The Ten Commandments of Magic

  1. A magician never reveals the secret. Take the pledge before proceeding.

  2. Decide on a magical persona. It's best if you draw upon your own personal experience...less to memorize.

  3. Limit your ten tricks that work with your character and give you options to exploit your personal past experiences, stories and settings. Why only ten tricks? With patter from your personal past and experiences, you'll easily make a 20 minute show with ten tricks, two minutes each. Some will actually be longer and some just momentary throwaways, but ten tricks should work out to about 20 minutes of showtime.

    Are there exceptions? You bet there are. Sometimes a single trick can run the whole show, but that's your decision to make after you've learned the basics.

  4. Select tricks at your present level of skills. Improve your skills before presenting a new trick. You are pledged to never reveal the secret of a trick, even through inattention or ineptitude. Make sure you can do the trick right every single time before showing it in public.

  5. Don't assume tricks will work or that everything will go smoothly.

    You must practice diligently to make certain that they do work every time and that everything does, indeed, go smoothly. You will need to learn a few "saves" and backup plans need to be in place if you perform on a regular basis. Sometimes a trick breaks, or is lost in the belly of the bus, or it just plain won't function. You need a few backup plans for those contingencies.

  6. KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. That's the foundation of every good act. Simplicity. Have a storyline, a backstory, character and plot with beginning, middle and end. Include a flashy finish that leaves 'em laughing.

  7. Keep Moving. Don't stand still for an instant. That doesn't mean to jump-wire pauses or skip timing issues. It means keep moving toward the denoument, keep the plot moving all the time. Don't let your audience get lost even for a second.

  8. Be ready for hecklers. Have a few lines prepared, because even the very best performers get hecklers. There are a lot of them out there, and they relish destruction of anything creative. Their whole interest is in spoiling everyone else's fun. You need to be armed with a few verbal missiles when it happens, and it will.

  9. Have a totally great finish. Music is good if you can cue it up to kick in at the close.

  10. Once you figure out who you are, magically speaking, write out a little backstory on your character and tell us something about your act -- what is it all about? what does it demonstrate, or show, or illustrate, or lead to? In short, why should we want to watch your act? What's so special about it?

-- gorby