Why not use misdirection

Feb 28, 2011
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This has been a thought of mine for awhile, how come we spend so much time perfecting a sleight like the pass when all we need to know is misdirection. For example, you could spend almost a year trying to perfect the pass so that someone could burn your hands and still not see it, or you could get them too stop burning your hands just by saying their name and then do the pass. Any thoughts?
 
Sep 1, 2007
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Porthcawl, Wales.
I think misdirection is one of, if not, the most powerful tool a magician can use.

I think the use of misdirection gets highly over looked because kids these days won't go out and perform, instead they like to sit in front of their computers and try to create all sorts of knuckle busting sleights. But when they do perform, they often bore their spectators. I also think that when you don't perform on a regular basis, you seriously loose the idea of what the spectator perceives as good magic.

Now, I am victim to working on new sleights all the time myself, but I make sure I perform at least once a day (usually I get to do more) and that keeps me from loosing my sense of perception of what good magic is to laymen.

Anyway, back to misdirection. When you make it look natural and un-forced. You could pull a out your duck out your arse and leave your audience astonished!

Sorry for rambling, hope this helps a little.

Lloyd
 
Aug 17, 2010
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Good technique is insurance in case the misdirection does not take full effect. No matter how strong our misdirection, there will come a time that it won't work on everyone. For this, the move must be as invisible as possible.
 
Aug 31, 2007
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I find that misdirection works best for small groups if you're sleights are not up to scratch. But why would you perform some think if you weren't competent at it!

Yes I agree misdirection is overlooked by many young magicians of today which is a shame.
 

Luis Vega

Elite Member
Mar 19, 2008
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Leon, Guanajuato Mexico
luisvega.com.mx
This has been a thought of mine for awhile, how come we spend so much time perfecting a sleight like the pass when all we need to know is misdirection. For example, you could spend almost a year trying to perfect the pass so that someone could burn your hands and still not see it, or you could get them too stop burning your hands just by saying their name and then do the pass. Any thoughts?

I guess you are very young doing magic...

Misdirection is esential in magic...I`ll take your example with the pass...when doing card magic, the people shouldn`t be paying too much attention to the deck especially when doing a move, they are supposed to be entertained, not trying to catch your moves...

Also when doing a move, the people shouldn`t perceive you are doing something, since you should continue making the move when you are talking and doing natural motions, that is misdirection too...
 
Dec 18, 2007
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Northampton, MA - USA
A whole lot of sound "truth" shared by all but let's look at this idea a bit closer;

Strong misdirection can lead to one being exceptionally sloppy in all he/she does. This is particular true when it comes to any aspect of slight-of-hand work. We must also understand just what misdirection is and isn't, sometimes it can be a pipe or glass you hold in your hand in order to obfuscate your poor palming ability (take a look at footage of Kalanag doing the Billiard Balls) Then you have those such as Goshman that used very big, exaggerated movement in order to distract your line of sight. Albert likewise used his spiel; getting people to laugh and look at one another with nods and chuckles of agreement during which he'd executed certain sneaky-bits.

Misdirection isn't an exclusive to close-up by the way; both Blackstones, Lance Burton and just about every other major act going, have used some rather gutsy modes of misdirection. My favorite has always been Blackstone's (Sr) Appearing Elephant; he'd produce a small burro to the left side of the stage and while all that action was going on, the crew just walked the elephant out to its mark. At the right point he'd point, a smoke pot would go off, lights raised and voila! You have instant pachyderm! Franz Harrary used as similar approach to make a real Piper-Cub airplane appear on stage. . . and the list goes on from there. The thing is, it's not just the misdirection that makes it all work, it's coordinating a series of other actions at the same time as part of the same goal.

Misdirection is not intended to be an exclusive method but rather one cog within a gear-work of events. By itself it allows you to do some neat things, just as knowing a move gives you a certain level of accomplishment. When you combine the two as one thing however, this is when you begin down the path of creating the miraculous -- the level of magic that is elegant and typically so beautifully executed it brings a tear to your eye. It is what separates the consummate devotee of magic from the weekend warrior that just wants to learn more and more tricks.

BTW. . .
spending a year just to learn the Pass ain't noth'n. I know of guys that have been working at it for decades and still think they stink though peers and fans both believe them flawless.
 
Jun 30, 2011
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As useful as misdirection is, it isn't entirely reliable. I always use misdirection when performing but when i'm practicing I work under the assumption that my hands will be burned the entire time. I aim to have all my sleights to the level where it's at least unlikely somebody would suspect I did anything. While it's a fairly simple matter to misdirect a smaller number of people, guaranteeing that out of a fairly large group of people not a single one looks at your hands every single time you do a pass just isn't really possible. Some people may not even be 'maliciously' looking at your hands, people just glance around sometimes. Any number of unlikely events could happen. E.g. In a more informal setting, somebody may check their phone, not really be listening to what you're saying (therefore the misdirection is ineffective) then finish sending a message and look at your hands. Unlikely, but there's an almost limitless number of ways that misdirection may be ineffective through no fault of the magician. Also, i've noticed recently a number of similar posts (more so on other forums than here) basically insulting people who take an interest in learning complex sleights, as if that somehow makes them lesser magicians as apparently it's inconceivable that you can have an interest in the intricacies of the sleights and also be a good performer. Why not do both?
 
A brilliant example of misdirection is Card to Mouth or Card to Forehead. I perform both regularly and never get caught. Sometimes I mess up with my cards but still don't get caught. Misdirection over Technical Skill any day, but to be able to perform misdirection well you need the technical skill to be able to do what you want to do anyway to get to the point of trying it out on an audience with the misdirection.

Simon_Magic
 
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