Tonight I Failed Magic

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

  1. That and I detected a note of, "I'm satisfied with this, and you should be as well."
  2. #62 Mat La Vore, Nov 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2010
    "A conjuror is nothing if he only amuses and fails to inspire wonder." -Thomas Frost, The Lives of the Conjurors

    "Our task is amazement, not amusement. Always amazement first." -Rene' Levand

    Toby is on the right path.
  3. #63 b_08, Nov 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2010
    This is a terrific thread.

    Toby, I don't think there was anything wrong with the type of night you had performing at the bar. You entertained, people had fun, and it didn't sound like you were the typical cheesy magician. It sounded like you broke some stereotypes for the people at the bar that night. There's nothing wrong with that whatsoever.

    Everyone has to keep in mind that there will be people who are very logical and skeptical because we live in a time where many things can be explained. We're a much more logical and scientific society and a less spiritual one. Put it this way, if David Copperfield got sent back in time to the 1800's, they would think he was a demi-god.

    But nevertheless, I think you got more "hey you're very skilled" reactions than, "Excuse me, but...are you from the devil?" reactions because of your persona. I'll give you an illustration, I have an friend who I show a lot of new magic to; he's kind of like a guinea pig. He is a good test subject because he is very logical and always tries to reverse engineer the method. If he can't figure it out, I know I have a good piece on my hands. However, when he talked about watching David Blaine, he thought that he might have had some special abilities. It's all about perception.

    It's programming in a person's mind based on what you show outwardly. How do you dress? How do you walk? How do you talk? If you're a fun loving, social guy who is smiling and having fun, no one is going to think you are "from the devil". But if you project a certain persona in your clothes and mannerisms and you do the same tricks, then people may think you're "not normal".

    Skills being equal, that's all that is folks. It's simply persona. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with what Toby did at the bar that night. It seems like he connected with people, met new people, and everyone had a great time. But if your goal is to be looked at as if you may have some mystical powers, then that's fine too. But if you have to completely change your core personality then it's probably going to come off very insincere and you won't achieve the reactions you want anyway.
  4. Its not that he is beating himself up about entertaining people, as he previously stated in this thread, he basically had an epiphany that his magic could be stronger and taken from the level of tricky magician to the level of what some mentalists achieve with their audience.

    Just because some things have explanations doesn't mean that the general populate is educated of it's existence. Educated doesn't mean doing a google search and reading a wiki page on the event, but actually knowing from memory what is going on. You know what amazes me to no end? Even in this supposedly "Advanced" Society. People still fall for homeopathic medicines, spirit elixirs and snake oils and conspiracy theories about JFK's assassination. Furthermore, I was around in the 1800s could you believe that they thought I was a werewolf? Funny stuff right there, I am not a werewolf right? *Wink*
  5. Get used to that stuff Toby because most people think magic is something they need to figure out. And if you show them a trick they can't figure out they could get pissed. It's inherent in this art.
  6. Then you're performing for the wrong people.
  7. No, you're a morron.

  8. Oh, I get it. You get to choose who and how you perform.
  9. Of course I wrote it. It's my blog.
  10. Who could have guessed!!!

    [Edited] Just let people learn on their own w/out bad advice.
  11. You're being completely irrational and ridiculous and contributing nothing constructive to this discussion. Ignorantly attacking others isn't going to make your magic any better.

    For what its worth, that article took me an absolutely staggering 15 whole minutes to read. That is including my taking the time to consider the points as they were made. It was a concise and well thought out article with some very useful and valid points. Considering the attitude you seem to have toward your spectators you should read and reread the article. Really think about it, take notes, whatever you got to do to kill that victim, powerless, mentality you seem to have.

    Regardless of what type of magician you are, we all have one prop in common: people. Its only the greatest magicians that can handle their spectators just as artfully as they do their cards.
  12. Recently, in my day job, I've been speaking to a lot of stand-up comedians, people who've been making a living out of entertaining audiences for years. In their trade, there is also a lot of talk about theory, the use of timing, tension and presentation to achieve certain "effects", maximise impact and so on. One of the things I've come to realise is that we can talk about the theories, but there is always an indefinable factor which can't be learned and is very personal to you. What I mean by this is that even if someone learned all of Daniel Garcia's tricks, all of his patter, had plastic surgery to look exactly like him, spoke in the same way and wore the same clothes, you still wouldn't necessarily affect an audience in the same way as him. You can set some broad principles for the way you present yourself, like "Don't mix cards and mentalism", or "Flourishes diminish the magic", but they are only a guide for you personally, and not necessarily always true for every occasion or every audience, or every performer. If someone was genuinely psychic, why is it inconceivable that they would have learned some card tricks? If someone could do real magic with cards, isn't it logical that their fascination with the pasteboards would have encouraged them to learn some flourishes?

    The essence of what I'm saying is that all of these principles flow from the character you set for yourself. Like any good character in film, TV or theatre, they should be well-rounded and multi-dimensional. You should know them intimately, and be able to respond as them in any given situation. It is for this reason that keeping that character fairly similar to your own is useful, but it is not "yourself", as the real "yourself" is unlikely to be interesting enough. I believe that once you define your character, and perform within the parameters of that well-designed persona, your performances will become engaging and you will achieve whatever effect on the audience that you wish to.
  13. Drew has a personal vendetta against me. Long story short, he took me for granted and expected me to rebuild a bridge that he burned with bad behavior. I got fed up and let him go to deal with the problem himself. Ever since then, he's just been sniping at me every chance he gets before trying to bully my into repairing the same old mistake that started all this for him.

    Thank you.
  14. I don't have any problems with you Alex. Let's just leave it at that.
  15. Well said.
  16. Steerpike,

    I see you're in the habit of dishing out unsolicited advice - a very unattractive trait. Your input often only seems to upset/rile/annoy other readers. Reading this thread, it seems plain that everything had calmed down to a reasonably civilised discussion until you started giving your 2 pence worth.

    I've read plenty of your blog posts and they read like self-important pieces of ego-onanism. A lot of your literature appears to be just repackaged principles from other publications such as Derren Brown's Pure Effect and Absolute Magic.

    With regards to the advice you readily dish out I suggest you critique the 12min effort entitled Alexander Vornoff - Sample Performances currently up on Youtube. Personally I thought it was absolute comedy gold that the old dear in the audience was clearly so affected by the highbrow, cerebral performance and the great meaning that you infused into your magic that her immediate response was to liken the effect to the TV show Jeopardy. Ouch.

    If you put yourself on a pedestal above your peers you will be judged and in my humble opinion from what I've seen, your magic is mediocre at best.


    Intersting - I see where you're coming from, but recently I've begun to believe that you need to have a balance in a performance. It's very difficult to get spectators to really believe they are seeing magic right off the bat (i.e. from the first trick). Trying to over-dress the performance of your early effects trick will often turn a spectator off. I believe the best way is to draw them in with a couple of hard-hitting 'tricks' (with good performance obviosuly) before going into the 'real stuff' where you can really play with the performance and delivery and give more meaning to the effect. I think maybe it's best to really get the spectator in the right frame of mind before going with the stronger meaning. If you're succesful in delivering meaning remember that it'll all blur together for them afterwards anyway. In their mind they will recall the whole performance as being 'magical' and meaningful and will likely describe it as such to friends.

    Granted - giving 'meaning' to the ACR is extremely difficult. Personally I use effects like that as a hook to get people responding the way I want them to. Alternatively you could always try and crowbar some rubbish story into your effect that noone really cares about. That seems to be the way a lot of magicians get by these days. Either that or come up with some mystical mumbo-jumbo. That'll probably work at a LARP-ing convention or a Wiccan seminar, but probably not with your everyday Mr/Mrs A. N. Other.
  17. You're welcome.

    I'd take that more to heart if I knew who you were and why I should care. Since this is the first we've ever spoken, you are just text on a computer screen to me. Give me a reason to take you a little more seriously.

    Funny you should mention that. The video is a couple of years old and I actually hate it. I'm working on something new to replace it. So asking me to critique my own video is a bit late of you considering that I already have and will dispose of it as soon as I can.

    Second, the person who mentioned Jeopardy was my mother who actually did appear on Jeopardy. The taping was with a group of family and friends who set aside a weekend to help me out when I was still in my first year as a working magician as I needed a demo reel to show to a couple of potential agents. Humble beginnings.

    And if you're saying there's something wrong with Jeopardy, then I'm going to ask that we take this outside.

    Again, you'll pardon me if I don't lose any sleep over that.

    Your mistake is in thinking that I want or need your approval. If I knew who you were, it would help, but I don't. All joking aside, you have not said to me anything that I feel terribly inclined to take seriously as I get a fair amount of vitriol and scorn directed at me on a daily basis just for having unpopular opinions. There are people whose criticism I take seriously however. I know their names, their work, and have spoken with them personally. They didn't actively try to gain my respect, but got it through their accomplishments. When they tell me I've done something wrong, I listen.

    If you expect me to take you seriously, popping in for one post to call me a narcissist (which is like calling the sky blue) isn't going to cut it.
  18. Don't you love when cowards create a new username so they can talk nonsense with no evidence to back it up?

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