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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Hardest people to FOOL? (14 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Kbuck54
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KIDS
SHAZAM!
1KJ
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Quote:
On Apr 14, 2014, funsway wrote:
Methinks that if "fooling people" is a measure of performance magic there is something wrong with either the presentation or choice of effect for a particular audience. People like to be amazed and astonished -- and even to find a challenging puzzle. No one likes to be "fooled." It is easy to fool anybody -- just run for public office.


I agree with the spirit of Funsway's answer. I know you are asking who is harder to fool, but I think what Funsway is saying is that if you focus on how you are presenting magic, it can be more about how can have fun and entertain ANYONE. Magic that you see demoed in product ads and on youtube is often presented as a challenge to "fool" the audience. One reason is that it can be presented quicker that way. However, if you watch a magician entertainer working a gig, you will see that they generally spend more time entertaining and less time "fooling". Entertainment comes from creating fun interaction with people.

Here is an example, One of my favorite effects is a variation of Mark Mason's "Stuck up Monte". This is an amazing effect that I think would "fool" most every single person who is not familiar with it's method. If you watch his Penguin Live lecture, you will see he opens with this. He explains how he takes the "challenge" out of the routine with the patter he uses. In the version I do, I don't even present it as a monte explanation, which in itself is a "challenge". I present it as a fun bit about how all magicians always remove the jokers because they will mess things up. I "accidentally" forget to remove the jokers and demonstrate what can happen.

KJ
JohnnyPD
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While I think most of us got the original questioners question or the meaning behind it, since we've discussed some of the folks that are hardest to "fool," but if we DO take you literally then I have to jump on the Funsway ship. I was trying to recall which magician said this and I scanned a couple of books I have, but I'm pretty certain now it was Penn Gillette who said that when performing magic you should never make your audience feel stupid. Penn & Teller are a classic example of this because they would sometimes let you in on the secret or explain the secret to you while they performed a trick. Their classic cup and balls routine with the clear glasses is a great example, because even when you can SEE how it's done, when it's done as skillfully as Teller's performance... you're still left amazed.

When you've been fooled doesn't that make you a fool? That would be making your audience feel stupid and not the kind of feelings you want to conjure up in your audience. You can amaze them, make them feel awe, dazzle them, delight them, and mostly entertain them. I've heard it said from several top magicians of the past and the present say, "It's not what you do, but how you do it." Some have gone on to say that they'd prefer to see a bad/cheap trick done exceptionally, rather than see a fantastically amazing trick done poorly. I think this is a prime example of why new magicians need to stay out of the magic shops and concentrate on making their own magic without the gimmicks.

David Blaine is not very entertaining. He's rather droll and even his speaking tone is very monotonous. He reminds me of the teacher from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," Ben Stine. I do enjoy David's TV specials, but he's not the one entertaining me, it's his audience. Whether it's the reactions of "the guy on the street" or the celebrity in his home, those are the most entertaining things about David's specials. Ricky Gervaais (sp?) reaction when David sticks a big needle thru his arm is priceless. Now, to give David credit, he does get these reactions out of these people. I just have to wonder how entertaining he'd be on a stage with the audience seated and behind the bright lights.

One of the praises that Doug Henning used to receive was that he shared in the awe and wonder of the magic just like his audience. Whenever he performed a trick and it worked, he would almost act surprised or at least delighted and amazed as well. He made magic... magic... cause THAT'S what it's about. It's not about "fooling" anyone or making anyone feel foolish or stupid, it's about amazement, delight, joy, laughter, or we can call it simply, ENTERTAINMENT!

Doug Henning had a famous line that he would quote at the end of each of his specials and I think sums it up quite nicely.

"Anything the mind can conceive is possible. Nothing is impossible. All you have to do is look within, and you can realize your fondest dreams. I would like to wish each one of you all of life's wonders and a joyful age of enlightenment."
Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, you can make anything happen.
Ethan Lin
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Quote:
On Apr 16, 2014, djurmann wrote:
Family members can be tough too


Completely agree. When I do tricks for my family, they always want to shuffle the deck, check a card to make sure it is the selection, as soon as the trick is over they inspect the card and the deck (have to clean up really fast). No one else asks to see the deck or shuffle it at the start or double check the face down card I give them is their card no matter how I try to phrase it.

-EL
"Now you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled." - Cutter
danhughes
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I have one family member (brother-in-law) who always wanted to double-inspect everything at every step of the trick.

I finally told him he was ruining the fun for the others, and it would be better if instead of trying to sabotage my tricks, he should watch carefully and quietly and try to figure out why the trick works.

Jerk.
Ethan Lin
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I have a mate in school like this. If I were to give him a deck to pocket as a prediction he would try and take the cards out and look after I did a trick called "Lucky back flip" (that's the name I associate with it) He also insists I continually do tricks over and over again so he can watch different places to try and find out how I do it. He is one of those people who you would class as thinking they are geniuses (and in fairness to him he is smart enough) and he thinks he cannot be fooled.

Which makes it all the more fun when he is fooled and wants to know how it worked.

-EL
"Now you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled." - Cutter
Kbuck54
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As I said before, Kids are a tough crowd, or Drunks. Heaven forbid that you have to perform in front of DRUNK KIDS.
Oh, and family, including drunks and kids.
Keith
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Ethan Lin
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There is a growing number of 16 year olds that drink - I should know, most of my year have started now. And I can imagine what it would be like to perform for them. I agree with what you mean by kids but unfortunately I find it difficult to perform for my younger brother and sister because they have just gotten bored of me constantly doing tricks for them - apparently Dr Who is more appealing to them Smile

-EL
"Now you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled." - Cutter
Dynamike
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Others magicians. When you run into others at a convention, lecture, club meeting, etc., you will have more of a challenge on your hands.
funsway
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Perhaps I am "odd man out" in believing that it is not my job to figure out a poster's "meaning behind it," or guess at intent. Here the title word is "FOOL" in caps - indicating that the poster does NOT mean amaze, astonish, entertain, teach or create conditions under which "might be magic" is the intent. It appears to me that many magicians today do so with the intent of fooling people - or getting dates, or bolstering ego or some other reason having little to do with magic as art. No judgment here - just an observation is that you get what you plan and project. (as ye sow so shall ye reap)

If you "do magic tricks" then your intent is to trick people. If you set out to fool people, the measure is whether or not they are fooled. Those who buy a new magic trick, open the box to learn the secret and immediately go out to inflict this trickery on friends get what they deserve. I enjoy sharing puzzles with friends also -- but it isn't magic.

If instead you desire to create an cooperative environment in which both performer and observer participate in the apparently conquering the impossible then terms like "fool" and "trick" have no relevance. The "story told after" does not contain those words. If that story is "some jerk showed me a card trick" then you have failed as a magician no matter is they figured it out or not.

Now - it is a valid question as to how best to achieve this environment with different types of audience, age cohorts and relations. Some, like performing for kids requires different communication techniques that for an Assisted Living Center. None of that has any part of "hard to fool."

...............

regardless, I do not understand references like "he insisted on examining the cards." As a performer, why do you INSIST on observers showing respect, sitting in their chairs and keeping their hands to themselves?

Recall the words of Nate Lipzieg - "I am not an organ-grinder monkey!" Only perform for those prepared to appreciate what you do as astonishment and a journey into the land of the impossible. If you chose to suffer base from others -- at least get paid for it.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
danhughes
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Quote:
On May 2, 2014, funsway wrote:

...I do not understand references like "he insisted on examining the cards." As a performer, why do you INSIST on observers showing respect, sitting in their chairs and keeping their hands to themselves?


I wasn't speaking of a public performance - this was a spur-of-the-moment thing at the Thanksgiving kitchen table with a few of the relatives who weren't watching the football game, and he wanted to be the center of attention, doing his best to spoil the "performance." I was not the only one displeased with his antics.
mndude
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Programmers or Engineer types. They have great minds for analyzing things and figuring out how things work. Even if they can't figure out how the trick is done, you'll never get a fun response from them. Rather a "hmmm, I'll have to think about how you did that".
Logan Five
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Quote:
On May 2, 2014, mndude wrote:
Programmers or Engineer types. They have great minds for analyzing things and figuring out how things work. Even if they can't figure out how the trick is done, you'll never get a fun response from them. Rather a "hmmm, I'll have to think about how you did that".


Yup my buddy is an engineer, he can spot how a trick works in a second.
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Ado
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Quote:
On May 2, 2014, mndude wrote:
Programmers or Engineer types. They have great minds for analyzing things and figuring out how things work. Even if they can't figure out how the trick is done, you'll never get a fun response from them. Rather a "hmmm, I'll have to think about how you did that".


Last time I bent spoons to software engineers, they were laughing nervously, and they didn't express the behaviour you mention.

P!
Ethan Lin
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I would class myself as a decent programmer and although they are good analysts, it depends on their creativity. They can analyse code etc that is placed in front of them because they have all the code in front of them unlike during an effect/trick where the magician might have a duplicate card etc

-EL
"Now you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled." - Cutter
1KJ
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There are some people who are more likely to analyze an effect rather than just sit back and enjoy it. I think it takes different skills to work with different audiences. That is why some people specialize in children's magic, other's in corporate magic, other's adult, etc.

If you look at those who specialize in different areas, you will see what they do to work best with those groups. For example:

Children: Introduce silly and extreme visual. Keep it simple, and keep it moving.
Analytical people (engineers, programmers, etc): Pick effects that would fool most any magician not familiar with the method (Ex: Mark Mason's "Stuck Up Monte" - If you don't know the method, there is NO way you are going to see that coming. Also, you end by handing them their card, totally clean). You can also play yourself down like David Williamson who pretends the trick has gone wrong early on to throw people off.
Adult (evening magic): Focus on humor or entertainment as much or more than the magic. If you get too serious with a bunch of people drinking, you'll lose them.
Family: Keep it varied to appeal to kids and adults. You don't need the most technically challenging effects because a father or mother is not likely to want to look like a fool calling you out in front of their children.
Family/Friends: I limit what I show. If they have seen too much, then they lose their appreciation for it. I tend to do more magic for family or friends if it is directed at someone who is younger than around 10 yrs old. They are always amazed by good magic, and the younger ones love to watch it over and over and over (and over).

KJ
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