What’s Wrong With That Act…

Recently I saw an act that is everything I dislike about how people perform magic. They lacked technical skill, knowledge of the trick and presentation. For me it was a trifecta of what I don’t like. This act did the “Sands of the Desert” trick. This is a trick where you have a bowl of … Continue reading “What’s Wrong With That Act…”

Recently I saw an act that is everything I dislike about how people perform magic. They lacked technical skill, knowledge of the trick and presentation. For me it was a trifecta of what I don’t like.


This act did the “Sands of the Desert” trick. This is a trick where you have a bowl of water and you swirl your hand in it and the water turns black. then you dump different colored sand into the bowl and swirl it up. Then you reach into the bowl and pull out handfuls of dried sand that’s all the same color. For the finale the water in the bowl turns clear.


First of all, the performer couldn’t do the trick. It’s not a hard trick to do, and they lacked the technical skill to do it. It was pretty crazy to watch. You really should practice it before you do it in a show. You not only need to know the “sleight of hand” but how and why the props work like they do. That’s super important, knowing why something is shaped the way it is, or how to hold it.


As far as their presentation goes, it felt like they were trying way to hard to put meaning to something. They tried to use the trick as an analogy for the universe. That’s fine, but it lacked conviction and authenticity. It felt like they asked someone to write a script and they read the script. If you watch Jeff McBride do his stuff, you feel that he believes it and he’s trying to open your eyes to something, not just saying big words. He puts his heart into it, but that’s also Jeff, and a piece of who he is.


Put yourself into your tricks, put your heart into it and put your time into it. Dive into the props, the sleights, learn the history of the trick, learn as much as you can about and the story you’re telling. That will come through in your show.

Be a Student…

When I was a teenager right around Thanksgiving the annual TV show The World’s Greatest Magic would be on. This would be my chance to see acts I’d only ever read about in magic magazines. It was a chance to see how great (or not) things actually were. Back then I’d record on VHS these … Continue reading “Be a Student…”

When I was a teenager right around Thanksgiving the annual TV show The World’s Greatest Magic would be on. This would be my chance to see acts I’d only ever read about in magic magazines. It was a chance to see how great (or not) things actually were.


Back then I’d record on VHS these magic shows and you’d really study the acts. Not to sound like an old man, but kid’s nowadays don’t study acts on video. I knew every move of Jeff McBride’s card act and could do it. This gets you inside the performer’s head, and you start to understand their choices.


With all of the acts you can watch on YouTube, it’s hard to pick a few acts to study. The amount of content is overwhelming. I think kids now should pick a performer or two and really study their work. Not copy it, but study it, try to figure out why they do what they do.

Using Magic For Good…

One of the cool things about being a magician, is you frequently have the ability to change someone’s day.  What I mean by that is showing someone a little card trick can change their mood.  Here’s an example, I was stuck in line that wasn’t moving.  Someone recognized me a the magician from the show … Continue reading “Using Magic For Good…”

One of the cool things about being a magician, is you frequently have the ability to change someone’s day.  What I mean by that is showing someone a little card trick can change their mood.  Here’s an example, I was stuck in line that wasn’t moving.  Someone recognized me a the magician from the show and we chatted for a minute.  Then I offered to do a card trick.  Everyone in the line went from being annoyed at a non moving line, to laughing and having a good time. One little card trick changed the mood and experience of 30 people. 


Sometimes I wonder why so many magicians say they never do a trick for people outside of being paid.  Personally I thinks it’s a very self centered approach.  Being willing to do a little magic trick, if very different than feeling like you have to do a magic trick.  You can say no, and sometimes you’re asked to show a trick and it’s just night a right situation and in the end no one will really gain any real joy from it.  But when you know it’ll improve someone’s day, you should do it!


This is part of leaving your mark on the world.  Jeff McBride is really into this type of “giving” with magic.  It doesn’t mean doing a show, just a quick thing to make someone’s day a bit more fun!  That’s why in my wallet I always have a trick that I can do, that’s a good trick, with a direct plot, but also quick.  It’s not a long routine, it’s a quick trick. I actually have a 15 min show in my wallet, but usually don’t do the full thing.