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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Nothing up my sleeve... » » Sleight of hand hypothesis (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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evikshin
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I was re-reading "Scams and Fantasies" the other day, and I came across something thought provoking. Darwin Ortiz had stated that it was important to eliminate "sleight of hand" as a possible explanation for the tricks we do. Otherwise, we would fail to get a pure magical moment, though they may still be *very* impressed with our hand skills, i.e. sleight of hand. It is his belief (and I strongly agree), that tricks should be structured as to eliminate sleight of hand as a solution.

Now, I may be completely wrong, and please don't offended, but I feel that with coin magic, the very nature of it makes it harder (but not impossible) to eliminate the sleight of hand hypothesis. It just seems much harder for the spectator to not see sleight of hand as an explanation.

That said, which types of coin tricks would you recommend that you feel completely eliminate the sleight of hand hypothesis? And I'm talking about tricks where the spectator would reply: "I have no idea how you do that" vs. "wow, you got graceful hands."

One that immediately comes to mind is a coins across using a ], and done slowly, deliberately, and openly (I personally love Doug Brewer's version with the odd coin).

Look forward to hearing your guys thoughts.

Best,

Evikshin
The Burnaby Kid
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Identifying sleight-of-hand as a possible suspicion is only the beginning. You've got to start there and take it to the next level.

For instance, a coins across using a ] does involve some sleight-of-hand. The question is, what does the ] offer in terms of additional proofs that seems to eliminate sleight-of-hand? What's more, if the use of a ] means you've got to introduce your own coins, maybe you don't have to worry about them having suspicions about sleight-of-hand, but now you've got to worry about them having suspicions about tricky apparatus. That's potentially just as poisonous to creating the illusion of magic -- and to make matters worse, at least the perception of sleight-of-hand skill is something of a compliment to the performer.
JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
Mb217
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I think sleight of hand or not, most of it is in how you make the spectator's mind comfortable with the linear presentation. Even if they suspect SOH, you sorta iron that out in the way you finish up. I like the way Mickey Silver shows people the impossible and they don't seem to think of SOH. They get so wrapped up in the magical moments they are experiencing that any technical aspects seem never considered.

I think this is more a product of good study of your audience than just how good your hands are. Talent can be important alright but the true magic is in the mind. Smile Not to mention that what magicians over-think most times as to what the spectator is considering to the 10th degree Smile is usually just that, magician over-think. Spectator thought processes in those moments are not nearly as discerning as magicians would like to think... What they are doing most times is applying their inside knowledge to the spectators and it's just not as true as it is made out to be, that is unless whatever you're doing you're doing badly.
*Check out my latest: Gifts From The Old Country: A Mini-Magic Book, MBs Mini-Lecture on Coin Magic, The MB Tanspo PLUS, MB's Morgan, Copper Silver INC, Double Trouble, FlySki, Crimp Change - REDUX!, and other fine magic at gumroad.com/mb217magic Smile


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funsway
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The problem posed by Andrew is a true dilemma as either alternative is undesirable to the overall goal of having 'magic' be the only or most obvious solution. Often magicians chose one over the other and feel they are getting somewhere. In fact, the very act of offering/asking that a coin be examined plants suspicion where none may exist by suggesting that the magic 'trick' is in the coin. Strange movements and unnatural actions of the hands enhances suspicion that they are the source of the magic. Coin effects done only in the hands also draws the spectator to consider 'slight of hand'. So, what to do?

Whenever one cannot get the 'best possible result" he should try for the "best result possible." This is to 'minimize' both "Gimmick" and "Sleight" while 'maximizing' the sense of awe and wonder -- the "greater action masking the lesser." Some possible approaches are:

Use only borrowed coins, then swap in the gaffed ones. This eliminates anything larger than a quarter.

Use natural objects other than the hands to occasionally hold the coin, e.g. drop into a cup after a POV or hand to a spectator to hold.

Employ "Preemptive Doubt" by displaying the 'dirty' hand empty before revealing a vanish from the 'known' hand. This can be achieved be varying effective palming methods, ditching the coin or idling it in some manner.

Do not do flourishes, preferably even dropping a coin accidentally.

Use audible clues to enhance a coin's location.

Have every hand motion be one a lay person would use in picking up or passing a coin. This includes moving your hands in natural gestures while speaking -- more if you are Italian, less if you are Germanic (my observation).

Use Story rather than just Patter to justify the timing of hand and coin movements.

Use natural objects other than coins -- stones, nuts, shells, etc.; handed to a spectator early with him/her handing you the objects as needed, ideally performing with whatever he hands you in a free choice.

Perform effects in the spectator's hand.

Never do a move just to impress other magicians with your skill.

Always be aware of the unexpected opportunity to accentuate magic (Vernon's Unnamed Trick thinking).

....

I am sure there are others that can be supplied by others here, and not all of these can be done in any single effect or short routine. These are meant as study question you might use to access your own choice of tricks or the flow from one to another -- or to evaluate a 'magic partner'.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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Wes65
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There are two solutions that must be eliminated: sleight of hand and "trick" coins.

The most important thing to do is to first establish the integrity of the coins. Then, once that is established, the cleaver use of a gaff can eliminate sleight of hand as an explanation.

Of course, proper framing, timing and good routining makes all the difference.


Quote:
On 2009-09-28 07:33, funsway wrote:
In fact, the very act of offering/asking that a coin be examined plants suspicion where none may exist by suggesting that the magic 'trick' is in the coin.

You don't want to offer the coin for examination. You want to find some other way to get the coins into the spectator's hand. For example, show them your antique coins and ask them if they've seen coins like that before. Or involve them in the effect in some way than lets them handle the coins.

Under no circumstance would I put the suggestion in their head that there is even such a thing as a "trick coin".
Wes
vinsmagic
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If it is not sleight of hand then it must be a trick coin, because there is no such thing as real magic.
Come check out my magic.

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harris
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Or possibly something else?


Math...i.e. sheeps and the theifs...(or is that also soh?)

Last night, magnets were suggested by many of my audience during a walk around..

Though my personality was the only thing magnetic used.

Harris
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Mr. Mystoffelees
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Exactly! And I vote for sleight of hand, because, to me, that is as close to real magic as you are gonna get!
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
funsway
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Quote:
On 2009-09-28 08:39, vinsmagic wrote:
If it is not sleight of hand then it must be a trick coin, because there is no such thing as real magic.

Except in the mind of the spectator who constantly shows a capacity for believing in something beyond the practical limitations of his life. To "act as if doing real magic" makes of magic something real -- a concept reinforced by every moment of awe and wonder. For the first time ever a Cardinal sat on my window sill this morning instead of only flitting in the distance. Works for me!
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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vinsmagic
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The audience knows its not real, however they realize you used sleight of hand and are amazed how you did it ...
Come check out my magic.

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rutabaga
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Roth's [ coins across with borrowed coins [I use toonies up here Smile ] is as good as it gets for me. Wonderful reactions!
cperkins
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Some very good " best practices" from Funsway! Thanks for sharing this.

I think it is possible for some people who are so predisposed to "suspend their disbelief" at least momentarily. In this case, there are some real "magical" moments at least for them. Getting them to do this is the challenge for the magician.
To see a difficult thing lightly handled gives the impression of the impossible.
(Goethe)
John T Cox
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I think the notion that you have to eliminate the thought of sleight of hand is not the point. The point is that you should think through your routine and make it as magical as possible. If a person looks astonished at my coin magic and later attributes that to my skill, I don't mind. I just want that brief moment to occur for the viewer.

John
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The Burnaby Kid
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Quote:
On 2009-09-28 18:50, hypnodream wrote:
I think the notion that you have to eliminate the thought of sleight of hand is not the point. The point is that you should think through your routine and make it as magical as possible. If a person looks astonished at my coin magic and later attributes that to my skill, I don't mind. I just want that brief moment to occur for the viewer.

John


The thing is, being able to eliminate the suspicion of sleight-of-hand (along with every other suspicion) allows for that brief moment to last a lot longer.
JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
evikshin
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Thanks for all your replies guys! Lots of good things said here from different perspectives

I will be replying back here shortly, as soon as I get to a hotel (i'm currently in an airport and almost late for my plane!)
Sammy J.
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Quote:
On 2009-09-28 11:02, vinsmagic wrote:
The audience knows its not real ,however they realize you used slight of hand and are amazed how you did it ..

I agree with Vinny. I just finished reading the novel "The magicains". It starts with sleights, but is ultimately about casting spells (Harry Potter for adults). Our job is to entertain. They know it's not real "magic", but we can make it seem magical by our presentation.

Sammy
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evikshin
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Andrew,

I would definitely agree that the sleight of hand solution is infinitely better than "oh he's just using trick coins." that's why the combination of sound psychology and routining, as well as apparatus, can bring about the miracle.

As Wes and Funsway stated, switch in the apparatus at an unexpected moment, after the integrity of the coins have been established. I could not have said it better than them.
----------------------------------

MB,

Some good points here! When you say, with regards to sleight of hand, "you sorta iron that out in the way you finish up," I interpret this as saying that sleight of hand is sort of the set up, but then the climax is so unexpected and impossible that sleight of hand barely accounts for it, sort of like a Jumbo coin transformation, or, as you mentioned, Mickey's human slot machine where a cascade of coins seemingly come from everywhere at once with no "sleight of handy" type action. We magicians do have a tendency to overthink the irrelevant (can someone say "too much finger movement on the ROV?" LOL).

I strive to be entertaining in my own way to the audience, so that the magic does not become a challenging puzzle where they are constantly on "figure it out" mode. However, I find this very hard to do when there is a large language barrier between my audience and I!
pearljamjeff
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Quote:
On 2009-09-28 11:02, vinsmagic wrote:
The audience knows its not real ,however they realize you used slight of hand and are amazed how you did it ..


However, the best magicians make the audiences forget that they know that... at least momentarily. I refuse to settle for anything less than creating "real" magic. This is why I don't perform my coin magic... yet. I haven't figured out how to get it to that point... yet.
Jeff Travilla - I own an advertising agency to help finance my magic addiction.
evikshin
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Funsway, You are the man! lots of great points you bring up.
You did mention borrowing coins. One thing I have been doing is borrowing pennies and dimes, and then using TT to vanish them. Gets a bigger reaction then busting out a silver half dollar, and doing some work with it. I think the "borrowed coin factor" is really important. Even if I let specs examine that silver coin, the effect just doesn't seem as personal, perhaps because a silver half dollar is not a super common object like a penny or a dime, and perhaps they can't relate to it as much.

I like your term "preemptive doubt." I see this principle used by some high level coin guys:
-David Stone and how he uses Classic palm immediately after a retention pass, makes the hand look really empty
-MB's Liwag subtlety
-Vinny/Mickey Silver's use of Ramsey subtleties.

However, you really think flourishes are a bad idea? I don't think they are, as long as the end magic effect appears to be "beyond sleight of hand," that is, appears to not be accountable by the magician's hand skills.

Evikshin



Quote:
On 2009-09-28 18:50, hypnodream wrote:
I think the notion that you have to eliminate the thought of sleight of hand is not the point. The point is that you should think through your routine and make it as magical as possible. If a person looks astonished at my coin magic and later attributes that to my skill, I don't mind. I just want that brief moment to occur for the viewer.

John

John, I would say that eliminating the thought of sleight of hand is something to strive for. Just think of some of the effects where sleight of hand does NOT account for the magic:

-Paul Curry's Out of This World: People still talk about this effect a few years after I did it. My hand skills were never a question. It seemed to leave a void in their intellect.
-A lot of Darwin Ortiz's effects: again, the end magical effect is so impossible that sleight of hand is not really a viable solution, I.E. 2 cards magically fusing together, etc.
-Card through window
-PK effects
-Vanishing salt

The above are just a few examples.

I'm striving to not just have a brief moment for the viewer, but to have an enduring moment, that leaves a void in their lives. A lot more difficult to achieve, and perhaps not as realistic (a fantasy).

Best,

Evikshin
pearljamjeff
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I don't think it's impossible. Just takes finding yourself. When Blaine first came out, a lot of people believed that he was doing "real magic." That doesn't mean you have to walk around big cities, strip your presentations to the bones, and speak in a monotone, but you do have find the combination that works for you... the one that elicits the "real magic" feeling from your audience. Well, only IF that's what you are going for... and I think more magicians should be.
Jeff Travilla - I own an advertising agency to help finance my magic addiction.
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