Man, I'm on a roll with these.
Just to make these a little easier to find, I'm going to start putting an index at the bottom of them. That way the people that want to find them don't have to bother with the search, which I know is a big deal to the people that need them the most.
Using Misdirection to your advantage. Misdirection is easily the top tool in the arsenal of any working pro. Tommy Wonder, Dai Vernon, Kenton Knepper, and many others have put out work on Misdirection. Misdirection is not just a “big movement over here covering a small movement over there.” It’s actually a lot more if you learn to control it. It’s a great tool for covering any weak point in an effect. It can also be a great way to diffuse any of the heat on an item.
People have the misconception that Misdirection is a way to cover a secret move and nothing more. Misdirection and Indirection, as Kenton Knepper calls it, is a great way of diffusing the heat on your props. Why show a cup empty, when you can just hold it mouth down for a split second before setting it down? Why would you need to say something like “Look, my hands are empty,” when you can just imply that they’re empty with a gesture. Instead of telling people what has happened, just let them see it. My favorite example would be in a Bertram/Marlo Spider Vanish. This vanish of a coin or other small object mimics the French Drop, but let’s you show your other hand empty. I’ve seen some of the top coin magicians in the world do the move, then show their hand empty with a flare and even call attention to the fact that the coin isn’t there. Of course not, you took it with the other hand and vanished it. Geoff Latta is one of the few guys that I’ve seen that doesn’t call attention to the other hand. He just opens it up as he reaches for something else. It’s beautiful and there’s a reason he’s a legend.
As for using Misdirection to cover a move, it’s almost necessary. I spoke with a guy here in town about 9 months ago about the Classic Pass. I mentioned that no Shift is invisible, but no one ever sees mine because I make them look up. My work on the Top Change is exactly the same. They look up, I do the move, they don’t realize anything happened. That’s magical. His argument was that he wanted people to be able to burn his hands at all times. That’s a horrible argument. My theory is that the technique should be good enough to be burned to some degree, but never seen because it’s always covered. Misdirection is a valuable tool that a lot of young performers are ignoring. The Classic Pass isn’t supposed to be burnable. It was developed at the card table to nullify the cut. In that situation, it had to be invisible. Once the cheat got the move down, he took everyone’s eyes off it and used a larger movement to cover the Shift. That still holds true today.
Misdirection, in it’s many forms, is more valuable than any Shift or Switch. Magic doesn’t happen in the movements of your hands. It happens in the minds of your spectators. This new desire to let everyone stare at your hands is stupid. It’s asinine. It’s also bad for business. If they’re watching your hands, which are usually at stomach and waist height, they’re not look at your face. If you’re marketing yourself out, you need them to remember your face and your name. Specs staring at your crotch is only good in other professions, not magic. Give them a moment to relax, look into your eyes, and connect with you. Connect is the key word. No connection, no work.
#6 Improvement/Making it your own
#5 DVDs vs Books
#1 Tricks vs Effects