What is Presentation?
Presentation and Misdirection
Also known as:
Attack and Defence
However you want to call them, both presentation and misdirection split into further subcategories. Let’s leave misdirection for another blog post as it’s such a massive subject that it deserves it’s own article. Clearly there will be some crossover but I will try and keep it minimal.
Your Personal Presentation:
- The way you dress
- The way you speak
- Your level of confidence
- How well your hands are kept
- The condition of your cards
- Body Language
Your Performance Presentation:
- & More
Is Magic an Art?
Ah, this is a tough one…
Yes and No
Let me know what you think in the comments.
- How will you dress?
- Facial expression, Eyes & Gesticulation
Gesticulation is a tricky subject. It doesn’t fit everyone’s performing style. Being Italian, it comes quite naturally to me but for many other nationalities, especially from the more Western countries such as England and America, it can appear forced. While it’s a great way to hide sleight-of-hand, especially top-changes, it will look very strange if you are keeping your hands very still before the performance and then suddenly you start gesticulating more than a Sicilian market vendor. If you feel you can fully embrace gesticulation into your everyday life, then by all means give it a shot!
We will go into further detail about facial expression, use of eye contact, gesticulation and general body language in Part 2 of this article. [Coming soon!]
I believe than one hour spent working on your presentation is worth 10 hours of technical practice because if you have top notch presentational skills you can create an amazing show out of the self working tricks found in beginner’s magic books. Of course, it would be silly to limit yourself to this as it would diminish your creative potential but it does make you think.
The first thing that you presentation should be is clear. This goes hand in hand with speaking clearly and good eye contact. You should approach presentation holistically. Your eyes, words, hands, and tone should all be “pointing” the same way. Every step of your performance should be well explained.It’s easy to forget that your audience might not deal with cards everyday and so they may no be familiar with the name of the suits or how many cards there are in a deck and other basic nomenclature. A mistake that I see all the time is that when a magician is looking through the cards in his hands, the cards are the wrong way round for the audience. He can see them clearly, but the audience sees them upside down!The effect itself should also be very clear. If there is more than one peak in your performance (i.e. You have to find three different playing cards) then each revelation should be separate and you need to give your audience time to react and appreciate the effect. The most common problem to do with lack of clarity is that the presentation is too fast. This might be the magician is physically moving and speaking too quickly or doing too many tricks. If you are doing a 10 minutes close-up table show then you probably don’t want to do more than three separate tricks.
- You can force the Ace of Spades on an audience member and then have it returned to the deck.
- You then fake-shuffle and then announce how you feel confident that you have tracked the position of their card while shuffling. This, funnily enough, is actually true.
- You ask the audience member to name their card and then you cut or shuffle the deck of cards and then pick up the top card and announce that you are sure that this is the spectator’s card. Unfortunately, you’ve made a mistake and it’s the King of Spades instead.
- You continue in this fashion and pick out all the Spade cards in reverse order until you have just the Ace of Spades left.
- You shuffle one last time and then produce a card, face down. Surely, this must be it? You turn it over..and no! It’s the wrong card! You put your hands on your head and mutter to yourself. What went wrong?
- You spread the cards on the table and the problem is quickly resolved: There is no Ace of Spades!
- Oh, what’s this in my pocket…
If they like you, they will like your tricks. If you are annoying as hell, the best trick in the world [which, by the way, doesn’t exist] won’t help you.Anyway, enough from me for today. Come back soon for Part 2 of this article where we will discuss everything we’ve covered today in even more detail as well as touching on a few other topics to do with presentation. Looking at my notes, we may even need a part 3!