Tonight I Failed Magic

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

  1. Yes, but if you choose an effect where fast hands are illogical, and than ADD a great presentation, the chanses of achieving the pinacle of your magic performance are a lot higher, that if you do an effect with knuckle busting sleights and great presentation.
    Why wouldn't you want to have chance on your side?
    You said it perfectly. But once again, it is a lot easier to achieve that with clean routines, than knucklebusting ones. Why wouldn't you want to make it easier on yourself?
    Just as like you are going to have to have reactions like "how did you do that?" which is inevitable, you are also from time to time going to have those kind of reactions that you just described, no matter what effects you do (to a certain point). That is more subjective to the people you are performing for.
    Now, if you can find a way to achieve that exact reaction EVERY single time, wouldn't you want to try to find it?

    On these forums, there was this great guy who knew a lot about magic, and a lot about performance, his name was "Morgan B". I don't see him anymore here, don't know what happened. Well, he used to say that with not a lot of effort you can fool and amaze about 90% of audience, but it takes that extra step to amaze the other 10%. Now most of the people are happy with 90%, but neither he, nor I are... He also said that if you manage to amaze that extra 10%, the other 90% will come on it's own.
    I will put it in other words, if you train to jump 10 feet, you can then jump 5 feet a lot easier.
  2. Toby:

    I think you realized something very important about presenting magic.


    You tendency to put down people just to make yourself look better really weakens any ideas that you put forward in your posts. Lose the superiority complex and the sarcasm. Not every thread has to become an argument.

    So how do you accomplish making what you do look more like magic and less like skill?

    Part of it is the sleights. Eliminate unnecessary sleights and do things in the open when possible. I've seen magicians do the set up for an effect while turning their back so they don't see the spectator's selected card. Also, not all teaching of sleights is the same. I've seen several magicians teach a Hamman count. Many of them teach it in a manner that is easy to learn but not quite as invisible. However, if you watch their performance, they use a different method. I've found the way Roberto Giobbi teaches a number of sleights to be more difficult but cleaner. Also, try to learn the subtleties that sell the sleights. Again, using the Hamman as an example, one subtlety is to open your hand after counting each card. This isn't necessary for the sleight but helps convey that you are doing things openly. Also, slow down your movements overall. Take even a swing cut. If you do it fast, it will draw attention. If you do it slow, it will look clean and unsuspicious (even if you are doing it as part of a multiple shift or doing slowly so you can glimpse the bottom card).

    Part of it is misdirection. One of my favorites is something I saw at a Gregory Wilson lecture a couple of weeks back. He had to do a very dirty move with his right hand. He moved his left hand forward (it had a couple of cards in it) to gesture to the spectator and asked, "I didn't make you..." and paused waiting for a split second and then finshed by saying, "I didn't make you cut the deck in any particular place." In that split second, the spectator was trying to make sense of "I didn't make you..." and was focused on Greg as he seemingly thought of how to finish the sentence. If the spectator wasn't focused on Greg, they were focused on his left hand which moved into and dominated the spectator's frame of vision. In that split second the dirty work was done. He could have swapped out a red deck for a blue deck and no one would have noticed. Build misdirection into your movements and your patter.

    Finally, part of it is patter. Your patter needs to enhance the effect and enhance the misdirection. Say-do-see (say what you are going to do, do it and then say "see" what happened) patter doesn't cut it. What Dan and Dave do doesn't cut it. Check out their interview on the February 2010 Reel Magic where they talk about being into the technical aspects of magic and not performance.

    Your patter should engage the spectator's mind. It should give them something to think about other than the "How did you do that?" It has to make sense with the effect and has to make sense with your character and has to work for your audience (what you do for children won't work for adults and what you do in after dinner won't work in a bar atmosphere). The best compliments you can get is when someone says, "I really liked the one where you were talking about...." The result is that the spectator doesn't feel "tricked" by magic but "entertained" by magic. Good patter and presentation can have the most skeptic spectator decide to enjoy your performance rather than look for the secrets.

    I don't agree that the selection of effects has a lot to do with this. Different effects may not cause a "fast hands" response, but will provoke a similar response indicating that the audience is focusing on the method rather than the effect. Take Twilight Angels... you can get a "How did you do that?" followed by speculation as to methods or a "that was amazing." It is all in how you present it.
  3. Just some other food for thought for ya Toby. In order to better get the "Magic is real" kind of reaction, is to not perform on the street/bars/public settings. You are probably better off renting a room somewhere and performing a show with people who are preconditioned to see magic and not so much just tricks. Trimming unnecessary movements is a great way to make sleight heavy magic seem more unbelievable.

    These are great threads that I still remember and honestly had helped spark my interest in becoming something more then a guy with fast hands. Tokyo's opinions are pretty one way in their direction. I feel he fails to understand that there are many MANY different routes magicians can take their magic and still be successful. But for the most part Nikki and Toby y'all are on a great tract right now and just keep on trucking. There is no wrong direction to focus your magic path on.
  4. #45 Jenai, Nov 6, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2010
    I would agree with you Toby, but I think, in todays day and age its hard for people to believe in "magic". Lets face it, the masked magician and youtube and many other sources to learn magic are freely accessible. Even if certain people dont learn or study magic They know the too can be a 'magician' if they dish out a couple of bucks. You pass "magic shops" on the way to the supermarket, work, school etc. Even if people never visit these shops, they know what the concept is... "Walk in and learn magic, impress you're friends."

    Step into a laymens shoes for a bit, you see a trick on TV, it makes you go "WOW". Then, someone reveals it...All it makes you do is feel stupid when you think about how simple the solution was.

    In your case, Even though they did not know how you did that particular trick, and they may have been impressed. They do know one thing, It was a 'trick'. They have always known that, much before you arrived. If you made them question reality for a bit, thats GREAT. You could make that 'priority #1'. But theres no harm if they laugh, have a good time and say they're impressed. Thats great too. As someone mentioned earlier not everyone knows how to compliment a magician.

    Im assuming the ones who said "you were fast" didnt run out of the bar, Why would they? Why would anyone be scared of a dude with 'fast fingers' BUT if they assumed you had "magical powers" THEN they would be scared and want to get away from you. Which is a logical reasoning as to why they would run out of the bar and want to get away from you. So I wouldn't say you 'failed magic'. Id say you didnt make everyone a "believer"

    So what i think is The "Believers" didn't care how you did it.They assumed the only possible explanation is 'magic'. They were SCARED and wanted to get away from the guy with the "magicial powers". The sceptics or "Non-Believers" concluded that you had "fast fingers". Because they dont believe in magic. They KNOW its a trick. Because magic isn't as "underground" as it used to be. Nothing can change their opinion now.

    Theres nothing wrong if you want to tweak your repertoire a bit. But you will NEVER be able to convince EVERYONE you perform for that what they just witnessed was "Magical" or "supernatural"

    Thats just my opinion.

    - Jenai
  5. Yet, people still believe in psychics, paranormal things, aurora readers, palm readers, readers in general, medical homeopathic medicines (Basically snake oil salesman), and religion.
    Maybe instead of billing yourself as a magician, try something else...

    So if people are familiar with magic and it's ways with magicians don't present your magic as magic but make it something more excepted as paranormal or supernatural.

  6. Hmm, I agree Keosilver. If you want to make it seem like 'MAGIC' you could always present it in a more eerie fashion and choose appropriate effects. But that means you'd have to cut off things like spongeballs, Playing Cards etc to some extent because I think that those are objects which people associate to a 'magician' and thats not you want because the word 'magic' is almost synonymous to 'trick'. And thats not you want.

    But even if he DID present it as a psychic or 'mind reader' he still wouldn't be able to convince everyone. There will ALWAYS be sceptics

    - Jenai
  7. Yes some common symbols of a magician do need to be trashed if you go this route but mostly the magician attitude needs to leave. You aren't there to entertain people if you take on the persona of a psychic, you are there to perform a demonstration of your power, which is entertaining and entertainment. Just in a different sense of the word instead of entertainment associated with magicians. Sponge balls, could be pulled off in any situation. You just need to change up how you present them. Presentation is key if you really want to try and persuade people into believing you have magic powers. The presentation should be the thing that says what you are doing is real, without you actually bluntly stating it is real. Subtlety is like the reader of a good story interpreting in between the lines of the authors written word. If you can subtly make people think and manipulate their imagination into believing they are witnessing something supernormal, then you are successfully making your magic, magick.
  8. I think there is something between "fast hands" and "magic is real." To me "fast hands" implies that the audience is thinking that there is a method (even though you are good enough that they can't figure it out). In some ways, the audience feels "tricked." "Real magic" implies some supernatural power. The in between is what I would call amazement or astonishment. The audience knows in the back of their mind that there is a method and that it is not real, but they aren't focused on that because the have seen something that appears to be impossible and they were entertained, astonished or amazed. In other words, there was more to the performance than the "trick."

    I think that Toby was looking for that something in between rather than having people believe in "real magic" but he will have to clarify that himself.

    Part of what plays into renting a room (or travelling with a film crew) is prestige. You are "the magician." Your not "that guy two chairs down at that bar." They expect "tricks" from the guy at the bar and "magic" from the magician.
  9. ...and I found it very informative. Thank you sir. These are the aspects of magic I'm really focusing on right now and you gave me a lot of food for thought.
  10. Toby,

    you proved exactly my thoughts on magic by going out and performing the way you did. This closely relates to the age old question whether one should or should not put any "flourishing" in their act. The answer is simple, depends on what your goal is. If your goal is to entertain, you can put a backflip and a handstand to help achieve that goal; however, if it is to prove that magic is real or to have the audience second guess reality, leave all the flourishy business out of it and keep it simple. Ask yourself what your goals are and build your act accordingly - I've said it since day one.

    On that note, I have to tip my hat off to anyone who builds an act revolving around the authenticity of magic, it is an ever increasingly difficult and dying trend.

    Thanks for sharing!
  11. I agree completely. However I do not like the words astonishment and amazement used to describe that grey area between trickery and possible controversial "Magick". I'd like to think along the lines that instead of it being amazement and astonishment, well I mean those are the reactions I want, but I'd call the gray area "pseudo-phenomenon." A fake occurrence that seems logical but at the same time illogical. Basically a spectator doing two things like adding A and B together and getting the outcome of AB makes sense to them. But when you take the same A and B and mix them together, you get ABC. C being that magical thing that just appears like an unforeseen variable in a science project.

    Please if I am being too abstract tell me haha.
  12. That is correct. Thank you for putting my own thoughts a lot better than I did.
    Yes, I don't want for people to think that I actually posses any supernatural powers, but I don't want for people to think that I'm fast either. What I want is for people to have no where to run (metaphoricaly) but to be astonished, to leave them no outs, and to leave their minds wide open. I also don't want them to know how something is done, but also not care how something is done.
    Do you know that reaction that you get from a group of people when someone says "OMG, how did you do that" and their friend tells you "man, wow, that was amazing, I really don't want to know". Well I think IMHO that the magic did strike a lot harder that second person. So I would like to inspire that in as many spectators as I can.
  13. Thank you for your reply.
    I agree with you completely, in fact when I'm watching you I am entertained as hell, and impressed at the same time, even when I show your videos to my friends, you always get WOW reaction from them. However, I want that second part in your post, and you said it nicely "second guess reality". I want to hear silence for couple of moments after the effect is done. And that is a lot harder to achieve than the screams. I already got to the phase where I can get screams, and I can always go back to it, if this new "project" doesn't work. But I want to strive to achieve that goal of astonishing silence.
  14. I think there is nothing wrong for your magic to be qualified as a "sleight of hand" some people said long as you entertain them is ok!

    I do think flourishing and magic are NOT separate branches and that both can be combined to create a more rich depends on you on how you do it..

    glad you got a great night!! Hope you got lots of tips!!
  15. Why settle for what somebody thinks is good enough when you yourself know you can achieve more? Are we all really so addicted to the reactions of others that we're willing to call any positive reaction a success? Do we really believe that all positive reactions are of equal merit?

    It's disheartening to see how many people here are willing to rest on their laurels.
  16. I skimmed through a lot of posts...What if you could actually bend a coin with your mind? or hear peoples thoughts? How would you explain that to someone? So when someone says "you're good, I have no clue how you did it" maybe you should respond back "Neither do I...I was just born with this gift".

    Also if you could really do magic...why would ya have a deck of cards? or bend a coin?

    I think your compliments are what you deserved and you wouldn't get any other response no matter what you did. Whether I bend a coin with my mind or use a gimmick to produce the same effect...people will still say "I didn't see anything you're good" or whatever your people were saying.

    Just my 2 cents.

    -Sypris (if anyone else touched base on this sorry I didn't read all posts)
  17. #58 Luis Vega, Nov 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2010


    It depends of the goal you are trying to achieve...

    I think you are more eager to create a different type of reaction and I respect that...
    But positive reactions are different for each magician...only you can define what kind of reaction you want and it´s not easy to achieve takes time, in this case he has some time in magic and I believe he is not a pro magician and I think good reactions are OK for now...maybe I should clarified that but I thought you understood the context of this thread...I believe he will eventualy reach the reactions he is looking for...

    and yes...positive reactions are of equal merit, but depending on the context and the goal that you are trying to achieve with your magic...
  18. Toby. Two great pieces of advice here. Worth pondering about. These two people know what they are saying.

    See you down the road.
  19. Luis-I don't think Steer is necessarily knocking people who actively seek any particular type of reaction so much as he has a problem with magicians who don't actually have any aim or direction in what they are performing. That is to say people with the attitude of "I'm going to do some tricks and as long as they react in some positive way its a win" are the issue. He doesn't like lazy magicians. Who does? In that respect, I think you guys are actually on the same page and just saying it in a different way.

    If you find it the most satisfying to have people laughing and having a great time with your magic, killer. If you like deep astonishment, fantastic. If you want to scare people, marvelous. It's not about one way being better than the other but simply that you have a direction you are going and strive to learn and grow in that particular field. You want every little nuance in your speech, body language, manner, every effect you perform, to be a piece of this machine you are building designed to get the reactions you seek. The effects we learn are just tools, brush strokes, and its how we put them to use that brings us into that realm of art.

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