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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Nothing up my sleeve... » » Angle Managment (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Bin
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I recently was at a house of many grandchildren, and was doing a little coin magic for some of them. It wasn't a show or anything, just me offering to show a trick here and there or being asked to see some tricks. Well, there were a few irritating things about that little series of performances. So irritating that I am seriously doubting whether I ever want to perform for kids.

But the main irritating thing that I'd like to hear the experts' opinions on is angles. There was this one point during lunch where one of the kids came up to me from behind as I sat at the table and asked to see something. Not wanting to disappoint, I did my best. But of course he saw EVERYTHING, being at the exact perfect position. My question for all of you is: how do you manage situations like this? How do you get people to stop surrounding you, or to back up? Is it possible to adjust certain sleights? What do you do if you need to use a table and it's behind you? And so on.
Remember Quacky.
Mb217
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Hi Bin, Welcome to the Café… Smile

Good questions!

Angles are important in magic. I've messed up many a good trick by not being careful of them and or thinking they did not matter much. I was wrong in both instances. Smile

First off, kids can be difficult. Most just enjoy the magic, but some can be quite challenging…I guess this could be said of them in general. Smile I do a lot of magic for children on a daily basis and have found out much as to what works and what don't. It's really quite a psychological treatise in itself, coming to better understand this stuff. Smile

I don't want to bore here, so simply as to angles and children, recognize that they are little people and you must play down to them (as to your hands - palm up and palm down). Keep the magic ahead of them and of a surprise nature, like pulling a coin from their ear or vanishing a coin and then pulling it from your mouth, etc). Keep it along those lines, and don't keep repeating on the spot just because they keep asking for more, because the little darlings will ask forever! Smile

If you're called out by them, just jump quickly ahead of them with something they can't figure out. They will most times immediately forget whatever they thought they caught you on. Smile The same youthful mental quickness they have to figure out things, also works to confound them just as easily. Smile Remember, that you are still in control and there's just so much kids do not understand as to nuance, discussion and or debate…They are no match for you or your great powers! Smile

Stay ahead of them, and don't do anything that can't fool them, or allows them to quickly figure it out. Keep the angles down low on them, and move your body to place yourself in an advantageous position, even if it means saying, "Stand over here," of "I'll show you something a little later." Not good to let anyone stand behind you, as you can give away a lot of built-in advantages that way. Though, I do do a couple of effects where I ask a person to stand in front of me and one behind me. When I finish, I ask the person behind if they would explain what they saw. They never see anything, as I have all those angles already long time figured out as to what I'm showing them…They see nothing but magic, and the guy behind me is even more perplexed than the guy in front of me, because they just believe that they are in a position to see what's really happening. Yeah, RIGHT! Smile If I didn't have absolute control of the situation, I would never do something like that. Smile So, stay in control with big kids and the little ones and you'll be angled properly. Smile

Keep working and learning. And again, "Welcome here!" Smile
*Check out my latest: The MB Tanspo PLUS, MB's Morgan, Copper Silver INC, Double Trouble, FlySki, Crimp Change - REDUX!, and other fine magic at gumroad.com/mb217magic Smile


"Believe in YOU, and you will see the greatest magic that ever was." -Mb Smile
arthur stead
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One way is to insist on people being in front of you, not behind. You can suggest politely that they will be able to see better if they move to the front. Or adjust your own position so no one is behind you.

Another way to prepare for this is to practice with a close-up 3-way mirror. It won't solve the "behind" problem, but it will help you work on angles to the left and right.
Arthur Stead
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Bin
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I wasn't talking about angles for little kids in specific, but that is some all around good advice, MB. And yeah, kids are ... interesting. I've had such mixed results with them - sometimes they're a dream, sometimes they're a horror. And it's hard to tell what causes it. I would think that smart kids would be the worst, but that seems to have no bearing on it. Whatever, that's a discussion for a different thread in a different subforum.

I guess I just have to remind myself that "I'm a performer, dammit!" and that I /can/ tell people what to do. They're watching me, they'll do it on my terms or show disinterest and I'll skedaddle. (And also people tend to treat people who act like they wield authority as if they do.)
Remember Quacky.
Ray Haining
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What tricks, specifically, have you had angle problems with?
Bin
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The only thing that comes to mind is some basic improvised coin tomfoolery like through the table and vanish and reproduce and such. I don't think that at that time I was doing much more. But it did bring to mind the whole issue of angles (I often have trouble with them when performing for a group) and how to handle difficult situations like that one.
Remember Quacky.
arthur stead
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If you're going to be performing for children, it seems you need to study some kid-control techniques!
Arthur Stead
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Bin
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I'm not. Well, I may be, but that's not the exact issue I wanted to address. My post was a bit misleading - I wanted to discuss angles in all contexts, not just with kids.

It seems handling them most often comes down to audience management.
Remember Quacky.
Dick Oslund
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"Mathematically speaking", Magic is 5% perceptual illusion, 5% esoteric principles of science, 5% sleight of hand skill, AND, EIGHTY FIVE PERCENT P S Y C H O L O G Y.

It appears to me that you need to learn how to use a little more PSYCHOLOGY!

I skim through many of the fora here, and I note that too many of those making a post are over concerned with sleights, sleights, sleights.

I am definitely NOT AGAINST sleight of hand. Most of my show, that has been my living most of my life, involves skill of one sort or another. (I aint got no "push button" props!) Here comes the BUT: But, I use a lot more psychology than skill.

Never confuse KNOWLEDGE with WISDOM! --e.g.: You may KNOW how to do a sleight of hand trick, (here comes another BUT:) But, you need to acquire the WISDOM not to do it, if the conditions or situation are not "right". Quintino Marucci was an absolute master sleight of hand artist. He would only perform when EVERYTHING was "in his favor"! Oh! "Q M" was his family name. Magicians know him by his stage name: Slydini.

My school assembly program is "virtually" angle proof. HOWEVER, persons sitting behind me will not only not see how the trick is done, they will not even see the EFFECT! (The EFFECT is not a TRICK. The EFFECT is what the spectator(s) SEE, or THINK they SEE.)

I remember a school where the principal was going to seat half the group in back of me on the bleachers. I asked him which half did he want to see the program. He said, "Both of course!" I replied, "Would you watch the TV from behind the set?" He realized what I was saying. He seated half on the floor in front of the kids on the bleachers. They were a fine audience.

Those behind me would soon have lost any interest in the show, and would have become unruly.

Illusions can be presented in a circus ring, IF, one presents illusions like the classic sword basket.

Specifically, I suggest that you learn 3 tricks that you can do anytime, anyplace, for anybody. Then QUIT! Leave them wanting more!

The formula for adding a new trick is:

1. Learn how it it DONE.

2. Learn how to DO it.

3 Learn how to DO it, so that it ENTERTAINS an audience! (THAT is the difficult part!!!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Bin
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Everything you say is true, Dick. The more I practice, the more the philosophy and psychology make themselves known to me. For example - I'm becoming REALLY aware of misdirection now. (Apparently if you stare at one hand like a German Pointer, you can get away with practically anything.)

But sadly this is the kind of thing that you can't really learn from a book. I'm sure books can help, but I need to just get out there and perform, gain experience. Which is exactly what I plan on doing when I feel confident in my skills and material - go to a place that has an open mic night and see what people think. So yeah. I'm painfully aware of the psychology, and it bothers me that I can't practice it adequately until my basic sleights are up to snuff.
Remember Quacky.
AidanHeritage
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When I'm working for children doing close up, I know that the situations I find myself in may not lend to certain tricks - you can manage angles by adjusting your position (so for instance sitting or kneeling) but often the best way to manage the angle is to do a different trick!
Dick Oslund
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DearFriend Bin...

Dariel Fitzkee wrote a trilogy in the '40s. One of them is titled: "Magic By Misdirection" It's not a Kindergarten book! It's OP (out of print)but,can be found on the second hand market. I recommend that, if you're serious about magic, you obtain, read, and STUDY it.

A relatively new book: "Maximum Entertainment" by Ken Weber, will help you. It's written by a man who was very successful as an ENTERTAINER!

"Our Magic" by Maskelynne and Devant, is old, dry, and tremendously valuable if you want to be more than a dabbler in performing.

Don't forget the classic" TARBELL!

On the contrary, you need to practice PSYCHOLOGY concurrently with skills. John Mulholland once deceived a well known magician by taking a coin from a handful of coins and making it disappear. He used PSYCHOLOGY. (He NEVER TOOK THE COIN FROM HIS HANDFUL OF COINS!) It was ACTING!!!!! John "psyched" the guy!

EIGHTY-FIVE PERCENT.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Kabbalah
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Quote:
On Jun 16, 2015, Dick Oslund wrote:


Dariel Fitzkee wrote a trilogy in the '40s. One of them is titled: "Magic By Misdirection" It's not a Kindergarten book! It's OP (out of print) but,can be found on the second hand market. I recommend that, if you're serious about magic, you obtain, read, and STUDY it.




The Fitzkee Trilogy is readily available, either as the set or individually.
"Long may magicians fascinate and continue to be fascinated by the mystery potential in a pack of cards."
~Cliff Green

"The greatest tricks ever performed are not done at all. The audience simply think they see them."
~ John Northern Hilliard
Bin
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I'm making a note of those books, Dick. If I've got a "bible" for coin magic, I should have one for performing in general.

And for what it's worth, what I meant about not practicing the psychology was more that I can't adequately practice it until I get some real audiences. Contrast that with the bare mechanics, which you can practice on your own. That's why I'm eager to get out there: so I can stop neglecting that half. But yes, read read read, then do do do.
Remember Quacky.
Dick Oslund
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Good! Sounds like you're on 'the right track'.

Sophocles said it a couple thousand years ago: "One learns by DOING the thing"! Just be sure that you've practiced a trick, lines (patter)moves,the entire routine, well enough that you can DO it WITHOUT HAVING TO THINK!

Like brushing your teeth! or tying your shoes!, performing, whether on a theater stage, or at a dinner table, should not require ANY thinking! The psychological aspect is where your thinking should be.

Remember always: "Practice" and "Rehearsal" are DIFFERENT.

You PRACTICE a sleight, or picking up a prop, or "killing" a prop, or just "using" the prop.

You REHEARSE the entire "act". Opening, middle, closing. If you make a mistake in rehearsal, you "cover it" as best you can, and continue, because if you screw up when performing for someone, even if it's not a SHOW, but. simply A trick, a "real" magician manages to "bring the ship into port"!

You are probably beginning to realize that, "There aint no SHALLLOW END in this pool"! You should at least be able to "dog paddle" before you jump in!

You seem to have, unlike some magician "wannabees", a good attitude.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Bin
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Well, hey. Thanks! Smile
Remember Quacky.
Bill Hegbli
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Quote:
On Jun 14, 2015, Bin wrote:
My question for all of you is: how do you manage situations like this? How do you get people to stop surrounding you, or to back up? Is it possible to adjust certain sleights? What do you do if you need to use a table and it's behind you? And so on.


Now that we have heard about all this heavy thinking, I will express, on how you should have handled the kid. It is simple, with your words, smile, greet them, direct them.

I would have said, Hi, what's your name. I would be glad to show a trick. Turn and put your attention on the kid. Ask questions, having fun today. etc.

Now, either position yourself, if you can, or say something like, hey partner, come around here so I can see you, and you can get a better look.

In other words, be friendly, pay attention to them, and then guide them.

If the kid refuses or is scared, don't keep going and try to make them do anything. Just turn back around and let it go, say nice to met you and the like.

I once was doing a show for kids, and was working with the Rabbit in Hat puppet. It was just short bit, but I looked down and there was this little blond girl in a nice dress, maybe 3 or 4, who was looking up at the rabbit and was saying, Hi, to the rabbit. I just went along with the little girl, as she still believed in puppets being real. We interacted, and she was satisfied with your meeting the rabbit.

This comes about by knowing your magic, I don't have to think, what will the puppet do next. This frees my mind up to think about my audience, and enjoy the moment myself.

I guess I would say, it is taking into consideration your audience or the people that you approach and that approach you. Whenever anyone approaches you, and ask to see trick, turn and say, Hi, my name is Bin, what is yours. Glad to meet you. Take that moment for just them. That is part of being in control of the situation, and if not, attempt to gain control. Sure I will show you a trick, come around here so you can get a better view.
Bin
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Interesting, Bill.

It seems like it's not really the angles themselves that matter - it's the spectators and how you interact with them. An out of control audience goes where it shouldn't.
Remember Quacky.
Dick Oslund
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YES! "INTERACTION W I T H THEM!

When performing, whether it's a casual/informal presentation close up at a party or a bsr or, a stand up club/party show, don't talk TO the audience. --talk WITH them!!! You should be having a CONVERSATION.

INTERACTION...INVOLVEMENT..."They" may respond vocally, or with a smile, or laugh, or a "wow". But, unless they are responding, it's a "one way" conversation. The prefix "con" in "con"versation is from the Latin "cum" which means "with". Talk WITH!

You wouldn't normally hold a conversation with someone sitting/standing BEHIND YOU!

Too often, magicians have a tendency to write a script and then DELIVER it like a valedictory address!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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MISDIRECTION! Harry Kellar once said that if he had the audience's attention, a CIRCUS PARADE with 26 elephants and a brass band could pass by behind him, and "they" wouldn't notice it!

Harry Blackstone "proved" that when he presented the "DUCK INN"! A dozen, quacking ducks "disappeared", and, NOBODY saw where they actually "disappeared TO"! (Ha! I just did another Charlie Miller! ==I used a preposition to end that sentence WITH!

Nick Ruggiero, was an 18 year old assistant in those final years of the Blackstone show of '1001 Wonders", and Nick "provided" the misdirection. I saw him "do it" many times. Nick and I have discussed the timing and his part in the presentation. "Ya" had to see it!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
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