The Importance of an Opening Line


For the Magic Student:

When transitioning between effects, it is important to be already introducing the new effect as the props from the preceding one are being put away, and the new props are being brought out for the second. You want a smooth and seamless segue from one trick to the next.

This avoids any perceived break in the routine, and keeps people from losing interest. People tend to walk away in their minds whenever there is a break in the action. They are looking for a chance to stop paying attention.

As an old street performer whose audiences would only stay as long as I could hold them spellbound–they were always on their way someplace else, I always want long routines and smooth changes. This avoids any semblance of anything coming to an end and breaking the spell.

Even if my audiences today in theaters and chairs aren’t likely to walk away, I always feel that they are going to, at least in their heads.

The opening line of any trick is extremely important. I believe that the most important lines in a routine are the opening and closing. Having these right will make it easy to move from one trick to another and makes it easy to do routines in a different order.

The opening line should create interest and carry the routine forward. “Would you examine this? Is it an ordinary knife?” would be confusing to the helper.

What is an ordinary knife? What should I be looking for?

Meanwhile, the rest of the audience is left just waiting for the answer and for the trick to start.

Much better is to use a line like “Does this look like a real, solid object to you?”

First, this is a question that is easy to answer: “Of course!” But the suggestion is that it is not going to remain solid.

The audience leans forward wondering what is about to happen…is it going to become soft or disappear or something?

Why would the magician even ask a question like that?

A well thought out opening line should suggest the theme, arouse interest and carry the routine forward.

When magicians ask me about the importance of scripting a routine, I point to some of these things. It takes time and thought to develop lines such as these, and they don’t just happen spontaneously. They need to be crafted.

You can watch the whole knife routine here:

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About Pop Haydn

I am not originally from the 21st Century myself, but have been stuck here by accident--not entirely my fault--with a bunch of other maroons from another very different time and place... Nevertheless, my companions and I love it here and just like everyone else we are just trying to get by in this exciting and progressive era. With a variety show of steampunk-oriented magic, comedy and music, Pop's company entertains and sells a few bottles of Amazing Miracle Oil, Wonder Elixer, or Magnetized Water.

Posted on January 18, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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