Why Magicians Should Use Confederates

Improve Your Magic Tricks

Illustration of magician springing cards
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I was 19 and was at an open mic to perform some magic. I went on stage and did a simple mentalism routine that absolutely stunned the audience. I'm honestly really proud of that routine, and when I need to perform for a crowd, it is still my go-to. 

After the performance, another magician at the open mic started to enquire about the method. I told him I'd give him the method if he could get me a beer. He brought me the cheapest beer on tap, and I told him the method. His face sank. He looked like I cheated him. He wanted something clever, and all I had for him was a simple word: "confederate." 

I've noticed that reaction a lot from that method. I can get the displeasure of learning that the method is as simple as having someone in on the trick with you - sometimes, it's the best method. But like any method, it must be used sparingly. 

But what's shocking is how often you can use one in casual settings. You can turn a good trick into a great one - and a great one into a complete miracle. All you need is a little help from your friends. 

Don't Fear the Confederate:

I am a big fan of leaving every method on the table when creating magic. Because once you start limiting yourself by stating you won't use preshow, you wont use billets, you refuse to use gimmicks - you are only limiting the effects you can achieve. Sometimes, creating in those constraints can help you be more creative and resourceful, but it does hinder what you can actually achieve.

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