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The difference between an illusion and a trick is that an illusion generally is large-scale and involves a human assistant and/or a large animal. Johnny Carson once asked David Copperfield what the difference was between a magician and an illusionist. David flatly replied, "about $40,000."
The basic definition of a stage illusion is any effect that involves a human being or a large animal like a tiger or elephant. The Pendragons, Lance Burton, The Gamesters, David Copperfield, Sigfried & Roy are among the magicians who can clearly be classified as illusionists.
These grand illusion effects include "Metamorphosis" (an incredible effect involving a locked trunk where the magician and his assistant transpose places within seconds), the "Doll House Illusion" (an illusion where an assistant appears inside of obviously empty doll-house and the "Lady-to-Tiger Illusion" which does exactly as its name implies.
This branch of magic generally requires a great deal of money, an in-depth knowledge of magical principles, at least one assistant, a thorough understanding of stagecraft, staggering talent, imposing stage-presence, prodigious theatrical training, specific venues and great connections.
Many illusions actually require the magician and all of his or her assistants to be in top physical health. It's simply not for the beginner. This is not to say that the intermediate magician couldn't start to include one of two illusions into their act. But the inclusion of an illusion and possibly a trained assistant will raise your costs and therefore your price, making shows at this level fewer and farther between.
Platform/Parlor/Cabaret magic goes by many names, but basically it's magic that falls neatly between large-scale magic illusions and close-up effects. As few of us are going to be hired to do large-scale shows, most of our bread-and-butter will come from cabaret-style performances. Tricks included in this category include the Square Circle, Portable Sawing-in-Half, the Zombie and Rising Card from the Pad.
Generally any trick can be performed except tricks that require an audience to be physically very close, such as card and coin effects. An exception for this can be made by magicians either appearing on television or at least using a camera to project to a large-screen TV.
This is the kind of magic that most people associate with professional magicians. It has to be magic that can be physically seen by the audience and you need to be able to rouse the interest of a largish crowd. It is an easy transition for beginning magicians who wish the break out of the "card-and-coin trick" mode in which many beginners find themselves.
Here's a great way to perform a trick with your computer. It's called the Google Magic Trick, and it works like this:
Sit down at the computer with a friend and tell them that you've discovered something quite odd about the Google search engine. Go to the Google search page and ask your friend to gently rub their finger on the two O's in the Google name. As they are rubbing the O's, something strange happens... they disappear.
Whenever you and your friend are ready, you can ask them to rub the blank area again and the two O's will reappear in their original place.
How is this possible? The link I'm going to provide you with actually takes you to a fake Google web page. If you quietly mouse click anywhere on the page the O's will fade to nothing in five seconds... just long enough for you to ask your friend to rub the O's before they vanish. Mouse clicking the page a second time will cause the O's to reappear in five seconds. If you click on the webpage a third time, you will be quietly redirected to a real Google search page. Although this link is not clickable, you can copy and paste it into your browser -or- locate a clickable link in the 'Magic Tips' block on the Magic.LifeTips homepage. You will find additional instructions and the actual fake link.