Brian Marks writes:
The idea that you should focus on entertainment first and the method is secondary misses the point. If you just entertaining, your doing 50% of the work. Being a magician assumes youve done your homework in terms of methods. Its like being a stand up comic who doesn't want to write material. You need to be good at both the technical aspect and the performing aspect. Look at Ricky Jay, Max Maven, Eugene Burger, Paul Gertner the list goes on. They are all good performers but none of these guys are slabs on method. I just came from a Max Maven lecture. His quote was "Method is not insignificant to magic."
No,entertainment is the point. If you are a hired entertainer using the medium of magic, your job and your focus should be on entertainment because thats what youre hired to produce. If youre performing magic, by definition, you should be fooling people, but simply fooling people is not entertainment.that is just the presentation of a series of puzzles or a demonstration of what a prop will do. (If youre a hobbyist, then it doesnt matter if the audience is entertained or not, because the performer is not being paid, and is working, too often, to entertain himself.)
Entertainment happens when you combine theatricality, comedy (perhaps), the principle of Novelty into Surprise, and a host of other performing devices, none the least in importance being a pleasing and ingratiating personality. Mere technical proficiency means nothing to the lay audience that does not know the difference between the methods used in Henry Christs Aces and a Svengali Deck.
As for the idea about comics writing their own material - there have been hundreds of successful comics and comedic actors who did not write their own material. Bob Hope had ten writers on staff to make him funny. The Marx Bros had George S. Kaufman and other writers for a huge amount of their material, both on Broadway and on film. Lucille Ball had Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, and Bob Carroll, Jr. to thank for her detailed comedic material in all the seasons of I Love Lucy.
In magic, method is the least important ingredient in a presentation because the method is, presumably, never seen by the audience. Method should be efficient and well thought out, and as fool proof as it is possible to make it, but it just isnt nearly as important as amateurs think or that the people who endlessly sell you new methods would have you believe.