Saturday, July 31, 2010

Impromptu Magic

This was supposed to be an Audio Rant, but technical difficulties.... ah whatever, here I go.

Impromptu Magic. Often the term is misunderstood. I have met many magicians who believe impromptu magic refers to doing magic with props that look like every day objects. This is not true. impromptu magic refers to doing magic that is improvised with borrowed items that are not your own and nothing else. Having a gimmick like a thumb tip means you are not doing impromptu magic.

OK, now that I got that out of the way... Should you do impromptu magic?

Yes and no. Yes in an impromptu setting like a party and definitely no at professional shows. Here is why. When you are hired to do a magic show. The client wants you to be professional. And professionals think of everything. They are on time, they are well dressed and they bring all of the props that are needed. So they don't borrow coins, unless the routine absolutely requires the coin to be borrowed so it is above suspicion, which has to be mentioned doing the routine. Otherwise the professional looks unprofessional.

We are talking about negative connotations here. If the magician has to borrow his props there actually is the risk of it appearing like show that isn't prepared well enough.

But experience has shown, that doing magic with borrowed items is stronger.

So here is how you can have the best of both worlds. Start your magic with your props and then force the question somehow, whether you can do your act with borrowed stuff too. Then act like you think about it for a second and then borrow your stuff.

The cool thing about this approach. You will look like a professional because you brought all your own stuff, and you will appear like an even better professional because you look like you are able to think on your feet and improvise.

None of that might be true and you would still be able to use most of your gimmicks.

Again. Should one do impromptu magic in a professional setting... be all means, NO!


Kolisar said...

I believe that impromptu magic has another definition that you are forgetting. The definition of impromptu magic that I use is an effect that requires no advance preparation. This definition allows the inclusion of card and coin effects that, if necessary, be performed with borrowed materials, but if the performer happens to have the ordinary cards and coins, the effect is no less impromptu. The key here is that there are no gimmicks, stacks, etc that cannot be prepared at the time of performance in full view of the audience.

Juan said...

"Having a gimmick like a thumb tip means you are not doing impromptu magic"

Wrong - impromptu magic is when it appears to the public that it's improvised. It can be really improvised, or canb just appear like that

Roland said...

not true... "impromptu" means "from the empty fist" meaning you got nothing.

Juan said...

We are not talking about literal meaning of words from a dictionary, but about a category/type of magic.

Roland said...

Well I am writing this blog... so yes I am talking about the literal meaning of the word.
We magicians cann't just nilly willy pick words and then apply our own meaning to them.
And yes there is this misconcepetion that impromptu magic is when it appear to be improvised. But this is not true. The appearance of impromptu magic could either be the cause of actual impromptu magic or of careful planning. If the later is the case, the show will seem impropmptu but it is not. Anyway... my article was more about how a show that seems impromptu is actually contradicting our perception of professionalism.
If you get paid to do magic you better do not appear to do impromptu magic unless the audience demands it. If you are at a party this is a completely different matter.
Again... impromptu magic actually means doing magic with no extra than the stuff given to you. To say it actually applies to the overall perception of the show is not true. "Impromptu" is not a word made up by magicians. It comes from music. And in music it means to improvise and not stick to any notes. Sure songs may sound like they are improvised but they don't have to. If they are the result of careful planning, the song sure enough is not improvised, ergo not done impromptu. And since magicians didn't make up the term we cannot just apply a different meaning to it.