So I have a few thoughts. I was reading the introduction to Juan Tamariz’s Mnemonica and the author mentioned something that I think every magician feels deep down in their hearts. He said that Juan made him feel like a layman. People often ask me before/during/after a performance if when I watch the stuff on TV do I go “WOW” or “How did he do that?”
Most of the times I answer “no” because I am quite well versed in sleight of hand and even though I might not know how to do the moves, I know what moves are being done. Rarely do I exclaim out loud (maybe sometimes even a bit too loud) surprise because I have been fooled. And I guess it’s true – deep down I want to feel like that when I watch an illusion or a close up effect. Deep down we long to all feel like laymen. However sometimes, when I see an effect I do not know what was potting, I get a bit jealous because I wish I could do that. I’m sad to say Greg but that attitude will not aid in your success. You see magic that you don’t have a clue on the sleights used – embrace the layman and freak out and enjoy it. It doesn’t happen often.
Another thought: You have to perform in the trenches. I went to Vida E Cafe today to get some coffee (I work right up the road from one) and I performed some magic for the barristers and they were completely flawed. It’s true: performing in your bedroom, family and friends is one thing, however performing for stranger is the only way you as a magician will be able to better your skills. It’s not easy but it can be done and one must strive to always perform for strangers on a daily basis. You go to the shops – pull a coin out of the cashier’s ear, do a bill switch, make your credit card disappear and reappear. Those small effects leave huge marks on laymen and gives you the confidence you need.
Go out there and perform and embrace those feelings of being a layman when you come across a gem of magic.