Layperson guesses

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by moviesandmagic3, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. So as I've been reading the comments on the Dan Sperry "AGT" performance on youtube, I am finding it interesting to see the comments laypeople are leaving about the performance and trick. Many people are guessing the method for the guess that I found funny was that Dan, while rubbing his throat to show that it is clean before the trick, is actually rubbing glue from a glue stick onto it. Many others, though, have left many enthusiastic and positive comments.

    My point is not specifically to discuss the comments of this one performance, but to discuss the way some laypeople try to guess the method of a trick. Even if their guess is incorrect or very basic, they still hold it to be correct. For example, I once did a color change (snap change) for my 7 year old neighbor, and he was impressed. But after a couple of seconds of thinking, he said I must have had two cards. Luckily I did the clean-up and showed him I only had one....that shut him up. I then did the snap change for someone much older, and he guessed that I must have done some crazy fast change by reaching back into the deck and switching the card extremely quickly.......I like that guess ;). I also once did an ambitious card for a girl.....and she said "You just put it on top" and then walked away. :confused:

    But really with any effect, I assume all of us have spectators guessing the method, and most of the time, they are incorrect or only have a basic idea. Quite often, though, they feel confident with their answer. Obviously, with a massive audience of laypeople seeing a trick like Saw for the first time, guesses will definitely arise.

    So what are your thoughts on the subject and do you have any stories of laypeople incorrectly guessing your effects? Also, why do some laypeople feel the need to guess the method out loud for everyone to hear?

  2. I once did the muscle pass for a teacher of mine and and she said I had magnets. She then had me show it to the entire class so she can show "how powerful some magnets can be." I let go because I thought it was really funny that she tried to make a lesson on a completely wrong guess.
  3. With rubber band tricks people think the bands break off somewhere, even if they're borrowed.
    With Pressure, people think there's a secret compartment or something that the phone slides into.
    With ambitious card, i've had the correct method guessed a few times (double lift, pass), but no-one seems to figure out my favorite way: palming.
    Clipshift, people think I toss the card as I shake it and ditch it quickly.
    With card to mouth, people think I force a card and already have the card in my mouth from the start.
    With card to wallet, same idea as above.

    Some of the things people come up with are hilarious.
  4. They can guess all they want and come upon what they believe to be the answer, however until they are certain they are correct, they can never know, and this is what drives them insane sometimes.
  5. Well the laypeople try to figurate out the effect for two reason 1- they want to know how to do it so they can do it too, 2- they don't like to be fooled and want to show to everybody that is fake so in that way they feel smart, I don't know if you understand my point of view, I hate when some people try to guess a method and isn't the right one but they can swear to god that is how is done, when I perform the first part of the marlo's miracle routine (the one guessing how many cards) the people think I count the cards.. how the hell I'm going to count all those cards in a few seconds gosh. (sorry about my english)
  6. I usually cut them off before they can spout out a guess and say "Don't tell me I don't want to know!"

    Sometimes i like to listen to them though after the performance. For instance, after performing thread once some people at the right angle thought it was coming from my ear. Hearing that gave me valuable information that i need to turn to everyone in the audience and show them it emerging from my eye.

    I think theres a time and place for the guesses but i also think you can learn from them if you listen.
  7. Haha! I once did a card to mouth to one person and word got around my school that I did a trick with a card coming out of my mouth. This one guy who hadn't even seen the trick came up to me and started guessing the method.
  8. My all time favorite guess was about two card monte. At the end, he said "Oh cool, you just bottom dealt me this while you had the other one."
  9. They aren't intrigued and interested enough in the why (presentation) which leads them to focus on the how, even if they get it wrong they feel like the time spent watching was worth it.

    Two types of audience members who try to explain it away : The ones who want to be know-it-alls, and those who's attention you failed to capture with your presentation.
  10. It's natural for people to guess how you did something. The thing that always gets me is performing Out Of This World. I use Derren Brown's version (with some subtleties of my own), and it's very clean. People always assume i somehow changed the cards around so they're sorted into red and black....under their a few seconds.....without seeing the faces. Genius.
  11. I get that all the time. My video of Saw on youtube has gotten over 400,000 views and almost every comment is lay people cussing at me, calling me a liar saying I used a glue stick.

    Some other creative guesses from laypeople are things like, "He used a rubber neck", "You can tell there's a string behind his neck", "He's not pulling the string with his hands".......... I just don't understand. Even before I got into magic and I was once I layperson, I NEVER thought of strange guesses like that.... hahaha
  12. I was showing a series of trick to a spectators friend. You know, when you do a magic trick to a girl and she is like, "OMG you have to show my boyfriend!" And of course, he was trying to be all, I know how all this magic is done. Apparently his explanation for "every" magic effect was a crease in the card so that I could locate it later. So to fool him I lost his card in the deck and showed him a clipshift. Once again. "Yeah that was cool I guess, I know that you put a crease in my card to mark where it was. Thats how all of these tricks are done." Really? A crimp can accomplish a color change. Needless to say, I stopped performing for him and decided to piss him off my doing very intimate tricks with his girlfriend. Performing french kiss, with an actual kiss. lol. She loved it :)
  13. I would have performed the pop up move and said "A bend in the card like this? But now everyone can see it... everyone knows where it is..."
  14. wtf? your spectators know about crimps,passes,forces and stuff?

    I almost NEVER get anyone trying to guess the method.

    It might be in my attitude/presentation style...its all very friendly and relaxed...I don't get too serious or challenging
  15. If anyone ever guesses the method, I find myself no longer doing that trick.

    I hear a lot about magnets when I levitate stuff.

    But I think most people inherently need to have a solution or something to attribute the effect to.

    In my stage show, I play off this a bit. I do an effect (by Sankey) where I make a prediction from a deck of cards, and put it on the table. Then I deal the cards and ask someone to say stop. They stop me and the card they stopped me at is a match.

    I then ask them outright, how they think I could have done it. People brainstorm some crazy ideas, but things like all the cards are the same, sleight of hand, mirrors, changing cards, memorized deck, switching the prediction etc. These are the normal ones people come up with. I throw a few more possibilities in, then I proceed to do the same trick, but eliminate every possible explanation.

    I pull out an envelope with a prediction and inform them it is from another deck with a different color back, and it's even a jumbo card to eliminate palming or switching the card. I then hand a new deck out to be shuffled and returned to the box by one spectator, who then hands it to a second spectator. They remove it and are asked to begin to deal from the top of the deck into a pile on the table. They stop WHENEVER they like and are even given a chance to change their mind. Once they settle. The envelope is handed to a spectator to open. they remove the only (jumbo) card in the envelope and show it around. Then they turn over the top card that they stopped at, and it matches. I give the deck away at the end for them to keep and examine.

    People are stunned because I literally NEVER touch the cards after handing them off.

    The point is that people are smart and can think of clever ways to accomplish things. They may attribute you as very good at sleight of hand, but not think about it being magical. For that effect, I want them to remove every possibility except the reason I give them (precognition). Eric Mead spoke a bit about this at the EMC.

    Great topic.
  16. I hate to say it but if your performing and the reaction you get is the person try to guess it... your not doing it well. I very rarely and I mean very rarely get any one to try and guess what I've done. They're not worried about the how even though they might say wtf how you do that!
    They're just amazed at what happened!

    I can think this one time I was busking and this guy kept saying oh it done this way and done that way... so I said well since your so good here's the deck of cards show me! He started to stutter and said "Well I can't do it. I just simply responded with "Exactly"....

    He didn't say a word after that. Now when it comes to YouTube videos I wouldn't even care what people say on the how its done.
  17. #17 Justin.Morris, Aug 13, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2010
    I don't know if I would agree.

    When you see a magician do something, do you not wonder "How on earth is that done?" When you see something like the preview for Smoke, doesn't your mind spin through its database of ideas on how this could be possible?

    I would submit that this is the same with every human being. People wonder until they are satisfied with an answer in their heads. Now your performance may not give the spectator a place to express themselves, or they may not say anything as they are trying to be polite, or simply they are thinking "wow I didn't even see him switch the cards" (instead of "that ink just changed!").

    Does it mean it is a bad performance? Not necessarily. Although performance always plays a part, even with a good performance of a bad trick, it will still be a bad trick. However, a good performance of a great trick, it will lead the audience to think whatever you want them too.

    When I have been working on a new effect, I always try it on my wife. If she figures it out, I find out why, and more often than not, that effect does not make the cut into my repertoire.

    If you signed up for the EMC (I believe you still can), I would recommend reviewing Eric's first presentation.
  18. When I started magic my brother-in-law always found how I did a trick....I realize that I wasn't smooth and was very nervous. I was doing bad habits like every magican does at one point. After months and months of praticing I final got rid of that and my nerves. I perform now and my brother-in-law is like WTF!!! Great reactions.

    One time I remember I was performing. I did a simple double lift to change their card and I got wonderful reactions. The girl grab my deck(Haha) and try to see if it was a trick deck. She turn one card over and turn it back to see if it change....she was getting piss and started to snap her fingers it it was going to change. I just stood their and smile! Wonderful times!!
  19. Ha, that's a great reaction. I love it when people start rubbing the ink on the card to see if it comes off or changes. I would say this is a good reaction. imo
  20. Justin Miller said this once, and it's really helped in terms of how their reaction should be:

    "Lead them across the bridge, and once you're done leading them over, blow up the bridge. Blow up the bridge so no matter how hard they try, they can't go back."

    That meant that you lead them through the effect, and for the ending you do something so amazing that they can't go back and try to figure it out. It's impossible at that point.

    I try to do this every time i perform. Do I want my spectators trying to figure out the tricks I do? Not really, because the magic is now lost. They think they know a method and stick to it regardless how many times you try and tell them it's not. I get guesses every now and then, and when I do I just feel kinda bad because the magic is lost at that point and I worked hard for nothing. As soon as they come across a guess for a method, you're done. You can't lead them in another direction.

    Just my 2 cents


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