Audience-centric Magic

Hey there. I hope everyone is enjoying their Saturday at FISM. It sounds like a real five-star flop of an event. Don't worry. I'm putting on the Jerx International Society of Magic event later this year. It's going to be nothing but the best of the best. It will have you breathlessly saying, "I love JISM!" It will be loads of fun. Loads. Do you see what I did there, guys? Do you see? Do you get it? Guys, do you see?

I wanted to briefly mention a concept that this site will be looking at from time to time going forward. 

Regular readers of this site know I only have one goal behind writing it: to reintroduce the use of woofle dust into the performances of magicians. That's all that matters.

But a sub-goal of mine is to put an emphasis on something that has had the biggest effect on my style of magic and my performances for other people, and that is recognizing the difference between an audience-centric approach to studying and performing magic, and a magician-centric approach to studying and performing magic.

Let's be honest, the practice of magic -- and certainly the discussion of magic on the internet -- is generally not about entertaining an audience or giving them a positive experience. I can prove this very easily. How many methods for Ace Assemblies are there in magic? 100s? 1000s? Okay, now how many presentations for Ace Assemblies are there? Two? Two and a half? There's the one where you just do it and the one where you pretend it's some sort of gambling demonstration. So what is the main priority of magicians? It certainly doesn't seem to be looking at things from the audience's perspective. Or, to put it another way, if filmmaking websites and books and message boards were all dedicated to recreating pre-existing films, just with different techniques behind the scenes, you would not think those were audience-centric filmmakers. You would think they were people who liked dicking around with cameras and special effects and editing software. 

And don't get me wrong, I love the dicking around aspect of magic. I'm as big a fan of the sleights and techniques and deceptions that magic is built on as anyone is. But the biggest boon to my magic was when I realized that those things are a separate hobby from performing for people. They are as much different hobbies as building guitars is a different hobby from playing the guitar. If your goal is to engage people with magic, then you have to separate these things in your mind because otherwise you will spend all your time working on sleights and technique when really those things only lead to tiny advancements in entertaining an audience.

I'm mentioning this now because it's going to inform some of the things I want to write about in the future. Specifically in regards to the subjects of exposure, practice, and scripting. So this post is just a seed I wanted to plant now that we will explore later. Until that time I hope you at least enjoyed the clever and hilarious JISM joke. Get it? Did you guys get it? Before, in that first paragraph? I hope you got it. If you didn't get it, then for your sake I hope you don't get it in the future. Like when you're driving or something. And you'll just be laughing and laughing and drive into a tree because you're busting up so bad. Do I need to put a disclaimer on my site that I'm not responsible for that sort of thing?