What do You Say when Someone asks "How do you do that?"

Aug 4, 2015
75
38
Hello!

After practicing on and off for around 2 years, I've finally begun to start performing in front of people. For right now, it's family. What do you say when someone asks "how do you do that" after performing a trick? Other than saying "Magic." or "Everything is not what it seems", what are some creative responses to make it seem more...mysterious?

Thanks,
Tori
 
Dec 6, 2015
110
92
Canada
How did you do that??

"Rather well, I'd say", "Pretty well I think".

My personal favourite is I'll look around at everyone in the room, beckon the asker to come forward and whisper to them and their friends if they're close by:
"Can you keep a secret?"
"Yes", they'll reply.
"So can I."

Those are a few examples that I found completely by accident one day while browsing sushi recipes on quora.
https://www.quora.com/Why-do-magicians-always-use-the-phrase-Magicians-never-reveal-their-secrets
 
I can't remember who the classic performer was (I'm thinking it was Cardini) but his character was basically that the magic was happening to him rather than he himself conducting the performance.

I take some influence from that style and play dumb by acting like I don't even know how it's done and rather that magic just kind of happens to me.
 

ProAma

Elite Member
Jun 13, 2013
214
103
You change your presentation and your way of thinking about magic.
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,739
2,854
First, it's very important to realize the difference between "How did you do that!" and "How did you do that?"

One is an exclamation. They are saying that because they don't know what else to say and it's not really a question. That's a fine reaction.

The other is a question and it means they know it's a trick and they think the point of the experience is for them to catch the trick out and know the method.

To avoid having people try to figure out your methods, you have to engage them in the performance and make the enjoyment of seeing the magic be more interesting than knowing how it's done.
 
Nov 3, 2016
4
1
There's always the classic response, "A magician never reveals his secrets". If you leave it at that and smile, they can't keep grilling you for an answer :)
 

RealityOne

Moderator
Nov 1, 2009
3,577
3,848
New Jersey
How did you do that??

"Rather well, I'd say", "Pretty well I think".

My personal favourite is I'll look around at everyone in the room, beckon the asker to come forward and whisper to them and their friends if they're close by:
"Can you keep a secret?"
"Yes", they'll reply.
"So can I."

The question usually indicates that the magic was presented as a challenge - "I know a secret and you don't." That method of performing places the magician "above" the spectator because they are in the know. Spectator's don't like being in that position. The answers you are listing make things worse. Not only have you put the spectators in a inferior position but you are being a jerk about it. I wouldn't use any of those.

You change your presentation and your way of thinking about magic.

Think about what that means and put it into practice. You will not get those questions any more

To avoid having people try to figure out your methods, you have to engage them in the performance and make the enjoyment of seeing the magic be more interesting than knowing how it's done.

That is the true secret to magic.
 
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Dec 6, 2015
110
92
Canada
The question usually indicates that the magic was presented as a challenge - "I know a secret and you don't." That method of performing places the magician "above" the spectator because they are in the know. Spectator's don't like being in that position. The answers you are listing make things worse. Not only have you put the spectators in a inferior position but you are being a jerk about it. I wouldn't use any of those.

Thank you for your insight, I've never thought about it that way before. I'll definitely reevaluate my responses to that question and think about why exactly my audience are asking that.
 

obrienmagic

Moderator
Nov 4, 2014
1,419
1,399
Orange County, Ca
www.obrienmagic.com
If they are asking just because they want to know:
-"Very well"
-"With Style"
-"Its magic!"
-"Very carefully."

If they have a genuine interest in magic I will have a discussion with them and either reveal the effect i have just shown them (if they are in the skill level to actually comprehend and perform it) or i will show them something else that they can easily perform for their friends.
 

Brett Hurley

Elite Member
Sep 27, 2014
2,395
1,990
Texa$, with a dollar sign
I had this happen this weekend when a couple kids were trying to guess how I did things. 'I know how you did that! You did __X__'

After. The second time I went. You want to know how I did that last one?

They got excited and were all ears at this point.

'The secret that one is that when I do this (I was holding a pencil), it's done...very...CAREFULLY."
 
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TerryAdy

Elite Member
Sep 22, 2013
76
53
37
Nacogdoches, Texas
www.TerryAdy.com
Everytime I'm asked I just shrug my shoulders and give a awkward look on my face. As if I TRUELY do NOT know what just happened myself.

It's out of the ordinary when doing this, especially when you present everything as I do, with a lot of seriousness and intensity... Then when someone asks the question, because my intensity has made them THINK I've challenged them.... I flip the script without saying a word, by simply changing my personality.
The best deception is always going to be your personality, USE IT to your advantage!

Best of luck in the future!
Don't just make the deception fun, make it an artform!

Terry Ady
 
"You genuinely want to know? Seriously? If you can keep a secret, I'll tell you the truth. Do you have a pen and paper? I actually have to write it down. [Performer scribbles something on a spare business card, folds it up, and hands it to the participant.] Look at me. You need to promise me-- you won't open this up right away. If you do, I'm telling you, it probably won't make any sense and you'll just end up throwing it away. But listen-- this one secret explains to nearly everything I do, and it's been cherished by every serious magician for nearly 200 years. Please, please don't show it to anyone else; just keep it to yourself. And when your curiosity gets the best of you later this week, I want you to open this up and take in the information. It won't make sense right away, but if you ever find yourself in the right place and the right time, you'll find everything you want to know about magic's most well-kept secrets."

On the back of the business card is, simply, "793.8"

A good friend of mine, Shawn Mullins, gave me this gem years ago, and I've been using it ever since. I think it's a great blend of mystery, humor, and actual practicality. Most importantly, I love this response, because it doesn't patronize the audience, and the magician genuinely doesn't have to flirt with lying to anyone at all. I think it's a genius way of answering the question while continuing to create a unique experience for everyone watching.

As far as the significance of 793.8? Wellllll... if you don't know, you don't know.

RS.
 

KWESST

Elite Member
Aug 2, 2015
50
50
If it's a normal card trick and they ask, I just say "you wanna know? Here, I'll show you" and do it again with a different method and explaining it in a 3rd way that doesn't exist. This is not the most professional way, and I would never do it like this at a paid gig, the same way I wouldn't do cardistry false cuts/shuffles at a paid gig. I save cardistry and that kind of presentation for screwing with drunk people at bars and parties.
 
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