Magic is Not a House

If you build yourself a house, primarily that house is meant for you. Whether other people arc impressed by your house is another matter, one of far less importance. Perhaps people feel that your house is unattractive and they wouldn't want to visit or even sec it. That is a

pity, but it doesn't negate the possibility of your enjoying the house. You could be perfecdy happy with what others might perceive as a monstrosity.

Magic, though, is not like a house. A house can exist whether odiers like its design or not. But magic is not a material thing, it can only exist at die moment of performance. For magic to exist it needs an audience. If rhe audience doesn't like it, soon you will find that there will be no audience. Consequendy there can be no magic. It is therefore necessary that the spectators like what you offer them, arc intrigued by it enough that they ultimately find it a worthwhile experience, so worthwhile that they are even willing to pay high sums for the opportunity of experiencing your dream. Great!

However, what if they dont like it? Should you force it down dieir throats despite their wishes? You could try, but you would shortly be widiout ail audience. What are die alternatives? You could change die effect until the audience does like it. But then, instead of losing the audience, you would lose yourself. Should you throw out your crcation altogcthcrPThat would avoid forcing something unen joyable on either yourself or your audienccs. Yes, you end up having nothing to perform, but you do have the possibility to start over. Dream another dream and see if this is one the audience likes. However, lets not be too pessimistic. If your original idea was something you found exciting, the best effect you could imagine, then chances are excellent that other people will find it exciting and splendid as well.

If you work this way, discarding rhe occasional disappointment, eventually you are i bound to develop several creations, creations that arc true to you and to your imagination, and arc liked not only by yourself but by audiences as well! What more could one ask?

Illustrating ideas with metaphors can aid in making principles clear, but metaphors sometimes have the disadvantage of seeming theoretical or insubstantial. How arc such principles actually applied in the real world? This isn't always apparent. So let me conclude with a few specific examples of building orders and give my views on them.

Lets say that you wish to do a trick with a candle. Good! Dream up an effect with a candle as the main prop.

Next say that you want to do a trick with a shell coin. Hold on! You are starting with a technical method instead of an effect. Now were building walls without having laid the foundation. I think this is a faulty building order. Methods come later.

This time you want to generate a feeling ol fast-paced, accelerating excitement. This means you must work within a certain style. Yes, you can design an effect to suit a specific style, just as you can build a house to fit a particular location. Keep the desired style in mind as you are dreaming.

Finally, you want to create an effect that will bring you success. To do this you decide to use.. .oh, lets see what brings success to other magicians. Proof of success comes after an effect is readied, when it is tested before an audience. Determining success is die last step in the building process. To drag the last step to the beginning of your building process is limiting and gives no guarantee of success at all. How is it limiting? The things that have never before been done and can prove successful might very wrell surprise yon. You won't find these dungs by adhering to what has proven successful before. As for guarantees, sticking to proven formulas does not assure success. Those things that others have found succcssful may not fir you—and then many people have already seen the others doing these things before you. There is no guarantee of succcss, whether you use proven formulas or experiment with something new that comes from you. It is only in the end that you can know whether you are kissing a frog or a prince.

These examples illustrate what I believe to be correct and incorrect working orders. A proper working order offers much better chances of achieving the results you had in mind, and you will be far less likely to find yourself a football kicked around by outside factors that can easily punt you to some haphazard spot.

Have I ever been guilty of building in the wrong order? You bet! Occasionally I've even been fortunate enough to achieve rather pleasing results using an incorrect progression. A haphazard spot, after all, may be quite lovely—but the chances of hitting one randomly are much lower than taking proper aim.

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