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Topic: Tip: Don't step on the moment of magic.
Message: Posted by: BrianMillerMagic (Apr 14, 2014 09:40AM)
Tip: Don't step on the moment of magic.

This is a common mistake I see often in my students, but unfortunately in many pros as well. It's a mistake I made in my first few years, and it's a hard one to correct. Let the moment of magic sit. Don't rush to the next phase, line, or trick. In particular for the comedy guys (and this is where I have personal experience) be wary of ruining the moment of magic by saying something funny. Even if it's really funny. You have plenty of time to be funny in set ups and transitional material. At least give the actual moment of magic its due respect.

Do you find yourself doing this? What are some other bad habits you've noticed in others and/or yourself?

Message: Posted by: MRSharpe (Apr 14, 2014 01:59PM)
Good point Brian. Also, once you are ready to reveal the magic and are ahead of the spectators--i.e. all the moves are done, gaffs in place, etc--don't rush it give it time, recap, milk it for all it's worth. The additional time misdirection will pay off in a greater effect.
And in direct reply to the last part of your post, I've only had this problem the first couple of times I've performed new material. after five or so run throughs on a well thought out routine the problem goes away because the "break in" period is over. It difficult to know exactly what the timing and reaction is going to be in any type of live theatre. That's one of the reasons inexperienced, usually amateur/civic theatre performers, walk on laughs and other audience reactions.
Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (Apr 14, 2014 03:25PM)
Great tip. Yes, I found myself doing this at times. I've made myself stop. Now I try to say something only if necessary; for instance, if someone is trying to guess the method. A nice moment to let them react is best, then follow up with a segue line to your next effect or whatnot- possibly a comedy line.
Message: Posted by: davidpaul$ (Apr 14, 2014 10:18PM)
"Point of Indication" This is where you blink at the very moment you execute a move/action. This was brought to my attention from a video by Vito Lupo. Most performers don't even realize they are doing it. By blinking we somehow hide from our consciousness this deceptive move because of it's importance. You have to force yourself to keep your eyes open.
Over time, with effective practice and repitition it can be overcome.
Message: Posted by: BrianMillerMagic (Apr 15, 2014 09:30AM)
[quote]On Apr 14, 2014, davidpaul$ wrote:
"Point of Indication" This is where you blink at the very moment you execute a move/action.[/quote]

One can also overcome this by recording practice sessions instead of watching in a mirror. This is how I instruct my students. Thanks for sharing!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 15, 2014 09:48AM)
"Point of indication"!!! I knew an old timer who would shut his eyes when he did the pass!

He should have used the "cockroach" pass!!!
Message: Posted by: PeterSteele111 (Apr 15, 2014 02:15PM)
I agree that letting the moment sink in gives the best effect. In the magic shop a lot of new guys have that problem as well. While yes we need to move as many people through as fast as possible in a tourist town rushing the trick and the effect can hurt your sales just as much as being too showy and too good as we call it. I agree though that I have seen many shows and the magicians especially the comedic ones will often rush to get to a particularly funny joke even though they just negated the entire trick they performed to get to said joke.
Message: Posted by: Yellowcustard (Apr 15, 2014 03:49PM)
I have been doing sponge ball for a long time. The routine I use the most is to produce a ball from a purse frame, cut it in to two,then put ball one in my hand and ball two in there and do the look they have changed place then do it again so both end up in the spectators hand. All through it there is joke and talking to the crowd when I use it on the street I use to pull people in and make connections with the crowd. But about 8 months ago thinking of something I read in the Pat Page lecture notes and seeing Wayne Houchine perform I changed how I do the end. That very last phase I say 'hold the ball tight, tighter if you don't this happens' I open my hands to show its empty. I say nothing I just shrug my shoulder and look confused. At this point the spectator is hold tight and wondering what happened. Now every one watching is like what happened to the ball, once that sinks in focus move to the spectator and boom. It makes the end so much stronger and the crowd have time to let it sink in and go at there own pace. The great thing is I am done and clean I just stand there watching it all un fold.

Just a little real life expriance that I had hope it helps.
Message: Posted by: PeterSteele111 (Apr 15, 2014 04:21PM)
Speaking of sponge balls I end my routine with them holding the ball in one hand and the other hand open. I make them catch "my" ball of course it is not there and then have them close their hand and blow on it. Once they open it I jumped backed excited and surprised and say "Look it disappeared! Wasn't that a great trick????" They sit there with the empty hand open still clinching onto the ball in the other hand. I let the bewilderment run across their face. Sometimes they say yeah it was a great trick and laugh with me, other times they say no it was stupid and go to hand me the balls back thinking that the trick is over. Boy oh boy can I say that they always 100% freak out when they open there hand thinking the trick is over to hand me back my ball to have two in there! That is my favorite way of letting the magic sink in and glad the above poster reminded me of it lol.
Message: Posted by: Luis Sirgado (Apr 18, 2014 12:24PM)
I agree with you Brian, most of the time we see magicians, especially beginners, doing magic at a blistering speed that the public don´t understand where the moment of magic happened. Or, as you say, by the opposite, when the magic moment will happen they eventually stop and say a joke that destroys the effect. The latter, as Ascanio calls Paréntesis Anti-Contrastante, should be avoided to the maximum of all routines.
Message: Posted by: DWRackley (Apr 19, 2014 01:11PM)
Thanks, Brian.

This is true for any performance, but especially comedy and magic. You have to train yourself to “wait for it”. When I was directing regularly, one of the coolest things (what I enjoyed most) was teaching straight actors how to do comedy. Every audience is different; sometimes you need to wait for the laughter, other times it just makes an awkward pause. The speaker HAS to be alert and aware!

In one gag I remember well, we had a “drunk” onstage who “fell” into a doorway (and out of sight). We were using Foley effects for crash bang stuff, and it took forever to teach the (live) operator to pause an appropriate time between each crash. It was especially difficult because I wanted a L…O…N…G pause before the (punch line) final crash, enough to make the audience think it was over, until… you get it.

I probably worked with that guy for two hours (and our actor was getting sore from falling down!) :) In the end, the audience thought that was the funniest moment of the show, but MAN!!!

A little different with Magic (it’s still timing, but you’re waiting for something else.) In comedy, I’ve heard groans and laughter long after the moment has passed. In Magic (depending on the effect) it’s ok to just stop everything and wait for the realization to sink in.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Apr 20, 2014 07:04AM)
You may recall Mickey Silver's reference to the "secondary effect" -- or "echo effect." After the astonishment is appreciated by the spectator they have a moment of "self-reward" (endorphin rush) - perhaps "reconstruction," or "Whit's Dilemma," or "search for method" or just filing the experience away with other warm fuzzy memories. Then there is a second "rush" when they realize that they "set themselves up" and participated in the skit of Anticipation and Surprise.

All that takes time to process. This does not mean that the performer must be motionless or silent -- only that no other call to astonishment must interrupt. Magic does not come from the antics of the performer, but from the wellsspring of imagination and experience of the spectator. This can be orchestrated but not forced.
Message: Posted by: JohnnyPD (Apr 26, 2014 06:01PM)
Great advice! I knew joining The Magic Café would bring me bountiful harvests of knowledge passed down and gathered thru the years of experience that exists within these café walls. I also like MRSharpe's addendum, before you "reveal the magic" or show them the flash, take the time to recap and replay how you got where you are now. In watching really great magicians I've noticed that they will often sum up the journey of the illusion, i.e. okay, first I had you (pointing to #1 spectator) shuffle cards, and then you (pointing to spectator #2) cut the cards, and then you (spectator #3) chose a card and I asked you if you'd like to change your mind and take another card, which you did...so there's no way I could have...

You get the idea... I think I often fail or fall short on both of these efforts, but now that you've mentioned them and highlighted them here, I'm going to be paying much more attention to these items and insuring I give the folks the full monty with my illusion

A grand illusion performed badly is just a poor performance, but a bad illusion performed masterfully is always a grand performance.