Sent out May 9th 2000

I honestly believe that understanding Misdirection is the single most important thing for every magician. If you know a few magic secrets and some basic moves, you can fool some spectators most of the time. But if you have a thorough understanding of how Misdirection works, then you can truly mystify all of them, all the time!

One basic Misdirection technique is attitude. If you treat something as if it's important, they will pay attention. And if you pretend it's not important, they will focus their attention elsewhere.

In my "Card in Mousetrap" routine, I arm the mousetrap as the spectator is shuffling the cards. It's not hard to draw attention when you're arming a mousetrap! (Will he hurt himself..?) This gets the shuffling spectator's attention away from the deck, where she could find something sneaky. Also, when I give the spectator the deck for shuffling, I just hand her the deck and move on to something else. It looks like I don't care about the deck.

Here, two principles work together. My Attitude is that the deck is not important - the trap is. Also, my Attention is focused on the trap, and that leads their attention there too.

This is one of the really, truly GREAT techniques that can be found in Gary Kurtz' book "Leading With Your Head". If you hold out a deck of cards, spreading them to show that "there are no extra aces" and then relax as you square them up, you are going from an ACTIVE to a RELAXED state.

This is when you should do your secret move! The importance of doing the move on the relaxation has also been addressed by Christian Chelman. Chelman tells us to do the move as we breathe out. It's basically the same thing. When you exhale, you relax, and your audience's attention is momentarily dropped.

I'm also a firm believer in using choreography and body language to cover moves. There's nothing that can hide your moves better than physical cover. Carefully planned body movement can provide you with that kind of cover. Of course, you need logical reasons for your body movements, but those reasons are really not so hard to come up with.

In my "Norwegian Travelers" routine, I need to get a break under the top two cards in the deck. This is simply done by pushing off two cards and pulling them back while the little finger obtains the break. Simple, but not invisible... I use my body for physical cover. I have the spectator that signed the cards to my left, and I make a left body turn as I drop my hand with the deck. My right hand gives something for the spectator to hold (my reason for turning my body). Behind my leg, no-one can catch the move.

There's a whole chapter on Choreographic Misdirection in my book "Pocket Power". You can also read an article that I wrote for Magic Magazine on my web pages at www.leirpoll.com/choreography.htm

Note that the article in Magic was changed a little by the editors - the version on my web pages is MY version - uncut!

Another basic rule of Misdirection. Most magicians know it, but not everyone has grasped the true potential of it. When I use the pockets for switching, ditching and stealing, I use this principle extensively.

If you really want to study the power of this principle, take a look at Juan Tamariz' "Double Crossing the Gaze" switch. (It's described in my book and video "Pocket Power".) When you try this for real people, you will see how they follow your gaze while you do the dirty work under cover of some natural looking actions!

On my web pages you can view a video of "Toilet Paper to Egg" from my book "Pocket Power". Click here to find the book and the video sample: www.leirpoll.com/pocket.htm

Then I would like to direct your attention (no pun intended) to two books. One is "Leading With Your Head" by Gary Kurtz. This book is my all time favorite! I think it is the best magic book ever written! I had read all the classic books on Misdirection, but I didn't quite grasp it. Then I read "Leading With Your Head" and suddenly got it! Where other books tell you how to "do it on the off-beat", Gary tells you how to CREATE the off-beat. What a difference! This is the only book I've read seven times.

Here's a link to Leading With Your Head on my web pages, where you can read more about it (and even buy it.) www.leirpoll.com/leading.htm

The other book I want to recommend is my own (shame on me...). I think my approach to Misdirection in "Pocket Power" is unique. As a cameraman and editor for film and TV, I have a comprehensive knowledge of the techniques that film makers use to direct our attention around the silver screen. What I've done is to adapt these techniques to magic and Misdirection, and it works wonders! Here's the link to the Pocket Power Book again: www.leirpoll.com/pocket.htm

Did you like this "newsletter"? Then please feel free to hit your "Forward" button and send it to your magic friends. If you got it from a friend, then you might like to subscribe? Just click on this link and it's done.


Hope to see some of you at the FISM convention!


Recommend this article to a friend

Click here to go to the Misdirection Resource Center

Back to home page: http://www.leirpoll.com
Contact information

©2009 Jarle Leirpoll

Translate to German, French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese