Friday, July 28, 2006

Fool me once...

We all heard it before, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

Too many times as I've watched magicians, it seems that the object of the magician has been to "fool" the audience. From the saying above, it's safe to say that nobody likes to be fooled. What we like is to be entertained, to be amazed, even puzzled--but not fooled. It really doesn't matter if you are performing for one friend or for an audience of many, it's the wonder of magic that makes your effect--well, magical.

Notice that I said your effect, not your trick. I hate (strongly dislike) the word trick as it applies to magic. Even as a "gospel illusionist," many of my fellow colleagues refer to their effects as mere tricks. Maybe it's to keep others from thinking that we have some mystic powers or believing that the magic is real. The "magic" is entertaining. It's fun. That's all. It isn't demonic. It isn't forbidden. It's fun. And, if done well, it's effective.

When I was growing up, we listened to music. Today's kids, watch music. They get virtually all of their information through visual input. Internet, video games, DVD's, movies, streaming video links, music videos, you name it. They are the toughest audiences for a magician because they see everything. A magician has to get into their heads to make an effect seem magical. You can't do that with a mere trick. It takes work, much more than the physical manipulation. It takes some understanding of the human mind and study of how people react to given stimuli. "Magic" gets their attention. And it follows a pattern of logic that if you perform your magic well, you are a credible source of information. It may be flawed logic, but it's how people think. If you're lousy at your craft, why would people believe what you say about anything else? How many athletes, actors or celebrities spout their views on politics or the environment effectively because of their fame in an unrelated field? Corporate/tradeshow magicians understand that if they are going to be succussful at getting the corporate message across, they have to be great at the magic part. Why in the world would a gospelmagician feel any different? Our message is far more important that a company slogan.

When the magic is done well, the Message is more than life changing--it's Life, eternal life. When it's done poorly, we're saying, "Here's Jesus. Take Him or leave Him. It doesn't really matter to me."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

After reading this I did a search for "magic" on youtube. There is some cool stuff on there. (for your next trick, you can learn to make and post video clips on blogspot).

For me, it is the magic or illusion part that is the more attractive part of the blog--the thing that I'm more interested in and will keep me coming back.

So, it will be interesting to see how your blog evolves. Obviously, discussions on magic are secondary on this blog. But, even where magic or illusion is involved, how do you make it appealing while writing about it. It isn't as though we can be as easily mesmerized by reading about an illusion as we can be by watching it.

Good luck.