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Orchestrating Focus is Critical in a Magician's Set

Aug 3, 2008
Below are nine principles regarding the audience's visual experience of a performance of magic. Magicians that understand these principles will know how to work their routine in harmony with these principles, ultimately creating a more successful production.

1- During the performance of an effect the audience is always looking somewhere.

2- Each spectator sees/gathers a series of images during the effect.

3- Spectators often gather slightly or even starkly different images depending on a wide range of variables including seating position, mental concentration, emotional involvement, etc.

4 - Each spectator's collection of highly subjective images make-up the raw visual ingredients of their ultimately unique experience of the effect.

5- There are six primary areas of audience focus: the performer's face, his right hand, his left hand, the props, the face(s) of any participants and hands of the participants. When the magician is holding a prop (rather than placing it on the table) or when both of his hands are within a few inches of each other, the separateness of the spheres vanishes and a single sphere of focus is shared.

6- The performer's focus, though not absolutely controlling the audience's focus, powerfully guides it.

7- To aid in this guiding, the experienced performer will employ his eyes, the direction and angle of his head, his hands, words, and props.

8- The odds of the audience's focus shifting from a sphere of attention are in direct proportion to the length of time nothing of interest has happened in that area. With this sphere of attention a moment before you desire them to not be looking there. Just prior to executing a Classic Pass, I use my eyes, the angle of my head and the position of my hands to draw the audience's attention to the deck, usually as I am the audience looking up into my face when, a moment later, I lower my hands, straighten my shoulders and look the spectators in the eyes.

9- It is far more effective to guide the audience's focus towards something rather than away from something.

Working your routine around these principles collectively will feel like an unachievable task. Don't try to bite more than you can chew! Master each principle one-at-a-time before moving onto the next. You will n ultimately create extraordinary experience for each audience member, resulting in a magnificent performance for you. Remember, you are not just a magician, but a performer too.
About the Author
Jay Sankey is a true magician's magician and is widely considered to be one of the most original thinkers and finest magic teachers alive today. He is also one of the most prolific magic creators on the planet. Visit www.sankeymagic.comfor more information about Sankey Magic. Receive a free trick every month
via email. Click here to sign up for a free magic trick monthly.
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