There are a couple of ways a magical effect could be figured out when someone knows nothing about magic, and when a magician would go about explaining it. Laymen would without going into detail, say ‘aaah!’ I know that something up sleeves or that box is special for magic, or that it is done by sleight of hand, etc. Second way as magicians would do it; correct terminology! That’s double undercut or it’s Million Dollar Mystery or Dual Reality. A magic consultant helps you out from both of the situation.
You as a tv magic show producer might wonder why would I need a director for a magic act. We need a magician and a camera crew! That’s it! Here’s why a consultant would help you hand over a show, that would defy a solution both for a know all magician watching the show, and also general public!! A real surprise! Magicians are sloppy sometimes, many are!! You can see hundreds around doing clumsy double lift or useless steals for an egg! People normaly wont be fooled if they know even a slightest fumble. People will see a hidden object and seconds later they think how it’s done! Magic over! Even if that object forms just one percent of the entire effect. Consultants make sloppy magicians into ace talents!
Now talking of magicians watching the show, and they do form a large part of a televised magic show TRP. And magicians think themselves fooled, and remember real magician do love being fooled, when they fail to figure out in complete detail, the workings! For example, if they know four methods of vanishing a girl and if the consultant you hired makes available 2 more techniques to vanish a lady!!. You can imagine the impact your show can have. It could be talk of the city and a topic for debate among chat shows. Big cities do have a chat show where they invite celebrity magicians for a cup of tea. This would spark added accolade for your TV Magic Show which could have been impossible if you were using just a magician and a camera team.
Now let me take you to the real depth of how a magic show director or consultant may polish up a stale magic show and help your show and the performer you have on the show. A consultant would help you devise a clever and memorable format for your show. Just letting a camera shoot a street performance or a staged studio magic is boring! How if he helps you turn a show into magic talent contest?
Or where magic happens to totally unsuspecting street walkers, or inside a scary room. A candid camera type show where instead of usual pranks, magical things happen to them and you shoot the act! For example a customer sitting at a hotel lounge sees into a room window where a lady visually turns into a witch! And you shoot the reaction for TV audience. From planning to setup to execution – all in a perfect way.
Besides helping with show format he can help you in all aspects of production. Ranging from deceptive lightings, to camera angles and positions, to editing footage for maximum impact. As he knows magic better than your average magician. For example, I have worked with a regional language TV channel where I was consultant for a beginner magician and I helped him channel producer with effects selections, prop management, scripting the and and giving tips for proper shooting. The show got real accolades and sponsors too!
Let’s see what makes a magic show a good thing for TV production: production, happiness, and pure thrill of impossibillities. Magicians tend to focus solely on their tricks and less on audience reactions, their anticipations, their dreams. What they really want to see! Consultants can help them with timing of misdirection and possibillities of extreme magic. By timing of misdirections I mean choreographic misdirection. Attention control is single most important factor in any worthy magic effect. A magician usually spends most of the time perfecting his manipulative skills and moves neeeded. This makes them pay less focus on the equally overall things in a magic show.
Scripting is also a crucial aspect of a show which a consultant can help you with. When I help magicians one of the first things I always ask is if they have some rundowns for me. And: no one has. Rundowns are a line-up of all the basical things you need for your act. Everyone needs to have that!I find it completely unbelievable if a magician doesn’t have something on writing about his act. He can tell what illusions he does, but he can’t even hand me that on paper! A promptbook a script of your acts and shows. Promptbooks are used in the entertainment industry for theatre plays, musicals, concerts and other large stage productions. If you have a large stage: make your promptbook!!! I would suggest separate promptbooks for every act. Prompting is necessary when you have a stageshow with several assistants and stagehands. If you need people for the sound and light effects and have several stage hands then all you need to hand them is the promptbook of the show. It will tell them what to do. It makes practising much easier, your whole life gets more relaxed when you have a map with prompts.
A consultant can help you realize that for audience the effect is important and not the methods. He can help you achieve the same effect using cost effecive way. Thus helping you in budget resources. For example, if a magician wants to spend thousand to perform a sawing illusion with a motorised buzz saw, a good consultant can help you get the same sawing in half illusion using less expensive way. He will make you think rubber band linking effect is equally impressive on a screen as is a floating lady. Black art and black light techniques can add immensly to this kind of platform. Cheap and effective. So hiring a magic director will nog only help you in production but also post editing scenario. As TV is a good platform for entertainment so is magic. And the combination of both could be dramatic pleasure.