Gimmick or No Gimmick?

byu

Jul 1, 2009
73
0
USA
Regarding tricks (mainly cards) with gimmicks, I ask a simple question: why? Doesn't it defeat the purpose of sleight of hand? If gimmicks were in every trick, there would be no challenge. A trick would not require sleight of hand. Magic should not require these gimmicks. If someone hands you a deck, you aren't going to be able to do it right without the gimmicked deck.

Tricks with gimmicks can be done fine without. I challenge myself now, name a card trick with a required gimmick, give me a link to the performance, and I'll try to work out a non gimmicked version. I personally think it's possible. Why gimmicks when you can use sleight of hand.

Yeah, gimmicks make it easier.
Or you could just use sleight of hand. Same effect, but impromptu.
 
May 31, 2008
1,929
0
Regarding tricks (mainly cards) with gimmicks, I ask a simple question: why? Doesn't it defeat the purpose of sleight of hand? If gimmicks were in every trick, there would be no challenge. A trick would not require sleight of hand. Magic should not require these gimmicks. If someone hands you a deck, you aren't going to be able to do it right without the gimmicked deck.

Tricks with gimmicks can be done fine without. I challenge myself now, name a card trick with a required gimmick, give me a link to the performance, and I'll try to work out a non gimmicked version. I personally think it's possible. Why gimmicks when you can use sleight of hand.

Yeah, gimmicks make it easier.
Or you could just use sleight of hand. Same effect, but impromptu.

Do Distortion without a gimmick. Exactly, magicians should be balanced between gimmicks and sleight of hand. Although sleight of hand is great, there's nothing wrong with using a gimmick to achieve a highly visual effect.
 
Feb 27, 2008
2,354
1
30
Grand prairie TX
I dont do card magic to show people how clever I am with sleight of hand.They dont care.

Its not about me,its about them.I use whatever it takes to achieve my desired effect.With or without gimmicks.
To your first question,Since when has magic been purely about sleight of hand?
 

Jv

Jan 11, 2008
1,235
23
Overall if using sleight of hand or using a gimmick, the spectator will still be experiencing the same effect.

But I do agree, there's nothing wrong with using gimmicks or sleight of hand.

V.
 
Well some tricks with gimmicks DO require some basic knowledge of sleight of hand. If you want to be able to end cleanly and say hand out the deck for inspection you might want to palm the gaff and ditch.

It does not matter to a spectator because a trick is a trick no matter how it is accomplished.
 
Gimmick/No Gimmick

Everyone who has posted about the real experience of magic you perform for your spectators, is exactly that, for the spectators. Since you're "in" on the secret, it can be either boring, too easy, or just not what the magician thinks the spectators want to see, or even if they seem to know if you're using a gimmick or sleight of hand.

There so many effects that require some form of a gimmick, and I don't mean to be rude, but I really don't think if anyone sent you any effect requiring a gimmick can be done with sleight of hand. Because as the inventors of that trick, I'm sure that was one of the first things they considered when creating an effect.

With my performances, I make sure to split up between sleight of hand effects and then others with gimmicks. I've noticed with grabby people who always try to take the item out of your hand to inspect themselves. So I will mix up the routine and I've noticed the more insane effects I perform I try to use an effect with a gimmick, but not always. But when they see something similar, or almost has the same high, fevered point of astonishment, I let them grab the cards since there's nothing to hide. It's a bit of a psychological thing, and works for me about 90% of the time.

Also, one last thing... I've read somewhere that a magician performed a card effect for Harry Houdini, and it was the first time he was ever stumped on how to do the effect. I can't think of the name of the effect or even what the routine was, and I hope this isn't exposure, if it is, please delete this right away.
Anyway, the one card effect that tricked Harry Houdini was used with a double backed card.

So in closing, I applaud to all the magicians who only want to do card effects with sleight of hand and not a gimmick, but from a spectators point of view, they don't know and frankly don't care if it was sleight of hand or a gimmick, the magic already happened for them in the mind and heart. Which is where all the good magic effects are kept after a spectator sees something that cannot be explained or even the beginning of comprehension.
 
Sep 1, 2007
109
0
Now on to a real topic that always bothered me. Sleight of hand vs Gimmicks. Magic has an inherent problem when it comes to effect/method. If the trick is done well the method should not be obvious to the laymen. So it begs to ask the question, does that mean that you can do ANYTHING as long as the effect stays the same?

Case and point. You can’t palm cards worth **** because you don’t practice. Is it okay for you to put double stick tape onto your palm and perform the effect as long as the effect looks the same?

Where is the line between putting effort into the art and short cuts. Now I guess calling Gimmicks a “short cut” is very negative but sometimes I really do feel that way.

A long time ago I was arguing with a magician about this subject. He told me that since the audience never knows the method, you can use as much gimmicks as you want because it will make it easier on you as a performer. Now that bothered me. I said back to him that even though the laymen never knows your method, it is still upon you to put some ****ing effort into your craft and hone the skills.

He told me that doing that is masturbatory and just impressing yourself as a move monkey.

That hit me pretty hard. What he said was true. If they never know the method and the EFFECT is the same weither you do only sleight of hand or use only gimmicks, then does it make a difference what you do in your method?

I thought about it for a while and then it hit me a week later. This sounds really ****ed up, but some how child labor came into mind. Think about buying a pair of jeans. Lets say that you get the same product if you had Americans working in a shop making minimum wage and also the same thing by giving it to some kid in India making only 1 dollar a day. Now, the END product is the same but the METHOD is different. The only difference here is that the clothing company can go public and tell everyone that they are legit like American Apparel. In magic, we can’t. The secret can’t be given away. So to me it’s more of a ethics question. Which is quite ironic since in magic we are lying through our teeth.

What really bothers me is the way that coin magic is becoming today. It seems when I started out, using an extra coin was all you needed in a coins across. Now it seems you can only do coin magic if you have a Triple Threat as a starting point. When did we start getting so lazy?

I’m sure there will be many people that will argue that gimmicks only come into the picture when we can’t go any further with sleight of hand. The reason we use shells is because it gives a better illusion that no sleight of hand could. I will agree with that. Granted I think the line is 80% sleight of hand 20% gimmicks.

I guess the picture I’m trying to paint here is put effort into your magic. It pisses me off when people say you should concentrate more on the presentation than the method. I would think you should consider both equally. Usually people who tell me this bull**** are ****ty magicians to begin with. I have talked to someone who says the above and then tried to argue that the slip force, which he does horribly, is better than the classic force… I would say that his opinion isn’t so high on my list. Maybe it was because he did MagicK, not magic…

So my final thoughts. Work on your craft. Don’t be a pussy and use gimmicks all the time.

Next posting will be a video of me teaching you guys the opener that I use all the time. Thanks for keeping this stupid blog alive.

-Tony

http://www.doublefacers.com/



And as to the distorion answer, if looking at distortion as the effect of pips being moved, Shoot Ogawa has something that accomplishes this.

Also, one last thing... I've read somewhere that a magician performed a card effect for Harry Houdini, and it was the first time he was ever stumped on how to do the effect. I can't think of the name of the effect or even what the routine was, and I hope this isn't exposure, if it is, please delete this right away.
Anyway, the one card effect that tricked Harry Houdini was used with a double backed card.

It was the tilt using a DB. But that said, it tricked Harry because he didnt do cards.

As far as the sleight of hand vs gimmick argument, I think it's a trade off. Sure gimmicks can help you be cleaner and be more visual, but theres the trade-off of ringing them in and carrying them around. I think that as performers, we have to cater to both ourselves and the audience. I know that I gnerally dont use gimmicks simply because I dont want to carry them around and what not. I'm not a clown; i dont dress up before i perform.

Just a few little thoughts.

Cheers,
Lucas
 
You know, I really think that it's a moot point. What really matters is that your effects, style, and show speak to the audience. you convey your message clearly, and leave them with an exciting memory of a good time well spent. Be that done with gaffs or slights, at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that it is done. Don't over think this, don't over analyze this. There is no need for elitism in showbiz. It's all about the experience.
 
Jan 26, 2008
423
1
Sweden
There are allot of effects that cant be done without gimmicks.

If magic is going to be moving forward we really have to stop to think like this, we should focus on what actually is the strongest and greatest effect from your audience´s point of view and not how its done. If a effect can look better with a gimmick, why not use it?

In threads like this i always see allot of people saying "Oh its not real magic if you use gimmicks, its not skill its just the gimmick that gets the reaction" Who cares?

Its like saying that a guitarist like The Edge from U2 is a bad guitarist because he uses allot of effects on his guitar, without them it would sond like nothing but with them to the audience it sounds mind blowing.
 
Mar 6, 2008
1,483
3
A Land Down Under
'The Trick That Fooled Houdini' as stated used a double backed card ie a gaff card. And that is a type of gimmick. An effect that uses gimmicks and sleight of hand can really destroy an audience's idea.
 
Sep 1, 2007
279
1
It was the tilt using a DB. But that said, it tricked Harry because he didnt do cards.

There was no tilt. Just putting the top card to the second position. What do you mean by "Houdini didn't do cards"? He was the "King of Cards" and said that nobody could fool him with a trick three times in a row. The reason why Houdini got fooled (seven times) was simply because Dai Vernon was a lot better magician than Houdini ever was.

Don't over think this, don't over analyze this. There is no need for elitism in showbiz. It's all about the experience.

The "that doesn't matter" attitude rarely leads to any good magic. The secret and how well it is concealed are very important parts of any routine.

Please people, always remember that laypeople aren't stupid. They can figure things out with pure logic.
 
Sep 1, 2007
3,818
15
I challenge myself now, name a card trick with a required gimmick, give me a link to the performance, and I'll try to work out a non gimmicked version.

It's too early in the morning for me to track down the videos, but have it your way.

Hovercard
Rising Card
Anything with a thumb tip

This sleight of hand narcissism is, always has been, and always will be bull****. So gimmicks are easier, huh? Aside from the fact that's a lie, so what? Sometimes the simplest solution is the most elegant. And this obsession with everything being impromptu is just more mental masturbation.
 
Jul 14, 2008
938
0
I have nothing against gimmicks, but what really matters the most is your performance style and the sleigh of hand as well.
 
May 1, 2009
140
0
UK
Gaft Cards

To me Sleight Of Hand is a unseen Tool as are most gaft cards a unseen Tool, without some gaft cards some effects would not be possible. I've got an effect for you David Forrest's Jackass.
 
Sep 9, 2007
513
0
Personally, I think it depends on the gaff.

Something like Twilight Angels - neat effect, and actually requires some skilled handling. Overall the gaff is a believable one.

There's a few others too. The set of 4Spades in the e gaff deck with moving pips is fun too. Again, not overly "gimmicky" and somewhat believable. Also, it too involves sleights to pull off.

Someone else mentioned Distortion/Moving pips. Fun, believable, requires some sleights and well practiced handling.

But when you start getting things like zippers, weird jokers, demons with cards in their mouth or other ridiculous stuff in there, I think it gets beyond my personal style/taste.

I think the real issue isn't that gaffs require no sleight of hand - because in reality, many do - but instead whether they cheapen magic by doing things that make it obvious that the card is gaffed.
 
Sep 10, 2008
915
3
QLD, AUS
no one really cares at all if you can do stuff without gimmicks. magicians don't care, lay people don't care. we don't care if you think your special, just don't try and make youself look cool by publicizing it.

but anyway, do any of these without gimmicks, and i will be impressed:
-any type of IT levitation (hummingbird card)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dySjxmrpGQ

-haunted pack
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4ewAgATCqg

-thumbtip stuff
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QmYEtrEa0A

-uncovered beer bottle vanish (gecko)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vh8FXiT-Mgo
^^ 0:15 on this video

-invisible deck
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUX_K5yGQlg

to name a few.

by the way, how long have you been doing magic?
 

Justin.Morris

Moderator
Aug 31, 2007
2,718
802
Canada
www.morrismagic.ca
Gimmicks are great. They allow for the truly impossible to take place. Same with stooges (just living gimmicks really). The reason I prefer non gimmick effects is because I love to be able to perform just the same without being crippled by a lack of props.

j
 
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