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Topic: Busted by a 7 year old!
Message: Posted by: John Long (May 10, 2006 07:29PM)
It wasn't pretty. This 7 year old got me, repeatedly!
Then insult to injury, her mother scolded her for spoiling my trick - where's the door!

I was trying to do the sponge ball routine from Wilson's Complete Course, when she apparently noticed my first load from my pocket, and I couldn't do a basic retention vanish(stealing with 2 & 3 fingers) without her saying "its in that hand".

I do the initial load from my pocket after giving the spectator a breakaway wand - I thought that should have been very good misdirection.

I don't know exactly what she saw during the retention vanish, or when, but I would like some suggestions on what you do to avoid being caught. Here's a list that I am considering.

1) steal happens before fingers provide cover (I don't think this was the issue today)

2) If spec is on my left, and the sponge ball is in the right hand, it can be seen between the opening between the thumb & fore finger. For this I try to face them, or keep them on the opposite side.

3) Finger "Windows" (a chronic problem for me, there's not much meat on my fingers!)
I find yellow and red balls help with this, blue seems more easily noticed(at
least to my eyes)

4) Guilty hand is not low enough relative to the specs eyes.
After getting home, I noticed that w/o great care, my guilty hand needs at least 5" below there eyes! Ugh! Since she was in a hospital bed and I was standing, this is likely my problem.

Other thoughts for what to watch for, or comments on the above are appreciated.

John
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 10, 2006 07:48PM)
This forum is too open for me to discuss the niceties of sleight of hand. I have posted a solution or two at the following link in the secret sessions.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=162326&forum=37&0
Message: Posted by: John Long (May 10, 2006 08:09PM)
Thanks Bill, I wasn't sure where to post this

Others should post to the new thread, if interested.

John
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 10, 2006 10:11PM)
Actually, that's okay. You got our attention. Most of the time, I don't check that part of the forum. But when there is a technical thing like this that calls for, shall we say, advanced information, then a link over there makes it all work fine.
Message: Posted by: sethb (May 11, 2006 07:49AM)
Following Bill Palmer's lead, I'm posting a link [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=161721&forum=37&0]HERE[/url] to a question I raised in the "Secret Sessions" forum about a particular Miser's Dream gaff.

I've had no replies to date, and am hoping that some increased visibility here may generate a few responses. Thanks! SETH
Message: Posted by: quickhands (May 11, 2006 08:41AM)
Mr. Long, one thing that I have noticed with my 21 months old son is that when I try to vanish a ball so that he does not choke with it, his eyes seem to go to the right place after a couple of seconds, if you know what I mean. Granted, I do not have a lot of experience in this craft as some of you and that could explain my observation, However, I think that kids, or at least some of them, have a special ability to spot things that would seem perfectly normal to most adults. I am not a child psychologist to offer an explanation for my observation but I guess that regardless of what the "problem" was (if in fact, there was any), the take home message is that one should always be aware of the fact that kids have a different way of perceiving and analyzing events and never understimate their ability to understand what is happening. I rememeber my father being very cautious when performing in front of children. I wished I could read the whole thread about your experience performing the sponge balls routine.

QH.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (May 11, 2006 09:22AM)
Henry Hay mentioned it in "The Amateur Magican's Handbook." He said one of the prime requisites of misdirection is association. Your hand, holding a half dollar, comes down, then goes up. The adult association is "toss" and they look up for the coin. The child, not having 1/10th of the adults experience with association keeps his eyes on your hand and might even catch you palming the coin!
Message: Posted by: Sammy the Kid (May 11, 2006 10:21AM)
I would like to add that after seeing Mark Wilson perform his retention while demonstrating the Chapstick Caper trick at a recent seminar, I no longer get busted by the spongeballs. Seeing the performance by a seasoned profesional really helped alot.


Sammy the Kid
Message: Posted by: Ray Haining (May 11, 2006 11:26AM)
I believe John Carney has stated that with every move there should be some form of misdirection.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 11, 2006 12:26PM)
Misdirection doesn't help if you hold your hand wrong! There has to be more than that. I'll post more to the other thread. We are getting into "need to know stuff" now.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (May 11, 2006 02:04PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-11 13:26, Bill Palmer wrote:
Misdirection doesn't help if you hold your hand wrong! There has to be more than that. I'll post more to the other thread. We are getting into "need to know stuff" now.
[/quote]

Absolutely correct! This is a wheel with many spokes. The more of them that are missing, the less likely the wheel will roll correctly.

That is one of the things that I love about the study of magic... it is so much more involved than a quick scan of the surface reveals.

~michael
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (May 11, 2006 02:46PM)
I had a little kid bust me on a fork bending. The whole audience was fooled, but to him it was clear as day. Everything the others said is valid, and I'm sure I modified my handling after that, but some kids just don't look where all the attention is directed.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (May 11, 2006 03:20PM)
I've been caught by a 5 year old while doing Hanging Coins.
She wandered in and caught a glimpse of the concealment from down under.
Lesson learned. Next time I'll keep an eye out for those short folks and step back a little.
Young kids are not yet fully conditioned to follow what appears to be logical sequences like adults are.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (May 11, 2006 03:31PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-11 16:20, Jaz wrote:
I've been caught by a 5 year old while doing Hanging Coins.
She wandered in and caught a glimpse of the concealment from down under.
Lesson learned. Next time I'll keep an eye out for those short folks and step back a little.
Young kids are not yet fully conditioned to follow what appears to be logical sequences like adults are.

[/quote]

There's a lot to be said for bad angles, too. The only thing worse than kids and balconies might be kids on balconies. LOL
Message: Posted by: Ray Haining (May 11, 2006 03:32PM)
I believe what Carney means is that no matter how well a move is executed, it should still be covered by misdirection.
Message: Posted by: John Long (May 11, 2006 04:37PM)
Interesting comments about how a childs perception/association may differ from an adults. I'll have to look for that section in the Amateur Magicians handbook.

Hope the rest of you take a look at the comments in the secret session sections.

John
Message: Posted by: Jaz (May 11, 2006 04:41PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-11 16:31, Michael Baker wrote:
There's a lot to be said for bad angles, too. The only thing worse than kids and balconies might be kids on balconies. LOL
[/quote]

Ain't that the truth!
When at one convention I [i]saw[/i] the Pendragons do thier Metamorphosis from the balcony.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 11, 2006 05:09PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-11 16:32, Ray Haining wrote:
I believe what Carney means is that no matter how well a move is executed, it should still be covered by misdirection.
[/quote]

The move should be covered; however, after the move is finished, you still have to hold your hand correctly. Even if you have a trumpet blast when you do the move, if you don't finish correctly, you will get busted.

BTW, did you read the other thread, Ray? It covers aspects of misdirection that most people don't consider. Misdirection is not "Hey look over there, it's a roach!" Misdirection can be as subtle as the way you breathe.

Misdirection is not just getting people to look where you want them to. It is getting them to THINK where you want them to. If you don't know this, then you need to read [i]Magic By Misdirection[/i].
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (May 11, 2006 06:03PM)
I have also been impressed with Tommy Wonder's thinking on misdirection, and in particular, his desire to push it to the finest degree he can (the smallest amount of misdirection), and still have it work. That is truly walking the thin line! There is something to consider in his thinking that theorizes that too much misdirection can be as bad as not enough. Interesting thoughts.

[url=http://www.leirpoll.com/default.asp]Jarle Leirpoll[/url] has some nice links to info on misdirection on his website. Well worth the read.

~michael
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 11, 2006 07:08PM)
One theory of misdirection that intrigues me, and that I disagree with intensely is "The big motion hides the little motion." If the big motion is unmotivated, it calls attention to the fact that you did something. Misdirection is a matter of focus and motivation.

I'm going to post some thoughts about that in the thread I started as a companion to this one.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (May 11, 2006 07:37PM)
Looking forward to those posts, Bill!

~michael
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (May 11, 2006 07:46PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-11 16:32, Ray Haining wrote:
I believe what Carney means is that no matter how well a move is executed, it should still be covered by misdirection.
[/quote]

Check out John's Book of Secrets and study ideas about "changing the moment".

the steal can happen several seconds before the magic happens. this is very powerful as there is nothing a spectator can possibly see as the item is already long gone.

use multiple techniques.
Paul Gertner utilizes one of these nicely in his dice routine.

This is a great thing to study!

Kids are brutal. They have short attention spans and directing attention is a magicians best weapon. That means working extra hard for kid spectators.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 11, 2006 07:53PM)
No one book or video captures everything you need to know about misdirection. But the Fitzkee book gives you a big head start.

Jules DeBarros had some great thoughts on it in [i]Coins of Ishtar[/i], but it was almost artificially perfect.

The best thing you can do is understand your own body movement. Then you can use your self knowledge to your advantage.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (May 11, 2006 08:11PM)
Agreed, Bill. The Fitzkee book is a great resource. Misdirection is a study unto itself, and every use of it is different, as it must be tailor-fit to the situation at hand. In certain performance arenas, the type and amount of misdirection required can even change in repeated performances of the same trick for different audiences. I have even seen instances where different types and amounts of misdirection were required to manage different spectators within the same audience.

Certain aspects of misdirection are choreographed into the basis of the routine and become much of the foundation of that routine, while others are calibrated while the machine is in motion, as they are the constantly flowing flux that moves in and out of where it is needed.

~michael
Message: Posted by: johnnymystic (May 11, 2006 08:24PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-11 20:53, Bill Palmer wrote:

The best thing you can do is understand your own body movement. Then you can use your self knowledge to your advantage.

[/quote]

Oh, that is so how I wanted to word it, but you did it so well Bill! :)

And for getting busted by a 7 yr. old is no big deal...kids are smarter than we think, the whole magic thing is to be entertaining and really just gettingon the kids level without belittling them.

ain't kids great!? I had two for breakfast this morning...

johnny

johnny
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 11, 2006 09:20PM)
"I love children ... parboiled."

W.C. Fields
Message: Posted by: quickhands (May 11, 2006 10:28PM)
This is all really interesting. I will do my best to reach the required number of posts soon so that I can read the whole thread. How many more do I need...? ;-)

QH.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 11, 2006 10:30PM)
21 more to go.
You can do that fairly quickly.
Message: Posted by: Ray Haining (May 12, 2006 02:59AM)
Just being the type of person that no one would think would pull something off on them can be a form of misdirection.

Bill, I got the Fitzkee trilogy a couple of months ago. I haven't gotten to them yet, but it was "Magic by Misdirection" that I was most interested in.

Life is too short.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 12, 2006 12:28PM)
The importance of those books is in this order:

1) [i]Magic by Misdirection[/i]
2) [i]Showmanship for Magicians[/i]
3) [i]The Trick Brain[/i]

Most magicians actually go the opposite direction. Most of us are looking for methods, not magic. But most of us are also sorely missing out on misdirection, because we don't really understand it. I learned more about misdirection watching Dai Vernon at one of his lectures than I did in a lot of other places.

[i]Showmanship for Magicians[/i] has often been criricised because the examples are outdated. However, if you read the introduction first (always a good idea!) you learn that Fitzkee anticipated that. For example, he discusses using Hawaiian music as your background music. He then states something to the effect that Hawaiian music was very popular when he wrote the book, but in the future, something else will be more popular and that's what should be used. He wasn't a fool. So, if you read that one with an eye to current taste, you can still apply all the principles.

[i]The Trick Brain[/i] has many interesting methods. It gives you ways of thinking and creating. It's not a big step to realize that modern methods of projecting images, for example, will be more effective than the ones he mentions in the book. So, if you understand progress, these books are fantastic. But you have to understand what you have.

Regarding John Carney's statement about misdirection -- you have to watch John perform to understand how this applies. For example, if you are doing a retention vanish, obviously you do not need to get the people to look away from your hands at the "moment." Why? If they do, they won't see what you are supposed to be doing. The misdirection must come from other factors.
Message: Posted by: Ray Haining (May 12, 2006 01:17PM)
Bill, thanks for the information on the Fitzkee books. I don't think I've ever read anything about them, except by Jamie Ian Swiss, who I believe was critical of them. (Don't quote me on that though.)

With respect to introductions, George Bernard Shaw, who wrote lengthy introductions to his plays, stated that introductions were best read last! Sometimes I follow this advice, sometimes not, depending on the book (I don't just read magic books).

For kids, I can get away with two or three spongeball vanishes, but really have to make sure the moves are motivated, which means focusing their attention away from the hand in which the spongball is "placed," and to keep things moving along. Otherwise, even if you do the world's most perfect retention vanish, once they see that the ball is not there, they will immediately figure it out. And let you know about it too!

I believe that even if we do perfect retention vanishes (which I believe we should strive to do), we should direct attention to the next task because, in reality, what we just did would be no big deal.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 12, 2006 01:30PM)
This is true. Often we practice moves out of context. You can't do that. Once you have the basic move, then you need to practice in terms of where the hands go next.

Context is very important. I'll discuss that in the other thread.
Message: Posted by: Jeff Haas (May 12, 2006 04:24PM)
You will probably get busted on almost every routine you do at least once. It's more common in closeup because people are near and can so easily disrupt you or look in the wrong place. There are almost no routines of mine that I can think of where at least part of it wasn't busted once.

Review those moments after the show and try to figure out why they busted you, and how you can prevent that situation in the future. Then combine those observations with what you've learned from the books and lectures, and you'll improve.
Message: Posted by: quickhands (May 12, 2006 10:23PM)
I think that I would now like to see the other thread.

QH.
Message: Posted by: Magicnevets (Aug 22, 2006 01:29AM)
I find that if you place the hand concealing the stolen ball flat on the table it helps distract the gazing eyes of Laymen. Most people don't think that a ball will flatten that much. I guess 7 year olds are an exception though!
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 22, 2006 04:52PM)
You can place the dirty hand on your leg or on your arm, as well.
Message: Posted by: carbone1853 (Aug 22, 2006 06:53PM)
If a seven year old can figure out what you are up to it probably needs work. Adults are often too polite to point out when then they see you do something. But 7 year olds will just scream it out. No big deal just go back home video your self doing the move and see what can be improved.

Chris
Message: Posted by: mrunge (Aug 23, 2006 10:19AM)
I think that children, including 7 year olds, are much smarter than we tend to give them credit for. You can't take their lack of age for granted.

Being in their formative years, it's their nature to catch, or notice, a lot more than others might. They have not yet been conditioned so much to everything else to be easily distracted.

Playful? Yes. Easily fooled and entertained? Sometimes. Stupid and totally gullible? Absolutely not.

Mark.
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Aug 30, 2006 05:30PM)
I've been performing sponge balls for kids for years. You shouldn't get busted on it no matter how young they are. Break out the video camera, positioning it where the kid's eyes will be and start rehearsing. Study the playback and make changes. In time, you should be able to remedy the deficits.