Magic takes time and a whole lot of effort to get it looking ... well, magical. Louis Yan reveals to ourjunior reporters his secrets to getting it right
This summer, Louis Yan, a world-class magician based in Hong Kong, has partnered with Wonderful Worlds of Whampoa to hold a series of magic workshops for kids aged between six and 12. Though most of the junior reporters have exceeded this age limit, Louis lets them in on his secrets.
Hong Kong’s David Copperfield
Louis Yan is internationally acclaimed for the way he performs his magic tricks, and he has received many awards around the world.
Louis holds two Guinness World Records, including the shortest time needed to escape from being locked underwater. He has been named “Hong Kong’s David Copperfield”, and starred in the TVB magic series, Street Sorcerers.
I feel super lucky to have had the chance to learn a few magic tricks from the best in the business!
Bashful no more thanks to magic
Despite being a world-class magician, Louis seldom teaches people how to perform his magic tricks. “It takes a lot of responsibility,” he says. “Every step has to be shown and explained clearly or else the students will have no clue how to do it. This is why I seldom teach others and participate in shows or competitions more frequently.”
Louis finds teaching stressful, but showing kids how his acts are done gives him a lot of satisfaction. “I used to be bashful in school. When I started to learn magic however, I had to interact with the audience.”
Magic is the reason, Louis says, that he now has a more extrovert personality.
Step-by-step guides on how to perform magic can be found online, and as a hobby, it can bring a lot of joy into your life. It’s a completely different story though, if you plan to have a career as a magician. To keep the illusion alive for the audience, “you need to fully understand all the magic tools and equipment”.
A deceptively simple card trick
Louis showed to us a magic trick using a pack of cards. We picked a card from the pack without showing him and made a note of it. After putting it back, he split the cards into two piles, and gave us a pile to hold.
Within moments, Louis was able to figure out which card we had picked – a nine of hearts! But here’s where the real magic begins. Louis then rubbed this card on his legs – and it vanished. He then asked us to look through our pile of cards. There it was – the nine of hearts. Louis very kindly explained to us how this trick is performed ... but we can’t tell you how it’s done because we want to keep his magic alive for others.
This card trick looks simple, but it will only look magical with practice.
An honour to learn from Louis
I really enjoyed learning from Louis about what goes on behind the scenes when it comes to magic. This was not the first time that I’ve tried to perform magic, but I still found this workshop to be really fun.
Louis taught us how to separate two tangled up straws. When he demonstrated his trick, I thought that copying it would be easy for me, but I soon realised that I was wrong.
There are many little things that you need to get right when you perform this trick, and our first attempts at separating the straws resulted in failure. Fortunately, after I realised how important it is to get the details correct, I managed to figure out how to do it.
I wish that Louis had taught us more magic tricks, but his desire to prevent his secrets from being leaked is totally understandable. I feel honoured that I was able to learn from him.
Practise makes perfect
When I was younger, I would try to learn how to perform magic tricks through books – but most of the time my tricks would not work.
Louis showed us a magic trick with two straws, because we can find straws anywhere.
Although we followed his instructions as closely as possible, Lala and I still failed. I discovered that the reason I failed was because I had messed up a step in the process. Paying close attention to detail and hard work are key to becoming a successful magician. We had to practise the trick over and over again. This was because if we aren’t familiar with the steps, then our audience may also figure out the trick.