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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Trick coin trickery » » Speed of performance & confusionism (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

griz326
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A lot of really fine magicians roll through their effects at light speed with motor-mouth patter. IMO, this results in a confused audience laughing in discomfort rather than in surprise and amazement. A buddy of mine called this "confusionism." His magic moved at the speed of his southern drawl. Despite this, I never knew him to get busted.

That's what I'm chewing on. Going slow gives the audience time to catch up with you and bust you. Going fast removes any hope of the audience catching up with you but it burns the amazement factor. Fear of getting busted by the audience worries me. It is keeping me from doing magic in public.

How do you practice/test your pacing for an effect?
Ray Haining
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I've said this many times before. Even many of the "greats" go through their effects, one after another, too fast. In doing routines, one should slow down and allow an effect to sink in with the audience before going on to the next effect.

I've speculated on why magicians do this and I think it has to do with 1) feeling guilty about doing something "sneaky" and 2) worrying about getting through an effect without screwing up.

I like the name "confusionism." Very clever.

I don't know any way to "practice/test" pacing. It's a matter of thinking about your effects and when performing keeping in mind to deliberately wait a moment before going on to the next effect.
Ray Haining
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Also, I'm wondering why this topic was posted under "Trick coin trickery."
simplymagicweb
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Depends I guess who you perform for, magicians or a lay audience? Many Magicians will be impressed by fast moving sleights, performed straight onto a camera with no worries of angles! A lay audience like being involved in the effect.... But many coin effects don’t involve the audience and effects that do, often aren’t filled with complex sleights and so magicians aren’t impressed!

As a young magician, I used to perform numerous knuckle busting routines in my early professional days - why.... I guess it was to demonstrate to my audience that I was a good magician - that I was skilful - look how quick I am.... Now, I comfortable in my own skin. I appreciate that what’s most important is how you make a spectator feel and it’s not about me!!!!!! It’s all about THEM. So confusion, as Dai Vernon said, isn’t magic.

Less is more.
Magically,

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Wravyn
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Quote:
On Apr 13, 2020, Ray Haining wrote:
Also, I'm wondering why this topic was posted under "Trick coin trickery."

@Ray... Confusionisim?

Though I don’t think that this is that bad of a place to share it. Many times, I have seen (and done so myself) rushed through a coin routine too fast and did not allow the audience to to digest and appreciate the magic.
griz326
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I do not take credit for the term, "confusionism".

I posted here because I am concerned about getting busted doing coin magic. If you rush through a routine the audience cannot catch up to you and bust you yet you sacrifice the magic.
countrymaven
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It took me a long time to learn that you are right. Many coin effects have a simple solution that tends to push us toward one extreme or the other. doing things too fast and being a little confusing, or doing it too slow and having them look at the other hand.

BUt the solution to this, I found, is building levels of deception into an effect. Or else simply using a better routine or technique. THIS SOUNDS EASY BUT CAN TAKE YEARS TO FIGURE OUT.
For example, the French drop seems like an easy thing for someone to guess: it is "grabbed in one hand and vanished." It is natural for them to look at the original hand. But to get around that I transfer the coin from the typical finger palm to classic palm. After vanishing the coin in my right, I use a very deceptive display, putting my hands almost vertical and "showing" them empty. This kills spectators. So this example gets around the dilemna above, by adding several layers of deception. And it kills. I follow up with something similar. They actually believe it travelled to their back. So this principle really works. Also, you have to try stuff to see what works and what doesn't. But when you find an effect or routine with the right levels of deception, you can proceed without being in a hurry. I hope this helps.
Ray Haining
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Countrymaven, your observations certainly do help, but I'd be careful about killing off too many of your spectators, as you may not have any audience members left to appreciate your magic.
funsway
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On Apr 14, 2020, countrymaven wrote:
After vanishing the coin in my right, I use a very deceptive display, putting my hands almost vertical and "showing" them empty. This kills spectators. So this example gets around the dilemna above, by adding several layers of deception. And it kills. I follow up with something similar.


for clarification since an immediate reveal of the vanish is not required or even desirable. (in support of your offering)

Do you offer the casual "show" of the hands before showing the taking hand to be empty (Pre-emptive doubt), or after the coin is shown not to be in the apparent taking hand.

For me, the concept of "vanish" does not occur until after the complete cycle in any case. If the observer asks "where is it?" or glances at the passing hand there has been no "vanish"
and they may expect "transport" or "invisible" depending on the routine flow - or, sadly, settle on "skill demo" rather than "must be magic."

I obviously prefer the Preemptive Doubt approach but realize that routine flow and audience expectations may influence the choice of acquitment/diffusion technique
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Stephon Johnson
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If an Effect or routine and it has spoken “patter” I use a technique to help me to “normalize” it to slow down and eliminate confusion:

I video a performance and watch these things:
Preliminary video: with no props; walking through the routine miming (pretending). Don’t think “sleights”. Just pretend the magic could happen naturally, as you do the routine. This will give me a framework for movements that are natural to ME and replicate them later.
1) Speaking
* Normal conversation style: NOT memorized speech or Salesman pitch cadence.
* Speak to enhance or clarify. IF silence communicates without help; keep silent.
* Keep trimming down spoken portion to bare bones. (Allows impromptu conversing)
2) Actions
* Watch the “tempo”: think of it like a song. Too Fast? Too Slow? What looks just right!
* Try to replicate the “pretend” action and tempo incorporating you sleights.
* Additional movements needed straying from the “pretend” version is usually where you have to incorporate some misdirection or modifying an action to mask an action.

Examples of tempo, speaking, silence, naturalness (performers that are typically referred to “the complete package”):
Eugene Burger
Gregory Wilson
Karl Hein
Paul Green
Danny Goldsmith
Tommy Wonder
Mark Leveridge
Garrett Thomas

Great thread and enjoyed all your comments!
Blessings!
Steph
WHAT IF you wake up tomorrow with ONLY the things that you THANK GOD for today?
griz326
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Eugene Burger?

I fell asleep three times during his Gypsy Thread lecture Smile

Just kidding. He was a special case. He didn't present himself as an ordinary person, more of a mystic (even while we had coffee together). His pacing fits that image but it doesn't fit most of us.

Over time, most restaurant workers and street performers develop a very settled presentation pace as do most (non-stage) corporate presenters. They become connected to their audiences and relate to them - even the crazy acts!
I used to be there, but I've lost it living in remote Montana where I see more wildlife every day than people (not complaining). Knowing that I've lost that has cost me my performing confidence. When this COVID mess is over, I'm going to find an audience and jump in; if COVID didn't get me I can surely survive magical embarrassment.


SIDEBAR: I didn't actually know Eugene Burger, but spent some time with him when our magic shop brought him in for a lecture.
countrymaven
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STephon, as usual a great contribution. Yes that pacing and patter are important.
Yes, Griz, you have a point. It took me a while to realize that while Burger presented himself as a mystic, I could not do the same successfully.

So the way forward for you, and you can start this now, is to take some quick on the spot effects in coin magic. You do not have 5 minutes. More like 15-30 seconds. Show those as you go around town. In stores. In line whatever. You will be surprised at what you learn as you tweak things. Yes even with this shutdown, you still have time when you go out and about, shopping etc. for short effects. This is what started me back to enjoying performing magic an becoming a pro.
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