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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Nothing up my sleeve... » » When does proving become overproving? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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DVA
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Too many times I have watched as a magician rubs his hands together as if he is plotting to take over the world. It is about attitude. Are you suspicious while handling a routine? Do you feel guilty while holding a coin out in palm? Your guilt will give you away before technique does. I have always felt (still feel) that we focus too much on the props we use. What I mean by that is there should be something for them to think about outside of "Where did the coin go".

Remember the famous line about suspecting let alone detecting? If they think you are concealing a coin then you are (regardless of the truth).

Concerning Mickey's improvement in the retention vanish:

If you place a coin in your hand why shouldn't it be there? What are you proving by showing it (unnaturally I might add) still in the hand? Who are you proving it to? If it is other magicians then I agree it makes sense. Magicians have expectations upon the completion of specific actions (so do our audiences). When Mickey places the coin in his hand the way he does we (read magicians) expect that the coin is gone. When he reaches over and shows it again, we question our initial reaction. That is what makes it a magician fooler. The late Derek Dingle was a master of creating routines that fooled magicians because he created moves that set up certain expectations from us but accomplished something entirely different. When what we thought would happen didn't, we were fooled.

Don't get me wrong I like Mickey's thinking and he has helped a generation of magicians revisit a move that we thought David Roth had taken to perfection.

The moral of this is if you think you are doing too much to prove there is no coin in your hand you probably are.

Have a great day.
jocce
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I'm a complete layman (coinman in the making since a week and still waiting for Bobo's to arrive) so you have to take my opinion with a pinch of salt. I'm with the guys who think overproving is probably very easy to do. Especially if you haven't really though out a full performance.

When I watch a magic performance I already know that the coin is kept somwhere. In the sleeve, in the "other hand" or under my own butt if the magician is skilled enough Smile But, if he can make the fake transfers convincingly enough and has a story going around what he's doing I don't even have time to think about where that coin "really" went. I'm too busy being entertained.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that a good dialog/show is more important than proving:

"fake transfer.. and look! it's actually not in this hand I pretended to put it in. See? Look really close..back ...front...see?".

Then again...it would be a really clever trick if the coin actually was where he just pretended to put it...

Smooth talk and a nice flow in the performance probably makes it less necessary to prove anything. And especially with coins and the obvious link to humorous subjects:

- "Sweden's finances these days..oh my god...can't even afford durable material in the coins "rubit rubit...gone* see?"
- "My wife is hopeless, she's spending money faster than light"
- "Don't you all hate euros? Ridiculously small coins, I always misplace them"
- "Really handy being a magician when I'm parking my car and don't have change for the meter" etc...etc..

With a story that flows through the whole routine and casual "subliminal" messages that there are no hidden stuff in hand or mouth I think you can go far.

But when you're performing for other coinmen...that's probably another story more like:

"look at my moves guys...smooth huh...and you thought it's in CP...haha fooled ya!"

And that's perfectly alright also. Adapting the performance according to the audience is just good showmanship.

ehh...what else...oh right. Hello...I'm new here. Nice to meet you all, I thoroughly enjoy this forum and I'll try not to be so wordy next time Smile
bsears
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Even kids know the coin went somewhere. (sleeve or other hand being solutions any five year old could come up with). Show them they are wrong in these theories (as natually as possible) and the mystery is much better.

IMOP..

Handwashing - bad.
Natural convincers - (think ransey, hoosier) - good.
leko
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Wellcome, Jocce, for a first post you do very well indeed.

Thanks to you all for your helpful input (and the Hartling reference).
My conclusion so far: it's not a question of proving versus non-proving but more of routining, spectator-management and the words we use, in short it's about structure.

So I'll have to THINK more . . . . .
Jonathan Townsend
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If you tell the kids the coin will evaporate, and act as it the coin has evaporated... they will accept you at your word.

When your actions are not congruent to your words... no amount of proof will suffice to prove what is simply not the case.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Dean A
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I Totally agree with Jonathan. This is a good observation.
Open Traveller
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The question was, "When does proving become overproving?"

The answer: When you've excited suspicion instead of allayed it.
bsears
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Open Traveller - I think we could all agree with your statement. Seems like everyone's pretty much on the same page here, just different ways of saying it.

I was thinking that the question could be answered by looking at other areas of magic, too. In cards, for example, we can control a card without any suspicion, but an overhand shuffle or false cut never hurts! I feel the same level of deception can/should be applied to coin work.
Open Traveller
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Quote:
On 2005-02-02 09:57, bsears wrote:
Open Traveller - I think we could all agree with your statement. Seems like everyone's pretty much on the same page here, just different ways of saying it.


Just distilling it down...

Quote:
I was thinking that the question could be answered by looking at other areas of magic, too. In cards, for example, we can control a card without any suspicion, but an overhand shuffle or false cut never hurts! I feel the same level of deception can/should be applied to coin work.


But that's it...an overhand shuffle or false cut CAN hurt, depending on what we want the audience to understand about the situation. Do we want them to believe they know exactly where the card is (i.e., in the middle of the deck), or do we want them to have no idea where the card is after much shuffling and cutting. The truth is that even if shuffling and cutting, TOO much shuffling and cutting will only create suspicion, not lead the spectators to believe you have no control over the card.

It's not so different with coins. Many handwashing techniques rely as much on attitude as on technique, but quite often it simply looks like the coin -- although unseen -- is being moved around. When you add to this the fact that if the coin were really gone one wouldn't go through those kinds of gymnastics to prove it, well...

Generally, the magician is much better off leading the spectators to convince themselves the coin isn't in one hand before it's shown to be gone from the other. Then the audience has no place to go. This is often where implements like wands (or even pencils and straws) come in, along with some well-thought out displays and management...
MICKEY SILVER
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"MICKEY SILVER’S Two Bits’ Worth”
[Thoughts on Proving and Over-proving]

Hi everyone.

It is my philosophy that proving something in a routine is executed only
to deceive the spectator as to what the performer is actually doing.

When I supposedly put a coin in my left hand preparatory to it being
vanished, I can understand that people think I then spend too much time
proving that the coin is in my left hand. Yet, there is a good reason
why I developed this style of working.
.
Ok, think about this with me. (Thanks.) I place a coin in my left hand
and close it into a fist. Now I point to the left hand, open it to show
the coin there, close the hand… and show it there again.

Laypersons, along with magicians, may very well think I'm over-proving.
Right.

No, WRONG. <grin>

What I am really doing is directing their attention strongly, with the
coin, to the RIGHT hand. I am convincing them in a very INDIRECT way
that my right hand is totally… 100%… empty.

Although I want the spectators to look directly at my left hand (and
regardless of what we as magicians may want them to do), they will still
look at the RIGHT hand to convince themselves that that hand is empty --
at the same time satisfying themselves that the coin is really in the
left hand.

What’s in action here is not only their visualization of the coin in the
left hand, it's also their perception of the EMPTINESS of the RIGHT
hand. So think about it, because this is important: while I am trying to
prove (or “over-prove”), the spectators are actually deceiving
THEMSELVES by looking at the hand they THINK I don't WANT them to look
at: THE RIGHT HAND! The very fact they see this hand apparently empty
leads them now more than ever to the conviction that the coin is in the
left hand -- which is why they are astonished when I open that hand and
presto! The coin has vanished.

You see? I call their attention to the left hand so that they’ll really
notice the right hand. It’s “indirect misdirection” – kind of like
reverse psychology.

MICKEY SILVER
"The Face of Magic"
----------------------------
tedski
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I think Mickey's post is interesting.

I also find it interesting that many magicians rely, and overuse, handwashing as the means of appearing "clean". I do it a bit for fun, but I like the less extended methods, like Kohler's quick wipe, as opposed to Ammar's wiped clean.

Beyond that, I would say subtle use of Ramsay-esque displays is enough to create the correct imagery to our audience.
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