Weak spot Is Power – Ideas & Tips for Magicians

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A take a look at your private model as a performer, as outlined by your strengths, weak spot, and limitations. Magicians typically are typically all happy-go-lucky razzle-dazzle, however being your self means bringing each one of the best and worst of your self to the stage.

Strategies for additional watching and listening:

When you’d like to listen to my favorite musical artist, John Hartford I like to recommend beginning together with his album “Aereo-Plain.” https://www.youtube.com/playlist?checklist=PL2sh1eP4JA_O-HkoIOrRiiGJTzjPd4W-l

Alan Watts talking about Wu Wei, the precept of not forcing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzaUGhhnlQ8&t=635s

Jazz pianist Kenny Werner speaks about “Easy Mastery” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAZOamxuw5w

Episode Transcription

John Hartford was a banjo participant, and some of the well-known songwriters you’ve by no means heard of. Exterior of his devoted fanbase, of which I depend myself, he’s a one hit marvel, however what a success!

Regardless of breaking all the traditional guidelines of a pop music; lengthy, rambling, and notably missing any refrain, his tune made the profession of Glenn Campbell, and was quickly recorded by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Aretha Franklin, and Elvis Presley.

The music was “Light On My Thoughts” and its industrial success allowed John Hartford to spend the remainder of life doing no matter he darn properly happy. What happy him most was making music.

He’s identified for his attraction, humour, and quirkiness effortlessly flowing together with virtuosic talent on the banjo and fiddle. His model is immediately recognizable, which he explains with an commentary that’s as smart as it’s temporary;

Model is predicated on limitations.

These phrases have lengthy resonated with me, and helped me on the trail to search out my very own voice, and sing my very own music.

I’m Ryan Pilling and that is Principle & Ideas for Magicians.

On this episode I intention to placed on my finest efficiency by bringing my weak spot to the stage.


One of many best hits of Chinese language philosophy is the thought of yin and yang.

Symbolized with a circle divided in half to create two teardrops, one white, one black, wrapped round one another in excellent steadiness. It represents two kinds of vitality, darkness and light-weight, which exist in all issues. Notably, every half of the circle features a contrasting dot such that the darkness comprises a bit of sunshine, and the sunshine surrounds a seed of darkness.

It represents a method of describing the world with nuance. Nothing is absolute. Every thing has parts of each yin and yang.

The largest factor for me is knowing the connection between your private weak spot and strengths. Not solely you can’t have one with out the opposite, however that they’re two ends of the identical stick, or… ought to I say wand, probably the most magical of sticks.

I acquired began in magic, with severe dedication, once I was 13. It was my grade seven drama class the place I carried out my first magic trick for strangers, exterior my home. On this identical class I used to be launched to improvised theatre, which additionally turned a severe pursuit in my life.

For the subsequent decade I’d be finding out magic books whereas coaching and performing with an improv troupe on a weekly foundation. This blended cocktail has outlined my efficiency model. Two issues which, at face worth, don’t significantly go collectively.

Magic is all about element, eradicating flaws via repetition, perfection. You possibly can perceive how which may conflict with the wild and loopy vitality of constructing all of it up as you go alongside.

The yin of magic, with the yang of improv. The steadiness of those two energies has influenced the model of my performances greater than anything.

In magic we’re taught to follow, follow, and follow some extra to take away all uncertainty. The best way to believe on stage, the books inform us, is to repeat abilities till each element turns into unconscious actions.

In improv we’re taught to enter the stage empty of thought, with no pre-conceived concepts. Confidence comes from turning into snug having nothing deliberate.

Preparedness, so it seems, is a energy in magic, and a weak spot in improv.

And but, the other can also be true.

Being a completely ready magician could result in delivering robotic performances, whereas trying to improvise with out coaching and sharpened instincts could be a prepare wreck.

In me the 2 are one.

My best energy as a performer; a willingness to take dangers on stage with out concern, can also be my best weak spot as a magician.

Ah sure, darkness and light-weight, in all issues there are.


One significantly unhealthy sample of thought is evaluating your self to others.

I want I might do the unfold cross in addition to Charlie Frye! I want I had palms of metal like Curtis Kam! I want I might inform tales in addition to Eugene Burger!

We finest see energy in others, and weak spot in ourselves. Their strengths are amplified, whereas our personal weaknesses loom largest in our minds. It’s a lethal one-two punch of unfavorable pondering.

I discover it useful to contemplate a type of Newtonian regulation of philosophy. For each energy there may be an equal and reverse weak spot.

Maybe you may acknowledge one in all these stereotypical examples:

A card magician who’s a sleight of hand skilled, however struggles be entertaining.

A comedy magician who has good jokes, with dangerous magic. (or vice versa)

Or how about any individual who has new, authentic concepts, however their act lacks polish. (umm, howdy!)

These usually are not unbiased execs and cons. The weak spot is a direct results of the energy. Two ends of the identical stick.

The secret’s to see your weak spot not as one thing needing to be mounted, or averted, however because the inevitable consequence of your energy.

My act lacks polish as a result of I’m making an attempt new concepts. If I needed a sophisticated act, I’d must ignore new inspirations.

I usually give myself a tough time for not having the ability to full duties on a schedule. Nonetheless, a lot of my best accomplishments have been created in a burst of creativity whereas I used to be supposed to be doing one thing else. My non-linear pondering is each darkness and light-weight.

I can battle it, beat myself down, attempt to cover my weak spot, or I can lean into it, and present up with my complete self, as I’m, each yin and yang.

So as to be at my finest, I have to settle for myself at my worst.


The best reward you would give a magician is that their efficiency appears easy.

We all know how a lot effort really goes into making magic, however it’s our final aim to make it invisible. To cover the tactic and spotlight the impact. The second the viewers senses a battle, equivalent to a hand which will get hung up in a pocket, the magic spell could also be damaged.

In John Fisher’s e-book on Cardini, he quotes the long-time British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan on how he discerned the highest stage performers;

I started to kind an rising admiration for many who can do very troublesome advanced issues with easy precision and charm, with none overt expression of vitality. Who, with out striving, might deliver off a miraculous achievement which was hard-edged, excellent, lucid. So I started to marvel what all these performers I actually liked had in widespread, and what they’d in widespread was the power to challenge their character with out pressure, with full lucidity, with out sweating, with out fervour, with out evangelistic zeal, and I started to search for this not solely in actors, however in all types of human behaviour from dialog to ice skating.

Whereas John Fisher was making this level with reference to Cardini, different examples of miraculous achievements with out pressure come to thoughts for me; Rene Levand, Dani DaOrtiz, and, whereas there could also be significantly extra sweat and fervour, David Williamson continues to be effortlessly entertaining.

Returning to the world of Taoist philosophy, what he speaks of is called wu wei. It’s a method of being, which interprets to “with out pressure.” As Alan Watts places it, it’s “the artwork of crusing, reasonably than rowing.” It’s going with the stream, man.

To look easy there should be an absence of effort. But, once I take to the stage I really feel a compulsion to attempt to amplify my strengths, and attempt to diminish my weaknesses. I really feel the strain in my physique as I’m making an attempt to stroll naturally with out spilling the hidden glass of water. I really feel the shortness of breath as I attempt to converse loud sufficient for everybody to listen to.

I’m desperate to please, and I actually, actually hope you want this routine I’ve been engaged on, and I would like this to be an ideal present as a result of it’s on video, and I need to impress my magician pals.

I’m making an attempt to do my finest efficiency, and but my finest efficiency will come once I cease making an attempt.


This isn’t an invite to be lazy and hope issues will work themselves out. The artwork of doing nothing is, in reality, a lifelong pursuit.

Jazz pianist Kenny Werner, a professor of easy mastery, calls on his college students to “Research with full devotion, carry out with full detachment.”

After I was in Toastmasters I must create and current a brand new speech each couple weeks. The handbook teaches you to put in writing your speech, rehearse it, time your self, edit, and follow over a number of days so you may current with polished confidence. Whereas it really works for some, possibly even most individuals, this whole course of falls into my weak spot class. I had to determine a brand new technique.

Slightly than engaged on a ready speech, I labored on myself. I turned the one who is ready to current this speak effortlessly. I researched to achieve an understanding of the subject, soaked my thoughts in it, then picked out what I felt was most necessary, and the way it linked to my private expertise. I used to be in a position to stand-up and converse off-the-cuff and from the guts, and wrap it up earlier than the pink mild got here on.

As a magician I intention to do the identical factor. To be an individual who can naturally stand earlier than an viewers and produce them alongside on an entertaining journey. Not due to my preparation, however due to my presence. Whereas I believe deeply about what I want to say, I don’t carry out from a written script. I usually deliver rough-draft routines in entrance of audiences to see the way it goes. My course of aligns with my very own strengths. I select materials to go well with my improvisational model. I’ve put in a few years of coaching and follow to have the ability to do it the way in which I do.

On the identical time weak spot determines which roads I journey, or which I keep away from. I can’t pull off some nice methods that are too meticulous to outlive my chaos. I could need to emulate the success of others, like Tommy Marvel, nevertheless it drives me straight into the thorny brambles of my limitations. Slightly, I take the trail of least resistance, the trail requiring the least effort.

My route is probably going not fitted to you. Maybe your individual path to easy motion begins with a memorized script, which then frees your thoughts to be within the second. There isn’t a proper method, or unsuitable method. All of us journey our personal method.

There are numerous roads to the identical vacation spot.

The journey is lengthy. It requires many, many performances to discover and be taught our personal limitations. Every time you make some progress. As you go you’ll shed the bags which weighs you down. You’ll lose the concern of being seen. You’ll step out from behind your props and turn out to be the magic your self.

You’ll rework from the magician you suppose you need to be, to revealing the magician you really are.

Will probably be troublesome, after which, out of the blue, it is going to be easy.


Thanks for listening to Principle and Ideas for Magicians.

The model by which this podcast is offered could be very a lot the product of my very own limitations. Most magic podcasts are lengthy conversations and interviews with well-known magicians, however I’m shy, so I’d reasonably not have to ask company. Plus, I choose to skip the small speak and get straight to the purpose. The best path for me resulted in creating one thing somewhat totally different.

Creating a brand new episode is much from easy. Maybe I’m making an attempt too exhausting. Maybe sometime I’ll discover a pure stream. Nonetheless, I hope all of it seems like easy crusing in your aspect of the speaker.

Talking of easy, it’s very straightforward to subscribe to my weekly publication. You simply have to be your self, and a brand new e-mail from me arrives each Tuesday. Join at www. MagicTipsAndTricks.com. Some weeks are extra ideas, some weeks are extra methods, nevertheless it all balances out ultimately that can assist you develop as a magician, little by little.

That is the way in which.

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