Tonight I Failed Magic

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

  1. Maybe I'm wrong here, but what I think Toby was trying to say is he realized those weren't the reactions he really wanted, and that he want's to make his magic more magical and realizing he needs to cut some things out of his repertoire. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's how i originally took the post.

    EDIT: just for the record i posted this b4 i read the post above telling the point haha.
  2. That is correct:)

    You can achieve screams and jumps and runs a lot easier than actuall astonishment and magical moment. I will try to strive for latter.
  3. i missed a great deal. but from the original post i'm going to say this:

    i agree. this revelation kind of ruined magic for me for a while. i wasn't good enough to do the art justice. so i didn't try. i'm working my way back slowly however.
  4. #24 Mat La Vore, Nov 5, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2010
    I had a similar revelation with my magic some years ago. It came after I put down Absolute Magic by Derren Brown after reading it when it was first released. After I read that book the first time my entire repertoire was turned inside out and upside down. It was both disheartening and very exciting to throw out, or restructure, so many of the effects I had been performing for so long, but it was one of the best things I ever did, and I became a much better magician because of it. And it's something I'm still working on and always will be.

    It's not about trying to convince anyone there are real magic powers at work; it's about fulfilling the purpose of why magic needs to be performed in the first place--to give the people we are entertaining more than just cheap entertainment (which is what sleight-of-hand on its own is)--to give them that hot white moment of astonishment where they can't wrap their heads around what they just experienced: it wasn't fast hands, a trick ball, a clever switch, etc.--it was something unexplainable. That's the goal of successful magic. And I think that's what you're getting at. And I agree.

    When magic is held to a high standard it has the power to really affect people. But it takes a lot of work--both in studying and preparing, as well as in the trenches during a performance. In the end, however, I believe it is a much more gratifying pursuit than what many others might otherwise be after--knowingly or unknowingly.

    Good luck in your journey, Toby. You just made a long stride.

  5. A lot of egos in this thread. I'll have to call them all under the weight of my own.

    Here's my take on it: some magicians bill themselves as honest deceivers. Tricksters who openly admit that they are professional liars. Fine. They can go do that.

    However... others are looking to make a different statement. And they have to take different approaches to achieve that.

    Tokyo, your accusation that Toby is only taking this path because he's too lazy to perfect his technical skills is a bit like claiming that Johnny Ramone was too lazy to go to a conservatory and perfect his playing technique via classical guitar training. It seems to me you're talking mostly to hear yourself talk. You at one point said, "the rest of us," but who is us exactly? You think you speak for me?

    Randy, it's a bit rich of you to tell people that they're wrong about the point of magic, and then not tell us what the point actually is. Especially since your point is a bit disjointed to begin with.

    Toby, you're always going to get some people who just don't believe. I'm a skeptic at heart, so even if I wasn't a magician, I would still know that it's not supernatural in nature. You're not wrong to want to improve your presentation and whittle your repertoire down to the most dependable and reliable effects, but don't take every comment too seriously. Everything in context.
  6. I dont know what it is with people on this forum, but everyone needs to learn how to except a damn compliment..
  7. Or maybe you should learn to stop regarding mediocrity as brilliance.
  8. Thank you for understanding me and actually get what I'm talking about. I appologize to everyone for my english, as it is not my first language (it is actually my 5th language), so my points may have came across wrong.
    Can this Mat's post be my OP? :)
  9. Sure, I understand. I don't expect from my spectators to think I'm magic or supernatural, that would be silly. I am trying to not give them out's where they can say (see/suspect) that I am fast and skillful.
    Thanx for the advice.

  10. You said it yourself, some people just don't believe. Stop contradicting yourself so much, stop beating around the bush and take the compliment (steerpike). (Toby) You did a good job and that's all that counts. If they are skeptics, that's on them, as long as you performed to the best of your ability and didn't give them reasons not to believe.
  11. God damnit. I can't read a thread on theory11 without everyone beating me to it and saying everything that needs to be said. Seriously, guys... Let me have a crack at it for once.
  12. Thanx for the compliment, and I did a good job, as an entertainer. Which is fine, but I want to be a lot more than that (like Mat LaVore said). And I did perform to the best of my ability, that I have now. Hence the trimming of the fat. I know I can be better, and that is what I am striving for, and this thread is to actually inspire the rest of the forum to do the same.
  13. How is it a contradiction? Do you actually understand what I'm trying to say? Or is it just personal?

    Toby said he wanted to give people a certain feeling in that performance. He didn't. And he knows why he didn't. Now he wants to do better. He knows what he's trying to accomplish, which is more than I can say of 99% of the people here, yourself included. Most of you will take any reaction you can get and settle for that. Some of us want something more than that.

    So I stand by my statement. Do not prop up mere adequacy as virtuosity.
  14. You shouldn't put yourself in that 1% either, because it seems to me as if all you can do is boast and troll. Do you even do magic?

    It was contradiction because you tell me not to associate reactions like "That was fast! I dont know how you did that!" with success. But then, in your first post, you told Toby not to worry about it because some people are just skeptics. So which one is it? Stop contradicting yourself.

    Alright thanks man, I'll keep this fresh in my mind next time I want to act like I'm some mystic philosopher with a large vocabulary.
  15. You could read my blog. Look at my website. Both are linked in my signature. I can also direct you to my YouTube channel. Starting this January, I'm going to be posting one new video a week for a year, a series that I imaginatively titled "52 Weeks of Magic." If you want to start this fight with me, I'm happy to finish it for you.

    Where did I explicitly say that?

    No, I said everything must be taken in context. His reactions that night were unanimously praising his fast hands, so that must have been what he was communicating to that crowd. That wasn't what he wanted to do. This isn't that hard to figure out and you're really just blowing things out of proportion.

    Ah, yes. I use bigger words than you, so obviously that means I'm a dick somehow. Really, is that the best you can do? You have a lot of growing up to do.
  16. I think something important to consider is that most often the spectator is complimenting you because they just want to show their appreciation. This can be problematic for a spectator because it poses the question "how are you supposed to compliment a magician really?". If they are complimenting you like that I'd think they are trying to relate to you. They are giving you compliments on the technical aspects the way they would imagine a fellow magician would compliment you.

    Something else to consider is you're going to be putting a lot of practice and thought into how you talk about and present your effects in a way that is 'magical'. Your spectators, on the other hand, have probably NEVER experienced anything like what you are showing them firsthand. A loss of words or inability to express yourself accurately is going to be commonplace.

    Whats more, saying something like you have fast hands is a rational and safe response. What I mean is, they don't have to worry about being judged by their peers for saying something along those lines. Saying something more like "Wow, you actually have some kind of power don't you?" or "That just HAS to actually be magic." runs the risk of being seen as gullible which equals being seen as unintelligent.

    Even when you change your approach I think you'll still find your share of 'fast hands' lines and the like because they are a socially safe way of showing your appreciation.
  17. I've been thinking recently about that story of the artist Giotto, how the Pope asked him for a drawing to prove his skill, and Giotto drew a perfect circle freehand and sent that as his response. To me, that sums up what this kind of debate rests on, it's the dividing point between art and craft. Giotto was displaying great skill, in a way that might be comparable to a flourish or a display of difficult sleights, but it couldn't really be considered art, as it expresses no meaning outside itself. In the same way, a lot of magicians are content to perform entertaining tricks, or show off very good mastery of their craft, but that doesn't constitute art. The response "How did you do that?", to me, indicates good craftsmanship, but a failure of artistry. You've displayed impressive technique but not expressed anything beyond that. That's fine, by the way. I, and lots of other people, appreciate a good display of skill, and can find it extremely entertaining.

    If you want your magic to affect your audience emotionally, or maybe even change them in some way, then you're moving into the realms of art. It's a difficult challenge, and one that takes a huge degree of theatrical and presentational skill. I don't think I've ever seen it done with sleight-of-hand, only with mentalism, and then rarely, but I'm sure it would be possible for someone with the right approach. However, in the same way that some people are emotionally moved by certain pieces of art, which leave others cold, or leave yet others with only a technical appreciation, you won't have the same effect on all audience members.
  18. This is a FANTASTIC response to the original post.

  19. Great reply, and you are correct. However, you can still side step that mine, just by the selection of effects. And if you add great presentation to it, you are golden. Let's take a look at some of the effects where they couldn't tell you that you are fast, even if they just wanted to compliment your magic:
    -Gypsy Thread
    -Out of This World
    -Twilight Angels
    -Do as I Do with two decks
    -"Spelling Trick" with a key card principle
    -Coin Bend
    -Any type of mind reading effect
    -Haunted Pack
    -Voodoo Card
    -Ashes on the palm
  20. Thanks for the support guys. As far as selection of effects go, those type of effects may make the 'fast hands' response illogical but you may still get it anyway just because they can't think of anything better to say. Its kind of like the 'how did you do that?' response that people blurt out when often they don't particularly want to know how you did it.

    Not knocking carefully considering your effects, that is very important. I just think personally if you want these deep reactions, its going to be more important how you present your effects and all the 'pregame'. That is to say, creating this frame of mind, or bubble, around you and your spectators where it IS socially acceptable to be deeply astonished and to experience 'real magic'. If you want them to react in certain ways you have to first create that vibe where the safest response is what your desired response would be.

    tl;dr For me its less about the effect and more how you present. I distinctly remember doing a set for this couple that consisted of 2CM, The Biddle Trick, and Madison's Lapse, getting deeper and deeper reactions each time. At the end of the performance, the
    guy wanted to get a picture taken with me so I went into what was basically Smile by Justin Miller. This utterly destroyed them. I mean purely awe-stricken, didn't say anything for a good while, just stared at the picture on his phone, mouth agape. Deep deep astonishment. All of these effects are for most of us 'card tricks' and treated as such. Framed the right way, however, they destroyed just as hard as any effect could ever hope to. This is why I feel presentation and pre-game is king.

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