STRUCTURING A MAGIC SHOW
Magic is more than a trick. Once a magician masters the actual trick, he must fine tune the routine and performance so that it is entertaining. A magician may add humor, an emotion-tugging storyline, and originality to make his effect fun to watch. Anyone can perform a magic trick, but only a true magician can make it entertaining.
Structuring a series of these routines into an entertaining show is an art in itself; one that many novice magicians fail to master. A magic show is first and foremost a theatrical production. Most theatrical productions consist of three acts: Setup, Confrontation, and Resolution. Magic shows follow a similar structure with:
Magic has ten main performance styles. These styles tend to coincide with their intended venue, audience type, and audience size. Style categories include:
CATEGORIES OF MAGIC
According to Author Dariel Fitzkee, The Trick Brain, 1944
In his groundbreaking book, The Trick Brain, Fitzkee created a tool that has helped magicians create mind warping effects for decades. He taught us that the "How" of an effect is not as important as its presentation. The Trick Brain incorporates a series of insightful mental exercises that have helped magicians create mind warping effects for decades.
To accomplish this, Fitzkee reduced all magic tricks to nineteen specific categories. His book then examines many possible ways of combining these effects. The Trick Brain system goes on to define what we need to develop, defines the tools we can use, and how to expand an effect using alternate method effects. This book inspires us to reclaim magic props we no longer use.
The Trick Brain was definitely ahead of its time. It lets us appreciate the way magic is created and definitely starts us thinking in new ways. This book should be on every serious magician's shelf.
We list Dariel Fitzkee's magic categories here. There are others that are more condensed, but we feel that Fitzkee's is the most diverse and accurate. For a detailed breakdown and explanation of the categories, read the book!
Production (appearance, creation, multiplication)
Vanish (disappearance, obliteration)
Transposition (change in location)
Transformation (change in appearance, character or identity)
Penetration (one solid through another)
Restoration (making the destroyed whole)
Animation (movement imparted to the inanimate)
Anti-gravity (levitation and change in weight)
Attraction (mysterious adhesion)
Sympathetic Reaction (sympathetic response)
Physical Anomaly (contradictions, abnormalities, freaks)
Spectator Failure (magician's challenge)
Control (mind over the inanimate)
Identification (specific discovery)
Thought Reading (mental perception, mind reading)
Thought Transmission (thought projection and transference)
Prediction (foretelling the future)
Extrasensory Perception (unusual perception, other than mind)
SLEIGHT OF HAND TECHNIQUES
According to the magical team of Penn & Teller, Sleight of Hand employs seven basic techniques to accomplish the magic.