough as in ''ah, it looks alright I guess, lets try it out'', I more wanted to clarify that I actually have been focusing on really praciticing till I feel that Im happy with it. Till I feel that it's worth showing anyone. I after your reply think that I might, just as you said, need to practice my presentations more. And maybe even perform more.

And by the way, the thing I showed my mom was actually just a little idea that I had come up with as a control, that I wanted to test out.
Jun 13, 2013
Hampton Roads, VA
I can definitely relate to your ideas about waiting to perform an effect until it's perfect, I do the same thing. In my opinion, all magicians should embrace this philosophy and most advanced magicians do. I have some practice dummies, namely close friends and relatives, who I like to test tricks on to ensure that they're ready to perform and I used to have the same problem with them and other spectators trying too hard to figure out how I do a trick. However, I've found that if you open a trick with a real puzzler, one that is absolutely impossible to figure out, that will lessen the problem. If they can't figure out your first trick or two, they will probably take for granted the idea that they won't be able to figure out the rest of them.

I usually like to open with something like Here then There, or The Biddle Trick. These effects, with suitable patter, give great reactions and will make your spectators much more relaxed. You want a trick that has a great powerful reaction, but is also very puzzling. I'm a card man, so I stick with those two tricks, but any trick that follows these parameters works well for putting your spectators at ease.

Beside your trick choice, you can also use devices such as your patter and personality to put spectators more at ease. You need to ensure that in all of your performances you appear confident and in control, as this will make your spectators enjoy your tricks rather than examine them. Good patter can infinitely improve a performance. If you keep your audience interested int he story of a trick, they will care more about your performance than whatever sneaky move you might be doing. That is the goal. If you can make a spectator care more about the performance and enjoy it, they will sit back and relax and not care so much about revealing your secrets.
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