Las Vegas, Nevada
Email Luke Luke Dancy is a professional magician, creator and consultant on the hit television series "Criss Angel: MINDREAK." Check out any of seasons 4, 5, or 6 to see his creations in action. He is the creator of some of the most visual and eye-popping effects you have ever seen.
One of the biggest problems when learning magic is finding out who you are as a performer. The one thing that magic DVDs are guilty of the most is having new magicians copy the magicians they are learning from. What we end up seeing are a bunch of magicians using the exact same words and doing the trick the exact same way!
The real secret to being a magician isn't just about the tricks that you do though, it's about standing out from everyone else! There's a reason why someone like Criss Angel is known by people all over the world, there's nobody else like him! I'm not saying that it's all about being different though so don't get me wrong. You definitely need to have a good understanding of the tricks you do and you should practice them until you have them down as perfect as possible.
The biggest thing with being a magician is that the people that watch you and come back to see you again are there because of YOU not the tricks you do. There are magicians all over the world that can do the same things you can do but it's all about how you present yourself and interact with the audience. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if people like you first they are going to love your magic!
A Few Tips
-Grab a notebook and write down some of the unique qualities you might have.
-Find new and interesting ways to present your magic.
-Use things from your life in your magic. Tell interesting stories or find tricks that show what you are talking about in a magical way.
-Don't try to be someone that you're not. People can tell when you are being genuine.
-The most important thing to remember is that this should be a fun process so enjoy it and have a good time!
Knowing a lot of tricks is one thing but being great at just a couple is what it's really all about. We'll break down some of the ways I've found work best for practicing the tricks that you do. Even if you just pick out one of two things below you should start seeing some improvement in your magic in no time.
Magicians have been using mirrors for years to help with their practicing. The one thing to keep in mind is that when you are looking in a mirror you are only seeing one angle so don't let that fool you.
-A video camera
A lot of magicians have traded their trusty mirror for a video camera. This tends to work well for a lot of people because they can playback and watch closely to see exactly where they are making their mistakes. If you don't have the budget for a video camera you can pick up a cheap web cam and use that instead.
-Listen to some music
There are some people that get in a rhythm when they're listening to music. It's this 'zone' that has helped me numerous times. Pick the right kind of music that inspires you and have fun.
Things To Watch Out For
One of the biggest things to look out for when practicing are distractions. So many people will practice one trick and then jump to another and another. Keep the focus on one thing at a time so it can get the attention it deserves. If you're going to work on a card trick put the coins, rabbits or whatever else away and get back to them later.
Try not to get hooked into fooling yourself. Just because things look good in your room doesn't mean that they're going to look that good to actual people. The worst thing you can do is to practice something once and think you've got it. Once again the angles in a mirror may look great to you or a move might look invisible but watch yourself in action and see how it really looks.
Things You Need
- A Notebook
Grab yourself a notebook and keep notes on your sessions. Maybe you've stumbled on a new move or something you're doing might not be going right. Jot down these things so you don't forget them and so you can get the help you need later.
Plan when you're going to practice and for how long make it a point to follow through. It's been proven that it's better to practice daily for 30 minutes than 1 time a week for a couple of hours straight.
-Meet Up With Friends
From time to time meet up it's good to meet up with other magicians and practice with them. There really is no substitute for getting hands on help from someone else. Bring your notebook with your questions and you can make the most of this time.
These are just a few ways to help make your tricks better. Everyone has their own methods but the most important thing is finding what does work for you and sticking to it. The biggest thing of all though, have fun!
A lot of people just starting out in magic seem to get the wrong idea. The belief is that everything you need to know is out on DVD so why bother with books. The biggest excuse I hear is that it's easier to learn from DVDs than it is from books.
Here's the beef with that. Before the DVDs & VHS tapes came along there were only books available for people to learn from. It seemed to work then so there's no reason why it can't work now. The really funny thing is that you can buy a book with 50 or so tricks for the same price that you pay for a DVD that only has 7 or 8 effects. Sometimes you only get 1 trick with a DVD!
I'm not saying you should give up on buying DVDs all together, that's just silly! What I'm trying to get across is that DVDs are not a substitute for reading books. There are so many hidden things in books that never make it to DVD. There's nothing like reading a good trick from a classic book, showing up at a magic convention and fooling other magicians with this hidden gem.
Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind along the way:
-The masters of the past did not have their work on DVD. To pass up on learning from Dai Vernon, Ed Marlo or Larry Jennings would be a huge mistake!
-If you are going to buy DVDs, and you have every right, do yourself a favor and learn from the person on them but don't become that person.
-If you want to learn things that not everyone else is doing, then crack open a good book and learn the real secrets of magic.
-Here's one last thing to remember, everything old is new again. Most of the new stuff you see coming out is 'old' material from books being re-done and is suddenly new.