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Stefan Rupar
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Case In Point: The mage tosses a white die onto the table several times; then; he tosses it once again, but it is a red die.

The magician doing the effect believes that the spectators believe that magic has taken place; a color change; just like children might be expected to see some magic. But the brutal fact is; all adults will know that the magician somehow switched the die; our assumption that adults believe magic like children believe magic is A BIG MISTAKE in our magic thinking. Toss out your sp0nge ball routines and join me in a quest to do better magic for adults.
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I agree Stefan,

some of our illusions can be 'solved' (or so they think) by mere logic and common sense. Eventhough they are not accurate with their conclusion, it still won't impress them would it?

Looks like we gotta work harder on making our magic more hard hitting, for adults AND children alike, presentation is a key always is Smile

Logan Smile
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Scott F. Guinn
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The trick you describe can be one of the most magical effects possible in the right hands (such as Eugene Burger's), and my sponge ball routine is my single most requested trick--from children AND adults--it has garnered me many bookings.

Be careful about making blanket statements based on your OWN assumption that just because you don't believe it, or possibly (I don't mean this as an insult) your audiences don't believe it when YOU do it, that it can't be an effective piece for others.

There is a great, entertaining and MAGICAL routine by Horace Bennett called "An Unfair Shake" that uses dice that change colors. It is an extremely powerful routine--not just because the dice change colors, but because, within the context of its very entertaining presentation, when performed properly, the audience BELIEVES the dice change colors--they WANT to believe it, so they do!

This is, IMO, where most magicians fall short of the mark--they blame the trick. As I have said many times (quoting many much greater who came before me) the tricks are the LEAST important part of the performance! A good magican can take the 21 card trick and hold an audience spellbound (as evidenced by Racherbaumer performing "Dueling Card Tricks).
It is up to YOU to add meaning, to give the audience the experience of magic, to make them CHOOSE to believe in the magic, if only for a few moments in spite of themselves. And the first step to achieving that? YOU have to believe it!

You are at least partially correct, however--if you think it is obvious to your spectators, it probably will be!

Having said all that, let me say this (you probably think I get paid per word!). I agree completely that many magicians fool only themselves. Typically, these are the guys who think that they are "natural" performers and that magic is easy, and that audiences are stupid. They are usually "hacks."

Now, you can definitely be very bold and get away with a lot, but it takes acting, showmanship, presence and great misdirection skills. Better to develop these skills and strong technique as well and to thoroughly rehearse and practice, so that you can focus all your energy into selling the effect and connecting with the audience.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Peter Marucci
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Of course we are fooling ourselves if we believe that the audience doesn't think the white die has been switched for the red die.
Just as the audience doesn't think that the actors playing Romeo and Juliet are really dead at the end of the play.
Just as the audiences doesn't think that the dinosaurs are real in Jurrasic Park.
The job of the performer is to do such an intriguing job that the audience doesn't care!
So Scott is right in saying that it is the peformer and not the trick that matters.
(I would have thought that was so obvious as to not need repeating but, clearly, Scott has a better "read" on things than I do! Smile)
In the right hands, a sponge ball routine can "knock the socks off" an audience.
Just as, in the wrong hands, a levitation can put them to sleep.
So it appears we're chasing the wrong villain here.
It's the singer, not the song.
Peter Marucci
Huw Collingbourne
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It seems to me that most people are perfectly clear in their distinction between magic (conjuring) and magic(k) (sorcery). Most people don't believe that either one of them is 'true' but will suspend their disbelief long enough to take pleasure in a lemon that miraclously appears under a cup, David Copperfield flying, Frodo Baggins becoming invisible or Harry Potter riding on a broomstick.

The only branch of magic (I think?) in which a large number of spectators seem to have problems in distinguishing reality from performance is mentalism (including various 'psychokinetic' tricks which are 'explained' as mental phenomena). I'm not sure why modern audiences are particularly susceptible to this form of deception. It does, however, seem to be the one area of magic which is most likely to fool even some hardened scepitics and rationalists.

best wishes
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This is why I personally don't do magic, I do tricks.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Steven Steele
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I have seen killer sponge ball effects and I have seen duds also. I agree with Scott's view, but their are some effects, in my opinion, that have seen their day. I remember going to a magic show years ago where the magician was very very good. He did the Multiplying Bottles routine, yet when I went to the restroom, there were two gentlemen talking about the "nesting bottles".

People today, for the most part, have more experiences, are better educated, and are more savy in the way magic works. We as magicians have to work harder to keep our art ahead of the masses. In addition, some tricks work better not only for certain magicians, but certain audiences.

For example, the magic square, is probably chloroform for most audiences but you'll get a standing ovation (with the proper presentation) for a bunch of engineers or math geeks. Sponge balls or any other effect is no different. Smile
John Smetana
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Sometimes audiences aren't fooled or entertained..they are simply polite.
That said, no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of people.
I ask some one to name a wild animal..they say cow! Funny yes, but stupid ! and they were serious.I'm sure many of you have your own stories.

Best thoughts,
John Smetana
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Unfortunately we often set low expectations of ourselves and our audiences. This dumbing down factor can be recified by a clear understanding of the communication of the effect to the audience/participants. They do need to see the cause as well as the effect. They need to see magic happen. Remember, not all effects are earth-shattering in their impact. Sometimes you have to do it and move on. Overall I firmly believe that just about any effect in the mind and hands of the right performer can be nothing short of a miracle. As for tricks, I understood it was just dogs and prostit.... who performed these!
"I can see clearly now, the brain has gone"
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consider this trick: Lucky Coin found in Card College #1.

I think this trick is fantastic. People are truely amazed. They DO think that they have found their card all by themselves.

I also find that if I perform this trick early then the "suspension of disbelief" has not quite set in and it is not so impactful.

If I do it later, then, it truely becomes real magic experience. Hand Crafted Magic
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christopher carter
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Yours is a most insightful comment. It is astonishing how differently tricks can be perceived depending on where the occur in a show. Its all about establishing the right mood and level of expectation. I have become very wary about ever declaring a particular trick to be bad or 'not magical,' even though I do suspect that some really fit those definitions. It's just that every time I make such distinctions, I encounter somebody who has made those same tricks into something special.

--Christopher Carter
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I think that as magicians we sometimes tend to think that because we know the secret so must the public. I know that I used to even to the extent that I left one effect out of a show when working on the Ferries for this reason, only to put it back 3 weeks later as one of my props broke, I couldn´t believe the reaction I got I had people talking about it for the rest of the trip.

Peter what do you mean the dinosaurs are not real. Next you´ll be saying Father Christmas doesn´t exist.


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Darwin Ortiz had a gerat quote in his book, "Strong Magic." I don't have the book handy, and I can't remember who actually said it, but here it is:

"I don't believe in ghosts, but I'm deathly afraid of them!"

As Darwin points out, there is a difference between intellectual knowledge and emotional knowledge. Intellectually, the majority of people watching a magic show know that there is some trick to it. If the performer is good, however, emotionally they will feel as if they have seen magic. That's what we should strive for.

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