Do you want to fool 98% or 100% of the time?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Morgan B, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. #1 Morgan B, Nov 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2009
    The average score on an IQ test is 100 with a standard deviation of 10 points. This means for each 10 points, less and less of the population exists at these IQ levels. With an IQ of 130 or more, you would be eligible to join MENSA, where approximately 2% of the world’s population scores. If you could choose, would you like to be in the top 2% or with the other 98%?

    Why do I bring this up? Well, I find that magic is like this in some ways. Few are willing to take a path in magic that allows for them to be in the top 2% of the world’s magicians…at least in approach. Take a guy like Juan Tamariz – whose magic appears moveless – so strong it kills magicians and lay audiences alike.

    So, the question is - Do you want to fool 98% or 100% - THINK before you answer, because the difference in how you fool 100% is a very different discipline than fooling 98%. Jami Ian Swiss talked about fooling “that guy” in a lecture, you know that guy. The guy that sits or stands near the back of the group, doesn’t laugh…burns your hands…he wants to know how it is done…he NEEDS to know. Jami Ian Swiss, and others like him, say, you can take the road that lets you deceive those that are easy to fool…or the road less travelled where you aim for that guy, because when you get that guy…the rest come for free. Personally, I want that guy – I want that guy to say to me (with his body language or verbally), “I am going to figure it out”, then when he is done watching, realize there is NO explanation for what he saw. Not sleight of hand, no gimmicks, not fast hands, NOTHING! Even though, it very well might be ALL or a few of those explanations, the concept is that I was fair, did nothing, yet the impossible still occurred – and he had fun getting there still., despite HIS best effort.

    To raise the bar to this level, I say you almost have to become paranoid…you have to outthink the most astute thinker – you may feel this is a waste of time, but I have seen magicians do things a certain way JUST in case someone challenges them at one point, and he desires the same positive outcome. For example, Ortiz talks about placing a card to the left of a pile, in a Jonah card effect, so if they challenged him to take that one card they didn’t get to choose, they would forget the displacement and he could appear to offer it freely. This may only happen ONE out of a THOUSAND performances, yet he was dedicated enough to make all ONE THOUSAND performances end the same way – with a positive experience. So, 999 times out of 1000 the work seemed unnecessary, but one time it WAS needed to create perfection, and he was able to appear fair due to his preparation – this is discipline, this is sacrifice, this is what is needed to make you the MENSA equivalent in creating deceptive magic.

    Some other ways that you can focus on being perfect – remember, if the concept is not giving any mental outs for the spectator – these things are a must.

    Things like cardistry, flourishes and visual effects that look like moves…and many do…must be removed from your repertoire. Actually, when you start looking at magic in this way, you will find yourself removing many effects from your selection. This isn’t to say you can’t do moves with sleights, but to do, study and construct your magic in a way that movements seem natural and don’t appear like sleights. This comes down to efficiency and economy of motion.

    This is not an easy task; too look at your magic for the outs and weaknesses that audience members will find…perhaps not immediately, but with some thought. Some effects have a delayed too perfect theory that takes place – people react initially because of the visual surprise and shock of what they have seen…but after they calm down and think about it, often the ability to problem solve can lead them to an accurate explanation. I have had this happen with Trident by Richard Sanders – where a corner switch was used as proof of a bill that vanished and reappeared inside a sealed back of gum. People would lose their minds…talk about it for weeks…but then realize that there is NO way that I could get their bill, into a sealed back they were holding…so an out was born through mankind’s need to solve – the only way that it could be done is if it wasn’t the same bill. Sure they didn’t say, corner switch, but to me this was enough. To me – although this effect was a reputation maker, once people would tell me months later that they “think they figured it out” that effect was gone from my arsenal, because the mystery was gone from the moment of magic. A miracle turned to a clever trick. I loved doing it, but it wasn’t strong enough…it didn’t fool 100%

    I know what you may say – well, you stopped doing a killer effect for a small percentage that figured it out? That is a bit over the top? I mean – what about the rest. Well…I would say this.

    Strong magic doesn’t fool today…it fools forever. If I fool the few, the masses come for free.

    I don’t want to amuse them for awhile. I think the strength and power to entertain while amazing is the foundation of what makes close up magic more powerful an art than any other. I want to be a story to their grandchildren – when the topic of magic is brought up – I want them to talk about me. To do that, you have to fool them for their lifetime, not just while you are at the table. Nobody remembers a diversion, but everyone remembers a miracle…even if we all know it is fabricated. The moment of white light astonishment will last them forever, if you make it that way.

    So I guess it comes down to this: Are you happy being a simple diversion, or do you want to show them something that will create a memory for the rest of their life? Do you want that moment of magic to last, or be solved a few weeks later? The real question is – do you have the discipline to put down some of the effects that don’t fool forever? As it has been said, “a magician can be judged NOT by what he does, but by what he chooses NOT to do, and why”.

    It won’t be easy to look at your magic with the eyes of a stranger in magic – but you can do it – listen to your audiences, don’t make excuses to keep something, just because YOU like it, or YOU were fooled by it. If you can do this…your magic will rise to new levels of respect and enjoyment; as now you are truly deceiving with your magic forever, not just tricking them for now.

    Now go fool them all forever!
  2. #2 JetEyeNight, Nov 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2009
    I guess I'm not looking to fool anyone, I'm looking to entertain. I'm not so egotistical that I want to be on their minds 60 years from now. I would prefer to entertain the 98% and not worry about the 2% that choose to, instead of enjoy the performance, burn your hands and try to figure out how it's done. It's all about FUN in my book. I do magic because it's fun, and I enjoy watching other people have fun watching me perform.
  3. #3 Luis Vega, Nov 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2009
    I dont agree with this advice.

    while I think the magic should be as motionless as possible, removing a great trick just because somebody could potentially figure it out in a few weeks is just dumb.. people is not stupid, somebody is going to figure it out eventually because that the way it is, specially the non-card tricks, personally I think the card tricks are one of the hardest to figure out because sometimes you must know the specific sleight that allows you to make the trick possible otherwise you will never figure it out.

    per example, I´ve done Pressure by DG and DW like hundreds of times and in those times 2-3 people have figured it out when they thought about it and look at the ballon I give them when the trick is over...people could figure it out because is human nature to be curious,I think is great to have only 3 people that figured it out in like 300.

    so you have somebody that figure it out what? just because of that you are going to stop doing that trick?wtf? of course that is a trick that somebody can figure it out!!!! if they start to think logical, somebody could figure it out if they re-construct it and reverse-engineer it. and I mean somebody in a 100 people

    I practice a lot my tricks, and I look out for the best tricks in the market or underground or "oldie but goodie" tricks, and I´ve learn that this is not just about fooling people, is about entertaining them and making them have a good time. I thought you might have this clear but I see you don´t.. if you want to go around trying to fool everyone with a "perfect trick" then I´m afraid your life is not gonna be good.

    I feel great when somebody comes and tell me that his friend, girlfriend, brother, father or anything talk him about me and my magic... because is not about the trick, some time ago people only remember my tricks and not me.. but when I develop my show and my personality, people remember me and my face and my personality, they tell me.."you make the impossible, possible!!!" as a description for my show

    you must learn that is not about the trick, is about the magician, if you perform a great trick with great showmanship and with great heart, nobody will figure it out because they won´t care about the method or the secret no matter is is only a DL trick or the tarantula or Trident.They will remember the feeling of being truly amazed. and they will remember you forever because a great magician with great tricks and a great personality is remembered forever.

    I´m so glad I don´t have to rely on my tricks or gimmicks to make a lifetime impression (even when they are great), I rely on my showmanship and my personality to acomplish that.
  4. #4 praetoritevong, Nov 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2009
    Jet - How is that egotistical? There's a bit of an illogical step there that someone who wants to be remembered *must* be egotistical, right? Wrong! I understand what you're saying about wanting to have fun. But there seems to be a misconception that someone who aims high must be egotistical and doesn't care about having fun.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. But there are things that are fun, and things that change people's lives. The two are not mutually exclusive. And just because a magician wants to be in the latter group, doesn't make them egotistical, or not fun. As a professional actor, theatre has changed my life. The productions I've seen have changed my life and shaped the person I am. There is nothing egotistical about wanting to add to that. For a more precise explanation of this point, have a look at my essay response to Draven's contest, where I talk about exactly how entertainment can change someone's life. And all whilst having fun.

    Magic is and always will be entertainment. But there are those who realise that entertainment can do much more than simply entertain.

    Vega - Good advice always faces resistance from those who are afraid of change.

    Firstly, the idea that "someone sooner or later is going to figure everything out" is just silly. That is not true by any stretch of the imagination. If that were true, everyone would be performing The Berglas Effect, for example. Let me illustrate this point.

    Your argument is that:

    "People are not dumb."
    "Therefore people will figure tricks out."

    However, I will assume for the purposes of this argument that you do not know how to perform The Berglas Effect. So if we use your logic...

    "You have not figured this trick out."
    "Therefore, you are dumb."

    This is not meant as an insult, but I hope you can see that your argument is illogical.

    Another problem with your argument is this: Just because a spectator doesn't know exactly which sleight you perform, doesn't make it any less bad. Actually, even if they simply suspect that something has taken place - then you've already failed; this is perhaps worse than actually flashing. Whilst I don't claim to have any sort of expertise, your posts reveal your lack of experience in magic.

    You show a pretty blatant disregard towards being the best magician you can be. If you're not willing to aim to entertain everyone, you may as well give up. On one hand, half of your post says that you should focus on your persona in order to entertain people. In the other half, our post says that you don't care if you don't entertain everyone. Actually, your post is such a mess of ideas that it's hard to understand if you even have a point at all.

    Regarding your comment about entertaining people, please read what I wrote to Jet above.

    What you're essentially saying is, "So what if someone figures a trick out?"

    I can't believe that actually came from the mouth of a "magician".

    If you need an answer to that, then I would suggest that perhaps you should quit magic and study tiddlywinks instead.
  5. I think you guys missed Morgicians point... or maybe I have.

    He never said that you need to throw away your presentation and showmanship, he implied that you need to make it better, and fool with it all of the people - all of the time. And I think he never said that you need to fool only those 2%, but as you fool those 2%, the other 98% will automatically be fooled as well, and even more stronger than before. One trick comes to mind, when we talk about perfection of move less magic, and that is "Ultimate Oil and Water". There is simply no explanation.

    BUT, on the other hand, someone will allays have an explanation, even if they don't have it. What I'm trying to say is that, they will say "wow, great trick, but I think that these are trick cards" when you do "Out of this World", even if they are not. So, if they said that you are MAYBE using two bills, it does not mean that they have figure it out 100%, but that just may be one of their guesses that ends up being true. They will always try to guess, if they are those kind of people. You can put your BEST show out there, and if that one person wants to figure it out, he will try to, no matter what, but you can also put a mediocre show, but if everyone enjoys your magic, noone will try to figure it out.

    So I don't think it's up to us 100%...
  6. #6 Luis Vega, Nov 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2009
    I said that if 1 person out of 100 figure out a trick is not bad, somebody sometimes reconstruct the trick and sometimes they will could find the secret, but it´s not the end of the world.besides that part of not figuring out a trick is not what I was trying to say

    my bad here. this was meant for a magician watching magic, not a spectator. when I watch a trick and it fools me then I learn it, I found that there was one sleight that acomplishes the effect that I didn´t know yet...I did say in my original post that I agreed that magic should be motionless,maybe you should read more carefully
    as I said before, If 1 person out of 100 figure out a trick, then I´m not worried at all, so I see you have been reading my posts, so do I
    I can´t believe THIS came out from the mouth of a magician
    "Everyone in the cardistry community can suck my dick. Not like they're too busy performing anyway." recognize something?
    if you insult the comunity like this "then I would suggest that perhaps you should quit magic and study tiddlywinks instead."
    have a nice day!!!
  7. See, this is exactly the point of Morgician's thread.

    Some people are happy to be average magicians, and are happy to not be the best they can be. They're happy, in other words, to reside in the depths of mediocrity. That is your choice.

    For everyone else, who wants to aim high, who wants to be the best they can be, who are not happy to simply be average, but want to rise to become magicians on par with such greats as Tamariz and Ortiz - for these people who truly care about entertaining, then the advice in this thread is for them. For those people who care about all of their spectators, and care about their magic to such a degree that they want to strive to entertain everyone, then doing nothing is not an option. These people want to be the best, and they want to improve.

    But if this does not fit you, please feel free to disregard the advice in this thread.

    Ooh, playing dirty I see. Now now, if you have a problem with my argument, prove I'm wrong. No need to argue ad hominem. Nothing says "I have no idea what I'm talking about" than resorting only to smear campaigns. If you can't use logic to prove me wrong, neither will taking a quote out of context. Besides, the difference being, I had a legitimate point regarding the performance (or lack thereof) of card manipulation to a live audience, which, it seems, many would rather ignore, insult or simply run away and leave forums entirely, than answer with logical thought. But now you're just bringing us off topic. If you can't use logic to prove me wrong, no amount of fallacious argumentum ad hominem will.
  8. When I got the bad luck of somebody figuring out a trick, is because they saw it in youtube, or they did some magic tricks or they watch the masked magician, but It was never because I did wrong, and that why they tell me after the performance.

    here where I live the people is different towards magic, they always think that I´m trying to fool them in the bad way, that´s because the culture here. they see magic as taboo. so my sleights must be very good because it´s not easy to perform and also get paid to perform in a town where they think of magic as "black magic or cheating" than an art.

    I know I will never be as good as Tamariz or Ortiz, no matter how much I try or practice, I have other concerns like my career (I´m an architect) but at least I will get as far as I can and my career will allow, and I can proudly say that I have achieved some very good things in magic that place me above the average magician while trying my best to balance architecture and magic...

    so if you think that being an average magician is something mediocre, maybe you don´t know people that have other concerns and can´t dedicate at 100% to magic

    BTW I´m in the cardistry community and I perform a lot, sometimes I just do flourishes and show off moves and sometimes just please don´t ever say that we don´t perform!! you don´t know what we do, don´t think you know us all
  9. Morgician, while I think you've slightly misunderstood standard deviation, I agree with your overall point. However, I think "100% magic" is susceptible of a wider definition than you've given it. I don't believe that magic must have no explanation in order to be effective, deceptive and entertaining. For example, a well-structured pickpocketing act fits all the criteria of strong magic, yet there is no "secret method" as such. Rather the method is itself a form of magic, a demonstration of unbelievable skill and dexterity. In the same way, I believe all forms of sleight-of-hand could be elevated to this level of apparent impossibility, given the right presentation.
  10. Something for both sides

    But what is wrong for striving for 100%? Mogician is not saying that we should forget presentation or that we should be trying to let the tricks to the work. He's saying that we need to be the BEST at what we do. Both in presentation and in choosing the best effects we can. If you have the choice between an effect that fools most of the time, and a similar one that fools all of the time, why wouldn't you use the latter?

    On the flip side: Morgician, to what degree do you think 100% is an exaggeration? Someone came up with the idea to begin with, so can it ever (or perhaps, is it a realistic expectation to) really fool 100% of your audience? And do you think an effect alone can do that (example?)? Do you think to make a trick impossible, that the presenter needs to use his presentation to make it fool everyone?

    Just some thoughts. Great post.
  11. love the post Morgician, I really wish that I could be in the top two percent of magicians in the magic world. The thing that holds me back is, dedication; not being able to fully commit myself right now to improving my magic and make it less of a trick and more of a memorable moment well non memorable moment but I think people can get what I mean. It is wonderful though to know that there are still magicians striving for this goal, and at least attempting to impress this on others.
    Can’t say enough about this its very helpful.

    Jeteye there is a point that I agree on, what it is though is not what Morgician was setting out to tell the forum. If people choose to consider themself the 98 percent then good for them, if they are happy with that then so be it.

    I for one am going to at least attempt to make myself in the top ten of the 98 percent. That is my goal for now and I feel it is an achievable goal for me at the moment.

    I would gladly remove an effect if people have any chance of figuring it out. That isn’t to say that I won’t find ways to make its faults invisible. People give general humanity a bit to much credit. People are uneducated, at least in the methods of magic. But all humans have the ability of imagination.

    Card effects can be ruined if the spectator uses the movements that they have just witnessed, paired with imagination to figure out a method to achieving the effect. They do not need to know specific sleights; if they have an inkling of an idea onto how the performer did something, the magic is gone and it is nothing but a fancy parlor trick.

    Why not practice a few that are near perfect, perfect them into a flawless presentation and go from there. I personally only remember like three tricks with cards, two with coins, but the performance of them are better then the majority of people in the magic world. Yeah that is ego talking, but that same ego is the driving force to be a better magician.

    But see now I have a thought or question rather for mogician.
    Do you think that a proper presentation of an effect that you previously thought as figure outable, can be the difference between the 98 percent and bring it back up to your standard? I mean do you think any effect with the proper presentation can be passed off as an impossibility and prevent people from attempting to reverse engineer? Using words as your magic or a way to hide method.
  12. But see I do not recall his statement that you have to be 100 percent. Perfection isn't achievable which is why you have to strive to be in the top two percent of your magic. You do not need to be 100 hundred percent, being in the top two percent doesn't mean you get away with everything all the time. But the ones that are in the two percent strive to achieve that goal of perfection. So Why not everyone else attempt to try and achieve this goal?
  13. Intelligence has nothing to do with logic, which is commonly what will cause your magic to be unravelled, oh and its MENSA by the way. People are too hung up on intelligence, IQ, without the knowledge is useless, if anything, people who are intelligennt and believe they can't be fooled, are always more amazed.
  14. #14 JetEyeNight, Nov 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2009
    Maybe egotistical wasn't the right word. What I mean is, it doesn't bother me if I don't change someone's life with my magic. It's not my goal at this point in time. If it happens as a positive side effect, great. My goal right now is to get experience and is to entertain. If someone remembers something I performed for them years from now, great. But it doesn't bother me if they don't.. I'm not going to stop performing effects like Tagged by rich sanders because someone might figure it out. I agree with his overall message. I agree, you should strive to be your best, and we should always set our goals high, almost so high that we nearly think we cannot accomplish. It's ok to fall short of your goals because you can always try, fail and adjust. As of right now, where I'm at in my magic, I'm ok with fooling the 98%, I'd love to fool the 100%, but I'm just not there yet. I agree that going the extra mile, makes a huge difference. What's the difference between water boiling and water not boiling? 1 degree. You might be performing your magic at 211 degrees, but if you just peform magic at just 1 degree higher, you'll be boiling! I'm just not at that level yet and it will probably be decades, I'm sure, before I get there.
  15. actually that what I do, I learned a lot of card tricks in the beggining, and did like 20-30 tricks..but as time passed, I pick only the greatest and more confortable and that suit me, so in a show I only do like 5-7 tricks in a real daily basis, not because I only know that, is because they seem so impossible that no explanation is possible.

    I did agree with the main point of magic being motionless, but I think that we should not be so paranoic about our magic... I mean as you said, people have imagination and they could figure out a trick, per example, Angle Zero, logic could greatly help to figuring out, but when everything like presentation and showmanship are perfect or very good, people don´t care about the secret anymore...
  16. I believe this is more correct of the main point then what the thought of main point is.

    The effect Angle Zero is one of the effects I would not perform for the simple reason that you stated. To many loose ends that spectators can build on. Even if the presentation is great and you are a great showman it still doesn’t sway people to not want to know how it is done. It is a sort of paranoia, but this fear driven by paranoia in theory could make you an all around better magician. How?

    By wanting cleaner effects, making cleaner effects, making moves look so natural that it is excepted by your participants as normal, basically covering your tracks from point A to B. Repetition of movements is always a great way to condition a participants to except an unnatural movement to be natural. But I am not saying do a sybil I am talking like fidgeting with the cards, or object that you are doing magic with.

    But that is steering away from the topic a bit its to early to completely derail it right now.
  17. #17 Luis Vega, Nov 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2009
    The only way to make a trick that looks posible, is adding something to make it impossible...

    my way to perform Angle Zero is showing a whole card first and then riping and burning the torn corner by using flash paper, then reveal so everything looks impossible this way, there no way to re-construct it
  18. You nailed it - in NO way am I saying forget about presentation. Actually, my next thread will be about that - what I am saying is let's start by building a foundation where the effect is foolproof.

    I don't care about those in this thread that don't have made your choice to be someone that fools MOST - so by making that choice, you decide to aim for near perfect...I am just stating...I am aiming a bit higher.

    By doing so - I get your group ALL of the time, for free, as I am trying to fool the sharpest of minds. Why would you settle for less.

    When you drive a car - do you want brakes that are almost reliable (98%) or one that work every time? I just want my effects to fool every time...but if you are happy with just most, then great - my audience will have a different experience.

    I will pick up the ones you don't - cheers
  19. Very good. Tell me if i'm wrong but if you fool the best 2% you fool the common 98%? And to do that is to perform the best at your best? Thats awsome i cant beilve theres people agenst this.
  20. Hmm, please educate the psychology graduate and statistics honour student on what you think standard deviation is when dealing with IQ scores - I guess you understand it better than me? My understanding is the further out you go...on a normal curve...the smaller the percentage that fall in that category. The standard deviation on a IQ scale is 10....and 3 standard deviations puts you in the top 2-3% of IQ's in the world. HOWEVER - this was just a way to illustrate that not everyone can or will approach magic, it was an analogy - if you could choose where to be on the scale...what would you choose? In magic, you can choose to be at this level.

    My essay was meant to help those that understand realize their is a path they have not have discussed or known about.

    Glad you used pickpocketing as an example - people that do it call it pickpocketing STUNTS - NOT magic - there is no magic in nobody thinks it was done with a method that defies explanation...they realize you took it while you destracted them.

    If you view magic as this - I am sorry our opinions on what magic should look like is so different. However, when you saw pickpocketing - did you really say, "that is magical"? Did you see it as something so mind blowing and unfathomable that it made your jaw drop? If may be a bit slow. Most pickpocketing STUNTS I see look like abuse to the participant. I could tell story after story about audience members confiding in me how much they hated the "pick pocket artist", because of how they were treated - LIKE A PROP. I can say this, because I have experimented successfully in my youth with the craft. It has merit, but it is NOT magic - it is as magic as flourishes or juggling - it is a different branch. I have seen many, but nobody that makes me feel that pick pocketing is magical or non-evasive.

    Anyhow - thanks for sharing - but I feel my points are all valid. Cheers

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