Looking through a layman's eyes...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by M.Thariath, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. So, one of my friends have been trying to learn to do card magic, and I taught him the double lift and he has been practicing incessantly. To boost his confidence/check up on his progress, he approached his roommate, did a simple double lift, then turned it over, then turned over the real top card, and she was amazed. A couple days later, I was at their apartment, and I had her make a selection, and controlled it to the top. I did a double lift, and did a Cardini/Pughe's/Ego type change (very visual) and she nonchalantly said "oh, that's cool.... He [the friend] did that to me the other day"

    She didn't remember the fact that he flipped over his card, and that she actually "saw the card change" when I did it. In essence, the end effect of the two methods were the same!

    This incident made me start thinking, and I just started reading royal road to card magic. There are so many effects in there that just seem so simple, that I feel like people will not be impressed at all with them. But that's just because I'm looking at the effect through the eyes of a magician (or at least someone that has a very elementary understanding of sleight of hand). Any ideas on how to move past that?
  2. How about trying the tricks?

    We get caught up in the differences of techniques but a lot of times people won't notice those nuances. My variation of the Erdnase change probably doesn't look any different than a standard Erdnase change to laypeople, but the magicians I've shown it to all think it's great because I try to make it very open. The end result is the same, though. The card changes.

    Personally, I look for plots that attract me and work from there. I rarely use an effect exactly as written, often making minor changes of handling to suit me. As long as you preserve the general feel of the effect, the handling doesn't really matter.
  3. Well said Chris. I agree. I just did an effect in a similar fashion (I thought, there is little or no way this will impress people), they had a hayday with it! They loved it. Try a new thing and see. ;)
  4. Interesting post indeed. It is tough for me to view magic / effect as a layman again because I immediately begin to reverse engineer it and break it down technically.

    There is a big difference from how we as magicians view an effect compared to a normal spectator. It has been said countless times here...Simple hits hard. The audience is able to understand what happened and doesn't get confused with the long drawn out plots or knuckle busting moves.

    I have been caught off guard on more than one occasion by "trying" out a new effect from a book that I thought was a "dud" or "this would never fool or entertain" someone and am completely wrong.
  5. I believe I heard that quote from Brad Christian..."Because Simple..Hits Hard"
  6. I think every audience is different, i've brought out the big guns and got riotous results, i've also done the same thing to another group and the results were more subdued. I've also had what I call secondary effects go down and have been remembered better than those in the top drawer. I think this comes down to reading your audience as you start, i've nowhere near got to the point where I can do this myself but it is something I strive for.
  7. Personally, I believe this theory of 'economy of technique' walks a fine line between legitimately streamlining magic for the better and producing unneccessary laziness in its method.

    In magic, there are several hundred ways to skin the same cat. With all the sleights, gaffs, and tools available to us, it is very easy to overthink an effect and pollute it with excessive technique. With this in mind, I do think it's important to take a step back from what we do and simplify the means to accomplishing our goals. I'm currently speaking with Nate Staniforth regarding the Berglas Effect. In my opinion, the effect is a gorgeous one which thrives upon test conditions. A spectator names a card. Another names a number. And another spectator finds the selection at the number in an untouched, boxed deck of cards. There are thousands of ways to perform a variation of this effect: memorized decks, gaffed boxes, second deals, forces, etc. With that, I would argue magicians would appreciate those differences more than most laypeople. The question many magicians fail to ask themselves is... are the small, subtle details worth the extra effort in the end? Does a particular shortcoming affect the way a layperson will remember or enjoy a particular effect?

    Despite that, I think it's foolish to completely separate the points of views of magicians and laypeople. The truth of the matter is laypeople are much more intelligent than the majority of magicians give them credit for. In many cases, an extroverted reaction to a magic trick may in fact just be a crowd trying to be polite for an otherwise incompetent performer. I think many professionals would agree with that. I would argue that it should require some serious thought and individual debate to consider modifying an effect to make it easier. There is a difference between making an effect easier and more economic. The difference relies in the decision if such changes will make or break the effect. Again, is the effort worth the end effect?

    I can talk for hours on this topic... but hopefully these thoughts will simmer in some other people's thoughts for the time being.

  8. A great resource for those trying to understand the way laypeople view an effect, particularly in terms of it's deceptiveness, is Darwin Ortiz's book Designing Miracles.

    I think it's one of the best magic books ever written. It helped me understand why certain effects I thought were strong received weak responses when performed.

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