The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The words we use » » Do you have a Premise? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
Tom Gaddis
View Profile
Regular user
Maui
141 Posts

Profile of Tom Gaddis
PREMISE is something I haven't seen discussed in this section yet.

So I thought I'd start off the discussion with an excerpt from #4 in the Ron Bauer Private Studies Series "Butch, Ringo, and the Sheep."

So with Ron's permission I give you:
-------------------------------------------------------
PREMISE

The PREMISE is the "What if" that creates interest and provides a means for the audience to follow the development of a situation, all of which helps you control perfromance.

All tweny-four four of the Ron Bauer Private Studies Series are PREMISE DRIVEN, which means based on a single dramatic idea and a PAYOFF. (PREMISE is covered in the first three books of the series.)

The PAYOFF is usually the CLIMAX of a situation, and can be identified by a TAG LINE to cue the audience to applaud. (Refer to #3 "Feminine Side" for more on TAG LINES and PUNCH LINES.)
-------------------------------------------------------

I hope this starts a good discussion and I can't wait to read your ideas on this.

Regards,

Tom
"The dumber people think you are. The more surprised they'll be when you kill them."
JimMaloney
View Profile
Inner circle
1186 Posts

Profile of JimMaloney
Premise is absolutely essential. It answers the WHY of magic. Why are we doing this? What's the point?

My question would be...how do you determine the premise for an effect? Does it come from the effect itself, or is it something you create? I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts on this.

-Jim
Books and Magazines for sale -- more than 200 items (Last updated January 17th, 2014. Link goes to public Google Doc.)
RyanJonPilling
View Profile
New user
Calgary, AB
35 Posts

Profile of RyanJonPilling
I love the premise. (I usually call it "the concept" but it's the same idea) This is my usual starting point for original material.

Some people start with an idea for a visual effect, some folks start with a method and see what they can do with it... for me, I will hardly ever develop an idea unless it has a premise I consider worthwhile. These "presentation concepts" are the golden nuggets of m notebook. These are the things I can bring to life. Everything else is just orphaned tid-bits waiting to find a foster premise.

A real-life example: I present the invisible deck as a demonstration of the world's fastest deck switch under test conditions. That's a premise I can bite in to, and really sell throughout the routine. The premise is a vehicle for many of the jokes and bits of business. It all makes sense within that concept.

If you haven't made a conscious decision about the premise of a routine, there's a very good chance you also don't know what to say as you introduce the effect. If you don't know what the routine is about, you can hardly tell them what to expect.

The second most important thing, after actually finding a premise, is to present a variety of them within a show. If your premise is the same, then the trick is basically the same (to the audience).

Now, by default, the premise of most magic tricks is "let me show you something cool". That's not entirely a bad thing in itself... it's just straight magic. Presented well, it can be "pure" magic. However, a whole show of "let me show you cool stuff" is lacking any texture.

As for discovering the premise of a routine... (I always have a hard time teaching the way I think about these things) ... I feel it's important to 'think outside the magic'. I'm not sure how to describe that one just now. So I'll leave it at that.

-Ryan Pilling
Playing Big - http://www.PlayingBig.net
A blog for performers about "Making Magic Out Of Tricks"
Tom Gaddis
View Profile
Regular user
Maui
141 Posts

Profile of Tom Gaddis
Quote:
On 2003-10-08 11:31, RyanJonPilling wrote:

That's a premise I can bite in to
-Ryan Pilling


Ryan,

What do you mean?

Jim,

I asked RB your question and here's the answer he gave me.

"You derive the PREMISE from human nature. People aspire to things. So if your looking to do comedy, like I do in my series, you look for aspirations that our potentially ludicrous."

For example:
#2 "Sudden Death Gypsy Curse"
PREMISE: What if my family was cursed by a disgruntled gypsy?

#3 "Feminine Side"
PREMISE: What if I knew a psychological test to reveal a man's feminine side?

Hope this helps.

Tom
"The dumber people think you are. The more surprised they'll be when you kill them."
RyanJonPilling
View Profile
New user
Calgary, AB
35 Posts

Profile of RyanJonPilling
When I said it's something I could bite into, I mean it's a strong decision that takes control over the routine.

There's nothing that can ruin a good idea faster than the performer who doesn't totally commit to it. The premise is weak if it is not applied to the fullest extent to the entire routine.

If there is a phase in the coin trick that does not fit the premise, you have a weak spot.

I find full commitment to a mediocre premise will yield better results than a light coating of brilliance.

I often see in theatrical productions spots where a director, or actor, has made a weak decision. It results in it being kinda flat.

With full commitment, you push the premise to the limits of the rouitne, often discovering new bits 'o' business that fit the context. That's how "signature pieces" are developed.

So... dig in... bite hard.

-Ryan Pilling
Playing Big - http://www.PlayingBig.net
A blog for performers about "Making Magic Out Of Tricks"
Tom Gaddis
View Profile
Regular user
Maui
141 Posts

Profile of Tom Gaddis
Quote:
On 2003-10-08 12:17, RyanJonPilling wrote:

I find full commitment to a mediocre premise will yield better results than a light coating of brilliance.

-Ryan Pilling


Just out of curiosity could you give me an example.

Tom
"The dumber people think you are. The more surprised they'll be when you kill them."
RyanJonPilling
View Profile
New user
Calgary, AB
35 Posts

Profile of RyanJonPilling
I'll be trying to capture a performance in words here that is a good example of what I consider an important part of full commitment to a premise.

With 100% commitment to a premise, every action is justified in context of the presentation. Even "standard" things like having a card chosen can be worked into the premise.

I'll use a snippet from a presentation concept for a basic "Triumph" effect. (which I improvised once while trying to demonstrate the gist of this topic to some magicians)

The premise begins: "Politics have been a part of our society since the beginning. Not a whole lot has changed since the early days. The really early days. Back when the village chief would not be elected... but chosen by divine right"

(turn to spectator) "You get to pretend you are a god. The unusual part is that these other people are going to go along with it this time." *wink*

(spread out the pack) "The village people... sorry... the people of the village would be going about their business. When all of a sudden, the clouds would part, and down would come... the hand of a god! (to spectator) That's your cue... but since you are a diety... you likely knew that."

"The hand of god came down through the clouds and in a flash of brilliance, batteries-not-included, one true leader was chosen. (that's where they pick a card) And that villager rose to the height of power (your choice... put it on top of the pack, or do a one-phase ambitious card) where they ruled over all."

"And it was good. ...for this guy, at least!"

"But a murmur grew throughout the village. It seems that some were questioning his 'divine rule'... and eventually... inevitably... REVOLT! The village chief was overthrown (cut the pack, burying the selection) and anarchy descended upon the land. Chaos ensued. (do a slop shuffle... haphazardly mixing face up and face down) ...pillaging... looting... let's just say things were less than spiffy."

For weeks there was nothing but confusion... fear... un-spiffy stuff! It wasn't until a hero of the revolution emerged (snap your fingers over the pack) that order... and civility returned to the village (spreading the pack, showing the cards to be face down) and a true leader presented themselves (spread to reveal face up selection in the middle of the pack) and upon returning to the exalted seat atop the village (again, your choice of a direct placement, or a color-change move) they had proved that they earned that position. And with that, the village happily followed the guidance of the veteran leader, and he, in turn, thanked the gods for giving him the opportunity."

(footnote: I really added a lot to my original premise here in the act of writing it down. I think I detected a change of tone from beginning to end that would need to be smoothed out before making it a "performance piece". Oh well!)

So... the benefits of 100% committal to the premise as illustrated in the script above:

1) Absolutely EVERY movement of the cards AND the spectator involvement is wrapped up in the context of the presentation. Nothing is extraneous.

2) In the beginning, there are a few opportunities for jokes (though they may not be great) that would not exist without that strong premise.

3) It takes a very basic, straightforward plot and builds it up to something that could pass for entertainment.

Now... You could take the same premise and apply it as a "light coating":

"Ya know, like, politics and stuff? Ya... well.. lemme show ya something. Pick a card. Good. Here... I'll take the card and make it the leader of the cards. Now what happens if the leader gets kicked out? A big mess. But watch... everything straightens back out except the chosen card. See... he is the leader."

A super-simplified (but perhaps not ALL that simplified) example of a light coating of premise. It ends up being more like talking about something else while a card trick is going on at the same time. Though you may not realize it by reading the above example, but this is a frightfully common occurence.

Well... I hope that is a good example of what I was trying to say.

-Ryan Pilling
Playing Big - http://www.PlayingBig.net
A blog for performers about "Making Magic Out Of Tricks"
Tom Gaddis
View Profile
Regular user
Maui
141 Posts

Profile of Tom Gaddis
Ryan,

As I was reading your last post it occurred to me.

You have no idea what PREMISE means do you?

Regards,
Tom
"The dumber people think you are. The more surprised they'll be when you kill them."
RyanJonPilling
View Profile
New user
Calgary, AB
35 Posts

Profile of RyanJonPilling
Tom,

I feel that I understood the meaning from Ron Bauer's excerpt. (Though perhaps a PREMISE is completely different than a premise Smile )

However, I have not really been talking much about the "premise" in my posts here. I've been focusing on commitment and follow-through on a premise.

It's not much good to talk about a premise without discussing practical applications, and how to actually USE it.

If I have completely misunderstood your intentions, let me know, and I'll leave this thread alone.

-Ryan Pilling
Playing Big - http://www.PlayingBig.net
A blog for performers about "Making Magic Out Of Tricks"
Dowdy
View Profile
New user
23 Posts

Profile of Dowdy
What if I told you that this thread is going in the wrong direction?

Just a thought,

Dowdy
http://www.thinklikeaconjurer.com
Tom Gaddis
View Profile
Regular user
Maui
141 Posts

Profile of Tom Gaddis
Ryan,

There is a misunderstanding here. I was replying to your post:
"I love the premise. (I usually call it "the concept" but it's the same idea) This is my usual starting point for original material."

Then on this post:
"However, I have not really been talking much about the "premise" in my posts here."

I thought we were simply discussing theatrical and performance ideas so that all of us could understand them better.

Of Course I welcome any intelligent discussion, but if you prefer to only spend time on threads which everyone agrees you’re free to stay or leave, as are all of us.

I was taught that debates and discussions could be a huge waste of time if everyone doesn't understand the terminology used. In debate this is known, of course, as "define your terms."

I can tell that you’re sincere and passionate about your ideas. I admire that. I'm passionate about what I believe in, too.

Best Regards,

Tom
"The dumber people think you are. The more surprised they'll be when you kill them."
RyanJonPilling
View Profile
New user
Calgary, AB
35 Posts

Profile of RyanJonPilling
Ok... back-up... I'm guessing I'm not coming across to clear here.

Tom... honestly, sincerely... I was not intending to get defensive. I would LIKE to discuss this further.

Seriously, I haven't been able to discover how our ideas on this differ all that much. I've asked a few freinds reading this if I'm missing something, and they couldn't see anything either.

Please do take the time to explain this to me. Perhaps an elaboration on what your opinion is on this whole "premise" thing.

Humbly awaiting further education,

Ryan Pilling
Playing Big - http://www.PlayingBig.net
A blog for performers about "Making Magic Out Of Tricks"
dmk_kirkland
View Profile
Loyal user
257 Posts

Profile of dmk_kirkland
Ryan, I think what Tom is getting at is this - For your example how would you finish the following sentence:
"What if ...."

I just tried and I found it difficult to put it into one sentence.

That said I think you've put a lot of thought into your presentation to integrate the actions with your story line.

Tom: You did ask for an example of his commitment to a premise, which he did.

I have only relatively recently discovered the RB manuscripts. I believe Ron has a fair bit of theatrical background, while the majority of us do not. I think it's easy to misunderstand the idea of a premise - not sure I do completely. It's one of those things that when given examples you go "yeah ok I can see how that is a premise" but when left to your own you can easily go astray.

Perhaps RB or someone can write or point out some references giving more detail on the theatrical concepts. The only problem I see with the RB manuscripts is that we get to see just the results and not how they were achieved ... I know that's not an easy thing to do. But it is the difference between catching a man a fish and teaching him how to fish.

Anyways just my meaningless ramblings - feel free to ignore them. I often do Smile

Premise : "What if the deck represented a primitive tribal society?"

Is this a premise? Why or Why not?

Tom, perhaps you could help Ryan define a premise for his presentation, or explain why there isn't one.
Cheers,
David
RyanJonPilling
View Profile
New user
Calgary, AB
35 Posts

Profile of RyanJonPilling
Bob Newhart uses a lot of "what if" in his stand-up comedy.

"What if the night King Kong climbed the Empire State Building was also the first night for a new guard."

"Umm... boss... sorry to call so late, but something came up that isn't covered in the manual....."

Hilarity ensues.

I prefer that over "one-liner" comedians, just as I prefer magic with a premise over finger-flinging.

-Ryan Pilling
Playing Big - http://www.PlayingBig.net
A blog for performers about "Making Magic Out Of Tricks"
landmark
View Profile
Inner circle
within a triangle
4684 Posts

Profile of landmark
Quote:
Now... You could take the same premise and apply it as a "light coating":

"Ya know, like, politics and stuff? Ya... well.. lemme show ya something. Pick a card. Good. Here... I'll take the card and make it the leader of the cards. Now what happens if the leader gets kicked out? A big mess. But watch... everything straightens back out except the chosen card. See... he is the leader."


Ryan, many thanks for your post. I think it is hilariously accurate. I don't really care if it is on topic or off topic (though I think it is on topic). You've taught at least one person an important aspect of the art of magic. I certainly recognized myself as being guilty at times of the above, and will certainly look out for such "presentations" in the future.

But I don't think I'm the only one guilty . . .

Jack Shalom
snilsson
View Profile
Regular user
Stockholm, Sweden
186 Posts

Profile of snilsson
I also found Ryan's example very illuminating. Thinking for yourself is typically more fruitful than trying to find answers by exegesis.
dmk_kirkland
View Profile
Loyal user
257 Posts

Profile of dmk_kirkland
Dowdy, would you care to elaborate? Why do you think it is going in the wrong direction? What would you say is the right direction?

Having read some the RB manuscripts convinced me to try to apply some of his ideas to other classic effects to make them more my own. Some effect like:
Ambitious card
COins Across
Matrix

I've only really played with the Ambitious card at this point but some of the premises I've looked at:

What if the line between the dreamworld and reality crossed?

What if a magician had a nightmare?

What if a naughty card prevented you from completing a trick?

Tom, is this more what you were after? Any comments?
Cheers,
David
Tom Gaddis
View Profile
Regular user
Maui
141 Posts

Profile of Tom Gaddis
Quote:
On 2003-10-10 11:44, RyanJonPilling wrote:

Perhaps an elaboration on what your opinion is on this whole "premise" thing.

Ryan Pilling

Ryan,

It doesn't matter what my opinion is. We can use the dictionary and find out exactly what a premise is.

Premise:
A proposition that forms the basis of an argument or from which a conclusion is drawn

Encarta® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1999,2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Tom
"The dumber people think you are. The more surprised they'll be when you kill them."
JimMaloney
View Profile
Inner circle
1186 Posts

Profile of JimMaloney
Tom,
I'm still a bit confused about the post where you stated that it seemed as if Ryan didn't understand what you meant by "premise". Could you elaborate on what you think he (and I) are missing?

-Jim
Books and Magazines for sale -- more than 200 items (Last updated January 17th, 2014. Link goes to public Google Doc.)
Tom Gaddis
View Profile
Regular user
Maui
141 Posts

Profile of Tom Gaddis
Quote:
On 2003-10-08 11:31, RyanJonPilling wrote:

A real-life example: I present the invisible deck as a demonstration of the world's fastest deck switch under test conditions. That's a premise I can bite in to, and really sell throughout the routine.
-Ryan Pilling


Jim,

Compare Ryan's statement above with the definition of premise to see what I mean.

We're not discussing my "opinions about this premise thing." These are terms that have clear definitions.

It's important that we don't use "Humpty Dumpty logic" (See Lewis Carroll) when discussing these things.

Tom
"The dumber people think you are. The more surprised they'll be when you kill them."
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The words we use » » Do you have a Premise? (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2019 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.4 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