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Topic: Sleight of hand hypothesis
Message: Posted by: evikshin (Sep 28, 2009 03:16AM)
I was re-reading "Scams and Fantasies" the other day, and I came across something thought provoking. Darwin Ortiz had stated that it was important to eliminate "sleight of hand" as a possible explanation for the tricks we do. Otherwise, we would fail to get a pure magical moment, though they may still be *very* impressed with our hand skills, i.e. sleight of hand. It is his belief (and I strongly agree), that tricks should be structured as to eliminate sleight of hand as a solution.

Now, I may be completely wrong, and please don't offended, but I feel that with coin magic, the very nature of it makes it harder (but not impossible) to eliminate the sleight of hand hypothesis. It just seems much harder for the spectator to [b]not[/b] see sleight of hand as an explanation.

That said, which types of [b]coin[/b] tricks would you recommend that you feel completely eliminate the sleight of hand hypothesis? And I'm talking about tricks where the spectator would reply: "I have [b]no[/b] idea how you do that" vs. "wow, you got graceful hands."

One that immediately comes to mind is a coins across using a ], and done slowly, deliberately, and openly (I personally love Doug Brewer's version with the odd coin).

Look forward to hearing your guys thoughts.

Best,

Evikshin
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Sep 28, 2009 03:30AM)
Identifying sleight-of-hand as a possible suspicion is only the beginning. You've got to start there and take it to the next level.

For instance, a coins across using a ] does involve some sleight-of-hand. The question is, what does the ] offer in terms of additional proofs that seems to eliminate sleight-of-hand? What's more, if the use of a ] means you've got to introduce your own coins, maybe you don't have to worry about them having suspicions about sleight-of-hand, but now you've got to worry about them having suspicions about tricky apparatus. That's potentially just as poisonous to creating the illusion of magic -- and to make matters worse, at least the perception of sleight-of-hand skill is something of a compliment to the performer.
Message: Posted by: Mb217 (Sep 28, 2009 06:06AM)
I think sleight of hand or not, most of it is in how you make the spectator's mind comfortable with the linear presentation. Even if they suspect SOH, you sorta iron that out in the way you finish up. I like the way Mickey Silver shows people the impossible and they don't seem to think of SOH. They get so wrapped up in the magical moments they are experiencing that any technical aspects seem never considered.

I think this is more a product of good study of your audience than just how good your hands are. Talent can be important alright but the true magic is in the mind. :) Not to mention that what magicians over-think most times as to what the spectator is considering to the 10th degree :D is usually just that, magician over-think. Spectator thought processes in those moments are not nearly as discerning as magicians would like to think... What they are doing most times is applying their inside knowledge to the spectators and it's just not as true as it is made out to be, that is unless whatever you're doing you're doing badly.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Sep 28, 2009 06:33AM)
The problem posed by Andrew is a true dilemma as either alternative is undesirable to the overall goal of having 'magic' be the only or most obvious solution. Often magicians chose one over the other and feel they are getting somewhere. In fact, the very act of offering/asking that a coin be examined plants suspicion where none may exist by suggesting that the magic 'trick' is in the coin. Strange movements and unnatural actions of the hands enhances suspicion that they are the source of the magic. Coin effects done only in the hands also draws the spectator to consider 'slight of hand'. So, what to do?

Whenever one cannot get the 'best possible result" he should try for the "best result possible." This is to 'minimize' both "Gimmick" and "Sleight" while 'maximizing' the sense of awe and wonder -- the "greater action masking the lesser." Some possible approaches are:

Use only borrowed coins, then swap in the gaffed ones. This eliminates anything larger than a quarter.

Use natural objects other than the hands to occasionally hold the coin, e.g. drop into a cup after a POV or hand to a spectator to hold.

Employ "Preemptive Doubt" by displaying the 'dirty' hand empty before revealing a vanish from the 'known' hand. This can be achieved be varying effective palming methods, ditching the coin or idling it in some manner.

Do not do flourishes, preferably even dropping a coin accidentally.

Use audible clues to enhance a coin's location.

Have every hand motion be one a lay person would use in picking up or passing a coin. This includes moving your hands in natural gestures while speaking -- more if you are Italian, less if you are Germanic (my observation).

Use Story rather than just Patter to justify the timing of hand and coin movements.

Use natural objects other than coins -- stones, nuts, shells, etc.; handed to a spectator early with him/her handing you the objects as needed, ideally performing with whatever he hands you in a free choice.

Perform effects in the spectator's hand.

Never do a move just to impress other magicians with your skill.

Always be aware of the unexpected opportunity to accentuate magic (Vernon's Unnamed Trick thinking).

....

I am sure there are others that can be supplied by others here, and not all of these can be done in any single effect or short routine. These are meant as study question you might use to access your own choice of tricks or the flow from one to another -- or to evaluate a 'magic partner'.
Message: Posted by: Wes65 (Sep 28, 2009 06:47AM)
There are two solutions that must be eliminated: sleight of hand and "trick" coins.

The most important thing to do is to first establish the integrity of the coins. Then, once that is established, the cleaver use of a gaff can eliminate sleight of hand as an explanation.

Of course, proper framing, timing and good routining makes all the difference.


[quote]
On 2009-09-28 07:33, funsway wrote:
In fact, the very act of offering/asking that a coin be examined plants suspicion where none may exist by suggesting that the magic 'trick' is in the coin.
[/quote]
You don't want to offer the coin for examination. You want to find some other way to get the coins into the spectator's hand. For example, show them your antique coins and ask them if they've seen coins like that before. Or involve them in the effect in some way than lets them handle the coins.

Under no circumstance would I put the suggestion in their head that there is even such a thing as a "trick coin".
Message: Posted by: vinsmagic (Sep 28, 2009 07:39AM)
If it is not sleight of hand then it must be a trick coin, because there is no such thing as real magic.
Message: Posted by: harris (Sep 28, 2009 08:29AM)
Or possibly something else?


Math...i.e. sheeps and the theifs...(or is that also soh?)

Last night, magnets were suggested by many of my audience during a walk around..

Though my personality was the only thing magnetic used.

Harris
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Sep 28, 2009 08:38AM)
Exactly! And I vote for sleight of hand, because, to me, that is as close to real magic as you are gonna get!
Message: Posted by: funsway (Sep 28, 2009 09:18AM)
[quote]
On 2009-09-28 08:39, vinsmagic wrote:
If it is not sleight of hand then it must be a trick coin, because there is no such thing as real magic.
[/quote]
Except in the mind of the spectator who constantly shows a capacity for believing in something beyond the practical limitations of his life. To "act as if doing real magic" makes of magic something real -- a concept reinforced by every moment of awe and wonder. For the first time ever a Cardinal sat on my window sill this morning instead of only flitting in the distance. Works for me!
Message: Posted by: vinsmagic (Sep 28, 2009 10:02AM)
The audience knows its not real, however they realize you used sleight of hand and are amazed how you did it ...
Message: Posted by: rutabaga (Sep 28, 2009 01:09PM)
Roth's [ coins across with borrowed coins [I use toonies up here ;) ] is as good as it gets for me. Wonderful reactions!
Message: Posted by: cperkins (Sep 28, 2009 04:13PM)
Some very good " best practices" from Funsway! Thanks for sharing this.

I think it is possible for some people who are so predisposed to "suspend their disbelief" at least momentarily. In this case, there are some real "magical" moments at least for them. Getting them to do this is the challenge for the magician.
Message: Posted by: John T Cox (Sep 28, 2009 05:50PM)
I think the notion that you have to eliminate the thought of sleight of hand is not the point. The point is that you should think through your routine and make it as magical as possible. If a person looks astonished at my coin magic and later attributes that to my skill, I don't mind. I just want that brief moment to occur for the viewer.

John
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Sep 28, 2009 06:22PM)
[quote]
On 2009-09-28 18:50, hypnodream wrote:
I think the notion that you have to eliminate the thought of sleight of hand is not the point. The point is that you should think through your routine and make it as magical as possible. If a person looks astonished at my coin magic and later attributes that to my skill, I don't mind. I just want that brief moment to occur for the viewer.

John
[/quote]

The thing is, being able to eliminate the suspicion of sleight-of-hand (along with every other suspicion) allows for that brief moment to last a lot longer.
Message: Posted by: evikshin (Sep 28, 2009 06:23PM)
Thanks for all your replies guys! Lots of good things said here from different perspectives

I will be replying back here shortly, as soon as I get to a hotel (i'm currently in an airport and almost late for my plane!)
Message: Posted by: Sammy J. (Sep 28, 2009 08:12PM)
[quote]
On 2009-09-28 11:02, vinsmagic wrote:
The audience knows its not real ,however they realize you used slight of hand and are amazed how you did it ..
[/quote]
I agree with Vinny. I just finished reading the novel "The magicains". It starts with sleights, but is ultimately about casting spells (Harry Potter for adults). Our job is to entertain. They know it's not real "magic", but we can make it seem magical by our presentation.

Sammy
Message: Posted by: evikshin (Sep 28, 2009 08:17PM)
Andrew,

I would definitely agree that the sleight of hand solution is infinitely better than "oh he's just using trick coins." that's why the combination of sound psychology and routining, as well as apparatus, can bring about the miracle.

As Wes and Funsway stated, switch in the apparatus at an unexpected moment, after the integrity of the coins have been established. I could not have said it better than them.
----------------------------------

MB,

Some good points here! When you say, with regards to sleight of hand, "you sorta iron that out in the way you finish up," I interpret this as saying that sleight of hand is sort of the set up, but then the climax is so unexpected and impossible that sleight of hand barely accounts for it, sort of like a Jumbo coin transformation, or, as you mentioned, Mickey's human slot machine where a cascade of coins seemingly come from everywhere at once with no "sleight of handy" type action. We magicians do have a tendency to overthink the irrelevant (can someone say "too much finger movement on the ROV?" LOL).

I strive to be entertaining in my own way to the audience, so that the magic does not become a challenging puzzle where they are constantly on "figure it out" mode. However, I find this very hard to do when there is a large language barrier between my audience and I!
Message: Posted by: pearljamjeff (Sep 28, 2009 08:28PM)
[quote]
On 2009-09-28 11:02, vinsmagic wrote:
The audience knows its not real ,however they realize you used slight of hand and are amazed how you did it ..
[/quote]

However, the best magicians make the audiences forget that they know that... at least momentarily. I refuse to settle for anything less than creating "real" magic. This is why I don't perform my coin magic... yet. I haven't figured out how to get it to that point... yet.
Message: Posted by: evikshin (Sep 28, 2009 08:31PM)
Funsway, You are the man! lots of great points you bring up.
You did mention borrowing coins. One thing I have been doing is borrowing pennies and dimes, and then using TT to vanish them. Gets a bigger reaction then busting out a silver half dollar, and doing some work with it. I think the "borrowed coin factor" is really important. Even if I let specs examine that silver coin, the effect just doesn't seem as personal, perhaps because a silver half dollar is not a super common object like a penny or a dime, and perhaps they can't relate to it as much.

I like your term "preemptive doubt." I see this principle used by some high level coin guys:
-David Stone and how he uses Classic palm immediately after a retention pass, makes the hand look really empty
-MB's Liwag subtlety
-Vinny/Mickey Silver's use of Ramsey subtleties.

However, you really think flourishes are a bad idea? I don't think they are, as long as the end magic effect appears to be "beyond sleight of hand," that is, appears to not be accountable by the magician's hand skills.

Evikshin



[quote]
On 2009-09-28 18:50, hypnodream wrote:
I think the notion that you have to eliminate the thought of sleight of hand is not the point. The point is that you should think through your routine and make it as magical as possible. If a person looks astonished at my coin magic and later attributes that to my skill, I don't mind. I just want that brief moment to occur for the viewer.

John
[/quote]
John, I would say that eliminating the thought of sleight of hand [b]is[/b] something to strive for. Just think of some of the effects where sleight of hand does NOT account for the magic:

-Paul Curry's Out of This World: People still talk about this effect a few years after I did it. My hand skills were never a question. It seemed to leave a void in their intellect.
-A lot of Darwin Ortiz's effects: again, the end magical effect is so impossible that sleight of hand is not really a viable solution, I.E. 2 cards magically fusing together, etc.
-Card through window
-PK effects
-Vanishing salt

The above are just a few examples.

I'm striving to not just have a brief moment for the viewer, but to have an enduring moment, that leaves a void in their lives. A lot more difficult to achieve, and perhaps not as realistic (a fantasy).

Best,

Evikshin
Message: Posted by: pearljamjeff (Sep 28, 2009 08:43PM)
I don't think it's impossible. Just takes finding yourself. When Blaine first came out, a lot of people believed that he was doing "real magic." That doesn't mean you have to walk around big cities, strip your presentations to the bones, and speak in a monotone, but you [b]do[/b] have find the combination that works for you... the one that elicits the "real magic" feeling from your audience. Well, only IF that's what you are going for... and I think more magicians should be.
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Sep 28, 2009 11:57PM)
[quote]
On 2009-09-28 21:17, evikshin wrote:
Andrew,

I would definitely agree that the sleight of hand solution is infinitely better than "oh he's just using trick coins." that's why the combination of sound psychology and routining, as well as apparatus, can bring about the miracle.
[/quote]

No. We cannot rely upon some combination to bring about the miracle.

We need to start with the individual effect. The execution of that effect is going to arouse suspicions. Within the execution of that effect we need to offer proofs that those suspicions are unfounded.

I can think of magic tricks with coins that require neither sleight-of-hand nor gaffes. That does not mean that those tricks are perfect -- on the contrary, those tricks contain significant flaws.

Remember the positives that sleight-of-hand offers us. Remember the positives that gimmicked handlings offer us. If you can cancel, then find ways to use the positives of each to cancel the negatives of the other. If you can't cancel, then find ways to eliminate proofs of the methods that you're using.
Message: Posted by: pearljamjeff (Sep 29, 2009 12:17AM)
[quote]
On 2009-09-29 00:57, Andrew Musgrave wrote:
We need to start with the individual effect.
[/quote]
I would take it back even further and say that we need to start with ourselves.
Message: Posted by: evikshin (Sep 29, 2009 01:40AM)
[quote]
Remember the positives that sleight-of-hand offers us. Remember the positives that gimmicked handlings offer us. If you can cancel, then find ways to use the positives of each to cancel the negatives of the other. If you can't cancel, then find ways to eliminate proofs of the methods that you're using.
[/quote]
The above is pretty much what I meant to say!

evikshin
Message: Posted by: funsway (Sep 29, 2009 04:52AM)
We tend to speak of spectators making decisions between our offered alternatives as is that is how the human mind works, but 'tis not so. Only under forced conditions do we make "trade off decision," and if the process becomes too complex we simply refuse to make a decision at all. Thus "magic" by any definition cannot be the 'default' cause if it does not already exist in the memory of the spectator, pass his "screen of logic" and rest comfortably within his ethical structure. Some concept of magic must prior to the magician forcing or coaxing a decisions against props or sleights. We may not know the exact nature or source of this 'believing', but rely on its 'reality'. Consider:

A) the spectator has some experience with performance magic and knows that sleight of hand and gimmicked coins are possibilities, but enjoys seeing how well the magician creates mystery out of nothing,

B) the spectator find awe and wonder in many events each day and accepts that there may be causes he does not understand. He is little concerned with having to make any decision and just loves to be entertained.

C) the spectator dislikes 'not knowing', and constantly seeks knowledge in both science and religious sources. The magician forces discord in his ordered mind and all attempts to minimize Sleights and Gimmicks only increases his emotional distress. He finally just places the who performance "on a back burner" hoping to resolve it at a later time. His memories are filled with such unresolved mysteries -- another definition of magic,

D) a mixture of A and B in which the spectator wants to believe in his own ability to do more and understand more of life, and views the performance as a demonstration of what he might be if he worked harder, studied more or wasn't so ****** critical of everything.

E - F ...

As performers we make guesses as to the mental disposition of the 'audience' as some strange amalgam of individual spectators. Not only do we 'over think' the spectator's perceptions of each sleight or move, but possibly over think the reasons behind any spectator's reaction to the puzzles and quandaries we present. Surely we must establish a "sense of magic" before we plunge into any effect that requires a rational decision. Some of this is solved if we are advertised as a magician and only those expecting and appreciating magic buy tickets. This is less known/predictable if we approach a stranger and say, "Wanna see a trick?"

What can make a difference is how the spectator perceives us as a performer of magic; which is based on our own perceptions of magic as being 'real' -- faith that the capacity for magic as an alternative exists in this spectator's mind. All we can do is draw it forth, caress it into the forefront of pleasurable experience, and then gently minimize any rational discordance. The elements of surprise must seem mysterious rather that unnatural, while the elements of suspense might seem skillful or mechanical -- only to be swept always the 'greater movement' of "might be magic." Making magic "more real" is our job!
Message: Posted by: Marc Gettmann (Sep 29, 2009 05:03AM)
I think it depends what you want. If you like coin magic (like me) go for it.

But if you want to reach the goal, that the spectator has the feeling of "magic", sth. he can`t explain, leave coin magic.

If the same spectator would experience Mickey Silver doing his thing and a mentalist doing a great CT for example, he would probably say: "The guy with the coins and the funny sounds when they appeared and dissapeared was great and funny; but how could the other guy know what I was thinking of...."

I am always depressed by these comments, because they will never know, that good coin work often takes much more work and devotion than a nice mental trick.

So coinmagic will always be considered SOH. But I am ok with it.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Sep 29, 2009 06:04AM)
[quote]
On 2009-09-29 06:03, Marc Gettmann wrote:...

So coinmagic will always be considered SOH. But I am ok with it.
[/quote]
Even back in Scot's day there were ways of getting that effect using coins - and the bit about changing a coin in a volunteer's hand is an example. IMHO Hofzinser solved that problem with his copper and silver coin transposition ages ago. Since then folks have improved on the mechanical technology yet only occasionally mentioned in print how to improve on making the trick work for larger audiences.
Message: Posted by: Mb217 (Sep 29, 2009 06:17AM)
There's a reason why both sleight of hand and gaffs are here, they are extentions of one another. Don't lose your balance on the wooden ladder just because a rung is missing or made or gold. Keep moving forward, the best is yet to come. ;)

Have a great day all. :)
Message: Posted by: vinsmagic (Sep 29, 2009 09:21AM)
I will say this, sleight of hand used in conjunction with a gimmick is the best of both worlds....
vinny
Message: Posted by: harris (Sep 29, 2009 12:18PM)
The expression, suspension of belief (core ones that is) comes to mind for this nearly normal entertainer.

I can watch a magical performance with many sets of eyes (beliefs, brains).

They include:
a. as an artist
b. as a magician
c. as a kid
d. as an adult with a whimsical attitude
e. as a critic


One never knows what combination our audience is "perceiving" our magic


Harris
Still 2 old to know everything....
Message: Posted by: Herr Brian Tabor (Sep 29, 2009 12:29PM)
Tommy Wonder wrote a few great articles on this subject, one of which is "An Examination of Examinations" Page 214 book 1. There are many more that could apply here too.
Message: Posted by: evikshin (Sep 29, 2009 08:00PM)
[quote]
On 2009-09-29 10:21, vinsmagic wrote:
I will say this, sleight of hand used in conjunction with a gimmick is the best of both worlds....
vinny
[/quote]
I'd also add this is the most probable route to take if you want to maximize the magical experience for lay audience!

Evikshin


[quote]
On 2009-09-29 13:18, Harris wrote:
One never knows what combination our audience is "perceiving" our magic


Harris
Still 2 old to know everything....
[/quote]
I totally agree! Keeps me up at night. And this is what makes performing magic frightening at times, at least for me, which is the unknown x-factor...we can practice all we want, till the cows come home, but how can we possibly anticipate which frame of reference, or lens, the audience is viewing us with?

Evikshin


[quote]
On 2009-09-29 06:03, Marc Gettmann wrote:
I think it depends what you want. If you like coin magic (like me) go for it.

But if you want to reach the goal, that the spectator has the feeling of "magic", sth. he can`t explain, leave coin magic.

If the same spectator would experience Mickey Silver doing his thing and a mentalist doing a great CT for example, he would probably say: "The guy with the coins and the funny sounds when they appeared and disappeared was great and funny; but how could the other guy know what I was thinking of...."

I am always depressed by these comments, because they will never know, that good coin work often takes much more work and devotion than a nice mental trick.

So coinmagic will always be considered SOH. But I am ok with it.
[/quote]
Agreed. Coin magic takes [b]a lot[/b] of effort, as I've learned in the past year, to perfect, arguably more effort than card magic. Again, I keep on going back to an effect like "Out of this World": Lay people are absolutely, 110% blown away and mystified. There is [b]no[/b] explanation, especially if you do it with a borrowed deck and have them shuffle the cards thoroughly. With coin magic, you can give them a great experience too, but it seems that the lingering thought of SOH will always be in the specs mind. Due to the fact that the coins are disappearing, appearing in [b]your hand[/b] (this just screams "sleight of hand").

Now, as Vinny, Wes, et al. have mentioned, I do believe that with coin magic, the combination of gimmicks and high level sleight of hand seems the way to go.

Thanks,

Evikshin
Message: Posted by: Curtis Kam (Sep 29, 2009 08:58PM)
Before you reach any conclusions, get, read, and try the coin effects in the book Stars of Magic. Most of the coin effects there appear to be sleightless, yet have a strong and memorable impact. The Kangaroo coins, Slydini's "Flyaway Coin", the Carlyle "Copper penetration" effect, (even without the watch steal) Spellbound, Leipzig's pride, the Malini vanish and with some polish, the Scarne Copper/Silver Transpo all eliminate sleight-of-hand as an explanation.

Of the routines listed above, only one requires a gimmick.

Other routines that go beyond sleight-of-hand: coin bends in the spectator's hand, coin under the spectator's watch, coin through glass tabletop, coin in bottle, and the coin that appears and/or disappears in the spectator's hand.

None of these routines absolutely requires a gimmick, although you certainly could use one.

If your current coin magic doesn't blow people "110%" away, it might not be a problem with all of coin magic, just yours, and just at the moment.
Message: Posted by: evikshin (Sep 30, 2009 02:17AM)
Thanks for the reference Curtis! I will check it out.

Now, I absolutely do not believe that it is impossible to blow people away 111.2% with coins, in fact, my original purpose with this thread was to generate a list of routines that accomplish this.

Thanks for being the first person to give me a concrete reference!

Best,

Evikshin
Message: Posted by: John T Cox (Sep 30, 2009 05:46AM)
Moments of wonderment for me...
Waking up early one camping trip, forgetting where I was and trying to make sense of the colors and shapes above me - sky, branches, clouds

Walking up to a ship in a harbor where the water was so clear that I could see the bottom of the marina. The ship looked like it was hovering in nothingness

Watching the small lady float around the audience during the Cirque du Soleil show Corteo

Watching Dirk Benedict levitate and vanish a ferrari

Watching people dive into the floor during O

In all cases I experienced things that should not be and drifted in the place of wonderment. It is when you juxtapose what you think you know with a contradiction. An example is the Needle through Balloon. It just should not be!

I have blown people away with a simple complete vanish of a coin. Perhaps we make it too hard by thinking about it too much. If you were to pick up your car keys, then set them down, then reach for them and have them be gone you experience the state of wonderment (followed by other things!)

My point is that it happens often if you get out of the way.

John
Message: Posted by: harris (Sep 30, 2009 07:03AM)
Ah! Stars of magic.

What is old is [b]new[/b] again.

Curtis...thanks for the memories and reminder to get that back on my reading shelf.
Message: Posted by: evikshin (Sep 30, 2009 07:19AM)
[quote]
On 2009-09-29 21:58, Curtis Kam wrote:

the coin that appears and/or disappears in the spectator's hand.


[/quote]

Where can I find this?
Message: Posted by: harris (Sep 30, 2009 07:49AM)
Coins continue to be among my favorite and most used props. (Right up there with my nearly normal puppets).

Lately I have even done short routines one handed(right) with Nigel on my left hand.

Magic, first the book and then the movie with Anthony Hopkins, helped open the possibilities of combining the two. (magic and ventriloquism) Of course, Boley and others had been doing it for years.

The joy of watching folks like Goshman and Slydini, brought me to want to share my own nearly normal brand of coin magic.

Harris "palms of aluminum foil" deutsch
for a lighter touch in coin magic.
Message: Posted by: evikshin (Sep 30, 2009 08:59AM)
Be cool to see you in action someday Harris!

Evikshin