My friend Professor Al Leonidas is, by profession, a college professor. He teaches Sociology at Miriam College.
Like many people in the academe, he possesses a brilliant mind. Not surprisingly, he has erudite knowledge about many things. Conversing with him and picking his brains for knowledge to fill the gaps in my coconut shell is always an enjoyable, educational traipsing.
I’m writing about Professor Al today because of his ardent love of magic. Although a college a professor, he is an avid student of the art of magic. Possessing a child-like appetite to learn everything about magic, he is also blessed with an innate sense of humor, which, I suspect, he is not aware of.
Occasionally, Prof. Al would drop me messages and shoot me questions difficult enough to stump geniuses. I don’t know why he turns to me every time something about performing magic baffles him. I suspect he thinks I know all the answers.
Actually, there are things I don’t know. It’s just that he has not yet asked the questions about whose answers I don’t know.
Lately, I’ve been reviewing some of Prof. Al’s messages to me. I found a few notes from him containing questions that I may not have answered satisfactorily.
Here is one of those questions. I’ve answered it some time ago somewhat perfunctorily. Let me answer it again today—this time more completely.
Question to Leodini: I made a mistake. I cut open the throw streamer ahead of time, when I was reaching for it in my pocket the whole caboodle has spread already. What should I do in this situation?
Dear Prof. Al,
You can do two things.
First, don’t use throw streamers. Every Tom, Dick and Harry named Pablo, Juan, and Pedro is using it. Be distinctive. Don’t follow the herd.
I don’t. I never have and will never use throw streamers in my shows. Two reasons: one, throw streamers, the way most magicians use them, are special effects, not magic. Two, throw streamers are used by 99.99% of magicians in the Philippines. The .01% who doesn’t use it is Leodini.
By not using the throw streamer, I’ve distinguished myself. I’ve differentiated myself from competitors. I’ve made myself unique.
If you want to be a professional magician, positioning yourself as someone unique is an excellent marketing strategy.
If, however, differentition is not your priority, then by all means use throw streamers in your show and be indistinguishable from everybody. But use throw streamers carefully.
The simple corrective measure to the mistake you made is this: Don’t cut open the throw streamer ahead of time. That way, they don’t spill inside your pocket before you need them.
Second, if by the time you are ready to deploy it you find out it has already spilled out of its bundle, then reach for another throw streamer packet, one that is still unopen. Do it without calling attention to what you are doing.
Third, if you have not prepared a reserved packet, abort performing the trick.
Fourth, keep smiling and don’t give your audience any sign you just messed up a trick.
Fifth, go to the next trick in the program. Move on without beating your chest or batting an eye.
Those are five tips, not two as promised, so you just got bonus tips from me.
Ain’t you glad Leodini is your friend?