The Burnaby Kid writes:
Figured I'd toss this out there, since SN was asking for interesting story submissions. I'm a professional magician working abroad, and I've been indulging in this incredibly geeky performing art for almost two decades. One problem that happens a lot when it comes to magic is that the nature of secrecy means that we don't get open dialogue with the muggles we perform for, and that leads to us getting into this weird sort of insular and incestuous discussion with other magicians, which ends up warping our minds to the extent that we start doing moronic things like... oh, I don't know... referring to our audience members as "muggles". We get into some pretty weird debates, and I've been trying my best to argue for raising the bar, such as by suggesting that we need to be more sensitive about what you guys like, such as by making sure that if we pull out a deck of cards, we've got something to perform that can compete with Card Through Window. And yet... Maybe I've got it wrong? What DO you guys like? If you like watching magicians perform, what do you like about it? If you don't, why not?
"What DO you guys like? If you like watching magicians perform, what do you like about it? If you don't, why not?"
Assuming you want an honest answer, attractive and severely underdressed member of the appropriate gender assistants. If you use a human assistant to distract the audience while you do something, at least do a good job of it.
Aside from that I'm an amateur who plays with this kind of stuff as an interesting way to meet people at parties and similar, and what the pros really have going for them is smoothness. I can fumble and halfway drop a vanish/rattle box while trying to palm a quarter and although it might impress some drunks at a party, at least most of the time, I'm well aware that pros are much smoother and more practiced than I am and that is something I like watching. I'd rather see pocket change smoothly and effortlessly palmed and appeared/disappeared than some ridiculous "saw someone in half" stage stunt.
Much like with computers or carpentry, what impresses a noob might or might not correlate well with what impresses a total muggle consumer off the street or a pro.