June 2009 :: How deep should the rabbit hole go?

LukeDancy

theory11 artist + consultant, Criss Angel MindFrea
Sep 18, 2007
53
0
Las Vegas
Hey guys, what's up this is Luke Dancy hanging out in casa de la Dancy here in beautiful Las Vegas to bring you this months Cerca Trova topic. I've personally thought about this a lot so it should be fun to see what you guys have to say.

How much do you allow someone to believe when it comes to supernatural powers versus other things in play (e.g., sleight-of-hand, psychology, etc.)? Further, how should your effects and character reflect this?

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. We're simply looking for your thoughts on the subject. To believe or not to believe... that is the question.

Get on it guys, post post post!

l u k e
 
Dec 30, 2008
675
1
31
Well, due to my religion I don't beleive in deceit, thus I say.... (when they ask ) .... that it is illusion. Although most people know it can't be real. I compare it to acting, your on a stage, pretending to be someone your not, but people know that you aren't actually that person. I can't wait to hear what others have to say! :D
 
I rarely claim my magic tricks as anything. For me, the best way to go is to just do it, and let them watch it happen. I keep the "story" aspect of the presentations to a minimum. As an example, I have never claimed a card was actually "ambitious", nor have I claimed a deck as "haunted". I think you can get the emotional connection to the spectator without elaborate stories or claims. In my opinion, whenever I see someone making such claims they become a self-parody.

However, that can't always apply. For example, performing Thread. If you claim Thread as sleight of hand, then it takes everything away from it. You are obligated to claim it as real, to claim it as an actual "super-human" ability that not everyone could just learn.

With mentalism, you are playing with fire. In alot of magic books there are horror stories of the audience starting to think to much of the performer (e.g Angel Case in The Art of Astonishment). I think in Psychological Subtleties Teller had the best idea. To present it as merely "something to think about on the long drive home". To not be specific; because when you think about it, trying to explain the action automatically takes away from it, whether it be psychic claims or the rest.

I don't perform professionally. When I perform, it is just "me" performing, not a character. I think it is important for the attitudes and claims to reflect this. I am a person, who happens to have learned to do some awesome things they can't explain; thats it. That being what they see in me, I don't try to mess up a good thing with explanations.
 
C

CaseyC

Guest
I personally do not try to put on the whole "mystical" facade. Most spectators just don't buy it. However, I think it's important to get a feel for what your spectators believe in. If you can find someone who believes in "real" magic, I would run with it.

I present things with a more casual feel. I don't try to convince people to believe in ideas they do not. Presentation with more of a connection to the audience is more powerful in my opinion. When you bring the cheesy, unbelievable stories to the table, the effect tends to lose it's authenticity.

Just my thoughts.

Great topic.
 
Jul 16, 2008
362
1
30
somewhere in New York
usually, im just me, i try NOT to play it off as if i was some super human. I have had some people that go to my school think that. I let them think what they want though cause i know if they go around telling people "she can read minds!" or something along those lines of supernatural powers people arent going to believe them and think they're strange. However, that is one way my name got around school. After that one kid i did magic for he spread word and now everyone in my grade knows me for magic. I got a lot of new people i dont know come up to me so i liked that cause its just more chances i get to perform.
 
Sep 1, 2007
109
0
Personally, I feel that my job as a magician isn't to actually perform magic. This may sound odd, but hear me out here. As a magician, I dont perform magic but rather give the illusion of performing magic. Let me clarify:

I dont explicitly say what I'm doing; sleight of hand, gimmicks, whatever, in fact, I build my patter to destroy these as options of what may be going on. But at the same time, I'm very open about the fact that what I'm performing isn't actually real.

Many magicians may question this and wonder what I'm trying to accomplish by performing in such a manner. I'm trying to do 2 things: entertain and let people walk away with a smile, as well as make them learn to see the real magic that is all around them.

As corny as this may sound, I do believe in magic. Unexplainable events and things occur on a daily basis. As a magician, I feel that my tricks are simply gateways into allowing people to recognize this magic around them.

I think of it as how a girl who thinks she's pregnant starts to see more pregnant women, baby posters, billboards and products. I aim to have a person see my magic, question things, and start seeing magic elsewhere around them.

Like I said, corny, but true.

Now on to the second part: character. I'm basicall just a normal everyday guy, even when I'm in character. My character is essentially... me. I'm funny, I joke around and I enjoy people.

But character isn't the most important part, for me, its presentation. I'll come out in the open right now and admit that I realize that for me to accomplish my goal, it's probably best to use everyday items as far as effects go. That said, I dont. I do cards. This is because I enjoy them and i feel that while satisfying your audience, you must also cater to yourself as a performer to some degree. Now the reason I explain this is because I need to make it clear that performing card tricks isnt helpful in achieving my goal unless i present them properly. What I do with card tricks is I relate them to every day things. Not telling a story, but simply explaining how this can relate to other parts of our lives.

So there we go. Those are my thoughts on the subject I guess. I'm probably a little erratic in what I'm saying and jump from subject to subject, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to get at.

Basically, connect to the audience in the way that you do best, and show them the magic that's already there.

Cheers,
Lucas
 
many angles.

There are many ways you can approach this matter. Ill start with a story.
At school one of my good friends is a magician. he performed some cool sleight of hand card tricks once or twice a day for a while. As a Christian school its hard for them to believe "real" magic. Then my friend got more serious in magic. He started to perform things like Thread, distortion, and stigmata. Things that from a christian laymens point of view, look like devil work, a.k.a. "real magic". If we (I not being a magician at the time) ever asked him about worshiping the devil or spirits he would casually say "yeah, every night" giving us a laugh. But underneath that laugh we didnt were skeptical that this was just "sleight of hand"though over time we accepted that he was just a great magician. He was mystifying.
I perform magic with a lighter feel. More of entertainment than mystery. Add comedy and funny stories to liven up a day. Of course I always get those "how did you do thatS", but i'll turn it into a joke with the classic line"a magician never reveals his secrets."
These are two different kinds of reactions and thoughts you can put into peoples mind. Its all entertainment, for without that, what is there? Now addressing the point, how far should you go. I believe that any magician can go as far as he or she wants to display to image they want.
Many of you may not agree with me but I look forward to your feedback.
 
I think the limit is how much belief someone has in you...

If someone believes your doing "magic" tricks then you have a none to a decent amount of affect on their lives.

However if someone beileves your doing Magic tricks then you can distort and absolutly shatter some peoples live and reality. It's like someone who follows a religion so strongly and then gets told with 100% certainty that it isn't true. If you did that to someone you would destroy them.

It's like when David Blaine did magic for those.... (arg, can't remember where they were from but they believed in black magic etc ) and they all believed it was Black Magic and they didn't want to see his magic or him.

So yeah, I think we've all got to know when to stop telling people what we can "do".

This also reminds me of how people say they can talk to the dead and they can give people (maybe) false hope. It's a double edge swprd really. You either lie to someone and say everything is going to be ok, or be honest with them and accept reality...

Cheers, Tom
 
Apr 29, 2009
81
0
i dont say i have powers. as a mentalist, much of what i do is not trickery so i dont say its an illusion. a lot of the time im telling them almost exactly what i am doing
 
Aug 31, 2007
1,960
1
34
Long Island/New York
Some great replies to this one.

For me, there is no limit into what they're thinking is real magic. People who don't believe and insist "It must be a trick", are going to think that no matter what. There's no changing that.

For people who are open and believe what you're doing is real magic, well . . . . . . . let them believe. Why not? You've learned all these sleights perfect so that they're near impossible to catch. Why would you ruin all that to a believer and say, "Hey this is just sleight of hand, It isn't real."

From their eyes, what just happened would be called a miracle. Why take that away from them? Miracles happen all the time with no explanation. Like Lucas was saying, magic can really open your eyes and make you realize the real magic that goes on in the world all the time, if presented correctly.

It's hard for people to think that I'm superhuman because when I perform, I'm dressed just like them. I AM just like them. I'm not in some cloak from harry potter carrying a wand with a clock around my neck. If you didn't know me, you'd have no idea I did magic.

Lastly, there's a difference between doing and being.
A painter paints art. He is not art.
I'm not magic, what I do is magic.
 
May 3, 2008
1,146
4
Hong Kong
Although I do answer the "are you jesus" question with a confident "No... Im Lucifer (which is in fact the name I like to go by)", I have strayed away from the whole "this is magic, I have powers" thing. Most people dont believe it, and when they do, they make a big deal of it, which... kinda messes things up. They worship you, they think youre bs, what ever. It just doesnt seem to play well.
How i present tricks is with an "honest and scientific" explanation. Hey, it may be pure BS, but it is believable to a point where they can't just throw the possibility away. "I can read your mind with my magic awesome powers" versus "Everyone has subtle but noticable twiches in 52 different parts of your face, where if you detect, can easily sense what card you are thinking of". The second one seems more believable. Although improbable, is actually possible.
For example, the explanations of my routines :acr-misdirection, biddle trick-poker face, split decision-dual personality within inanimate objects. Sometimes the explanations go really far fetched, but either way it is more believable than just plain old magic.

As for the character and performer thing, I always keept an element of my actual personality. I do what is me. Changing your character the 100% just makes things worse when they meet you later on and think "this guy... is... full of bs... why should we believe antying he say?" My real personality is upbeat, sarcastic, and always happy. So I keep elements of my sarcasm within my performing to make it personal. Laugh at the audience occasionally, crack a few lame jokes and admit its retardness, etc.
Keeping yourself 100% is also somethign I wouldnt do. This makes people who know you enjoy your performances more. It makes them think "hey. heres a new side of him we havent seen. He feels like the same old guy, but theres that extra... something... hm... fun..." My real personality likes to mumble and slur all my words. I like the way it sounds. But when performing. I pronounce every word crisp and clear. People find this a fun and surprising side of me and they want to hear more.

As for how my character reflects upon my way of "how deep do you go?", I tend to stray towards my mood of the day and the atmosphere of the moment. If its a random party, I may just say it casually "its those twitches in your face. Look look! everyone look! hes... thinking bout... HAH! lets not talk about that... *laugh laugh laugh*" If i am performing a stage show of mentalism, I may say "In your face with 123123(or whatever) muscles, 123124 tendons, and 123223 nerve cells, everything is inter-related to one single thing, your brain. Your brain sends out these signals which blah blah blah" you get the idea.
 
Nov 8, 2007
1,238
3
I perform my magic as if it's real magic.

I think too many magicians now are either scared of performing what people believe is real magic, or they don't believe in magic themselves. A magician that doesn't believe in magic themselves is not something I want to be. In my opinion that's like a writer not believing in storytelling, or a photographer not believing in the power of a single photograph.

People want real magic. No matter how many times people ask "How did you do that?" what they really want is confirmation that there isn't a logical explanation and that what they've just experienced was something real and outside of their reality. They want the impossible.

And who doesn't? Who wouldn't like to see something impossible nobody else has seen and know that it was real? Who wouldn't want to meet a real mind reader or someone who could really pass objects through one another?

Uri Gellar understood this. And a lot of magicians have grown to hate him over it. I think this is largely out of jealousy. Gellar made people believe what he was doing was real magic. And laymen didn't just think him a a magician because he wasn't playing into the magician stereotype. No rabbits, bad jokes, colorful props, or overly rehearsed script. He was just a guy displaying impossible abilities. And it worked. People were entertained and astonished by it.

So in my opinion I think it's the magician's job--above anything else--to give people that astonishment. To give them that reality shaking experience every one us craves on a primal level. I think there is a disappointment for laymen when they are told what they are seeing is "just sleight of hand and psychology." And I think many magicians are too lazy and scared of their own craft to try and make what they're doing seem anything more than that. But that's our job--to make moments of magic. So why have so many forgotten that?

As a footnote I don't think presenting magic as real is something that needs to necessarily be explicit. The magician does not have to come out and say "What I am doing is real," or answer "How did you do that?" with "I used my divine supernatural abilities the universe has blessed me with." Just playing a bit coy and being a little aloof is confirmation enough. Watch how Blaine reacts when people ask him how he did whatever it is he did. He doesn't give them a direct answer, he shifts their focus and avoids the question. Sometimes that's all it takes. Letting them sit with their thought and cook it a little longer.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Mar 2, 2008
412
0
I usally don't go with supernatural approches when it comes to coins cards rings and other close up effects.

But when i do perform coin bends mind reading and other mentalism i do say i am going to read your mind yadi yadi yada.

I think if you say if it's all sleight of hand and you call your self a magicain then it kind of defeats the purpose. If they ask for magic, you give them magic, you should not say it's all fake because it makes it less powerful.

It's up to your audince to decide if it was fake or not.
 
May 3, 2008
1,146
4
Hong Kong
I perform my magic as if it's real magic.

I think too many magicians now are either scared of performing what people believe is real magic, or they don't believe in magic themselves. A magician that doesn't believe in magic themselves is not something I want to be. In my opinion that's like a writer not believing in storytelling, or a photographer not believing in the power of a single photograph.

People want real magic. No matter how many times people ask "How did you do that?" what they really want is confirmation that there isn't a logical explanation and that what they've just experienced was something real and outside of their reality. They want the impossible.

And who doesn't? Who wouldn't like to see something impossible nobody else has seen and know that it was real? Who wouldn't want to meet a real mind reader or someone who could really pass objects through one another?

Uri Gellar understood this. And a lot of magicians have grown to hate him over it. I think this is largely out of jealousy. Gellar made people believe what he was doing was real magic. And laymen didn't just think him a a magician because he wasn't playing into the magician stereotype. No rabbits, bad jokes, colorful props, or overly rehearsed script. He was just a guy displaying impossible abilities. And it worked. People were entertained and astonished by it.

So in my opinion I think it's the magician's job--above anything else--to give people that astonishment. To give them that reality shaking experience every one us craves on a primal level. I think there is a disappointment for laymen when they are told what they are seeing is "just sleight of hand and psychology." And I think many magicians are too lazy and scared of their own craft to try and make what they're doing seem anything more than that. But that's our job--to make moments of magic. So why have so many forgotten that?

As a footnote I don't think presenting magic as real is something that needs to necessarily be explicit. The magician does not have to come out and say "What I am doing is real," or answer "How did you do that?" with "I used my divine supernatural abilities the universe has blessed me with." Just playing a bit coy and being a little aloof is confirmation enough. Watch how Blaine reacts when people ask him how he did whatever it is he did. He doesn't give them a direct answer, he shifts their focus and avoids the question. Sometimes that's all it takes. Letting them sit with their thought and cook it a little longer.

touche good sir... touche
 
Sep 15, 2007
1,127
0
31
www.myspace.com
Honestly, I act like I am God's gift to the planet earth when I perform haha. I'll let them believe I am an alien, the devil, etc. Why shouldn't they think that? If Someone REALLY read your mind or made something levitate wouldn't you think that as well? I rest my case.;)
 
Oct 16, 2008
35
0
Columbus Ohio
I underrate my self inorder to allow the participant(i dont use the word "spectator") to be blown away when i do the "unexpected" but then if i do a routine with heavey psycological effects i inform the participant that this is an illusion or this is slight of hand, i dont like for anyone to think of me as wierd, supernatural or un human.
 
Jul 7, 2008
9
0
When I perform any magic related stunt or trick, I tell the spectators that i do not have powers but i do have a lot of skill. I emphasize that fact with my performance. I believe this is the only way to get people to take you seriously and i think they find it more interesting. As a side note the spectators also watch a little bit harder as they want to find out what I do.
 
Apr 26, 2009
57
1
i never try to imply on them that its ,"real," magic. the audience is not stupid, they know its not real...well thats in regards to normal tricks (cards, coins, etc). psychological stuff is very different, i dont consider that magic, i consider that well psychology, and that even i dont understnad lol. its all up to audience beliefs i guess. many dont believe in real magic, while a lot do, i just never try and make it seem like its real magic, i think thats pushing it way too much...i let them figure it out

-max
 
I let the spectator decide. If they think I have powers, then I let them think that. I try not to hint either way. That way, there isn't a argument that could occur. For example, if I go around saying I have "abilities," then some skeptic could come up and become a heckler and try to screw up a trick. If I don't say anything, then I'm good to go.
 
Searching...
{[{ searchResultsCount }]} Results