– What is going on– Mr. Williamson?
– What’s up? Ow. You got quite a grip there. – I’ve been working out,
have you not noticed? – I did not notice that, no. – It’s probably because– – Until you squeezed my hand. – So. (laughing) We are here with the very talented,
– Don’t overdo it. – And very handsome,
– Handsome. – David Williamson,
who, if you do not know, stop this video right now. I swear to God.
– Yeah. Go watch America’s Most Wanted.
(laughing) – Tell us a little bit about–
– Thank you. – Yourself. I mean, I’m sure everybody
knows who you are. But what is, why do you do magic? What, can you tell us
anything about, like, your thoughts on performing? On how you got started? Why you like it? Why you don’t like it.
– Well, why do we all do it? I don’t know. It’s a cry for help. It fills that big, black hole, you know, in our childhood. Did you do it since you were a kid? Did you start it when you were little? – Yeah, but I’ve had phases, like, a clown came to my birthday
party when I was five years old and, you know, the sponge balls, – Then therapy? – And I of course liked it, right? (chuckling) But he touched me as well. No, I’m just kidding.
– Yeah, show me where he touched you.
(chuckling) I got hooked early on, and I met–. I think the big moment was
when my mom dropped me off at the Abbott’s Magic Convention when I was 13 years old. Me and another kid from Cincinnati, and she said, “See ya.” And she just drove up to
Wisconsin and left us there with a pup tent. That was the greatest
weekend of my life, you know? We just had to fend for ourselves, we were like two little
sewer rats running around following people around. – That was great. – And then my dad used to
drive me down to the TAOM every summer because,
– Nice. – He had a brother down there. So he’d drop me off and take off. So I got to see a lot of
magicians in my formative years. You know, 13, 14, 15,
16, all my teenage years. I was always at conventions. My mom would sometimes
put me on Greyhound buses to go down to South Carolina,
or someplace at St. Louis to a magic convention. – The community nowadays
is so much different than it was back then. – Online is amazing, right?
– Yeah. Because now people, all
they know is online. People, all they know is,
– Yeah. – These videos and things like that. – Although I’m encouraged,
because I’ll see online videos of things like
Cardistry-Con, or Magic-Con, you know, where young guys– ‘Cause most magic
conventions, let’s be honest, it’s white-haired guys. At least, it was for years and years. – Do you have any thoughts
on where the magic community now is going? Is it in a bad direction? Is it a just different direction? – Different. I don’t put any value, good
and bad, on change like this. I think magic has such a solid foundation of centuries, right? That I don’t think there’s a bad direction that it’s going in. I think it’s different, and maybe that threatens some people who are very comfortable
in their existence. Not me, I love it, I think it’s exciting. I think magic gets stagnant sometimes and you need a boost of– – A revival. – A revival.
– Yeah. – And it goes in different,
exciting directions. ‘Cause like, just thinking
about card magic, again, and all the young guys like you, and just all the exciting
people that are in magic now. – I’m getting old.
– It’s just inspiring me. Yeah, you’re an old man now.
– So many young guys now. – The internet accelerates that. I mean, back in the day, in
order for T. Nelson Downs to learn what the hell Ferdinand was doing he’d write a letter. And I guess, “Well, maybe in six months “when I travel to New York,” you know, by stage coach, whatever (laughs), by train,
– Yeah. – I might, he may be, you know. And maybe every six months, or few months, a secret will be passed between two guys who lived on different coasts, or who were traveling around. They were better at keeping secrets. But today, the next morning,
some kid in Indonesia this move has been crowd
hacked and improved, do you know what I mean? To the point of perfection
in a few hours, it’s amazing. – Yeah, and I think that’s how learning becomes not only easier, but– I think you become more
creative by getting ideas from here, here, and
there, if you have a slew of comments–
– Oh yeah. – Of,”What if you do this? “What if you do that?” – It’s a super session,
it’s incredible, yeah. – One question that I have
really for everybody is, what’s really the creative process in not only creating new tricks, but bringing out your own persona? ‘Cause you’ve performed
for years and years, right? – Yeah, yeah, yeah.
– In different venues. – Right. – All over the world.
– Yep. – And I think, I’m not sure
if I’m right in saying this, but your persona had to have changed depending on not only the venue– – Course.
– But the time. – Absolutely. I’m still feel like I’m find my way, I feel like I still
haven’t figured it out. I think the key is to
perform for as many people as you possibly can. And get in front of them,
and get in front of eyeballs. And I gave this advice once, and guys were laughing at me. They didn’t think I was serious, but, it’s one thing to work on the moves, and work on the clever
routine, and the method, and to imagine some sort
of premise or presentation. It’s another thing to
do it for real people. They will not have any patience for your presentation maybe. That maybe you were wrong and
you haven’t worked it out. I found myself working
stuff out real time. Like, I got a restaurant gig,
or working dinner theaters so by the ninth table I knew, 100%, that this move wasn’t gonna
work, or this line didn’t work, or this premise didn’t work, or the trick just wasn’t appealing, people were looking at their watches. So to get out there as much as you can and just do these things
and listen to the audience, that’s the key, listen. And just because you love this line and you think they’re too
dumb to understand it, maybe you’re misunderstanding
that the line’s no good. Give it up. You have to kill– What is that famous saying,
“Kill your darlings?” Everybody needs to be
their own worst enemy, their own editor. My strong suit became
psychological warfare, you know what I mean? Being able to be yourself
and completely natural on the top, but then working extra hard underneath the surface,
you know, to fool people. One suggestion I gave to
people who were practicing, because I practice with
a mirror at a card table, and all my moves, so I
watch myself doing it. And I got that bad habit
you get when you work in front of a mirror of
blinking when you did the moves. So, I saw myself doing that eventually and then people would go, “Oh,
I can tell you did something. “You blinked.” You know, it’s like,
“Crap, that’s a tell.” So what I did eventually
was I took stuffed animals right, a rabbit, a bear,
a giraffe, whatever it is and you put four or five
around the card table. Get rid of the mirror. So when you practice that same
trick you’ve been practicing in front of the mirror, you go, “Okay Rabbit, shuffle the cards.” Because when you practice
this trick, you never practice that moment that it takes
for a full 45 to 60 seconds for somebody to shuffle the deck. What do you do during that time? What do you say? You never practice that
’cause you’ve just been doing the moves ’cause you
think, “Now I’ll have them “shuffle the deck, and then now I’ll”– Wait a minute! You have 45 seconds, which
is one-fifth of the time you’re going to be doing this trick– – Yeah. – Where you haven’t planned
on what your gonna say or do or what’s happening. So you have to fill that
now because you have these pairs of eyeballs looking at you. That’s the key of having
stuffed animals around. So you, “Rabbit, shuffle the deck. “Bear, keep an eye on
Rabbit. I don’t trust him. “Wolf, I know you’re looking
at Rabbit with your– “Put your tongue back in your mouth. “This is a card trick,
it’s not dinner time. “That’s enough, Rabbit.” You’re always grabbing the cards, “No.” Anyway, “Okay, Giraffe, take
any card and show it to Bear.” “Bear, do me a favor. “Hold these and have the thing.” And then I’m setting
up ridiculous premises and it’s like real life. – Which is really great, because
you see so many performers they just– – It’s robotic. – Yeah, it– “Please take a card. “Okay, he has taken a card, “and can you shuffle up the pack?” – Well it’s–
– Just wait and look. – Well yeah, I call it,
it’s called expository. You’re explaining what’s
happening as you’re doing it. Instead of saying, “I’m gonna–” I call it the I’m Gonna school of magic– “I’m gonna ask you to take a card. “I’m gonna ask you to remember it, “I’m gonna ask you to
write your name on it. “Now I’m gonna ask you to
put it back in the pack “and I’m gonna you to, I’m
gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna.” It’s a horrible. – That’s such great– Especially very beginner advice. Because once you start in that trend it might be hard to get away from– – Here’s, I’ll give you my
basic philosophy of card tricks, of the psychology of cards tricks. And I’ve said this before in my lectures. If you say to somebody, “Take the cards, “shuffle them up as much as you like. “Take any card you wish out of the pack, “Look at it, remember it, put
it back in the deck (yawns). “Shuffle them up some more. “Would you be amazed if
I could find your card?” They’re gonna go, “No! “You obviously– “Look at your confident attitude. “You’re not worried at all about anything. “You’re so cocky, I’ll be amazed
if you don’t find my card.” Which is the opposite
of what you want, right? It’s the opposite. So we’re just– So, my style, and again, this
is, it can up over this– I say, “Here, shuffle
the deck as much as you– “That’s, that’s, whoa whoa whoa whoa. “That’s enough, okay. “And now take any– “go ahead– “card in the– “whoops– “down in this– “ah, cr– “Alright, we’ll do it diff– “Look at it. “We’ll do a different trick. “Put it back anywhere. “Somewhere in the– “Did you put it back already? “Nevermind. We’ll do a rope trick.” You know, and just so there’s
some uncertainty there. – Yeah. – That’s why when I do a peek– Like when I’ll say, “Take the
deck, push the deck open– “You have to actually see
the number and the suit “of one of the 52 cards in
the pack, but most people “don’t get the suit,
they just get the number. “So you get the number and the suit.” And meanwhile, you’ve
already palmed it off and it’s under my knee now or whatever, (laughs) and they’re going, “I already saw it.” And you go, “What do you mean, “I didn’t get my finger
in the back” or whatever. And they go, “Oh, I already saw it.” And they go, “Well, we’re gonna do a trick “with some little red sponges
I have here somewhere, “because I’m not Harry Potter, “and there’s no way I’m gonna find that.” And meanwhile it’s already
under my knee, you know? – [Alex] Alright, so
what do you got for us? – Well, people force cards all the time and I force cards all the
time, and my go-to force is the classic force. It’s probably one of the toughest, but once you get it, it’s actually– Once you get over the mental
hurdle of pushing a card in a guy’s hand, it’s actually
one of the easiest over time. But people always ask me
about the classic force. And I just hold a break– Some people hold a break
above the card to be forced, I hold a break below the force card. So I’ll have it there. And I’m gonna use your hand, Alex. I don’t know if you can reach in there? And what I do is open my hand
and there’s no longer a break. As soon as I open my hand, that steps over and it’s just a step now. So that is a key card. The one just above that will
be my force card, right? So I don’t have to worry about holding a break the entire time. Let’s say it’s a five of clubs. I just (mumbles) the five of clubs. Now look, I’m spreading, but
I’m not holding a break anymore and depending on where your hand is– Watch my thumb. I’m now– You’re getting closer, I’m
gonna shove a bunch over, then I’m just gonna shove
that five right there, but then I’m gonna keep
going even while I pull back. Look, I’m still spreading as if they had a choice of all 52. So that’s basically, if you
haven’t seen it up close, or haven’t thought about it much, I say classic force all the time, whether you need to or not. That’s the best way to
practice the classic force is always try to force a card, even if the trick doesn’t require it. And here’s another force that
I used to use all the time. It’s a slip force, you know a bad version of slip force is something
like that, you’ve all seen that where somebody just snaps it like that. – [Alex] We’ve all heard it, too. – You’ve all heard it, too, right. A little subtlety might
be something like this. When they say, “Stop,”
I’ll book the deck open, like a book, and now my
fingers touch naturally here on the back, but I’ll spread
here as if they had a choice of any of these cards. I’ll say, “Here?” And then I’ll come up,
I pivot, and that’s when I steal that card, but my thumb
has a reason for coming up, because now you just
kinda flick those cards. You say, “You coulda picked any one. “Go ahead and look at it.” Now look, now you’re basically
put it back in the deck and classic force the card. And they see themselves
taking it out of the center. So that’s just a small subtlety. I’ll say, “You coulda picked
any card, doesn’t matter “to me which when you take, you know, “and just show it to everybody else.” I think we’re lucky because
it’s so rare, and nobody else– No other art form really
connects to people the way close up, specifically
close up magic does. – Yeah. So, put thought into it. Put effort into your learnings, and– – And don’t take it too seriously. Put a lot of thought in that part. But then when you’re
with people, make it fun. Make their few moments
with you memorable and fun. – Awesome. – Don’t get too heavy. (laughs) – Alright, tell them to like this video, subscribe to this channel– – Yeah, do all that, – what he said.
– Comment below. – (laughs) – We’ll see you down the road. – (mumbles) guys, we’ll see you next time. Please subscribe if you haven’t already. Like this video if you like David, we all love David, and
thank him for his time. – And I’ll buy a less busy shirt next time if we ever do it again. – Peace.