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Thomas Wayne
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Personally, every time is see a 30-second illusion stretched out to two minutes+ with a bunch of goofy, nonsensical gestures and unnecessarily drama surrounding mundane tasks (e.g., when he sets down the key ring), all to the heavy beat of disco-like music with a preponderance of bass... well, it almost makes me want to puke.

I guess this just proves there's no accounting for taste.

TW
MOST magicians: "Here's a quarter, it's gone, you're an idiot, it's back, you're a jerk, show's over." Jerry Seinfeld
Sealegs
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There's no doubting that presenting illusions in a theatrical and meaningful way is a very challenging art. Personally I have seen very few performers that, for me, can convincingly carry this off.

That Thomas doesn't like this video's particular presentational style is a red herring with regards to this discussion as it is neither here nor there with regards to the idea of the illusion having a believable premise.

The same illusion with the same premise (ie; watch-how-impossibly-fast-this-women-gets-inside-this-locked-shut-box, rather than, passing through a 1" hole) could easily be presented as a speaking piece with no music, arm waving or dance moves. The new believable premise could be left intact but the look and nature of the presentation would change completely. Different people with different tastes will find the different presentaions have a different appeal.

Either style of presentation (and all those that fall some where inbetween) will either be a hit or miss with each individual and audience depending on their personal tastes, likes and dislikes. This is different from having an illusion fall flat with any presentational style because it has a fundamentally flawed starting point.

And as an side point; In saying that an illusion needs to have a believable premise to stand a chance of creating a suspension of disbelief doesn't, as was previously posted, mean I hold all (or as far as anyone knows, any) illusions in 'high esteem' simply because they possess this quality.

It is merely, in my opinion, a minimum requirement for any illusion.
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
Thomas Wayne
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Quote:
On 2011-02-15 05:28, Sealegs wrote:
[...]
That Thomas doesn't like this video's particular presentational style is a red herring with regards to this discussion as it is neither here nor there with regards to the idea of the illusion having a believable premise.

[...]


"Red Herring"? Nice. Get personal, Neal.

But now that you've got that off your chest, let me just say that I think almost NO effect an illusionist performs will have a "believable" premise, in my opinion. Using your example of what you say are "believable" premises, do you really think the audience believes that...

1)...swords are passing through the assistant's in the sword box?

2)... the assistant's body - bone, muscle, and sinew - is being stretched,
a) compressed,
b) impaled,
c) or penetrated?

3)... the assistant is actually levitating in defiance of gravity, with no mechanical means of support?

Different styles and stage personae call for different presentations, so I understand that JC Sum is unlikely to present this illusion in the same manner as Fred Walker. I mean, we've all seen overweight, overage magicians trying to prance around like a young Copperfield – it just doesn’t work. But I seriously doubt the average audience finds the suggestion that Sum's partner squeezes though a 3-inch hole any more believable than they would the idea that Walker's partner is pulled through a 1-inch hole.

In my opinion, most audiences see any impossible illusion as a puzzle - on some level. At one end of the spectrum some see it a puzzle right from the beginning, while at the other end some only feel a puzzle-like perception deep in their subconscious. But I think they are few and far between audience members who actually believe to the core of their souls that the have just witnessed a true miracle.

Which is why the most common comment heard in any audience - even after the most "believable" of premises - is, "How did he do that?"

When Quentin Tarantino filmed Reservoir Dogs in 1992, he encountered a scene where one of the characters decides to cut off a captive policeman's ear. After some discussion among the creative staff, Tarantino filmed two versions of that scene; one was a fully exposed shot of Michael Madsen's character slicing off a prop ear, complete with all the appropriate blood and gore. In the alternate shot the camera panned away to "stare" at a corner of the room while the audience can only hear the struggle and screaming of the victim.

After test screening the two versions, it was decided that the non-graphic version would be used, but ultimately it is this scene that was most talked about after the film was released. In various interviews, Tarantino, Madsen, and others involved have all agreed that the graphic, exposed version fell flat and just made it one more run-of-the-mill movie horror scene; Madsen was quoted saying, "It was rather tame...”

But the version they did use made the film famous. It was the suspense of not seeing the action, of not knowing until you heard the screams - and even then not being sure - that made the audience react so emotionally. In fact, according to Wensley Clarkson's 1995 book about Quentin Tarantino, during a screening of the movie at a Film Festival in Barcelona, fifteen people walked out, including renowned Horror film Director Wes Craven and Special Effects artist Rick Baker. Baker later told Tarantino to take the walk-out as a "compliment" and explained that he found the violence unnerving because of its heightened sense of realism.

In the same way, it's my opinion that Fred Walker's presentation of 1-inch Hole creates far more suspense and buzz among his audience than JC Sum's did among his audience. As I see it, Walker presents a "thinking man's piece", while Sum presents a "flash-bang puzzle". Of course, neither performer could really use the other's presentation and remain true to his own character. But, if it matters at all, Walker gets more stage time, more laughs, and more audience interaction from his version - all things that a lot of performers find highly desirable when developing a stage act.

TW
MOST magicians: "Here's a quarter, it's gone, you're an idiot, it's back, you're a jerk, show's over." Jerry Seinfeld
Sealegs
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I didn't mean to 'get personal' other than to respond directly to Thomas' post.

Regarding Thomas' last post, (and as impersonally as I can manage)... I, along with Thomas, also don't believe that the audience truly believes that they are seeing actual impalements, levitations, compressions etc.

As I said in my 1st post in this thread it's not about whether the audience actually believes these things are happening it's about whether there is a premise that allows the audience to suspend their disbelief that they are happening.

The premise of the Sub Trunk used to be able create the suspension of disbelief of dematerialization. Today it can't do that. But it does support the premise of a transposition that happens faster than is humanly possible.

The premise of the, 'Through the one inch hole illusion', might have at one time facilitate the suspension of disbelief of someone being pulled through a 1 inch hole. For today's audiences I'm suggesting that it simply doesn't. But the same mechanics and apparatus can support the suspension of disbelief regarding the assistant getting into a locked small box faster than is humanly possible.

Thomas said, " I seriously doubt the average audience finds the suggestion that Sum's partner squeezes though a 3-inch hole any more believable than they would the idea that Walker's partner is pulled through a 1-inch hole."

On this we are in complete agreement. The premise is not one that an audience in the 21st Century is going to buy. It's not going to lead to a suspension of disbelief. That's why the reference to the 3" hole in the second video only works as a cute remark and why the hole is now 3" rather than 1". It is there to serve a different purpose. It doesn't act as part of the premise it only acts as a way for us to see the assistant is in the box. The illusionist isn't trying suspend our disbelief of getting pulled through the hole. The premise they work with is that she gets into the box in an impossibly fast time.

Whether any individual likes the presentation built on the premise is another thing altogether.

I find a believable premise to be a minimum requirement for an illusion as any presentation that follows depends on it.

Tommy Wonder created a brilliant close up trick called 'The Squeeze'. It is the effect of visually putting a regular sized deck into a miniature card case and has a moment where you see, Tom and Jerry cartoon like, the deck of cards shrinking half in and half out the tiny card box.

Years ago I saw a back stage photo of David Copperfield halfway in an amazingly deceptive Jarret Pedestal that was made so well that it created the same look. His upper body looked like it was shrinking into an impossibly thin column.

If the 'Through the 1" hole illusion' had a moment such as described above the premise would be visually enforced and supported and the premise would stand a good chance of creating the suspension of disbelief that, in my opinion, it currently doesn't.

I don't get how Thomas' the point about the Reservoir Dogs scenes bear on the discussion of the premise being believable or not. The two ways the director could have gone with the scene both have the same premise. Ears can, and are going to be cut off.

Whether it's more scary and suspenseful to; not see it, than to; see it, is a matter of presentation. Both scenarios share a premise we can believe in. ie; 'He's going to cut his ear off', even though we know it's not actually happening and is just a bunch of actors. It's a premise we can believe in and so it supports the suspension of disbelief that's it's real, even though we actually know it's just a film and no ones ear actually gets cut off.

Style and content determines whether we like or don't like what we see, but a believable premise is needed to create the suspension of disbelief that all illusions require in order to meaningfully register with an audience. That's not to say a believable premise ensures a meaningful presentation that registers just that it gives it that possibility.
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
Thomas Wayne
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Quote:
On 2011-02-15 13:38, Sealegs wrote:
[...]

I don't get how Thomas' the point about the Reservoir Dogs scenes bear on the discussion of the premise being believable or not.

[...]


Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize that you were laying claim to this thread and had determined that it could ONLY be about your own "believable premise" issues. I foolishly thought we were still allowed to discuss aspects related to the original overall topic: "Thru a 1 inch hole...thoughts and ideas". Since I misunderstood the absolute nature of your thread-hijacking power I was mistakenly trying to point out some of the presentational distinctions between Fred Walker's version and JC Sum's version.

Please acccept my apology for not focusing entirely on you and your concerns.

TW
MOST magicians: "Here's a quarter, it's gone, you're an idiot, it's back, you're a jerk, show's over." Jerry Seinfeld
Sealegs
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Apology accepted Smile
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
Thomas Wayne
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Quote:
On 2011-02-15 13:54, Sealegs wrote:
Apology accepted Smile


Thank you. That is utterly... um, something of you.

TW
MOST magicians: "Here's a quarter, it's gone, you're an idiot, it's back, you're a jerk, show's over." Jerry Seinfeld
Fábio DeRose
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Quote:
In my opinion, most audiences see any impossible illusion as a puzzle - on some level.


Some magi take this to their advantage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TT56z_ZHnk
Fábio De'Rose - Ilusionista
www.ENIGMAGICO.com.br

Twitter @Enigmagico
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