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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Once upon a time... » » Balance of Magic and Story (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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friend2cptsolo
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Quote:
On Jan 12, 2017, funsway wrote:
I am reviewing/revising some of my thinking on this "balance."

For any audience today a majority may never have seen a good LIVE magic performer or heard a good LIVE storyteller.
Even though TV has mangled the word "live" to mean "happening now, sorta" as opposed to "recorded earlier, I use the term to me "nothing between you and the performer but air."

The impact of impressions on an audience when performing live is much more sweeping than when viewed through the equivalent of a toilet paper tube.
A combination of good story and good magic may be essential to having any affect on an audience - if you desire something more than just fleeting entertainment in competition with cellphones.

This may be your only opportunity to provide a magical experience for a spectator. Give it everything you have.


Thanks Funsway! This is a good thread to keep alive and revisit every now and then.
The ever present glow of the TV tube and cellphone screen has society viewing events through augmented reality; the human brain can become addicted to HYPER-processing.
This is in direct competition to actual LIVE events that can not happen at the same speed and multiple camera views of edited video.
friend2cptsolo
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I think a great thing with storytelling magic is that it can have more props. Like pictures and old boxes and all sorts of items that might fit with or embellish the story, and that now adds the other senses that TV and electronics can not engage. If you have something old that someone gets to touch or use it can connect with them, it might smell old also. These are things that help us, it helps drive story and authenticity.
We have more than just the 5 senses.
Pressure
Itch
Temperature
Pain
Thirst
Hunger
Direction
Time
Muscle tension

Because we all have a remembrance of what pain,thirst or hunger might feel like a good story can make a spectator feel that again(on their terms). The absence of the constant screen flicker from TV and Cellphone actually allows the sense of sight to dull and can now make us aware of other senses. Which good books do, from the absence of sight and sound.
Penduluminary
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This thread is a joy to read and educational.

Does anyone have any signposts to storytelling magic performers or videos of performers doing great storytelling magic?

I recently came across a video of Christian Cagigal performing at the The Magic Castle. I was blown away by the presentation.
BeThePlunk
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I'm new to this thread, but I trust people don't mind revisiting it. I've decided that embedding magic into a story is the way I want to go. I'm learning that three things are key: (1) Committing to the story with energy and acting. "A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician," right? (2) A tight script. Each sentence (really each word) contributes to the effect and moves things forward. Strip out the incidental details. Wherever you can, tighten a sentence to a clause, a clause to a phrase, a phrase to a word, a word to a visual gesture. (3) Keep the story visually interesting. Give the audience gesture, color, motion to watch.

David
Russo
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Most of the time used a Story patter , better than just doing a TRICK-FOOLED YOU / posted many - so wont repeat - p/m if interested. RR
funsway
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A special way of "telling a story" when presenting a magic effect is to name the props as a sort of anthropomorphizing.

This both focuses attention the props such as coins, but also makes them unique and interesting. The key is the "Story told after" for the spectator
that will not be repeat of the one you told. Yet, you can encourage the formation of this story by planting memory seeds.

For example, I have a CSB routine in which I name the coins Phil, Lee and Juan with a story of them trying to skip classes in school.
For me it is better than saying, "I'll take the copper coin in my left hand." You may improve on my, "Juan sneaked over to the Caféteria," but you might see the advantage.

I also name the scissors or knife I use in a C&B routine, especially if a spectator will be handling it.

"I call these shears Matilda because my uncle used them for shearing sheep." Later I ask, "Can you please hand Matilda to me and ignore my long hair?"
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
Russo
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Anthropomorphizing - "WOW" - I agree Funsway - for instance - Doing an "Alice in Wonderland" story -Die Box, is White Rabbets Home / Die, White Rabbets Toy / Hat, is where the Mad Hatter Lives - and where he put the Rabbets Toy, Hatter stole - when Mom Rabbet told White Rabbet to put his toy away in his room (die box ). Also "spot Card' is a picture of my Pet "SPOT" and his 4 sisters , 3 Uncles, 6 Aunts - and the rest of the family "8" - just a couple ideas I've done for 60 years and wanted to share. Ralph ROUSSEAU (russo)
Bob G
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Hi everybody,


I was going to start a new post with this question, but when I saw this thread I thought my question would fit right in. I need some advice on the balance between magic and story in the context of a specific card trick. I am by no means a natural story-teller, but with some audiences this has gone over well. I'm afraid this post is rather long; I hope some people will be willing to read it and offer their thoughts. I've asked a similar question on The Workers Forum, but this seemed like a good place to ask about the story/magic balance.



The Background:


The trick -- but with my own story -- is "The Sub-Trunk Mystery," in Trost's Subtle Card Creations 2, p. 465. Also, Colombini demonstrates and explains Trost's trick in one of his inexpensive DVD's, now available as a download from Lybrary.


Trost's handling is based on Al Leech's "Ace Sandwich," in Card Man Stuff and also in The Complete Al Leech. Leech's effect also inspired Lorayne's "One-Eyed Jacks," if I remember correctly.



Trost has turned Leech's trick into a story trick, an enactment, with a deck of cards, of the stage illusion, "The Substitution Trunk Mystery," in which the magician locks his assistant into a a trunk and sits on top of it. A curtain is drawn and almost immediately reopened, and now the *assistant* is sitting smugly on the trunk, while the magician is found to be locked in the trunk.




Summary of my story, together with some of the handling: This is a pretend Arabian Nights tale about Fatima, a 14-year-old girl who, for reasons I haven't yet figured out, has to take a long journey on her own.


Fatima (QD) takes a wrong turn and ends up at the castle of an evil wizard, who is gardening, sharpening bramble-thorns, when Fatima arrives. He orders the castle guards (the black jacks) to throw her in the dungeon. They grab her (magi sandwiches QD between the two jacks) and drag her to a dungeon cell.



Magician spreads deck to show that the jacks are now guarding her cell (i. e., the sandwich remains intact). There's a bit of humorous (I hope) stuff in which Fatima calls forth the Genii from his lamp, and he reminds her that he's already taught her several spells that would allow her to escape. The genii vanishes back into his lamp. (I just turn a joker face-up that was lying face-down on the table the whole time. Or I use a joker from a miniature deck that's hidden under a poker-sized card. I like the idea of using a mini-joker because the genii has a booming voice, incongruous with his size.)


A double undercut at *about* this point in the story brings one jack to the top, the other to the bottom (I think -- I have to look up the exact handling). In my story, the double-undercutting represents Fatima being dragged down several flights of stairs, ending up deep in the dungeon.


The magician places the wizard, face-down, at the bottom (face) of the face-down pack. (The face represents the garden.) Magi then turns the pack face-up, and shows that the wizard has returned to his gardening. (He's still on the grounds, but the pack has been turned face-up so that the audience can see him
-- and also to allow for the next move; see below).


Suddenly wizard hears a spell being chanted from inside the castle; it's Fatima, of course.


The "next move" (see above) is a bottom slip cut. The deck is then turned over again, and Fatima is single-turned-over on the top of the face-down deck. She's on the castle roof! (First magical surprise.) She finds a stairway, descends it, and continues her journey, free. I try to justify this cutting and turning by saying that a storm abruptly shakes the castle -- one of the effects of the spell, presumably. (The bottom slip cut leaves the *top* card -- Fatima -- in place, because the deck is face-down.)


Finally, magician says, "You may be wondering what happened to the Wizard." S/he spreads the deck and we find that now the *wizard* is sandwiched -- i. e., trapped in the cell, and guarded by his own guards. (That's the second magical surprise.)


The End.



My questions:

1. The synopsis that I just gave might be about the right length, given that there are only two magical surprises. The full story, which I haven't shared here, has some details that I like, but including them might make the story long enough to dilute the magic. On the other hand, since I like the details, another option would be to add some additional surprises to the Trost handling. Any thoughts?


2. If I want to add surprises, I could, for instance, show the genii (a joker, either full-sized or from a miniature deck) mysteriously appear when he's called, and then mysteriously disappear again after he's helped Fatima. How would I do that? There are all kinds of vanishes and color changes that might serve, but I'd have to learn them, and I'd want them not to be too advanced, because *I'm* not too advanced. So I'm open to suggestions about how to accomplish the appearance and disappearance.


Whew! Well, that was a bit long, but I hope it might inspire someone to suggest some new handling to accomplish something interesting, e. g., #2 above, or to give me their thoughts about story/magic balance here.


Thanks, everybody! Smile


Bob
Wravyn
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Story and magic is much like songs... a nice balance of lyrics and instrumentals to bring it together as one.
Russo
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Each part of the effect should be part of the story -Like,"Alice in Wonderland" -'the Hat'-where Mad Hatter lives,-'the Die' -Rabbets toy- that gets put away in 'Die Box' and is stolen and found (shell) in the Mad Hatters House 'Hat' and so forth. As Uncle Milty used to say "I've got a mil'lion of em" L-O-L Ha Ha Ha Ralph
Luke Jonas
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This is a topic that I have written in an essay in my new book Inconceivable. it is a truly underestimated topic. I am glad I have come across this thread.
Bob G
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I've been thinking about the four criteria that SpellbinderEntertainment spelled out:


--Would the story stand on its own as entertainment with no magic?
--Would the magic stand on its own with no story?
--Were both compelling, emotionally meaningful, and succinct?
--Were both able to seamlessly blend and combine into a unified whole?



I like the sound of them very much, but I get confused when I think about specific tricks. I'm brainstorming here, and would be interested in others' comments:



Color Monte, for instance, is an effective story trick. I would say that the trick meets the last two criteria but not the first two. Without the story, the magic would be a meaningless sequence of hand motions. Without the magic, the story would be rather bland. So I'm thinking that the magic and story work together in the same way that many good songs do: neither the music nor the words stand alone, but together they can be captivating.


Maybe the very best songs are the ones that have music and words each of which stand on their own, but I'm not sure. I could imagine the power of each getting in the way of the power of the other. I've had the latter experience when listening to art songs that were settings of poems I'd read. If I loved the poem, then the music just seemed to get in the way. On the other hand, in cases where I wasn't already familiar with the poem, I've usually been moved.


Confusin', is what I say.


Bob
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