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trouser
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Even the simplest effects can invoke such powerful reactions from people. I teach piano lessons on the side and I reward my students with a different magic trick at the end of each lesson. I have been teaching one family for 2 years now and it is becoming a little more challenging to keep coming back with a fresh trick each week. Especially since grad school eats up a lot of my free time (which I would use to practice). Well this week I realized I had never done spongeballs for them, so I whipped out a short, sweet, & simple routine at the end of the lesson and it knocked everyone out cold. I couldn't believe that despite all the other things I've performed for them (that I consider to be much more mystifying) like Fraud, WOW, Holy Moly, etc, that the family would comment that my simple spongeball routine was the best thing they'd ever seen me do. I'm never going to take the simple stuff for granted ever again!
Cyberqat
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Yup.

The big lesson here is that what impresses us is not the same as what impresses they layman.

We are impressed by technique of the magician, cleverness in design, bullet-proof-ness of the illusion, and of course how hard it is to learn.

Laymen are simply impressed by the result-- the illusion itself.

When I started learning an ID a serious card worker told me "you'll love and hate your ID. You will love it because its such a great illusion. You will hate it because it is so easy and yet it will impress laymen more then things you spent *months* learning." That was dead on.

The other thing to remember though is WHY the ID works so well. The technique is great, but delivered by itself, its just a puzzler.. (eg "Name any card... here it is backwards.") What makes it so much more powerful IMO is the compelling nature of the *story* of the ID and how it involves the spectator in making magic happen.

Making someones imagination real... that's magic!
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
trouser
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That's true. I guess as a magician it is easy to forget the impression an effect had on me the first time I saw it. After years of performing something or seeing others perform something, a trick can SEEM stale compared to new things I am exposed to. Does anyone feel that the constant release of new "must have" effects are a distraction from foundations that makes this craft great?
Dougini
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Quote:
On 2010-10-15 12:56, trouser wrote:
Even the simplest effects can invoke such powerful reactions from people...I'm never going to take the simple stuff for granted ever again!


First of all, Trouser, welcome to The Magic Café! So glad you could join us! And, you are so right! Just the other day, I made a pencil vanish at the corner store in this little village I live in. Absolutely knocked their socks off! At The Mall, recently I kept doing little tricks with a quarter, and the jaws were hanging open. Impromptu stuff!

Isn't it amazing? The simplest stuff, just fries 'em! I have spent hundreds in the past, on tricks that blew me away, and they never got the reactions a simple pencil vanish, or vanishing quarter can get. I've been doing magic for almost 40 years, and I am still learning.

Quote:
On 2010-10-15 13:17, trouser wrote:
Does anyone feel that the constant release of new "must have" effects are a distraction from foundations that makes this craft great?

Yeah, kinda. But I love the new stuff! Not everything, but there are gems, if ya look for 'em. It's the "impromptu" stuff I look for. Soda straw thru dollar, Prohibition (Cap In Bottle), stuff like that. But, yeah, you're right. It's the stuff you don't expect, that is the most powerful. And thanks, Trouser. I had forgotten about sponge balls! I gotta find me a set of Goshmans. Smile
Great topic, Trouser!

Doug
trouser
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Doug, That's a great point! I think that is a good way to look at it when I'm thinking about buying a new trick. Is this owning this trick going to entertain me? or is this going to entertain a potential spectator? Of course it may be hard to tell and either way is perfectly justifiable. I find that I have my favorite tricks to perform and now that I think about it, it's not necessarily because of the reactions they get, but more because there is some other aspect of the trick that makes it really enjoyable to perform. I now think that my collection has a little too many "there to entertain me" type of tricks than I would like. Anytime a new trick comes out, we can only read reviews from the magician's point of view. Wouldn't it be cool if there was a trick review site where the layman could post what they thought of a particular effect when a magician performed it for them. I bet there would be some surprises in the highest-rated ranks.
Dougini
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On 2010-10-15 14:24, trouser wrote:
Anytime a new trick comes out, we can only read reviews from the magician's point of view. Wouldn't it be cool if there was a trick review site where the layman could post what they thought of a particular effect when a magician performed it for them?


Wow! That WOULD be cool! Maybe someone could chime in, and answer this: Is there such a thing? A layman's opinion! After all, aren't they who we perform for?
Cyberqat
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. Does anyone feel that the constant release of new "must have" effects are a distraction from foundations that makes this craft great?


Most new "Must haves" are back of the closet fillers tomorrow.

No offense to magic creators but Magic follows Sturgeons law like everything else.

The reason classics are classics is because they've already been through the filter of Sturgeon's law and they are the 10% that survived.
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
Cyberqat
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Sounds like a video blog concept...

"I showed this to my wife.... "

The problem is that before you can film it you have to become reasonably confident with every effect.

:)
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
trouser
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Maybe this is too scientific, but have any of the pros ever considered a rate-my-magician kind of thing where they hand out cards at the end of a performance that direct people to a site where they could give their 2 cents about anything they had seen. Of course that could be a double-edged sword since no one wants bad reviews to be out in the open. It would probably be more work than it's worth. But for those of us that don't have an ungodly amount of experience performing for people it would be neat to somehow get some better insight into non-magician mind.
CRMagius
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Spongeballs..

Got some, have practiced a routine with them, but still too scared to use them. It just feels TOO easy, and hard to accept that people wouldn't notice a retention or fetching an extra ball from under my shirt collar.

It looks good in the mirror, but I just can't seem to get confident with them as readily as cards.
jeffdell
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Quote:
On 2010-10-15 12:56, trouser wrote:
Even the simplest effects can invoke such powerful reactions from people. I teach piano lessons on the side and I reward my students with a different magic trick at the end of each lesson. I have been teaching one family for 2 years now and it is becoming a little more challenging to keep coming back with a fresh trick each week. Especially since grad school eats up a lot of my free time (which I would use to practice). Well this week I realized I had never done spongeballs for them, so I whipped out a short, sweet, & simple routine at the end of the lesson and it knocked everyone out cold. I couldn't believe that despite all the other things I've performed for them (that I consider to be much more mystifying) like Fraud, WOW, Holy Moly, etc, that the family would comment that my simple spongeball routine was the best thing they'd ever seen me do. I'm never going to take the simple stuff for granted ever again!


I always forget why some things like sponge balls are in the arsenal of so many magicians. In my limited experience, simple effects that are performed well mystify as much as any new effect\technique. New effects are great and its great that people are innovative, but its also important to remember the effects that have pleased so many audiences for years.
molsen
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Quote:
On 2010-10-15 14:46, trouser wrote:
Maybe this is too scientific, but have any of the pros ever considered a rate-my-magician kind of thing where they hand out cards at the end of a performance that direct people to a site where they could give their 2 cents about anything they had seen. Of course that could be a double-edged sword since no one wants bad reviews to be out in the open. It would probably be more work than it's worth. But for those of us that don't have an ungodly amount of experience performing for people it would be neat to somehow get some better insight into non-magician mind.


My apologies if I make this sound too simple. I am a scientist too, so I am not trying to put down your logic.

If you want to know what your audience thinks about what you just performed, look into their eyes. That will tell you so much more than what they each think once they go home and enter your URL in their browser of choice.

In my humble opinion, magic is not supposed to be rationalized after the fact. It is an immediate experience. I know that is not what you are aiming at, but I believe you will see my point here (being scientific and all).

Michael
molsen
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Quote:
On 2010-10-15 17:42, CRMagius wrote:
Spongeballs..

Got some, have practiced a routine with them, but still too scared to use them. It just feels TOO easy, and hard to accept that people wouldn't notice a retention or fetching an extra ball from under my shirt collar.

It looks good in the mirror, but I just can't seem to get confident with them as readily as cards.


It really IS that easy... But until you believe that, stick to the cards. Cards can KILL as well, so no harm done Smile

Michael
Cyberqat
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Sponge balls are pretty awesome. The tactile feel in the hand of one "growing" into two is a heck of a convincer.
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
Dougini
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Yeah, your right, Cyb'. I had a set of Sponge Bunnies at one time, called...hmmmm, I think, Multiplying Rabbits, I'm not sure. Anyway, the ladies LOVED it! Ya put the male and female in their hand, if I remember correctly, and they had babies! They all fell out, and the jaws dropped! That was a good one!
Nicholas Petti
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Returning to magic, like some others I see on this forum, after a nearly 30 year hiatus, I know I am much less impressed by the "technique" and more by the routine. In other words it's about the entertainment and when I was younger it was about the sleights or apparatus.

Henning Nelms has an entire section in "Magic & Showmanship" about the difference between conjuring for your peers and for laymen. Also, in another book that I don't have close to mind, the author talks about losing the sense of wonder magic brings. When we become privy to its secrets, we can no longer enjoy it in the same way.

I recently added a number of effects, one of which I really thought was killer. My wife was totally unimpressed, but what blew her away was a simple "Needle Through Balloon."
Cyberqat
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Hmm. I read Magic and Showmanship about 30 years ago so I don't really remember much.

But Id say when one becomes a magician one loses one appreciation, but gains another, deeper appreciation. It becomes about the performance, the creativity, and the skill of the performer.

In this way I would say that its no different from any other performance. A violinist watches and listens to another violinist very differently from the average concert goer. A diver watches another diver very differently then the average spectator.

I am far more in awe of Niel Foster's Zombie work *because* I know whats involved and how much of him has to into creating that performance.
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
dsalley13
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Trouser,

It sounds like you are ready for the Tarbell books. That will provide you with a large amount of close-up and other Magic for years and years.


dsalley13
othelo68
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Classic tricks are classic for a reason. It may not be a bad idea to invest in the classics and wait for the new stuff to go through sturgeons revelation and sort themselves out.

Sturgeons revelation is " ninety percent of everything is crap".
sturgeons law is "nothing is absolutely so" great reference by the way! I love CyberQats post, they're full of references that are obscure to me, which means I have to look them up.
NexusMagicShop
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If every New Magician started out with the classics learned actual technique, which sadly is disappearing with all of this self-working crap. Magic would be in such a better place. The big hits of today I have noticed are short-cuts of real techniques. Owning a store I see the trends, new magicians are buying the self working gimmicks over the Instructional DVDS on technique, and the classic effects.

The old schoolers of magic know first hand that the best impact is the classic techniques. And it translates to the spectator also. Hypocritically, I must say vanishing a coin for example looks so much more impactful to the spectator when you are sleeveless. Then when using a Ahem! --- Gulp --- The Dragon, Raven or Gecko.


My thoughts,
Jason Ring
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