Tonight I Failed Magic

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Toby, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. Hey guys in T11 land,

    Let me tell you a little story that will (hopefully) help you realize something about magic, IF you don't already know it.
    Tonight I was at a bar that I always go to. I performed there earlier, but I decided that tonight is THE NIGHT, where I'm going to perform as much as I can, and with as much energy as I can. It went ridiculously "good". There were cards, coins, sponge balls, rubber bands, ropes, rings etc... And also there were screams, running out of the bar, jumping up and down, laughing, REACTING. I swear I could sell tons of DVD's if I put all of that and sell it as 'performance only' DVD. Reactions were even more mad than the ones on Wayne Houchin's and Daniel Garcia's DVD's. People were buying me drinks all night, met a lot of new people. It was the "best" performance ever.

    If so, than why the quotes on "good" and "best"? What was wrong if reactions were mad?

    Well, exactly that... People were coming and congratulate me on "how fast and skillful I was", they were congratulate me on how "I'm so good, they couldn't figure anything out". Do you start to see where I'm going with this?
    It's not that I FAILED magic, it's that I failed MAGIC. The ONLY reason I got those reactions is because I'm that good with my sleights. Which, once again is not MAGIC.

    If people tell you that you are so good that they didn't figure anything out, you failed MAGIC.
    If people tell you how skillful and fast you are, you failed MAGIC.
    If you get a question "How did that second red sponge ball appear in my hand, is it you or is it the ball?", you failed MAGIC.

    After that I realized that I have some serious cutting down on sleights and effects to do. Even the most famous effects and sleights need to be thrown out of my repertoire. Yes, even double under cut and clipshift. You may argue with me on this one, but if you "fiddle" with the cards half a second longer than you usually do, or start ANY cuts or shuffles, you lost the MAGIC. If cards need to be cut to emphasize that their card is lost, let them do it.

    Maybe I'm just a little paranoid, but I want my magic to be as clean as it can be. The strongest magical effects that I perform involves a key card principle and pre setup of the deck (ie. Out of this World). And guess what, they get the strongest reactions, which is not running out of the bar, but their jaws in their lap, and their mind wide open.

    Just think about it, why is mentalism so strong (given the same level of presentation as with magic), because it is almost sleightless. No one is going to tell you how fast you are after you read their mind, but if they were holding two kings, and now they are holding two aces, they are going to tell you that you are fast.

    So I would like you to think about it for a moment, go through your effects and sleights, and think about what you need to throw out that makes people think that you have skill and fast hands. Example, if you put their card in the middle of the deck, and it is not instantly on top, WITHOUT any cover and ANY hand motions, it is not MAGIC.

    I will leave you with one taught in mind: if you cannot do the effect in slow motion, don't do it. Just think about it...

    Ok, I know I fill get flamed for this, but before I do, really take a moment and think about what I said, and than reply.

    Best of all,
    Toby
     
  2. You are starting a semantics war on the meaning of "magic" and that is all you are doing.

    "How did you do that?" is the most common reaction to a performance...

    These theological debates about what magic should be bla bla bla have no absolute solution. If you got amazing reactions, then you did a good job. That is that. If you are looking for reactions like, "I didn't believe in the powers of magic before, but now I do. That card obviously came up to the top via magical powers, and not some sleight-of-hand trickery!" then you are in for a big disappointment, as that will never happen.
     
  3. Exactly, that's why ACR has to go. I'm not starting war on anything, I'm not even saying that I'm right, I'm just trying to inspire some out of the box thinking, that will help people (hopefully) get rid of some of the rubbish and unnecessary moves and effects that they do.
    And I will not appologize for trying to have my magic as clean as it can be ;)
     
  4. #4 tokyoUW, Nov 5, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2010
    Your ACR does not have to go... you have to improve it. Getting rid of an effect is the lazy way out of putting in practice to become a better performer. It is possible to make an ACR seem "magical" (as you put it) and not gimmicky. It is VERY possible. But if you are unable to see that, if you are limited to your commercial ACR performances, then you are right, you should not be apologizing for trying to make your magic clean, you should be apologizing for creating this big post making it seem like taking out entire effects is the way to go as opposed to improving them.

    EDIT: Actually, let me elaborate a bit.

    You said, "if they are holding two kings, and now they are holding two aces, they are going to say how fast you are" or something along those lines. This is pure bullsh**. The spectators are going to say something in the direction of where you lead them. If you constantly use words like, "ok, now watch this," or "ok, now I will do something and make this happen," bla bla, then of course they are going to be naturally thinking along the lines of "he is doing something tricky here." However, you can give a completely different performance. Not to sound completely cheesy, but to over exaggerate a bit, use patter like, "now, this might seem strange, but just hold these for a second, and you might start to notice a change. Here, let's check... nope not yet, keep holding them." bla bla bla, and the cards change. As long as you sell it, they will believe it.

    SO, that being said, keep your, "ACR is not clean... it leaves room for doubt... bla bla bla," crap at home. Your performances just need to better and eliminate the room for doubt.

    But, you are right, you are going to get flamed, but not because people did not take the time to think about what you wrote. You are going to get flamed because YOU did not think about what you wrote.
     
  5. Ok maybe I explained it wrong. Take that "ACR" and compare it to "Do as I Do" (from now on DAID) with two decks (well they cannot be compared since the effect is not even kind of close, but it may serve to prove a point). In ACR you HAVE to use sleights in every phase (if you are not using duplicates or gimmicks), and for DAID there is non HIDDEN sleight. And yet somehow you both end up with the same card. No one is going to say that you are fast, since you aren't, does that makes sence?

    Tell me the names of the sleights that you would use in that improved version of ACR, and we can talk about it in more detail.
     
  6. Honestly con cam coincidencia is probably the cleanest fairest effect I do and I still get questions like "how'd you do that?!" Or "how the hell did you know that was my card?!"
     
  7. Yes, but you are not gettng the reactions like "wow you have fast hands" or wow "you must have practiced that a lot" or "wow, I really didn't figure anything out". If people try to figure something out, IMHO you failed MAGIC. That is when you need to raise your presentation to another level.
     
  8. I honestly don't see how or why you would/should get flamed for this. I completely understand what you are talking about. It has been a while since I read it but I'm pretty sure some similar things were talked about in designing miracles. I could be thinking of the wrong book, but I'm pretty sure that was it. Always ask yourself "does this look like real magic" so if you had magical powers would you do [fill in the blank]. To me david blaines trick where he takes a wrong card and throws it on the ground changing it to their card and at the same time it turns into glass is magic. An ACR could be made to look magical, but isn't really magic to me. Depending on which handlings you use things can be made more or less magical, and more or less skillful.
     
  9. Ahhh... so you are looking for self-working tricks. I see. Ok. Now I understand. All you had to say was, "I do not want to put in the time to make my sleights clean. I do not want to put in the time to learn how to use my performance to lead the audience, not my sleights. I do not want to put in the practice time to learn why each effect sells and how to sell it better."

    Do not pretend to be all high on mighty on me with your, "Tell me the names of the sleights that you would use in that improved version of ACR, and we can talk about it in more detail." It does NOT matter which sleights I use. I could use a DL, a top change, a DMB spread control, anything really to match the setting. It is not my choice of sleights that makes my ACR magical, it is my performance of it. It is my ability to understand my audience and to know what kind of people they are. From that, it is my ability to know how to talk to those people, what bull*hit to cut out, and how to play on their emotions.

    And you are completely wrong if you think people will not try to reverse engineer the DAID effect. After the moments of euphoria have settled down a bit, they will try to logically work it out in a "first I did this... then I did this, so maybe he did this," fashion. Stop kidding yourself kid.
     
  10. Exactly, finally. "Trimming down the fat" as some people calls it. I never said anything about "How did you do that" reaction. Please read correctly before atacking someone.

    Example of magic where you are not "fast" - Gypsy thread
    Example of magic where you ARE fast - Color Monte
     
  11. First of all, if you cannot lead a mature conversation, don't. I'm not a kid, as you called me for no reason at all. Secondly don't get personal if not attacked. I never assumed High on Mighty position, as you call it, with what I said. I said that in a normal fasion, so we can actually DISCUSS our points, not attack eachother.

    There is no self working tricks, as you know, so no, I'm not talking about them. And there is nothing wrong with my sleights either. Let me give you a layman point of view. When my friend and I watched EMC, he saw a coin routine performed by Eric Mead, and he was astonished. Than later on there was a performance by Ponta the Smith (by some, the most skillful coin magician of today), and he did some coin routines. Do you know what reaction he got from my friend? "Wow, he is really fast"... And I'm sure there is nothing wrong with how Ponta the Smith perform his sleights.
     
  12. First of all, be mature. You sound very rude and pissed off...it's a forum, discuss things in a professional manner. Even if you disagree.

    second, the sleights you use do have an impact on the effect of it. Your presentation as well makes it magical, and how you use their emotions all that ties into it. Let me give you an example. For a collectors routine, if you pick the selected cards lose them in the deck put the other cards on top vanish those or cut the deck again, it looks like you did something. Whereas if you just lose the cards and put the aces on top and snap and they're there, that doesn't look like you did anything so to them it seems more magical.
     
  13. Again, if you are going to use the book as your selling point for your arguments, at least interpret them correctly. The "does this look like real magic?" and "if you had magical powers, would you do ...?" does not only apply to entire effects. This idea applies to handling of effects, patter of effects, presentation of effects, routining of effects.

    Just because some effects require your so called "fast" hand movements, does not mean the audience WILL perceive them that way. For crying out loud, 2CM requires a top change, but even a top change can be done ridiculously slowly and sold as something "magical," rather than focused on the sleights or skills of the magician.

    Again, your "Exactly, Finally," higher than thou attitude just because one person is as disillusioned as you, is not grounds for celebration. For the rest of us, it is grounds for further disappointment and frustration.

    Sleightless effects that are gimmick based or gimmicked principle based effects are indeed strong... but it does not mean they are better or more "magical" then effects that require refined sleight of hand. Thinking that way will only become your "justified" excuse for not having to practice sleights or performance.
     
  14. There's that mr grumpy gills attitude again. I know the idea applies to handling of effects, the other part I just felt like adding on, because also I believe we should do effects that are more magical. It was just another add on to think about within the topic. I think you should read that book, because you don't get it. Its not about the speed of what your doing or how your doing the move. Its the sleight and the effect it gives off.
     
  15. I will dissagre here. If you have a "fast" hand movement, it will spark suspition in spectators minds, they may not know what you did or why you did it, but knowing that you did something is bad enough. And now that you used 2CM, once again, compare 2CM with let's say Gypsy Thread, they both involve sleights, neither is self working, but yet again MOST of time you will be called fast with 2CM than with Gypsy Thread.
    You are right, I do appologize for that. Even though, at that moment in this thread I meant "Finally someone get's what I'm trying to say", and not "Finally someone who is right". If you remember, I said that I don't claim that I am right either. This is just my oppinnion.
    Once again, there is nothing wrong with my sleights, just my selection of sleights. Which is the whole point of this thread. I will still use pass and DL and palm, even though they are one of the most dificult ones to do invisibly and naturally. But I will only use them because they LOOK LIKE I haven't done anything fast...
     
  16. For Toby and Nikki

    First, regarding the Ponta Vs Mead example. The point is in a fact invalid. The truth of the matter is simple. Ponta is Japanese and Ponta performs for Japanese people. He is a product of where he lives and performs. Magic in Japan is very different from magic in other countries. Not only that, magic in Osaka, where Ponta is from, is completely different from the magic regularly seen in Tokyo, where I live. Ponta is praised for his smooth handling and precise techniques. Mr Mead is praised for his innovation, among many other things. You are comparing two completely different performers with two very different performance experiences and ideologies. And, you are comparing them from a magical conference designed FOR magicians. I think you understand my point.

    "Let me tell you a little story that will (hopefully) help you realize something about magic, IF you don't already know it."
    When you make declarations/ statements like this, what do you expect?

    "The ONLY reason I got those reactions is because I'm that good with my sleights. Which, once again is not MAGIC."
    Of course it is not magic. Magic does not exist. Sleights are a means to and end for giving the illusion of magic. However, yes, the sleights that you do choose have a role, but as does your performance.

    "If people tell you that you are so good that they didn't figure anything out, you failed MAGIC.
    If people tell you how skillful and fast you are, you failed MAGIC.
    If you get a question "How did that second red sponge ball appear in my hand, is it you or is it the ball?", you failed MAGIC."

    Telling people that they failed because they are getting good reactions is ... well, you should know by now what I would call it. People can perform in different ways. Some people choose to perform in a way that highlights their skill and technique, rather than playing on the fantasy of mystical magic. Some people like to mask their techniques with great performance to give a more magical experience to their spectators. To each his own. Now, if someone is going for the latter, but not succeeding, then again, the problem is in their performance and perhaps the handling of the effect, but maybe not the effect itself.

    To Nikki, yes I know that the sleights I choose to use do actually have a role in the success of the effect. However, I was referring to my ACR. My ACR changes depending on the crowd I am performing to. But I can guarantee you that in the end, it is my performance that sells the effect. The reason I can say this is because I already understand the nature of sleights catering to or hindering an effect and I do not overload my ACR with a ridiculous amount of fast sleights to achieve a gazillion phase ACR.

    In addition, I have read the book and I do understand what is written and discussed. I know it is not about the actual "speed" of the sleight. I was using the word "fast" to relay a point that Toby was trying to discuss. Fast meaning that the focus is on the use of the sleight, the ability of the performer, rather than the magic moment of the effect.

    The bluntness of my posts and majority of my arguments are because Toby was making claims like, "exactly, that's why the ACR has to go" which is utterly false.

    Now one thing that I do agree with is that some people do use sleights that do not cater to the effect they are trying to sell. In addition, some people choose effects that do no cater to the situation in which they are performing. However, I disagree with the logic behind his initial statements of :
    "If people tell you that you are so good that they didn't figure anything out, you failed MAGIC.
    If people tell you how skillful and fast you are, you failed MAGIC.
    If you get a question "How did that second red sponge ball appear in my hand, is it you or is it the ball?", you failed MAGIC."

    This part however, I do completely agree with:"Even the most famous effects and sleights need to be thrown out of my repertoire. Yes, even double under cut and clipshift. You may argue with me on this one, but if you "fiddle" with the cards half a second longer than you usually do, or start ANY cuts or shuffles, you lost the MAGIC. If cards need to be cut to emphasize that their card is lost, let them do it."

    The Clipshift is a terrible sleight IMO. Visual noise (as T Chang puts it) is terrible. Excess "fiddling" is terrible. But none of this means stop doing the ACR. It means rebuild it.
     
  17. Toby, Toby Toby. You have completely missed the point of being an entertainer (weather you do this for friends or for paid gigs.). The point isn't to make people believe you can do REAL magic (and if you wanted them to believe that, even if to just suspend their disbelief for a few min.) that's what a good though out presentation is for.

    As for saying "You failed magic if they say this or that." Dude, the plane just flew right over your head. If you think people who have good sleight of hand and are complimented on it have "failed Magic". Then you have got a lot to learn and listen. I could sit here naming magicians who's entire careers are based on them having "fast hands" and not trying to make everything look like pure magic. But it wouldn't get us anywhere. Even though most of those guys get more paid gigs then you have ever gotten in a life time, most likely get booked for high end gigs. But again, mentioning their names wouldn't accomplish anything.
     
  18. Toby you should check guys that makes tricks look like real magic,i had this problem before.
    you should check "BOOKS OF WONDER" By tommy wonder.
    and Tommy wonder DVDS he makes tricks looks like magic,also your image and personality and example check the movie the illusionist.
    even thought is acting he believes that what hes doing is magic and makes believe is magic. hope this helps i wish you the best ! :)
     
  19. It was not me who compared them, it was my laymen friend. One was magical to him, the other one was fast. And neither of those two had any problem with their sleights, it is just the selection of routines and sleights that they choose to do. I know that it is conference for magicians, but it just happens to be the most recent experience that I can remember. Once again, in laymans eyes, one is magical, the other is skillful and fast.
    And btw, I know that this is completely off topic, but Ponta said on the conference that he ONLY performs for magicians. Is that true?
    I really didn't mean anything bad with that. Maybe it came out wrong.
    Once again, it came out wrong. Of course that magic doesn't exist's, at least not in the hands. I was reffering to the magic in "spectators minds" as Aaron Fisher would say.
    Ok, I thought that this would be given, but it looks like it's not. Just add "IMHO" in front of those statements, and it will be fine.
    Dan and Dave have their own style, and actually a lot of folowers, wich doesn't mean that people will consider them magical.
    Then we are on the same page.
    Yes, but I never said "YOUR ACR has to go." I was refering to my own. Even though I already cut it down to two phase with a borrowed deck, with appropriate presentation of course, or three phase with my gimmicked version.
    I was reffering to the presentation, again IMHO. If your presentation is good, no one will ask those particulare questions. If, on the other hand you are using generic presentation, or basically saying what you are doing, than yeah, chances are, you are going to get those questions, in which then IMHO you failed MAGIC.
    I actually got the noise down, so it doesn't click. But the fiddling is bothering me, because the hand movement alone screams that you are doing something, which kills the magic.
     
  20. Randy, Randy Randy. You have complitely missed the point of this thread. As you can see, I have no problem being an entertainer.
    And is it that bad if I actually want to upgrade my magic? Choose the effects and presentation that actually creates a magical moment? Did I actually offend someone in my OP? Comon guys, no need to feel attacked. If you are already perfect, than this thread is not for you, since you can do paid gigs and be on stage in Las Vegas. I never told anyone to throw anything out of their repertoire, I just asked from people to think about it.

    "Even though most of those guys get more paid gigs then you have ever gotten in a life time, most likely get booked for high end gigs." What is with this need to downgrade me? You should try to be a motivational speaker, you could make a living.
     

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