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Topic: How is it done? C'mon... Tell Me!!!
Message: Posted by: edlandau (Apr 10, 2008 11:57PM)
I used to be really bad... girlfriends... family... etc. all used to want to know how tricks are done. I was soft.

Then I met a magician. I knew that if I was going to learn any more tricks, I was going to have to learn how to keep my mouth shut.

I find it hard to do so without offending my best friends... family etc. My excuse: I want this magician I met to respect me (so maybe he can teach me)... and that seems to work. But it is [b]hard[/b].

Any suggestions on other techniques to get out of it?

-Ed
Message: Posted by: JasonbytheOcean (Apr 11, 2008 08:16AM)
Two ideas:

1) Try Humor to diffuse the situation - One of my favorite lines when someone asks is to look at them squarely and seriously, and say, "Can you keep a secret?" When they nod yes, I wink and say, "So can I!" I've never had anyone offended by it, almost always gets a laugh and diffuses the tension. I think this is a gag that's been out there a while, not sure who originated it.

2) The other is to consider that at some level, people know magicians don't reveal secrets. One person really surprised me, after she begged for the secret, when she said that she respected me MORE because I was a REAL magician, because real magicians don't give away their secrets! Unless you're performing with a style that screams "Ha ha, I can do this and you can't," people are not going to be offended because you keep the secret.

The other thing you'll probably see over time is that, invariably, as soon as people find out how the trick is done, they get a disappointed look because it turns out to be "easy," even though you may have spent hours or more practicing. Only a few people really like and admire the technique behind the effect, and if they really want to pursue it they'll look later (or maybe, take the opportunity to invite them to an IBM or SAM meeting - we could use more of them in the clubs!). A few more of those looks and you'll probably stop, kind of like snapping a rubberband on your wrist to rid a bad habit.
Message: Posted by: Chappo (Apr 11, 2008 06:57PM)
Humour is a big one for me. One of the best takes on this (that I have ever heard and intend to use a lot more) is that to know the secret the spec must 'buy' the trick. I intend to reference the fantastic Café member who posted that idea as soon as I find where it was. Basically:

"How did you do that?"
"Oh, so you want to buy my deck?"
"What!?!?"
"Well you want to know the secret don't you? I'd be happy to sell you the deck!"
"how much"
"(Insert ludicrous price)"

:D
Message: Posted by: edlandau (Apr 12, 2008 01:02AM)
I agree... if you do tell the trick... they're dissapointed. And Yes, I have had people say they respect the fact that I don't reveal it... but my co-worker... next door to me... won't let me forget that I'm not telling him how the linking rubber-bands work. I guess I'm doing the right thing. Thanks for your thoughts.
-Ed
Message: Posted by: L Trunk (Apr 12, 2008 06:04AM)
Baffle them with bull.
Message: Posted by: edlandau (Apr 12, 2008 09:27AM)
I'm finding that there's a lot more the magic than just tricks!!
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (Apr 12, 2008 07:10PM)
Wild Rube Goldberg explanations both entertain and get the message across, plus you would be surprised how many believe them.
Message: Posted by: jimhlou (Apr 12, 2008 08:20PM)
I have a magician friend who replys, when asked "how'd you do that?"

"Very well, thank you!"

Jim
Message: Posted by: Justin Style (Apr 13, 2008 02:22PM)
I always say, "okay, take off your clothes and I'll tell you." Most people end it right there. And the ones who did take off their clothes now know the value of keeping a secret...

I am not making this up.

Try it.


Let me know what happens.
Message: Posted by: edlandau (Apr 13, 2008 03:09PM)
Oooo.... I've got to try that one :)
Message: Posted by: rikbrooks (Apr 14, 2008 06:21AM)
I just smile at them and let my eyes say, "You KNOW I'm not going to do that." Sometimes I'll pat them on their shoulder. I like the intimacy of the touch. It says, "I ain't about to tell you but I still think you're great."
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Apr 19, 2008 10:30AM)
"How is it done? C'mon.... TELL ME!!!"
--------

"Why do you want to know?"

"How much would you pay for the secret? $50, $100, more?"

"Sleight of hand."
Message: Posted by: Hearttau (Apr 23, 2008 01:07PM)
Here's another one. " If I tell you, there will be a little less magic and wonder in your life. Do you really want to know?" So far, its always worked for me. Of course, there's always the old standby: " I could tell you, but then you'll disappear." The kids back off with that one. ;)
Message: Posted by: Der Magier (Apr 25, 2008 03:43PM)
[quote]
Of course, there's always the old standby: " I could tell you, but then you'll disappear." The kids back off with that one. ;)
[/quote]

I'll have to try that one on my little brother :). of course, I'm trying to learn 'stuck to the floor', just in case!
Message: Posted by: Bird Man (Apr 25, 2008 05:28PM)
:bigsmile:funny I know a couple tricks myself.
Message: Posted by: Loopback (Apr 26, 2008 09:38AM)
I recently joined up with the IBM and now I just tell them I cant or the magic mafia will come after me for breaking the oath.
Message: Posted by: edlandau (Apr 26, 2008 11:09AM)
What's IBM?
Message: Posted by: Chappo (Apr 26, 2008 08:14PM)
International Brotherhood of Magicians.

--> http://www.magician.org/

:)
Message: Posted by: Bird Man (Apr 28, 2008 08:01PM)
That's funny there is so much reading involved but Im not saying I don't like readind. :)
Message: Posted by: Justin Style (Apr 29, 2008 09:49AM)
[quote]
On 2008-04-26 10:38, Loopback wrote:
I recently joined up with the IBM and now I just tell them I cant or the magic mafia will come after me for breaking the oath.
[/quote]

Ay, yo! Come on, there's no such thing as the [i]Mafia[/i] ;)
Message: Posted by: Bird Man (Apr 30, 2008 05:56PM)
Nice. :punkrocker:
Message: Posted by: QED (May 1, 2008 02:20PM)
How'd you do that?
I could tell you, but then I'd have to turn you into a toad.
works great on the kids...

How'd you do that?
You don't REALLY want to know, do you?

How'd you do that?
Quite well...

How'd you do that?
Magic...

How'd you do that?
Eye of newt and hair of dog... and a pinch of cumin...

How'd you do that?
I won't tell you how I did that, but I'll tell you the biggest secret in all of magic... would you like to know it?
Sure...
(whispered)Whatever magic secret you want to know, it's in a book somewhere...
All you have to do is find the book...

that way, if they have a true interest in magic, they will make the effort to seek it out... if not, they don't deserve to know...
Message: Posted by: Bird Man (May 5, 2008 10:37PM)
I really don't get that really? :worry:
Message: Posted by: RachelMilano (May 31, 2008 08:06AM)
Hi Ed. Noticed your post and just had to reply.

When anyone, and I do mean anyone ask me to reveal an effect I use this reply 100% of the time. A good magician never reveals his or her secrets, the key word being good. If they persist I repeat...a good magician never reveals his or her secrets. Then I ask them...if I showed you how it was done what kind of magician would I be?

By this time anyone with an IQ 4 above a napkin has gotten my drift. Be polite but firm. Rachel. :)
Message: Posted by: doulos (Jun 2, 2008 11:57PM)
[quote]
On 2008-05-01 15:20, QED wrote:
How'd you do that?
I could tell you, but then I'd have to turn you into a toad.
works great on the kids...

How'd you do that?
Eye of newt and hair of dog... and a pinch of cumin...

How'd you do that?
I won't tell you how I did that, but I'll tell you the biggest secret in all of magic... would you like to know it?
Sure...
(whispered)Whatever magic secret you want to know, it's in a book somewhere...
All you have to do is find the book...

that way, if they have a true interest in magic, they will make the effort to seek it out... if not, they don't deserve to know...
[/quote]

Hey Q.. good to see you here. I like these the best.

-Shoop
Message: Posted by: michaelmagicart (Jun 3, 2008 01:12PM)
How is it done? C'mon.... Tell

(1) I do it better than most.
(2) I was hoping you could tell me. I amaze myself sometimes.
(3) My Grandmother was a witch.
(4) Give me your credit card number and expiration date and I will be happy to tell you.
(5) I'll trade the secret for the keys to your car.
(6) I'll trade you the secret for the deed to your house.
(7) You mean you don't do it that way? I thought everyone did.
(8) I won a trip to the Willy Wonka Candy Factory.
(9) I was born in Fantasy Land at Disney World.
(10) "Tinkerbell" is my Fairy Godmother.
(11) I found the secret in a box of Cracker Jacks.
(12) I Googled it.
(13) I would tell you but the last time I told someone they disappeared.
(14) Ask your Mother. Mother's know everything.
(15) Ask your Dad. If he doesn't know, I am sure he will make something up.
(16) I can't. The last time I told a boy your age he quit growing.
(17) Before I tell you, you must spend 10 years in a Tibetan Monastery.
(18) The secret to how this is done will never pass my lips, unless you give me a #100.00 cash right now.
(19) I saw it on Youtube.
(20) I was raised by Gypsies.
(21) My father was a Warlock.
(22) When I win the lottery I will tell you.(Now what's the odds on that happening?)
(23) Follow the rainbow and when you find the pot of gold I will tell you the secret.
(24) I signed a contract with the devil.
(25) Pause, pull out you cell phone, say "excuse me it's my wife". Speak into the phone saying "yes dear".."no dear", "yes dear".."yes I love you". "ok", "bye honey". Close the phone and say "sorry, my wife say's I can't tell you".

Take your choice. This is just an example of various ways to can avoid exposing your magic.
Message: Posted by: gdw (Jun 13, 2008 11:28PM)
If I told you, then I couldn't feel special that I can and you can't.
Message: Posted by: Veneficus Cruor (Jun 14, 2008 03:16PM)
How'd you do that?
1. Im a genetic freak.
2. Through years of tedious practice and self-denial
3. Camera Tricks ( only if your showing in live )
4. Pure luck.

hope these helped =D
Message: Posted by: manal (Jun 14, 2008 11:22PM)
I will tell you, but first you must bring me a shrubbery.
Message: Posted by: Kex (Jun 15, 2008 10:39AM)
Great response Manal... gotta respect the MP reference!

As a matter of fact... I may start using that.
Message: Posted by: Jerrid Mutter (Jun 15, 2008 02:30PM)
What!! you don't know how that's done. I guess you weren't suppose to know.
Message: Posted by: Jerrid Mutter (Jun 15, 2008 02:31PM)
If it's not a gimmick than you can hand it to them and say " here do you want to try. Hopefully the batteries still work."
Message: Posted by: manal (Jun 15, 2008 08:39PM)
[quote]
On 2008-06-15 11:39, Kex wrote:
Great response Manal... gotta respect the MP reference!

As a matter of fact... I may start using that.
[/quote]

Unless they are 40 something they may look at you as if you are nuts :)
Message: Posted by: trickytrav (Jun 16, 2008 02:10AM)
I like to lead them on.Ask them if they really want to know I will tell them.I then whisper in there ear "its magic".


I am Roger the Shrubber (only 39 though).
Message: Posted by: themagiciansapprentice (Jun 16, 2008 02:00PM)
So it's good for the parents! All my friends kids have been educate in MP anyway. Trips to Scottish castles etc are a staple of some holidays. And we regularly watch MP any-time I'm back in the UK.

Another MP reference that works is "Neigh! Neigh!"
Message: Posted by: Kex (Jun 16, 2008 11:58PM)
I'll have to dig out the spare set of coconut shells and gallop off next time someone ask me how its done. lol
Message: Posted by: Sir Richard (Jul 13, 2008 02:09PM)
Man there are some great tips here! Handling hecklers goes with the territory. 1st decide if you want to be funny, cool, or dead serious. here's a few of mine.

"It cost me $___ to learn that, would you like to learn it? I'll give you a 20% discount."

"I give Magic lessons at reasonable rates; see me after the show and we'll get the contracts signed & set-up a time to get together.

I'll tell you later when I'm all done." Then, when I'm done, if they ask again I say: "Did that one work? Wow! How DID I do that?"
or:

" I had to sell my soul to the devil to make that work. I'm sure he'll do the same for you; want me to give him a call?"

I actually like the "Magic lessons" one the best. "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." You'll soon find out that you might be unpopular, but you're a MAGICIAN! That makes it all worthwhile in my book!

I really liked the one that was posted: "ask your mother,she knows everything." Then I'd say: "If that don't work, ask your father, if he don't know HE can ask your mother." Great stuff guys!
Message: Posted by: Aaron Little (Jul 13, 2008 04:45PM)
“When is college I went on weekend caving trip in an uncharted cave. Somewhere in the middle of what I guess was the second day I hit my head HARD on a stalactite. I was out cold for about 15 mins. When I woke up my friends were freaking out and I was able to do this. That is all that I know. If I could tell you more I wouldn’t.”

I have never been asked a second time.
Message: Posted by: Jimeh (Jul 13, 2008 06:15PM)
[quote]
On 2008-05-31 09:06, RachelMilano wrote:
By this time anyone with an IQ 4 above a napkin has gotten my drift.
[/quote]

LOL I'd never heard that expression, funny!

"How'd you do that?!"
"YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!"
Message: Posted by: Lash (Jul 18, 2008 03:00PM)
First time it's entertainment, the second time it's a lesson. And I don't give lessons for free.
Message: Posted by: Sammy J. (Jul 19, 2008 05:52PM)
"How did you do that?"

"Barely!"
Message: Posted by: acesover (Jul 27, 2008 01:05AM)
How did you do that?

Do what?

How did you do that?

I am not sure.

How did you do that?

When you were not loooking I did magic stuff.

Finally

How did you do that?

I sold my soul to the devil.
Message: Posted by: gbradburn (Aug 20, 2008 04:07PM)
I like to say "I could tell you but then the brotherhood of magicians would kill me in my sleep for breaking my oath of secrecy".
Message: Posted by: critter (Aug 20, 2008 08:22PM)
I always liked the classic:
"It's nothing anybody couldn't do...
with 10 years practice."
Message: Posted by: JustLoco (Aug 22, 2008 11:25AM)
I always say, "I turned around while you weren't looking"
Then I say "okay, I'll show you" and I proceed to show them another trick.
Then if they ask again, I say "one minute I'll be right back" and I leave, When I return I change the conversation and the magic is over.
Message: Posted by: Mr Deck (Sep 4, 2008 05:47AM)
How do you do that? (Adult)
Viagra works for me not sure about others.

How do you do that? (Children)
Study hard at school learn all you can and let me know when you are ready to do magic.
Message: Posted by: Hearttau (Sep 5, 2008 08:42AM)
[quote]
On 2008-06-15 00:22, manal wrote:
I will tell you, but first you must bring me a shrubbery.
[/quote]

I tempted to use that tomorrow night at a friend’s dinner party, his sister might be there and she’s a landscaper. If she brings me a shrubbery I’ll send it to Manel. :)
Message: Posted by: Chappo (Sep 7, 2008 07:06AM)
The Question:

"C'mon... how'd you do that?"

Possible Answers:

1. "Fish. But don't spread that around."

2. FOR an ACR= "Look closely... There is a minuscule titanium microfillament that rests upon the upper left-hand corner of each card. It is this brilliant and elaborate ruse that allows me to bring your card to the top of the deck and both keep my job at the same time."

3. "Dunno... I forgot."

4. "The same way I do this." (Proceed to disappear in a cloud of smoke and lightning accompanied by a pyrotechnical strobe light display. It'd be worth it if you had the cash. Someone please do this in WALK AROUND puh-leeeeeez :) )
Message: Posted by: themagiciansapprentice (Sep 7, 2008 08:40AM)
Alternatively get a stooge to turn off the lights whilst you run away
Message: Posted by: Magic38 (Sep 17, 2008 01:15PM)
I always tell them its against the magicians code this always work for me.
Message: Posted by: MagicMikeMartin (Oct 20, 2008 05:47PM)
It is my experience that most people aren't really interested in how it was done. It is just a natural response to seeing something that is seemingly impossible.

Sometimes my best response is no response at all.....
Message: Posted by: EVILDAN (Oct 21, 2008 08:57PM)
If people are constantly asking "how did you do that?" perhaps you need to look for a better presentation rather than a quick, shut them up answer.

Entertain the masses and they'll appreciate having had a good time and won't care about how it's done.

Magic tricks in and of themselves aren't entertainment, merely a collection of puzzles or eye candy. It's the soul behind the magic that pushes it to the next level of entertainment. That's why there are hack magicians doing the cut and restored rope and getting asked "how did you do that?" and people like Michael Finney doing the cut and restored rope and getting a standing ovation.
Message: Posted by: MagicMikeMartin (Oct 22, 2008 09:08AM)
Well said Evil Dan....I agree 100%
Message: Posted by: DanielCoyne (Dec 31, 2008 12:00AM)
I hear and respect Evil Dan's response, but there are always times when we're trying out a trick on friends, acquaintances, family, strangers -- not in the context of a real performance. For those moments, I think these one-liners are hilarious!

(I especially love, "My grandmother was a witch." I don't know why.)

This has been one of the most useful threads I've read in a long time. Thank you!

(And yes, I agree, it's haaaaaaard not to tell sometimes.)

-Daniel
Message: Posted by: Thales (Dec 31, 2008 01:32PM)
I find it hardest not to tell other magicians. Now I usually just tell them the name of the effect and what book or DVD I found it on. We magicians often feel that we have a right to know how other magicians effects are done without paying the creator of the effect. But that is another topic.

For laymen I like to say "Oh that, that was nothing. What you really want to know is how I do this one." and then I go on to some other even crazier effect.

Once in a while I get some kid that really, really want to know how I did something (like the bill switch to a mismade dollar) and if nothing else will shake him I tell him that it was a level 19 magic effect and that he would never understand it since he is still level one. But that I can teach him a level one effect and then show him something simple like the rubber band jumping from the two other fingers of your fist to the two inner fingers.
Message: Posted by: Rockabilly (Feb 8, 2009 06:59PM)
For me it alwas goes..

-"How'd you do that??"

-"It's in Tarbell"

-"Huh?"

-"Exactly"
Message: Posted by: MaxfieldsMagic (Feb 12, 2009 08:38AM)
The real question is WHY did I do that...
Message: Posted by: Ragnu (the O.K.) (Feb 19, 2009 06:46AM)
Important and interesting thread...

Attached is another approach to "How's it done?" that I wrote a few years ago in "Bringing Magic to Life."

All my best,

Jay Ungar
Message: Posted by: sruli (Feb 19, 2009 08:05AM)
I usualy just smile and say "I can't tell you. It would spoil the fun for both of us."

Hey, it works for me.
Message: Posted by: joseph (Mar 6, 2009 05:30AM)
Man in audience: "Hey, how'd you do that?"..
Magician: "I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you."..
Man: "Ok then, just tell my wife."...
Message: Posted by: Nigromante (Mar 9, 2009 02:40PM)
My brother instead of asking how I do that just tells me I'm cheating, to which I simply reply, of course I am, I'm a magician.
Message: Posted by: cyberdog (Mar 10, 2009 08:35AM)
You just needto ignore any will you have for telling your secrets.
and keep a poker face all the time
Message: Posted by: Timboslice (Mar 21, 2009 09:26AM)
I got kicked in the head by a mual when I was eight.
OR
I got a t.v. thrown at my head. (i did and I show a picture of my HUGE bump)

There good for me
Message: Posted by: wingz (Mar 24, 2009 03:20PM)
It happened to me recently. When I was asked, I kindly said "no" but then the kid just said:

"Just let me know the name of the trick and I'll search on the Internet"

Speechless.
Message: Posted by: chronica (Apr 5, 2009 08:10AM)
When you've been asking' how do you do that??
Take a serious face and answer :' how did I do that?' then take a nice smile and follow by 'I don't even know myself !...
Message: Posted by: Andreas S. (Apr 6, 2009 03:02PM)
When I'm asked I just say : You wouldn' believe me.
Normally this works quite good.
Message: Posted by: epoptika (Apr 21, 2009 09:38AM)
I still remember very well an experience that happened many years ago when I was 14 years old. I gave a magic performance for a group of my older sisters friends. One of her friends, Darlene, who I had a bit of a youthful crush on, was very amazed by the coin in the matchbox which came with every Mysto Magic Set in those days. She followed me about the house for over an hour after my performance begging me to tell her the secret - all the while batting her eyelashes and using all the feminine charms at her disposal. I finally relented and, drawing her into a private corner, exposed the simple secret of the trick. I still remember the excited look of anticipation on her face and the immediate look of disappointment and disgust when she found out how utterly simple the secret was. She spit out "Oh, is that all it is?!", and spun on her heels and stalked out of the room to join the rest of her friends. When you amaze someone with a magic trick you have given them something wonderful, a rare experience they may potentially remember for the rest of their lives. When you expose the secret of your little miracle you have stolen that gift away and diminished yourself. Your friend may very well feel embarrassed with himself and annoyed with you because he was taken in by such a simple trick. I have seen this happen many times when I witnessed other "magicians" reveal their secrets after fooling their friends.

Keep your secrets. If they really and truly want to know because they have a genuine interest in learning to do magic themselves then direct them to the library and let them prove they have a sincere interest beyond just knowing how it's done.

BTW; I do not believe it is in the best interest of magic to immediately drag every Tom, Dick and Harry to your local magic club meeting at the drop of a hat just because they express the slightest interest in magic. If they are not willing to at least make a few trips to the library to check out a couple books on magic then they are not really interested and introducing them to your local IBM or SAM group before they have proven themselves cheapens magic as an art which we would all like to see taken more seriously.
Message: Posted by: epoptika (Apr 21, 2009 09:52AM)
One further thought on the subject. I believe it was Eugene Burger who pointed out that those standard replies that have been used for decades i.e., "Can you keep a secret? - So can I" and "I do it very well, thank you" should be retired as they tend to make you come off as a wise a** - although I don't doubt that a performer with the right personality might use them without causing offense. You need to be sure that you are presenting your magic as an enjoyable, shared experience of something wonderful and mysterious and not a challenge designed to make your spectator feel less intelligent than you are. They are less likely to care about the secret if you have not made them feel like a dim bulb for being mystified.

Just food for thought.
Message: Posted by: magicshayne (Apr 26, 2009 03:04PM)
Spec: how did you do that?

magi? I did it when you done that.

spec: done what

magi: when you looked away see you did it again when you look away is when I do the secret move and that's how I do everything I just wait untill every one looks away at the same time

spec: I didn't look away?

magi: well you must be cause you didn't see the secret move.

spec: What secret move

magi: exactley you see my point

and you just keep goin with this theme it gets lauhs and after a while thay get the idea.
Message: Posted by: dave_matkin (Apr 27, 2009 10:44AM)
[quote]
On 2009-04-21 10:52, epoptika wrote:
One further thought on the subject. I believe it was Eugene Burger who pointed out that those standard replies that have been used for decades i.e., "Can you keep a secret? - So can I" and "I do it very well, thank you" should be retired as they tend to make you come off as a wise a** - [/quote]

Yep!

And there us a chapter in it in scripting magic (or was it Maximum Entertainment? - I don't know --- just get both and enjoy the read and then go and use the info!).

I quite like "Thank you I'm glad you liked it" as it can often be a way of them saying "that was amazing!". Or "i practice quite a lot!"

Dave

PS NO really get both books!
Message: Posted by: alibaba (Jun 7, 2009 05:24PM)
A lot of ideas here. My stock reply is to act really ashamed and say, "I shouldn't telly you this, but it's done with mirrors." And leave it at that.
Message: Posted by: Meshuggina (Jul 9, 2009 08:35AM)
[quote]
On 2008-05-01 15:20, QED wrote:
How'd you do that?
Magic...
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: DaleTrueman (Oct 25, 2009 09:27AM)
Tell them the truth

"I cheated."
Message: Posted by: Rocketeer (Oct 29, 2009 07:46PM)
"This isn't a contest or a puzzle to figure out. It's merely an entertainment. If you're not entertained by the mystery that is magic I promise to stop inflicting my work upon you. Fair enough?"
Message: Posted by: manal (Oct 30, 2009 12:47AM)
The reply I now use I got from a thread somewhere here on the Café.
When asked I say, "It's a trick."
Message: Posted by: ruaturtle (Oct 30, 2009 06:20PM)
I say the same thing every single time... enjoy the mystery. Once you learn the secrets, you lose the enjoyment. Be amazed, be happy (not exactly true because we are all amazed when someone does something that makes us go hmmmmmm?) I am always drawn to those "adventures" that are not what the majority believe is happening...
Message: Posted by: Bambu (Nov 29, 2009 09:52PM)
When people ask you how the trick is done, what always has worked for me is to respond with another question:

Do you know how to keep a secret?

Almost always they respond: Yes...

Immediately I will say: Me too...
Message: Posted by: alibaba (Dec 2, 2009 11:28AM)
My usual reply to "how did you do that?" is to make a "thing" out of it:

"I promised not to reveal the secret, do you really want me to?"

"Yes."

"Even though I promised not to?"

"Yes."

"Well, you have a kindly face so I guess it would be all right. But are you really REALLY sure you want to know?"

"Yes."

Sigh. "Okay, then. I do it with mirrors."
Message: Posted by: funsway (Dec 12, 2009 05:56AM)
Way back, the only time I ever got asked, "how did you do that" was when I first caved in to doing a trick when someone asked. So I quit doing magic on demand. Now, I perform when, where and what I choose -- and have never been asked again.
Message: Posted by: bunkyhenry (Dec 13, 2009 01:51PM)
[quote]
On 2008-04-11 00:57, edlandau wrote:
I used to be really bad... girlfriends... family... etc. all used to want to know how tricks are done. I was soft.

Then I met a magician. I knew that if I was going to learn any more tricks, I was going to have to learn how to keep my mouth shut.

I find it hard to do so without offending my best friends...

Any suggestions on other techniques to get out of it?

-Ed
[/quote]

What I do works very well. I offer to sell it to them! After all, that is how I got it. I ask various prices $70 to $1500 and no one yet has offered to meet my price. They do not want it bad enough to pay for it. Then I lower the price a little (because I like them). Sometimes I will try hard to sell them the trick. The harder I sell, the more they resist. This technique usually stops all requests for the secret. Someone bought my firewallet once for $120 but other than that no one else has been willing to pay. To be honest, if they met my price I think I would actually sell the secret to them. After all, that's how I got it. Fire away!
Message: Posted by: lloydinessex (Dec 14, 2009 04:33PM)
When the last person asked me how I did a card trick, my response was to hand them the deck, get them to grip it tightly, close there eyes............and think happy thoughts!
The more someone asks and you turn them down, the more they want to no the secret. It's all part of the fun

OH THE POWER!!!!
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Dec 14, 2009 05:03PM)
[quote]
On 2008-04-11 00:57, edlandau wrote:
I used to be really bad... girlfriends... family... etc. all used to want to know how tricks are done. I was soft.

Then I met a magician. I knew that if I was going to learn any more tricks, I was going to have to learn how to keep my mouth shut.

I find it hard to do so without offending my best friends... family etc. My excuse: I want this magician I met to respect me (so maybe he can teach me)... and that seems to work. But it is [b]hard[/b].

Any suggestions on other techniques to get out of it?

-Ed
[/quote]

1. Make something up as a false explaination.
2. Stop performing for family and friends. They are the worst.
Message: Posted by: Jv (Dec 17, 2009 12:52AM)
Sure, I'll play along:

-"How did you do that?"

Hmmm...I don't really know?

-"How did you do that?"

"There's a trick to this?!"
Message: Posted by: Q8iMagician (Dec 18, 2009 11:03AM)
[quote]
On 2008-04-11 00:57, edlandau wrote:
I used to be really bad... girlfriends... family... etc. all used to want to know how tricks are done. I was soft.

Then I met a magician. I knew that if I was going to learn any more tricks, I was going to have to learn how to keep my mouth shut.

I find it hard to do so without offending my best friends... family etc. My excuse: I want this magician I met to respect me (so maybe he can teach me)... and that seems to work. But it is [b]hard[/b].

Any suggestions on other techniques to get out of it?

-Ed
[/quote]

I don't know what type of performance yours is, but as for me, I don't perform it as "magic." really. When I perform I do state that those are tricks, that are just for fun.

People start asking about the way it is, and I just honestly explain how knowing the method will kill the feeling of joy and wonder you get when seeing tricks, that's why magicians never tell, they want to entertain you.

It always works for me.
Message: Posted by: Jv (Dec 29, 2009 01:18AM)
Looking back at my previous posts, mine are pretty lame, haha...luckily I've never used them for a real audience!

Jv
Message: Posted by: gphrenol (Jan 19, 2010 02:49AM)
All the ideas are so great. Interesting how much the answers show the maturity and class of the performer. Of course the whole act, does but these short answers makes it a little more condensed. Neat stuff.
Message: Posted by: Magic38 (Jan 25, 2010 08:41PM)
Just tell them you would be breaking the magicians code.

Also tell them when a magician tells secret the other magicians will

make you disappear.

Humor will always make them understand you can not reveal the secret
Message: Posted by: MaxfieldsMagic (Jun 22, 2010 10:30PM)
Devin Knight has a great jumbo monte routine that I use sometimes when people keep asking "how did you do that?" I'll say, "OK, do you want to learn a trick?" They'll usually say "yes," and forget about the routine for which they requested the explanation. For the first 2/3 of Mr. Knight's routine, it appears as though you're teaching them the method to a monte routine - which, actually, you are, so it makes them feel as if they've actually gotten the peek behind the curtain that they wanted. Then at the end, you suddenly change it up and transform the jumbo into a completely different card. That last part gets no explanation. Works even better if the jumbo is a call-back to a previously selected card from another effect, and you have that volunteer blow on the back of the jumbo to make the transformation.
Message: Posted by: Paped (Jun 23, 2010 05:07AM)
How you do that?
If I tell you I must kill you :) And do happy mime.
Message: Posted by: jgazmen (Aug 6, 2010 02:15PM)
This always works for me, especially with an apologetic look:

"Sorry, I promised not to tell."
Message: Posted by: Whitewolfny (Aug 22, 2010 02:03PM)
I remember being badgered only once by a couple of teens when I was in my late teens. They wanted to know how I did the tricks so they could then go run to their girl friends to impress them with their knowledge. Although they pushed the subject of how I did the tricks, I just told them I'm sorry, I can't reveal how the tricks are done.

Most of the time, someone says to me, "How did you do that?" because what else can they say to seeing something magical happen right in front of them. If you are truly amazed at what you just saw, you're not likely to say, "That was nice," or "Cute trick." To me that means I didn't perform it well enough to impress, amaze, astound, or shock them. I take the question, "How'd you do that," to mean they were entertained and for a brief instant in back of their mind a voice told them they had just witnessed magic. So when they ask, my reply is usually something like, "Did you like that?" or "Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed that." They really don't want to know and we know if they learned how it worked, they'd lose interest in the art of magic completely.

I use my wife as a sounding board on some tricks. I recently performed NU-wave Reloaded by Alain Nu for her and her sister. My wife later told me it was a nice trick and proceeded to tell me how she thought it worked. She nearly nailed it exactly, so there was little magic there for her. However on another occasion, I did a variation of Columbni (sic?) Jumbo Coincidence for her and her reaction was, "HOW THE F***** DID YOU DO THAT??" That's how I know it's a great trick. But she still wasn't really interested in how I did the trick, it was just her reaction not knowing what else to say.
Message: Posted by: bhavz95 (Sep 1, 2010 09:30PM)
There is a really funny site
http://www.mallusionist.com

they have false explanations of so many tricks that pepole perform, so you can get some explanations off of there and say those.
for example: if you are doing a floating dollar. you say, " well I get a straw and I cut it so its an inch, then I put it in my mouth. I crumple up the dollar and I blow air through the straw so it hits precisely at the center, pushing air upward lifting the bill. I've trained myself to do it without a straw"

something as ridiculous as that always works

-bhavz95
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Sep 3, 2010 05:31PM)
[quote]
On 2008-04-11 00:57, edlandau wrote:
I used to be really bad... girlfriends... family... etc. all used to want to know how tricks are done. I was soft.

Then I met a magician. I knew that if I was going to learn any more tricks, I was going to have to learn how to keep my mouth shut.

I find it hard to do so without offending my best friends... family etc. My excuse: I want this magician I met to respect me (so maybe he can teach me)... and that seems to work. But it is [b]hard[/b].

Any suggestions on other techniques to get out of it?

-Ed
[/quote]

I usually tell them I'm sworn to secrecy, (Which I am) and I also explain to them very FRANKLY the truth that if they knew the secret they would be dissapointed and the magic and the wonder would be lost.

I mean it. I am really honest with people about that.

After all, I'm a magician, so I'm supposed to be honest right? :)
Message: Posted by: volto (Sep 14, 2010 02:50AM)
"How did you do that?"

-
"All of my magic is powered by a cunning device that consumes stupid questions and produces lies."
"Really?"
"Yes.".

- I could tell you, but I'd have to turn you into a rabbit and produce you from a hat at birthday parties. It's the law.

- (For vanishes and productions) I put it into/pulled it out of "the place between"
( http://www.amazon.com/dp/076364546X/ )

- I took a ball, and a cup, and every day, for thirty years, I practiced putting the ball under the cup and taking it out again. Then one day, I realized how utterly pointless it all was, and decided to do it with magic instead.

- As a great man once said, "It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense." Of course, he also shared a bunk with a wookie, so he may be wrong.

- The truth? Psychology, physics and practice.

- This cool guy in a mask showed me how. He's on Fox. Check him out.
Message: Posted by: KMFrye (Oct 27, 2010 07:52PM)
I just tell them "It was an illusion. And you'd be disappointed if I spoilt it for you..."
Message: Posted by: RC4MAG (Nov 4, 2010 09:24AM)
There is a very funny episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasum" where a kid does a card trick for Larry David. He asks the kid how he did the trick. The kid says "I can't tell you, magicians don't reveal the tricks". Larry says, "Your not a magician, what, you know one trick, that makes you a magician?"....etc..
He keeps pressing all episode and the kid won't tell him.
Message: Posted by: chada13 (Nov 9, 2010 10:04PM)
Two that I use:

1. I ask them if they can keep a secret. They always say, "yes". I reply, "Well so can I". Always gets a good chuckle then I move on.

2. I like to do transpo's or other effects in their hands. I make it seem like they did the magic. "you were the last one to have the cards (or coins, etc). So, I was hoping that you could tell me how you did it."
Message: Posted by: Jeff Taub (Nov 16, 2010 10:21AM)
I've told them to read the latest Harry Potter book for the secret.

Jeff
Message: Posted by: mago.niko (Nov 16, 2010 04:31PM)
If I tell you, then I'll have to kill you works fine for me.. :)
From my little experience I believe that the way you will refuse is more important than the answer.. I always try to be gentle and humorous.
Message: Posted by: Bobert (Nov 24, 2010 10:42PM)
I do something familiar to Chada 13. I'll use a trick with a lot of audience participation and then just reply. "I love a trick in which I don't do anything."

and if someone does ask how did that work...I'll tell them I don't know...works good with my character.
Message: Posted by: jem368 (Dec 25, 2010 04:52PM)
[quote]
On 2010-11-16 11:21, Jeff Taub wrote:
I've told them to read the latest Harry Potter book for the secret.

Jeff
[/quote]

Perhaps you should refer them to the stage magic of A Very Potter Musical (a theatre musical based on the Harry Potter books which has absolutely no magic in it).
Message: Posted by: kal (Feb 23, 2011 04:40PM)
"How did you do that?"

"Exactly as I planned".
Message: Posted by: MasterGracey (Mar 20, 2011 12:22AM)
[quote]
On 2010-09-01 22:30, bhavz95 wrote:
There is a really funny site
http://www.mallusionist.com

they have false explanations of so many tricks that pepole perform, so you can get some explanations off of there and say those.
for example: if you are doing a floating dollar. you say, " well I get a straw and I cut it so its an inch, then I put it in my mouth. I crumple up the dollar and I blow air through the straw so it hits precisely at the center, pushing air upward lifting the bill. I've trained myself to do it without a straw"

something as ridiculous as that always works

-bhavz95
[/quote]

This site is hilarious! Thanks for sharing. Some of those "explanations" will come in handy!
Message: Posted by: rsylvester (Mar 20, 2011 12:52PM)
[quote]
On 2008-06-14 16:16, Veneficus Cruor wrote:
How'd you do that?
1. Im a genetic freak.
2. Through years of tedious practice and self-denial
3. Camera Tricks ( only if your showing in live )
4. Pure luck.

hope these helped =D
[/quote]

LOL: No. 2 just cracked me up.

Some really great responses by everyone on this.

I also wanted to share an experience the other night that really surprised me. I did a show at my church, and the teenagers surprisingly were the ones most excited. Usually they are, like, you know, bored with everything, like. But they really enjoyed it.

Two teen girls were talking and one said, "I think I caught how you did the one with the cane (color-changing)."

"How?" her friend responded.

"Magicians don't tell how they do their tricks, and I don't think I should either."

I smiled, never found out if she knew the "real" secret, but I wanted to hug her.
Message: Posted by: jerome96114 (Mar 24, 2011 07:13AM)
[quote]
On 2008-07-13 15:09, Sir Richard wrote:
" I had to sell my soul to the devil to make that work. I'm sure he'll do the same for you; want me to give him a call?"
[/quote]

You should not use this one when you just did some Gospel-Magic, should you ? :)
Message: Posted by: djurmann (Mar 24, 2011 05:00PM)
Me? I thought YOU did it!
Message: Posted by: Mike Maturen (Mar 30, 2011 08:06AM)
[quote]
On 2008-04-13 15:22, Justin Style wrote:
I always say, "okay, take off your clothes and I'll tell you." Most people end it right there. And the ones who did take off their clothes now know the value of keeping a secret...

I am not making this up.

Try it.


Let me know what happens.
[/quote]


I'd be careful with THAT one! With my luck, the only people that would take off their clothes would be the ones that I WOULD NEVER WANT TO SEE NAKED!
Message: Posted by: ViolinKing (Jun 7, 2011 01:12PM)
[quote]
On 2008-04-23 14:07, Hearttau wrote:
Here's another one. " If I tell you, there will be a little less magic and wonder in your life. Do you really want to know?" So far, its always worked for me. Of course, there's always the old standby: " I could tell you, but then you'll disappear." The kids back off with that one. ;)
[/quote]
Thanks for the tip! Sometimes you just need humor, because they don't really want to know, they just don't know what else to say.

I believe I have a special insight, because what I do, nobody has mentioned yet.

I simply tell them.

The context here is that I am performing magic for my family and friends, and they know that I am practicing to perform for strangers. Therefore, I don't mind telling them. I want to think, in my head, as I perform, "Anyone can do this," because not only does that humble you, and make you easier to like, it also reinforces the notion that you won't fail.
[quote]
On 2008-06-14 00:28, gdw wrote:
If I told you, then I couldn't feel special that I can and you can't.
[/quote]

I feel like if they ask me how I did it, then I need to change the way I perform the trick. And simply showing how it is done humbles me for the next time. (And I have tons of tricks.)

The more humble I am, the more like-able. The more like-able I am, the less the audience focuses on being fooled. (Internally humble, not externally.)
Message: Posted by: MitchellMac (Jun 7, 2011 02:05PM)
Heres an idea

"How did you do that"
"Ok I'll tell you, listen carefully because I'm only going to tell you once"
"Ok"
"Benji"
"What??"
"Well it's too late, I'm not going to tell you again"
Message: Posted by: Mr Timothy Gray (Jun 20, 2011 01:00PM)
Francis Urquhart in the mini-series HOUSE OF CARDS had that wonderful saying, "You might very well think that -- I couldn't possibly comment."

I have a habit of convoluting the issue -- explanations offered by the audience are frequently off the mark, and it's fun to agree with them, and then offer an equally bizarre factor to the equation. Often times this leaves them just as confused, but, equally, feeling that they might be in on trick, which couldn't be further from the truth.
Message: Posted by: Rectify (Jun 23, 2011 07:53PM)
Just don't hold it over their head that you know it and they don't. It takes away the fun and also image of magic when you reveal effects.
Message: Posted by: Mr Timothy Gray (Jun 24, 2011 12:31PM)
David Berglas, in response to people asking how he did his Floating Table, would often say, "That's a very good idea. I might have to try that next time." I think that's a wonderful response.
Message: Posted by: syshacker (Jul 7, 2011 02:57PM)
[quote]
On 2010-09-01 22:30, bhavz95 wrote:
There is a really funny site
http://www.mallusionist.com

they have false explanations of so many tricks that pepole perform, so you can get some explanations off of there and say those.
for example: if you are doing a floating dollar. you say, " well I get a straw and I cut it so its an inch, then I put it in my mouth. I crumple up the dollar and I blow air through the straw so it hits precisely at the center, pushing air upward lifting the bill. I've trained myself to do it without a straw"

something as ridiculous as that always works

-bhavz95
[/quote]

Unbelievable read. I think doing it in a humorous way is always the way to go.
Message: Posted by: EldonFowler (Jul 19, 2011 03:50PM)
Reply with:

A guy said to me"How did you do that?"
I said "If I tell you, I'd have to kill you"
The guy said "Ok then....Tell my wife"

But do not use this joke with a guy when his wife is there!
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 23, 2011 06:16PM)
[quote]
On 2008-04-29 10:49, Justin Style wrote:
[quote]
On 2008-04-26 10:38, Loopback wrote:
I recently joined up with the IBM and now I just tell them I cant or the magic mafia will come after me for breaking the oath.
[/quote]

Ay, yo! Come on, there's no such thing as the [i]Mafia[/i] ;)
[/quote]


yo! Come on, There's no such thing as [i]Magic[/i] ;)
Message: Posted by: mtb (Jul 24, 2011 03:19AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-23 19:16, Howie Diddot wrote:
[quote]
On 2008-04-29 10:49, Justin Style wrote:
[quote]
On 2008-04-26 10:38, Loopback wrote:
I recently joined up with the IBM and now I just tell them I cant or the magic mafia will come after me for breaking the oath.
[/quote]

Ay, yo! Come on, there's no such thing as the [i]Mafia[/i] ;)
[/quote]


yo! Come on, There's no such thing as [i]Magic[/i] ;)
[/quote]

The magical mafia are sort of now you see them, now you don't. And they are always in the other hand.
Message: Posted by: Magic Rik (Jan 14, 2012 08:29PM)
It was 1980, I was a public school teacher and in our small town we had just started to use micro computers in the elementary school. I had been asked to drive about two hours to a neighbouring town and do a demonstration to their teachers. It was all pretty new then and I was pretty green at it.

About three quarters of the way through, I was trying to explain CPUs and RAMs and disc drives and there was a a pause. A bit of a know-it-all in the second row says out loud, so everyone could hear, "Yes, but how does it really do that? Where does it happen?" Referring to the electronics of it, the bits and bytes etc. The computer company from the big city who was sponsoring the demo had sent along a friend of mine, a geek who worked for them, but who also knew educators. He was very quietly sitting in row four. There was a longer pause because I did not know how to answer.

In a stage whisper Chris said, "Its all done in the PFM box."

The questioner turned around, looked directly at Chris and asked. "PFM box, what's that stand for?"

By now you could hear a pin drop.

Chris's soft, clear, reply was, "Pure, (little pause), Magic.


"So - "How did I do it?" - "Its all done in the PFM box"
Message: Posted by: dpalacios (Feb 1, 2012 09:10PM)
I tell them " you are so lucky to still have that feeling , and that I wish I did to. I miss the feeling of not knowing how the magic is done. your so lucky!!
Message: Posted by: pcb52 (Feb 3, 2012 01:03PM)
I just look at them smile and say secret!!
Message: Posted by: MaxfieldsMagic (Feb 14, 2012 09:34PM)
Paraphrased from the Big Bang Theory (Episode: The Prestidigitation Approximation):

"How'd you do that?"

"Hey, not knowing is part of the fun! Or, at least, that was the motto at my community college."
Message: Posted by: mndude (Feb 18, 2012 10:42AM)
[quote]
On 2008-04-12 07:04, L Trunk wrote:
Baffle them with bull.
[/quote]

Indeed! When I'm asked how I did the ion in the bottle trick, I go on talking about how glass is actually a liquid and you just need to momentarily increase the liquidity of it or a moment.
Message: Posted by: mndude (Feb 18, 2012 10:43AM)
[quote]
On 2012-02-18 11:42, mndude wrote:
[quote]
On 2008-04-12 07:04, L Trunk wrote:
Baffle them with bull.
[/quote]

Indeed! When I'm asked how I did the ion in the bottle trick, I go on talking about how glass is actually a liquid and you just need to momentarily increase the liquidity of it or a moment.
[/quote]

Whoops, that was coin
Message: Posted by: mndude (Feb 18, 2012 10:46AM)
[quote]
On 2010-09-03 18:31, daffydoug wrote:
[quote]
On 2008-04-11 00:57, edlandau wrote:
I used to be really bad... girlfriends... family... etc. all used to want to know how tricks are done. I was soft.

Then I met a magician. I knew that if I was going to learn any more tricks, I was going to have to learn how to keep my mouth shut.

I find it hard to do so without offending my best friends... family etc. My excuse: I want this magician I met to respect me (so maybe he can teach me)... and that seems to work. But it is [b]hard[/b].

Hahaha! This is wonderful!

Any suggestions on other techniques to get out of it?

-Ed
[/quote]

I usually tell them I'm sworn to secrecy, (Which I am) and I also explain to them very FRANKLY the truth that if they knew the secret they would be dissapointed and the magic and the wonder would be lost.

I mean it. I am really honest with people about that.

After all, I'm a magician, so I'm supposed to be honest right? :)
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: ibraa (Feb 24, 2012 11:38AM)
[quote]
On 2012-02-18 11:42, mndude wrote:
[quote]
On 2008-04-12 07:04, L Trunk wrote:
Baffle them with bull.
[/quote]

Indeed! When I'm asked how I did the ion in the bottle trick, I go on talking about how glass is actually a liquid and you just need to momentarily increase the liquidity of it or a moment.
[/quote]

Like this explanation lol
Message: Posted by: ibraa (Feb 24, 2012 05:37PM)
Like this explanation lol
Message: Posted by: JonesingForTruth (Sep 7, 2012 04:32AM)
[quote]I won't tell you how I did that, but I'll tell you the biggest secret in all of magic... would you like to know it?
Sure...
(whispered)Whatever magic secret you want to know, it's in a book somewhere...
All you have to do is find the book...[/quote]

This has gotta be my favorite of all time! :)
Message: Posted by: JonesingForTruth (Sep 7, 2012 04:39AM)
I really love the ones that inspire them to research... :) I actually had a magician who was visiting at a magic store have me buy a cheap little packet trick when I was a kid, and then show how utterly simple it was and how much less cool after the fact... then he said, Now do you want to keep finding out things like this... or do you want to enjoy the magic. :) When I said I wanted to keep finding out the tricks, so I could learn to do them, then he said, "Then you're not a spectator anymore... you've got a long road ahead of you... Welcome aboard" Then told me to work with the trick till I was good enough to fool people, and then buy another...

I'm still not sure if I've forgiven him ;)
Message: Posted by: ApprenticeWizard (Sep 15, 2012 03:48PM)
In my introductory remarks, I use an idea that I got from Rene Lavand. I tell my audience that I come here tonight, not just to entertain you, but to rekindle your inborn sense of wonder. I want to show you something truly amazing ... something you will never forget. Then, in my closing remarks, I come back to that idea saying, "Tonight I came here to rekindle your inborn sense of wonder. Now it is your turn to keep that flame burning brightly deep within ... so that you may once again see, as clearly as every child, the sheer wonder of it all." Later if anyone persists in asking me how something was done, I just shake my head with a disappointed expression, saying "After all our hard work to rekindle your sense of wonder, you want me to throw a pail of cold water on it now? I would never do something like that to a friend like you." Kind of makes them feel a little guilty for even asking, but they usually get the point and don't persist after that.

P.S. I also like that response about it being in a book somewhere. Got to remember that one, just in case.
Message: Posted by: thatmatt (Sep 18, 2012 12:22PM)
[quote](24) I signed a contract with the devil.[/quote]
As a Christian magician, I tell the children I signed a contract with God. The contract obliges me to keep the way the tricks are done a secret for now, but if they are good little boys and girls, when they are older I may introduce them to the world of magic...
Message: Posted by: louisk (Apr 28, 2013 02:29AM)
[quote]
On 2010-10-27 20:52, KMFrye wrote:
I just tell them "It was an illusion. And you'd be disappointed if I spoilt it for you..."
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: Remarkable Marco (Sep 22, 2013 04:56AM)
I say that I am a beginner trying to build a reputation, and do they [the spectator] want me to be kicked out of the magic community BEFORE I EVEN GET IN? By making it humorous while also guilting them a little, this line has worked well.

In other cases, I start by saying that many of my effects are simply based on psychology (I do do mentalism), and I give them a little talk about body language, subliminal suggestion, conversational hypnosis, muscle reading, etc. Then, if need be, I proceed to perform a normal mind reading effect, but sell it as body language reading ("Look, you are drawing an "O" with your body"; "The way you stand is telegraphing an "I" to me", "The way you're sitting with your arms crossed, it looks somewhat defensive, I think you chose the porcupine", etc). This offers me the chance to perform EXTRA tricks, and seems to satisfy people; they get the impression they "learned" the trick, while of course they did not, and nothing of the magic aura is lost. It also makes the experience more acceptable and enjoyable for cultured people. I managed to convince ACADEMICS that indeed I do have quasi-supernatural powers thanks to my keen understanding of human behavior (which, of course, is bull).
Message: Posted by: Remarkable Marco (Sep 22, 2013 04:56AM)
I say that I am a beginner trying to build a reputation, and do they [the spectator] want me to be kicked out of the magic community BEFORE I EVEN GET IN? By making it humorous while also guilting them a little, this line has worked well.

In other cases, I start by saying that many of my effects are simply based on psychology (I do do mentalism), and I give them a little talk about body language, subliminal suggestion, conversational hypnosis, muscle reading, etc. Then, if need be, I proceed to perform a normal mind reading effect, but sell it as body language reading ("Look, you are drawing an "O" with your body"; "The way you stand is telegraphing an "I" to me", "The way you're sitting with your arms crossed, it looks somewhat defensive, I think you chose the porcupine", etc). This offers me the chance to perform EXTRA tricks, and seems to satisfy people; they get the impression they "learned" the trick, while of course they did not, and nothing of the magic aura is lost. It also makes the experience more acceptable and enjoyable for cultured people. I managed to convince ACADEMICS that indeed I do have quasi-supernatural powers thanks to my keen understanding of human behavior (which, of course, is bull).
Message: Posted by: Steven Webb (Nov 23, 2013 09:54AM)
I don't know if I have anything to add but this thread is brilliant and I thank all the contributors. The "It is in a vook" line is freaking brilliant!
Message: Posted by: Jinx18 (Nov 24, 2013 09:09AM)
Yes great thread. When I was very new I made the mistake of telling some basic tricks. The look of disappointment on there face was enough to stop doing that and these suggestions are great.
Message: Posted by: Maxy (Jan 11, 2014 02:27AM)
Very useful thread :)
U can reply them by doing any trick where the spectator do all the work on it without you touch anything and surprisingly he will do the magic by himself. Pretend like you don't know how it is done and say him ( It is amazing, how you did it ?) .
Many of self working tricks can make your spectator looks like a magician.
For family members and friends be honest and say them ( If I told you how it is done will be no magic at all and all my weeks of practicing will rendered to waste of time).
Or you can do magic with confusing series of slights and teach them after difficult methods for what it looks like same slights in a boring manner like a real bad teacher without exposing the real work so they will feel bored,sleepy and they will never ask you again :) Bad teachers always use big ambiguous terms and names which are unknown for students and puzzle them more because they don't know what he talks about:)
Message: Posted by: Russ P. (Jan 16, 2014 02:51AM)
I give a horrible stupid explanation that even comic book writers would say is to far fetched. Something so obviously fake that it can't be that.

An example:

I was levitating a ring for my coworkers and everyone of them asked me how it was done after. I responded "It has to do with the centrifugal force of the earth's spin in relation to something above us (we were inside) that has to weigh at least three hundred thousand pounds for it to have enough gravitational pull to actually pull the ring towards it a bit."

Everyone got a giggle out of it's absurdity and it was clear that I wasn't interested in telling.
Message: Posted by: 1KJ (Jan 28, 2014 10:44PM)
Recently, I have been reading the book "Scripting Magic" by Pete McCabe. He takes an interesting position on this question.

The most typical answers are:
"Very well, thank you." or
"Can you keep a secret?.. So can I."

The question is.. did these responses bring you closer to your audience or further apart?
He suggests these might be the worst answers ever! you might as well just say to them "Go *#&@ yourself."

The reason is: Your objective is to entertain, not to come across as a pompous ***.

He suggests other responses (some of which have been noted in this thread):

"I practice a lot."
"Did you like that? .. Let me show you something else I think you'll like."
"My grandfather taught me that when I was ten years old."
"I practice a lot.. my shrink says it's good for me to keep my hands busy."

These are examples of responses that might bring you closer to your audience. Whether it's humorous, endearing, or otherwise, try to think of your own responses that might bring you closer to your audience instead of driving a wedge between you.

All the best,

KJ
Message: Posted by: RajeshLGov (Jan 30, 2014 05:16AM)
The only apt answer I give is "U enjoy Classical music or dance when you know more about it. For that matter any art is enjoyable if your knowledge of the same is more, but for MAGIC. Magic is the only art that you enjoy the most when you know the least about it"
Best Wishes, Raj.
Message: Posted by: n.carlson1987 (Feb 7, 2014 04:42PM)
I know this post is old, but I still wanted to reply. I really love the idea of getting them interested in magic, make them do the research and practice tricks, rather than just seeing how it is done. Also depending on the trick I will say I'll show you how it is done, but do a different trick. Linking rubber bands, to crazy mans handcuffs, both entail rubber bands, but two completely different methods. If I am doing a card to pocket, Ill do it again show them me taking a card to my pocket, it being the wrong card then produce it else where. I also love the classic response of "Very Well".
Message: Posted by: Johannes L. (Feb 16, 2014 09:33AM)
Just say no until it bores them out
Message: Posted by: ihave (Mar 28, 2014 12:06PM)
5 min google it seems turns up the how was it done on any trick illusion nowdays.
Message: Posted by: Shy (Apr 2, 2014 05:40PM)
Just give a fake explanation

for example, if you just found their card tell them that you memorized the order of the cards.

if you vanished a coin, just tell them that if you imagine and belive that the coin is gone it really dissappear.

if you made any kind of prediction, tell them that you used hypnosis to secretly suggest the card, the object or whatever you just predicted

However these are just cheap examples, it's up to you if you want to use them
Message: Posted by: lelando (Apr 9, 2014 04:34PM)
[quote]
On May 1, 2008, QED wrote:

How'd you do that?
I won't tell you how I did that, but I'll tell you the biggest secret in all of magic... would you like to know it?
Sure...
(whispered)Whatever magic secret you want to know, it's in a book somewhere...
All you have to do is find the book...

that way, if they have a true interest in magic, they will make the effort to seek it out... if not, they don't deserve to know...
[/quote]

This may just be the best answer in the whole thread. (That said, I know I still have several pages of posts to read, since I'm quoting something on pg.1 of 7. But the bar has been set, and it's high.)
Message: Posted by: lelando (Apr 9, 2014 05:04PM)
[quote]
On Feb 18, 2012, mndude wrote:
[quote]
On 2008-04-12 07:04, L Trunk wrote:
Baffle them with bull.
[/quote]

Indeed! When I'm asked how I did the ion in the bottle trick, I go on talking about how glass is actually a liquid and you just need to momentarily increase the liquidity of it or a moment.
[/quote]

If you aks me, this is actually a good idea for patter [i]during[/i] the trick.
Message: Posted by: SD Houston (Apr 10, 2014 12:56PM)
Just starting out doing magic, I've recently learned the general suckiness of revealing the secret of a magic trick to a a couple of friends. Not a mistake I'll be making again for sure, and these are some really great suggestions, so thanks, folks!
Message: Posted by: slyhand (Apr 11, 2014 08:21PM)
[quote]
On Apr 10, 2014, SD Houston wrote:
Just starting out doing magic, I've recently learned the general suckiness of revealing the secret of a magic trick to a a couple of friends. Not a mistake I'll be making again for sure, and these are some really great suggestions, so thanks, folks!
[/quote]

Good for you! Telling them is disappointing them.
Message: Posted by: Vangel (Apr 19, 2014 08:16AM)
I tell them this and it works everytime, keeping the audience entertained:

Audience: So how did you do it?
Me: *Keep quiet*
Audience: Did you do this or is he also in on the trick?
Me: Do you really want to know how I did it?
Audience: Yes, tell me!
Me: OK I'll tell you but you need to keep it a secret
Audience: Ok I won't tell anyone
Me: I did it... *pause*
Audience: Yes?
Me: With magic!

...other times I just tell them I'm an alien
Message: Posted by: tstrong2 (Apr 20, 2014 11:00PM)
Sometimes it is fun and entertaining to hear some of the theories that the audience has about how a trick was done. I was performing a Silver Scepter routine and one kid thought that there was a remote control for the wand in the case that I was spinning. The rest of the audience agreed with the theory. So, I entertained the idea and had the child spin case for me. It was entertaining watching them searching for a secret button while trying to spin the case. I had the audience where I wanted them. I maintained control of the situation. Everyone had fun. And no secrets were revealed. The whole purpose is to be entertaining. Showmanship is much more difficult to learn than the secret to any trick.

I recently discovered some of the work of Tommy Cooper. A brilliant British Comedian that knew how to work the audience. He died on stage in 1984 during a live televised performance and the audience was laughing and applauding, thinking it was all part of his act. He used magic tricks more as props for his comedy, doing most magic tricks so poorly that it became slapstick and often exposed the secret. The oaths to most of the societies make their members promise never to do things like that.

The interaction with the audience is what you want. Someone asking, especially any boy over 10, is normal. I would be more inclined to tell them something more positive. "I have been sworn to secrecy. I cannot tell; however, I can tell you that the secret to many wonderful magic tricks can be found at your local library." Encouraging them to pursue their interests, or read books.
Message: Posted by: lopike (May 18, 2014 03:28AM)
Revealing a trick takes out the amazement of them as well. That being said it is hard to fend from the peer pressure.
Message: Posted by: Intrepid (May 20, 2014 07:16AM)
[quote]On Feb 18, 2012, mndude wrote:
I usually tell them I'm sworn to secrecy, (Which I am) and I also explain to them very FRANKLY the truth that if they knew the secret they would be dissapointed and the magic and the wonder would be lost.

I mean it. I am really honest with people about that.
[/quote]
Perfect. People respect sincerity.
When a spectator (and even other magicians) ask "how you did that", that's their way of saying that they really liked what you showed them. A simple smile and a "did you like that?" is my typical response. When they say "Yes", I thank them or ask if they would like to see another. At which point you can move into your next trick or tell them when and where you'll be performing next, etc.
Message: Posted by: magicdave56 (May 20, 2014 04:18PM)
One of Micheal Ammar lines is. if I tell me then I have to kill you.
Message: Posted by: 1KJ (May 22, 2014 10:33AM)
I think the personality you create for your magic should dictate your response. For example, if you play the part of someone just fumbling through magic like Dave Williamson, then continue with that approach in answering the "how did you do it?" question with an answer like "I have no clue." This sort of response would work well for someone like Aldo Colombini.

If you are a bit more sophisticated in your presentation, like Michael Ammar who is casual, but not playing the part of a fumbling clown, then a joke like "I could tell you, but I'd have to kill you.", followed by a laugh and moving on to something else works well.

Think about different magicians, what their personality is, and how they might answer the question. Then think about your personality and how you might answer it.

I think that one thing that most good responses have in common is they tend to be more humorous than serious.

KJ
Message: Posted by: bignickolson (Jul 16, 2014 02:53PM)
Depending on the situation I've taken advantage of my surroundings, which can work especially well with card tricks. If someone is wearing glasses, or a window or reflective surface nearby I'll drop hints that I was just looking at the reflection. Then I try to followup with something that's obviously not helped at all with reflections to add to the mystery.

Or I'll also tell them I can feel the ink on the cards, using the nice little method of peeking at the face of card with the back held to you. I've literally had a group of people all feeling cards, to see if they could do it too. After they gave up and asked, "Is that really how you do it?" I'll just go, "Nope." and that's usually enough to end it.

But as others have said it needs to be done in a friendly manner. You want to fool them, not make them fools.
Message: Posted by: Mike Gilbert (Nov 20, 2014 07:14AM)
If someone wants you to tell them how something is done, just tell them you accept PayPal lol :p
Message: Posted by: Rook (Nov 20, 2014 02:31PM)
I can't help sometimes stealing a line from Burt Wonderstone. I lean forward and conspiratorially whisper "It's partially deboned."

It makes no sense most of the time (imagine that with a card trick), but they tend to drop the subject afterward.

-Tom
Message: Posted by: Mike Gilbert (Nov 20, 2014 08:33PM)
Brilliant, Rook! :D
Message: Posted by: ummer21 (Nov 22, 2014 06:51PM)
Occasionally if you do the trick when people are around they might catch you. When they think they know some of the sleights they ask for the rest of the info ont he trick I never give it to them. If you give them your secrets you lose all credibility and they will find your tricks bothersome in the future. I have learned that with my co workers. The one sI alwsy try out new tricks on find me annoying, but the ones I usually don't see often after I have mastered a trick pretty well find me pretty entertaining.
Message: Posted by: DeceptionStunts (Dec 10, 2014 01:23PM)
Especially with card magic, I always pretend I'm showing them how the last trick is done and move directly into another trick. Gets them every time and they love it.
Message: Posted by: ummer21 (Dec 15, 2014 06:55PM)
I have to admit a few students figured out the disappearing water cup Monte and all I could do was shrug.
Message: Posted by: skullfoot13 (Dec 28, 2014 11:40PM)
From one of the greatest magic books/authors Henry Hay,he quotes John Mulholland, 1. I promised not to tell or 2. Well I do it mostly with wire's and mirrors,I sometimes surprise myself.
Message: Posted by: Rook (Jan 4, 2015 12:21AM)
On a related note, after a show a couple of weeks ago, a child sidled up to me grinning from ear to ear:

"I know how you do all of your magic!"

"You do?"

She merely smiled and nodded her head.

I leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially "Don't tell anyone."
Message: Posted by: TheMagicHacker (Sep 2, 2015 11:49AM)
I know that I saw Penn and Teller on some talk show (I think it was the Today Show, but I don't remember). They did some card magic, the hosts were amused, and they asked "Will you tell us how that's done?" Penn did a good job of using humor to diffuse the situation by exclaiming fairly enthusiastically "Absolutely I will! How much cash do you have on you?"
Message: Posted by: RogerTheShrubber (Sep 3, 2015 07:45AM)
I tend to give an implausible explanation, such as "Did you see me handle the cards by the edges? I wiped them all down before the trick and knew which one was yours by spotting the fingerprints." This actually works more often than not, and provides the additional benefit of allowing you to picture the poor sap trying it at home.

But when really pressed by someone who won't let it go, I tell him that my grandfather taught me the trick and made me promise never to give the secret away. Since I'm obviously, visibly too old to have any surviving grandparents, the answer I usually get is "He'll never know." I reply with "But I will. Sorry, but the answer is no." That always ends the conversation. If you can get away with the humorous approaches elsewhere in this thread, more power to you, but they don't tend to work for me.
Message: Posted by: agilulfe (Sep 4, 2015 08:15AM)
I used to telle jokes such as "
- can you tell me how it is done ?
- do you know how to keep a secret ?
- yes
- so do I "

But I do not do it any more because some people are asking by frustration and some other by a real interest in magic. What counts is to make the distinction
Now I explain that I agree to give the secret if the person asks me again in two week. And if it happens (very rarely) I give references.
Message: Posted by: jmbulg (Sep 11, 2015 09:08AM)
It depends on with whom I am; with some kids, sometimes I explain very very simple effects and conclude that this is already a first magic lesson and for more advanced effects they will need to find a good teacher and that only he will tell you the magic secrets as one is not allowed to expose them to the public.

For other people I pretend sometimes to explain a trick,which eventually goes completely wrong when they interact with the cards but ends with another climax which seems magical.
Message: Posted by: markcall (Sep 28, 2015 10:32AM)
My WIFE is about the only one I let IN as she watches me PRACTICE and you need someone you can TRUST when attemopting a new trick. My friends will drive me nuts and I have learned to say "Can't you just enjoy it" and I will show you more.