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Topic: It amazes me that...
Message: Posted by: trouser (Oct 15, 2010 11:56AM)
Even the simplest effects can invoke such powerful reactions from people. I teach piano lessons on the side and I reward my students with a different magic trick at the end of each lesson. I have been teaching one family for 2 years now and it is becoming a little more challenging to keep coming back with a fresh trick each week. Especially since grad school eats up a lot of my free time (which I would use to practice). Well this week I realized I had never done spongeballs for them, so I whipped out a short, sweet, & simple routine at the end of the lesson and it knocked everyone out cold. I couldn't believe that despite all the other things I've performed for them (that I consider to be much more mystifying) like Fraud, WOW, Holy Moly, etc, that the family would comment that my simple spongeball routine was the best thing they'd ever seen me do. I'm never going to take the simple stuff for granted ever again!
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Oct 15, 2010 12:01PM)
Yup.

The big lesson here is that what impresses us is not the same as what impresses they layman.

We are impressed by technique of the magician, cleverness in design, bullet-proof-ness of the illusion, and of course how hard it is to learn.

Laymen are simply impressed by the result-- the illusion itself.

When I started learning an ID a serious card worker told me "you'll love and hate your ID. You will love it because its such a great illusion. You will hate it because it is so easy and yet it will impress laymen more then things you spent *months* learning." That was dead on.

The other thing to remember though is WHY the ID works so well. The technique is great, but delivered by itself, its just a puzzler.. (eg "Name any card... here it is backwards.") What makes it so much more powerful IMO is the compelling nature of the *story* of the ID and how it involves the spectator in making magic happen.

Making someones imagination real... that's magic!
Message: Posted by: trouser (Oct 15, 2010 12:17PM)
That's true. I guess as a magician it is easy to forget the impression an effect had on me the first time I saw it. After years of performing something or seeing others perform something, a trick can SEEM stale compared to new things I am exposed to. Does anyone feel that the constant release of new "must have" effects are a distraction from foundations that makes this craft great?
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Oct 15, 2010 12:51PM)
[quote]
On 2010-10-15 12:56, trouser wrote:
Even the simplest effects can invoke such powerful reactions from people...I'm never going to take the simple stuff for granted ever again!
[/quote]

First of all, Trouser, welcome to The Magic Café! So glad you could join us! And, you are so right! Just the other day, I made a pencil vanish at the corner store in this little village I live in. Absolutely knocked their socks off! At The Mall, recently I kept doing little tricks with a quarter, and the jaws were hanging open. Impromptu stuff!

Isn't it amazing? The simplest stuff, just fries 'em! I have spent hundreds in the past, on tricks that blew me away, and they never got the reactions a simple pencil vanish, or vanishing quarter can get. I've been doing magic for almost 40 years, and I am still learning.

[quote]
On 2010-10-15 13:17, trouser wrote:
Does anyone feel that the constant release of new "must have" effects are a distraction from foundations that makes this craft great?
[/quote]
Yeah, kinda. But I love the new stuff! Not everything, but there are gems, if ya look for 'em. It's the "impromptu" stuff I look for. Soda straw thru dollar, Prohibition (Cap In Bottle), stuff like that. But, yeah, you're right. It's the stuff you don't expect, that is the most powerful. And thanks, Trouser. I had forgotten about sponge balls! I gotta find me a set of Goshmans. :)
Great topic, Trouser!

Doug
Message: Posted by: trouser (Oct 15, 2010 01:24PM)
Doug, That's a great point! I think that is a good way to look at it when I'm thinking about buying a new trick. Is this owning this trick going to entertain me? or is this going to entertain a potential spectator? Of course it may be hard to tell and either way is perfectly justifiable. I find that I have my favorite tricks to perform and now that I think about it, it's not necessarily because of the reactions they get, but more because there is some other aspect of the trick that makes it really enjoyable to perform. I now think that my collection has a little too many "there to entertain me" type of tricks than I would like. Anytime a new trick comes out, we can only read reviews from the magician's point of view. Wouldn't it be cool if there was a trick review site where the layman could post what they thought of a particular effect when a magician performed it for them. I bet there would be some surprises in the highest-rated ranks.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Oct 15, 2010 01:29PM)
[quote]
On 2010-10-15 14:24, trouser wrote:
Anytime a new trick comes out, we can only read reviews from the magician's point of view. Wouldn't it be cool if there was a trick review site where the layman could post what they thought of a particular effect when a magician performed it for them?
[/quote]

Wow! That WOULD be cool! Maybe someone could chime in, and answer this: Is there such a thing? A layman's opinion! After all, aren't they who we perform for?
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Oct 15, 2010 01:36PM)
[quote]
. Does anyone feel that the constant release of new "must have" effects are a distraction from foundations that makes this craft great?
[/quote]

Most new "Must haves" are back of the closet fillers tomorrow.

No offense to magic creators but Magic follows Sturgeons law like everything else.

The reason classics are classics is because they've already been through the filter of Sturgeon's law and they are the 10% that survived.
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Oct 15, 2010 01:36PM)
Sounds like a video blog concept...

"I showed this to my wife.... "

The problem is that before you can film it you have to become reasonably confident with every effect.

:)
Message: Posted by: trouser (Oct 15, 2010 01:46PM)
Maybe this is too scientific, but have any of the pros ever considered a rate-my-magician kind of thing where they hand out cards at the end of a performance that direct people to a site where they could give their 2 cents about anything they had seen. Of course that could be a double-edged sword since no one wants bad reviews to be out in the open. It would probably be more work than it's worth. But for those of us that don't have an ungodly amount of experience performing for people it would be neat to somehow get some better insight into non-magician mind.
Message: Posted by: CRMagius (Oct 15, 2010 04:42PM)
Spongeballs..

Got some, have practiced a routine with them, but still too scared to use them. It just feels TOO easy, and hard to accept that people wouldn't notice a retention or fetching an extra ball from under my shirt collar.

It looks good in the mirror, but I just can't seem to get confident with them as readily as cards.
Message: Posted by: jeffdell (Oct 15, 2010 06:25PM)
[quote]
On 2010-10-15 12:56, trouser wrote:
Even the simplest effects can invoke such powerful reactions from people. I teach piano lessons on the side and I reward my students with a different magic trick at the end of each lesson. I have been teaching one family for 2 years now and it is becoming a little more challenging to keep coming back with a fresh trick each week. Especially since grad school eats up a lot of my free time (which I would use to practice). Well this week I realized I had never done spongeballs for them, so I whipped out a short, sweet, & simple routine at the end of the lesson and it knocked everyone out cold. I couldn't believe that despite all the other things I've performed for them (that I consider to be much more mystifying) like Fraud, WOW, Holy Moly, etc, that the family would comment that my simple spongeball routine was the best thing they'd ever seen me do. I'm never going to take the simple stuff for granted ever again!
[/quote]

I always forget why some things like sponge balls are in the arsenal of so many magicians. In my limited experience, simple effects that are performed well mystify as much as any new effect\technique. New effects are great and its great that people are innovative, but its also important to remember the effects that have pleased so many audiences for years.
Message: Posted by: molsen (Oct 15, 2010 06:45PM)
[quote]
On 2010-10-15 14:46, trouser wrote:
Maybe this is too scientific, but have any of the pros ever considered a rate-my-magician kind of thing where they hand out cards at the end of a performance that direct people to a site where they could give their 2 cents about anything they had seen. Of course that could be a double-edged sword since no one wants bad reviews to be out in the open. It would probably be more work than it's worth. But for those of us that don't have an ungodly amount of experience performing for people it would be neat to somehow get some better insight into non-magician mind.
[/quote]

My apologies if I make this sound too simple. I am a scientist too, so I am not trying to put down your logic.

If you want to know what your audience thinks about what you just performed, look into their eyes. That will tell you so much more than what they each think once they go home and enter your URL in their browser of choice.

In my humble opinion, magic is not supposed to be rationalized after the fact. It is an immediate experience. I know that is not what you are aiming at, but I believe you will see my point here (being scientific and all).

Michael
Message: Posted by: molsen (Oct 15, 2010 06:47PM)
[quote]
On 2010-10-15 17:42, CRMagius wrote:
Spongeballs..

Got some, have practiced a routine with them, but still too scared to use them. It just feels TOO easy, and hard to accept that people wouldn't notice a retention or fetching an extra ball from under my shirt collar.

It looks good in the mirror, but I just can't seem to get confident with them as readily as cards.
[/quote]

It really IS that easy... But until you believe that, stick to the cards. Cards can KILL as well, so no harm done ;)

Michael
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Oct 15, 2010 08:00PM)
Sponge balls are pretty awesome. The tactile feel in the hand of one "growing" into two is a heck of a convincer.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Oct 15, 2010 08:10PM)
Yeah, your right, Cyb'. I had a set of Sponge Bunnies at one time, called...hmmmm, I think, Multiplying Rabbits, I'm not sure. Anyway, the ladies LOVED it! Ya put the male and female in their hand, if I remember correctly, and they had babies! They all fell out, and the jaws dropped! That was a good one!
Message: Posted by: Nicholas Petti (Oct 15, 2010 09:25PM)
Returning to magic, like some others I see on this forum, after a nearly 30 year hiatus, I know I am much less impressed by the "technique" and more by the routine. In other words it's about the entertainment and when I was younger it was about the sleights or apparatus.

Henning Nelms has an entire section in "Magic & Showmanship" about the difference between conjuring for your peers and for laymen. Also, in another book that I don't have close to mind, the author talks about losing the sense of wonder magic brings. When we become privy to its secrets, we can no longer enjoy it in the same way.

I recently added a number of effects, one of which I really thought was killer. My wife was totally unimpressed, but what blew her away was a simple "Needle Through Balloon."
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Oct 15, 2010 09:52PM)
Hmm. I read Magic and Showmanship about 30 years ago so I don't really remember much.

But Id say when one becomes a magician one loses one appreciation, but gains another, deeper appreciation. It becomes about the performance, the creativity, and the skill of the performer.

In this way I would say that its no different from any other performance. A violinist watches and listens to another violinist very differently from the average concert goer. A diver watches another diver very differently then the average spectator.

I am far more in awe of Niel Foster's Zombie work *because* I know whats involved and how much of him has to into creating that performance.
Message: Posted by: dsalley13 (Oct 15, 2010 10:57PM)
Trouser,

It sounds like you are ready for the Tarbell books. That will provide you with a large amount of close-up and other Magic for years and years.


dsalley13
Message: Posted by: othelo68 (Oct 16, 2010 08:17AM)
Classic tricks are classic for a reason. It may not be a bad idea to invest in the classics and wait for the new stuff to go through sturgeons revelation and sort themselves out.

Sturgeons revelation is " ninety percent of everything is crap".
sturgeons law is "nothing is absolutely so" great reference by the way! I love CyberQats post, they're full of references that are obscure to me, which means I have to look them up.
Message: Posted by: NexusMagicShop (Oct 16, 2010 02:54PM)
If every New Magician started out with the classics learned actual technique, which sadly is disappearing with all of this self-working crap. Magic would be in such a better place. The big hits of today I have noticed are short-cuts of real techniques. Owning a store I see the trends, new magicians are buying the self working gimmicks over the Instructional DVDS on technique, and the classic effects.

The old schoolers of magic know first hand that the best impact is the classic techniques. And it translates to the spectator also. Hypocritically, I must say vanishing a coin for example looks so much more impactful to the spectator when you are sleeveless. Then when using a Ahem! --- Gulp --- The Dragon, Raven or Gecko.


My thoughts,
Jason Ring
Message: Posted by: Cody Comet (Oct 16, 2010 03:10PM)
I'm a senior in high school and I see this all the time whenever I get to pull out tricks during the school day. One day, I decided to french drop my class ring and put it on my left thumb to make it look like it appeared on my thumb and I caught it in midair and despite how ridicously simple that sounds, it's floored everyone! And to consider that my schools most famous alum is Lance Burton, resulting in my school knowing a bit more about magic than the average layman, that's pretty amazing!
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Oct 16, 2010 09:50PM)
I dunno. I think self-workers have always been a way in and a part of the act. Most big stage illusion sare to one degree or another self-working. The stuff I do these days is a mix of self-working and me-working.

But a decent magician can always take a self-worker and make it work better :) Self-working doesn't mean self-performing. And I believe 90% of the art is the performance and 10% at most is the technique.

My intro to magic was a series of self-workers when I was a kid. I used a marked/stripped eck for years until I learned how to do it myself and abandoned it. If nothing else, I think self-workers are great for getting new people into the hobby and for teaching them that its about a lot more then how well you do a pass...
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Oct 16, 2010 09:53PM)
By the way... the most amazing iullusio nI ever did was in highschool.

I used to carry coins and practice all the time. Sleights were my fidgets, to the point that my friends had all been programmed to expect certain things. One day, just fidgeting I did a french drop with nothing in my hands. A young lady I knew happened to be watching and she started... then turned my hands over fornt and back.. and then asked where the quarter went.

It didn't matter that there hadn't been one to begin with, to HER it had been there and then was gone.

That was probably MY first experience with the power of suggestion... and it was a totally non-verbal one.
Message: Posted by: NexusMagicShop (Oct 17, 2010 03:51PM)
[quote]
On 2010-10-16 22:50, Cyberqat wrote:

But a decent magician can always take a self-worker and make it work better :)

________________

This line is priceless! So true.... But I still feel that every Magician should work on the classics. I know so many that call themselves Magicians, but don't know the french drop or even the Classic Palm. My Dragon trick was created, because when I was first learning coin techniques people would always say it's in that hand. I was sloppy and shouldn't have been performing for the general public. But it made me think I wish I had something that exploded when I opened my hand scaring my skeptic. The Dragon was born... And has become a difficult to master but valuable advanced gimmick in my arsenal. So I am not Gimmick free trust me, I just want to see people who are interested in Magic learn the classics before they call themselves a magician. And It will help them take there self worker and make them better just as Cyberqat states.
Message: Posted by: CRMagius (Oct 18, 2010 11:12AM)
[quote]
On 2010-10-16 22:53, Cyberqat wrote:
One day, just fidgeting I did a french drop with nothing in my hands. A young lady I knew happened to be watching and she started... then turned my hands over fornt and back.. and then asked where the quarter went.
[/quote]

That... is hilarious. And something every noob like myself should take as a reminder that the real Magic is in what the spectator perceives.
Message: Posted by: DWRackley (Oct 19, 2010 03:40PM)
I try to remember that the audience doesn't think like we do. The result is really all they they know (or care) about.

I have no problem using gimmicks, but it probably [i]won't[/i] be done in the same way as everyone else. I've used a Svengali on magicians and they never had a clue.

The important thing (IMO) is that if we were performing [b][i]real[/i][/b] Magic, we wouldn't need to cover it with a cloth or put it in a box. We'd just wave our hands and Presto! That's the stuff I look for: changing a coin while it's in the spectators hand; changing a card that they've already signed.

I remember one night out with some friends, a couple guys from another table came over and I showed them Out to Lunch. When one of them turned over the card, he jumped back (literally) and yelled, "My God! You're in league with the devil!" It's hilarious, and just so easy it doesn't even seem fair.

Sponge balls (rabbits, dice, etc) are great for that, because they can multiply, change or grow in the spectator's own hand.

(And if I do need to cover something, there's a reason: "so the glass can't escape" or "to help focus our concentration". It may be lame to us, but the audience needs justification.)
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Oct 19, 2010 04:13PM)
[quote]
On 2010-10-19 16:40, DWRackley wrote:
...We'd just wave our hands and Presto! That's the stuff I look for: changing a coin while it's in the spectators hand...
[/quote]

That is why I like The Raven. I usually don't go out prepared and set up to do magic. Most of my stuff is impromptu these days. But, The Raven changes a coin right in the spec's hand! If I knew I was going to a party, where I'm likely to be asked to do something, The Raven is my first choice. The Jack Miller Hold-out is also brought along, simply for Cut & Restored Rope.

I kept the most important things, as all of my larger props and effects were lost in the foreclosure. I like impromptu stuff for the simple reason I don't need preparation, or bulky stuff to lug around.

Doug
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Oct 19, 2010 05:24PM)
Out to lunch is a classic.

I've toyed with the idea of coming up with a different theme,... networked computers or something... that would be appropriate for my business cards and hiring an artist to draw it for me.
Message: Posted by: trouser (Oct 19, 2010 10:49PM)
In reference to DWRackley's post, would you seasoned Café members kindly recommend some more good "in the spectator's hand" type of tricks? I would definitely like to use more of these. Also, I appreciate all the great comments in this thread.
Message: Posted by: Erdnase27 (Oct 20, 2010 06:06AM)
[quote]
On xxxxxxxxx, Cyberqat wrote:
The big lesson here is that what impresses us is not the same as what impresses they layman. .

[/quote]

For all newcomers read this carefully.. Again.. and yet another time. one of the most important concepts you as a magician will ever want to grasp.
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Oct 20, 2010 02:02PM)
[quote]
On 2010-10-19 23:49, trouser wrote:
In reference to DWRackley's post, would you seasoned Café members kindly recommend some more good "in the spectator's hand" type of tricks? I would definitely like to use more of these. Also, I appreciate all the great comments in this thread.
[/quote]

I do a signed card in sealed box to audience member's hand routine I am quite proud of. I call it "The World's Most Complex Card Trick".

Its execution is a combination of an Extractor, an Elmsley count and a top-palm. If you'ld like the ordering of the whole routine PM me and Ill send it back to you.

Another really great commercial audience member's hand transposition effect is TOOSH.
Message: Posted by: pgroff (Oct 20, 2010 03:29PM)
[quote]
On 2010-10-19 23:49, trouser wrote:
In reference to DWRackley's post, would you seasoned Café members kindly recommend some more good "in the spectator's hand" type of tricks? I would definitely like to use more of these. Also, I appreciate all the great comments in this thread.
[/quote]

If you like cards, there's always Dr. Daley's Last Trick.
Message: Posted by: othelo68 (Oct 21, 2010 03:26PM)
Strange travelers, s**** coins across, scotch and soda, theses are some effect that happen in the spectators hand that I like.
Message: Posted by: volto (Oct 22, 2010 03:54AM)
Dougini - awesome that you also wear a miller holdout for impromptu stuff - I thought I was being weird... :)

Impromptu stuff 'in the hand' - I've started doing a signed coin to impossible location (spellbinding boxes) where the coin is raven-style vanished from the back of their hand and 'instantly' jumps into the boxes. This generally gets 'what the...' style reactions, since everything is out in the open, and they 'see' the coin vanish. I have another version where the coin's in my hand and they hold my wrist, for when I don't have a holdout. There's careful timing and one sleight involved, but it pretty easy stuff. The sharpie is the wand in this scenario.

3d sponge bunnies kick ass. They're also excellent to carry, for 'go on then, pull a rabbit out of a hat' comments, because you can!
Message: Posted by: jeffdell (Oct 23, 2010 10:15PM)
[quote]
On 2010-10-20 07:06, MichielTummers wrote:
[quote]
On xxxxxxxxx, Cyberqat wrote:
The big lesson here is that what impresses us is not the same as what impresses they layman. .

[/quote]

For all newcomers read this carefully.. Again.. and yet another time. one of the most important concepts you as a magician will ever want to grasp.
[/quote]

I know it seems basic to many, but I have found that a Svengali deck impresses people as much as anything. Okay, it doesn't feel the same as doing a sleight of hand ambitious card routine (something I must most definitely improve on), but for the right audience its still a great effect. That mixed in with some other card tricks with a regular deck and you have something that's as powerful as anything in a magicians arsenal.

Jeff
Message: Posted by: DWRackley (Oct 24, 2010 04:30AM)
Some of my rules for Svengali (just me personally):
[list=1]
[*] NEVER show "all cards are the same". I can't think of anything in the entire realm of Magic that more screams "TRICK DECK!"

[*] Don't show "all cards are different". Like other things in Magic, if it's truly ordinary why would you even mention it?

[*] Be gentle with any riffles. L**g/s***t cards have a specific sound that your ordinary Wal-mart Bicycles (or any other deck) don't have.

[*] Buy a design that looks like something they find at home. To many "magic decks" have back designs that look suspicious.

[*] Learn some good false cuts. At least try to make it [i][b]look[/b][/i] like you're doing some of the work.
[/list]

There's more, but this will go a long way improve your score. :)
Message: Posted by: jeffdell (Oct 24, 2010 06:27AM)
[quote]
On 2010-10-24 05:30, DWRackley wrote:
Some of my rules for Svengali (just me personally):
[list=1]
[*] NEVER show "all cards are the same". I can't think of anything in the entire realm of Magic that more screams "TRICK DECK!"

[*] Don't show "all cards are different". Like other things in Magic, if it's truly ordinary why would you even mention it?

[*] Be gentle with any riffles. L**g/s***t cards have a specific sound that your ordinary Wal-mart Bicycles (or any other deck) don't have.

[*] Buy a design that looks like something they find at home. To many "magic decks" have back designs that look suspicious.

[*] Learn some good false cuts. At least try to make it [i][b]look[/b][/i] like you're doing some of the work.
[/list]

There's more, but this will go a long way improve your score. :)
[/quote]

DWRackley;

Good tips indeed. One thing I'm very much guilty of, a general magic no-no in my book, is stating the obvious when doing a trick. Your rule about showing cards all different or all the same with a Svengali deck is a really good one. I personally have a tendency to restate the obvious at times rather than just letting the visual image stand on its own. Saying "my hand is empty" versus just showing my hand is empty or saying that the deck is shuffled rather than just shuffling (falsely or otherwise)draws suspicion. With good audience rapport and audience management, those types of comments once in a while go unnoticed. Do that enough and your audience will be suspicious.

Jeff
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Oct 24, 2010 03:16PM)
[quote]
On 2010-10-22 04:54, volto wrote:
Dougini - awesome that you also wear a miller holdout for impromptu stuff - I thought I was being weird... :)
[/quote]

No, Volto. Not weird. Prepared. Actually, I usually don't wear the Raven or Holdout unless I know I'm going somewhere that I might be asked to do magic. Sometimes I just set myself up for it. An impromptu trick usually does it. Then, rock 'n roll time!

The holdout is just for The Cut & Restored Rope. I don't use it for anything else. The Raven is for coins only. I never wear both, but I usually have them on me if I need to "take a break", and return. I measure up the situation first, and then decide which to use.

Mostly, it's easier to do impromptu coin magic, or Prohibition, or whatever is handy to vanish or penetrate. Even rubberbands, if they are there. I don't wear jewelry, so I have to carry the item necessary for Prohibition in my pocket.

Doug