(Close Window)
Topic: Penn & Teller: Fool Us
Message: Posted by: FoolUs (Feb 24, 2011 05:27AM)
After the huge success of ITV1’s primetime 90-minute special, Penn & Teller: Fool Us!, the world-famous illusionists are coming back to the UK for more.

For the series - hosted by Jonathan Ross - we’re looking for the best magical performers to wow the pair with a jaw-dropping performance. It is all about showcasing the most original, entertaining and baffling magic – all watched live by Penn & Teller and a studio audience. Any magician who manages to fool the pair gets a trip to Las Vegas to perform in their incredible stage show at the Rio Hotel and Casino.

This is an open call to find the very best, either amateur or professional, and we are looking at every kind of magic so that we have as much variety as possible.

We will be filming in a studio in London between May 14-May 20. We would need you to be available at times tbc within that window.

You will also need to make yourself available for 1-2 days filming in the run up to the studio.

If you are interested please email magic@septemberfilms.com asap!
Message: Posted by: Chris Jones (Feb 24, 2011 04:09PM)
Slick.

I'll get my thinking cap on sista.
Message: Posted by: Reuben Dunn (Mar 29, 2011 08:06PM)
Hmmmm as long as P7T don't go about exposing those tricks/effects that they don't like, this does sound promising.
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Mar 29, 2011 10:33PM)
Do they expose effects on this show? I've never seen it...

David
Message: Posted by: Futureal (Mar 30, 2011 12:19AM)
No, they do not.

The last show was nothing but great for the image of magic and magicians.
Message: Posted by: gdw (Jul 15, 2011 11:44AM)
Any chance of the show coming to north america, either in production, or broadcast?
Message: Posted by: Close.Up.Dave (Jul 18, 2011 02:24AM)
I sure hope so!
Message: Posted by: Richard L. (Jul 18, 2011 09:13AM)
Me too!
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 18, 2011 09:26AM)
Me Three
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 18, 2011 11:08AM)
[quote]
On 2011-02-24 06:27, FoolUs wrote:
For the series - hosted by Jonathan Ross - we’re looking for the best magical performers to wow the pair with a jaw-dropping performance. It is all about showcasing the most original, entertaining and baffling magic – all watched live by Penn & Teller and a studio audience. Any magician who manages to fool the pair gets a trip to Las Vegas to perform in their incredible stage show at the Rio Hotel and Casino.
[/quote]

Wow... In hearing you describe it that sounds really exciting and great for magic and magicians! Just so I understand fully... what happens to the ones that DON'T fool "the pair"? Do they just tell you discreetly off camera away from the viewers and studio audience?
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 18, 2011 08:22PM)
Ray;
I understand the production company just purchased a guillotine for the losers.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 18, 2011 09:51PM)
Lol... Oh, good as long as they have options! I thought it was interesting that they said "It is all about showcasing the most original, entertaining and baffling magic" unless of course you're one of the majority of magicians that go on the show and don't fool "the pair". In that case it's all about them showcasing the secret methods you use to make a living for the entertainment of the viewing audience. Seems like bad odds for most people!
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 18, 2011 10:01PM)
I can see P&T duplicating the effect to match the contestant without revealing how it is accomplished; I don’t know for a fact if this is the method they will use in the show, but it is an option.
Message: Posted by: Gerry Walkowski (Jul 19, 2011 03:10AM)
From what I'm hearing, the British magicians don't like this show.

Gerry
Message: Posted by: Scott Burton (Jul 19, 2011 04:16AM)
There are all on YouTube. They are there for you to enjoy.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 19, 2011 08:11AM)
Scott, what do you type in to find it?
Message: Posted by: Richard L. (Jul 19, 2011 09:19AM)
You can type in "Penn and Teller Fool Us" and some results from the show will pop up.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 19, 2011 12:58PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-18 23:01, Howie Diddot wrote:
I can see P&T duplicating the effect to match the contestant without revealing how it is accomplished; I don’t know for a fact if this is the method they will use in the show, but it is an option.
[/quote]

lol.. Howie...my posts were largely tongue in cheek. The problem with the show is that if they figure out the effect, they expose it on television for everyone's amusement (except of course the magician's!). The exposure process seems to be very selective depending on their mood I guess. Sometimes they will discretely draw the proposed solution on a pad and only show the magician. Some times they will speak in thinly veiled code ("He rang in a cooler when he reached under the table" or "He switched the gaff when he turned around"). Yes, they are protecting certain facets of the secret but largely exposing most of it to everyone. Anyone with a DVR can just review everything after they have exposed it and have a good idea what happened rendering the routine largely useless to that particular audience.

[quote]
On 2011-07-19 04:10, Gerry Walkowski wrote:
From what I'm hearing, the British magicians don't like this show.
[/quote]

From what I'm hearing... few magicians anywhere like the show. It is just the price some are willing to pay to get their 15 minutes of fame on television.
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Jul 19, 2011 01:48PM)
I agree with Ray. Can't see why many magicians would seriously like it.

It looks to me like, the magician is either exposed, or proven to be not so great after all. :)

Much like a heads I win, tails you lose, situation.

Tom
Message: Posted by: Scott Burton (Jul 19, 2011 02:00PM)
Personally, I enjoy the show. They highlight some great performers I would not otherwise have seen. And, IMO, P & T are very gracious to the performers, respectful to the magic, and make the show a lot of fun.

My wife really enjoys the show too. She doesn't usually like watching magicians on TV and this is one of the few shows magic-themed shows she actually enjoys watching.

I can't speak for magicians in general but, as I mentioned, I think the show is great.

America's Got Talent is way more harsh and negative to the performers.
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Jul 19, 2011 02:19PM)
But Scott, America's Got Talent judges aren't magicians.

Oh I'm sure I would probably watch it too if on here.

I just can't see why someone would want to be on it.

Why would you want to prove on TV you not as good as P&T?

I can tell you here, I'm not. :)

Tom
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 19, 2011 02:25PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-19 15:00, Scott Burton wrote:
Personally, I enjoy the show. They highlight some great performers I would not otherwise have seen. And, IMO, P & T are very gracious to the performers, respectful to the magic, and make the show a lot of fun.

My wife really enjoys the show too. She doesn't usually like watching magicians on TV and this is one of the few shows magic-themed shows she actually enjoys watching.

I can't speak for magicians in general but, as I mentioned, I think the show is great.

America's Got Talent is way more harsh and negative to the performers.
[/quote]

Scott, you seem like a really great guy and I think you have very valid points. I would actually put this in the exact same category as AGT in that they are making a show at the expense of the performers (who are typically performing for free at least on AGT). I have seen some very good performances on the P&T show but at what cost? The cost is exposing the ones who didn't meet the challenge. I will stop for short of saying that AGT (or P&T's show for that matter) is "rigged" but let's just say that it can be heavily manipulated by who the producers choose to put on the show.

These shows are "cast" by producers who know very well that some acts are never going to get through and others have a great chance. It's not like all of the acts are fairly or evenly matched like a prize fight. Do we really think that an illusion act is going to fool P&T with a traditional method? Of course not. They were cast on the show as cannon fodder. Others a cast as they have a clever routine with a very new and virtually unknown method which will probably fool the pair. This doesn't guarantee a specific result but is FAR from random.

AGT in particular appeals to delusional contestants who have no clear judgement on their own abilities. The producers and talent coordinators build them up to be shot down.

To what degree the producers of the P&T show do this are totally unknown, but it is a SOP for many shows.

It WILL appeal to a lot of people which is it's main goal and could even be good for magic although that is very subjective and really unknown at this point. After all, Val said he did the Masked Magician to be good for magic and to get magicians to come up with new methodology. Most agreed this was a bunch of baloney to justify him doing it for the money. I would tend to agree with the majority there.

Magic ebbs and flows and is lambasted then rejuvenated constantly. This is yet another part of the process we have to accept. Just let the people admit they are doing it for the money and exposure and not try and convince us they are doing it for the Art.
Message: Posted by: Scott Burton (Jul 19, 2011 03:16PM)
I love how Penn goes out of his way to complement the performers and the performances. It's a great feedback strategy to give many positives before giving a negative (just as you did so kindly in replying to me). Even the kid performing with standard props got complemented for being just as they were when they were starting and how he has a great future in magic. P & T are sharp guys and know how to play the balance between giving what the audience wants in reality TV (potential perceived risks and rewards) and giving due respect to the performers. I would hate to see this show with judges other than P & T. Of course, this is purely my personal interpretation.
Message: Posted by: Richard L. (Jul 19, 2011 03:18PM)
I too enjoy the show, (minus the exposure of methods that occasionally occurs).

Luis de Matos sums it up best in this thread:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=422593&forum=298&1
Message: Posted by: aussiemagik (Jul 19, 2011 06:02PM)
I personally like the show. We need something like that in the US. David Blaine and Criss Angel are ok, but I really enjoyed the multiple act shows such as World Greatest Magic series. Plus, P&T Fool Us keeps me highly entertained when I'm on my ship once a week for the Navy. It's the perfect way to spend 45 minutes before I go to sleep, lol.
Message: Posted by: bbarefoot (Jul 19, 2011 08:53PM)
I have had a chance to catch this show, and I find it to be excellent. Its a great way for the magicians to advertise and get their name out there in the public, and the added benefit of getting a chance at performing on a Vegas stage if you can fool Penn and Teller.
As far as the complaints they are revealing too much, I have not yet seen them reveal anything in a form that the lay audience would understand. I would be perfectly comfortable watching it with any friends and family and be confident that no more secrets would be revealed to them than have been revealed by some bad magician I dragged them to see perform. They are very careful to keep the explanations to a minimum while trying to prove they weren't fooled, and in some cases refused to use technical names that could be easily googled.
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Jul 19, 2011 09:39PM)
Advertising magic that doesn't fool.

For some reason that just doesn't sound right to me. LOL

Tom
Message: Posted by: bbarefoot (Jul 22, 2011 04:01PM)
Every performer I have seen perform has managed to get some great praise from Penn and Teller, and they get to perform on television. So regardless if the fool Penn and Teller or not, they have some quotes about their act and can say they were on the show. Their ability to fool or not has no correlation to their ability to entertain. I have seen some great performances that did not manage to fool Penn and Teller, which then gets the added advantage of the lay audience saying but they should have got to go to Vegas they did so well.

So I guess it comes down to your skills at entertaining and marketing, as to whether you benefit from the show or if you hinder yourself.

Bradley
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 23, 2011 12:03PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-19 22:39, TomBoleware wrote:
Advertising magic that doesn't fool.

For some reason that just doesn't sound right to me. LOL

Tom
[/quote]


After watching the youtube videos, I am thinking this is a very cleaver technique to hold auditions for a Las Vegas show.

Instead of paying to rent a studio and pay for a crew, and then paying to advertise a call for all magician’s to come and audition for a show; they have created a show to televise and make money by broadcasting the show and have the magicians audition in this manner,

They make money auditioning and get free advertising for the Las Vegas show at the same time; which I am sure will become a DVD for sale
Message: Posted by: inhumaninferno (Jul 23, 2011 04:36PM)
I just saw a clip with Mathieu Bich and it gets a thumbs up from me. He did a great trick. P&T offered their opinion on what they thought was fishy without any type of exposure. Mathieu was ready for them and had a great little burn which P&T got a real kick out of-so Mathieu fooled them! Haven't seen any others, but this one rocked!
Message: Posted by: Stevini (Jul 27, 2011 08:11PM)
It's a great show IMO. The people who say they don't understand why anyone would go on it, clearly don't get the sheer marketing power of 7 million people (in the UK alone), seeing you perform. That alone would treble your bookings and your income overnight; providing you had a great, easy to find web presence. It's a marketing dream come true. A better question would be, "why wouldn't you want to be on it?" This post assumes that the majority of magicians want to make a good living from their career.
Message: Posted by: SteveFromSpokane (Jul 30, 2014 10:25PM)
[quote]On Jul 23, 2011, inhumaninferno wrote:
I just saw a clip with Mathieu Bich and it gets a thumbs up from me. He did a great trick. P&T offered their opinion on what they thought was fishy without any type of exposure. Mathieu was ready for them and had a great little burn which P&T got a real kick out of-so Mathieu fooled them! Haven't seen any others, but this one rocked! [/quote]


That was just beautiful. Wow.
Message: Posted by: gdw (Jun 9, 2016 09:55AM)
[quote]On Jul 27, 2011, Stevini wrote:
It's a great show IMO. The people who say they don't understand why anyone would go on it, clearly don't get the sheer marketing power of 7 million people (in the UK alone), seeing you perform. That alone would treble your bookings and your income overnight; providing you had a great, easy to find web presence. It's a marketing dream come true. A better question would be, "why wouldn't you want to be on it?" This post assumes that the majority of magicians want to make a good living from their career. [/quote]

Exactly.
Considering the act that "won" the first season was Piff, and he did not fool them, this is precisely why someone would go on this show.

That, and to meet P&T, or they really believe they can fool them, or all of the above.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 9, 2016 03:26PM)
[quote]On Jul 27, 2011, Stevini wrote:
It's a great show IMO. The people who say they don't understand why anyone would go on it, clearly don't get the sheer marketing power of 7 million people (in the UK alone), seeing you perform. That alone would treble your bookings and your income overnight; providing you had a great, easy to find web presence. It's a marketing dream come true. A better question would be, "why wouldn't you want to be on it?" This post assumes that the majority of magicians want to make a good living from their career. [/quote]

Yea doesn't quite work that way.
Message: Posted by: Bairefoot (Jun 11, 2016 11:24PM)
I would still love to get on the Show.

Bairefoot
Message: Posted by: Jaqk Clemente (Sep 7, 2018 03:34AM)
Recently I was able to interview the producers of the show in the audition they made in Italy:

How To Get An Audition For Penn & Teller: Fool Us
https://www.prestigiazione.it/wp/how-to-get-an-audition-for-penn-teller-fool-us/
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Sep 7, 2018 10:33AM)
I want to start this by saying I like the show and respect Penn and Teller. I think the show is great for magic in general and elevates the art.

BUT do want to address the idea that somehow your bookings will triple or whatever just by being on this, or any show. This is a VERY common and incorrect and misguided thought process. In many ways this thought works against those who end up getting this type of chance.

Your value to a client is not based on the fact that you were fortunate enough to get on TV. Especially now. With the glut of shows on TV now the value of such a spot has diminished considerably. (It is still great to do and it is still cool and should not be turned down.) Your value is based on your show, what you bring to the table for the client, your position in the market place and a list of other factors.

This misinterpretation of value based on being on TV for 3 minutes often gets an act to decide that they can now charge X$ for their show. A vastly inflated price based upon thinking they are of greater value simply because of being on TV. If the rest of the factors are not in place to back up such a position the client then balks. At that point they either can do one of a couple things. They can extend their budget, and when they do they often start thinking "if we do that we can afford .....". That person who HAS done all the other things necessary for the client to know they are worth that. Or they can walk away.

In other words you start to lose business. I have seen it happen time and time again. I have had guys walk away from me using them or demand more money just because they have hit the 3 minute TV spot and then 2 or 3 months later they are calling wanting the work again at the old price because they are starving. They can't find work at the new price point at all.

Your value has to be based on something tangible. It has to be based on something that clients can easily see. A 3 minute TV spot is not something to base a large value on.

Again I want to say I think the show is great, and being on it is a wonderful experience for anyone. I have never heard anyone have a bad experience on the show. It is probably a good experience on all levels and if you have an opportunity and are fortunate enough to go on I think you should.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Sep 7, 2018 01:12PM)
Amen! There are no less than three current threads here claiming the same. As someone who has coached or consulted over a half a dozen America's Got Talent contestants, I can assure you this is not true. This always seems to be proclaimed by someone not truly in the know or who has never seen or been part of the process - ESPECIALLY THE AFTERMATH. It simply isn't true and has Danny has started to point out, in more situations than not, the opposite effect happens for the next year or two.

This is wrong for so many reasons if you truly think about it it is easy to realize, but, of course, most don't and only see it on the surface, and make their own assumptions and opinions based on really nothing.

I think this is another one of those things that magician's don't really want to hear the truth. As an agency owner and talent broker, I get avails and routing information (including pricing) on many of these acts and you would be surprised what they make, and often times it continues to drop down practically to the price of a local performer in Tulsa, Ann Arbor, Park City or any other American town or city.

Now, sure the winners and perhaps a finalist or two will see an increase in price for about 6-9 months, but if they don't do something more with the opportunity and have a specific strategy in that time (which is why they often contact me to work with them to monetize the opportunity) the drop beings quickly. Same for American Idol, The Voice An dP&T.

That's the other thing pertaining here to Tricky Business, is most of these performers have no idea how to utilize and monetize it when the show is over, and the AGT machine isn't in play with them. Penn & Teller is much smaller and the after-effects are as well, even for the foolers.

This is something I have always been passionate about and of course, have lived it first hand. My first time on Oprah, it went to millions of people in something like 18 countries. I was told the very same thing, It was about to catapult me into five figures per booking, international fame, yada, yada, yada. I was ready.... and I didn't receive one call. Not an inquiry, nothing. All I got out of it was performing for her Christmas Party and I got that before the show even aired. it simply doesn't happen that way anymore. There was a time when the right spot on Johnny Carson, for a comedian, could be life-changing but again, that was still the expectation to the rule. You will hear about Rosanne, Jim Carey, Drew Carey, Ellen, Seinfeld, Leno, Tim Allen and others that this occurred, but there were hundreds or maybe thousands of other comedians who it did absolutely nothing for, except maybe making them enjoy 15 minutes of fame for a few weeks in the $100 a night comedy clubs.

It is amazing how many believe this misperception.
Message: Posted by: Wravyn (Sep 7, 2018 03:43PM)
@Dannydoyle and Mindpro,
Thank you for that informative and great information. I enjoy your sharing of knowledge with things like this. There are times that you have answered questions I have had but had no idea what or how to ask. Thank you again.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Sep 7, 2018 03:59PM)
No problem.

The other thing to mention because it is counterintuitive, is that if you plan on taking advantage of being on the show then all the work needs to be done and in place BEFORE the show airs to properly take advantage to the full extent.

Putting the clip on your Web page is cool and all but it is as far as most go to try to get milage from an appearance.

You have a small window of opportunity that closes SO fast. Taking advantage of it is not easy and has to be well planned. Waiting for the phone to ring is all most do.
Message: Posted by: Nash (Sep 26, 2018 01:47AM)
All good points & great thread; for future reference, as PTFU seems to be a growing niche (more and more people from my live shows are telling me they watch that show). How can the upcoming PTFU participants capitalize on their potential 15 mins of fame when it arrives?
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Sep 26, 2018 03:17AM)
Again it is not possible to overstate the importance of preparing before it arrives.
Message: Posted by: imgic (Sep 26, 2018 11:02PM)
Is it just me, or is anyone else upset about some of the acts that “fool”Penn & Teller? There are two right off the bat I can think of that did not fool me, and I’m just an amatuer/hobbyist. Yet P&T awarded them FU awards. Was the fix in to supprt them? We’re P&T short on opening acts and so needed some winners? Did the magician agree to appear only if they “won?”
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Sep 27, 2018 12:49AM)
I doubt anything so nefarious has happened. I do think that they can get caught up in presentation and simply not be able to back track.

Don't forget they are watching live as well and the show is edited in some ways. So there are other factors.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Sep 27, 2018 08:16AM)
I'm not upset at all. The show isn't called "Fool Everybody Everywhere". It's called "Fool Us".

Like Danny said, even if someone knows a technique, if it's wrapped up in a good presentation it's easy to overlook things that are obvious to someone else sometimes. We are literally seeing this through a barrier - the TV Screen. P&T are watching it live, and generally head on.

They are also stage illusionists. While no one would question the concept that Teller is an encyclopedia of magic, their primary focus is the work they do in their show. I think the close up work has evolved enough since they had to worry about it consistently that there are plenty of methods that are available they've never heard of.

But aside from all that - Fooling P&T isn't really the point, I think. An associate who's been on the show talked to me about the behind-the-scenes stuff and it made me realize that this show is basically intended as a way for P&T to use their success to help up and coming performers and friends. I think some people fool them for sure, I think some people fool them on minor technicalities, and I think some people they just say they were fooled - and I'm OK with all of those scenarios.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Sep 27, 2018 10:09AM)
I agree that is why there are also many of P&Ts Las Vegas friends on the show, not to fool them but to make for "good tv." One must remember first and foremost, it is a tv show that must be interesting and entertaining to the viewing audience. It is also meant as a vehicle for P&T to make greater benefits on the back-end keeping them in the media, contemporary, and to position themselves in both the tv world as well as the magic world.

They help many including those who don't fool them just by the national exposure (what most of these performers do with that is another topic altogether), but it is more in the positioning that P&T gain the most.

It would be a boring show if they exerted their knowledge and knew how everything was done. For the drama, suspense and little guy triumph, they have to be fooled regularly. So then it becomes a matter of who they feel is worthy in a greater picture.

It is tv and there is much more to it than meets the eye. Not to mention a great way to find a steady stream of new opening acts getting their Vegas credit on the resume.
Message: Posted by: Samuel Catoe (Oct 2, 2018 09:53AM)
A good presentation can mask the simplest of moves. The premise is can you "fool" P&T, not can you do something they've never seen. If you can get them so wrapped up in the presentation of the routine that they miss something, which has happened more than once, then they miss the move altogether and you "fool" them. It's not about pulling off the knuckle busting move that no one can explain, though that also has happened, but about pulling the wool over their eyes in whatever way you can. The Frog Prince is my favorite example of this. They KNOW how the trick is done and know it cold. The very routine is in print and the creator of that routine is one of the technical advisers, and yet they were indeed fooled, not because they can't explain the trick but because they never saw the real frog coming.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Oct 6, 2018 04:35PM)
I was on the show this past September (episode 11, the Fool Us Zone). I didn't do it for money or bookings, I did it because a lot of my friends who had been on the show had a great time, and I felt it not only would be fun, but an honor to perform on national TV. The producers selected the routine they wanted me to do, after seeing several that I had sent them. It was clear that they valued the presentation over the effect. I had changed the ending to a technique I thought might fool them, but I already knew they would know the basic structure of the routine even if the moves were unknown to them. Mike Close emphasised that it was more about putting on a good show rather than fooling them. Everyone on the show from the producers on down were friendly and helpful, and I had a great time. After the spot the handlers stuck me in a room for a while, then placed me in the middle of a hallway and left me. I had no idea what was going on, until Penn and Teller walked though some doors and I got to say a few words to them before they dissapeared into their dressing rooms while on a small break. It was a nice surprise, but honestly I was so surprised I forgot to take a selfie or ask them how they figured out my new technique. After that, the handlers took me out of the theatre area to meet my wife. The experience was class all the way. All of the magicians I know told me they enjoyed the spot, but when you look at the YouTube comments, a lot of trolls are on there bashing every little thing. Oh well, can't make everyone happy I guess. But I did get over 55,000 views on my spit alone, and close to 100,00 views on the entire show, so you do get exposure. Best thing was when one of my clients came into my office and gushed that he saw me on the show, he never knew I was also a magician.