When I first started out in magic, the people I used to perform for were my fellow magicians. The kind of magic that appeals to them is very different to the effects that normal people seem to enjoy. Magicians are intrigued by complicated sleight of hand and clever methods, while to an audience of laypeople, it is (quite rightly) the effect that counts.
One thing that I’ve become increasingly aware of the past few years is that even with the general public, not all audiences are the same. People such as scientists, mathematicians and engineers have by necessity a very different way of thinking – they have been trained to analyse everything that comes before them and they seem unable not to treat magic in the same manner. They want to dissect it and find the solution. Performing for this kind of people who think very much “outside the box” can be an extremely challenging, yet rewarding experience. Of course the effects I perform for them are quite different to the ones I would show most people: the trick has to appeal to them and their analytical way of thinking – and of course be utterly unfathomable, even when they never take their eyes off my hands. Sometimes they don’t even blink!
It’s my job to find the right effects for the right audience and over the years this has proved a very useful skill. It’s something that I’m now able to do instinctively and fortunately most of the time I get it right.