As a magician you need to be able to do magic anytime. It doesn’t mean that you have to do magic whenever someone brings it up, but you should be able to do something. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about having an impromptu show that you’ve practiced as a show that you always have on you. I’m not writing about that today, but the ability to improvise magic.
You need to be able to look at a scenario and mentally go through your “toolbox” of sleight of hand, subtleties, or whatever and to make a trick happen. For example last night my family was at dinner with another family and they had a kid who wanted to see a magic trick. I’m a horrible human if I say no to a 7 year old kid. Now, this doesn’t mean I need to do a whole show, but a quick trick.
Looking around the dinner table there was standard stuff like cups, plates, silverware. What I ended up doing was improvise a little routine. I told the kid I was going to teach him how to do a trick and then I taught him how to stick a spoon on his nose. I then told him I was going to make mine disappear off my nose. I held a napkin in front of my face, wiggled my nose so the spoon fell off, and lowered the napkin to show it was gone. The kid of course saw what happened…but then he was blown away when his full glass of chocolate milk appeared in my napkin!
I’ve done the appearing cup in the napkin before, but needed a way to get the misdirection to steal it. The idea of dropping the spoon off my face was something that came to me in the moment and worked out great. It was a funny moment and everyone let their guard down, which allowed me to steal the cup.
Understanding magic and how it works allowed me to work out this routine at a glace of the table.