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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magic names and the media » » On Blaine's "Real or Magic?" » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Slide
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Listen, I just looked at the clips on your site. I thought the magic you performed was well done, well crafted. But it was no different than a thousand other performers doing the same material. I must have seen the hand smash the cups with knives routine performed at least a dozen times. But with Blaines version, I was actually on the edge of my seat, and then to continue with the theme and actually run the needle through his hand....well, that was brilliant. It took the effect to a completely different level, which is what magic, and the progression of magic is all about. It is the reason I never go see magic anymore: the performers perform the same old tricks the same old way. Blaine brought something new and startling to the mix and I would think that anyone who loves the "art" of magic would see that.
BarryFernelius
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[Repeat of my post in the Workers section.]

I met David Blaine briefly back in 2010 at MagicCon in San Diego. He's an interesting guy, and he had started work on the TV special that aired last night. He said it might be his last TV special. (But who knows, right?)

There are three things that I admire about David Blaine and his magic:

1. Taking advantage of his medium - magicians are always saying, "David cheats! He cuts away when the trickery is done. It's not fair!" David doesn't play by Mark Wilson's rules for presenting magic on TV. Mark's rules were important; there might not have been any magic shows on TV back in those days without them. We owe Mark Wilson a debt of gratitude. But let's face it; things have changed, and those rules are gone forever. (In many ways, TV audiences are less sophisticated now than they were back then.) David and his team are masters of editing a performance down to its essence. They remove everything that isn't necessary. In doing so, the TV audience fools itself--by assuming things that were never established as true. I smiled many times during last night's performances. I kept thinking to myself, "If you were to see the whole trick rather than this excerpt, it wouldn't have been as impressive." (And I wonder how many hours of video were shot to be used for this show. It would be interesting to find out.) David uses the power of his medium to increase the impact of his magic.

2. Multicultural audience - if you watched magic on TV before David Blaine, the audiences were predominantly white. They were well-dressed and well-behaved. They offered polite applause after the magician performed his wonders. Last night, just as in his previous specials, David performed for celebrities, but he also performed for folks on the street. The people who experience David's magic look more like the America where I live. It's a multicultural mix, people of all kinds of different backgrounds. It's a racially diverse audience. And the diversity of the audience creates a diversity in the kinds of reactions that David gets. I think that this has changed magic for the better.

3. Audience experience - David's magic isn't about David at all; instead the focus is on how the experience of magic makes the audience feel. That's one of the reasons that actors and celebrities are good audiences for TV magic. David and his team were smart to pick the celebrities that they picked. They are experts at communicating feelings. The TV audience is entertained on at least two levels. First, they see magic effects that fool them. (And they're edited so that the methods aren't immediately obvious.) But second, the audience is flabbergasted at what happens to people (both celebrities and ordinary folks) who have a live experience of magic. Because the focus is on the audience experience, David can (and did) perform the same effect in several different contexts. This is the bottom line: the audience reactions are the show.

P.S. Juan Tamariz performed at MagicCon 2010. David was completely floored by him. Juan's performance of Mnemonicosis really impressed him. Based on what I saw, David took some of that knowledge and used it well. Mnemonicosis is powerful, but Mnemonicosis + Video Editing = Miracle.

P.P.S. David Blaine's TV specials create an opportunity for you. TV audiences are impressed, but the next day they'll wonder if some sort of video trickery is used. They might even suspect that some of the audience members could have been shills. When they experience your live performance of magic, you have the opportunity to create a strong experience for them. Live magic is intrinsically stronger than magic on TV, and you have a chance to make your audiences experience miracles. It's all up to you.
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

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magic4545
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Some of the top magicians the world disagree about my Slamdown. Simply because the decisions are direct, clear, and made by the audience members. I can go on and say that Jeff McBride uses it and features it in his lecture, but if you liked the one on Blaine's show better, then, that's okay, too. Mine has no cuts like Blaine's. If Blaine's fooled you, then that's fine, but there were a LOT of cuts and a LOT of confusion used to give the impressive outcome. Mine is ungimmicked, bulletproof, but, hey, the difference only matters to a few. A few people who I hold in high regard.

Not everything popular or famous or more expensive is better. But, hey, I digress.

Oh, most of my stuff is signature original work, but I know that none of that counts for anything in the mainstream world.

I just think that the Blaine special would have been just as good without the cuts and without editing out the dirty work. People are too lazy to rewind and rewatch. Not worth it with the amount of information that's out there. And I simply don't think that their attention span is that large. And, honestly, if they DID rewind and see the touches, then, hey, I think that they'll appreciate it more and become bigger fans than they were before.
magic4545
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Go look at Wizard Wars... No cutting for the effects. There were flashes EVERYWHERE in that, and it took nothing away from the comments and the overwhelming huge positive response that it received.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk7nercG1Hg

Let me know what you think...

JF
Slide
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"Some of the top magicians the world disagree about my Slamdown."

For me the only thing that matters is the reaction of the audience.

"
Not everything popular or famous or more expensive is better. "

and not everything unpopular, not famous, and cheap, is better.
magic4545
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The live audience's reaction to Slamdown is nothing less than the home audience's reaction to Blaine's smash and stab. So, that is why I'm proposing doing the organic, edit free version.
Slide
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Thanks Jimmy, I took a look. Personally I didn't find the combination of magic and reality show every entertaining. I had trouble getting through it.
magic4545
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Yeah, we're definitely on different wavelengths, then... but, I appreciate you taking a look. That's much more entertaining for me than the mainstream specials, but, I'm too close to it in some ways, I'm sure.
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I really loved watching "Real or Magic". I thought, not only with the Vernon tribute but other things like his version of Out of this World, that he was tipping his hat to the magic community overall. The close up stuff dominated ... better than some other of his specials. When he did the $100 bill switch and gsve it away to the young men in the 'hood ... that was just plain sweet. Fun to watch. Lynn
Slide
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Got it Jimmy. If you found your reality show concept more entertaining than the Blaine special, we are definitely on different wavelengths. We'll leave it there.
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7.6 million viewers and a 2.5 Nielsen rating (very solid). Looks like Mr. Blaine is doing something right!

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2013/11....../216939/
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Dear Kort,
Very interesting points you bring up.

Many in the fast company community that is us have been concerned about the presentation of magic on TV. Instantly video allows a cornucopia of editing / compositing / FX etc. etc. ruses. What makes the art of magic special from other arts is that it can be done live. It is more than a story. It is an event. At least this is what I believed for years. Actually I still believe this mostly. I am wondering really hard at this time of my life how magic should be defined. Are ideas magic? Does real magic exist? Is any form of influence a kind of real magic on some level? A mysterious intangible form of influence. Is all art magic? Or a path to magic. But back to the here and now and more pragmatic and less metaphysical. I think most will agree there is this art- magic. Which again is special because it can be done live. Wondrous fantastical events really can occur live. Blaine is controversial with many magicians for a couple reasons. I touched already on his odd dry personality. I respect that this just does not 'click' for everybody. But I totally forgot the editing / video concern. Thanks for reminding me of this. The editing of the Balducci levitation from the first show was outrageous. Yet I must say very effective and especially as the climax to the show. Actually the claim that there was this guy in NYC that could levitate anywhere anytime without a theatre probably more than anything built Blaine into an icon and celebrity initially. I remember laypeople everywhere buzzing about this. I am still trying to come to grips with the whole thing. It was unethical in a sense yet emotionally satisfying somehow in the context of the show for the show escalated to that effect. Which was logical since it is hard to imagine an effect that could top such an awesome idea.

Really important point in all this- misdirection is partially harder to do on video. The camera is a dead machine. It doesn't blink AND has no REASON and no EMOTIONS. How much right does a magician have to edit to his advantage or in addition plan with his crew to pan or tilt at key times to his advantage? Clearly this is the digital age and now with YouTube etc. online video may soon trump TV. The introduction of cameras into the world and into our art is an extremely interesting issue of much import. I will reflect on this deeply. I have really no answers about this at time being. What do you all think?

One thing I'll point out is that Blaine's focus on spectator's reactions was not just more entertaining but CRITICAL. Perhaps. Its not just o wow great reactions...which would be a 'bonus' to good reactions say for a comedian or singer etc. But the reactions conveyed the magic through the screen. Hey yo home audience if you were here live you would feel like these people. Hey yo all notice how amazed these people are by this coin or card trick. Yeah you are looking at a dead screen but they are here live and really amazed.

People don't go to the movies and scream and yell no matter how virtuoso the CGI and compositing is say in the recent Transformers- Dark of Moon or Dark Knight Rises. It is pleasing and a hell of a thrill ride but there is really no shock and awe bafflement because the SCREEN is there. There is no totality mystery. In a sense great magic our magic our art is NOT about "illusion" but DECEPTION. Illusion is ONE of the tools of our deceptions. The term Illusionist is used to say hey I'm not a trickster I'm a real artist amongst other great arts I am an illusionist ARTIST not a CON man. Yet really we are TRICKSTERS. We are CONNING people. Because without that deception there would be no real full actual deep lasting mystery. No strong false experience- of an impossible event. I mean an optical illusion say at a toy shop is cool but not an impossible event. Illusion is a nature method really. This is why as I said no matter how smooth and effective and brilliant the frames per second phenom that drives our culture today through computing and TV screens gets no matter how many frames per second you go up to or how high resolution it will still be a great ILLUSION to get lost in yes but not a NO WAY event because the way is clearly present- the screen or masterful tech / tools. If you had a stage show that used realistic screens and HID the existence of the screens now you would become a magician and put 'illusionist' on your billboard, but 'concealer' might be more appropriate. I am just riffing here.


What do you guys think?

About illusion vs. deception.

And about trying to convey magic through video. A huge issue with all the glut / labyrinth of 'magic' (magic???) content now unleashed on YouTube.


Best,

Cap
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Thanks newb!

I was looking for the ratings score last night but I don't think it had been posted yet then.
" Hands of invisible spirits touch the strings
Of that mysterious instrument, the soul,
And play the prelude of our fate."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Jimmy, here is what I think the difference is and quite honestly WHY I along with the America IS enjoying Blaine.

David Blaine makes the magic about the spectator. The reaction. The experience. Too many magicians, specifically a certain one on TV, makes the magic, the TV show, the experience about themselves.

I'll say this as cleanly as I can. There is too much magic self satisfaction. If you focus on the audience, EVERYTHING else will take care of itself.

Kevin
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Kevin- so true.


-


In the word 'heart' is 'hear' and 'art'.


Together, hearing (not just talking) mixed with skillful art can achieve max rapport and satisfaction for everyone involved.
" Hands of invisible spirits touch the strings
Of that mysterious instrument, the soul,
And play the prelude of our fate."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Quote:
On 2013-11-20 22:27, Kevin Ridgeway wrote:
Jimmy, here is what I think the difference is and quite honestly WHY I along with the America IS enjoying Blaine.

David Blaine makes the magic about the spectator. The reaction. The experience. Too many magicians, specifically a certain one on TV, makes the magic, the TV show, the experience about themselves.

I'll say this as cleanly as I can. There is too much magic self satisfaction. If you focus on the audience, EVERYTHING else will take care of itself.

Kevin


I LOVED THE SHOW….the end
"True success and satisfaction go only to those who really comprhend the underlying principles of why a trick succeeds or fails."-Greer Marechal
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I loved how David took the effects we first saw him do on magic man - with the ash on his arm - and then show us that SAME effect, but in a new way both with the ink on the back of the card or the graffiti on the wall.

If you missed it - or want to watch it again - it's here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXAFP6kSiT4

I also loved how he took very old tricks like Card in the Orange, PK Touch and Out of this World and showed us that it always comes back to presentation - don't be so quick to discard those classics of magic - you can get high over the top reactions from anything if you do it well enough.
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David has done it again! Reactions are real, One of the best Magic specials till now... It has a meaning, people are still talking... We'll done DB we'll done!!!
bonesly
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How anyway didn't enjoy that special baffles me. It was the most refreshing TV magic show I have seen for a longtime. Blaine has made audiences excited about magic again, and he has inspired me Smile
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I've spent my entire evening blowing cards to the ceiling. no regrets
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