How to Get Your Friends to Want to See Magic

Get people asking to see more tricks

Illustration of a hobbyist magician

Before I founded One Ahead, I exclusively wrote magic tricks for famous magicians like Dynamo and Justin Willman. Magic on TV, regardless of how you look at it, is a completely different ball game. Much like how stage magic differs from close-up and parlor magic, hobbyist performances are in a world of their own.

I like to refer to the hobbyists who read our articles as professional hobbyists. If your interest in magic has led you to the point in which you're investing your cash to read about insights and principles – not just the latest cheap trick from the magic shop – then clearly, you care about your magic.

Pete McCabe once wrote a brilliant article for us about bringing up your magic. He covered all the ways these professional hobbyists can and should be bringing up the fact they perform magic to their friends, colleagues, and families. Really, you have two options – pretend you're a god, or follow Pete's advice and work out a way to mention you practice magic without it coming across a little bit odd.

But how do you get your friends to ask you to perform magic?

Imagine a world in which you never have to ask anyone if you can perform a trick. Imagine a world in which your classmates and colleagues cannot wait for you to show them the newest trick you've been learning.

Want to know how to make this happen?

The answer is more obvious than you might expect.

Perform for your audience.

In my experience, too many magicians think of themselves as artists, and not enough magicians think of themselves as being in the service industry.

You need to, at the very least, think of yourself as a mix of both.

Perform magic in service of your audience.

You have to stop and genuinely consider who your audience is and what would make them look forward to seeing you perform magic again and again.

When people switch on Magic for Humans on Netflix or buy a ticket to see Derren Brown live, they are doing so for specific reasons.

So, those friends of yours, why would they want to see your magic?

Yes, they might be supportive, and they might want to see what you've been up to, but is that really a good enough reason? Let's try to work out why they might want to see you perform magic for more selfish reasons rather than selfless.

Three Reasons People Want to See Magic

Over the years, I've only witnessed three main reasons why people want to see magic. When it comes to people wanting to be filmed for a TV magic show, there's a fourth reason – they actually want to be on TV. The need for certain people to be on TV shouldn't be underestimated, and I can assure you they will almost always have very good reactions – the authenticity of those reactions is debatable.

  1. They already LOVE magic. This one is easy as the hard work has been done for you. They've already seen magic, heard about it, or watched it on TV. People who love magic are the best people to perform magic to. Note that some people who love magic will openly insist they dislike it. I refuse to believe anyone who gives a great reaction to magic doesn't love it – magic isn't like a horror film that incites a reaction regardless of whether you enjoy it. Magic is much more like comedy – a big reaction means you love it, whether you like it or not.
  2. They want to see their friends' reactions. It's the same reason Dad booked the Taylor Swift concert and the reason Lucy, who dislikes magic, is dragging you across the party to get you to show a card trick to her friends. If you've ever watched a David Blaine special, you've experienced the thrill of seeing people you know (celebrities) react unexpectedly when a magic trick fools them. Your audience will experience the same level of satisfaction when they see their friends, colleagues, or family members react to your magical abilities.
  3. They want to play a role in the magic. There is no better way to turn the greatest cynic into a believer than to ask them to lend a hand. Magic can be a way to win over the bullies at school, as many famous magicians attest. Honestly, they're right – simple magic is an easy way to impress most people. But if you have a friend or a romantic partner who's completely disinterested in watching you perform your tricks, maybe it's time to tap them into the game and get them to be your accomplice.

Ultimately, people want to watch magic when they benefit from the performance. This is why I encourage you, at least occasionally from time to time, to try looking at magic as an act of service and not an artistic expression.

This post is for magicians only

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