It’s certainly no surprise that Jim Coles at the Unexpected Wonders blog has written another insightful and intelligent post called Avoiding Confusion. Jim has hit on one of my favorite themes and one so frequently overlooked by magicians. You know the tricks I’m talking about – your card is the Jack of clubs – which now has a blue back AND now I’m wearing no pants! Huh?!?!
Think of the magicians that made it – especially among layman. Those that became popular because of their magic, generally did so because they practiced effect clarity. Never a doubt about what they did. As an example, take Michael Ammar. He made his reputation on the floating dollar bill, coins through silk, card on ceiling etc. Every effect easily described in a brief sentence or two.
Mike Skinner – what did you always hear about him? Every effect was clear and precise.
Go back to the Stars Of Magic and count the multiple ending effects – it won’t take long. Jim does a good job covering logic and how it can make a multi-climax effect work, but you must think and study.
Look at most of the Vernon effects. You can, again, describe them succinctly in a very few words. Of course, executing them like he did can’t hurt.
To me, this is why we’ve never seen a real improvement on Al Schneider’s wonderful Matrix. The original is so elegant – 4 coins covered by 4 cards all gather – one by one – to join the others. Don’t mess with it. You’re not going to improve it.
John Kennedy’s Translocation is another “perfect” effect. Want to argue that? Just watch Chris Korn do it. Four coins travel – one at a time – from under the left hand to the right hand. Beautiful magic.
Think through your repertoire. Can all of your tricks be quickly and easily described. If not, maybe you should remove certain phases that are nothing more than useless obfuscation.