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Magicbarry
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Amazing how all the non-magicians I've talked to loved the show ... and yet for the bashers, all the non-magicians they've talked to hated the show.

I guess what we hear is rooted heavily in what we want to hear. What does that tell us? That statements magicians on an internet forum reporting on the opinions of non-magicians should be taken with a few dozen grains of salt.
davidcarlo
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With all due respect, I'll leave it to advertisers and tv execs to interpret the ratings -- the comments that the ratings are high but that just means people had nothing to watch shows a pretty fundamental misunderstanding of the tv business. If that were the case, the show would have dipped over the hour which is what happens when people tune in and don't like the show. I couldn't agree with Magicbarry more. And yes, much of the criticism is rooted in jealousy. We are seeing the same reaction now that many of the same gave Blaine when his specials came out. And with regard to the absurd comments about how Copperfield was truer to the artform from a camera perspective, I'd make a friendly wager that if you were in Manhattan many years ago, and this may come as a shock to some, the Statue of Liberty did not really disappear for 99.9999 percent of the live population, except for those watching on tv. But Copperfield knows how to entertain a tv (and live) audience, and that is all that matters.

Of course we are all entitled to our opinion and those who don't like the show will not watch. But the over-the-top statements, "the show flopped" for example, continue to show why so many just don't get it. And by the way, Joseph, there is a reason there are no more WGM specials--not enough people watched and they don't share your idea of what great entertainment is. I'll wait for your special to prove me wrong.
llsouder
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All these requests for a live contest between Blaine and Angel are worrying me! You might as well label it, secrets exposed and have them do it with that masked guy.

I never really expect a TV special to show me live versions of tricks.

Remember Blaines "live" preformances for the football players(I think he did a top change, nice and sloppy the way I do it!) and then the guys said "you have to show that to this guy over here!" And Blaine goes over and does a different but very similar trick, so they don't figure out the first one! This kills me because Blaine knew he could get away with the trick twice, but he taped it and assumed nobody was going to watch it twice?

This is magic 101!!! Do not repeat a trick that is not repeatable, but that rule goes out the window when you have a video camera pointed at you and stars in your eyes.
When it comes to Blaine... yeah yeah yeah, like my dad says, "I am not watching the trick, I am watching the reaction of the crowd!" So Okay edit out the stinking top change PLEASE!!!!

Am I wrong here?
Payne
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Quote:
On 2005-07-21 19:14, Hekate wrote:
Criss Angel jus made me $20.00!!! The show may not have been spectacular but is sure has piqued everybody's interest!!!! The shop's been buzzing!


Well not so here. Not a single person I have talk to saw the show, or even knew it was on.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Fred E. Bert
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You have a point llsouder. The problem with TV magic vs. live magic is the fact that a) you can't use misdirection (at least not to the extent of a live setting), and b) your audience can record the performance and view it over and over again, in slow motion. God knows I've freeze-framed all of David Copperfield's specials. So I think editing out the modus-operandi only protects the art. Especially now that TiVo and DVR's are so prevalent.

But to jump to the conclusion that because a critical move was edited out or the effect was edited for time means it can't be performed live without stooges is a bit ignorant. I've read many opinions on this thread about the ring in the ice cube, the voodoo doll, the butterfly etc, claiming that these were done with stooges or special effects. It's a shame that MAGICIANS would jump to this conclusion. Just because you can't figure it out doesn't mean it was done with editing.

I know for a fact that the ring in the hourglass was done live and the woman wasn't a stooge. (Luke Jermay has a similar effect in Building Blocks, though the method is entirely different). I do admit it's a shame that the ad banner is hiding his hand as he covers the ring because it's as clean as it looks.

A lot of Criss' effects came to be because some very creative people were thinking outside the box. So if you can't figure it out (I can't either), maybe it's because it makes use of a new method that hasn't been published in a book or on DVD... What an interesting idea - NEW methods in magic. Isn't that what the Masked Magician's goal was? Smile

I would venture to guess that Banachek was involved with the voodoo doll pk touch effect, and as such, I doubt the effect would make use of actors pretending to feel the burn. If stooges WERE involved in all of these effects, then I think they deserve an Emmy 'cause they were much more convincing than Copperfield's stooges (but Copperfield doesn't use stooges, does he?! Smile )
Randwill
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Soon we can look forward to shows like "The World's Greatest Juggler!" On this program someone will juggle 37 flaming bowling balls. (Thirty-four of the balls will be digitally added, as will the flames.) But plenty of people will watch and enjoy it. They'll tell their friends what an amazing thing they saw last night on television. They'll KNOW it must be true. After all, crowds of people could be seen staring in awe and applauding louding. I mean, they wouldn't fake that now would they? If he wasn't really doing it they wouldn't be watching and clapping would they? And the show got high ratings, so it must have been a great show. And all those jugglers who think they know better, well their just jealous. Why don't they go learn to juggle 37 flaming bowling balls instead of belittling someone who can?

Heavy, heavy . . . s-i-g-h.

Quote:
On 2005-07-22 12:03, Fred B. wrote:

But to jump to the conclusion that because a critical move was edited out or the effect was edited for time means it can't be performed live without stooges is a bit ignorant. I've read many opinions on this thread about the ring in the ice cube, the voodoo doll, the butterfly etc, claiming that these were done with stooges or special effects. It's a shame that MAGICIANS would jump to this conclusion. Just because you can't figure it out doesn't mean it was done with editing.



I can "figure out" a few ways to do these effects. The way the Criss Angel special was edited makes it appear as if HE couldn't figure out a way to do them.

When you've been studying magic for as long as I have, and many here have more years than me, you reach a point where you can pretty much narrow down several ways to accomplish just about eveything you see done. I suspect you younger guys, who accuse us dissenters of being jealous and jumping to the wrong conclusions, will be able to see more clearly as you chalk up more years.

Also, I'm too lazy to check, but if I said, in this thread, that I thought the ring in ice cube used stooges, I retract that. Watching again I see that a little pre-show work, spotting a spectator with a very simple band-style ring, a good switch (edited out) and a simple (some might say tacky) device we all have in our drawer, for the vanish, is all that's needed to do this with real spectators.

Quote:
On 2005-07-22 02:32, JoeJoe wrote:
Yes, the Copperfield that went into the wall was a body double ... the towel around his neck was used to help mask that. The height of genuis there was the promo pics (ie: the one in TV guide) that showed the real Copperfield against the wall.

I suspect Chris also used a body double ... mostly because he came out with the hoodie already over his head, to help mask the body double.

Nothing wrong with that ... whatever it takes to get the job done. Smile

JoeJoe



Well, if I understand what you think,...you're just plain wrong. I don't believe I can explain the principle Copperfield used to accomplish the Great Wall of China illusion without breaching the Café rules. It involves the stage equipment and a not-quite double, more like a stand-in, and the towel around his neck would have very little to do with it. Since the Café is "Magicians helping Magicians" I would be glad to elaborate in a Private Message.

Criss Angel lacked the stage equipment that Copperfield utilized to perform Great Wall, so to compare the two illusions is not valid. In any case there are two parts to both illusions. Magician disappears. Magician appears. I've watched the Angel burning illusion a few times, and have concluded that unless the burning, look-alike stunt-man (your theory) can flatten his body significantly when he lays down, there must be a camera edit at that point. This would be when the screen is totally obscured with mist from the fire extinguishers.

To believe that it had to have all happened in one take because people were there watching is naive. Different shots can be taped at different times. And television producers have no interest in what a few people standing around watching a taping know about a magic trick. All that matters to them is the ratings number when the program airs.

If I remember correctly the trend of having the magician "defy death" started with Copperfield. He did the strait-jacket escape hanging over buring spears, escapes from Alcatraz and an imploding building. Lance Burton followed with being buried alive, crushed in a car and tied to a roller coaster's tracks. Then came David Blaine's, buried alive, frozen in ice, standing on a pole schtick. None of these are magically my cup of tea, but at least these performers actually DID there death-defying stunts. If Angel didn't actually burn when doing the buring illusion, well that would seem to follow, since he did very little other actual magic on the program. But I'll stick with the camera edit theory until someone can point me towards the world's flattest stunt-man.
Stephen Grey
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If entertainment is the bottom line, why do we feel so cheated when a singer is found to be lip-synching?

In many ways I feel the same way watching these shows.
Randwill
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Quote:
On 2005-07-22 12:37, SHoochuk wrote:
If entertainment is the bottom line, why do we feel so cheated when a singer is found to be lip-synching?

In many ways I feel the same way watching these shows.


A good comparison.

And welcome to the Café!
Shnarker
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Wow, after sifting through these posts, I have a few observations.

1. I was entertained.
2. Camera edits are a fact of life. Granted I only have one year's television expereince, but it happens. Live with it.
3. He did stay true to his persona. Consistent with other shows. If you, laymen, press don't dig it, or can't get past it, that's up to you.
4. The fact that Criss had Banachek, Johnny Thompson, Luke Jermay as part of his creative team screams that he respects others in the business. Also, I don't think that they would lend their time, talent and names to this if it were slop.
5. I don't know Criss personally. However, my perception is that he would be the first to acknowledge that he stands on the shoulders of others (see #4). If only all magi would do that.
6. He does look at his art as a performance art. Performance art is controversial.
7. Let's enjoy the ride. Let's celebrate with a glass of wine, not sour grapes.
taylhis
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Let me start by saying the Criss Angel special was not my cup-of-java. My wife, not being a magician was a better test-audience however. She was not impressed at all. That is a bad thing.

However, some of the effects were good. I liked the voodoo doll effect... In Criss' defense, I think camera trickery was used much less than people are suggesting. I want to help some of you open your minds... Then (without me telling how these tricks are done) you CAN do some of these effects when people ask.

The ring effect for example -- no need to use camera tricks there! I assure you, there was no camera trickery used. I have been doing that and a similar effect (marked dime in ice) for years. Without giving the trick away, THINK ABOUT IT and TAKE A LOOK AT HER RING. Notice the borrowed ring is a basic wedding band without any special stones or markings -- there are millions of rings that look this way. Notice he doesn't let HER smash the ice and take her ring but he takes it out of the ice and slight-o-passes it back to her.

As for the trash can to building, not camera tricks either. All you need is a few stooges... Let's just say notice this trick is ALWAYS done in a garbage can with a BAG in it still. Go to Criss' website and you will see this effect performed another time -- notice, a garbage bag. I'm not going to say how this is done, but just remember... A magician can just WALK RIGHT OFF STAGE in front of the audience to make himself disappear. Think about it!

I don't know why everyone is so sure an on-camera stooge or camera trickery was used (in the context they are implying) with the butterfly effect and voodoo doll... Not needed at all. None needed. If you are dead-set on performing one of these two tricks in your show, IM me and I can show you where to buy these effects. The voodoo effect is expensive however!

That burned-alive trick I did not like... Watch it again carefully. You WILL see how this one is done. Someone asked WHY did it show Criss practicing before the stunt... For the same reason it showed his mom there worried about his safety -- so there was no doubt in you mind it was Criss who was on fire. Watch carefully, the camera hides much but you can still see the trickery.

Where Criss did you a stooge and oh-so-badly was in the levitation of the "stranger". Look Criss, if you're going to levitate a stranger don't have them get hypnotized in a completely impossible manner. Criss! We, even lamen, know it is a STOOGE when you put someone in a hypnotic trance of an impossible nature. True hypnosis is used to put people in a relaxed and suggestible state - not a catatonic one. She didn't even know what happened to her?! Come on!

Also Criss -- what are you doing!!? Get that "auditions" link off of your website! It screams "STOOGE SEARCH" all the way!! PLEASE GET IT OFF!

The bottom line is -- anything that brings magic into the limelight is good for us all. If people ask you to levitate like Criss Angel then LEARN HOW or just do the Balducci. Hopefully this takes-off, but after the first special and my wife's disinterest I am concerned.

My 2 pennies.
Alewishus
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Why is it that if you didn't like the special you are a "basher"?
How does anyone come to the conclusion that people who didn't like the special are jealous?
Sorry, it's not our fault the show sucked.


A.
Sack subs, ok Ross?
We miss you asper.
Magicbarry
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Quote:
Why is it that if you didn't like the special you are a "basher"?
How does anyone come to the conclusion that people who didn't like the special are jealous?
Sorry, it's not our fault the show sucked.
Saying "the show sucked" is bashing.

Quote:
Let me start by saying the Criss Angel special was not my cup-of-java. My wife, not being a magician was a better test-audience however. She was not impressed at all. That is a bad thing.

And my wife, who is not a magician, loved it.

What are people trying to prove by bringing forth testimonials that support their opinion -- when the people who supposedly made such testimonials are not here to speak for themselves? It proves nothing, except that your wife agreed with you, and mine agreed with me. Woop-dee-frigging-do.
taylhis
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I was not trying to prove anything -- just stating my opinion. Isn't that what these forums are for? Am I at the magic Café or at the "easily offended anonymous" forums? Relax. You loved it, we did not. Cool.
Magicbarry
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Actually, I never said I loved it. I'm a bit neutral on it, because I'm not a fan of the performer's style. Personal preference. But I thought there was a lot of good stuff there. I just find the way people (on both sides) are manufacturing "non-magician testimonials" to be a bit cheap.

If we're looking for what non-magicians think ... let's watch the ratings.

I have no issue with people expressing opinions here. My only real issue is with people playing the "stooge! edit! digital enhancement!" card for every illusion that fooled them, and the use of "my friend said", "my co-worker said", etc. to prove that one of our opinions is the "right" opinion. It's happening all through this thread on both sides -- and that's why I presented (and dismissed) the "my wife loved it" defence. Whether my wife liked it or not proves nothing.
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There is no need for stooges in Ring in Ice cube or voodoo doll. It is my understanding that A&E add their "A&E logo and whats coming up" After the fact. I am sure Criss would have been very, very upset to have seen that in editing and would have had it removed as the ring in ice cube was very, very clean. I remember those two ladies as School Teachers and they were amazed.

As for Auditions, Criss is putting together a live show and always looking for participants, not for stooges but his show is different than most, it is very theatrical and has many characters involved. Guess if you want to think that he is looking for stooges then that is what you will see. I see him looking for participants in his live show.

I remember being just as amazed when I worked on "The Mentalist" and people could not explain the effects so immediately cried stooge for everything, there were none, but some things stay the same I guess.

By the way, there was a lot of number one shows on that night, and for Criss to get the ratings he did is quite an accomplishment. On top of that the ratings seemed to go up, not down from what I can see. This is great for magic. Criss is well aware that he is not covering every demographic and is making no pretenses to do so. The reason I agreed to work for Criss was due to the fact that he was such a nice individual. Giving credit and thanking all the people around him. His family was just as nice and cordial as well. Really nice to see. And yes, he goes out of his way to give credit and promote other performers. To him, the bit about Blaine promotes both himself and Blaine. He believes the controversy is good for both of the. He has a read a lot about the controversies that others prior to him had, like Blackstone, Thurston and others. Hopefully that explains a little more about that whether you agree or not.

The show is not just a magic show. It is meant to be a realty type show and as more shows appear you will see more of the problems and tribulations behind the scenes and I can tell you, his brothers were really worried almost every episode and very, very upset at times. Especially when they were left outside the loop.

Despite what some have said about the body burn, it is dangerous, and Criss has managed to get burnt in the past. If you look at the show not from a magic standpoint you might learn a lot about body burns. For instance, when they talk about turning being the dangerous part of a burn, it is indeed as the it creates wind and the flames can come back and bite you bad. Mixing an illusion with a burn is dangerous. By the way, Criss is very close to Franco Dragone and helped to put some of the visual effects for the new show at the Wynn in Vegas.

Each episode is about one major stunt. So far we have had a burn and levitation. Lots more in store. Think of each episode as one major stunt (some magic, some real) with other smaller effects, b c and d stunts to spice it up.
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Alewishus
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Sorry magicbarry, look up bashing in the dictionary.
Saying something sucks is hardly bashing.


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Sack subs, ok Ross?
We miss you asper.
JoeJoe
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Quote:
On 2005-07-22 09:05, Magicbarry wrote:
Amazing how all the non-magicians I've talked to loved the show ... and yet for the bashers, all the non-magicians they've talked to hated the show.


Magicians are always overly critical of one another, and jeolousy and egos are almost always out of control. This is why I don't attend many meetings or conventions, and surprised to see myself even participate here - I don't respond well to critisium, especially when the person giving it is wrong.

I've heard other magicians tell me similar comments about my hair and looks, that I'm 80'ish looking ... yea, so what? No layman has ever complained. I'm not trying to be a carbon copy of Copperfield and neither is Chris Angel - we are trying to be ourselves, and let others see who we are. If we cut our hair and put on suits, then we would be faking it. I've seen other magicians get sucked into this thinking by other magicians, and it always stalls their careers. I would rather see Chris Angel look the way he wants to look than to see him look the way I want him to look.

You think magicians are sopposed to be in top hats and tails?? It seems to me, that in the 1800's nearly all men wore top hats and tails - you wouldn't have been able to spot a magician in a crowd. Chris dressed for his environment, that is what a magician should look like. He didn't breka the mold of what a magician should look like, he showed the world what he thought a magician should look like - which IMHO is the mold - he dressed the way he wanted to dress.

You don't see this type of behavior in other professions, bands don't go around saying things like "yea, they are good musicians but their clothes suck ... and they really don't know what order to lay down tracks on their records ... it's a shame that music video was done in a studio and not a live performance ... they should have hired an artist for that cover instead of doodling something themselves". Like music, magic is about artistic creativity, and Chris Angel's special exceled at that. He broke molds and did things the way he felt they should be done.

I'm sure I could come up with all types of small details and points that could have been/should have been better, but what would the point be? It was his special not mine, and he did it the way he wanted it done - not the way I would have done it. Good for him, I'm glad I had the pleasure of enjoying his vision of what magic is ... and I hope the show does well for him in the future. Who knows, maybe one day I'll get the oppurtunity to show the world what my vision of magic is ... and I can then listen to all of you tell me why I am no good while counting my money.

JoeJoe
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Fred E. Bert
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Banacheck, thank you for putting to rest some assumptions that have been made here. People are quick to jump to conclusions... if they can't come up with a known method, then it MUST be a stooge or a camera trick.

Randwill, this has nothing to do with years of experience and I mean absolutely no disrespect to you. I'm sure you've been studying magic far longer than I have since I guess I'm one of the "younger guys." All I'm saying is there's a bit of "thinking outside the box" that went into the making of this series. That can only be a good thing for magic, whether Criss floats your boat or not.

Several people have also said that they won't be watching future episodes. This is a bit melodramatic, no? I would think anyone who loves magic would want to watch it on TV. I never miss an opportunity to watch anything related to magic. Whether it's good or bad, whether you like the guy or not, you can take something away from it.
Payne
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Quote:

No I am not kidding ... he did a great job and deserves some respect. When my audience talks of him, I will give him the utmost respect. If they ask me if I can do stuff like that, I will tell them I don't want to steal his material. The same things I tell them when they ask about David Blaine, Copperfield, or one of the other magiicans here in town. Every magician deserves respect no matter what their skill level, it shouldn't matter if you are better than them or not. You should never ever bash any magician, not even the guy that did a change-bag at little Johney's birthday party. Any magic on TV is better than none.



You're obviously a bstter man than I am or you haven't seen some of the magicians I have.


Quote:

You apparently don't know how he did it. There was no camera edit there - there were way to many people present to get away with a "cut - ok Chris, put the fireman's mask on - alright now, action". It doesn't work like that - he used the same technique Copperfield used for walking through the Great Wall.
JoeJoe



Copperfield didn't use a double for the Great Wall Illusion
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
cocomax
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Yes, it would be a very simple matter to do the voodoo effect and ice cube effect without stooges. It would be silly and point to use stooges for those effects. The garbage can effect could very easily be done without camara tricks.

However the levitation on Freemont street smelled very strongly of a stooge. . . which tanted an otherwise great effect.
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