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What are 'small' tricks ... and, how do you make them 'big'?

Just how big does a magic trick have to be to be 'big'? Tricks literally come in all shapes and sizes. There can be tricks performed in the fingertips with things like grains of rice and there can be huge illusions that are performed out in the open using things like aircraft, world landmarks ... or, even the moon!

Well, what makes a magic trick 'big'? Is it the physical scale of the apparatus used, or is it something else?

They say that the real secret of magic is in the performance. I believe this to be true, but I also believe that the scale and impression of a magic trick also lies in the performance. I have seen grand scale illusions performed that haven't produced much reaction at all, but I have also seen (and performed) smaller, close-up effects that have produced incredible responses from the audience.

I have recently been filming more for my social media platforms, particularly for TikTok, but I have been struggling with finding tricks that I feel would work for the camera - in other words, tricks that would be effective without an audience reaction. It's been difficult, but interesting. I have found myself relying on 'smaller' tricks that don't require much in the way of practice or preparation. Small, kids tricks in plastic kits, like the ones I started out with. I initially thought that these types of tricks wouldn't get much attention, but it turns out that, for the most part, I was wrong.

Tenyo, the Japanese magic company, still provide some very effective magic tricks and I started out with many of them. They are very visual effects that are well made, but generally quite easy to practice and set up. I think tricks like Tenyo are ideal for platforms like TikTok.

But, this still doesn't explain what makes a magic trick 'big'. As my TikTok video collection grows, I have noticed that one or two videos gain a lot more attention than others. Right now, there is one video that I posted a few months back and, so far, it has gained over 400,000 views and growing! Thing is, it's not even a trick, it's a puzzle. Some of my other videos have barely gathered 500 views and those are the ones with magic tricks!

So, what is it about the performance that can make a magic trick 'big'? Well, some would say that 'patter' is important. I use patter in my repertoire and it works well for me, it engages the audience and I can make them laugh. I think storytelling is also a great way of sizing up a magic trick, even if it's close-up. I think we're all familiar with that old card trick about the four bank robbers (Kings). It's basically just using four cards and making them jump to the top of the pack, but look at how that trick becomes so much bigger and better with an exciting heist story. I used to love that trick as a child, still do.

So, I shall continue experimenting with these types of tricks on TikTok and coming up with ways of making them 'bigger' for the camera, but one thing will always be on my mind -

Could these so called 'small' tricks, like the ones from Tenyo, qualify as something bigger and grab the same kind of attention as - say - making the moon disappear?

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