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Ray Pierce
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Tommy, your posts simply make my brain hurt. When the spectator's mind short circuits for that millisecond trying to rectify what is clearly known to be impossible with what they have witnessed and perceive to have just occurred, THAT is what creates the sense of wonder and amazement that is my goal of every performance. That is when the rational mind gives up and is thrown into an unnatural state of wonder. That feeling when stimulated correctly is the joy of what we do every day as magicians. I know I have achieved that state in a viewer when they lose the ability to verbalize their thoughts. You can see them trying yet unable to form a thought. It is a very clear and distinct state that is the goal of what I do. You classify it as a "dilemma". I classify it as the richest feeling we can stimulate in our audiences as magicians.
Ray Pierce
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tommy
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When a magician claims some non-sense, which everybody knows is non-sense, then proceeds to rationally prove that non-sense makes sense, it represents a moment of balance, between the two equal and opposite forces of nonsense and sense. It challenges our sense of what is non-sense and what is sense; a sense which is fundamental to our understanding of how the world works. In a world where non-sense makes sense, where fiction is fact, one’s study of such a world, is bound to hurt the brain.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
tommy
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To study magic itself, one has to put oneself where the audience is, which is on the horns of the dilemma at the magic moment. The study will read, it is but can’t be.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Pop Haydn
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The dilemma is not between the "magic" nonsense and the logical proof, but between the fundamental understanding of "the way things work" and the "proof" that is presented.
They usually understand that nonsense is still nonsense, but are puzzled by their knowledge being challenged by the proof of the impossible to their senses. It is this dilemma that creates the cognitive dissonance. The "nonsense" is often just a framing device to let the spectator know that it is a kind of a joke, and not to be taken seriously. Too serious a presentation edges toward charlatanry.
tommy
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It seems to me the magic is not nonsense but is a series of rationally questioned facts, which prove true the fictional nonsense which has been proposed with the patter. It is that which is impossible and also amusing because it is absurd for nonsense to make sense.

Where there is no relationship between the two equal and opposite forces there is no magic in anything. There is a relationship between the matadors cloak and his sword and it is that relationship which is the magic of bullfighting. The cloak puts the bull in the best condition for the kill. Patter does likewise for the magic.

What is the use of studying magic itself, when it is only the action that really matters? Just study the art of how to tell an incredible story and the wonderful science of how to conjure it up.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Ray Pierce
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I think about theory... a lot! It is very easy to get so embroiled in analysis of the process that I forget that my real goal is to stimulate and entertain my audience. Sometimes I need to remind myself to just "think" less and "do" more.
Ray Pierce
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tommy
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If one studies and puts into practice what one knows every day, over time, one can get good at anything. As an amateur magician, I spend most of my time doing something else to make living. What I do is host gambling parties, which gives me time to study my hobby, which is magic, but leaves me little to time to perform it. Full-time professional magicians probably perform more times a week than I perform in a year.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Ray Pierce
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Sadly, I have been in that situation of working too much and not having the time I needed to put my theories to the test in front of a real audience. That is a vital part of the balance for me. To create, hypothesize and then test my theories in the real world. Penn & Teller use the term "hours in the pilot seat" for the time we spend on stage (or any type of performing venue) as what teaches us the most. It takes everything from the theoretical to the reality. I was blessed to get to work for years in Hollywood Magic where I got to test ideas each day in front of hundreds of customers. We would come up with an idea and before thinking about it too much ... just try it. That was the ultimate test as we created, finessed and perfected so many routines and ideas. I also had the additional benefit of being able to go up to the Magic Castle and try it out there. 24 shows in one week is a HUGE opportunity in front of an audience to massage a routine forward.

I hope you get more chances to explore in front of an audience. It is the essence of what I love about this art and a wonderful gift to others.
Ray Pierce
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tommy
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If patter for our magic is prepared and practised to produce a desired response from its audience, then what do you think that desired response ought to be?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Ray Pierce
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For me, it's wonder and amazement while at the same time creating a false memory of what actually occurred to prevent them from tracing back to the real method.
Ray Pierce
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tommy
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Does your patter make your audience dramatically remember events that never happened at all, or merely differently?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Ray Pierce
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Both, it actually depends on the routine. Typically it's enough for me to have them remember it slightly differently as that is enough to guide them away from the actual method. In the best of cases, it is with an effect that already has multiple conflicting methods so it just takes a gently nudge to have them remember something just a little differently to completely mask the method.
Ray Pierce
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tommy
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Well, I don’t about false memories but I think, as Erdnase put it, the simplest trick should be appropriately clothed with chicanery or plausible sophistry which apparently explains the procedure but in reality describes about the contrary of what takes place.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Ray Pierce
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That's a great quote! Here is one of my favorites from Magic by Misdirection - "The real secrets of magic are those whereby the magician is able to influence the mind of the spectator, even in the face of that spectator's definite knowledge that the magician is absolutely unable to do what that spectator ultimately must admit he does do." - Dariel Fitzkee
Ray Pierce
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Pop Haydn
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If you get the spectator convinced that you really put the coin in your left hand, and then that hand is shown empty, it looks like the coin vanished. If you can make them forget that the coin was ever in the right hand it is even stronger an impression of magic. Every trick has an argument to make for the magic. Getting agreement to each step of the procedure is the important thing. When the spectator remembers what he saw, you want him to remember everything important to the proof, and forget any procedure that weakens the argument. You need him to be able to defend what he saw when he is questioned.

“I saw a magician last night.”
“Really? What did he do?”
“He made a coin go into a bottle—a half a dollar into a beer bottle.”
“That’s ridiculous. It can’t be true. Must’ve been a trick bottle.”
“It was my bottle! I drank a beer out of it.”
“Must have been a trick coin, then.”
“I examined the coin. It was just a half dollar.”
“Maybe he switched coins on you.”
“Maybe he did, but I was holding the bottle by the neck, and he knocked the coin into it through the bottom of the bottle. What kind of trick coin could pass through the bottom of a bottle?”
“You got me. Do you think it was really magic?”
“Of course not. But you tell me…what was it?”
“I don’t know. I’d have to see that!”

It is not enough for the magician to create the effect, he must create the argument for the impossible in such a way that not only can the spectator be convinced that what he saw was truly remarkable, but also so that he can defend the story of what he saw when he tells it to others.
Ray Pierce
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Beautiful examples! At one point in a routine, I say to the spectator, "Here... you looked at it before, look at it again, make sure it's still solid!" If supported correctly, they will swear that what I said actually happened. It didn't.
Ray Pierce
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tommy
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Thanks, but a lot of patter goes on before the action begins.

i.e.

"Ladies and Gentlemen. It is a fact well known to archaeologists that many very wonderful arts which were possessed by the ancients have, through the course of ages, been completely lost to modern civilization. Prominent among these superior accomplishments was the mysterious power of divining the presence of water or metals that lay hidden far under the ground. Now it may be that the assertion I am about to make will be received by you with polite but none the less absolute incredulity; but it has been my very great good fortune to discover, by the merest accident, the underlying principle of this lost art, and I have mapped out a plan of experiment and study that will in time, I trust, enable me to give once more to the world complete and scientific data for positively ascertaining the immediate whereabouts of such metals as gold, silver or copper by a process as simple as the waving of a willow wand over the prospected area. "I do not myself as yet fully understand the exact nature of the power I have stumbled upon, but I know it to be a sort of magnetic or sympathetic attraction, and I shall illustrate to you the principle involved by experimenting with a deck of cards.”


What is this sort of patter for?


It is this sort of patter that I call fictional nonsense; the sort of patter which the audience knows is not true.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Pop Haydn
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Yes. That is the fantasy that the argument is meant to support. Magic is charlatanry with a wink to let you know not to take it seriously.

The magic effect is a false argument meant to prove or demonstrate something impossible. It may be a valid argument where one or more of the premises are false, or it may be an invalid argument that sounds and looks convincing.

The same magical effect could prove several different fantastical propositions: I can tell you your card because I am psychic. I can tell you your card because demons show it to me in my mind. I can tell you your card because this magic deck whispers its name to me. I can tell you your card because I psychologically forced you to choose that particular one.

The charm comes from the fantastical rabbit hole you open up for them. The power comes from the argument and proof.

The result is wonder--How could that have really happened? What would it mean if it was what it appears to be?

Wonder can be spooky, amusing, profound or scary. A magic show might be all of these things.

It is like a fantastic story told by a Time Traveler about his adventures in the far distant future, and before he returns to his Time Machine, he leaves you a flower that doesn't yet exist in the world you live in. It may not prove everything he told you is true, but it will make you wonder...
tommy
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Thank you. That sort of fantasy patter is often created by exaggerating the effect of some real or plausible phenomena. If we can create some new fantasy patter, then we will have some new plots or ideas for creating new effects, perhaps.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Pop Haydn
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Quote:
On Apr 30, 2020, tommy wrote:
Thank you. That sort of fantasy patter is often created by exaggerating the effect of some real or plausible phenomena. If we can create some new fantasy patter, then we will have some new plots or ideas for creating new effects, perhaps.


Well, I certainly agree with that!

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