One of the biggest challenges for a magician is being relatable to the audience. One of the ways to help the audience get to know you is not only by letting them see your act, but more importantly to let them know who you are, where you’re from etc. This gives the audience an inside look into you as a real person. Penn & Teller do a great job with this. They always do a nice “package” as they call it in the TV biz, for each act that’s on the show. So when you step on stage, the viewers at home and in the studio audience know you a little better and are more interested in seeing what you will perform.
Unfortunately some of the other Magic TV shows just show act after act after act. The performers barely have enough time to say something. Most of the time they say nothing at all. I believe the show could be much better and memorable if they took some time to allow the performers to show a little of “themselves” before they perform their acts.
Proper editing is also vital in a TV magic show. Penn & Teller take the time to make sure the acts look the best they can be. They are very aware of not cutting at the wrong time or shooting at the incorrect angles. They give each act some nice positive feedback. This is a wonderful credibility builder for not only the performer but magic as an art as well.
This is a good lesson for all performers. Remember each of us are unique. No two people or magicians are alike. Even though some magicians do some of the same magic effects or illusions as others, their unique personality and style should be noticed. This is key to standing out and being memorable to your audience. This is why Penn & Teller Fool US does so well in the ratings and why I have many lay people mention the show to me.
How can you apply this to your act? Well the first thing is to but the work in to make each trick, effect or illusion your own by adding in your personal point of view and twists. The magic must be done well first of all and then make sure the audience likes you. Sounds easy but you have to make a conscious effort to make sure your patter is not offensive or off color. And it must be appropriate for the audience in front of you. In my book Insider Secrets I devote a whole chapter to this topic.
So go out have fun and be memorable.
Remember, those who don’t believe in magic, will never find it.