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Topic: America's got talent, but not everyone has class
Message: Posted by: magicmind (Jul 6, 2011 11:26AM)
I watched the 3 magicians compete last night to go to Hollywood. This [url=http://www.nbc.com/americas-got-talent/video/michael-turcos-vegas-audition/1339130]guy [/url] Bad mouthed the others in pre-show comments. Real professional. Talk about the other competition. This makes magicians look like jerks that are jealous of each other. It does not help. I thought you where supposed to be supportive of other magicians, especially in public. Is this not a professional way to behave?

Karma bit him on his performance as his doors slowed him down. Of course he blamed the doors....

go to [url=http://www.nbc.com/americas-got-talent/video/]Season 6 [/url], under video clips to see the others! Good job you guys!
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 6, 2011 11:40AM)
I agree that it's never good to bad mouth others. I will also tell you that this is not only encourged by the producers but virtualy expected. They have even edited quotes out of context to make it seem like you were angry or slamming others if it fits their needs on the show to create better conflict.

Keep in mind that whether we like it or not, they are story tellers. They create protagonists and antagonists to suit their needs and meet their demands. If you are selected to be on the show, it is to fill a specific spot they have for you. You sign over the rights to be edited and manipulated to fit their needs. They need villains to create conflict. If you give them what they want, they will keep you around for a while for dramatic interest.

There is so much more than meets the eye on these shows so don't read too much into things like this.
Message: Posted by: Jay Are (Jul 6, 2011 02:30PM)
I agree that Fig was making a mockery of magic...
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 6, 2011 03:20PM)
Fig was just doing his thing, whatever that was. The producers that booked him on the live show knowing it was a joke are making a mockery of magic.
Message: Posted by: Jay Are (Jul 6, 2011 04:46PM)
Fig is serious...
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 6, 2011 05:09PM)
I know... all of the acts that are placed in the mix as a joke are serious. It is the same with the bad singers on American Idol.
Message: Posted by: kkentert (Jul 6, 2011 10:02PM)
My 2 cents- I agree with Ray- The way they edit can really take things out of context. The clip of the "guy" used When he spoke about the other "guy" who did eclipse was somewhat provoked out of him after he said DOZENS of nice things. but of course they only show the one bad thing they got him to say. It's kind of a shame because he actually think very highly of the other "guy" He didn't say anything bad about fig...just that he wondered if he was serious. To Jay- Fig actually was pretty good with a MD and carries outs all over. He cares a lot about what he does.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 7, 2011 08:58AM)
And yet magicians, jugglers, vents, and variety acts of all sorts still flock to this turkey to become famous. Go figure.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 7, 2011 11:12AM)
Yeah, interesting isn't it? Many just want a fast track to the top and assume that once they have "exposure" and become "famous" everything will be easy and they will suddenly have career. Terry Fator is still the only winner to parlay this show into anything meaningful as he was a top working pro in his field for YEARS! I do see more pros on the show for that very reason and some have done well with the increased exposure. I've had many friends on the show and some have doubled their asking price due to the national exposure. Again, these were acts that were proven professionals with many years of work in the trenches. They are also the exception to most of the other acts/participants on this show.

Most people that "get all the way through" and even win do not ever go anywhere as they have a lot of exposure but not the experience to actually leverage it to long term success in any way. The producers don't care as they got their season of shows. and are already working on thee next batch of green "hopefulls".

My feeling is that IF we ever make it to the top, the time we spend there is directly proportionate to the time it took us to get there. Flash up? Flash right back down. Take your time, gain the correct experience and earn your way to the top, you'll stay there a long time!
Message: Posted by: magicmind (Jul 10, 2011 10:59AM)
Had the guy NOT made any remarks about the other magicians (bad) they would have nothing to edit. However, if they where prompting with questions, he should have thought before speaking. Maybe he needs a PR person to talk for him.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 10, 2011 05:40PM)
Yes, I do understand... yet it's a very odd pact you sign when you choose to go on this particular show. Most don't fully understand the commitment until they're already engaged in the process. You can certainly refuse to play by the producers rules and not give them the sound bites they want and request then you will be gone sooner rather than later. Until you've been in the situation it is hard to understand or comment on it.
Message: Posted by: ricker (Jul 25, 2011 06:41AM)
Just read the contract.. I tore mine up ;).. and did NOT restore it.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 27, 2011 12:12AM)
We had Seth Grabel on the show tonight. He seems interesting and certainly had big stuff.. I'm just not sure it was good. He seems to be a pretty strong performer with relatively unsophisticated magic technique. In some ways it reminded me of the first time I saw Jeff McBride work doing magic. Jeff's technique consisted of turning his back on the audience and digging in his table to ditch and pick up props but he had dynamic movement and a solid style to build off of. Now he has the technique to match his artistry so it's fine.

Seth seems to use very odd and some might say clumsy techniques but I guess it fools some people so I can't automatically fault him for that alone. He had a pretty convoluted effect (and that's saying a lot with some of the junk I've come up with!) that was supposed to be an "escape" where he put on a mask and just walked behind a massive prop for a while... then got discovered back there. He (well someone) hung on a trapeze bar over a 10' high container of "Bubbling Tar" (yeah, that's what he came up with)... while trying to "escape" from an unsecured metal vest that simply rested over his shoulders (although his hands were resting through some shackle like front pieces). Eventually via a lot of Rube Goldberg inspired lunacy, he "fell" into the pit where a cast of odd characters carried "him" out covered in Tar & Feathers to load in a prop cannon, that shot off a pyro charge to cause him to "appear" across the stage in a large water filled aquarium that had just been sitting there off camera in the dark. There were just so MANY odd choices and bad direction to start to make sense of it. It seemed like a routine put together by a committee, much like a camel is a horse put together by a committee. Individually it souls like a lot of interesting ingredients, they just don't necessarily taste good together.

He certainly has a broad character but it might be a little too much to connect with the audience. For this show I'm just not sure he's likable enough to get the votes to put him through. The judges had apparently been cued to pump him up for votes as I'm sure he's very willing to play ball with the producers and deliver the large production value them want in later rounds.

We'll see how the public results fair tomorrow night.
Message: Posted by: Richard L. (Jul 27, 2011 08:43AM)
After his performance last night, I was left extremely confused. It seemed like the only "real" magic was the cannon, so why bother with all of the tar and escape stuff?

I did vote for him a few times because keeping a magician alive on the show is a definitely a good thing, though I doubt he'll make it. I'm about worried about the line-up that Scott Alexander has to compete with next week, but I'm sure he'll pull off something amazing like always.

Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 27, 2011 11:16AM)
Yes, I think you have a great point about where the magic really is. The only magic effect technically was the "cannon transposition" which if looked at carefully was a very poor illusion.

The same issue happened earlier with a magician who auditioned with a version of a bullet catch with a paintball gun. The problem is that it wasn't magic to the judges. It was a stunt that he cheated.

It's so important that we ask ourselves what the magic or plot line really is in our routines. It seems like Seth was so intent on making it "Over the top", he forgot to analyze what was actually happening with the methods which got relegated to an afterthought. It seemed less about creating wonder and more about creating flash, which he did.

It's frustrating for me because as a director and producer I push for people to create a plot and flow for the routine which he did. The real problem is at the core. If you're claiming to be a magician, you need to create STRONG magic which relies on your choices and methodology. The result is that he appears to be a strong performer, just not a strong magician.
Message: Posted by: Richard L. (Jul 27, 2011 09:52PM)
So Seth didn't make it. I suppose one magician will probably be brought back for the Wild Card show in a few weeks. I think that Landon Swank should be brought back because he seems to be the most unique choice, but I don't know. Maybe somebody else will get brought back. I'm interested in hearing the thoughts of others.
Message: Posted by: Dirko (Jul 27, 2011 10:47PM)
Did anyone else notice that part of Seth's illusion was exposed? I don't want to go into details on a public forum but pm me details. Non magic may not have noticed ( I didn't even notice until the second time I watched it).
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 28, 2011 11:18AM)
There were so many odd moments I didn't want to pick apart alll the little details. I think we as magicians can get so lost on the details we sometimes lose the big picture which I think might have been his biggest problem. Our first priorty is to ask... where is the magic and how can I best frame it? As others have mentioned... for all of the distractions presented, the only actual magic was the cannon transpostion which by any measure was a little weak as an effect.
Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Jul 28, 2011 11:59AM)
I'd never heard of Seth Grabel before seeing him on AGT, so I first watched him with reasonably fresh eyes. It's currently my opinion that he is, in a word, TERRIBLE.

If you watch his little videos on the AGT blog section you will instantly realize that he has absolutely no skills with close-up, and apparently believes that just the force of his personality alone allows him to fool his audience - he's absolutely exemplifies the phrase "it goes right by them".

He wants to be known as the "Acrobatic Magician"... but he's innately clumsy, so his attempts at dance moves and/or acrobatic stunts come off as very amateurish.

He strikes what I guess he thinks are dramatic poses with semi-beautiful assistants like he's some macho stud... but he's all of 5'5" tall (with many of the girls towering over him), so he ends up being a clownish parody of the image he craves.

He criticizes other acts as being "old hat"... but then brings "The Cannon" out of mothballs and stumbles through a very rudimentary and transparent rendition thereof - this for his "big" Hollywood appearance.

He presumably hopes to be dynamic and dramatic when he addresses the audience: "Tonight, I'm-unna-riss-my-life for [i]you[/i], America. I'm unna be suspended in mid air...", but he has terrible diction and seems unable to enunciate even the most simple of words, demonstrating very limited skill at public speaking - if Toastmasters was looking for a poster child to help them raise charitable donations Seth would certainly be their man.

Assuming he makes his own final decisions as to method and presentation, he demonstrates a very limited understanding of how to fool or mystify an audience. For example, if he wants to "vanish" from one place and appear in another he simply slaps on a big hood and then openly switches places with someone else who's wearing a similar hood. And he apparently thinks if the audience cannot see behind any given prop then it never occurs to them to wonder about what might be going on back there.

Simply put, he seems to have no understanding of the difference between great, deceptive magic and the run-of-the-mill, slapdash, poorly choreographed crap HE performs.

Geez, I hope that doesn't come off as too harsh...

Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 28, 2011 12:52PM)
On 2011-07-28 12:59, Thomas Wayne wrote:
Geez, I hope that doesn't come off as too harsh...

lol... sometimes I'm just too subtle with my words. I do understand your thoughts. I'm thinking he probably came late to magic from another skill where he excelled and developed a strong performance style. Many just assume that magic is "push button" easy and you can just jump in and take over. I blame so many bad magicians for this outside perception.

As I've mentioned his magic thinking and technique just seems relatively unsophisticated. That can be eventfully learned as I pointed out with Jeff McBride. Many of us said some of the same things about his early performances in the magic arena as you've mentioned here about Seth.

The difference is that Seth might have stepped into a very public forum as a magician a little prematurely. As always, the glowing reviews of the "Judges" on this entertainment show gives even more credence to my thoughts that they are largely clueless in so many areas and are simply hired guns acting as the mouthpieces of the producers... but again, that's the job description.
Message: Posted by: illuzzionz (Jul 30, 2011 11:40AM)
Just get ready for the next few weeks. Next up is Scott Alexander. Then if anyboday checked out the youtube auditions, Brett Daniels was on it. So he should be on the youtube televised round which I believe is the week after. Its going to start getting FUN!
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 30, 2011 02:52PM)
I agree. Scott should be great. Brett certainly has the big stuff and a very strong presence. I'll just be very curious to see if he has the personality to connect to the core audience. Time will tell!
Message: Posted by: Richard L. (Aug 2, 2011 10:15PM)
Voting is now open for Scott Alexander: http://www.nbc.com/americas-got-talent/vote/?__source=breaking-news-bar

What did you think of his performance?
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Aug 3, 2011 12:44AM)
He did a great job... Hopefully people will call now!
Message: Posted by: hackmonkey (Aug 10, 2011 11:02AM)
Just watching someof these clips, have to use youtube because the main site doesn't work in my country.

I thought Fig was great and entertaining? What problem do you guys have with him?
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Aug 10, 2011 11:19AM)
I think Fig would be great in his element and I'm sure he has beeen doing magic for a long time and loves his craft. Im just not sure this particuar show is the right place for his talents.
Message: Posted by: hackmonkey (Aug 10, 2011 12:28PM)
I think he did his 'thing' and enjoyed doing it well. I think he had it 'pimpin' as people would say. I would like to see his next act.

I just watched a clip of the guy mentioned in the first post. Michael-turcos. A lot of very fast, well paced 'box' illusions.
But just over and over, no real break or theme. Mind blowing, also for the judges I think as not many people with have seen one effect repeated so many times so quickly. Again would like to see what he does for his next effect.

So there has been a good share of magic in this years series? There seem to be a few, compared to maybe 1-2 acts on other series?

I will watch the other acts. A magician made it to the Final this year in Australias Got Talent, I think he came second.
Message: Posted by: lebowski (Aug 10, 2011 01:22PM)
I thought the guy from Australia, Constentino, was great. Good pace, choreography, music, costumes, all seemed to be serving his character and magic.
Message: Posted by: Iris Caraway (Nov 19, 2011 05:11PM)
Going back to something from months ago on this thread, I was wondering, is Seth Grabel the son of Lee Grabel, former holder of the Mantle of Magic?