Audience Knowledge & Preconceptions


For the Magic Student:

When we design a magic routine, we are creating a story for the spectator. It is a story that he or she can tell about what happened to them when they saw “this magician.”

We want them to think the story is worth retelling, and we want them to be able to defend their story from those who might try to diminish it–“He probably just made you take that card.” “It must have been a trick bottle.” “He probably had it hidden in his hand.”

If the spectator is not prepared for that, he may feel stupid, and not have an answer–“I hadn’t thought of that.” This will ruin the story for him and he will never tell it again.

When the spectator can say, “Of course not, I thought of that…” or “No, it couldn’t be that because…” the story becomes much stronger and more fun to tell. Whenever the subject of magic comes up they will tell their story.

They may even begin to exaggerate the story as they keep telling it, to make it big enough to create the same reaction on their audience as your performance had on them.

In creating a magic routine, it is often useful and fun to acknowledge the possibility of commonly known magic ruses such as palming or forcing a card, or putting something up the sleeve.

Even kids have at least heard of these things. The magician can respect the audience’s intelligence by admitting the possibility and then either disproving that that could be the method, or turning the supposed method into an effect itself–as when the coin actually does go up one sleeve and down the other.

You show that you recognize the audience is too smart to be taken by the old tricks, and then take them with those very same ruses.

You also help them to remember these things so when they tell the story later, they can defend it: “I looked for that!” “It couldn’t have been a force…” “He showed his hand empty, he couldn’t have palmed it.”

They then feel much smarter when they tell the story: “I thought maybe he forced a card on me, but…”


About Pop Haydn

I am not originally from the 21st Century myself, but have been stuck here by accident--not entirely my fault--with a bunch of other maroons from another very different time and place... Nevertheless, my companions and I love it here and just like everyone else we are just trying to get by in this exciting and progressive era. With a variety show of steampunk-oriented magic, comedy and music, Pop's company entertains and sells a few bottles of Amazing Miracle Oil, Wonder Elixer, or Magnetized Water.

Posted on January 19, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Excellent article, love your approach to magic and its psychology


  1. Pingback: Audience Knowledge & Preconceptions | Pop's Soapbox

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