Gimmicks are WRONG?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Casey Rudd, Mar 6, 2010.

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  1. Hey guys, Casey here.

    I just thought that I would take this short amount of time to discuss something that has been a "war" per se between gimmicks and impromptu tricks.

    It is referred by magicians to perform impromptu magic; no special help from any supplies, just yourself and your object.

    Though impromptu magic is taking the communities by storm, I have come to a personal conclusion that most people in this community think gimmicks are wrong. If you are not one of those people, then by all means keep reading. If you are one of those people, keep reading as well.

    In this modern age of magicians, we tend to want to curve towards the impromptu side of magic. But has anyone thought that a gimmick could do much more than a trick that's impromptu? Here's an example

    In Watermark by Mathieu Bich, could you do that performance the exact same way, but without a gimmick? Hell no. Unless you're God and you can bend the properties of water, it's pretty much over for you if you want to make it completely impromptu.

    I also find that gimmicks are really intriguing. The way they are constructed, the use that is has, is really fascinating to me. It inspires you to start thinking about ways to use this gimmick for a different trick, and gimmicks can make some DEFINITE MIND BLOWING TRICKS TOO!

    Here's another example:

    Can you do this trick impromptu?

    Spread through 2 cards and show you have the 2 black nines. Spin the packet very openly and display you now have 2 red tens. With a face up 10, it changes into an ace. Flip over the other card and it's a jack. Perfect Blackjack. Only 2 cards are found in the performer's hand.

    That trick being impromptu would contain a think, six card packet. The gimmick? 2 cards. It's sometimes way more practical to use a gimmick than find a way to make it impromptu.

    So my question is, why do some people automatically despise gimmicks? Why do we take them for granted and not use them because it's not "pure" so to speak?

    Just thought I'd like to hear one's opinions on this topic. Makes a great discussion we all need to be participating in.


    Casey Rudd
  2. I agree completely...
    I think gimmicks are great but if you cando it impromtu and it looks the same then go with the impromtu method.
  3. I have nothing against gimmicks, but I am afraid that people will think something fishy, and try to take my props away for inspection. I try to perform sleight of hand as much as possible and some people don't want to make gimmicks that are time-consuming.
  4. I don´t like to use gimmicks as a basis from my magic...but using them is part of the knowledge of the magicians, of course you need to have a great skill before even purchasing gimmicks, because not all the time you will have them on you...

    I sometime find magicians that only use gimmicks and nothing else, and when I ask them why they don´t bother to learn sleight of hand, they tell me that the sleight of hand is useless because when somebody even think is takes away the magic and they think it more as a fast hands issue...I think is more an excuse for lazy magicians and mediocre magicians who want their job done without putting effort...

    On the other side...can you do the floating cigarrete in an impromptu way? if the answer is yes, then stop reading this and go out and perform with your demonic powers...but if the answer is no...then you realize that gimmicks are very effective and sometimes necesary...there is nothing wrong in using them as long as you have a balance between them and sleight of hand...
  5. Exactly Luis Vega, that's my point. Have a balance, and not depend on one or the other. Thanks for the responses guys.
  6. Hmm....While reading this thread an interesting question came to me what if you perform a gimmicked trick with a gimmicked deck, to one of your friends. Then after a few days you go back to his/her house and he/she hands you a REGULAR deck and tells you to perform the same trick again. What would you do?. I apologise for the fact that this isnt really the same topic as the original thread but dont hate on me for that, as I said, the question popped into my head while reading THIS thread so there must be some connection :p. So anyone wanna tell me what they would do? I'd really appreciate it.


    - Jenai
  7. What I would do is not perform it. I wouldn't do it, not because I don't have my deck on me, but because you aren't really supposed to perform the same trick twice. Or I would do this:

    Friend: "Hey! Do that trick again! Here's a deck. Do it!"

    Me: "I'll actually do something a LOT better than what I did earlier. Come look..."

    And so on.

    Don't sound or look as if you're frightened. And why would you show just your friends the trick. If I show them something that's gimmicked, then I will see them again and they will ask for it again. But when you perform for random people all around, odds of them seeing you again are very, very slim.


    Casey Rudd
  8. magicians should think about the spectators and what THEY see and FEEL. does it really matter HOW the effect is done?
  9. I don't often use gimmicks, but sometimes I do. In my opinion it's better to do impromptu tricks, because firstly you're always set for a trick and secondly you don't have to think about getting rid of the gimmick.
    But if you know, you're gonna perform at a certain event, of course you can prepare yourself with the gimmicks, that are necessary.
    So my opinion is: If you've got a really good gimmicked trick, you want to perform: Do it.
    But if there's a way to get the same effect without gimmicks, spend your time to learn the ungimmicked version.
    But as I sad, sometimes you just have to use a gimmick.
  10. Thanks, But what if you perform it in school or something even if it is to people you dont know, there are chances that you'd run into them again & some kids can be pretty pushy sometimes. Also I think you cant really top the gimmicked effects with impromptu tricks so the something a LOT better wont necessarily be alot better. And if your presentation for the gimmicked trick was strong it'll be pretty hard to top that with an impromptu effect.

    - Jenai
  11. Practice sleight of hand first. Don't rely on gimmicks.
    Then, add gimmicks to your sleight of hand, and you will have an unbeatable combination.
  12. #12 Steerpike, Mar 6, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2010
    I've seen many young magicians go through three stages.

    First, they use primarily gimmicks. It's appealing. Though difficult to master, they're often easy to learn. Even a simple thumb tip has hundreds of uses and is very easy to start using immediately. The kind of effects that they can accomplish are usually rather spectacular. Few would dispute that the haunted pack is a classic, and for good reason.

    In the second phase they start to understand the folly over relying too much on gimmicks. You're useless without them, and since they consume valuable pocket space you can only carry a few before it becomes clumsy, awkward, and difficult to manage. Though many gimmicks like invisible thread and thumb tips are very utilitarian, others like the cigarette through coin are designed to do one specific illusion and do it extremely well.*

    Once this phase is reached, the magician begins learning true sleight of hand. Sometimes, but not always, they start out with effects that require a set-up. There's a certain security in knowing that the bulk of the work has been done before the performance that helps to build confidence. Either way, the quest is eventually made for more and more impromptu effects.

    By this point, the student has moved to the opposite end of the spectrum. Sometimes they come to shun gimmicks and imagine that they have transcended their usage. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. You're never too good for a gimmick.

    After more experience is acquired, they begin to objectively analyze the pros and cons of both approaches and walk a middle road. Those who don't, typically end up registering accounts at Decknique, Handlordz, and other places that seem scientifically designed to irritate me.

    Furthermore, those who don't sometimes end up falling victim to a fallacy. They confuse causality. They think that the gimmick is taking credit for their work, which if you think about it sounds like something Gary Busey would say. They latch onto impromptu methods out of a deluded sense of purity yes, but those who believe the fallacy I described soon turn it into an ego thing. They trick themselves into thinking that if the effect is not impromptu, then the audience will give credit to the prop or even the gimmick that they don't even know exists.

    I ask you: Does the idea of an audience giving credit to a deck that they did not provide you make any goddamn sense?

    *Please note that I'm not denigrating the cigarette through coin, and am aware that it can do more than just what its name describes. It does one core effect extremely well. Nothing wrong with being a one-trick pony if you do your trick masterfully.
  13. hey i think that you need a mix, cos some impromtu card and coin tricks are stunning, for example, silver dream, wayne houchins invisible palm and so on, but some tricks just cant acheive the same effect without a gimmick, for example, pat page's easy money, loads of gimmicks are out for that, the strongest on the market at the moment being Extream Burn 2.0, Hand out 500 and Prophet. but could you do that without a gimmick? No. also if you bring out dollars (or if your like me and live in the uk and bring out a five pound note:p Wicked:p:p:p) no lay person will think they are gimmicked, plus there so easy to clean up. but then some impromtu effects are just as good, if you learn the slights and get to a good skilled magician there is nothing wrong with props. if your a magician people expect you to have more than 1 deck on you if you doing an event, its natural, i for example keep about 4 in my waistcoat pockets, its normal. theres the disadvantage that if your caught without your prop you cant do it, but just do something else, for in fact Stigmata or Control, Two stunning improntu effects, its like in a realationship, for it to work the right balance has to be found, so in your realationship with magic a balance has to be found between gimmicks and impromtu effects, and the balance has to be right for you
  14. That's exactly the response I was waiting for. Im not saying that gimmicks are better than impromptu, no way. Impromptu in my opinion will always be my favprite, but like Jeff said, you need to start with sleight of hand and then start adding gimmicks. That's the point I was giving, maybe I was a little unclear.
  15. As an extremely amateurish magician, I would think Impromptu could almost always triumph over gimmicks, because it is what it is, Impromptu: Right here, right now, and in your face. Don't get me wrong, Gimmicks are awesome. I love em, but require setup and more of a "clean-up" than most Impromptu tricks as far as I know. And you know your going to be way more impressed with on-the-spot sleight of hand than any gimmick. So basically, Impromptu>Gimmicks, but Gimmicks are still great.
  16. Are you suggesting that the spectators would actually be able to tell the difference?

    If you're instead speaking for only magicians, then there are two problems with that. The first being that I don't perform for magicians because magicians are *******s. The second being that I don't like other people presuming to speak for me such as telling me what I am and am not impressed by.
  17. i like the way you think....

    Your right, in that the audience shouldnt know anything about the method, the presentation should be the same for a gimmick and a nongimmicked trick, so why distinguish?

    The focus should be on the end result, the effect, not the effort reqired to get there
  18. Gimmicks, gaffs, or impromptu, it doesn't matter. What matters is your performance, character, and entertainment value.

    The trick is just a tool, what you're giving your audience is an experience. To perform under any other way is to not maximize on your performance.
  19. I have no problem with gimmicks as magic is about the spectator, who will never be the wiser. I used to be a "purist" for a bit, when I first started out, but I realized I was missing out on a lot of good tricks and opportunities after I read the following (paraphrased) quote somewhere:

    "There is no honor lost in method, only the spectator's experience and the reputation gained from the performance."

    And that reputation, if performing well, does not read "USES GIMMICKS" It spreads as "DOES THE IMPOSSIBLE" and therefore the method doesn't matter.

    Also, while on topic yet slightly off topic at the same time, there are tricks like Fallen by DG and Riot by DH that achieve more or less the same thing, yet one uses a gimmick and one does not. I'm too tired to give an essay about that (I'm a writer by nature) but one can see its relevance.
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