Preface

Hello, brother magicians! It is with great pleasure that I present to you this volume,"Classic Sampler." I have decided to release a few of my effects to the fraternity. I hope you receive value for your investment.

I plan to use this space to expand on my thoughts and views on performing and practicing close-up magic in general. I will try not to repeat what has been said in other books.

Practice New Sleights

Practice new sleights. After mastering one, it becomes a habit to continue practicing the same one over and over, for instance the pass or Faro shuffle. We tend to follow the line of least resistance. We continue to practice the old sleight because it is easy, therefore, making no progress. When you have learned a difficult, sleight to your satisfaction, work on a new one. You can do this at odd times...while watching a movie in a theatre for instance, or while watching television alone in your home. Then in time you will have another new sleight to add to your repertoire.

Choosing An Effect

Choose a good effect first, then practice the sleights necessary to perform it, not the other way around. Too many magicians practice a difficult sleight, then invent an effect, usually mediocre, to go with it. The effect should come first. Then learn the method.

Grouping Your Effects

Charlie Miller gave me a tip years ago. He said to combine some of your effects in groups of two's and three's. This will enable you to remember a great deal more material. All you do is remember the first effect and the next two or three will be recalled instantly because each one is a part of a whole routine. Choose effects that blend well together.

Of course, you don't do this with every effect. Some tricks are meant to stand alone. The effects that you decide to blend together will give your work a flow as well as enabling you to remember a great deal of material.

Practice

Practice and perform a particular effect until you are completely satisfied with it. Then set it aside and work on a new one. Treat your effects like rare jewels. Learn them, perform them, and then set them aside in your jewel box for awhile and don't touch them. Work on new effects. Master them and then set those aside. Every so often, take out one of your jewels and polish and perform it for awhile, then put it back. Continue in tins way and in time you will have a jewel box full of beautiful gems, polished routines to use for life.

Cleaning Up

Now let's discuss cleaning up after the effect is over. A very important subject! I like to put it this way: "If you are going to drop a bomb on someone, plan your escape in advance." I will cite an example: Suppose you are buying a pack of cigarettes at a drugstore counter. Give the salesgirl a S5.00 bill. When she gives you your change, put the bills away in your wallet. Now set your wallet on the counter and pick up your change. Stack the change at your left fingertips and pretend to take the change in your right hand while performing the "French Drop." Apparently hand the change to the girl with your right hand while saying, "Keep this for your trouble!" Now, very important! The coins are finger palmed in your left hand. Pick up your wallet with your left hand, thus covering the coins. Just hold the wallet in front of you. Do this before you show your right hand empty. When you open your right hand, the girl will be astonished. Next, she will glance at your left hand and see that you are just holding your wallet. She will then look at your face. Smile, and casually place your wallet and change carefully in your hip pocket. The point I'm making is that you have begun cleaning up before the effect has even taken place.

Change Pace

Changing pace is a technique used in performing close-up magic in which you slow down and speed up your hand movements within the performance of a given effect. It can be likened to shifting the gears of a car to make driving more interesting.

Many close-up performers work way too fast. This leads to nothing but confusion. To cite the Professor, Dai Vernon: "Confusion is not magic." By shifting speed in your hand movements you create a more interesting effect. You can actually feel the effect taking place the same way that a jazz pianist can feel his improvisations. If you choose to perform a magical effect all in one tempo, it is far better to go slow than fast.

Magic for Magicians

I particularly enjoy performing one type of card effect for magicians and an entirely different type for a lay audience. However, here's a presentational hook I devised for showing "magicians magic" to "normal people":

Let's say I am performing for a group of laymen. I will choose three or four very commercial card effects. Now I will pause and say, "Ladies and gentlemen, you may or may not be aware of the fact that magicians attend magic conventions two or three times a year. Yes, we have Conventions the same as doctors, attorneys, accountants and salesmen. We get together from all parts of the country to eat, drink, and entertain one another with our magic. The effects that I would choose to perform for a brother magician are entirely different from those that I have just shown you. Perhaps you would like to see the difference?" At this point your spectator will invariably say that he would indeed like to see a magician-type trick. You have already made the thought intriguing to him. Now you have opened the door to perform and keep in practice all your favorite Faro shuffle effects, "down and under deals," and your favorite "pile" tricks. After performing one or two such tricks, stop and say, "And that is what I would do for another magician...Now here's something I hope you'll really like." At this point the spectator will quite

>tten say, "But I liked the ones you just did!" Now perform a couple more commercial effects and end with a strong finish.

Perform Often

Perform whenever a suitable occasion arises. It is only in this manner that you will develop :iming, pace, misdirection, presentation, patter and the other facets that go into making a superlative performer. By performing at ever)' opportunity you will, at times, meet many people who are bored with the jobs they are doing. You come along and jolt diem out of their normal day, and they will remember it. The person will go home that evening and say to his or her spouse: "Honev, do you know what happened to me today? I saw this guy do the most wonderful :hings. I hope he comes back again." Not only is extempore magic a great way to meet people, :t opens doors both financial and social. It makes friends. Friends are so important in life. Good magic just makes people happy. So:

1. Read everydiing you can.

1. Practice and perform.

3. Fool the audience and entertain them. Both are necessary.

4. Smile readilv.

5. Presentation is everything.

Michael Skinner Las Vegas, Nevada

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