Catch the BIG one

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Part 2 of 4 on Make Big Reactions!

Most days I live and breath magic. But I have a big bucket full of hobbies that bring me joy. For this post, I'll share from another favorite pastime. Let's look at what we magicians can learn about “catching” big reactions from going fishing.

I’m pretty sure I was holding a fishing pole before holding a magic wand, though both started at a very early age. For a fisherman, it’s only natural to dream about catching a big, powerful “lunker” fish from the bottom of the sea. Just the same,  for a magician it's only natural to desire big and uncontrollable spectator reactions!

In magic, the big catch is an epic audience response that creates a moment your spectators will remember till the day they die...and maybe a few days after. The reaction we seek is even more…The big catch is a 3 minute trick that lands you an invitation to perform a full show. Like a fish legend, it grows! It’s that crazy, lingering emotion of astonishment you left with a client who later calls and offers you a four or five figure paying gig! That’s the big catch.

In fishing, it turns out that those who consistently catch big fish do not rely on luck. Some might think because the water all looks the same on the surface, that the water is all the same below. Some may say that casting to the left would have the same probability of bringing up a fish as would casting to the right.

But, the experienced angler knows that the fish move from one side of the bank to the other. The structures below the surface such as reefs and ship wrecks are mappable and predictable. The weather and seasons change, effecting how one fishes. Even the atmospheric pressure and lunar cycles impact how the fish feed and what baits they will attack or simply let drift on by. With this knowledge, a skilled angler finds a way to adapt to have more consistent results.

So, how do you get more applause? I would challenge that in the same way, the seasoned magician can develop a similar skill set to catch BIG REACTIONS from her audience. I would be willing to go on record stating that she knows how to seek out the right audiences that produce the best reactions. This entertainer understands her props and her surrounding environment to create predicable results that are more likely to become legendary. 

If you’ve ever fought a big fish, you’ll know there is an art to landing it. There is timing and play involved. Simply reeling it in could break your line, losing the fish, among other things.

Likewise, a master magician knows the right timing of when to share her magic, when her audience will bring a challenge or objection, just how much risk she can take, and how much pressure she can apply to stretch the reactions to their maximum potential, so that every wow, laugh, and applause is completely taken advantage of for the history books.

But how does a performer get to this state of being? It’s no accident. Sure, any amateur can create a response from an eager audience. And with a little luck, even garner a stellar response! If you are like me, that is probably how you got hooked on magic or performance… I received  some positive feedback, for silly tricks that I would cringe at performing today, but the feedback was real and I desired more…

If you stick with performing long enough, you’ll note that the reactions your beginner skills received begin to dwindle. You can only be “cute” and “new” for so long until you need to progress. So how do you consistently get amazing results?  Well, back to our fishing example, it’s day in and day out practice and performance. You only catch fish if you fish. You only catch the big reactions if you perform. Go out and perform. Go often. That’s the best way to increase your odds in the beginning.

Next post, part three of our Make Big Reactions discussion, we will look at ways to help our audience respond.

Remember, every time you share magic, you gain priceless feedback that can’t be learned in a book or video. Every time you go out, there is another opportunity to catch the big one. 


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  • fixmdllaub

    Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

  • Elliot O'Dell

    That’s fucking awesome, I’m an aspiring coin artist who also loves to fish

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