In our 7th installment of our Magic Theory Blog series, we visit Liderc's thoughts on time... namely, Timing, Pacing, and Time Misdirection. You'll find the original forum post and thread here.
Let us talk about Time...
I don't know if many magicians really understand the importance of Timing, Pacing, and Time Misdirection.
How do you time your routine? Trivial as it may sound it has great impact.
How do you time your words? Your actions? How do you time your movement?
Have you ever seen a performance that felt choppy? With no flow? Some things were done fast, some slow?
You want to have an even "timing" to start with so you can use speeding up and slowing down as a dynamic thing. to create mood and tension.
Does everything have a beat? How many beats do you hold? How is your voice rhythm?
How can you judge a slow... intense... reading... versus... a fast one, when your timing is all over the place? You need even ground upon which to build a solid structure.
How do you pace your routines? One after another? Do you have a lull in between? Do you do one effect, then have a chat with the audience, then go into another one? Do you jump from an ACR to mentalism, to a coin trick?
Pacing is important. It's creating an easy to follow line for the spectators to be able to follow and understand. Whats the motivation and why? Why would you go from mentalism, into a sandwich, do a 3 fly, and then another piece of mentalism?
Do you give your audience enough time to react? Do you even let them react? Do you know your not giving them enough time to react?
Most people are afraid of not doing something. Some people are afraid to let them react... let them get in everything and take it all in.. and then lead them on another path.
That's why you see some magicians always talking.. always trying to make them laugh or something, but making them uncomfortable is good at times, as long as "you" are in control of the situation and you know where and what you're doing.
I don't believe a lot of people fully understand time misdirection, and use it to their advantage.
It is not "Misdirection" in the sense of directing attention from a "move." Rather, it is directing them away from an action through the passing of time. You want to disconnect their mind from an action to a move by giving them time to focus on something else, and then when you go to do your "move" the focus is now on that, and it disconnects the two actions.
Now this is something I detest...
Getting a break from the back of the deck with your thumb pulling up two cards, and then turning it over right away..
If you're serious about cards learn a Pinky Count, from the top and bottom.
Not trying to take the Piss out of anyone.. in fact Harry Lorayne gets his breaks like that. Many magicians do get their break like that. But most of the time it has no motivation... why do you fiddle with the pack right before you turn it over, why do you lift up some cards and then turn over right away?
See the questions it raises?
Lets say you do get your break like that (please with some kind of motivation), then, using "Time Misdirection" let them focus on something else, i.e. another thought.
Then, when you turn over the cards, the two actions have no connection. Now they focus on the card they're seeing and forget about the fiddling you did a earlier.
That's a small example, lets try another...
You have someone write something down for a peek, you take the piece back for a second, hand it back, and then reveal... you can see where that one is going...
You need Time Misdirection to get the their focus away from what you did.
Have them write something down. Take it.. now this paper is not see through.. you can't see through it right? Right, okay good.. I don't even want to touch it, keep it safe. Then, go into a reading, or something.. get the mood away from you holding the paper... there are even key-words you could say to remind them they have been holding it the entire time. Then, eventually, slowly, get to the reveal.