Storyline vs Visual Tricks

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MohanaMisra, Oct 14, 2019.

  1. I decided to ask all of my classmates, and teachers, seniors and juniors the following:-

    Imagine you go to a magic show where you know you will see the best magic in the world. Literally, THE best magic. However, YOU have a choice of what kind of magic you wanna see, between:

    1) A super-visual but AMAZING trick, as in coins appearing and vanishing, cards changing places, and so on.

    2) A longer trick with a BEAUTIFUL storyline that will most probably touch you in some way.

    Either of them presented, will be the BEST one of its kind.

    What do you choose?


    Some responded with both, some with the second one, some with the first. So I guess my results state that it depends on the audience really, and on their way of thinking and looking at things, not necessarily their age or sex or community or whatever.

    So now I ask you magicians, for an unbiased answer (although who are we kidding, all of us are biased in some way or the other XD) to this question:

    Which magic is better for an up and coming magician today?

    (where social media and real life, both play important roles).
  2. You are asking the wrong question, i think. Magic doesn't work like that. It all depends on what you are doing. It is a bit more complicated than you might think. Miser's dream doesn't need patter. The professor's nightmare without patter is just meaningless ropework. A mentalist wouldn't be able to do much without a story but a manipulator can be silent, or work to music. Torn and restored can be done silent or not and so can a lot of card-tricks. Magnetized water from Pop Haydn depends on patter while Moritz Mueller's one coin routine has no use for it. Penn Jilette is mute and has to work silent, he has no choice, so he worked out brilliant visual stuff. Shin Lim works to music while Tommy Cooper's shows completely depended on patter. If you want to be a you-tube magician it doesn't matter. Nobody cares or watches a twelve-year old screwing up some trick he bought and practised maybe twenty times, life from his mother's kitchen table. The audience has nothing to do with what we perform, we control them. We make them see what we want them to see and think what we want them to think. I am a pro for the last 40 years i but can't give you a real answer, because there isn't one.
    RickEverhart likes this.
  3. They both work great but yield completly different reactions and emotions. Visual magic feels a lot more impressive as a trick but doesn't give off a lot of emotion most of the time. You're using purely the magic in this case to move the audience. On the other hand, story-based magic feels a lot more emotional to the person. I feel like magic is an excellent medium to express a story, while unnecessary. I think it completely matters in the setting. If you're performing an hour+ long show, a story will help keep things moving and make the show more intriguing. It can get boring to watch someone just do tricks for an hour if there is nothing more (whether that's a story, comedy, or a musical-driven act). On the other hand, shorter performances don't need the story to retain the attention of the audience. In the setting of a walk-around gig or street performance where you meet people for a few minutes and then move on, the story might not be necessary and you may not be able to take it very far with the time provided.
  4. I agree with what was said before, this is no a) or b) question. I know we all hate this answer, but it all depends. First of all it depends on the magician himself and his personality: Is he a rather quiet type of person, but has some incredible technical skill? In this case, instead of listening to some forced and awkward-sounding patter, I'd much rather just watch the miracles he's doing.
    In the opposite case, if the magician is a really loud and outgoing person (in a positive sense) and if he's put enough work into his presentation, I could care less about how visual it is. Take for example Bill Malone: I love watching him perform, not because of the miracles he works, but because of his hilarious presentation.
    I think this point, in addition to what's already been said, is really important when deciding what to do.

    I think you mean Teller, Penn's the larger, louder half. And Teller can in fact speak, his reason for staying silent is another one (actually this reason is quite interesting in itself, you should take a look at the YouTube video).
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  5. The reason for Teller's silence is pretty remarkable in itself also because if I'd ever want to listen to any magician speak, during (or otherwise) a trick, it'd be Teller.
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  6. I mixed them up indeed, but i didn't know he could speak. I'll look it up, thank you kindly.
  7. I agree, his voice is smooth as silk. He would be fantastic for reading stories to little children as well, it's got that soothing quality.

    It's explained nicely in this excerpt from his and Penn's Google Talk, sorry I didn't send it before:
    Antonio Diavolo and Gustav Dubh like this.
  8. Thanks for that, it is a very strange thing to hear him talk, and he has a good voice too. I would buy a second-hand car of him if he was a salesman. I am glad he isn't. Penn & Teller are not that well known in Europe, like most American magicians, so we don't know much about them here. He fooled me badly, but then that is what we do. If you hadn't told me i would never have guessed he could speak. Just shows how good he is.
  9. I think we need to try to achieve some kind of art with our magic. We need to elicit an emotional response and try to communicate with our audience. It's tricky but it is possible.

    Telling a story does not mean a piece of magic is not visual.

    Look at the magic and ask yourself what you can do to differentiate yourself. How can you do that visual trick in a way that resonates? Here are some examples from Instagram magicians:

    Funny story the end was not planned :)

    Then there's this, the trick isn't the biggest stunner of all time but that is actually Paul's brother and that is actually his Christmas gift. The story is what makes it memorable but it's just a quick IG video:

    This story and effect is even simpler, but the emotion resonates:

    This effect hits a nerve on several levels. It's visual, gross, and it is weird "proof" of a nightmarish conspiracy:

    All of these are visual and tell great stories in my mind.
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  10. Actually, in a new ad for a "master class" course on Magic being taught by P&T Teller interestingly explains why his silence is so effective in that it forces the viewer to "fill in" the narrative.

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