Info

Vou begin to spread the deck and the ,

Just as the spectator's lingers are about to rT 'ea^es , the deck further, leaving the forcecard i ' °n a I" a <»«

fingers. U your spreading action!, pel spectator's hand is too close to the deckj t "l, '*<* S*? £

shoved a particular card into her hand '1 b<! apP«eu, t^' th, reaching for a different card. If i„Btlf Whe" she »as'Si, position the force card is performed ,„„ y0Ur sP™adC «W

direction and reach for a different «J W'th "me jf»".

Understanding these things doesn't mean you'll

Timing In Misdirection direction if« oo,.,. .•.,

Tn „ a "»sciirecfion few the audience's attSioTald™ ««*>» J

hand action and ItfHand ™ ™e relationship between rich card from the pocket as the^erZniZT ^ =

the top card of the deck. Another examnl "?8 ° J»l® tf

An interesting aspect nf ,■

"IwayTmeat li'" two th"!d thrat "W. involves lines. * 7Uli action or the tlme ™> belw™ a patter line and relationship between two patter

. t. Correct timing between a patter line and an action patter and Ac e,ther because the action provides humorous nl'te11 "lli:"n the patter line or because it provides a comedie or Ration to the patter line. ¿col0 P Kample of the first situation. Suppose you say, "Gee, I've Here is An ef.ar(is before." and at the same time you perform a fancy never playe ^ ^ get a chuckle, or at least a Bnaile, from onc--hande bGcau5e the fancy shuffle throws an ironic light on your the fludien ^^ ^ perform the shuffle a few moments after stfltemen^^ -|1L1 Gffect won't he as 3trong. And if you perform delivering moments before the delivering the line, the entire the =h,ltnL effect will be lost.

• 1 ok at the principle involved in this example. Incongruity is one •f" to comedv. In magic, sometimes that incongruity come«

® „the contrast between what you're saying and what you're doing, f' sample a protestation of naivete combined with a display of Wilful card'handling. But the two have to be coordinated so as to throw the incongruity into sharp focus.

hi I'll give you an example from my own repertoire of an action acting as corned,c punctuation to a patter line. In one effect 1 cut to an ™ and then cut to a second ace. I then give the deck a couple of shuffles As I do so 1 say. "That should make it almost impossible for anyone to know where the third acc is." I then continue, IsMKJ saying it's totally impossible, but it's almost unpossibl . On to wmd -totally" I do a slip cut and the third ace appears face up oo top of the deck This always geis a laugh from the audience. I know from experience that if I produce the ace a ^nd before or a second after the word "totally" the effect wont beas st«mg l action punctuates the statement. It has to occu exactly on key word in the statement to achieve the desired result.

i i that vou cant count on tne

What these examples make clear is that yo saying and what you re doing, ney ^ ^^ ^ comection two things are coordinated ini such a J u ^ theee obvious. Your goal »■«»« ac,w"s am V

cormectiom> for the audience u lead you to correct timing

No number of examples will automa'icaUy ^ ^ ^ ^ ^^ in your own work. You'll still ha»»'"1 But experimentation that gives you the best «suite1» W£ , le8 involved will give combined with an ""^Tl^cntttion alone And appreciating you results faster than blind expenme^ ^^ ^^ ^

the importance of timing wi

2. Pacing

Stella Adler

, yoa can be boring: instant."

according to what o„e j, BID__.„„ . »«* of a closely ¿atXf i? i™8 dwinB fi tag to the rooters on "ne s dr r ïa,J ^ Lî"' „

the rooters on the other side. field, if you doubt whether pacing j.

"" UI-oer side." «uc m,jm '' "tit,,

If you doubt whether pacing ia , „ performances. - ¡«Port^ , most distinguishes professing P mg » «te w ,act«» i» Almos, W!thout e«fp£ Ten'r™'" AX ^

professional i^Z ^ ^¿T ~ ^ ^Tv ^ captive audience T„ ' morc ofteI> than not

^ the maícian rSl "»"■-—I do^*«»»*. I, j «Potato,- is W'th ^Cr^6

artels 7

amateur, you'U g^®^<"«ake; whethTlí pacing P<,(!n9 III Magic two pLtoTT We tllied abow hZ !l ■ Paci,,g is tang ^ is Sfe^ efffCt Caa divided

'"variably wbeiL™" 8 a w^m, but™"'"""»nt value. It's net

{ laying out the cards before the ten seconds of magic i0n£ I assembly is revealed. This doesn't mean that ace cur8 aS .fc ije strong magic. It does mean that an ace assembly ^enlbUes can magic if you can keep the expository phase from will onl>' be driiggLllg' f looking at pacing is the concept of dead time, pother is happening holds no interest for the audience you

Whenever ^^ pac;ng ja about going over your performance 60 locate have dea ^^ ^ time and ruthlessly eliminating it, like weeding every seC<?rtere are the most common causes of dead time and what ^ do about them.

Pacing And Palter

"Inyour performance be sparing with words."

J.N. Ponsin, Nouvelle Magie Blinr.hr. Devoilee

Strunk & White, The Elements of Style

Now we come to one of the most important pieces of advice on presentation I can give you: Don't talk too much! Given all the things vou must strive to accomplish with your patter-claniy the effect plant suggestions, create atmosphere, delineate character-you msh understandably conclude that you're going to have to do a lot of talking. Nothing could be further from the truth, but it. an ea y trap to fall Into. Just as many films have been ruined by an dialogue at the expense of action, many mag» effects are ruined by excessive reliance on patter at the expense of the magic-This is a failing you'll often see in cases of .vhat converts to showmanship. A magician who had pre ™J™ trated soleiy on the - JW-

going to try to develop his performer is talking up skill. Before long, this f°™erly ™osy"ab <= form now a storm. A trick that used to take ^J^« £ even ^ bmng takes six minutes and may. miJW^ B!„ in magic have Some of the most prominent slelgnt-™

faUen victim to this pitfall. . em to have gotten into magic

There are also those «W»"'»^„n, into listening to their just as a means of trapping 1baplMJ3? ^ ^ of offa,der , ever endless rambling. The worst^ („„), who was a regu-encountered was an older ge lar on the New York magic scene when I first discovered it at the age of twenty. a about

The one trick he was most infamous for was the Houdini Card Tv. This was a two-card transposition between a king placed insid card case and a queen outside the ease. (At least. I think that's6 ?5 the effect was.) His presentation concerned Harry and Bess Hourf-performing the Substitution Trunk illusion. Whether this kind patter theme really adds anything to a trick is open to quest, °f However, in the case of this gentleman, the patter took on a life allfo own that made the whole issue academic.

He would start by removing the king of spades from the deck and handing it out for examination. While the spectators were looking at the card he would begin to patter in a grave voice: "Harry Houdini born Erich Weiss, grew up in the small town of Appleton, Wisconsin where young Erich had a normal childhood. His favorite sports were baseball and ice hockey

After about five minutes of this, he would remove the queen of spades from the deck, hand it out for examination, and launch into an equally riveting account of the early life of Bess Houdini. Twelve minutes into the trick the audience was no closer to seeing any magic. But, any spectator who had not yet lapsed into a coma would have absorbed enough information about Harry and Bess to write a biography rivaling Carl Sandburg's The Life of Abraham Lincoln. It was one of my ambitions in magic in those days to eventually succeed in sticking it through to see just what the effect of this card trick was, but I confess I never did. My resolve would always give out at about the point where Harry performed his famous elephant vanish at the old Hippodrome Theater in New York. Fortunately, the performer was always too absorbed in reciting Houdini's financial records to notice me sbnking away. Thus, I never did see the conclusion of the Houdini Card Trick or, as I like to think of it, "The Trick That Cannot Be Endured."

How much patter is too much patter is partly a function of each individual performer's personality. It's important to remember, however, that people can tire very quickly of just listening to someone talk. Verbal diarrhea can completely destroy pacing.

Narrative vs. Background: At one time it was common practice for a novebst to take a break in the middle of his story to devote several pages to a philosophical discourse, a detailed description of a character, or even just a description of a house, room, or other physical setting. This approach is no longer in fashion. Today a writer is expected to develop any other concerns on his mind at the same time

Ih8t he advances the plot. You should follow the same policy in your t stated at the outset that magic is a narrative art: every magic effect , a story. All information in storytelling falls into one of two "»gorics, narrative and background. (Another word for background ¡„formation is "exposition However, since I'm using the term expository phase in this book to mean something else. I'll avoid it here ,0 prevent confusion.) Any thing that carries the story forward is narrative: any information that is necessary to properly understand the story is background.

If the hero kills an assailant with his bare hands in one scene, that is narrative. However, in order to prepare you for that scene the author may have had to mention beforehand that the hero is an ex-green beret whose training made him capable of killing a man with his bare hands. This information is background. Physical descriptions, information about the setting of the story, biographical data on the characters, and descriptions of events thnt occurred before the story began all constitute background. In general, fast pacing means concentrating on narrative and keeping background to a minimum. This applies to magic as much as to any other narrative form. Any explanations you have to provide in order for the audience to appreciate the effect constitute background. Such background information can often enhance the impact of an effect. It may, for exampie, create atmosphere or help develop your character. A certain amount of background may even be essential to the success of a particular effect. However, if the presentation becomes top-heavy with background, it will almost certainly bore the audience. You may have a great Bridge Deal and experience may show that it's more effective if you explain to the audience a couple of basic facts about the game of bridge. However, if you find that the only wny they can appreciate the effect is if you first give them a five-minute lesson in how to play bridge, you're better off forgetting about the effect except when performing for bridge experts.

A good example of a trick that required a tremendous amount of background information for an audience to appreciate it is one I witnessed years ago in a magic convention close-up contest. The effect consisted of the performer demonstrating a box filled with wires that constituted an electrical circuit that apparently defied the laws of physics. Of course, most people are a little fuzzy on the laws of

Physics as they appltf^^^JISX foZTon^cletS S^ wSrk. a. for one. kept hoping the recess bell would ring so we could rn „,„ resumed.) °ut a"d pla , lore ci„

This was an absolutely hopeless magic effect u> ""

ground, it was incomprehensible. With the barkj-'''Ulout Mia i tensely boring. To males matters worse the il that the magician was simply lying to th»m u " iu" «m circuits work so be could fooUhem wfth hi^Sk'ST W ««« ^ a great deal of background before an audienc^ " effe« should probably forget the effect. ^ " «"^rsta^""«, should probably forget the effect. The more common problem is not an effect that re • of background but the performer who feels comp^T'8 a S«=t d»sl of background, whether needed or not A Pravi<,6 *

mentflhst who can't do a trick with ESP =arrwThDur:°,,I,! 18 '

I once witnessed a particularly memorable ™mnl. r t when a verbose magician performing at a m„l P th,s P™>>!cm mistake Of asking Howie SchTarLanTn^ * invention mads thc (Personally, I think this in itaelf^videi^ed a latent d '

SrawJiiHis tr? fir -

audience had recoveredfem' thsm^l a ',himbk-Ater affect: he vanished the «IST^T* ^ tbe Si"™4 vs. magic. He provided countleBf t U WeM >*™on on togic distinction, Bvery so often punctuat? ^11^ °f

Schwarzman and saying, * turning te

»untenance. About tento * ° ^ but e ma5IC having occurred th "" without too many,'T;uTn„maglCian <*» m;8take ol pained expression Schwar2ma°n'¡™""V"h" I mean, Howie?" With a thimble?" man at him and said, "Where's the how much background you can get away with depends in 01 how interesting you can make it. Cy Endfield once did "Card

""for OK Ho prefaced it with a long explanation of the concept ol ffa?urth dimension. He began by theorizing about what it would be c f0 iron-dimensional world of onlv k-m-tli .ivl .i. m

° live m a two-dimensional world of only length and width. This Uustrated by sliding cards around on the tabletop. He went on to i.;« how, if the flat inhabitants of such a world were to witness

Iain how, 11 ■->"- ~ ■" ------------- ------- ' • nuio WJ ... i: ili!

vsment in the third dimension of depth, it would appear "Lentous to them. They would be completely incapable of prebend ing what thoy were seeing, although to us it would he an everyday event. Ho illustrated this with a couple of hypothetical samples.

He then went on to talk about our three-dimensional world and explained what movement in the fourth dimension would appear like w us. I can sincerely say that I found all of this captivating. I was so fascinated that when he started to go into "Card Warp" 1 felt like saying, "Never mind that; tell me more about this multiple-dimension stuff."

This performance inspired me to invoke the fourth dimension in my own version of "Card Warp." Since I don't have Cy ISndficld's skills as a scicnce popularizer, the background in ray presentation is somewhat briefer. Halfway through the trick 1 look up at the audience and say, "It has something to do with the fourth dimension; I don't know what exactly."

The point to understand is not that background is bad. It isn't. But, rather, that allowing an imbalance to develop of background over narrative is bad. Thc audience must feel that the performance ,» constantly moving forward. If they feel that yours a lomng thines to grind to a halt while you give them a laeture. they'd gu.ckly become bored. ,

A good guiding principle to remember is that an — nee ^Jb something to listen to and something to vatcn u exception of occasional brief introductory common to. set^^ the premise of a trick, you should seldom means an effect just to patter. Such a break in toactionm™ y too much background Talk and action of yDur that you are continually ^to Stch P " ^the tneb, you're performance to allow the patter to eaten op talking too much. ¡„„„riant presentational tool, but

Patter is unquestionably your m™t TO» ™ ^ othw q„ahti„ your it must be used artfully To tne 8hort gtory wrllw dd economy- ^

patter should possess, a1

you must make every word count. Every sentence and ev must be selected to accomplish the most in the least time. Phrast

Pacing And Business

Pacing can be hurt by actions as weU as words. In theater, any performed on stage are referred to as business. Here were con^ with actions that are time consuming and not very interest,'01*1 watch. This may include such activities as borrowing objects from a audicnce. having something signed by a spectator, having the •reshuffled by a spectator, counting a group of cards, or having a ¿ 5 selected by means of some lengthy procedure. When you find th? some procedure in an effect is causing a lag in interest, you should d one of three things: eliminate the activity, shorten it, or make ¡°t interesting.

Eliminate: The first question to ask yourself about any such time-consuming activity is, "Is this really necessary?" The answer will usually concern the matter of conditions. Much time is wasted in close-up performances on activities that impose conditions on an effect that simply don't matter to the audience. Before you take the time to borrow a handkerchief, ask yourself whether this particular trick would be any less effective if you saved time by using your own handkerchief. Before you take the time to have a playing card signed, ask yourself if this particular trick is really the kind in which the audience would be likely to suspect a duplicate if the card weren't signed. Before you have a spectator shuffle the deck at the start of a trick, ask yourself if this particular trick is one in which the audience would be inclined to suspect a setup if the deck weren't shuffled. Our earlier discussion on conditions, which ones matter to audiences and which don't, should help you answer these questions.

A particularly curious case of slow pacing you often see in close-up magic is the performer who insists on bringing the action of the effect to a dead stop so that he can engage in some "amusing" byplay that only he finds entertaining. A perfect example is the case I described earlier of the magician performing "Coins Through the Table" who insisted on preceding each penetration by forcing the spectators to join him in a protracted search for the elusive soft spot in the table. Anyone who watches much close-up will encounter similar situations where the performer forces a spectator to recite some nonsense or perform some silly ritual that embarrasses the spectator, bores the rest of the audience, and amuses only the performer himself. This is the "business equivalent of the performer who gives the audience a

„ -whimsical" lccture on the difference between logic and magic 1 all they want t0 W 18 re f*****g thimble is.

ward of caution however. Pacing is very important, but it's not ronly important element in your magic Some magicians. i„ an ffort to maximize pacing, will cut he expository phase of each effect « the bone. There is a danger in taking this approach too far. They've got to be totally convinced its an apple before you change it into an ox»^-

Of all the important factors determining how strong your magic will be, the most important one is conviction. Generally speaking, what determines how strong the conviction will be is the expository phase This does not at all mean that the longer the expository phase is the stronger the conviction will be. It does mean that cutting the expository phase too far can hurt conviction. Breakneck pacing at all costs risks producing trivial magic.

Shorten: As just indicated, sometimes the answer to the question, "Is this time-consuming activity really necessary?" is yes. In that case, the next step is to ask yourself, "Can I do it faster?" The answer to this question is almost always yes.

The key here is planning. Every step in an effect should be completely choreographed to eliminate wasted motion and, consequently, wasted time. You should know in advance exactly what procedure you're going to follow in putting away the previous effect's props and taking out the next effect's props in the most efficient manner possible. If you're planning to have a dollar bill signed, you should know in which pocket you have your pen so you don't have to waste the audience's time looking for it. If you don't plan even the smallest matters out in advance, you can be sure that the way you end up doing it in performance won't be the fastest and most efficient way possible. Often a little thought in advance can save a lot of time during performance. In one effect I do, I need to have the four queens signed. I have found that, rather than having one spectator sign all four queens I can save a little time by handing the red queens to one spectator and the black queens to another, having each one sign two queens. Of course, this means that I must make sure I'm carrying two pens and that I know exactly which pocket they're in. Make It Interesting: If you find you can't shorten the activity and sometimes even if you can. the final question to ask is, "Can I make it more interesting?" I made the point earlier that too much background can kill pacing and almost always results in boredom. However, a limited amount of interesting background definitely has its place in magic.

-Many excellent effects hâve a certain Umc. The audience has to wait »£V""'« <* uw counts off some cards, or Slgns his doîj ^

background. Giving the audi,,, Sudl Pointa J,? : to listen to during'such^ ™

.~.ciSiuunu. Uiving the audi.« " Poil humorous to listen to during such ^ , »-et&g then- ,merest and actually increase "" the «¡» rS,' take just as long but the time J. ¡5

Many close-up effects have a W at the h he "»J

culled from the deck or ne«^" ^SWing „ needed arran^J fli. .. ,, "WMSajy pMps ,,„„ L cj,^

arranged. This is the perfeTS Ï mtngumg statements, q'uestioW™«I discussed earlier. ^.inverted question) ¿J"« »»tie,

»«entt Stive r ,S,htly Vï fflvtif Vfiet thr^ this the audien^ tV t'lat having a snert t through the cards ' get the rest ^f^t ««eresfn?ftor Ca" °ut the cards gives

'he spectator does ^ ¡nvolved h Y**''' Particularly since

"> Pacing them to make sure dealing wMl t(]e ™' calling ou{ ^ ^^

Ces objective perception of times yon have to make something a little longer in ordec "«ruscem shorter.

W A f humor, another technique you can sometimes use to Make Instead o .[ityrc,lt.nf, js suspense. Since I've already dealt with this at dead UI?ewon*t go into detail here. I'll just refer you to the example I length. ^ ^^ section of using mystery-curiosity suspense to hold ■""""dience's interest during the lengthy cutting process in "The 'Man's Card Trick."

lly there is one last technique you can use to make a procedure ' [jog if you have enough strength of personality. Quite simply. 'n t ^ proc"edure as if it is very important. The audience takes its 116 from you, the performer. They're often willing to assume that if :lJ" Bomething is important it must fce important. (That's why that involve more setting up should be saved for later in the performance. That way, the prestige you've built up during earlier miracles can help to convince the audience that the next miracle is worth waiting for.)

If something is time-consuming but essential, treat it as of vital -ieniScance. There is a good chance the audience will pay attention when they realize they must be watching something terribly important, even if they're not quite sure why.

4 good example can be seen in the blindfold routine many untrt* perform. Often the expository phase (application of the bUndfold) rites forever-layers of dough on top of coins covered w, h cotton taped down and wrapped with bandages good mentalist can make this long process interesting to hi. audience fust by treating each detail of the procedure as if it were . »alter of life and death. . ..

There you have the tools for keeping'justness" bm'ing ^h pacing of your performance. If interesting through backed ^ Zer force all else fads, make the aud.ence P® 5you have a good of your personality. If you treat re » * chance of getting them to see it as g You heYC

map out everything i" advance wl can be moving. If you leave things to chance or play certain the performance will drag.

Pacing And Audience participalio||

"When you work with people, you must be in control, u control, you do not belong on the stage." cq^

A1 Koran, Lecture Notes ofFan^ ^

In addition to what you say and do, there is one other factor th affect the pacing of your performance, that is, what the c<ln assisting vou does and how long he or she takes to do it performers when they ask a spectator to do something, whethe y to volunteer, shuffle the deck, select a card, or any other " immediately abdicate control of the performance to the spectator u' that action is completed. You can't expect laypeople to be sensitive? the demands of show business; therefore, you can expect the pacinB f the performance to suffer whenever it's in their hands. When L perform, you must be in control every sccond, even when the action shifts to someone else.

Having a spectator do something will almost always take longer than doing it yourself. Magicians often justify having spectators perf0rm various inconsequential tasks on the grounds that it increases audience participation. Audience participation can be a very gQQtj thing, but I believe the only kind of participation that matters to an audience is having them do things that seem important. Having a spectator perform some menial task that you could have done yourself in half the time accomplishes nothing other than to deaden the paco of the effect.

Therefore, the first question to ask yourself is whether you really need to have a spectator perform this action. This is turn depends on whether having a spectator perform the action will increase conviction.

Suppose you're going to perform an ace assembly using the four aces and twelve indifferent cards. Audiences seldom suspect the use of extra indifferent cards in an ace assembly, so having the spectator count out the twelve cards is a waste of time. Do it yourself and things will move faster. However, if you are going to do a "Cards Across" effect, the fact that there are exactly twelve cards in each packet is crucial. In this case, having the spectators count out the twelve cards increases conviction.

If you decide it is necessary to have the spectator do something, you then have to figure out how to control the spectator's actions so that he or she does it the way you want him to at the speed you want him to do it. This is another matter that will require analysis, experimentation, and creativity on your part. But if you don't solve this 316

n every spectator participation situation, your magic will

. rve seen ruined in this way almost every time I've seen it 0n' effepd 19 the "Card on the Forehead." The performer palms the P'W» <ard nnd h,an?8 he;thc i6C> t0lHng her t0 rc"">ve her -PeCZn While she is looking through the deck, he licks the card and *• t it to his forehead. The rest of the audience sees him do this and * kles They anticipate with glee the spectator's shocked reaction c she sees the card on his forehead.

^spectator finishes looking through the deck and doesn't find her rtl Concluding that she must have bypassed it, she starts spreading Urough the cards again. At this point the audience's anticipation .tarts to wane and they just want her to see the card so that the Magician will go on to something else.

At the end of the second run-through, the spectator still hasn't seen ¡ier card and is starting to feel a little embarrassed about her failure. She starts to spread through the deck a third time, this time quite slowly, determined not to miss her card again. By now, the rest of the spectators couldn't care less about the whole matter and are starting to talk among themselves. When eventually the assistant finally does look up and sees her card on the performer's forehead, what should have been a funny climax dies because of poor pacing. The only performer I've ever seen satisfactorily solve this problem is Chicago's great bar magician, the late Heba Haba Al. As soon as the rest of the audience had a chance to see the card on his forehead, he would turn to the spectator who was searching through the deck for her card and say, "I think you passed it." Naturally, she does what people usually do when you talk to them; she looks up at the performer and, of course, sees her card. With one well-chosen patter line, Heba Haba Al completely controled the timing of the trick's climax rather than leaving it in the spectator's uncertain hands. Another good example is "Out of This World." It's a great trick, but sometimes you run into a spectator who wants to agonize for five minutes over every single card before dealing it in the red pile or black pile. This kills the pacing for any other spectators watching. I solve the problem with a simple patter line. When I see a spectator with this tendency, I say, "Your first impression is most likely to be right. Don't second-guess yourself out of the right decision. Go with your first impulse." In extreme cases, I might have to admonish her at some later point again to go with her first impulse. This always solves the problem and keeps the effect moving at a reasonable pace.

Striking A Balance

In this discussion. I've tried to mate it clear th important, but it's not the only important mnsiderati™ is Mb,,,

«■hat makes achieving good pacing such a challem,. d iacl> tha?

in conflict with other important elements such as suit, « »ftT

characterization, and atmosphere. (For example £ Wn«cC

Clark Ashton Smith once complained. "The proble y aWh0, adequate atmosphere in connection with fairly rapid art devol«P

Indeed, pacing is one of the issues at the heart of the "a'''

art and commercialism. Compare the pacing of an ,„°™'llct b«»[e„

film to the pacing of a Steven Spielberg "

Dostoyevski novel to the pacing of a Robert Ludlum noj^ " a you may think of them, you have to admit that Spib™I'

have much bigger audiences. "P'etDerg and Lu(Ulmi

Throughout your career as a magica! performer voull ~ * have to struggle to balance conflicting co™deraS h""™"? mystery, suspense vs. emotional memon-. pad™ TZJT0* vs' °fc™™=> Ihe one conflict that the hack magic an J^8 els* most, audience impact vs. ease of execution) S !LmK ab« involve, the issue of pacing, just remeXrtis Vo^n^ ^ anything else if you don't have their attTn ton A„d acc™Pl»«k iKmr attention for long if your pacing is S™! ^ y°U "<»'

3. Tempo pace involves the fast you actually work: how fast vouni Simply "lea"s h™

very simple concept-» m0ve and h°»' you talk. It's a

? .how much statement j„ .TGrabmaSui"1'0 ° few iears aS° following trick that doesn't seemZ JtT ^ ^ *

down, see if the change in "^«line it up or slowing it

A* time, I „as Stffl a law s?ulP„tter ' make " more «

mainly around methods I'd h,H ,mj' mtMeBt "agic revolved tie potentials of presentation ^ investigating

Goshman's statement was „

seemingly irrelevant a, the ? ffle- That something as could actually affect the aulent WMch J"ou Performed a trick «dtcal idea J dcaded to ^^'^aa to the trick seemed a 31, 81 e «■ a Sure enough, I found that, in i mes. I could make a trick play better by performing it fa8ter

I usually did.

l ost twenty years later. I still find the exact reason, for this ve There is no doubt, however, that it's the case. I suspect that ^'factors are involved. One concerns the speed with which an ^dience can absorb information and experiences. The other concerns dramatic elements such as generating excitement or building Jmintmg suspense.

Your natural tempo, the rate at which you normally tend to work, is n expression of your personal style. However, it's wise to vary this tempo from time to time both to provide the audience with variety and to derive maximum impact from a particular effect. This may involve changing your tempo from one effect to another or within a given effect.

The tempo should always be slow enough for people to understand what's going on. I remember seeing a well-known close-up magician perform "Spellbound" so fast that I literally could not focus on tbe coin long enough to tell when it was silver and when it was copper. If I hadn't already been familiar with the trick I wouldn't have realiied that any magic had occurred. You should never perform faster than the audience can absorb it visually or intellectually. It is sometimes effective, however, to perform faster than the audience can absorb it emotionally. I find that in effect* that involve nonstop visual magic, it can be vers- effective to emotionally overwhelm the audience by performing rapidly. In "Darwin's Aces" from Darwin Ortiz at the Card Table the four aces vanish in a very direct, visual manner, one nght after the other. 1 perform these vanishes with almost no pause between them. Just a. the audience IS starting to wonder where the first ace hit with the fact that a second one has vanished ate, IBe ore hey can recover ta that vanish, they have to cope with tofto third ace has also disappeared. No sooner has this begun to reg»ter than the fourth ace evaporates- ^»¡„„¡„„to

The entire sequence keeps the audie^

end. If a like . go« keeping bJre he has senes of punches. Tbe trick is o> ™ completely recovered from the previous one.

in certain other visual bLTu« this in the first slowly and build u,i speed with M Thl, fl„, phase is an phase of "Jumping ctamu» J™ ket of cards. Each rime the

Ambitious Card sequence with a sma í ^ [he audience „

card jumps to the to, I J ^ 6,ampIe of „«thing we overwhelmed by it all. C"»

talked about earlier, accelerating tempo to create 0 ^^ Qf gression.)

In both of these tricks I've also found it very effective to slow h practically coming to a dead stop, just before the grand clin,Jv can practically hear the audience catching its breath when the u coaster finally comes to a halt. But like on a real roller coaster pause comes just before the biggest drop. Or. to go back to our bo* metaphor, the flurry of blows stops just before the knockout punch While these examples show the way tempo can affect an audiene • reaction to the mngic, they don't offer any ironclad rules. There ar* other effects, superficially similar to the two above, where I've fbu,^ that working almost in slow motion gets the best response. The only real answer is to experiment with different tempos for different effects, gauging the audience's reaction each time.

In the end. Goshman's words are still the best advice: "When struggling with a trick that doesn't seem to go over, try speeding it up or slowing it down, see if the change in tempo doesn't make it more effective." The first step is appreciating the fact that a change in tempo can make a big difference in audience reaction.

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