The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » A question for the illusion guys... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
Cohiba
View Profile
Special user
Michigan
749 Posts

Profile of Cohiba
Hi all. Disclaimer: I am a close-up guy. Take everything I say for what it's worth. However, I love all good magic.

Here's the effect:
The magician places a beautiful assistant into a small box on a platform. The box has holes running through it. The performer displays a bunch of spears (which align with the holes in the box) on a slide mechanism, which then rams over and impales the box. The poor assistant must be slaughtered!

So far, so good. I have no problems with the effect as is, and am rather amazed. Unless of course, the girl is shown to be actually gored. Then I am frightened.

Except now, the performer opens the box, to show that it is empty with the exception of the spears! The audience kind of applaudes, scratches their heads, and wonder... uh, ok.

Isn't this a poor way to go with an effect like this? You completely change the effect mid-effect! Instead of the effect being one of "how the heck did she not get impaled", it becomes an effect of "where did she go?"

I think a vanish without the impaling is much cooler, and it doesn't have the "this doesn't make sense" factor.
Or, never open the box, and then have the girl step out unscathed - that would also be a cool effect. You are left wondering how the heck it happened. How did she escape the spears? You are clueless. As soon as the box is shown empty though, in my mind, I'm wondering - what the heck was the point of the spears? Other than adding a little suspense for a few seconds, you feel like you were duped, and the spears obviously were never a threat.

My point is - I like either effect, just not the two combined. The added little amount of suspense does not make up for the loss in clarity / or reasoning behind the effect.

Feel free to blow holes in this argument - It's just my personal opinion whenever I see a trick like this. I'm curious what you think.
Michael Baker
View Profile
Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11159 Posts

Profile of Michael Baker
I like your point, and have argued the same myself regarding illusions where the magician is in some danger spot. Something goes wrong, and we are all left to believe the worst. Seconds later, we find out that the magician is not only unharmed, he is flying helicopter, or some such other bit of theatrical stupidity.

How many in the audience feel the betrayal for their donation of care and concern?
~michael baker
The Magic Company
SpellbinderEntertainment
View Profile
Inner circle
West Coast
3494 Posts

Profile of SpellbinderEntertainment
I agree,
even fantasy has logic,
odd logic but logic,
and magical logic,
makes for better magic!
Walt
The Mac
View Profile
Inner circle
1975 Posts

Profile of The Mac
I agree,

If you gonna make her vanish and reappear then what do the spikes have to do with it?

if you could see her head above the box the entire time especially while the skie go thru then it would be a better illusion in my opinion.
NicholasC
View Profile
New user
16 Posts

Profile of NicholasC
The magician might need pull the time example for the assistant to reappear in other place and he use the spiker. What is wrong with that?
reynold
View Profile
Elite user
Puerto Rico
492 Posts

Profile of reynold
Cohiba:

You are right, it doesn't make sense. I have thought about this before and always thought its just me, good to know other people think the same way.

I think maybe you could get away with this with the presentation. Maybe you open the door to show her all spiked up but when you do,to your amazement she is gone. You act confused and then she appears unharmed from the back of the audience. She used a little magic to escape your evil spikes.

Just an idea.

Thanks,
Reynold
The Drake
View Profile
Inner circle
2274 Posts

Profile of The Drake
I always thought of it as a two part illusion.
Girl goes into box and swords are thrust in.. audience wonders how she can fit in there with all those swords. ( much like a Hindu basket) I don't think the audience really believes she is going to be impaled.

Part two. The box is opened to reveal that the reason she can fit with all those swords is that she is gone. She has vanished to escape them. Audience now wonders.. where did she go?

Best,

Tim
Chezaday
View Profile
Inner circle
Naperville, IL
1670 Posts

Profile of Chezaday
It's very simple .. not everything in magic makes sense.

You should take a look at my act ...

Steve
Jack Murray
View Profile
Special user
St. Petersburg Fl.
773 Posts

Profile of Jack Murray
I agree with Tim!!!! This is the way I have always viewed it.

Jack
LeeAlex2002
View Profile
Inner circle
1006 Posts

Profile of LeeAlex2002
Cohiba,

I can see where you are coming from, but you don't paint the whole picture...

The illusion continues. The audience has seen the "implaed" girl has in fact vanished - implament explained.

Vanish remains unexpalined, but wait; the spikes are removed and ta da! The girl mysteriously reappears unharmed of course.

To top that a second (and sometimes a third) girl appears from the very same box that we have just seen empty.

Logic doesn't play a part in this!
Yours Magically,
Lee Alex

http://www.magic2wear.com
Christopher Starr
View Profile
Inner circle
Heart of America
1851 Posts

Profile of Christopher Starr
And I agree with Tim, Chezaday, Jack, et al. Hopefully, the audience is thinking how can she survive all of those spears/swords/spikes/etc.? Because she disappeared!

Chris
darrylasher
View Profile
Regular user
179 Posts

Profile of darrylasher
Quote:
On 2007-12-01 10:42, Timothy Drake wrote:
I always thought of it as a two part illusion.
Girl goes into box and swords are thrust in.. audience wonders how she can fit in there with all those swords. ( much like a Hindu basket) I don't think the audience really believes she is going to be impaled.

Part two. The box is opened to reveal that the reason she can fit with all those swords is that she is gone. She has vanished to escape them. Audience now wonders.. where did she go?

Best,

Tim


That's how I have always seen this kind of effect. There is an internal logic to it. The audience wonders "How is she not killed?" The climax answers the question: Because she is gone.

However, the original post does have a point in some contexts. For example, you would be foolish to demonstrate key-bending, then change the color of the key from silver to gold, or turn the key into a coin. That would lack internal logic. Are you demonstrating mental power or sleight of hand?

Good question though.
Craig Dickens
View Profile
Veteran user
368 Posts

Profile of Craig Dickens
You are overthinking the prop. The real question is--is it good magic. Yes it is.
Case in point--as a close-up performer when you vanish a coin why does it have to be transfered to the other hand ( ala French drop) to vanish? Shouldn't it just vanish in the hand that is holding it? See what I mean?
e-mail at:magicaldickens@aol.com
website: www.dickensmagic.com
minnich_magic
View Profile
New user
40 Posts

Profile of minnich_magic
As I see it, evoking emotional responses from the audience is the goal of the illusionist, whether it be laughter, wonder, fear/danger, etc. The illusionist decides which emotion he seeks for each illusion. If it happens to be a mult-effect illusion, the goal should be to maintain the same type emotional response throughout the piece, which is more important than whether there is logic in combining different effects.

Tom Minnich
Oliver - Twist
View Profile
Regular user
France
170 Posts

Profile of Oliver - Twist
Why don't ask the inventor of the Spiker Illusion (Jim Steinmeyer if I'm right) to find out how this illusion was supposed to be presented. I've often seen illusion where a mistake was done in the presentation, because the artist presenting it thaught it would look better in some way.

Oliver.
May all your days be magical



Oliver Twist
JasonB
View Profile
Regular user
174 Posts

Profile of JasonB
Logic & entertainment aren't mutually exclusive but they don't NEED to coincide to be entertaining. How many times have you said "I don't know what it is but I love this song."? Its emotional & creates wonder. If we were to look at "MAGIC" truly logically we wouldn't do 99% of it, as it's pointless. Who in life needs a bent key. The only real magic people would ever want is to make tons of money or cars or women appear, to be invisible and to fly. Most of us would give up performing forever if we could do those things. So entertainment is entertainment. No one has ever come up to me after a show & said "You know what I liked? It was all so logical". However, I agree so much with Tim & some of the other guys. It's abut the beats. Girl gets in box, hand comes out, fire lit, spikes in, hand remains, hand quickly goes in box, door quickly removed, she's gone, she's back, another girl appears. Not logical just really really cool & amazing. But it must be presented cleanly and not a muddled mess where all of the beats run over each other.

Just my 1 cent.
Michael Baker
View Profile
Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11159 Posts

Profile of Michael Baker
Tim's ilustration of the process is precisely what makes illusions like the sword box, Hindu basket, or a Temple of Benares work. But the corker is the fact that at the end, the girl re-emerges again from the SAME box or basket. This indicates that she was still there, but had somehow momentarily vanished in order to avoid injury or death.

Moretti's cardboard box was the same. The fact that he somehow avoided the swords is amazing, because when he re-emerges at the end, we are now resolved to the fact that yes, he was in the box the whole time. The fact that he comes out as he does (make-up, clownsuit, etc.) serves to deepen that mystery. If he was in there, which the audience believes, it would be seemingly impossible to avoid the swords. To also transform himself as he does, is beyond comprehension.

To have someone reappear in a remote location is simply a transportation. I still think it is an insult to the audience to ask them to care about a person's well being under the guise of another premise, only to momentarily divulge the fact that the person in the box could not have been hurt, because earlier somehow, "Elvis" had left the building. They know that person went in, but they also believe now that they were not there at the time the injury/death was to have taken place. This logic, justly arrived at by the audience, immediately nullifies the effect of the swords, etc. Even if they were believing it in the first part of the routine, the moment they realize there is an answer, it ceases to be magical.

Audiences do not burden themselves with details. A partial answer is enough. They know the person was not in the box. To them, the method of escape is irrelevant to the issue of avoiding death. "They could not be hurt." "Why?" "Because they were not in the box." Period.

Now, it may be thought that the same is true of the transportation ending, that the mystery is solved when the question, "Where did she go?", is answered. ("Ah... there they are!") However, in the case of the final reappearance, if in a remote location, rather than re-emerging from the same box, the only magic that remains, is "How did she get there?" This question, which is the one missing from the first part of the trick, applies only to the second part of the trick. Thus, the effect becomes a transportation, not an escape from danger.

To magicaly transport a person to a remote location is indeed a fine effect. But I think it is better used in such illusions as a cannon, or a simple human transposition.

In my humble opinion...

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
JasonB
View Profile
Regular user
174 Posts

Profile of JasonB
Armchair illusionists crack me up and I know because I was one. "They could do this or that, or emote this, or this meaning is that". It is very wonderful in theory and a very very few MASTERS pull off conceptualized performances. But for most of us just making an effect entertaining (and not just to yourself) and truly amazing is a paramount challenge. I have a few very nice illusions however, before I had them I could shoot holes through almost anyone's presentation. "They should have done this etc"., but once you start doing illusions and want to do them well it becomes so difficult to just present the illusion smoothly for the intended effect let alone your original grand idea. Moretti's box and the temple of Benares-Sword box-& Basket can't even be spoke in the same sentence. Moretti's box draw's its strength from the idea that the people thrusting the swords are audience members and that they have a lot of swords and that the swords are thrust quickly and randomly into the box. Then he pulls out live animals etc. Those other illusions share nearly none of the strengths of Moretti's Box. Plus who wouldn't want to show the sword basket empty if they could? Case and point the Pendragon's (argueably the best at the sword basket), Jonathan steps into the basket as do so many other illusionists, to do what? Show it empty...she's vanished. Many swords boxes are opened up to show that the girl is gone. And I believe that Jack Gwynne invented the Temple of Benares.....for what purpose? To work with an illusion in the popular night clubs of his day. Shows HAD to be smaller to fit into the venues. He probably would have traded the Temple for a Kalin Fire Spiker any day of the week if his venues at that time would have supported it. Lets not fool ourselves and believe that the audience cares about you. Remember a principle point of the book Maximum Entertainment "The audience does not care about you". Trip on stage or mess up or cut yourself and then email me about how much they cared about you. Your job is to amaze them and maybe make them laugh. As Jim Steinmeyer said "First do harm". You have to nail them with the unbelievable, the spiker intrigues them with sex and fire and then nails them with a vanish and then stuns with a reappearance and double stuns if a second girl appears.

The Origami kills in almost all magician's shows that use it. Most would say its a great effect. But, ask yourself this. What's the effect? I do it nightly, it kills but I've never decided what the effect is. Don't just answer. Think of it from the audience's perspective. They don't know the method in fact many magicians are ignorant as to the entirety of the method. But I know that some audience members think she in there like a contortionist some believe she's gone and comes back. So then on this killer illusion, what is the effect??

Best wishes for killer shows.
Michael Baker
View Profile
Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11159 Posts

Profile of Michael Baker
JasonB,

While on the surface, though it doesn't seem that you are in agreement with what I have said, you have somehow managed to reinforce my points.

The Moretti Box, the Temple of Benares (dang, I just used them in the same sentence again), the Sword Basket, AND the Fire Spiker, AND the Origami all have one commonality... the girl comes back from the original device. This was the main spin I took on the original post.

Other illusions fall into this same category. The Zig-Zag Girl, and Sawing a Woman in Half are only a couple of examples.

Some of these devices openly insinuate (with varying degrees of proof) that the girl has vanished from within; some merely suggest it, while in the case of the Origami (and probably the Moretti Box), that issue is never really addressed to the point of any conclusion. However, that is almost irrelevant in regard to the illusion being created with the swords, spears, etc. The vanish, whether spotlighted, alluded to, or left up for interpretation is a second effect.

The reproduction of the girl from the same device, and even more so with the production of a second girl (which incidentally, is a third effect), does something of great importance in an illusion... it delivers on a promise or a proposal. Granted, the promise is never openly made, but the premise of the trick defines it.

Whether or not the audience cares about you, or anyone in the cast is not the point... the point is, the premise of trick (and this also applies to other forms of magic, not just illusions) ASKS the audience to invest a certain amount of interest into the trick. In the case of these illustrating illusions, it is the simple premise that danger is present.

Unless this is presented entirely tongue-in-cheek, as is often the case with a head chopper for instance, the outcome stands the risk of becoming a major duping of the audience. Even though audiences instinctively know that danger will be avoided, when the magician alludes to danger and then later gives indication that none could have existed, it becomes a lie that was directed at the audience, in a way that becomes offensive. It is a sham. The premise was set, and the payoff was not satisfactorily delivered.

In the case of the illusions we have been speaking of, the payoff is the fact that the illusion was completed internally, entirely where the focus point was. The girl somehow avoided danger or death, and we don't know how.

Taking the example of an illusion where something seems to go horribly wrong, and the audience is lead to belive that the magician or assistant was mangled or killed, the payoff could actually be one of two.

1) The happy ending...The victim somehow managed to avoid injury or death (Table of Death), or is restored to normal (Copperfield's Giant Saw).

2) The alternative... They are actually hurt/dead.

Of course only one of these would be acceptable in most circles.

However, to set the premise of such danger, or to have it manifest itself "accidentally" during the trick, and then to later show that it was never the case, is nothing more than a confession asking for audience approval, and openly pointing to an explanation of a method that satisfies the audience's question. The girl somehow avoided danger or death, and now we know how... she was never there.

While this may become a possible method in the mind of the audience (among any other methods they may cook up), why give it away?

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
JasonB
View Profile
Regular user
174 Posts

Profile of JasonB
Audiences don't applaud wildly when they feel duped. These style of effects would be invalided if only they didn't exist in the programs of the absolute top illusionists. Kalin, Copperfield, Burton, Daniels, S&R. Would believe they've thought through this issue.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » A question for the illusion guys... (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.27 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL