On the way home from a speakers date in Florida, I saw a called “The Prestige, ” in which the director demanded authenticity. And because there were a couple of characters in the movie that were magicians, this concept meant intensive coaching by prominent magicians and even more intensive practice in sleight of hand and the magical arts.
The star of the movie is Christian Bale, who came up with some profound thoughts about the art of magic, and the importance of keeping the magical secrets. Oddly, his point starts with the “Behind the Scenes” bits on the extras sections of DVDs. Bale argues that they, “Give us too much, and it destroys the mystery somewhat.” And that if they show us the cast and crew and all of the juicy bits, we destroy the full effect of the movie.
He takes this concept one step further with his studies to become a magician. “I was particularly intrigued b the sleight of hand tricks. He argues, as does apparently the movie, that once people learn the secret of the trick they are disappointed. I’ve got one thing to say: Hallelujah.
As a professional magician, I’ve had my ups and downs with exposing secrets. I used to guard secrets like gold; then went through a phase where I realized that the “entertainment” and “entertainer” are way more important than any little old secret. But I’ve come full circle back to the strong philosophy that the inner workings of magic tricks need to remain secret, or else we fail our audience.
Magic has a fairly unique ability to create a strong emotional experience. And when we reveal that the secret is a hidden fork-lift in your sleeve (Hey! You don’t expect me to give away real secrets, do you?) the effect is ruined. As a guy who has been a magician my entire adult life, (and most of my childhood), trust me when I say that the secrets are NEVER as good as the tricks. I’m with Christian Bale. Are you? Care to comment?
Check out my work as a professional magician & comedian here! (No secrets here!)