“Your tricks, and the manner in which you perform them, should be an expression of your life, not a substitute for one.” —Mike Close Close up magic presentations can be difficult...not because of creativity, or lack thereof, but because of the approach. Approaches that can be grouped. We have the group of magicians that feel less is more, they don’t say much, and let the magic speak for itself. We have the group that says too much, in the name of presentation, they come up with intricate stories that last 20 minutes for effects that are over in 2 minutes. Then we have the group that just speaks to say something, their presentations sound like a confusion of words that might as well be another language. Then there are the few...the few that do present magic in a way that delivers a story that relates to what is being seen, or give the appearance of a conversation in the mix of a performance. Even though I don't believe their is one way to present - I do believe their are some weaknesses to the first 3 groups. Allow me a side bar to say, you don’t have to be serious about how you perform magic, to be serious about your magic. Our goal is to entertain with strong magic, so it is important we don’t take ourselves to serious, as we may lead our audience down the same path...which eventually leads to boredom, if one is not careful or interesting when serious. Nobody has ever complained about a show being too funny, or that is made them laugh too much; however, I do hear the opposite about being serious, boring and too dry. Anyhow, I digress, as this isn’t about entertaining, it is about how you are presenting magic. I want to deal with each group, and how this performance is perceived. The group that talks too little, they let the magic speak for itself. Certainly, there are effects and moments where this is needed. Those that, “don’t say much”, seem to think that they don’t impact the effect negatively with their words...true, but I don’t think they impact it positively either. Then, only your physical presents and appearance are the differences between you, and anyone else that does the same effects. By not saying anything, you are making a choice; this choice prevents you from adding anything...adding yourself...and adding fun. Sure, the magic will speak for you, when done well. Yet, I personally use this as a base – if the effect is great, then what I add will make it better. I consider my presentation the cherry on top of the Sundae. For those that struggle with presentation, read Scripting Magic, and consider writing your scripts – that way if you aren’t the type to think fast on your feet with banter, at least you can appear like you are. Communication is one of the advantages of our art...if you don't interact, what makes you different than a TV magician? The opposite of this is the performers that love the sound of their own voice...those that stretch a simple effect into a marathon. Obviously, in today’s society, ADHD will be your opponent, and you bore your audience into hating magic. The bigger concern, similar that exists in comedy magic, is that you have made the magic secondary. The advice – trim the fat – asks yourself, “is it necessary for me to say that for progression of the effect” and “is there a shorter or easier way to convey that with less words”? Again, scripting will help this. I feel I should say more on this issue, but that would be a bit, well, contrary to my advice of keeping it simple while still making a point, but don't let my brevity act lesson the importance of this malpractice, as it is one of the most serious. Moving on. We then have the group that thinks they are presenting but are telling stories that sound like they were induced by “magic dust” – these people talk about how the cards blush...or how the Jacks are detectives that find your card...or coins that have wings on them and fly hand to hand. These plots seem childish, and in a modern audience in close up can make you appear out of touch with reality. You may as well be talking Lord of the Rings. Personally, I find these kind of presentations the reason why people say, “my 3 year old would love your tricks” – rather than seeing the value in it for themselves. Sure, these things can be said, but I think more value would be seen if it were said “tongue in cheek”, than as a presented concept that is serious. Unfortunately, I see too much of the latter. So, am I saying there is ONE and only ONE way to perform close up magic? – no – Guy Hollingsworth and Lawrence Hass performs in a very connected and dramatic fashion...very entertaining – which is very different from Juan Tamriz and David Williamson that use energy and comedy to highlight their magic - still entertaining...and there are many in between. This is where character comes in. What I am saying is that there are CERTAINLY less efficient ways to present magic. Personally, I use humour, energy and try to create real conversation throughout my magic to perform close up. I don’t want it to feel like a performance, but an encounter, or meeting of a new friend – that happens to be funny...but can also be serious at times. The magic and mood can change. Often, my presentations consist of motivational message in between the magic, when people ask me about me. My magic serves to educate about what magic is...or what it isn’t...common life situations, and sometimes it is just a laugh. The point? Your magic should be connected. If you are talking too much...talking too much about nothing...or not talking at all – you could be putting a wall up and preventing yourself from taking advantage of one of the best strengths close up has. True human interaction – a connected experience that TV, Movies, and other visual mediums can’t offer. Now...go say something that means something to you and your audience.