Chapter Six Dramatic Structure

1. Interest Catchers

Earlier we talked about how magic tricks could be divided into the boring part and the interesting part. An important aspect of showmanship is getting the audience to pay attention during the boring part so they can enjoy the interesting part. This may involve making the boring part as short as possible or having something interesting going on during the boring part. We'll explore hoth these concepts later in the chapter on Pacing.

Another effective technique is to do something at the very start of the trick that will intrigue the audience so much they'll want to sit through the boring part to see the interesting part. That's what we're going to talk about now.

The Intriguing Statement

I open one of my effects by telling the audience that I'm about to teach them how to win at blackjack. You can be sure this guarantees their undivided attention. Of course, all I'm doing here is making use of substantive meaning as we discussed earlier. But I'm introducing the subject as early as possible. Whenever you have an effect with strong meaning, get that meaning out on the table as soon as you can—if possible, in the first sentence. And make that sentence as striking and provocative as you can. If the effect gains its meaning from uncertainty, start by saying, "I'm not sure if this is going to work." If the effect appears to involve physical danger, introduce it by

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