I recently shot a street magic style video in NYC. I had an absolutely great time walking around the city and performing for complete strangers. I did my corporate walk-around material for about 5 hours. Click here to watch.
When I do a corporate event, all of the guests know that I’m going to be there. So when I walk up to a group of people, they’re already excited to see a few card tricks. While on the streets of NYC, I was a complete stranger to these people. All I did was approach people and ask if they’d like to see a card trick. Nearly everyone said yes. If you’re just starting out and you’re afraid to approach people you’ll never get anywhere. Just ask. What’s the worst that can happen? If someone said no while I was filming, I knew that I still had 8.5 million more people to ask.
Pro-tip: Street magic can and will work while wearing a tailored suit. It actually makes it easier to approach strangers. Without saying a word people can sense I’m a professional. They’re excited to see whatever it is I’m about to do.
Each time I started to perform, it may have been only 2-3 people watching but it only took a few minutes for several more people to gather around. That’s why I love magic. So many people love it and are mystified by it. It’s an easy sell. The film crew and I ended up in several situations where we had 20 people surrounding us within one effect.
Most of the material I did was from my first and second book: all card tricks, all practical and strong magic that can be done with regular cards. Once the set has started and I have a large group of people around me, I have to continue performing effect to effect without pausing in between. I don’t have time to stop and set up cards or turn away from the audience to introduce something new. For each group, I used one deck and I performed 3 or 4 effects, each more impressive than the last and got great reactions. In the entire 5-hour shoot, I went through about 15 decks of cards total.
Here are a few of the effects I did: Card to Wallet, Ladanye’s Ambitious Card, Forging Ahead (signature transfer), The Gathering (a version of the Collectors plot), Nick of Time (multiple selection and transposition), Carlyle’s Homing Card, The Set-Up (a red and black separation), Standing Out (a version of the Cardician Makes Good plot). All of these effects are done by using sleight of hand. All of these effects are ready to perform at any time. All of these effects can be done standing and surrounded. All of these effects stunned the spectators and got amazing reactions. (See my blog about opening effects. All of the material I did in NYC was designed to keep a crowd once I get started.)
I’ve noticed a lot lately there’s been more and more artists that release these types of videos where they’re coaching the spectators to act a certain way. This won’t help you in any way. The effect you’re doing can’t be that good if you need to tell people how to react. (Or the effect is bogus and can’t be done in real life.) This means that the performer is incapable of getting those reactions in an organic way.
Let’s say you post a video with amazing over the top reactions that aren’t real. Let’s say you land the corporate gig based on those reactions. What are you going to do at the show? You may get the gig once, but you certainly won’t get hired back if your magic is substandard. (This is like someone using my face for their Tinder account. What are they going to say when they show up for that first date?)
I made this video to show the quality of my magic and to show the walk-around effects in action. Any corporate client will instantly see that they’re hiring a professional and that I’m worth the cost. The high production value must match the quality of the work. Show me a low-budget Ferrari commercial. You don’t need to have a camera crew with you to go out and share your magic. Go out and perform for fun. Practice. Learn. See what plays and what doesn’t. Learn which effects get the best reactions. Learn to perform in the REAL world. See if you can deliver when the crowd triples in size and you’re surrounded. That’ll be just what it feels like when you start landing gigs, and you’ll be prepared to handle it.