Magic or Misdirection

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by theJokerhahaha13, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. Magic or Misdirection?
    Which should we do?

    I started this thread because I was watching d+M artist diary and some of Wayne's videos on his site, then a thought occured to me:
    Daniel says that when he's watching something like an ACR routine, he doesn't want to be told that the cards "magically" rise to the top. He wants to hear that it's not magic, it's sleight-of-hand.
    He also states (and I completely agree with this part) and I quote, "If somebody says, 'This guy's a magican,' everybody straightaway thinks that this guy's gonna pull out a magic wand or pull a rabbit out of a hat or something."
    I believe that Madison is right in saying that when someone hears that, "This guys an underground magician" they wouldn't immediately think of a top hat or a tuxedo, they would ask just like Madison says, "What is that?"
    He couldn't be more right in saying that Underground Magic is a lot cooler, respectful to the spectators and a lot more intelligent.

    However, Madison seems to think that telling your spectators impossible things is wrong and just not close to reality at all, which is true, completely.
    However, what I disagree with is that he says that if he's watching a trick, he wants to be told that it's sleight-of-hand.
    For a magician maybe, that shows that you're being honest with other magicians.
    On the contrary, if you're doing an effect to a spectator, doesn't saying that it is just sleight-of-hand make it sound like you're saying that you are just a person with cool skills, rather than a magician?

    Wayne puts it best, "Magic happens in a spectators mind." Simple enough here, that really needs no analysis in my opinion.

    So here is my view:
    When doing an effect, you should give your audience an experience that they'll remember. Not just a neat little thing you can do with your hands, you should be entertaining them to the full.
    However, you DEFINTELY should not lie to your spectators by telling them impossible things, you should be honest with them.
    For example, if you're doing an effect, I believe it's best to not say that it's sleight-of-hand or magic, just do it and entertain them. You're giving them a memory they'll never forget, not an explanation of what they're seeing. You are a magician,and an entertainer, not a college professor.

    If anyone has any different opinions, please, I would be glad to hear and discuss them with you. After all, we are all performers.

    Just my view of other people's views of magic.
  2. I agree with what you're saying here. If you want to hear more things about this in detail you should check out Wayne's new "Art of Magic" DVD. I got it today and it has about ten minutes of David Regal and Aaron Fisher talking about this very subject.
  3. I find it depends how they ask or you approach them which starts a chain reaction, if you say "Hey want to see a trick?" they immediatly think it'll be sleight of hand & skill, where as if you say "Want to see a little magic?" it puts impossible things into their mind. The only time I'll ever say "It's magic" or "It's sleight of hand" is if they ask me how I do it. But I mainly agree with you, I'm just blabbering.

    Also, isn't it Aaron Fisher who says "Magic happens in the spectators mind"?
  4. In saying "It's magic," you can also say it's different things. Like, it's a disgusting skill of the body, or it's NLP, or whatever. If you choose to commit to that road, you don't have to describe it as magic wands and sparkles. It just needs to be something extraordinary.

    If you want personal opinions, then here: I think hearing that a trick is sleight-of-hand is really boring. That sort of kills the illusion for me. I know it's not actual magic, but if you're a good magician, then you have this backstory for what you do, be it psychic phenomena, understanding of psychology, talking to the dead, whatever, and you have to find a way to make that work for the audience. Saying it's sleight-of-hand is one step away from saying, "and here's what that sleight-of-hand is!", or, "the woman didn't disappear, she's really hidden in this compartment, ta-da!" No fun.

    Now, you're saying that "underground magic" is cooler and more intelligent, but I'm wondering, are you talking about... is this just magic that isn't well known, the traditional definition of "underground?" Or are we talking all the flourishy card tricks out there, or what? Regardless, I don't give a **** if my magic is "cool" or not, because I'm not trying to show off, but I do care if it's more intelligent! However, I really haven't seen anything offered up, be it material or presentation, that tries to add intelligence and logic to what's done. I'm not saying this is the final word on things, and would love to see evidence of your claim.

    I still go with saying magic isn't real is like an actor saying, "No, no, dude, we're just up here pretending!" during a movie. I'm not stupid. I understand this is all hocus-pocus. Magicians don't seem to credit their audiences with actual intelligence, thinking they need to spell it out for them, as if the audience actually believes some 13 year old kid with a weird looking deck hanging out outside their fourth period English class is some supernatural force to be reckoned with. (Yeah, there are magicians out there who have fooled the public at large with their explanations - John Edwards, Uri Geller, Banachek with those scientists, etc. But these people were trying to fool you on purpose, and weren't out to entertain. We go to see a magician perform knowing full-well it's all a bunch of lies. A clever magician with the proper venue, however, is another story)

    Stock answer. You just don't tell them anything, and let them decide for themselves. The thing is, without any commitment from you on the issue, they have no reason to care. You don't have to railroad them on the issue, but you of all people should know what the hell you just did, why be coy about it? It doesn't make any sense to say, "You guys want to see something?" and then sit back and stare blankly when they ask to know more.
  5. #5 dstar, Jun 13, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2009
    Through many years trial and error the answer is simple. You say neither, or give any hints to either/or. I've never really understood why at first we feel the need to be the guy that has secrets of the universe and the supernatural, then we tend to progress to the cardshark "wouldn't play him at poker role". I know I went through both stages, as if it was my job to make some kind of disclaimer. I thought I was trying to figure out my role in magic. But both were fools gold for me.

    Let them decide. It's much in tune with the don't run if your not being chased, just in this area we do the same with persona. Mystery befriends the mysterious.

    Be yourself....your BEST self and have fun

    These may sound like stock answers because they come from people that have paid attention to reactions and how their spectators perceive them.

    The real question should be "what is your character". The masters knew what they represented. I'm reminded of that chapter in "Strong Magic" now that I think about it. I just think this question is much more valid. It would be hard to imagine Guy Hollingworth doing slap stick in a dotted bow tie. Symbolically though I think many magicians never put enough thought into that simple matter. It's a fine line of being too dull, giving mixed first impressions etc. Experiment and find the things that suit you. Personally I don't make cards "invisible", or do routines with's just not me at all. On the other hand that is what Eugene Burger is all about. Simple things to reflect on.

    There is a great article at my blog Denny wrote on this same topic if your bored.
  6. Maybe it's other people's ego that drives them towards adding a bit of vadility to their craft, maybe its for the attention, maybe its both.

    Its all about taste. How do you taste your magic? Do you believe in magic? Do you believe you can do magic? Do you want to be honest? Do you want to be extremely honest? Do you want to be simple?

    Find the right balance, and stop arguing with yourself.
  7. I should have specified on the Underground Magic part, toyrobot, I forgot, my bad.
    You're right in saying that you shouldn't care if magic is cool or not, because magic ISN'T about us.
    I believe that Underground Magic is magic that is completely different than traditional magic.
    While we use and update several principles from the old masters (Vernon, Cardini, Malini, etc.)
    we also make it more modern. We make the style more intelligent, like you said. Magic is a respectful art, and many people don't realize that magic can be so much more than some weirdo pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
    Magic can be an intimate, intense thing that people will never forget.
    However, old style magic (some of the time) cannnot connect with people like modern performers can, and that's why we have to make magic seem more elegant and repectful to our spectators.
  8. Thank you, you put what I think we should all try to accomplish, I just couldn't find the words.
  9. i love to keep things as close to reality...a lot of times thats why my patter is like patter is so flexible it changes courses just like a real convo...and thats when i go into my other routines...fluid.....

    i don't tell them i'm a magician....i just like...let me show you something i found out by being bored...i use that alot...

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