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Topic: My Experience with Misdirection
Message: Posted by: Magic Oli (Oct 27, 2014 06:44AM)
I've been doing magic on and off for around 12 years and I am still no technical master of sleights or effects, however: even though learning sleights and perfecting them is hard, the hardest thing about learning magic is learning misdirection. Misdirection is extremely sensitive, if done badly it could lead to people thinking you are misdirecting them and then they will search for the 'dirty work' that's going on. On the other hand, when done well even the best of us magicians are fooled.


Why is it important?


To me, what makes a great magician is not how invisible their pass is, or how many coin sleights they can do flawlessly or even how many tricks you can perform. To me it's how well you can manipulate your audiences attention to where you want or need it. If you can do this well, it doesn't matter how bad your technique is, you will have a good chance of fooling your spectators. I bet any money you've done a vanish and someones said it's in the other hand, it doesn't matter how pefect your technique is, it will happen, but with a little bit of misdirection the probability of this happening is smaller


Misdirection Myths


"If you point at your hand that "has the coin" when doing a vanish straight after the move, people will believe it's there"

What a load of Sh*t! I can't tell you how many beginner books you'll find in a local library encourage this, it's rediculous. If you put something in your hand naturally in everyday situations you don't bloody point at it to prove to someone its there, so when it's done in a trick people get suspicious. Please for the love of our holy God don't do this. It makes you look like the uncle that does a few tricks, not a professional magician.

"If you state what is 'happening' people will believe what you are doing"

People aren't stupid, they have eyes and don't need you to narrate everything you are doing. A big no no is over emphasising what you want them to think you're doing. i.e. "I will tuck this hanky into my closed, empty fist...". This screams I'm not doing what I'm telling you! People will assume your fist is empty and won't think twice until you tell them it is. People, in general, don't believe magicians, they know we are up to something and will assume that everything you say is a lie if you draw unnecessary attention to it.

"The more you talk the more people will forget about what suspicious move you've just done"

If you talk for ages after doing a move people will begin to suspect that you are trying to distract them, especially if you are unnatural in your speech. Keep things casual and people will relax and not be so suspicious, the moment your tone or style changes people will start the analyse every move you do.


How do I study Misdirection and make my misdirection better?


I honestly didn't know the answer to this question until a few days ago. The answer is, buy Tom Stone's penguin live lecture. I watched this a few days ago and it has completly changed my way of approaching misdirection. He doesn't bore you either. The first routine is taught almost in full (apart from the striking vanish by david williamson) and Tom breaks it down piece by piece justifying each move with the fundamentals of misdirection. Forget books, you can't learn misdirection from books because you need to see it performed (especially if you aren't a more advanced magician).

My views on misdirection have changed from being that of an "it's too hard" attitude to a "this is more important that anything sleight or gimmick" viewpoint.

Forget about buying the latest gimmick, do yourselves a favour and invest in Tom Stone's Lecture it will make your magic better, I guarantee it.

Thanks

Magic Oli
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (Oct 27, 2014 10:20AM)
Cool! I too would like to learn more about misdirection. Was that the focus of the lecture, or was it just part of the lecture? More details (and maybe a link), please :)

And if anyone knows of other great books, DVDs or examples of audience attention management please let me know. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: Magic Oli (Oct 27, 2014 10:41AM)
Terrible Wizard,

It was a good portion of the lecture but the rest of the lecture is very informative too :)

it can be bought here: http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/3490

The techniques taught are too valuable to be exposed on the Café, this is brilliant stuff. Greg Wilson is a very good example of someone who manages and misdirect his audience, I suggest watching him perform.

Thanks,

Magic Oli
Message: Posted by: Kabbalah (Oct 27, 2014 02:14PM)
I don't know what to say just now, except... :lol: :lol: :lol: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
Message: Posted by: Andy Young (Oct 27, 2014 02:55PM)
Just to be clear, point can work for a vanish. I do it and works great for me. I typically point upwards while a coin or small object is in a FP. This makes my hand appear to be empty. So you need to understand that it can be a subtle way to show the other hand empty.
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (Oct 27, 2014 04:00PM)
Magic Oli, just to be clear I wasn't asking for exposure of techniques and methods!!!
Message: Posted by: Invisticone (Oct 27, 2014 04:33PM)
I also found Tom Stone's lecture very informative as far as misdirection is concerned (his vanish of a ball while holding it at the fingertips all the time was very amusing).
Message: Posted by: Invisticone (Oct 28, 2014 03:45AM)
By the way, the whole first hour is mostly about misdirection, using a couple of tricks to demonstrate the principles.
Message: Posted by: MagicKingdom10 (Nov 3, 2014 03:16PM)
Misdirection is often my favorite topic of study. I like this article about "soft cuts" and "hard cuts" in [url=http://www.leirpoll.com/choreographic_misdirection.htm]choreographic misdirection[/url] by Jarle Leirpoll. Tom Crone also has an excellent online piece about [url=http://www.leirpoll.com/misdirection/mentalism.htm]misdirection in mentalism[/url]. I learned a lot from them.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Nov 4, 2014 10:24AM)
Dariel Fitzkee wrote a whole book ("Magic By Misdirection") pub: 1945. Like Maskelynne and Devant's "Our Magic", the "theory" can be a bit dry, but the real stuff is there IMHO.
Message: Posted by: Malakim (Nov 4, 2014 12:24PM)
From a Onlooker point of view I found that most magicians use a lot of misdirection which is described under the Name of NLP.
They use the knowledge of how our Brain works.

"Now do not look at my right hand" is probably the best way to make people look at the right hand since our Brain thinks positive first and afterwards adds the "NO".

Maybe whoever is interested in Misdirection might want to take a look at the works of Richard Wayne Bandler and John Grinder eg. "The Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and Therapy. 1975" or the following works.

After reading and working on this topic I find myself suddenly in the know when misdirection is taking place much more often.
Message: Posted by: Magic Oli (Nov 4, 2014 08:56PM)
Malakim, what does NLP stand for?
Message: Posted by: Malakim (Nov 5, 2014 02:03AM)
[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuro-linguistic_programming]Neuro-linguistic Programming = NLP[/url]

I believe Derren Brown uses a lot of techniques derived from this Field of research. But not only for mentalism but also for misdirection it is an interesting field. To know how our brain works and how it reacts to specific acts is quite interesting.
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (Nov 5, 2014 04:52AM)
I think Derren Brown's claims to using NLP are mostly bunk, just like a mentalist's claims to be using the power of their mind to bend cutlery. He may utilise a small amount of NLP stuff, but mostly he doesn't - and I do believe he's shied away a lot from even claiming or implying that he does now. NLP is, I think, mostly considered a pseudo-science rather than something credible - though I'm no expert on this.
Message: Posted by: Malakim (Nov 5, 2014 05:04AM)
It does not really matter if the Main Topic NLP is a pseudo science or total bolloks. The interesting part for this thread are the ideas and information about how our brain works and reacts to language.

The example above is easy "Do not think of purple Elephants" will make you think of purple Elephants because our brain comprehends the positive part first and reaches the NOT after it already thought of the purple elephant.

Furthermore I guess it would be nice to know how to tap best into the creative thinking of the audience or maybe make them remember things ... and so on.
Message: Posted by: Magic Oli (Nov 5, 2014 06:50AM)
But making someone think of something by saying it isn't programming their brain
Message: Posted by: Malakim (Nov 5, 2014 07:02AM)
Maybe I have language problems.

No it is not. NLP is a field of studie which comes from Psychology and Therapy. For a misdirection you do not want to perform a Therapy.
But alongside this topic (NLP) a lot of facts about our brain and how it works are discussed and used. That is knowledge which is quite useful when trying to (mis-)direct people.

Is that now understandable? I do not say that NLP or its Techniques are to be used, I state that the knowledge transmitted with this (pseudo) science about the human brain and how it works is useful.
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (Nov 5, 2014 07:08AM)
That makes better sense, Malakim :)

I like the article MagicKingdom10 linked to, very interesting.

And, yes, Dick - I'm looking for a copy of Magic By Misdirection, it looks like another classic 'no-effects' read that I could do with (I've finished Magic & showmanship, and am half way through Maximum Entertainment). I like making the tricks I already do better! :)
Message: Posted by: Black Hart (Nov 6, 2014 04:22AM)
Hello Magic Oli

"A big no no is over emphasising what you want them to think you're doing. i.e. "I will tuck this hanky into my closed, empty fist...". This screams I'm not doing what I'm telling you!"

How very true!

All my effects are scripted and I also use misdirection quite a lot. I build this into the script so that the misdirection is mostly by action, my personality (or rather personality of the character that I play - The Black Hart) and the presentation itself.

You will find that if YOU think about the misdirection then you will unconsciously telegraph this to your audience.

My effect 'Power of The Tarot' needs a simple reset afterwards. I very often pick up the Tarot cards that I have been using and re-set the effect right under the noses of the people I have just performed it to. I just pick up the Tarot and do it as I am talking to them. No one has EVER realised what I am doing. It just takes confidence.

Anyway Magic Oli you have taken the first and most important step by thinking about your misdirection. Well done and good luck.

:)

Keith Hart
Message: Posted by: Magic Oli (Nov 6, 2014 05:39AM)
Thanks Keith :D
Message: Posted by: MorrisCH (Nov 6, 2014 10:12PM)
I encountered misdirection from the book 5 points of Magic
and was fascinating by his crossing the gaze technique but never understood this concept

The first time I saw this idea in live was Gene Matsuura's talk in EMC 2010
and over the years, I have apply it to only Vanish with small object
now I've seen Tom stone's penguin lecture, I literurly apply to almost every trick I do now (coin card works)

glad we are in the same club, for more information on misdirection with Gaze, Tom stone also wrote a Ebook call Scribble 2009
there are more stuff in it.
Message: Posted by: 1KJ (Nov 10, 2014 11:09PM)
Misdirection is such an interesting topic! There is a lot of scientific study that has gone into how, what, and why misdirection works. For example, if you subscribe to Reelmagic magazine, in episode 34, Apollo Robbins talks about misdirection based on scientific study. Here is an example:

If you take your hand straight away to show a coin and move your other hand toward your body, the spectator eye will revert back to the hand going toward the body. However, if you make a turning motion as your hand goes to show the coin and your other hand goes to your body, say to a pocket, the spectator eye will stay on the hand showing the coin.

The theory, which was proven through testing, is contrary to what many magicians have said for decades. The proof shows that people will follow a slightly un-natural move, like an unusual way of showing a coin, more than a natural move.

If you watch good and bad cups and balls routines, you will see the different ways the hands are moved to provide good or bad misdirection.

kj
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Nov 11, 2014 07:32AM)
Oli! CONGRATULATIONS!

You certainly have "stirred up" this topic! --and, you've succeeded in motivating some experienced, and some relatively new, magicians, to get involved and contribute their thinking!

I believe that THREADS LIKE THIS are the kind of help that most young--and old, beginners, really NEED. Too many start out by trying to "buy" "tricks", thinking that tricks are "it".

I make it a point to quote S. H. SHARPE to newbies, as he said it so much better than I: "...Those who think that magic consists of doing tricks, are strangers to magic. Tricks are only the crude residue from which the lifeblood of magic has been drained."

It's the performer, and his presentation (misdirection is a part of THAT) which makes magic happen in the mind of the spectator! The prop is only a physical vehicle! which is used in performing the trick. (I have the entire audiece in my high school program perform an illusion! --and there AINT NO PROP!) Their minds are "misdirected" by their senses. Result: ILLUSION!!! --and, ENTERTAINMENT!

I thought that I knew a lot about misdirection. (Well, I HAD seen Harry Blackstone vanish the ducks in his "Duck Inn", and I even KNEW Nick Ruggiero, who was one of the "corps" of assistants, over the years, that provided the misdirection which made those ducks disappear.)

I had been performing for many years. Then, Gene Anderson showed me the Juan Tamariz "crossing the gaze". WOW!

I probably will never get to see Tom Stone's lecture, but, from what the guys have said in this thread, it should be "required reading" for anyone who wants to be a magician.

Thanks again, Oli for your OP! --Fitzkee would be most pleased!

I hope that it becomes a mile long thread.
Message: Posted by: Magic Oli (Nov 12, 2014 05:44AM)
Yes Dick, you're absolutely right , crossing the gaze is a real gem of misdirection. I hope more people start thinking about how they perform, you see way too many people on youtube performing a magic trick in that stereotypical monotone bored teenage voice and just showing the trick. Magic is supposed to bring the life in you out and make you more social via performing and interacting with people, I fear that these other young guys and girls will turn magic into something boring and not entertaining :/
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Nov 12, 2014 08:48AM)
Hi Oli!

If I do it too much, I may become cross eyed! HEE HEE (CROSSING THE GAZE) Actually, many of those bored teenagers are not PERFORMING. --They are DEMONSTRATING!

Too many "magicians" simply do not understand that MAGIC IS N O T INHERENTLY ENTERTAINIING. The magician's "task" is to make it entertaining by his PRESENTATION..
Message: Posted by: Magic Oli (Nov 14, 2014 06:09AM)
I think too many people become lost in the world of amazing and difficult moves and become move monkeys and end up making their magic about the skill they posses and not the magic that is created. I think audiences only respond to the "hey look at all my skill" style of performing for a few minutes before they feel like they are being belittled and fin it unentertaining.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Nov 14, 2014 08:55AM)
Oli! If you will change "magic" to "effect", that is created, (above) I'll agree.

Yes! those "magicians" who insist on doing a "watch me do this clever stuff, are, as many old pro's would say: masturbating on stage.

Those who interact, and involve the spectator as they perform will continue to have "work" in the future.
Message: Posted by: drmagico (Nov 14, 2014 09:30AM)
Some observations from someone who has been doing this for over 30 yrs. I do not think about "misdirection". Think of it as "directing". By engaging the audience with your personality mixed with a great presentation you will find that the audience will naturally follow you where you want them to go.
Message: Posted by: silvercup (Nov 14, 2014 10:53AM)
I'll just put this here:
The Secret Art of Magic by Eric Evans and Nowlin Craver
Message: Posted by: KenRyan (Nov 14, 2014 06:24PM)
Great thread! My new hero is Tom Stone:). I am so new to magic that ... well, I don't really have a joke for it, other than to say I'm on (according to the pdf) page 37 of 1,313:-P. But I started Tarbell a few days ago and wanted to offer this quote from Chapter 2 that is immediately relevant to this tread: "And "Right here, let me give you a big point in Magic that you must never forget. SHOW YOUR HANDS EMPTY AT VARIOUS TIMES BUT DO NOT CALL ATTENTION TO THE FACT. MAKE IT A NATURAL MOVEMENT. The audience can see for themselves that nothing is concealed in hand. DO NOT SAY IN WORDS, "MY HANDS ARE EMPTY." The suggestion of showing the hands is enough. An ounce of DEMONSTRATION is worth a pound of talk."

The signs are everywhere:).

Ken
Message: Posted by: TStone (Nov 15, 2014 02:52AM)
[quote]On Nov 4, 2014, Dick Oslund wrote:
Dariel Fitzkee wrote a whole book ("Magic By Misdirection") pub: 1945. Like Maskelynne and Devant's "Our Magic", the "theory" can be a bit dry, but the real stuff is there IMHO. [/quote]

Interesting.
I read [b]Magic by Misdirection[/b], cover to cover, at least 6-8 times when I was in my early 20's.
But besides the "ring in ball of yarn" idea (which reads well, but looks terrible compared with the standard method), I've never found anything useful in it. I've also never seen any reference to anything specific in that book - the way we, for example, refer to page 26, page 40 et cetera in Books of Wonder 1.

So I am curious, Dick; what does the "real stuff" in "Magic By Misdirection" consist of?
On which page can one find a misdirection technique that can be used in, let's say, a cups and ball routine?
Message: Posted by: Magic Oli (Nov 15, 2014 09:51AM)
Tarbell is absolutely right, too many people over emphasise which draws unnecessary attention. It's like when coin workers do a ramsey subtlety they don't draw attention to the hand and say "look at my hands they are empty", they point to something or move an object to give the audience the subliminal message that the hand is empty.

Also, OMG it's Tom Stone on my thread!!! Your penguin lecture changed my entire thought process when I perform and I now have a more natural means of misdirection that isn't as forced as it used to be, so thank you very much. You have become a true inspiration to me and hope one day I'll be able too entertain and perform with the elegance and skill you do.

My question to you magicians out there is "Why do magic books often leave out where the misdirection should be and why don't they teach the reader how to embed the misdirection into the performance so it's natural?" it seems like we'd have an easier time as beginners to develop good misdirection skills, which has probably been a great struggle for many novice magicians.

Oli
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Nov 15, 2014 01:23PM)
[quote]On Nov 15, 2014, TStone wrote:
[quote]On Nov 4, 2014, Dick Oslund wrote:
Dariel Fitzkee wrote a whole book ("Magic By Misdirection") pub: 1945. Like Maskelynne and Devant's "Our Magic", the "theory" can be a bit dry, but the real stuff is there IMHO. [/quote]

Interesting.
I read [b]Magic by Misdirection[/b], cover to cover, at least 6-8 times when I was in my early 20's.
But besides the "ring in ball of yarn" idea (which reads well, but looks terrible compared with the standard method), I've never found anything useful in it. I've also never seen any reference to anything specific in that book - the way we, for example, refer to page 26, page 40 et cetera in Books of Wonder 1.

So I am curious, Dick; what does the "real stuff" in "Magic By Misdirection" consist of?
On which page can one find a misdirection technique that can be used in, let's say, a cups and ball routine? [/quote]

Hello Tom (from another Swede (with a bit of Norwegian blood)!

A good teacher motivates his learners to be CURIOUS. Fitzkee motivated ME to be curious! --And, the more I read, and studied. (Yes, even Al Leech's little paper back!) the more curious, I became. I conferred with many successful performing magicians, and studied their techniques.

(I think I mentioned Harry Blackston Sr.'s "Duck Inn", which is quite definitely not a subtle example of misdirection! (It DID fool many old, experienced magicians.

I never met or saw Fitzkee. Dorny once told me (Dorny was on Fitzkee's show, briefly.) that Fitzkee was a good showman, but,not a very good businessman!

So, you are correct. I think the best thing that I "got" from "Magic By Misdirection" was that I had a lot more to learn! One of the things that I learned "along the way" is/was that one is never through learning. ("Commencement ceremonies when you graduate, mean "beginning", not, "end"!) I "picked up" a line along the way: "When you are through learning, you are through!" I am not planning to quit learning!

I'm retired from the road. I do a few shows, occasonally. I don't need to work, but I am still curious! --and, still learning!

It is not likely that I will ever hear your lecture, but, if you will scroll up to my post on "11-11 at 0832 AM, you will note that I said, based on what others had said, that your lecture should be "required reading". I meant that.

BTW! Other than an occasional very rudimentary demonstration of the cups & balls over a shop counter, I've never done the 'cs and bs'

I've enjoyed watching some of the top cups & balls performers, but, I've never performed them in a show. Maybe I should "turn in" my SAM and IBM cards!! Hee hee


Thanks for what you are doing to help magicians become better magicians!

Dick
Message: Posted by: TStone (Nov 16, 2014 07:15AM)
[quote]On Nov 15, 2014, Magic Oli wrote:
Also, OMG it's Tom Stone on my thread!!! Your penguin lecture changed my entire thought process when I perform and I now have a more natural means of misdirection that isn't as forced as it used to be, so thank you very much. You have become a true inspiration to me and hope one day I'll be able too entertain and perform with the elegance and skill you do.[/quote]
Heh, thanks, but please don't have that as your goal because that will limit you and prevent you from surpassing me. Instead, look at the elegance and skill that is already inherent and present in your own work, and refine and destill that. That way, it will soon be you who get surprised over comments like "Omg it is Magic Oli on my thread!!!" :-)
Message: Posted by: Magic Oli (Nov 17, 2014 12:11AM)
Thanks for the advice Mr Stone haha
Message: Posted by: Karli (Nov 18, 2014 01:50AM)
Another book to recommend is: sleights of mind. Misdirection and other concepts used in magic explained by 2 neuroscientists. Awesome read
Message: Posted by: TStone (Nov 18, 2014 08:59PM)
[quote]On Nov 18, 2014, Karli wrote:
Another book to recommend is: sleights of mind. Misdirection and other concepts used in magic explained by 2 neuroscientists. Awesome read [/quote]
Just be aware that the authors doesn't really understand magic. And their grasp of science could be better as well.
So there are errors in the style of: It is raining because the pavement is wet.
The November 2011 issue of Genii magazine goes more into detail.
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (Nov 19, 2014 09:41AM)
What are the best books on this topic (misdirection), Mr Stone?
Message: Posted by: TStone (Nov 20, 2014 05:22AM)
Wonder, Tamariz, Slydini, Ramsay, a small booklet by Gary Kurtz and my Genii articles from 2009 and 2011 (collected into ebooks at wargmagic.com ).
Message: Posted by: Magic Oli (Nov 20, 2014 11:14AM)
The magician's Mr Stone mentioned are masters of misdirection, just watch tommy wonder's cups and balls routine, one of my favourite routines