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Topic: Understanding Misdirection?
Message: Posted by: sidtheclown (Jan 13, 2014 02:06AM)
Hi peoples.
Wondering how you best study misdirection. How did you come to understand it and learn to apply it? What tips and exercises etc helped light the lightbulb in your head? I want to master it but first I need to understand it...
Message: Posted by: Ray Bertrand (Jan 13, 2014 10:24PM)
For advice on misdirection, The Fitzkee Trilogy stands out. Magic & Meaning by Neal Burger is also a classic which may help. Watch other magicians perform. Study what they do. Watch them over and over again and you will pick up the subtle nuances called misdirection.

Message: Posted by: AJ MAJIC (Jan 14, 2014 11:07AM)
If you are able to get ahold of Tommy Wonders book of wonder vol 1, his explanation on "misdirection"
really "Direction", will totally enlighten you :) IMHO
Message: Posted by: 1031ent (Jan 22, 2014 06:13PM)
Juan Tamariz 5 Points in Magic
Message: Posted by: RajeshLGov (Jan 30, 2014 05:37AM)
Mr.Tommy Wonders material is the Best. Best, Raj.
Message: Posted by: Atom3339 (Feb 10, 2014 12:27AM)
Message: Posted by: MikeMgc (Feb 11, 2014 06:10AM)
As well as Misdirection, Pacing is also important.

When I want the Audience to focus on specific actions perform them slowly and very deliberately.

For actions you don't want the audience to see or pay attention to, perform them in a relaxed manner and don't rush the move or sleight.
Message: Posted by: Johannes L. (Feb 15, 2014 07:42PM)
As a performer you lead the audience, good misdirection requires you to lead them and lead yourself to the spot you want them to see. They follow your eyes and body. I became good in misdirection simple by trying to get a coin from one hand to another without any moves, simply placing it there and still have them think it's in the fist.
Message: Posted by: Johannes L. (Feb 15, 2014 07:45PM)
There are two languages the audience follow;

• The verbal language
• The body language

Master them both and you will have much easier to misdirect them.
Message: Posted by: orion4211 (Jun 4, 2014 12:47PM)
I'll second Juan Tamariz "Five Points in Magic." I loved this book the first time I read it and still love it after reading 4 times. Its not long, real easy to understand and contains some GREAT performance info.
Message: Posted by: Kbuck54 (Jun 5, 2014 04:31PM)
It is what and how you say it, as well as where you look. People will look where you are looking. Never watch your own hands.
Keith Shazam
Message: Posted by: Ben Seatreader (Jul 5, 2014 02:54PM)
Magic and Showmanship by Henning Nelms would have to be my suggestion. It is a Dover book, hence the low price :)
Message: Posted by: Atom3339 (Jul 5, 2014 08:31PM)
Well, you CAN watch your own hands if that's where you want the audience to look!

Message: Posted by: MagicKingdom10 (Oct 17, 2014 09:34AM)
[quote]On Jun 5, 2014, Kbuck54 wrote:
It is what and how you say it, as well as where you look. People will look where you are looking. Never watch your own hands.
Keith Shazam [/quote]
I think this advice is rock solid, this is I like to practice magic with my eyes closed. This way I wouldn't need to look at my hands at all during performance unless I wish my audience to do so. I also like Eugene Burger's highly ingenious advice to always know the names of the spectators you are performing for. When you want them to look at you just call out their names and look them straight in the eyes they will mirror you by looking into your eyes as well. Some magicians can perform sleights during this time right away while others prefer to shift their audience's concentration even further. Asking them a question immediately after would take the heat off of you and focus their attention towards answering your question. With this divided attention there is ample time for you to get your deed done ;)

Many magicians also say that the eyes like to follow any motion. So if your right hand is performing the sleight your left hand should be doing a lot of moving. Of course the movements should look natural which means they do not look strange or out of place in the situation. Pointing also provides excellent misdirection, most audience looks at the direction your finger is pointing.

I also find that complimenting them on their clothes would serve as a diabolical misdirection as well. For example during the middle of the performance I might say "By the way, nice shirt" or whatever they would most likely shift their eyes towards their shirts or whatever items they were wearing. Moreover they would then look at my shirt as well as some sort of comparison. This why I like to wear my watch on the opposite hand to the one I use to perform the sleight, there is no doubt that if I compliment laymen on their watches they will look at my watch as well ;)

I find that telling them a relevant story, riddle, or joke during performance serves me well regarding where I want my audience's attention to be. An engaging storyline could be all the misdirection you need. You could even act the story out! Remember the eyes like to watch actions and attractive movements so it is prudent to take advantage of this fact.

Sounds also provide good misdirection especially a loud noise or bang somewhere behind the spectators, if your eyes follow the sounds the spectators will follow suit.
There are an infinite ways to create misdirection but they all serve the same purpose of shifting their attention away from your sleight of hand.
Message: Posted by: MagicKingdom10 (Oct 17, 2014 10:31AM)
I couldn't edit my previous post for some reason but I wanted to add that touch is another effective form of misdirection if you only require one hand to perform your sleight. Touching your spectators on their hands or arms with one hand will most likely direct their attention towards those locations leaving you free to do your sleight with the other hand.
Message: Posted by: ummer21 (Nov 28, 2014 05:16PM)
If I want them to stop staring at my hands before a sleight I will call them by name. As soon as we make make eye contact I pull off the sleight and immediately hand them the deck and kinda rush them in a not so obvious manner. Calling people by their name almost automatically makes them respond.
Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (Nov 29, 2014 02:13AM)
It should be noted that Magic by Misdirection from the Fitzkee trilogy and Magic and Showmanship by Henning Nelms were both highly regarded by Tommy Wonder, so it's no "wonder" that all of those, including Mr. Wonder's work, would be excellent choices for study.

There is a Tommy Wonder lecture that was posted somewhere on the Café recently and he mentions these "jokingly" in the beginning as being his only lecture notes- to read these books. And one other, the title escapes me at the moment. But, these are all on my current wish list and would make great additions to your library.

Message: Posted by: ummer21 (Dec 18, 2014 06:51PM)
Today I was doing a card trick and one girl was just stariing at my hand. I did nothing else until she looked up. I actually waited like I was getting uncomfortable at her staring at me. As soon as she looked up blam double lift
Message: Posted by: Otto D (Dec 20, 2014 07:44AM)
I found a good short ebook online that helped me out line the basics. heres the link: http://info.magicshop.co.uk/understandin......ee-ebook

Message: Posted by: Otto D (Dec 20, 2014 07:45AM)
Sorry that link doesny work here's the real one: http://info.magicshop.co.uk/understanding-misdirection---free-ebook
Message: Posted by: msukairi (Jan 19, 2015 01:26PM)
Start with the free ebook from Dominic Reyes
Message: Posted by: Nerdy Wizard (Jan 20, 2015 07:01AM)
I know it's been mentioned before but I have to say Magic and Showmanship by Henning Nelms.
A lot of these books are available on the ebook service Scribd, I've found paying my membership for that has given me access to so much more material so it might be worth looking into.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Jan 29, 2015 10:33PM)
Get carney's book "carneycopia" and study the coin trick "the cylinder and coins" (starting on page 50, I think).
The write-up really helps.

You should train yourself to always use misdirection. Always, always, always.

From what I can tell, the new breed of magicians mistakenly think that speed and nifty-looking sleights are all that is needed and this is not the case at all. They flash. They look cool while they flash, but they flash all the same.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Feb 2, 2015 01:59PM)
For a really nice demonstration of misdirection, look at Tommy Wonder's cups and balls. Watch how he makes those loads happen. There's a video of his Hillside lecture and I like the way that a single camera will catch everything, but when you watch it you won't. One of my beefs with most DVDs is the camera cuts. Yeah, that's how we watch TV, but it isn't how people watch magic.

If you have Pat Page's DVDs (and they are cheap enough I expect everyone should have them), look at his Card Revelations. There's a trick with a card under a glass and the misdirection is lovely. He was doing it at a lecture and warned people he was going to do it and it still went right by a lot.

I think I learn well from seeing a good example, then reading the theory and trying to apply it.

Message: Posted by: AlexanderS (Mar 12, 2015 03:48PM)
As said before Tommy Wonders material is outstanding and a must-see if you are interested in learning missdirection.
But Giovanni Livera's "Salt and Silver" is the course/effect that thought me how to use misdirection!

Message: Posted by: Waters. (Apr 1, 2015 07:57PM)
Check out Gary Kurtz book!
Message: Posted by: BeThePlunk (Apr 4, 2015 06:21AM)
Yeah, Gary Kurtz, if you can wade through the horrendous number of typos and grammatical errors. He even mixes up left and right at one point. That book needs some hefty proofreading. But, yes, the advice underneath it all is good.
Message: Posted by: Lance Inkwell (May 14, 2015 01:01PM)
I find that a great way to misdirect, that often gets over looked, is using simple body language. Beginners, such as myself, tend to tense up when performing sleights, making it obvious to the spectator. To compensate for this, for the time being until I'm more comfortable with my sleight of hand, I will purposely tense up at times when no sleights are being performed, and initiate a pattern that the spectator starts to assume is a truth, rather than a deception. This teaches them to ignore my moments of awkwardness, which is a form of misdirecting their attention away from my real moments of tension. (Poker Face) Books on body language like "The Definitive Book of Body Language" by Allan and Barbara Pease, or anything by Paul Ekman, may help you with learning how to lie and misdirect with your body language. I'm sure there are actual magic books that make note of this form of misdirecting, but I thought I'd just offer more material. Oh, and whatever you do, don't look over there. ------------>
Message: Posted by: Lance Inkwell (May 16, 2015 10:05AM)
Another good book that talks about all kinds of misdirections and deceptions, how they work, and why they work, is " Sleight of Mind" by Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde. In this book, neuroscientists work with magicians to better understand how magic tricks work. I got the audio book version on iTunes to listen to while driving, and I really enjoyed it and learned from it.
Message: Posted by: MagicalEducator (May 25, 2015 01:15PM)
Tom Stone has some very high level work on this topic. I'd encourage folks to check it out.
Message: Posted by: Dorian Rhodell (May 27, 2015 01:33PM)
Great advice given here. Study it all keeping in mind that misdirection is hiding moves in plain sight.
Message: Posted by: agilulfe (Sep 4, 2015 08:26AM)
All of these books are great but it is too much conceptual to begin with misdirection. I was in this situation and after reading them I think I really understood what I should do and why but had no clue to "how". What helped me a lot is the Slydini book, with annotations by Ganson, where you have the detailed motion for the hands, the body and the eyes. Then by practicing these routines, you can enter in the real world of misdirection.
Message: Posted by: DaveGripenwaldt (Feb 10, 2016 05:47PM)
All the suggestions for study material on the topic are excellent and I second (or third or fourth) the Wonder/Fitzke/Nelms suggestions.

Another suggestion is to use youtube for something useful – watch videos of good performers at work. The trick is not so much the issue, as is watching how the spectators are watching the magic. How they are managed, when they burn the action...when they relax. You can learn a lot by watching top performers with that idea in mind.

Another practical idea is to learn a super simple, self working effect where there are essentially no moves to catch. Get to where you can go through the effect without thinking. At that point, just do it for people, but as you do it, practice misdirection you don't actually need. Even though there is no difficult move to try and hide, use the effect to practice what people have outlined here - get someone to look at you when you want them to...practice making on and off beat moments. There is no stress because there is no real need for the misdirection, so you can play with it and get good at the techniques in a no-pressure situation
Message: Posted by: funsway (Feb 22, 2016 06:54AM)
One of the best effects for demonstrating misdirection is "Ten Count"

Even magicians anticipating the move cannot resist/avoid looking at the wrong place.
Message: Posted by: John Long (Apr 16, 2016 10:35PM)

where is that effect found?

Message: Posted by: funsway (Apr 18, 2016 07:21PM)
I think it was from The Professor originally. Write me if you can't find it elsewhere.
Message: Posted by: John Long (Apr 19, 2016 05:43PM)
With a description of the effect from Funsway, I was able to find a published version of this - "From 1 to 10" in Lorayne's The Magic Book.

I'll have to give it a try!

Message: Posted by: MagicofDesperado (Oct 17, 2017 01:24PM)
You won't truly be able to learn about misdirection without performing and experience.

I'm talking putting real time in.

You can understand what it is and see others do it but you'll never understand it and what really makes it tick without performing a lot.

Like all of this stuff.

Message: Posted by: friend2cptsolo (Oct 28, 2017 09:01PM)
I have had several "light bulb" moments on misdirection ....
I think because there is no ONE...single formula for everytime you need misdirection. Each time I need it now is a new experience... the newest routine I am working on ....I have a "move" that could be less visible if it was also timed with a misdirection que..... (this was pointed out by a magician friend of mine) during a practice session......
yeah his suggestion was ..... put in a funny line right there.... or say something odd or out of place at that exact moment

So I feel like even though I knew ALL OF THAT.... like yeah I have read about misdirection ... used misdirection ... but I really did not think about needing it right there in that moment in the routine.... well NOW it seems obvious and a new "light bulb" sort of moment..
Message: Posted by: David_MacFarlane (Oct 15, 2018 04:32PM)
David Acer's Spare Change was the first piece that I regularly did that allowed me to control where the spectator looked. It's a penny dime effect, and at one point, you show the penny in your right hand, then point the spectators to your left hand, open it to reveal the penny, and when they look back to your right hand, it's the dime. You rolled the double sided coin in your right hand at exactly the moment they looked at the left hand... if they'd been looking at the right, they'd have seen it, but the misdirection and beats were strong and baked in.

All of the other suggestions here are good, but if I was starting out (which I guess I am, again), I'd want something like this... misdirection built in to cover a move that couldn't stand on its own... call it misdirection training wheels.
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (Nov 10, 2018 12:59PM)
Don't forget The Secret Art of Magic: Strategy for Magicians by Evans and Craver. Very comprehensive, shows that misdirection is NOT limited to magic performance, and they show how MUCH we can learn from misdirection in warfare. They draw especially from the ancient Chinese war theorists.

Message: Posted by: Bob G (Dec 17, 2018 02:57PM)
For the Ten Count: Martin Gardner invented the sponge ball version -- see his book, Martin Gardner Presents. You can see the trick beautifully performed and explained at almost the beginning of Daryl's DVD, Essentials in Magic: Sponge Balls. Daryl also does a ten count with matches on one of his three Fooler Doolers DVD's.

Finally, I started a thread a year or so ago called something like "Tricks with built-in misdirection" -- of which ten-count is an example. People replied with lots of great ideas.

Hope this helps.

Message: Posted by: Bob G (Dec 17, 2018 03:16PM)
To David McFarlane: I hadn't seen your post about built-in misdirection when I wrote my message. I like the "training wheels" image. I'm certainly still using training wheels! Lots of study and practice, but not nearly enough performance.

Message: Posted by: Bob G (Dec 17, 2018 04:20PM)
I forgot to say, Gardner's tricks is called something like "Sponge Ball Passe Passe."
Message: Posted by: HeronsHorse (Jan 6, 2019 10:35AM)
[quote]On Feb 10, 2016, DaveGripenwaldt wrote:
All the suggestions for study material on the topic are excellent and I second (or third or fourth) the Wonder/Fitzke/Nelms suggestions.

Another suggestion is to use youtube for something useful – watch videos of good performers at work. The trick is not so much the issue, as is watching how the spectators are watching the magic. How they are managed, when they burn the action...when they relax. You can learn a lot by watching top performers with that idea in mind.

I also recommend the Fitzkee books and Henning Nelms book. But the absolute best thing to get you going is - and I'm surprised at the lack of this advice right here in this thread- watching performances!
I spend time every day watching magicians perform. I saw Jeff Hobson yesterday pull off an amazing version of the professor's nightmare rope trick. The thing is, even I hadn't spotted something. It is a masterclass in misdirection. Please, have a look.
Go to 10:53 in the video and watch right until he goes off the screen.
This is why we must watch magicians who are good, performing. Better than any book. And I have nearly all the aforementioned books but without seeing anyone perform they won't help you on their own.
And watch as much performance as you can. See what works, what doesn't work, how the timing of movements and speech throw people's attention, how your gestures and touching them changes or confuses their focus.
There is so much to learn, I agree, but it isn't so confusing when you watch the masters at work. I watch anything. Magicians from 1931 on British Pathe news YouTube channel(or website), or modern day magicians. (Not Dynamo.. he doesn't know what misdirection is.) I'm really loving watching these shows from the 90s, there's some good learning in there.
The only way to test your own misdirection ability is to try it on people though! Family and friends can be fooled. Even the ones who now think they can second guess you. Introduce misdirection and they haven't a clue. Especially things like crossing the gaze from Juan Tamariz.
I love this aspect of magic and think it is most important!
Good luck. ;)
Message: Posted by: Roberto Juan (Jan 9, 2019 10:01AM)
I recently purchased two highly recommended pamphlets about misdirection. They look quite interesting and I'll be dissecting them soon.

Leading with your Head, by Gary Kurtz (available from Doc Eason)

Don't Look Now, by Al Leech
Message: Posted by: Wravyn (Jan 9, 2019 12:29PM)
Leading with your head is an excellent source. I no longer have my copy, could you post a link as to where it can be ordered?
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Jan 9, 2019 01:17PM)
The Card College books are a great source. Look at just about any of his descriptions of tricks or sleights, and he'll tell you about the misdirection being employed; also the way in which the words used direct spectators' thoughts along misleading avenues.

For anyone thinking of ordering Leech's Don't Look Now, check whether you already have a copy of The Complete Al Leech: its first chapter is a reprint of Don't Look Now, along with commentary by the editor, Danny Rudnick.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Jan 9, 2019 01:20PM)
Nerdy Wizard,

Do you know if Scribd is legit? There prices are so low that I wondered whether they had gotten copyright clearances to reprint their books.

Message: Posted by: Roberto Juan (Jan 10, 2019 01:34PM)
Wravyn - Leading With Your Head is available from Doc Eason's website ($25)

Message: Posted by: Wravyn (Jan 10, 2019 07:11PM)
[quote]On Jan 10, 2019, Roberto Juan wrote:
Wravyn - Leading With Your Head is available from Doc Eason's website ($25)

https://doceason.com/product/leading-with-your-head/ [/quote]

Thank you!
Message: Posted by: TomB (Jul 20, 2019 03:20AM)
Tommy Wonder videos were great. The key is to look natural and dictate where the audience is looking. Hence what is the left and right hand doing? Where are you looking? Do small moves cover big moves, or big moves cover small moves?

Tommy stated in one of his videos while looking for some reason for movement he looked at his watch. Then that became his move as it looked natural.

I practice by stealing food from my daughter. Point outside, look outside, ask a question about outside, when she looks, you grab. Then when I am eating the fry or whatever, I tell her she fell for the oldest trick in the book. She does catch on. You have to come up with new misdirection. Now you drop your napkin. You get the point.