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Dick Oslund
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On Oct 3, 2016, lpmorgens wrote:
P.s. if this forum has a way to reply to an individual, as opposed to the end of the string, I cannot figure out how to do that.


You may send a PM to anyone. Go to the first page that opens when you check in. On the top of the page on the right, you'll see Private Messages, Click on that
Just below you'll see: "Send a Message". Click on that. A window will open. Type in the addressees name, and subject. Click on send a message.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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On Oct 3, 2016, lpmorgens wrote:
Thank you to all of you for the wonderful advice. Please don't think I just didn't respond. My life is very busy between FT work, teaching my special needs daughter at home, supporting her in her balloon business, which has done wonders for her, and oh yeah, homework with both kids, plus the many, many activities they enjoy... life gets busy, and I only have pockets of time to get back to each child's projects. Today is a day when I can sit and work with my son on his hope to be a magician. We'll work on it today and then look for the next free moment. I am currently looking at all three books listed...all great suggestions. I am sure my son wants to do more than just "tricks," but at the last few birthday parties I attended with my daughter as the balloon twister, we did observe some magicians with wonderful illusions that appeared store-bought... bright, colorful, and definitely made the children laugh. and of course, so much more that came from what the magician brought to the act. We hope to incorporate both... the tricks, and the performance. Thanks again!


Well, unless he can perform MIRACLES, I fear that he will need to settle on "just tricks".

I repeat, YOU CANNOT PURCHASE T R I C K S! YOU CANNOT PURCHASE I L L U S I O N S EITHER!!!!! --Did you read my post above??? PROPS MAY BE "BRIGHT, AND COLORFUL. PROPS CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE EFFECT, WHICH MAY MAKE CHILDREN LAUGH. >>>B U T <<< THE PRESENTATION (that is, HOW THE TRICK IS PERFORMED BY THE MAGICIAN, IS WHAT MAKES THE TRICK ENTERTAINING, AND FUNNY. I cannot say it simpler than that!

You need to read my first post AGAIN.

What, exactly, do you plan to incorporate??? Incorporating TRICKS & PERFORMANCE does not make any sense! Go back and read my post AGAIN. A TRICK MUST BE PERFORMED, OR IT DOES NOT EXIST.

I've been performing magic, and, entertaining people of all ages since 1945. That's 71 years. I have no reason to lie to you. I have mentored MANY young people in that time. Many of them are now full time professionals.

I'm sure that you want to do what is best to help your children, and it is apparent that it is a challenge.

Let us know where you live, you can do that confidentially, via a PM. I live in the UPPER PENINSULA of MICHIGAN. I'm a hundred miles north of Green Bay, Wisonsin, I have magic friends all over the USA. It's possible that I can put you in touch with someone who lives nearby.

Again, it would be helpful to know your son's age, and, if HE has special needs too.
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Doug Trouten
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Lpmorgens -- An easy way to write to somebody privately is to click the little pm under their name. It stands for private message.
It's still magic even if you know how it's done.
Terry Pratchett
lpmorgens
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Thanks again to all. We get that it is about the presentation. But, I think my son wants to practice his presentation with something in his hands... a trick, a prop, something. I appreciate all the encouragement and wonderful suggestions!
Doug Trouten
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Dick -- let me see if I've got this right.

  • Prop -- The physical something-or-other that one might build or purchase for use in a magic performance.
  • Trick -- The actual procedure, often involving props, that makes it seem as though something impossible has happened.
  • Illusion / Effect -- What the spectator believes they have experienced, after watching somebody do a trick (possibly with a prop).
  • Magic -- The feeling of wonder left in the mind of the audience after they have experienced your effect.
  • Entertainment -- What audiences want, and what too many performer fail to provide. Entertainment is something extra the performer must bring to the table, since neither the prop nor the trick is inherently entertaining.

Do those seem like reasonable definitions to you?
It's still magic even if you know how it's done.
Terry Pratchett
Doug Trouten
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Just thought of a couple of definitions to add to the list.

  • Instructions -- Instructions tell the performer how to do the trick with the prop. Instructions may come on a sheet of paper included with a prop, in a book, on a DVD, or through personal lessons.
  • Technique -- Skills which allow the performer to perform tricks with props. Skills are often acquired through instruction, and may be transferable, allowing one to create different illusions with different props. Card sleights are an example of technique.

Dick's point about magic not being inherently entertaining is important to remember. We've probably all suffered performances that demonstrated technique, or even created illusions, but failed to engage and entertain us.
It's still magic even if you know how it's done.
Terry Pratchett
Dick Oslund
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On Oct 2, 2016, Andy Young wrote:
Quote:
On Oct 2, 2016, Dick Oslund wrote:
Hey Doug!

It's interesting (to me, at least) that the OP has not responded to my "sermon" of September 30! It makes me wonder if I wasted another half hour. I'll soon be 85. I need to be devoting more time to the disposal of props, books, and assorted "sams" (flot & jet) that have accumulated over a lifetime.

I always wonder what happen to the people that never respond, but oh well you can't win them all.


Hello Andy! I really think that for many who, perhaps spent a few bucks in a magic shop, and, thought that they could just print up some business cards, with "professional magician, available for birthday parties, Bar Mitzvahs, corporate annual meetings, and trade shows", were a bit shocked when they "discovered" that there is a bit more to it than that.

I remember MCing the annual auditions for the School Assembly Service in the spring for a number of years. You've been "around" for a bit. You understand much more than most! You will understand, when you read my book, why so many were thanked for coming, but, NEVER offered a contract. We. on the committee had to suffer through some AWFUL demonstrations of "magic"!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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Hi Doug!

youse done good! It couldn't be said any clearer than that!

The problem is, I think, that too many magician 'wannabees" don't want to hear that! They prefer listening to some other guy who has spent a few hundred on a bunch of plywood, and sheet metal, and thinks that the public will be enthralled by all that paraphernalia. That guy has done A show for his grandma's birthday, and, didn't get booed off, and, now thinks he can quit his daytime job, and go on the road. --Or, worse, start booking lectures!

Silly Billy makes big $ doing kid parties. HE NEEDS TO MAKE BIG $$. Most amateur magicians have no idea what it costs to live in New York. I worked with him at an Abbott's Get Together matinee, about 20 years ago. IMO, he wouldn't last a week, playing schools!

Dick Drake, a pro.comedian in Chicago used to call those guys, "no talent, prop acts"!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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On Oct 4, 2016, lpmorgens wrote:
Thanks again to all. We get that it is about the presentation. But, I think my son wants to practice his presentation with something in his hands... a trick, a prop, something. I appreciate all the encouragement and wonderful suggestions!


It's rather difficult to practice something, e.g.: PRESENTATION before one knows what PRESENTATION IS! That's why I recommended Ken Weber's book. (I wish that I had had Ken's book when I was 15! It would have saved me considerable money, and, time! After Weber, comes Tarbell. Tarbell wrote a correspondence school course in magic, almost a hundred years ago. IT'S STILL IN PRINT!!! (IN EIGHT VOLUMES!)

You say that, "...I think my son wants to practice his presentation with something in his hands...a trick, a prop, something." I say, "What does your son think?"

If he wishes to stumble forward, "in the dark", that's up to HIM. --But, it would be rather foolish! (Leonardo Da Vinci said it well, when he said: Those who give themselves to ready practice before they have learned the theory, resemble sailors who go to sea in a ship without a rudder.")

I don't have time to argue with you! It's your money, and, your son's life. I've offered some advice, and, some information. Now, it's up to you, and, your son.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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One final thought...

Suppose that you son wanted to be a musician. Would you invest in a Stradivarius, and let him just drag the taut catgut over the taut, rosined horsehair? Wouldn't it make sense to study music, with a competent instructor? PRACTICE DOES N O T MAKE PERFECT! PRACTICE WITH A GOOD TEACHER/COACH, CAN MAKE PERFECT!
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SamChak
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On Oct 4, 2016, Doug Trouten wrote:
Trick -- The actual procedure, often involving props, that makes it seem as though something impossible has happened.


Hi Prof. Doug,

When lpmorgens used the word "Tricks," it is naturally interpreted as Conjuring Tricks, some cleverly devised acts performed for entertainment, which are seemingly magical that typically involving sleight of hand, or prop, or both. Don't you think so?
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science."

~ Albert Einstein ~
US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)
Doug Trouten
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Sam, I absolutely agree that the natural interpretation of "tricks" is the one you provided. Dick makes a distinction between "tricks" and "magic." My post was an effort to build on that distinction a bit, providing a working vocabulary that could help us distinguish between a number of closely related concepts. I don't expect that this level of precision in vocabulary will really catch on, but I think there's some value in thinking through the distinctions on occasion.

Here's what you wind up with: The magician purchases or builds props and follows instructions to develop technique, which can then be used to present an entertaining performance of a trick designed to create an illusion or effect for the audience that seems like magic.

Obviously that's a mouthful. It's a lot easier to say, "he did a trick." But sometimes when you're studying something it can be helpful to pick it apart a bit.

(My field is communication, where, for instance, we talk about a sender encoding a message in a manner that reflects his own field of experience and sending it through a channel, where it may compete with noise. The message is then decoded by a receiver in a manner which reflects her field of experience. Throughout the process the receiver is also providing feedback which the sender may use to alter his message. That's a pretty lengthy description of a guy saying "Hey" to a gal, but it also really lets you pick apart what's going on.)
It's still magic even if you know how it's done.
Terry Pratchett
Dick Oslund
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Doug,

As a communicator, I'm sure that you are familiar with the old "telephone" party game, in which, a number of people stand in a line, and the first man whispers a joke or a short "story" in the ear of the second man, who whispers the story in the ear of the third man. This continues down the line, to the last person.

The last man repeats aloud what he heard to the rest of the company, and, then the first man repeats what he told to the second man. The "difference" is hilarious.

I maintain that COMMUNICATION is an important part of the PRESENTATION in performing a magic TRICK. I have seen a gezillion "magicians" who talk TO, or AT their audiences. Apparently, they've read, and memorized, the "patter" that was included with the instructions that were provided when he purchased the SECRET, and/or the PROP. (One cannot purchase a TRICK. --A TRICK, like music, only exists while it is being played.)

The reason that I'm very specific when I'm mentoring, is that we must be speaking the same "language"!

An ILLUSION is, in my mind, NOT a TRICK, I define an illusion as "something you see, but, don't think you see! OR, something you do not see, but think you see!
Our senses, are easily confused! All five senses (SEE, HEAR, TOUCH, TASTE, AND SMELL) can be easily confused.

A year or so ago, a "magician" wrote a post in the Café, and claimed that an ILLUSION was a TRICK with a "big box"! THAT'S WRONG!

In the first few minutes of my school show (immediately following the opening routine) I explain, in language appropriate to the age level of my audience, the definition, above. Then, I demonstrate how their senses are "fooled", by showing them several perceptual illusions (not sleight of hand, not esoteric principles of science, but, perceptual illusions. I use, for example, the ancient "boomerangs". They then realize that I'm going to fool them, but not make fools of them!

In the Victorian era, I wasn't there, but, I read those OLD books by Hoffman, et al! As I remember, the magicians made speeches, and the audiences listened.

Audiences, today, need to participate, not only on stage, but also while seated in the house.

When I was conducting, for 13 years, adult leader seminars at the Boy Scouts of America, National Camping School, for young adults who would be serving on the staff at a Scout Camp, I stressed the necessity of communication. I had a large rustic sign visible. The sign stated: "I HEAR, I FORGET. I SEE, I MAY REMEMBER, I DO, I GOT IT!" (LECTURES MAY BE EFFICIENT, BUT NOT NECESSARILY EFFECTIVE!)

One of the "methods" that I have used, in performing, is to ask questions, that get the audience to respond, vocally, or even by nodding their heads. --We are having a CONVERSATION!

E.g.: if I hold up a tube, I don't SAY, "Look, an empty tube!" NO! I ask, "What do you see? They reply, "Nothing". Psychology!!! THEY have told ME, that the tube is empty! (I "contend" that "magic" is eighty five percent PSYCHOLOGY! The other 15% is "equally" divided between sleight of hand techniques, esoteric principles of science, and perceptual illusions.)

Jay Marshall and I agree that, to put a new trick in one's show, three things are necessary!

1. Learn how the trick is DONE.

2. Learn how to DO it.

3. Learn how to DO it, SO THAT, IT E N T E R T A I N S AN AUDIENCE! -- #3 involves PRESENTATION, which involves COMMUNICATION!

The same three rules apply when a young man wishes to start learning to be a magician.

It seems that the OP doesn't want to hear these things.

I established very early in my performing career, a set of NINE CRITERIA to make it possible for me to entertain almost any audience, in almost any situation.

l. VISUAL EFFECT- the EFFECT does not happen "under cover"

2. VISIBLE PROP - PROP big enough, and, it's color contrasting with the backdrop, (or performer's shirt!). Not white rope against a white shirt!

3. VERSATILE EFFECT - plays for almost anyone, almost anywhere!

4. ANGLE PROOF PROP - ANY ANGLE!

5. RECOGNIZABLE PROP - No "Victorian Era" or other "antique" magicians' toys like Welsh Rarebit Pans, Dove Pans, or "Red velvet bags on a stick"

6. LITTLE, OR NO SET UP - Time!, Privacy!

7. NO TABLE NEEDED - for props to "work on". (Sight lines!)

8. SPOT ADAPTABLE - Can be opener, middle, or closer.

9. PROP(S) - pack small and light, and EFFECT PLAYS BIG!

TEN!!! WINDPROOF! Many schools use the playground for assembly programs!

My motto pertains to the PRESENTATION: "K I S M I F" (Keep It Simple Make It Fun)

These concepts kept me working steadily for 50 years.
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Doug Trouten
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Quote:
An ILLUSION is, in my mind, NOT a TRICK, I define an illusion as "something you see, but, don't think you see! OR, something you do not see, but think you see!


If an illusion is not a trick, is an illusion created by a trick? What is the relationship between a trick and an illusion?
It's still magic even if you know how it's done.
Terry Pratchett
lpmorgens
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Thanks again to everyone for all the thoughtful suggestions. I will definitely do some research, and encourage my son to be thoughtful on his "magical" journey...
Dick Oslund
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On Oct 6, 2016, Doug Trouten wrote:
Quote:
An ILLUSION is, in my mind, NOT a TRICK, I define an illusion as "something you see, but, don't think you see! OR, something you do not see, but think you see!


If an illusion is not a trick, is an illusion created by a trick? What is the relationship between a trick and an illusion?



An ILLUSION, IMO, is not PERFORMED. a TRICK is PERFORMED.

Sleight of hand skills, are performed. Esoteric principles of science are "used" in the performance of a trick.

Illusions are not performed! In my definition, they are experienced. Illusions are subjective. E.g., I cannot "perform" the tactile illusion that I use in my program. I use the tactile illusion in Illustrated Magic" --Ottakar Fischer, which involves the person touching a ball with crossed index and second fingers. I don't carry 500 small balls, either! I have the spectators cross their fingers, and then touch the end of their noses. They are amazed, and amused by the tactile illusion of apparently feeling two noses. I get an extra chuckle, by asking a young man in the front row: "Did YOU feel THREE?"

When you watch a movie, or, a TV show, the persons mouths are moving, BUT, the sound is coming from the loud speaker! --An aural illusion! And, simultaneously, an optical illusion. No magician PERFORMS that! It is subjective!

Taste and smell are subjective, too. Perfume can be made with chemicals, to smell like a certain flower! "Lemonade" may be synthesized with chemicals! Old time circus "butchers" often used ice cold water, and, acid crystals, to produce lemonade. They would use "floaters" (a few slices of lemon) to "decorate" the top of the mix to "help" the illusion. (Read: "TOBY TYLER"!)

BTW! We always sold the fresh, salty pop corn FIRST! Then, when the marks were THIRSTY, we sold lots of lemonade!!!

I suppose that one might consider those floaters to be SHOWMANSHIP!!!
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Dick Oslund
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P.S. I wrote up my "illusion routine" in my book, DICK OSLUND -- ROAD SCHOLAR.

The complete routine uses the JASTROW AREA ILLUSION. The props that are used to "demonstrate" the illusion are the venerable boomerangs, Mine are colored plexiglass

To further illustrate how our minds are confused by our senses, I perform the "spot card" (6 spots, one spot, four spots, three spots) Then, in traditional fashion, I show them how their minds are fooled. Then, I follow up with the 9 spots! They laugh and applaud, and, now realize that I am going to fool them, without making fools of them!

The routine concludes with a "test" (hey! we're in school! --It's perfectly OK to have a test!

The test is to decide on which side of the microphone stand is the silk handkerchief! This finish gets a big laugh, and, APPLAUSE!

The students now realize that I'm not going to fool them with "trick boxes". They realize that they are actually going to fool themselves!

Both teachers and students tell me that they feel that they have learned something about how their senses can CONFUSE their MINDS.

--THOSE COMMENTS remind me of the old line: "EDUCATIONAL, AS WELL AS ENTERTAINING!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
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