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Norm Barnhart's
Way Cool Magic!

Norm inspecting a chair with a magnifying glass.

Ten Keys to a Better Magic Show

by Norm Barnhart           Copyright 2007 - Magical Fun Productions

      You can be the life of the party when you present cool magic tricks.

      Success in magic is more than knowing how to do some tricks. The following are ten secret keys that will help you to be a better magician. When you know the secrets to making your magic performance more fun to watch you will then have your audience wanting more.

Key   Start your show with a splash

      You need to begin with a good opening trick that will grab their attention and hold it. They will want to see more. It does not take very long for your audience to decide if they like the show. People are used to changing the channel and moving on if they don’t like something on TV. In a live performance situation you cannot change the channels, but a person can allow their mind to wander. You do not want that! You want to grab their attention and hold it.

      Pick a trick that is colorful or has a quick surprise. People do not have a lot of patience for a long drawn out card trick or mind reading stunt. Longer tricks can come later, but start your show with something quick and flashy. They will want to see more and they will respect you for being a good magician.

Key   Relax and Enjoy the Show

      If you are relaxed and confident you will have a better show and the audience will like it more. You will also work in a smooth manner and this will make your tricks look better. If you are nervous it will affect your audience. It’s natural to be a bit nervous, but if you practice you will gain the confidence needed.

      You also bet better with each show you do, so get out there and show your tricks to lots of people, friends neighbors, associates at work. The more you do the trick the better you’ll get and less nervous you will be.

      Before the show take a few deep breaths, smile and remember that your audience wants you to succeed. They want to see a cool trick, so don’t worry, just be prepared through practice and do your best.

Key   Mirror – Mirror on the Wall

      One of the best ways to improve is to practice is in front of a mirror. You will get better because you are seeing what your audience sees. You can see if the secret is given away or if you are holding your hands in an unnatural way. Look at your tricks from several angles.

Key   Video Tape your Cool Tricks

      A great way to get your magic trick to look better fast is to shoot a video. Set your video camera on a tri-pod or on a table and tape your trick. Do this three times in a row from front and then again from a little to the left and a bit to the right. This way you can see how you look from a few different angles. The camera does not lie. If something looks wrong in your performance, you can fix it, then practice some more and then tape it all again.

      Be sure to do the trick right through as if it was a show. You might notice that you say “uh” a lot because you are unsure about what you should say. This can be corrected by using the next key and scripting your show. Often we do not realize little things we do or say that do not add to the performance. Getting rid of these things will help you show get good – fast.

Key   The Quick Trick Script

      You will make your trick better much faster if you write a short script to go with it. When you memorize the script it will be just like being in a play or TV show. Magicians are actors and the script is very important to making what you say sound good. Simply, write 4 or 5 numbers on a sheet of paper. Then think about what the trick is about, and write a script in steps.

      For example: Zambini Shuffle Trick by Norm Barnhart

  1. Would you please take a card?
  2. Look at your card and memorize it.
  3. Please place it back in the pack
  4. I will now drop the cards into the bag and do the great Zambini shuffle, I learned this last summer on my trip to far away, exotic Iowa. [Shake the bag while jumping around in a crazy manner. Then stick your head into the bag and come back out with the card seen between your teeth.]
  5. My dentist loves this trick. [Hold up card and take a bow.]

      If you want to know the secret to this easy and cool card trick, I will explain it on the secret’s page. But for now, let’s see how a script helps.

      You have the five sentences you will say all written out so you can memorize them. Then as you go you may think of another joke to add, just write it on the card and you will be able to practice until you really have it down pat. If you do not memorize then you will be fishing for things to say during the show and that is embarrassing magic.

Key   Smile!

      You show will improve if you smile. A smile helps your audience to like you. If they like you they will like what you do. This makes it easier to make the magic happen.

      Your audience is there to have a good time, so just relax, smile and have some fun with your magic.

Key   Look Them in the Eyes

      Keep your focus on your audience, look into their eyes. Move your glance around the room. Do not just look at your hands the whole time, look around. This is a great way to draw people into what you are doing. They will feel involved and not ignored.

Key   Treat Your Volunteers with Respect

      A volunteer is a honored guest helping you with your show. If you treat that person like a star, the audience will like you and this will help your show be enjoyed more.

      Seven quick tips to making your magic show better with volunteers:

  1. Treat them like a guest.
  2. Say please and thank you to your guest.
  3. Give them clear directions on where to stand and how you’d like them to help.
  4. Give them lots of praise and tell them how good they are doing.
  5. When they go back to their seat – thank them and ask for a round of applause.
  6. Treat them with kindness and respect. Treat them the way you would like to be treated.
  7. Never make them feel like a fool.

Key   Have Good Sound and Light

      Work in the brightest area of the room. Do not have light behind you as it may give away how the trick is done and it makes it hard to see the trick.

      Be sure you can be heard. Speak loud and clear. Do not yell. If on stage, use a microphone.

Key   Practice you Cool Magic Tricks

      Practice makes better! No one can be perfect all the time, but you can get very good trough practice. Use the mirror and video. Also just take a deck of cards or coin with you and practice while on the bus or in the car (if someone else is driving).

      The more you practice the faster you will see your magic show get better. You have to want to be better and if you want to improve the biggest secret is practice.

      Now that you know ten ways to make your magic show better, go do it. You will be glad with the results. Your audience will be glad too.

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