BGT Banning Card Magic

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Josh Burch, May 28, 2019.

  1. A few days ago this article was posted:

    It talks about how a few disgruntled people on Twitter want to ban card tricks from Britain's got talent. This came after a couple of extra boring card tricks on the show.

    I thought this would be a good discussion topic. Should card tricks be banned? Should magicians avoid doing card tricks on TV? What could magicians keep in mind when they perform magic on BGT/AGT?

    I thought this was an interesting enough article that I spoke with Ryan Schlutz, the accomplished and creative card magician, about it yesterday. Check it out if you are so inclined.

    CWhite likes this.
  2. When I went out for both AGT and Fool Us the first thing they said was “NO CARD TRICKS!” So I mean it is kinda a given already imo. Not saying card tricks are bad, but when every magician is doing a card trick it does seem to be very repetitive to the lay audience.

    Now, having said that I absolutely loved the performance on BGT last week. They nailed it! And “a few people on Twitter” commenting about something is inevitable. Had they done something else, people would e complaining they wanted to see a card trick... haha
    Josh Burch likes this.
  3. Rather than "should magicians avoid doing card tricks on TV?" I think the solution is to keep in mind the medium they are performing on, the audience that will be watching, and to not be boring.

    Most magicians miss that last part because they forget the audience doesn't know how clever the method is.
    Brett Hurley, Josh Burch and JoshL8 like this.
  4. I always think criticism like this is really good for us to hear and consider when choosing material. It may just be the TV medium, or the performance, or simply the fact there are cards, but we should be examining why they maybe don't love it, and adapt our effects and performance accordingly.

    Interesting topic
    Josh Burch and JoshL8 like this.
  5. I think that magicians should not be cliché, and try to be more expressive with their art. But that does not mean that you should ban a specific type of magic. Just imagine if Shin Lim was told that he couldn't do card magic on AGT. I don't agree with this restriction at all.
    Josh Burch likes this.
  6. I agree. It's always helpful to hear what people outside of magic are thinking about magic. I just finished watching Eric Chien perform on AGT and I think it was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. There were cards all over the place!
  7. Kostya Kimlat has said before that the market is flooded with mediocre magicians, AGT probably gets gets lots of submissions that are similar to each other...charming/funny...pick a card please. Add in that most people find card tricks to be the least memorable according to the survey Joshua Jay participated ins and you have an audience whose likely seen a bunch of tricks they can't recall already.

    In Kozmo's live at the table lecture he said he doesn't like to do card tricks for busking, his reasoning was that people who are just catching whats happening have no reason to stay because they may have missed a reason to be invested and it appears to them not much is happening. He says cards just are not visual enough so he prefers something like a matrix routine or chink a chink. Thinking of the card magicians that have been doing well lately at AGT their acts contain a series of very visual effects in their acts.

    Maybe tv spots should be treated more like busking because the audience is popping in and out like a crowd, checking their phones, doing household chores, commuting to places....they have another barrier that adds difficulty in connecting with a magician.
  8. Though Kozmo does do one card trick while busking, and it's hilarious.

    I think magicians/mentalists need to, in general, work more theatrical elements into their performances when on TV. Bizarre stuff has been gaining ground rapidly over the past year or so, and I think a big part of that is that it's new, and it's different, and it's engaging. I also suspect that it's partly due to the fact that in times of distress, people get into spiritualistic subjects (arguably the cause of the entire Spiritualist movement).

    Anyway - Magicians have to acknowledge that a baseline of skill is no longer enough. For centuries now, most people wouldn't see more than one live magician in their life. Now they can see videos of magicians all day long if they want. Lay audiences have something to compare what they see live to. Therefore, performers need to step up their game.
  9. I think Patrick Kun is participating at AGT this year as well. Saw him talking in a behind the scenes video. As far as Got Talent shows go in general, 70% are singers, so banning card magic seems senseless compared to the singers flooding the series. However, card effects have become repetitive with mediocre magicians, as more experienced ones such as Eric Chien have a plethora of super strong routines.
    By the way, what do you guys think of his performance? I wasnt expecting to see the Ribbon Act so soon.
  10. Definitely thought this was going to come in for the semifinals at the earliest
  11. I think the problem falls down to 2 things:
    A) There are probably too many magicians. With magic, most of our material is at its core shared with that of other magicians. The preliminary judges (and then even the ones we see on TV) and the crew all have to go through thousands of auditions a day. If it was, for example, a comedian, everyone has different material or style, but a card trick is in essence almost always consisting of one of 5 or so broad end results (and you can be pretty certain they'll be some magicians up there who have no idea what they're doing). In essence, they will feel like they're seeing the same act a billion times, which must get annoying.
    B) A card trick is never made for a bunch of TVs. It's made for a live audience. It must be near impossible to see from the back of the live audience if the magician does it for a camera, and your left watching it on the big screen (at which point it'll be weird for the judges). If the trick is performed for the audience, the camera is stuck because they can't film everything. It just becomes a hassle to film and show on TV.
  12. Eric performed his Ribbon act on the first round as shown on TV the night before, and it was now all over social media. Over the years AGT produced many champions in terms of magicians including Matt Franco, Shin Lim... who knows who will be next?

    Most important, magicians who want to make his name on AGT and spread through household / social media need to have plans and strategy. The most simple idea is to have different acts that can perform for 9-10 rounds at least. Unfortunately as we know most of us might only have one or two signature piece as a result the favor is always NOT on magicians sides.

    As for no card tricks, well all I can is every second on TV is precious, as most lay audience thought card tricks will be find their card is a general norm, so producers of TV shows simply banned that. On the other hand, as some mentioned Shin Lim / Eric Chien earlier they participate in AGT have well planning, and audition before the show including video submission will make that happen. So it is simply a matter the magic is strong enough or not. I will say it is not a good idea if 'Fool Us' ban card tricks on the other hand.

    I hope I have tell more about AGT 'cause I probably can meet Eric Chien this week since he was the guest performer of a magic convention I helped sometime last year, if so, I keep an update any funny story he shared. Peace.
    JoshL8 likes this.
  13. I think the most important strategy for any magician wanting to "Spread their name" with AGT is ... not to use AGT to establish themselves. Shin Lim was already pretty successful before he set foot on that stage. Matt Franco was already doing well for himself. Aiden Sinclair was already doing well with the Stanley. Dan Sperry has said he literally never planned to try to win, he only wanted to be sure to get in one televised round so he could say "As seen on national TV".

    Here's the thing - AGT's contract is brutal. In it they literally state they can do whatever they want with your likeness. Meaning they can (and they have done this in the past) take the footage from one performer, and mix it in with the audience and judge reactions from a totally different performance, to make it look like that performer bombed even if they did well. What you see on AGT is totally fabricated. Oh yeah, remember I mentioned Dan Sperry above? At least one of his aired spots (The coin trick he did on the edge of the stage), was his rehearsal, not his live performance. The live performance has much more blood.

    So for someone who is not yet established, that could, in all reality, end their career. In the very least it's a massive set back if they decide they want you to be the fool for that episode. Side note - this is why the judges wear the same clothes frequently, so it's easier to edit the footage together if needs be.

    Oh - and they want a narrative they can tell. A back story - which they decide what parts to emphasize. Eric Jones comes to mind. Aiden Sinclair, as well. Though I still think Aiden has one of the absolute best back stories in magic.

    P&T is a much, much better show for someone who isn't super well established because what you see on that show is what actually happens. Other than some editing for time (P&T actually discuss for much longer than they tend to show on TV, for example). P&T genuinely want to help other magicians, so they do their best to make people look good, or at least accurately represent them.

    AGT auditions are split up between a decently large number of judges. You get funneled through various doors to various audition spots (And some of them are auto-denied, from what I'm told). If you're not one of the talents they specifically recruit for the season, you'll do 3-6 auditions before you're even in the same buildings as the 'main' celebrity judges.

    Other than that, I agree - they probably see a huge number of really interchangeable magicians.

    A good production company can over come this and AGT has a nigh unlimited budget. The thing to remember is that you can't worry too much about the values of the cards - you have to rely on the audience feeling in sync with the volunteer. Mac King does cards across on a grand stage and it works because it's not the cards themselves that matter - it's the count, and his cloak of invisibility.
    Maaz Hasan likes this.
  14. I figured something like this would happen. But I figured this would happen over a period of time and not one big televised event to kick it off.

    I think magic is at a time where the audience is very very aware that it is there and it exists and they have seen a fair share of it on tv, live, etc.

    The problem is that when they see a card trick, they lump ALL card tricks together unless you can present it in a super unique way (like Tiny Plunger, for example).
    WE know the methods and the variations. WE know that card magic has A LOT of books. But that does us absolutely no good when we do something that we know is different and it comes across as "another card trick". The audience doesn't care or know that we are using a variation of a slight they have seen or thought they have seen before. They don't care, or are not aware of the nuance--and they shouldn't.
    I haven't seen the BGT that this thread is referring to, but it seems like even if you are experienced, card magic may not be enough.

    I think we are at a point to where more of a focus on routine construction is necessary. And books like Maximum Entertainment have gone from "advanced reading" to "mandatory"
    JoshL8 likes this.
  15. As someone else pointed out already, it's stupid to complain about card magic when you always have a glut of singers every single year.
  16. Yea, but every notable singer sounds and performs differently. Card tricks have this weird habit of just being grouped together as one thing, even when they're different.
    Brett Hurley and Antonio Diavolo like this.
  17. Even though they're different, there's probably less than a dozen general effects. Sure there are probably thousands of ways to reveal a chosen card, but they all come across as "was this your card" type tricks. It's the same with a lot of tricks. They all boil down to a few general effects which is how laymen perceive them.
    Maaz Hasan likes this.
  18. Exactly. Here's a perfect example:
    Cover 1:
    Cover 2:

    This is why it's important to understand "trick" and "effect" are not interchangeable.

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