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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Weakening an effect (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Dave Le Fevre
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Yesterday David Redfern performed on the UK TV programme "This Morning", and I just happened to see it.

He got a spec to hold up a newspaper, and then took a Polaroid photo of the guy. He took out the Polaroid print, and the spec pocketed it.

After performing several other effects, he asked Fern (one of the show's presenters) to think of a card from a deck that he fanned. She chose the King of Clubs.

The Polaroid photo was then shown to have a large King of Clubs on it where the newspaper had been.

David Redfern then took the newspaper, showed it to be The Times of that day, turned to the personal adverts, and showed an advert reading "David predicts that Fern will choose the King of Clubs".

Now it was all really well done, and it was a joy to watch.

But to me, the newspaper advert weakened it.

Trying to put myself in the place of a spec, I'd think "Wow, that's neat! The card appearing on the photo is clever. I can see how it could be done, but it's clever. But a randomly chosen card appearing on the photo – now that's bl**dy amazing!"

But with the advert, I'd think "Wow, that's neat! The card appearing on the photo is clever. I can see how it could be done, but it's clever. And the card force was nice too – I wonder how he did that?"

So, to my mind, it would have been stronger without the advert. But that's just my opinion. I suppose that the advert does give a double whammy effect.

Dave
The Ozzy Osbourne of the 34x27
ColinB
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I know what you mean, Dave. It was a great idea to have an ad in the paper, but after everything else it made it clear the card was forced (unless he'd got the TV presenter Fern Britten to stooge for him!). To me, it made it too good to be true, so the only explanation had to be the simplest. IMHO, I felt it would have been better to have the newspaper ad as a stand-alone trick, with a bit more mentalist mystery surrounding the card selection, creating more of a smokescreen to hide how it was done. Although, given the time constraints of his limited "slot", perhaps one can't blame him for filling it with as much as he could.

The most interesting thing for me, though, was the fact that he introduced himself with a simple Brainwave deck trick, which blew both presenters away!

It's nice to know you can appear on TV with a £6.99 self-working packet trick!

Of course, he went on to prove his skills were well beyond that, and he knew how to entertain and "do magic", but I was still encouraged by his faith in the Brainwave deck (and the reaction he got with it), and I for one will feel less self-conscious the next time I pull out my Invisible Deck and ask someone to think of a card!

Good luck to him!
Dave Le Fevre
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Yep, Brainwave Deck and Invisible Deck do blow laymen away, don't they?

And I liked his idea of having his (cased) Brainwave Deck in the spec's pocket until it was needed. "Now you've had the deck in your pocket all this time, haven't you? So there's nothing tricky that I can have done to it, is there?" (or words to that effect).

I didn't really want to blame him as such. I just wanted to air the question of whether or not it did, in fact, weaken the effect to a lay audience.

Dave
The Ozzy Osbourne of the 34x27
Wallace
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I'm inclined to agree Dave. A case of "Guilding the Lily"? Smile
Wallace B
ColinB
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Interestingly, my wife felt (from a layperson's viewpoint) that it was the polaroid photograph that spoiled the trick for her - she reckons more specs would know about gimmicked polaroid cameras (like the "Say Cheese" trick) than they do about forces. She felt the trick would have been much better leaving the photo out and the ad in, that the photo turned an otherwise intriguing mentalist trick into a cheesey, "kids' party" one.
Stephen Long
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Quote:
On 2002-05-23 08:22, ColinB wrote:
I know what you mean, Dave. It was a great idea to have an ad in the paper, but after everything else it made it clear the card was forced (unless he'd got the TV presenter Fern Britten to stooge for him!). To me, it made it too good to be true, so the only explanation had to be the simplest.


Surely then, a main issue we're dealing with here is whether or not it is possible for an effect to be too impossible.

Especially in terms of mentalism -- often an effect can be so mind blowing that it leaves no explanation other than the use of a stooge.

What are your thoughts about making an effect too impossible?
Perhaps when it is thought an effect is being strengthened, it is actually being weakened (as in the case above).
It certainly seems to be something we have touched on here already.
What are your thoughts?

Step
hen
:coolspot:
Hello.
Peter Marucci
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ColinB has a point, when he says his wife thought that the Polaroid camera weakened the effect.
We are looking at this from a magician's standpoint.
Try looking at it from the view of the lay person:
A Polaroid camera is a mechanical device that can be doctored to do a lot of things, thinks the lay person.
But a newspaper is a part of my daily life, thinks the lay person, and it's unlikely that it can be "doctored" in any way.
Never mind that all you have to do is insert a personal ad and force a card; the lay person will believe a newspaper more than he/she will believe a magician's camera!
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
Martin_H
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I agree (as so often) Smile with Peter!
Magicians see a trick from the "how it´s done" point of view... (the force, the control,..) - a layperson does not know about it and sees a trick in a more
"emotional" way.

It´s also my opinion that a daily life object is more un-suspicious to a layperson, than a "camera" (what you can do with todays cameras is almost magic...)
And second I think that putting together two good tricks (or methods) must not give an even better result. In most cases it weakens the effect (as seen in the above example) because the clearness of the effect gets lost (to laypersons..)
Martin
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Matt Graves
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Well, I have to make a fool of myself here. From reading it, I had no idea how the trick was done. The card force entered my mind, but I still thought it would be a risky business. I had no idea that there were cameras fixed to show playing cards in a certain place . . . I didn't see the show, but this dude had one heck of a trick. Would anyone mind explaining what the Brainwave effect was, though? It sounded like everyone was impressed with that one.
Smile
ColinB
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Serling 307, go to any magic supplier's website and look up "Brainwave Deck". It works on a similar principle to the "Invisible Deck", which you may already have/be aware of.
Peter Marucci
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Serling, PUHLEEZE! Don't think you are making a fool of yourself by asking a legitimate question.
Nobody was born knowing this stuff!
And, besides, that's what we're here for: To help each other out in those areas where we are lacking in certain knowledge.
Hey, after 50 years in magic, I'm still learning and still a "babe in the woods" in some areas.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
John Clarkson
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A too perfect effect. Gosh! I love playing around with close-up effects and actually find most of my joy in the inconsistencies that almost always present themselves. They reveal so much about how we think, how we SELECTIVELY observe. For example, I use a cheap version of pen through bill. Several times during the effect, the cap is on the wrong end of the pen, if you trace all previous actions. No one notices. This, frankly, is what gives me the biggest thrill.

In fact, when working out a simplified version of "The Devlish Miracle" I eliminated an inconsistency: Tabled deck was face down and logically should have been face up if the later-revealed, reversed card was to be facing in the "right" direction. I re-worked the routine so that the deck sat face-up on the table, as God intended! Guess what! The face up deck simply added more distraction since spectators seemed to think there was going to be something significant about the face card of the tabled deck. Their eyes kept darting to the deck. Well, I didn't need that kind of misdirection, and finally went back to the "imperfect" version.
:nose:
John D. Clarkson, S.O.B. (Sacred Omphaloskeptic Brotherhood)
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"There is nothing more important to a magician than keeping secrets. Probably because so many of them are Gay."
—Peggy, from King of the Hill (Sleight of Hank)
Thomas Wayne
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Common in many of my close-up sets is Larry Jenning's "The Visitor". The pairs of Queens are already on the table from a previous routine (I always use the first to segue into the second) and at that point I want to have a card selected.

I usually do this by dribbling the cards from one hand to the other - asking the spectator to stop me "whenever they want" - and I end up with half the deck in each hand. Because the right hand is holding the top half of the deck in "Biddle" grip, I set that half down on the table - between the pairs of Queens.

It's obviously the top half of the deck, but a moment later I refer to it as the bottom half, for reasons that are too involved to explain here. Early in my experience with this routine I tried to correctly identify which half was which, but I found it caused confusion and suspicion where there need not be any. So I began to refer to the halves incorrectly and all seems right to the spectators.

Oddly (to my way of thinking, anyway) I have NEVER had anyone call me on the discrepency; it still bugs me, however, to have to mis-call the two halves, merely for the sake of flow...

Regards,
Thomas Wayne
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
p.b.jones
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As the topic of this post was about weakening an effect. I have copied a post of mine from secret sessions. It is in response to a post which suggested that intercessor (G. Bloom) was too perfect. I am interested in your views on this too perfect theory. You will find mine in the post below.


Hi,
I must say that personally, I have never gone with this Too perfect theory myself.
To me the more perfect it is the more like real magic the effect is. It does not seem logical or of any benifit in making it less than perfect.

The logic behind this reasoning seems to be that if it's too perfect, some of the spectators will jump to the conclusion of how it is done, because of that impossiblity.

Therefore the performer gives them a lesser effect that is not so impossible and has some possible solution. but not the one actually used.

But actually aren't they still working the trick out as far as they are concerned.
So where is the gain?

My money is with Tamariz: make it as perfect as possible, lead them toward a soloution, then kill it, until they are left without any solution.

Anyway if you want a way to convince them subtly that the card is really the same card
try this:-

add an identical, noticable, imperfection to both cards something that looks like a slight printing error (use a razor blade)
and also use the Tamariz subtlty of letting them tear off the corner.

I have actually heard them after the show saying, "it was definitely the same card because I noticed a little blemish on the pip"

Phillip
hackmonkey
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I have to agree with the Tamariz idea.
I like to make an effect seem as impossible as I can. Sometimes I will let them think they have figured out the solution only to blow their theory over. Like holding my hand in a certain way as if I am hiding something, let them say 'it's there' etc. then have a little discussion about showing them my hand let them win the debate and show my empty hand. This sort of 'sucker' bit stops them from futher persuing you when you do other effects. Smile
Look behind you...on your left...thats the real world.



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Dolini
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John,
I get amusement from the same area as you do. I have a trick that has two cards I show front and back. Just by the movement of my hand (paddle like) I switch places with the cards. One is a double back if you know what I mean and the other has two faces. If the person seeing the trick really thought about it they could tell the positions of the cards are not correct when I show both sides in a paddle effect. I put the double face behind my back and ask what is in my hand. They are always wrong if you know what I mean and this makes me laugh inside at how we actually are.

Dolini Smile
John O'Shea Dolan
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Dolini
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Sorry I did not stick to the subject, weakening an effect. I believe some of us complicate a simple magic effect by adding too much to the trick. I see the Camera, the news paper with the KC on it with a head line is a little too much. He may have thought like a lot of us, if I can change this trick to make it better it will become mine. More is not absolutey essential to achieve the desired effects.

Dolini Smile Smile
John O'Shea Dolan
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