Lecture Clip - Russ Stevens
Taken from the opening
page to The Russ Stevens Lecture
When I started in magic I decided to learn the basic techniques of sleight of hand first, before moving onto what I, at the time, considered to be the more "serious stuff". This was a necessity as financial funds were extremely limited back then! It was the best move that I ever made even though I didn't realise it at the time.
Over the years I have built up to my own full evening illusion show, featuring a company of dancers, technicians and hi-tech moving light systems. Despite this I get more comments about my card manipulation sequence than any other part of my show. The audience's basic perception of this routine is that it has required practice and years of self-denial! For this reason it is a part of my show that I always perform as it lets the audience know that I am a "real magician."
Unfortunately, over the past few years many acts have appeared (as if by magic) performing large scale illusions. Most of these are very very poor, in both execution and performance, and are nearly always an exact copy of a more established performer. Experience has shown me that these people always only ever attain a certain level and most of the time vanish without a trace a few years later. Please note that I have not called them "Magicians," as this they most certainly are not. Almost every one has merely brought the illusions (which are nearly always unauthorised copies) and learnt how to merely operate them. Ask them to perform a single piece of manipulation, or anything that requires the remotest amount of skill, and they will tell you that people just want to see the illusions. They dread practice of any kind! This is most certainly their downfall, before they have even begun. They have made the common, misjudged mistake of thinking that illusions are easy to perform. Illusions are easy to perform badly is the truer statement. With any business you must learn the basics first, before moving onto other areas which require more knowledge and experience. If I were to give any advice it would be to learn the basics first and give yourself a proper grounding in the magic and theatrical arts. Then move onto the larger stuff and develop your own style and be your own performer and not a copy.
The last few years have seen many TV "Magic Specials" with people merely operating boxes and little else. No wonder the Masked Magician has became so successful, these shows make the viewer interested in only the secret. Well performed and presented magic is about more than that.
© Russ Stevens, October 2000