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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Should there be a set standard in magic? (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Vaclav
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Well lets try to write some rules down.

I will start.

#1 Every magician must know how to perform
the 21 card trick.

#2 ???? Your ideas....
Smile
Kathryn Novak
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1. Every magician must not tell another magician what should be performed in their act.

How's that for starters? Smile
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Paul
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How about what should NOT be performed in their act? lol
Peter Marucci
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Ice Raven writes: "I have to wonder, though, how magic contests like F.I.S.M. judge the magicians. They must have some sort of system in place, otherwise nobody would be able to win."

They do, indeed.
I was one of the judges of the close-up competition at the IBM covention in Buffalo. There were a set of areas in which we rated the performers on a basis of 1 to 10; the areas covered things like "presentation" and "skill", without getting into specifics (like, "can this person do the cups and balls", because that specific might not fit into his or her competition act.)
I regret that I can't remember all the categories but they were fairly broad, to allow for the widest possible scope among the contestats.
Some judges scored low, others high, but at the end of the day, all were pretty much on the same wavelength (that is, if the low-scoring judge gave the contestant a 4 in category A and a 6 in category B, the high-scoring judge, it turned out, gave that contestant a 7 in category A and a 9 in category B.)
The judges did not confer with each other and, in some cases, did not even know who some of the other judges were.
But, remember, it's easier to set standards for a finished act that for a beginning performer.
How do you judge or grade "enthusiam" or "interest"?
And it's there that the general system for clubs etc. starts to break down.
debaser
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I Think all magicians should be judged on height.

Matt
Kathryn Novak
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Quote:
On 2003-01-21 13:12, debaser wrote:
I Think all magicians should be judged on height.

Matt


But is bigger height or smaller height better? Will an inch make a huge difference or a small one? And if smaller is better I'd win every competition. Smile
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debaser
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Actually its only if your height results in a prime number that you are truly a magician.


(not to be serious or anything but there is no way that you can have a set standard for any entertainment/art form.)
its simply impossible.

However, when I was in grade school, I belonged to a breakdancing club which had rules about how many backspins you had to be able to do.

This is what having standards of magic would be like. Its all so subjective. Its fun to have contests but it doesn't really mean anything - ANYTHING AT ALL.

Matt
rkrahlmann
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There should be judging, like in the Olympics. Of course, you'd have to be leary of the Russian and French judges.
debaser
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But is bigger height or smaller height better? Will an inch make a huge difference or a small one? And if smaller is better I'd win every competition. Smile
[/quote]

Does an inch make a huge difference huh?
Hmmm, well I guess that depends on who's the judge.

Could absolutely not resist. Smile

Matt
Kathryn Novak
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Really? I thought only people who had a height that could produce an even square root would win. Smile
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debaser
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Quote:
On 2003-01-24 13:29, IceRaven02 wrote:
Really? I thought only people who had a height that could produce an even square root would win. Smile


Only if you're on the metric system. But here in the USA its all about prime usda numbers.

Matt
wsduncan
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Quote:
On 2003-01-21 07:47, Paul wrote:
How about what should NOT be performed in their act?


We should tell others what not to perform in their acts if they ask. But finding somone who will tell you is a difficult thing.

I saw a show recently where a young man of about 15 performed the Sub Trunk and actually told the audience that the brand-spanking-new box on stage had belonged to Houdini.

No one in the magic club seems to have suggested to him that the audience knows this is a lie and so their entire impression of the effect is colored by that fact and their belief that he thinks he can convince them of that lie.

I don't know what he's going for with the effect but I doubt very much it's what he's projecting.

If we're very lucky we have one friend in magic who will tell us when what we're doing is crap. If we all did the question of standards would be moot.

cheers
Paul Budd
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Quote:
On Jan 26, 2003, wsduncan wrote:
Quote:
On 2003-01-21 07:47, Paul wrote:
How about what should NOT be performed in their act?


We should tell others what not to perform in their acts if they ask. But finding somone who will tell you is a difficult thing.

I saw a show recently where a young man of about 15 performed the Sub Trunk and actually told the audience that the brand-spanking-new box on stage had belonged to Houdini.

No one in the magic club seems to have suggested to him that the audience knows this is a lie and so their entire impression of the effect is colored by that fact and their belief that he thinks he can convince them of that lie.

I don't know what he's going for with the effect but I doubt very much it's what he's projecting.

If we're very lucky we have one friend in magic who will tell us when what we're doing is crap. If we all did the question of standards would be moot.

cheers


Yes, I know this thread is ancient......but that post right there.......filled with timeless goodness, it is!
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tommy
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No, he does not seem to understand that our magic is first about convincing them something is lie and then proving that lie is true.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On Jan 16, 2003, Kathryn Novak wrote:
...Should there be a set standard by which all magicians should judge another magician's level of effectiveness, and what should the criteria be?


Since we're talking about an art it's awkward to use "all" - so dropping out the universals maybe we can discuss this as a theatrical art with scripts, direction, production and performance.

Let's take as givens:
i) that the trick(s) being performed are effective/deceptive to qualify the performance as "magic" rather than some other art such as juggling or 'dancing with props'. Proposition one - if it's not deceptive it's not magic.
Also let's take as given that ii) The audience knows they are watching an entertainer rather than a product salesman or charlatan.
Proposition two - whatever is claimed in the show is understood to apply only to the show.

That done - Some of the usual criteria for examining drama and rhetoric can apply. How well defined was the performer's character? (ethos) How well did the presentation engage the audience (pathos)? A much wiser magician phrased the questions as: "what is the relationship of the performer's character to the audience?" and "what is the relationship of the magician to the magic?" .

Then you'd get reviews like this:
Local audiences were mystified and loved the show but local magicians were disappointed to find the tricks in a book about using the TT.


If you have better ideas - please share.
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funsway
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One neuroscientist in his books suggested that the capacity to be mystified without mental anguish is influenced by a gene. Some folks lack this gene and become performers of magic and puzzles, but lake the ability to simply enjoy inexplicable thinks
.
If true, then it is folly for magicians to dictate how lay people think about an effect, and for those blessed with this gene to attempt to limit magicians to normal standards.

New studies indicate that the desire to "be entertained" by an increasing percentage of society has little to do with the quality of the art or performance - many becoming addicted to the endorphin rewards
and an orbital cortex incorrectly biased as to experience, knowledge, certainty and values. This means that audience reaction cannot be used as a valid indication of "good magic," and even statements made by them not reliable as to what actually occurred. To the extent that people think about what is observed in "entertainment mode" is to find justification for their reactions or someone to blame for having an emotional tickle.

Still mulling over how much I agree with these ideas ...
"there is real merit in the magician who tries to be creative – from such endeavors magic sustains its life energy." Harold Rice



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Jonathan Townsend
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David Brin wrote about the basic "what rewards" topic as a subplot in his novel "Existence".

http://www.davidbrin.com/nonfiction/addiction.html

Let others show you how they think with their actions.
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The Hermit
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I thought you measured an act by the size of the box-office take. That seems the best standard to me.
funsway
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Quote:
On Oct 4, 2017, The Hermit wrote:
I thought you measured an act by the size of the box-office take. That seems the best standard to me.



as an entertainer, yes - but this thread includes the word "magic" - so "office-take" is not a valid measure of how much magic was sensed, appreciated, engendered or rejected.
"there is real merit in the magician who tries to be creative – from such endeavors magic sustains its life energy." Harold Rice



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The Hermit
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Quote:
On Oct 4, 2017, funsway wrote:
Quote:
On Oct 4, 2017, The Hermit wrote:
I thought you measured an act by the size of the box-office take. That seems the best standard to me.



as an entertainer, yes - but this thread includes the word "magic" - so "office-take" is not a valid measure of how much magic was sensed, appreciated, engendered or rejected.


It is on a per person basis. Smile
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