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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Nothing up my sleeve... » » Regarding the meaning behind the effect. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

OliveroG
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After a magic convention I ended up thinking about this quite a lot. Is the idea behind the effect any important? Miguel Angel Gea brings up the point that having an idea, a concept, a meaning behind a magic effect enhances the passion of the performance and therefore, the impact on the crowd. However, does that help if you don't have the required presentation skill? Is meaning only... Meaningful, when correctly presented? Is there any magic effect that, without any presentation or argument, entertains?. Does magic requires a "Logic" behind it? Does it requires argument? Is magic inherently entertaining or does it require our help? I've heard somewhere that magic is one of the few artforms that support a weak performer. I don't have the answer to any of those questions, I have some thoughts about them that are not in anyway definitive, so I would like to hear what you guys have to say about anything regarding this topic.

Coin guys are cooler in this site I think, that's why I ask here and not in the Cardmagic forum.
I hope you understand, my dear friend, that everything you are seeing is a lie, but everything you are feeling holds true.
Horatio
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I think that meaning without well thought out presentation can be a gamble. Derren Brown's 'Infamous' show had some sort of meaning thrown about in various bits, but not always to great effect. He stopped one effect half way through to preach his beliefs and so for me the effect was less enjoyable (particularly since I'm not fond of being preached at). He also talked a lot about big issues in his life, presumably to give meaning to the performance, but the tricks didn't really relate to them, so whilst the individual effects were still good, the show was let down by the approach (in my view).

I agree that there's some cool stuff going on in this coin section of the Café (although I like the card section a lot too), but where's the presentation/ showmanship section? It would be great to have all of the really good questions about this topic (like the OP's) in one place.
funsway
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Many threads on the Café' have addressed the concept of "the story told after" by the spectator who has been a participant in the play/story as it unfolds. It is easy to learn a "trick" and fool your friends. It is reasonably simple to migrate to a "magic effect" in which presentation becomes a vital part of engaging a spectator. The final step is making the Effect meaningful to a specific spectator or audience. In Temariz words, "The Skelton, Flesh and Clothing" of performance magic. You can choose to develop a couple of favorite Effect and inflict them on any audience -- or you can develop a repertoire of Effects and select those ideal for a particular setting and audience. Of course, you can also become famous and only attract those to an audience who desire to see your favorite Effects and style/

There need be no more "idea behind the effect" than this. What Effect will engage this particular audience in the creation of a story to be told to grandchildren? Does it have to have a deeper moral impact, or "lesson of life" to be taught? That must come from the memories of the specter -- not you. You might plant the seed, but the fruit is of their own making. That is the magic!

My experience is that you must learn to sublimate any personal egoic needs and adapt your presentation to the moment. This is not a popular view -- especially if your objective is future bookings. However, there may be a nugget of truth here for you that can be taken to heart.

.........

There is also the concept that your task is not to "do magic," but to create astonishment and leave the response of "magic" up to the spectator. What you can do is establish an "expectation" in the spectator that magic is about to occur, that you are going to orchestrate it, and that you are doing this NOW! The astonishment comes from next creating an "anticipation" of a result and then doing something else (surprise). The continuous juggling of Anticipation and Surprise can leave the spectator with a "story of magic" beyond the impact or weakness of any particular Effect. Thus, there can be an "idea behind the show" that is different from "the idea behind an effect." For example, one Effect in a show might be deliberately "weak" from an astonishment point of view in order to make you appear more human and "get on the side of the audience." Some well known performers even teach the audience how to do a magic trick -- then cross them up with an alternative result. "Presentation" is essential, but only part of the complete orchestration of the "magic memory."
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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Atom3339
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I'm not sure you need MEANING in doing every effect, but I agree with the theory that you should always have a REASON for whatever you do.
TH

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jcrabtree2007
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Quote:
On 2013-08-15 10:35, Atom3339 wrote:
I'm not sure you need MEANING in doing every effect, but I agree with the theory that you should always have a REASON for whatever you do.


I agree.
Jon Allen's Connection goes into that concept pretty well. He has some great effects on that dvd but what I took away most from it is "why are you doing that. Why should they care".
I believe if you are not making a connection with your audience, you are going to bore them to tears.
Think about the type of connection a greg wilson makes with his audience. Or a Pop Hadyn. Or Bill Malone. The magic almost becomes secondary.
Have some purpose. The story doesn't have to be long and unless you truly are a character (i.e. Pop) then a short reason or story will usually suffice.
Mb217
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Sometimes you don't need a story at all. When your character is strong, sometimes you don't even have to utter a word and the magic truly speaks for itself. In this sort of magic, the deeper "meanings and connections" are within the background of the moment, hidden but functioning as intended like the plumbing in the walls. Mickey Silver comes to mind. Smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnbDnQJbYJA
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fonda57
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Think about what you want to do, say a coins across. How do you wish to present it? Personally, I would not opt for a "four in this hand, now one goes across, now there's three here and one here.." kind of approach. For what it's worth, I usually say the coins are taking a final exam in teleportation, and at the end, the all go home (vanish). It works for me.

Magic requires imagination.
I j
gregg webb
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The late great Charles Reynolds, the brains behind some of the great acts, used to say "the best way to give meaning to magic is to do it well." While on the subject, David Roth always teaches that you have to make a gesture or say a magic word or do something, such as "if I wiggle my thumbs another coin goes across". Or do something with your wand...anything that is what you the magician have to do to make the thing happen. Jeff McBride and I used to discuss this as a little "ceremony" that makes the magic happen. If you do nothing...and something happens, then that is a puzzle. If you do something that causes the effect to take place, in the viewer's mind, they will go along with it and suspend their disbelief and enjoy your magic. But, be consistent, and work as much on this aspect of your magic as on the actual 'moves'.
tombola
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I don't think there is anything wrong with just presenting a good trick as a good trick, sometimes it's nice to tie routines together with some kind of presentation that runs through your whole performance, and sometimes if you are really trying to convince the audience that they are witnessing a miracle your patter and presentation can be really important, but there are also times when I find it better just to present a coin trick as a coin trick. I don't see what is wrong with telling somebody that the coins will travel from one hand to the other, if you then perform the trick well. It is almost as magicians don't think magic is entertaining in it self. And of course you have to be a performer when you are doing magic, you should know how to interact with an audience or with your spectators, but you don't have to be a storyteller or anything like that. Just like jugglers don't have to come up with a reason for throwing balls in the air, I don't think we need to either.
Lawrence O
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It all boils down to the old discussion:
Is the magic in the props ? Then we are magic shop demonstrators of really smart boxes or gaffs.
Is the magic with the performer? and then as Tombola underlines, we would just be the magical branch of smart jugglers.
Or is magic responsible for the effect? Then neither the performer nor the props are accountable for the effect: magic is.

Tommy Wonder used to say that for magic to exist we need to have an emotion, a conflict and the resolution of the conflict by magic (not by the magician, by magic)

Now a story is not by nature "my grandfather..." It is, IMHO, a character acted by a performer with Tommy Wonder's approach on a beginning a middle and an end.

Read Designing Miracles or Strong Magic by Darwin Ortiz.
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
landmark
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There's turkey prepared in a gourmet manner, and then there's turkey roll. Depends on the occasion and expectation.
Atom3339
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LOL@landmark. True, so true!
TH

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bowers
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Some effect's look better with a story or patter.
While other's need nothing at all.
Todd
Ray Haining
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Some effects NEED story-line patter because they are weak effects. For me, it's about the magic (we're talking about close-up magic here). (I know, there are expreienced performers who post on this site who say it's all about the performer. But I disagree.) Patter is just the grease that helps things along.

Of course, you need a pleasant personality. If the audience doesn't like you, they will not like, or even be interested in seeing, your magic.
fonda57
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One thing for sure, you always need to paint a clear picture, so everyone knows what's happening. I always liked the saying "you can't expect an audience to know you changed apples to oranges if they didn't know they were apples to begin with."
I j
Jonathan Townsend
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Meaning, if I ready your question correctly, is contextual. It's not "what happened" but "how did it affect them".

Logic - perhaps you are addressing the matters of "accounting for the magic" and "consistency of character and actions" ? IE if you snap your fingers and make the entire deck straighten out once how come you don't do that in other tricks later?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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