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magicjohn2278
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Here is a copy of a thread I TRIED to start on another magic discussion board - the general census of opinion was "Don't do it!"

Before I abandon the idea all together, what do you guys think?

...............................




I'm doing a stage/caberet "performance" in May along with a load of other magicians. I think I know what my act will be, but as the entertainment is all magic, I would like to do something a little different... on the lines of:-

In first Penn and Teller TV "special" that I saw (must be 15 years ago now!), Teller walked onto the stage, took out a pack of cigarettes, removed one out, lit it, had a few puffs, threw it onto the stage and stepped on it to put it out.

(Penns voiceover.. as far as I remember it!) "Seems simple doesn't it, a migician has a cigarette, but let's watch that again..." (Teller goes through the routine again...) "Is that a real pack of cigarettes that Teller is taking from his pocket? Is he really removing a cigarette from the pack? Is that a real lighter that Teller is using? And is that the same cigatette Teller had a moment ago? Is he really throwing the cigarette down and is Teller really stamping it out? ..... I don't think so."

(Teller then goes through the routine again this time "exposing" his real actions with a voiceover explaination from Penn. Actually Teller removes a pack of cards from his pocket, simulates removing a cigarette from the pack (which is actually a pencil!) Switches it for a real cigarette, "lights" it with a small flashlight, switches the cigarette for one that is already lit, pretends to throw it on the stage to put it out (but steals it in reality)... etc....)

Now the audience know the sleights and sublties involved, Teller goes through the routine a final time, so that the audience can appreciate that when you are a magician, things are seldom as straightforward as they seem!

Before I get flamed with cries of "Exposure", it should be pointed out that the only "exposures" in the above are "generic" sleights - switches, palming and a bit of general misdirection, not the disclosure of any particular magic trick. The whole point of the "trick" is that nothing magical happens! - Until you are shown what is really going on.

I'd like to do something in a similar vein, but don't wish to smoke on stage, can anyone suggest a short routine of mundane actions that could be developed into a similar routine, without (of course) exposing an effect (T&R newspaper for example can't be done as it is a recognised trick and shouldn't be revealed.)
Jonathan Townsend
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And from there on you want them to be skeptical of EVERY action you make?

You are losing quite a bit for that cheap laugh you worked very hard to get.

If you had a really good kicker ending...
...to all the coins I've dropped here
magicjohn2278
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Thanks for the comment Jonathan, perhaps I'm looking at this from the wrong angle... on reflection, I've never really done an act that uses a lot of "moves" - so it doesn't worry ME that I'm proposing to expose them. It would probably uspet my friends who are performing in the same show though!
Jonathan Townsend
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On a more positive tact...if the performer were to be revealed as your pretty assistant at the end of the bit (say by taking off the top hat etc.. ) folks might forget much of what they heard and saw before.

The more basic issue remains how closely you want them watching for things. Does that middle section of a zig-zag have an odd front panel that slides? Do those feet in the thin model sawing look real? Does the Asrah form swing slightly while it rises?

The closer they look, the more they will see. Are you SURE you want them looking?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
enriqueenriquez
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Sorry Magicjohn, but isn’t clear to me what is what you want to express.

General audiences doesn’t share our fascination about how magic is accomplished. Otherwise, the Masked Magician’s specials would have been a big hit. Only magicians see magic in the way magic is done. Usually, to share that fascination doesn’t pay.

In the other hand, people may be interested in exploring the dynamics of perception, but the routine you describe, which relies heavily in post-productions resources, is maybe too complicated.

What do you want to say?
magicjohn2278
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You are probably right... As a magician, I often think that some of the methods that we use to do the magic are more interesting than the tricks themselves.

I guess the audience isn't supposed to think the same!
Popo
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In the latest issue of Magic Magazine the Flicking Fingers talk about doing this with the Egg to Silk effect. They did this to utilize all 10 of them on stage at once and also to throw in some extra comedy. The "exposure" was farcial. They did the routine with two people and then two commentators came on stage to show how it was "really done". I think that to do a trick or routine well and then to show it to the audience works funnier if the reveal is farcial. Make the reveal be something that is almost absurd to show "how great of a magician you are." This will bring laughter from them and avoid any actual exposing of method.
Popo
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I must add, Enrique, that I agree somewhat but if an audience is at a live magic show they do become curious. I believe this is so because they have more of an investment in the show as they are part of it. If one is watching on tv it is too passive. That is one of the main reasons that I believe certain arts and sports do not translate well to tv. Being part of it live makes you part of it. I also believe that this is why many shows such as "American Idol" allow viewers at home to vote. This way they feel more a part of the show.
magicjohn2278
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Hi Popo, I haven't seen the article in Magic, but used to do a silk to egg routine (with "exposure" i.e. revealing the hole in the plastic egg).

However, at the conclusion of the routine, both my "student" - a helper from the audience, and I, break our eggs into a bowl, thus proving the whole explaination a sham. - needless to say, the helper from the audience is aware that I've switched her plastic egg for a real one, but doesn't actually know how!

...Must revisit that one sometime!
Jonathan Townsend
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Part of being a magician is staying aware of the difference between what we think about (effect / method) and what the audience is supposed to be experiencing (entertainment and that feeling we call magic).

Two distinct worlds. Connected only by performance.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Eric Leclerc
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If you invent a routine of your own, perform it for spectators, get the applause, then disect it and show them how you did it, theres nothing wrong with that.. You could even "fool" them AFTER you explained it..

example: the cigarette thumb clip vanish.. after explaining it you could use a thumb tip to make it vanish and come up with a cool line like "of course now you know the secret of my routine, but there is always things magicians will keep to themselves..." boom, do the tt vanish...

go for it.. I have seen the pen and teller routine and it plays well....
Smoke & Mirrors
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Funny presentation.
It's hilarious to me from MY point of view as a MAGICIAN.

But...
I think it's WRONG to do it for a "regular audience" and I don't think they will "get" all the jokes. Some will even assume that this is actually what happened and that you are actually giving away real secrets. This will only confuse them as to what the point of your act is.
MagicMarker
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Lance Burton did a nice little routine on one of those magic specials.
He "Exposed" torn and restored tissue.

He showed the tissue, showed he had a second tissue rolled up in a ball and palmed. He showed the first tissue getting torn, and then he showed how to switch the hanky that he tore up for the full hanky that was palmed.

When he unrolled the "restored" hanky that looked like the end of the trick and the audience would probably have been mildly amused that their suspiscion was always right.

Then he took the rolled up ball of torn tissue pieces and unrolled it to show that it was also restored and he was left with two tissues.

If you are going to do this trick then you MUST have a kicker that say's "Ha, that's not how it's done at all".

Sometimes doing an ambitous card I'll insert their card face up and do a very slow c*****c p**s, so slow that noone really believes me when I tell them that that's how I get the card back to the top, but they kind of want to believe me. Because it's the only logical explaination.

Then I tell them I'll do it at full speed, I use any one of the various Ambitous moves and they can't see "the move", even though they "know" that it looks like.

Am I exposing the C*****c P**s? Sort of, but only in a way that they can't quite believe it works. In other words, when they see all that happens in the P**s it sort of IS magic to think I do it without them seeing.

As a bonus my C*****c P**s is invisible, because I don't actually do it.

Note, this isn't a normal part of my ambitous card and I tend pick my moment/victim.

-MM
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