Suspension of Disbelief

Sep 1, 2007
3,818
15
Since the thread I was going to comment in has been closed due to religion-based bickering and general myopic mother****ery, I'm just going to pose the question to the boards here.

The general attitude seems to be an abandonment of scripting, personas, characters, and context with a supernatural overtone and migrating more toward either pseudo-science or just admitting to trickery, fraud, and deception in the name of entertainment. Apparently, this allows the audience to suspend their disbelief better, or so I am told.

My question is this: Where exactly do Harry Potter and White Wolf Studios succeed where you fail?



More things than are dreamed about
Unseen and unexplained
We suspend our disbelief
And we are entertained


Mystic Rhythms - Rush
 
Sep 9, 2007
513
0
I don't think they succeed where I fail, I think I just enjoy presenting the way I do because it is truer to my personality. I'm sarcastic and mischievous and to present magic in a fashion that is congruent with that (as opposed to being some sort of wizard or something) makes my presentation more authentic.

Though I agree if the whole classical presentation is congruent to you, you should do it.

I think this is also the reason why I'd never do big stage stuff. Not because it's not good, but because I enjoy the 1 on 1 element of streets, clubs and pubs. I'm all about that moment, and that experience.

I'm very conscious of what I do as it pertains to my personal style. I guess that's my answer.
 
Sep 1, 2007
1,400
7
35
Belgrade, Serbia
Since the thread I was going to comment in has been closed due to religion-based bickering and general myopic mother****ery, I'm just going to pose the question to the boards here.

The general attitude seems to be an abandonment of scripting, personas, characters, and context with a supernatural overtone and migrating more toward either pseudo-science or just admitting to trickery, fraud, and deception in the name of entertainment. Apparently, this allows the audience to suspend their disbelief better, or so I am told.

My question is this: Where exactly do Harry Potter and White Wolf Studios succeed where you fail?



More things than are dreamed about
Unseen and unexplained
We suspend our disbelief
And we are entertained


Mystic Rhythms - Rush

I don't really see what is your main point (due to the lack of my understanding of English language, not due to your point). But if I think that you're saying what I think you're saying (see what I meant about my English?), than I agree. I think that pseudo-science and admitting to trickery have far less entertainment factor, than Fantasy/Mythology/Historical/Harry Potter type of character and presentation. I would change the "Brainiac" type of magician for a "Gandalf" type of magician anytime. Of course, this is from my viewing point (spectator point), not from my magician point...

If I missed the point of that question, please correct me, and I will correct myself.
 
Sep 9, 2007
513
0
I don't really see what is your main point (due to the lack of my understanding of English language, not due to your point). But if I think that you're saying what I think you're saying (see what I meant about my English?), than I agree. I think that pseudo-science and admitting to trickery have far less entertainment factor, than Fantasy/Mythology/Historical/Harry Potter type of character and presentation. I would change the "Brainiac" type of magician for a "Gandalf" type of magician anytime. Of course, this is from my viewing point (spectator point), not from my magician point...

If I missed the point of that question, please correct me, and I will correct myself.

You make an interesting point. It may "spoil" the magic in one way, but presented correctly, you still get the sense of wonder and astonishment. I can't say for sure, but the reason behind this is likely because the "old" style has undergone improvement for many years to reach where it is today, while new style performances still need improvement.

I find that my best way around that is selecting spectators that are receptive to your style. Much like you wouldn't expect someone into hip hop or death metal to enjoy classical music, you shouldn't expect someone into classical music to enjoy hip hop or death metal. Of course, there are exceptions or people that enjoy everything, but the bulk of the time, your performance will need to be congruent with your personality as well as your audience.
 
Aug 31, 2007
2,025
1
31
Long Island/New York
Since the thread I was going to comment in has been closed due to religion-based bickering and general myopic mother****ery, I'm just going to pose the question to the boards here.

The general attitude seems to be an abandonment of scripting, personas, characters, and context with a supernatural overtone and migrating more toward either pseudo-science or just admitting to trickery, fraud, and deception in the name of entertainment. Apparently, this allows the audience to suspend their disbelief better, or so I am told.

My question is this: Where exactly do Harry Potter and White Wolf Studios succeed where you fail?



More things than are dreamed about
Unseen and unexplained
We suspend our disbelief
And we are entertained


Mystic Rhythms - Rush


Just so we're clear here, you're talking about how some magicians don't like to play the part of a "magician"?
Magicians like Wayne Houchin that are honest with the audience saying what he is doing is just sleight of hand and trickery and not pretending to act like he has super powers.
If I'm off (probably), could you simplify what you want to say/ask.
Then I'll give my response when I'm back on.
 
Oct 24, 2008
245
0
Savannah, GA
Ugh, don't get me started on White Wolf. Such a love-hate thing.

I still say that, for most, it's being able to say, "I did this. Me! Not magic powers, not crazy gimmicks: just me, and my own dexterity!" And that all that argument and backing it up is just to not admit they want (in your words, Steer) validation. It's sexy, cool, romantic, and somewhat epic to play the trickster and con man. Helps explain why it's all cards, cards, cards (though we've also determined their ease of use, accessibility, and low price are big factors, but you get me, I hope.)

But that's not all of it. That's just probably most of it. I'd say besides that, it's just another theatrical angle. Like, Wayne Houchin was brought up - he's still doing a character. He's playing the guy who knows how the brain works, how to trick people, who as a kid, never backed down from a dare - he's probably cheated his way through thousands in casinos, pickpockets just for the fun of it, and knows all kind of cool gross-out material. He's showing off, but in a theatrical way. Through character.

As far as abandonment of all that good stuff you mentioned... inexperience, young age. Self-doubt, maybe. But really, this all overlaps: either you've got a solid grounding in magic and how to perform and present, or you're somewhere along the way towards that, even if it's still at the starting point refusing to budge an inch.
 
Sep 1, 2007
1,400
7
35
Belgrade, Serbia
You make an interesting point. It may "spoil" the magic in one way, but presented correctly, you still get the sense of wonder and astonishment. I can't say for sure, but the reason behind this is likely because the "old" style has undergone improvement for many years to reach where it is today, while new style performances still need improvement.

I find that my best way around that is selecting spectators that are receptive to your style. Much like you wouldn't expect someone into hip hop or death metal to enjoy classical music, you shouldn't expect someone into classical music to enjoy hip hop or death metal. Of course, there are exceptions or people that enjoy everything, but the bulk of the time, your performance will need to be congruent with your personality as well as your audience.

Sure, I get your point. I'm just seeing magic more related and "in the same category" (for lack of a better term) with mythological/harry potter type of presentation, than modern scientific one. But, whichever one you choose, don't go to the far extreme. Don't walk around dressed as a Merlin, nor as a mad scientist. Find the middle in those characters and presentations. You can lean towards one, but don't go to the extreme.
One thing that can spark things up, and make your presentation more interesting is to throw in some real (true) facts about something. If you are doing a scientific presentation, you can say "Did you know that water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius, and metal at (insert a number here) degrees?" and than freeze a coin. Or, if you are doing more mythological type of presentation, you can say "Did you know that Julius Cesar actually did...." and so on.
 
Sep 1, 2007
3,818
15
To clarify, I'm addressing the fact that some magicians are beginning to take the stance that the supernatural no longer belongs in the presentation of magic, that audiences can no longer buy it so they don't want to see it.

But that seems to fly in the face of the run-away success of the supernatural in the film and literary world. Harry Potter, The Dresden Files, The World of Darkness, pretty much everything Neil Gaiman writes, and even (disgusted shudder) Twilight. The supernatural is still very commercial. Why?
 
Sep 9, 2007
513
0
Sure, I get your point. I'm just seeing magic more related and "in the same category" (for lack of a better term) with mythological/harry potter type of presentation, than modern scientific one. But, whichever one you choose, don't go to the far extreme. Don't walk around dressed as a Merlin, nor as a mad scientist. Find the middle in those characters and presentations. You can lean towards one, but don't go to the extreme.
One thing that can spark things up, and make your presentation more interesting is to throw in some real (true) facts about something. If you are doing a scientific presentation, you can say "Did you know that water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius, and metal at (insert a number here) degrees?" and than freeze a coin. Or, if you are doing more mythological type of presentation, you can say "Did you know that Julius Cesar actually did...." and so on.

Oh yeah, totally agree. on both points. I'm not one for extremes or characters. At best, one could say I highlight the more social side of myself during magic, but other than that, the "character" is still me - the way I think, the way I act/react, etc. I think that's my "true" element.

That and I find I like to personalize my stuff. I created (and I use that term loosely since it's an application of mentalism/cold reading, not to mention, I'm sure someone, somewhere that I don't even know does something like it) a great little routine that segues into Control very well. The patter for the routine, and subsequently my personal patter for Control are all based on a life experience that I built the routine around.

Even the stories I've posted up here (search for them), all true, are part of a "full life routine", in essence, my brand. Everyone does this, I'm just more aware of it and do it rather intentionally.
 
Sep 9, 2007
513
0
To clarify, I'm addressing the fact that some magicians are beginning to take the stance that the supernatural no longer belongs in the presentation of magic, that audiences can no longer buy it so they don't want to see it.

But that seems to fly in the face of the run-away success of the supernatural in the film and literary world. Harry Potter, The Dresden Files, The World of Darkness, pretty much everything Neil Gaiman writes, and even (disgusted shudder) Twilight. The supernatural is still very commercial. Why?

I'm not sure I know of anyone that really takes that hard a stance against it. It's less of it "not belonging at all", but more of a stylistic choice.

I think before I'd take a stance against the supernatural element, I'd take a stance against the appearance of older style presentation. But that can even be said of any magic stylized to any time period. Costumes in the 80's were Horrendous.

I think the "supernatural" element is timeless and I don't think there's really a push against the "supernatural" element of it, but more the "robe and cone hat", "rabbit and top hat" look elements. Of course that inevitably changes the dynamic a bit - i.e. Wizards were well respected and even feared in their day.

I personally, prefer to be more casual about it. I know when I perform, I don't want people to "look up" at me more than they need to in order to appreciate the presentation - I'm just another guy who may be slightly more entertaining than the next.

All of that, and I guess fantasy is fun to read for some. I wouldn't know, I'm more of a non-fic guy myself reading Business Lit, Psych-related stuff and autobios from guys like Tucker Max....
 
Sep 1, 2007
1,400
7
35
Belgrade, Serbia
To clarify, I'm addressing the fact that some magicians are beginning to take the stance that the supernatural no longer belongs in the presentation of magic, that audiences can no longer buy it so they don't want to see it.

But that seems to fly in the face of the run-away success of the supernatural in the film and literary world. Harry Potter, The Dresden Files, The World of Darkness, pretty much everything Neil Gaiman writes, and even (disgusted shudder) Twilight. The supernatural is still very commercial. Why?

Magic is not for your audience to buy... Magicians buy magic (ok, not funny)... Anyways, even if they don't buy the whole supernatural idea, if you present it correctly, they won't think that you are full of s***, but they will enjoy it. I know I would. So, it's not about the spectators buying your BS, but it's about entertainment factor.

And that pretty much sums up the question of "Why?". Because it is entertaining, and captivating, and magical. It adds emotions, nostalgia, magic, everything that Matrix can't give you.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,249
3
Back in Time
Not all magicians don't like their audience to believe they do something super naturally. I was watching Asi Wind do Triumph on the Florence Henderson show and he presented it has his shadows making all the cards right except for her card.
 
Aug 31, 2007
2,025
1
31
Long Island/New York
With movies, audiences know that it's all fake.
The director knows that people understand it's just a movie and it's not real.
Audiences just accept that.

But when an audience hears a magician saying what he's doing is all real and that he has powers, well they're gonna want to challenge him to see if he can really do real magic. They're skeptic, who wouldn't be?
It's exactly like what most magicians think of psychics, mediums, and all that garbage. We don't believe it, so we want to challenge them to see if they can really do what they say they do. (FAIL)

So why do some magicians like to keep an honest theme when they perform?
Simple.
It's easier.

How is the supernatural still commercial?
The thing is, people actually want to believe. That's why those movies get success. People are still interested in the supernatural, and will be for a very long time.
 
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Feb 27, 2008
2,354
1
30
Grand prairie TX
Fortunately I perform with pseudo-scientific explanations AND supernatural overtones at the same time.
What some people here dont realize is that people love to believe in the supernatural.
The prospect of something beyond us that is greater than one can imagine.
'Unfortunately this day in age we find ourselves in a spiritual void. We cry out for meaning,and believe me,we do cry out. We see UFOs,engage in channeling,spirit contact,out-of-body-experiences,mindquests-all these eccentric ideas have a scientific veneer,but they are unashamedly irrational. They are the desperate cry of the modern soul,lonely and tormented,crippled by its own enlightenment and its inability to accept meaning in anything removed from technology"-
Carlo ventresca.
For christs sake dont take magic away from them.
 
Feb 27, 2008
2,354
1
30
Grand prairie TX
But when an audience hears a magician saying what he's doing is all real ans that he has powers, well they're gonna want to challenge him to see if he can really do real magic. They're skeptic, who wouldn't be?
.

IF you perform the boring god-mage like so many magicians do.
Especially the ones who claim it to be just their own dexterity. "look at me,im badass with a deck of cards. Theres no drama here,no reason to cheer for the hero because you know he's gonna win. Watch me make these cards hop around"
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Dec 1, 2008
357
0
Ottawa, Ontario
But that seems to fly in the face of the run-away success of the supernatural in the film and literary world. Harry Potter, The Dresden Files, The World of Darkness, pretty much everything Neil Gaiman writes, and even (disgusted shudder) Twilight. The supernatural is still very commercial. Why?

Because I like to think that something like that could really happen, that there really are supernatural events, people and beasts.
Why?
Because life would be so much more interesting, I guess.
And because books like the ones you named make it believable, make it seem like it may be possible. Like I said, I want the world to have something more, and so I will, as you put it, suspend my disbelief in all this supernatural stuff. Hope you see where I am coming from.

How can we be convincing like these books are, and make people want to believe in our magic so they will suspend their belief?
I really don't have a clue, you tell me.

For now though I'll keep doing what I'm doing and piece the answer together eventually.
 
Aug 31, 2007
2,025
1
31
Long Island/New York
IF you perform the boring god-mage like so many magicians do.


The magician doesn't even need to play off that whole image.
A small remark, "I can read your mind, think of your card(FYI- if you ever say this line in your act, I will slap you)" by the magician and most of the time you get challenged to read another person's mind with no trick in the works.
Spec: "What am I thinking of now?"

So no, it doesn't have to go that far, just as soon as a spec hears something that seems impossible to do, you could be in for a rude awakening.
 
Feb 27, 2008
2,354
1
30
Grand prairie TX
The magician doesn't even need to play off that whole image.
A small remark, "I can read your mind, think of your card(FYI- if you ever say this line in your act, I will slap you)" by the magician and most of the time you get challenged to read another person's mind with no trick in the works.
Spec: "What am I thinking of now?"

So no, it doesn't have to go that far, just as soon as a spec hears something that seems impossible to do, you could be in for a rude awakening.

That line and whole situation is still the magician doing the god-mage.
Its the perfect example of that. the "I can read your mind,think of your card" is a challenge to the spectator. Its the same "I can do anything" magician.
No drama,no presentaion.
 
Aug 31, 2007
2,025
1
31
Long Island/New York
That line and whole situation is still the magician doing the god-mage.
Its the perfect example of that. the "I can read your mind,think of your card" is a challenge to the spectator. Its the same "I can do anything" magician.
No drama,no presentaion.

Alright, well I'm marking the "I can read your mind,think of your card" at the lowest end of the God-mage. That little comment is minuscule to what it can really be played up as or what else could be accomplished.
Plus, many laymen would expect a magician to know how to do a mind reading effect anyway and not consider it God-mage type. But, even so he would still get heckled/challenged.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,249
3
Back in Time
Alright, well I'm marking the "I can read your mind,think of your card" at the lowest end of the God-mage. That little comment is minuscule to what it can really be played up as or what else could be accomplished.
Plus, many laymen would expect a magician to know how to do a mind reading effect anyway and not consider it God-mage type. But, even so he would still get heckled/challenged.

Not really, just depends on how you do it. Take Richard Osterlinds Two in the Pocket or any of his effects where he has the BCS or Radar Deck. He doesn't get heckled for doing them. Because most of the time those are completely hands off. With the Radar Deck all you do is spread the cards and have 5-8 people think of a card and then when they do, you put the cards away and go on with the mind reading. The same can be said for his other effects with cards.

The problem you and visual artist have is that you are not thinking like a Mentalist, you are thinking like a magician and magicians worry too much about being heckled or challenged. Mentalist don't really care if they get challenged or not. Because a good one, usually won't. (Mainly due to the fact that a lot of Mentalism requires getting rid of Magicians Guilt and developing a brass pair.)
 
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