What is the point? (confusing premises)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Bliff, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. Having little better to do, I watched one of Brian brushwood's performance(I know, I know) on YouTube. He was on stage performing "Esp". He was obviously talking about "Esp" because he had nothing esle to say and from the way he said "Esp", you can tell that he thinks it is worthless. Even in the middle of the performance he started to mock it. At theend of the performance, he asked if anyone believed that they had seen "Esp". Three people raised their hands and he said "ok three jackasses" jokingly. I don't believe "Esp" is real either but I see some performers confusing their performance by sending mixied signals about what they are presenting and that leads to a bad performance.
    I also watched another performer saying he will "read" someone's body language by making them take a card from his deck. What makes this confusing is, isn't possible to "read" someone's body language without the cards? The cards become "visible compromise" as Derren points out in his book "pure effect". If your premise is to read non-verbal signals, then just do that. I don't know why you would confuse me by bringing cards.
    Another problem I see is, when a performer tries to use cards as a "reading" device. There is no way someone is going to believe, you can tell them about themselves by making them choose a card.
    So the question is, how do guys choose interesting and logical premise?
    Mr_ARPY likes this.
  2. I can understand there being something in a performance that may seem nonsensical, because magic is not real and we will rarely have a perfectly clean effect— there is always some compromise. For example, there is a trick of David Blaine’s out there that if you watch it, you start to feel amazed even before the climax of the trick, because it starts off so cleanly. He has a brand new deck opened and shuffled, and then a card is selected and shuffled back into the deck before he turns around. The cards are spread around on the table, and the cleanest, most impossible ending for the trick would be if David Blaine simply picked up the man’s card. However, he was in a restaurant and asked if someone had a menu to cover the cards with, to make this more impossible. He stabbed through the menu, and a card was stuck to the knife, and it was the correct card. The menu is one of those nonsensical things that if you think about can lead you to possible solutions, but my point is that compromise exists in every trick.

    As for the premise of the effect, consistency is important. It should tell a story. Is there a specific effect that you’re looking to build a premise for so that we can help?
    DominusDolorum likes this.
  3. I am not saying, there shouldn't be a compromise.what we do isn't real so there must be a compromise but what I am trying to refer to is unnecessary compromise. For instance, there is an effect that I perform which I appear to be "reading" body language. I used to be one of those people who think the more trick and effect you know, the better performer you will be. Now I know a lot of effects but struggling to come up with premises. To make my question clear, what inspires you to come up with a premise?
  4. Finding a premise with an existing method usually starts with me looking at what the basic trick accomplished, without patter. For example, although many people perform a straightforward ACR, if you wanted to make a premise from it, you would notice the very basics. The card keeps rising to the top. The next thing I do is I try to connect it to something in the real world. The card could represent a person, and since the card keeps going to the top even when you put it into the middle, we can call the person “stubborn.” To add to the idea of it being a person, why not use a king? A king is someone who might want to have high class accommodations. It’s like the king keeps getting told that he is staying on the fourth floor in the hotel, but he wants to stay in he penthouse. He’s in the penthouse and the security guards take him out, and bring him back to the fourth floor. They didn’t know how he managed to do it, but almost instantly, they found him back in the penthouse. And then that’s a premise.

    Now let’s make an example with a very simple mind reading effect. Maybe you want to have a card taken from the deck, and tell someone exactly what it is. That simple and direct. So in this case, I like to think of it like we already have the main character, it’s you. You don’t need any card or prop to represent the main character of the plot. The ability is yours. So now it’s a matter of developing your character in the context of the trick. What are some possible ways that you may have discovered this ability? Could it be that you had a grand father who told you that reading people’s tells wasn’t good enough, that you had to learn to look into someone’s eyes and know what card they had? Did he train you everyday for your whole life? Maybe one day you had a vision from the perspective of your sibling, you could see they were in trouble, and you could tell where they were. You ran to help them, and when you got there the guys were gone but there was your brother, lying hurt on the ground. From then on you decided to hone your craft, and learned to control it to simply see through the eyes of others at will.

    However dramatic the premise is, it’s up to you. Maybe you just want something simple and fun, or maybe something heavy, intense or profound! The beauty is that each magician can write their own scripts and stories and we get to tell them in a very unique way.

    Instead of thinking of it as something you have to come up with on your own, think of how the trick itself is trying to guide you to a certain idea.
  5. That really depends on the performer and the style. I dont say that my style is the best but the way I approach playing cards is to showcase my ability on sleight of hand. I tell my spectators during the performance that I am not a psychic, nor do I believe in magic or paranormal things, I am just showing you what someone can achieve with sleight of hand.
    ryanshaw957 likes this.
  6. It's extremely common for performers to lose track of what they are trying to do. The quickest example I can think of is when someone says they're going to read someone's body language, then they reveal the information, then they open the envelope that's been in plain sight this whole time to show they predicted that response from the very beginning!

    Then why did you do the bit about reading body language? Makes no sense. These kinds of errors break the reality that you're asking people to engage in.

    Another one I can't stand is when the performer openly says "Here's a prediction in an envelope". Then has people announce information in some way. Then tries to pretend like they need to check the prediction to see if he's correct - and they try to act like they're not sure. As if they weren't the ones who wrote it themselves. Again, makes no sense. It's just a blatant attempt to build drama that falls apart as soon as someone thinks just a little bit about it.

    It will probably surprise no one when I say I think this stems from not understanding what the character is. When you have a good understanding of what your character is, you automatically know what they'd say and do. You understand why they are doing what they are doing, and communicating that becomes easier.

    Even if you're "just yourself" on stage, this is still important to figure out. What power(s) are you demonstrating, and what does it mean?
    RealityOne likes this.
  7. That's all you need to know.

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