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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » You Oughta Be In Pictures » » "How to Magically Connect with Anyone" - my TED talk (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

BrianMillerMagic
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*I posted this in Tricky Business but I'm posting here as well, for a different purpose. If mods decide it should not be in two places, please delete this one. Thank you.*


Hey everybody,

It is with great joy that I can finally share my TED talk "How to Magically Connect with Anyone" as presented at a TEDx conference in Connecticut on June 1, 2015. If you can spare 14 minutes of your time to watch I believe you will enjoy what you see and find it valuable.

YouTube link: https://youtu.be/D4cV8yfgNyI

If you do, please share it with friends and family on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc). It takes a community to signal boost something like this and get it noticed, and if you can help me get this out there I will be eternally grateful.


A note on exposure:

The story that I tell in the talk is mine, and mine alone. It is 100% true and told precisely as it happened to me. During the story you’ll find that a problem arises, and the solution that I used belongs to none other than the brilliant Pop Haydn. Pop and I spoke at length when I was in the early phases of writing this talk. He was fully aware of the story I’d be telling and also that I would be explaining the secret to one of his tricks.

Pop is generally much stricter on exposure to the public than I am. I don’t believe that magic is about the knowing and keeping of secrets, and I believe that this secret-keeping attitude has kept the public from appreciating and respecting our art. Still, I respect the rights of creators and the interests of the magic community as a whole, and so I thought it imperative to discuss with him.

After Pop and I had a wonderful conversation about magic, he agreed that this specific case might be an exception to the exposure rule. Letting the audience in on this particular secret would serve to enhance the public’s perception of magic and why what we do is so important. It is not exposure for exposure’s sake, and I sincerely hope you agree. I have nothing but respect for magicians and the art of magic, and I intended to speak about magic with reverence and nothing less.

Sincerely,

Brian Miller
Billman
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Absolutely amazing! Thank you for this.
MR Effecto
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Very nice.
Pop Haydn
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The original story of this method is from my book, published in the early 1980's Street Magic. It has since been published in Michael Jeffrey's book Speaking with Magic and then submitted--without permission--to Chicken Soup for Soul #3. Chicken Soup wanted permission to put the story in a television production, which I agreed to, but only on the grounds the secret not be revealed. They did this, and George Tovar played the part of the magician.

My book was subsequently picked up and republished for the general public as "Stories of a Street Performer."

This is the original story from Street Magic:

"I was working in a restaurant in Long Beach, California called Marie Callender's. As I went around the tables, I came up to a table with two couples. It was obviously a twenties-something couple and the parents of one or the other. I asked them if they would like to see some magic, and they enthusiastically agreed.

"As I started the performance, I had the elder lady take a card and then turned to the younger lady and said, “And would you take a card…” She did not react at all, so I repeated the request. She said, “Are you speaking to me? I’m sorry. I’m blind. I didn’t know.”

"At that moment I realized that she had a seeing-eye dog lying quietly next to her.

“No, I’m sorry. I tell you what. This trick may not mean so much to you, so I will let someone else take the card and finish this one. Then I would like to try something special with you. Is that okay?”

"She said fine. I finished the trick thinking all the time, “What am I going to do for her?”

"Once before, in a retirement home I had attempted to do the sponge balls for a blind man, thinking that he would enjoy feeling them seem to grow in his hand. What I didn’t count on was that he couldn’t see what I was doing, so every time I tried to put something in his hand he wanted to feel and check it out. I couldn’t get away with anything. He was real proud of himself. He said, “It’s harder to cheat a blind man that you'd think.”

"This made me laugh really hard.

"Now what could I do with this blind lady? As the card trick seemed to finish on its own, I turned to Lynda and sat down next to her.

"Reaching for a long shot, I asked, “Do you believe in ESP?”

"She said, “I don’t know.”

“You know it has been sometimes theorized that people who have lost one faculty often make up for it in others. That blind people might be more sensitive to other influences for example.

"I’d like to do something here just for fun. I want to test your ESP. It will be really easy. You are going to do things that will make everyone else at the table wonder. I have a deck of cards in my hand. Do you play cards?” She nodded.

“Good. I will spread the cards out facing me with their backs to you. I’m going to pull a card out one at a time, and you are going to call it either ‘red’ or ‘black.’ Since there is a fifty-fifty chance that you will call it correctly, we should expect you to get about half right. If you could do a lot better than that—and if we establish a certain rapport I think you can—this would explain a lot about you to your family here.” As I talked, I squeezed her forearm reassuringly. Then I said okay, here’s what’s going to happen. I’ll pull out a card and you will call it either ‘red’ (I pressed her foot lightly once) or ‘black.’ (I pressed her foot twice). Got the idea?”

"She could barely repress her smile. She said, “Got it.” Well, we went through the deck and she named the cards red and black perfectly through about twenty cards. She didn’t need to see the looks on her parents faces, she could hear them gasping and hyperventilating.

"When she called the suit and then the value, Lynda’s mother said to her, “I’m never going to play cards with you again!”

Lynda just laughed. I told her, “Let’s keep going…” By this time I had the deck set up for Out of this World. I’m going to put one card on the table face up here to your left, and another card face up to the right. I placed her hand on one, then the other.

“This is the red card, and this is the black card. I’m going to hand you the deck face down, and I want you to put the top card to your right if it’s red, and to the left if you think it’s black. Go by your first impression. Trust me, you are going to do really well.”

I false shuffled the deck and handed it to Lynda. She did as instructed, but without the same self-confidence as before. At the reveal, I said, “Now Lynda, you won’t be able to see how you did, but you will certainly hear how you did as I show everyone the cards. You were perfect! You didn’t miss one card!”

Now the parents and her husband were visibly shaken. Lynda was having a good time. Luckily, I always carry Brainwave Deck when I am working close-up.

“Lynda, it’s the strangest thing. I had a dream last night that a mysterious lady came up to me and handed me a card. I dreamt that I took the card and hid it in a deck of cards that I always kept by the bed. When I woke up, I put the deck in my pocket. I’ve carried it around all day, and this is it.

"Lynda, what is the name of the card that the mysterious lady gave me?”

"Lynda smiled. “Jack of Hearts.”

"I said, “You are not going to believe this, but as I go through the deck very slowly so that I can’t do anything sneaky, one card is face-up in the pack. You can tell it’s the Jack of Hearts by the applause. But look! The Jack of Hearts is from an entirely different deck! It must have come from that mysterious lady.”

"Two weeks later Lynda and her husband sent me a deck of Braille playing cards and a nice note. Her parents were still nervous around her. This was one of the most fun magic shows I have ever done, and it still warms me to think about how cool it was to fall into cahoots with a perfect stranger and pull a fast one on her family—just for fun.

"I put this routine and story in my lecture notes in 1982, and it has been a part of my lecture ever since. Twice in the last twenty years similar situations have arisen in my close-up performing.

"This routine played perfectly each time. Over the years more than a dozen magicians have told me how well this has worked for them, and what a great way it is to handle what would otherwise be a difficult situation."

"Street Magic" is available as a download for $5 at www.popsmagic.com
BrianMillerMagic
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Thanks for posting that Pop. Everyone who is interested by the method and the story should pick up Pop's $5 download. It's full of great information and of course much more depth to the method than I would or could possibly go into in the context of the TED talk. You'll be happy you did.
Neoquetzalcoatl
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Thanks for sharing this. I'm beginning with magic and I think this kind of advice is crucial to understand the meaning and reason to do magic for others and not only for yourself.
Xaa
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Wow, what a beautiful story, Pop! Thanks for sharing it.
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." - Albert Einstein, What I Believe (1930)
Xaa
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Congrats to you, Brian, on delivering a good message via TED Talk. Lots to consider here and the magic was a nice vehicle for the message.
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." - Albert Einstein, What I Believe (1930)
BrianMillerMagic
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Neoquetzalcoatl and xaa - Thanks very much for your kind words!
tessmac
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Hi Brian

I'm brand new here and this is my first post.

I just watched your talk.

It was incredibly useful and you established a level of trust in my mind in who you are as a person.

The power of stories is immense. I particularly appreciated your admission of a weakness or vulnerability that I think most of us have. That really helped make a connection.

Graham
Roy Rocha
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Great job Brian. It was a pleasure to watch.
fingerjack
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Such simple and logical advice - that is often sadly and easily forgotten.

Great job summing it all up in 15 minutes. You were enjoyable to watch and the message shined through. What an amazing opportunity to use that effect in such a powerful way, and what a perfect example to share with your audience. Bravo on both counts! I felt exposure of the effect was justified to beautifully illustrate your point.

As magicians, or performers if you prefer, we should all know and be utilizing these skills. As people, we sometimes forget.

Thanks for sharing (and reminding me).
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