The joy of the Self-Worker

Hi all

I hope the card magic practice is going well and that life is good.

I feel I may have been a little unclear in my last post regarding the difficulty of sleights and their importance in card magic. So here I would like to address the flip side of that coin.

The joys of the easy magic trick.

Think of the first time you perform a card trick in public. For some of you this may not have happened yet and for many of you this may have been quite some time ago. But really try to remember how it feels, or may feel. For me it was scary! In fact I have performed hundreds of card tricks in public, but I still get really nervous when taking a new routine out for the first time. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but the old fear is still there. Questions go through my mind and not many of them are positive.

What if the trick get’s no reaction?
What if I forget my lines?
What if my hands shake?
What if I get all sweaty and look nervous?

(By the way, all these things have happened to me many, many times and it’s never as bad as you think it’s going to be). I have methods to help quieten these negative thoughts, but they still pop up every now and then to remind me not to get too comfy.

Now imagine that the trick is really difficult, this adds another level as I then have to deal with added challnge of the move and the fact that the thing may go completely wrong. My chances of success have diminished even further (in my mind at least).

After countless conversations with many magicians, I’m not alone here and if you never experience this fear, I envy you, you lucky bugger.

So let’s give ourselves a break and a little breathing space in our magic to enable us to get our personalities across and perform. I presume we would all like to provide our audiences with the experience of magic and it would be nice to know that they are going to get it, and there is no nicer feeling that if all of the above horrible things happen – don’t worry, they won’t – the magic trick will still work. We have the knowledge that we have a lovely self-worker on our hands that will result in the spectator being amazed even if we are all over the place in our presentation. This will then provide us with the confidence for the next time, and so begins the wonderful process of improvement.

In the last post I mentioned the importance of not ignoring a trick or sleight because it seems difficult. However, it’s just as important not to steer away from tricks with an easy method. I have lost count of the times I have seen a trick performed, been amazed, and then discounted the trick because the method was so simple. And I have met many other who have done the same.

The important thing here is not to get tied up in the method at all but to ask yourself two questions:

What do you want your audience or spectator to experience?
What you will enjoy performing?

For me you have to hit both of these in a performance but for fun, I learn loads of flourishy stuff just for the joy of it. More on this in a future post.

When you next pick up your deck, try to approach the practice with a completely open mind and experiment with everything and if you like a move, go for it and enjoy the challenge. Method is irrelevant to the spectator, so don’t get hung up on it. Just make sure you are enjoying yourself and most of the time, they will too.

Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)


  1. Tony Walker
    4 years ago

    Just thought I would add that your video on the one handed palm is excellent and has great advice. The moving of the card slightly to the right does the trick. So many books out the have you pushing the card straight forward. For me this was useless as with the best will in the world I do not have enough strength in my right hand pinkie to do this. Being left-handed makes this even more difficult so the tip of moving sideways and forwards is excellent. Still got a lot of work to do on it but I feel I can now have a go where as before I just gave up in frustration.


    • Steve Faulkner
      4 years ago

      That’s really good to hear Tony and thanks for your comments. I reckon you’ll crack it and it can be so frustrating can’t it. I have spent so long learning out of books that have told me that there is only one way to do certain moves. The key for me was to understand that all of us are different and we should take all instructions and adapt them to our own physiology. Easier said than done I know. I’m really glad this has helped you and it’s good to have you onboard.