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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Do layman attribute more skill to the manipulator or the illusionist? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

DarryltheWizard
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Every lay person I've ever asked with a mimimal knowledge of magic and magicians only can name illusionists. I suppose this is not due to the skill level but the amount of TV exposure that Copperfield, Lance Burton, and Siegfried and Roy have received. Not one of the persons could name a magician known mainly for sleight of hand, if they were under 40. If they were over sixty, they would name Thurston, Blackstone and Dante. I know most of these performers do sleight of hand; however, the audience mainly remembered their grand illusions like the dancing hanky and vanishing the Empire State Building. Perhaps what I'm really saying is that a grand illusion tends to leave a more lasting impression with the lay audience. Have there ever been any studies or surveys done on this?
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-The Scot-
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Quote:
grand illusions like the dancing hanky


I consider the dancing hanky a manipulation piece. Also, look at the effect Neil Foster had with the zombie, another manipulation piece.
MichaelKent
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You're talking about name recognition here, which really isn't related to implied skill. People don't remember magicians. How many times have you heard from friends how great their cruise ship magician was? "I can't remember his name though." Lay people can't remember names of magicians unless it's ingrained in their mind the same way that all products are. They know Copperfield and Blaine because he's on T.V. S&R and Burton because they've been headlining Vegas. Aflac insurance because of that annoying duck.

Manipulators aren't in the public eye nearly as much as these Illusionists. That's not to say magicians are the only ones that enjoy manipulation acts. Lay-people LOVE manipulation acts.

I think it was in one of the appendices of the "Amateur Magician's Handbook" where there is commentary about this. In a manipulation act, the spectator may come away saying "He did a bunch of stuff with cards, balls, and birds." The actual effects get lost, whereas in an illusion, there's one very simple thing happening. It's easy to remember. The statue of liberty vanished. The man crawled through the other man, etc.
NFox
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From my experience lay people make no distinction between types of magicians. I have friends who ask me to do a trick they saw once (manipulation or somehting similar). If they are good friends I will explain the differences between the types of magicians. In response I always get, "Oh, you mean that it isn't all the same." So I feel that the lay peopel feel that the same skill/magical powers go into making any magic happen. But that is just my experience.

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Bill Palmer
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Remember, Lance Burton started as a manipulator. He added illusions only AFTER he started working in Las Vegas.

The incredible name recognition, these days, is a direct result of television exposure. Mark Wilson was a much better recognized name, say, 30 years ago, than he is now, but people my age still remember him. This was a result of having a syndicated television show.

But none of this relates to the amount of skill the audience credits the performer with. I don't think the lay audience gives that much credit to skill. I don't think they have any idea how most of it is done, if we do our work correctly.

The big comment I used to hear about Copperfield vis-a-vis Henning, when they were going head to head on television was that Copperfield had class.

This is not necessarily my opinion, mind you. This is what I would hear from laymen.
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Bob Sanders
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As one who owned a management and booking agency for years and wrote a PH.D. dissertation on professional services marketing, I see no connection between technical skill and name recognition. Charlie Manson is also a well-known name.

Mickey and others with experience in talent agency work will quickly tell you we have seen plenty of concert class musicians accept a gig that only paid them $30-$50 for a three-hour night's work while no-name, beginners in magic turned down 30-minute $75 birthday parties.

Most of the highest paid acts I handled were simply well known in a small circle of consumers who paid well for the entertainment they wanted. There is a term in marketing called "JND". It means "Just Noticeable Difference". Apparently consumers group entertainment into groups based on crossing the JND line. The ranges within the class may be very broad. Consumers differ too. Some base value on where you worked. Others use price, recommendations, newness, or name recognition. Avon and Tiffany's are the same company. Their customers probably don't know that. Burton and Blaine audiences are so different; they don't even like each other. Is either audience knowledgeable about magic? They think so but do magicians? See the problem?

Sponsors who buy commercial talent could care less. It is a matter of attracting a target customer. Blaine couldn't do much for upscale hotel audiences. But Burton is also too sophisticated for the street audience. It is a case of fit with the audience. Most magic connoisseurs are other magicians. That is why we have conventions where we entertain each other and then go off and do a completely different kind of magic to pay the bills.

In this case, performing good magic is an illusion. Paying the bills is a reality.

Bob
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Rob Johnston
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I have spoken with many laypeople about this, and they find that the true skill lies within those that can act close-up and personal with the audience, as this takes skills and deletes the smoke and mirrors.
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Starrpower
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I think just the opposite is true; it seems to me that laymen attribute illusions to "real" magicians, while manipulators "just do the small stuff."
KerryJK
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I think it depends on whom you ask and about what.

Assuming the person you're asking isn't buying into it really being magic, close-up and sleight of hand is very much about the skill of the magi, but with big illusions it can sometimes look like all the magi does is wear a silk shirt, wave his hands and be the big hero while everyone around him does all the work.
Michael Lee
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Hello all

As the 2nd only student, the first being my pal "McBride", Of the "Great one" Jeff Sheridan, I will say that without a doubt that the Manipulator (If Competent) is viewed with much more Respect & Admiration by an audience, than any illusionist.

This is a conversation that JS & I have certainly beat into the ground, here are our thoughts ...

Audiences of today are as a whole more intelligent then we give them credit for, They are also aware that most Illusionists that they see at the fair, mall, or theater is just yet another guy who has acquired some big props and is trying to make a buck.

Unique individuals like my friend David Copperfield, literally kill themself to create something "Magical" by putting in Hundreds of Hours thought, practice into getting one Illusion right.
If any of you reading this truly knew the kind of work that went into Davids "Flying" segment alone I think you would have a STROKE!! ..... Over 3 yrs!

When an audience witness truly great "card manipulation" or "coin manip", they are VERY aware of the Hundreds & Thousands of hours that go into it....Again IF it is done right.

Because of the work of Copperfield, Siegfried & Roy, & Henning, Illusionist are certainly recognized today more than ever... but the "Pure Manipulator" will always be respected.


Michael Lee
Bill Palmer
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When I was working at Magic Island, I heard this remark one night, as a group of people where leaving a close-up show, "Let's go over to the theatre now. That's where they show the big stuff -- the REAL magic."
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CARNEGIE
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From my experience, audiences tend to equate a good illusionist as being successful and a good manipulator as a person with an interesting hobby.

Audiences today are more savvy and aware and this makes it difficult for any magician, regardless of their type of magic.

Unfortunately for those hard working close-up magicians and manipulators, since the late 1800s until today, the general public only remembers the guys with the big show and big exposure. David Blaine and Uri Geller being two exceptions.
Farrell
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I can say in my experience in magic one thing. Manipulation and grand illusion are equal in the fact that it takes a combination of both to create a truly magical show. I believe an audience would become bored with one illusion after another for 2 hours. just 2 hours of split fans cut and restored rope and linking rings . But if you weave manip and illusion together with some comedy and drama you have a SHOW!. Now this is where the real skill lies making all these different things each new and interesting. that's where the respect comes. Not from an audience thinking "Wow how is he holding those on the back of his hand..." although I believe somehow they know that. They should be thinking "That's beautiful" or "That's cool," not "Oh it's on the back of his hand, that is probably hard." Variety is the spice of life, embrace it.
JoeJoe
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An audience will apprechiate good entertainment - period.
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