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Topic: Empowerment effects
Message: Posted by: adrianrbf (Feb 26, 2019 07:24AM)
I like the idea that magic can be a form of empowerment. Far too often, one can watch magicians making their audience feel stupid and their volunteers on stage look silly. I would much prefer effects that make the audience and the volunteers on stage feel great. Take stage hypnosis, as an obvious example: It is often used to make the hypnitist look great, while hypnosis, as every hypno*therapist* will tell you, is all about the empowerment of the hypnotee.

In magic, some tricks can be presented in a way that they are empowering: I like to perform OotW in a way that underlines the spectator's excellent choices. Then I know some effects that have empowerment as their main theme. Chris Philpott has some of those, like "Anxious Monkey" (on "Pantheon") or "All tied up".

I am looking for more empowerment effects. There must be some out there - any advice?
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Feb 26, 2019 08:01AM)
Empowerment is in the presentation - so take any effect you like and change the presentation. A quick example I can think of is taking PK Touch and make it about the volunteers' ability to connect with each other.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Feb 27, 2019 03:34AM)
I have always preferred effects that make either the Volunteer Assistant or magic the hero rather than me. It works!
The VA is also a witness for those in the back seats.

In business consulting it is important to develop trust and put he business owner at ease. So, the concept of "M-powerment" applies there too.

P = presence, being here and now for them
O = organize, being prepared for any situation so as to act incisively and confidently
W - willingness to do the work to make them important and open
E= enthusiasm about what they want and need
R= respect, for yourself, magic, art, the VA and the audience.

the "M" comes from "magic" in the sense of challenging what they consider to be impossible.
In my 40+ years of active consulting I included a magic trick in my presentation/appraisal more that 40,000 times. (not for entertainment, just allegory)

Thus, ANY magic effect can be presented with M-Powerment.

I guess it may be what you wish every spectator to remember about your performance - "must be magic" or "what a jerk."

....

the "for entertainment" effect that I received the most notable affect from is "Falcon Eye" in which one VA reads the mind of another with me far away.
I don't do it as mentalism - just as a reward for VA's who have shared my stage and helped M-Power my audience.
The idea is that "pretending at magic" has elevated their awareness and empathy. Note my sig-line

I would also add that I always have a special mastered effect in my pouch for the rare occasion that a VA is "more than willing" to help.
You know it will be astounding because of the M-Powerment of the VA freely gifted back to you.

Just opinions, but I have the advantage of people talking to me 2-30 years after a performance and telling of the experience.

a magician came to our school
so many years ago,
and did wondrous skits with balls and rings
that our teacher said were tricks;
and that we must be wary of strangers
who promise impossible things.

But I recall some magic yet,
for he called me to the stage
and transformed me for a moment
into someone bold and brave –
for his eyes were kind and flecked with gold,
and treated me with respect,
though I was only nine.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Feb 27, 2019 09:39PM)
Harry Houdini was the most empowering magician ever.

“No prison can hold me; no hand or leg irons or steel locks can shackle me. No ropes or chains can keep me from my freedom.”

- Harry Houdini

The way it works is they associate with the hero: in their heads, it is they who are escaping not Harry.
Message: Posted by: The Urban Entity (Mar 14, 2019 12:54PM)
[quote]On Feb 26, 2019, adrianrbf wrote:
I like the idea that magic can be a form of empowerment. Far too often, one can watch magicians making their audience feel stupid and their volunteers on stage look silly. I would much prefer effects that make the audience and the volunteers on stage feel great. Take stage hypnosis, as an obvious example: It is often used to make the hypnitist look great, while hypnosis, as every hypno*therapist* will tell you, is all about the empowerment of the hypnotee.

In magic, some tricks can be presented in a way that they are empowering: I like to perform OotW in a way that underlines the spectator's excellent choices. Then I know some effects that have empowerment as their main theme. Chris Philpott has some of those, like "Anxious Monkey" (on "Pantheon") or "All tied up".

I am looking for more empowerment effects. There must be some out there - any advice? [/quote]


Watch every TV magician. They all seem like the read the same book. As awesome as they look on screen, they seem to give the power to the participants. They find a way to make it all about the person. I don't like that. I want it to be about me displaying a power. Call it what you will. However, you can always switch the presentation up to be what you want it to be. I recently did Wayne Houchin's French Kiss with business cards and framed it as Thanos snapping his finger making things happen to bend reality. Now that trick has nothing to do with that, but that's where I took it.
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Mar 15, 2019 02:08PM)
I often find spectator "empowerment" presentations to be condescending and presumptuous. It isn't easy to [b]convince[/b] a spectator that they are the actual cause of an impossible event, and if they know you are just "pretending" that they are, well, then it seems kind of lame to me.
Message: Posted by: The Urban Entity (Mar 15, 2019 02:14PM)
[quote]On Mar 15, 2019, Pop Haydn wrote:
I often find spectator "empowerment" presentations to be condescending and presumptuous. It isn't easy to [b]convince[/b] a spectator that they are the actual cause of an impossible event, and if they know you are just "pretending" that they are, well, then it seems kind of lame to me. [/quote]

I agree. BUT....I think that is the magician trying to:

A) Stay Humble and not make it all about themselves
B) Jumping through hoops trying to not take credit for having or claiming supernatural powers

I have never claimed Supernatural powers, but by nature when we do magic, we are therefore doing something supernatural. At the end of the day, I want to take credit for what happened. That's not everyone. I get it. But I want that credit.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Mar 15, 2019 03:09PM)
I agree, Pop. It's easy for this type of presentation to go wrong. The scripting must be delicate, and must take into account the audience's intelligence and common sense.

It's not easy. But if it were, anyone could do it.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Mar 15, 2019 07:20PM)
Empowering someone does not require that they be the "cause" of what happens.

Nor does the performer have to "be the cause" in order to take credit for orchestrating the event.

I would stress again the importance of having any Volunteer Assistant be a witness for those spectators far away for the action.
This requires trust and making the individual important and cooperative. Having them be involved in astonishment as well as the action - a form of empowerment.

I certainly think that the assistants in Pop's classic rings routine are empowered and even told they are special and unique.
Yet, no one thinks the magic could occur without Pop being there. He gets the credit while the Assistant and magic are the heroes.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Mar 15, 2019 07:45PM)
The good usually lies in between and so on that basis it would be good to share our magic with our audience. One cannot perform magic without an audience, so it follows the audience play their part. As Pop explained it is akin to playing tug with a poppy, give and take and all that.
Message: Posted by: adrianrbf (Mar 17, 2019 05:55AM)
My concern is not that the spectator should get credit for the magic. Not at all.

To illustrate what I am looking for, let us compare two of Chris Philpott's tricks with the "100th monkey" method:

First, the classical 100th monkey trick: A spectator joins you on stage, you take a sheet of paper with some words on it and show it to the audience. You ask if they can read it, they affirm that they can. Then, you show it to the volunteer on stage, and he/she cannot read it. While this is a great comedy effect when performed well, it is certainly not an empowerment effect: You take away the volunteer's ability to read and make him/her look a bit silly.

On the other hand, consider the "Anxious Monkey" trick from "Pantheon": Again, a spectator joins you on stage, this time, you show the sheet of paper to the audience and they can clearly read some words that express negative feelings. The volunteer holds it so that the audience can see it, while you tell a story that includes positive feelings. You talk about how the mind can overcome negativity and perceive the positive energy and so on. You finally ask the volunteer to look at the card and read what it says, and now he/she will read positive words, not the negative ones that the audience saw.

The latter is clearly an empowerment effect: The volunteer makes the experience that he/she can perceive something differently, in a more positive way.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Mar 17, 2019 06:55AM)
One would rather be amused than empowered.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Mar 17, 2019 07:31AM)
[quote]On Mar 17, 2019, tommy wrote:
One would rather be amused than empowered. [/quote]

by "one" I assume you mean yourself ;)

most folks I know are mostly often amused by the foibles of others (the demonstrated lack of empowerment), but never to their face or at their expense.
Is staying at the same level of competence while others decline a form of empowerment? (see Billy Joel) Regardless, they do not choose "amusement" as a preference.

Methinks others in an audience may enjoy seeing either the performer or volunteer seemingly more empowered since they can share such in imagination,
but "amused?" If they are amused by the plight of a volunteer the performer has possibly failed in his/her task - if on purpose it is bullying, if accidental it is inept.

Surely, the universal popularity of 'pretending at magic' is based on empowerment or the yearning for it.

I love Pop's performances where everyone laughs WITH the antics, but never AT the volunteer.

When the volunteer succeeds everyone cheers, for they also feel empowered.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Mar 17, 2019 08:03AM)
When a magician starts talking about the power of positive thinking, then his audience will start to smile and receive the proposition with absolute incredulity and be rather amused than empowered. Whether I "prefer" to be amused or empowered is "rather" irrelevant.
Message: Posted by: magicianbrady (Mar 17, 2019 08:58AM)
I think the objective of magic should be entertainment and create wonder. Even laymen realize it's a trick so I don't think the trick can really be empowering. However your patter can definitely inspire.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Mar 17, 2019 10:26AM)
[quote]On Mar 17, 2019, tommy wrote:
When a magician starts talking about the power of positive thinking. [/quote]

I fully agree! Which is why I would never do such a thing as a way of empowering folks.

Maybe it is just enough to focus on not diminishing any sense of pride or presence or joy a volunteer may have when they come up.

For me, both the volunteer and audience should feel better about the experience.
With society constantly dragging people down, perhaps the greatest affect of magic is pulling them up.
That may not be empowerment to you, but it is to me and all of my volunteers over the last 60 years.

Thanks for the divergent angle, though - I will rewrite a couple of chapters in a pending book to cover any possible confusion over volunteer selection and management.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Mar 17, 2019 10:56AM)
[quote]On Mar 17, 2019, magicianbrady wrote:
Even laymen realize it's a trick so I don't think the trick can really be empowering. However your patter can definitely inspire. [/quote]

Tricks, no. Magic effects, yes. What the observer perceives, feels, remembers and tells others about can all lead to empowerment.

Is 'inspiration' empowerment or just part? Words and be important, certainly, as well as how they are said and a balance with silence.

The very concept of awe & wonder being kindled has the potential for empowerment of self, a volunteer and a distant spectator.

I was mentored many decades ago that the magician's last thoughts for the day should be,

*What did I learn from today's performance that will help be better create astonishment tomorrow?"

and ...

"What did I learn today that will make of me a better person tomorrow?"

ideas to entertain.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Mar 17, 2019 08:36PM)
When a magician starts talking about the power of positive thinking, then his audience will start to smile and receive the proposition with absolute incredulity – which is precisely what the magician wants, because then he can go on and prove the absolutely incredible true!
Message: Posted by: funsway (Mar 18, 2019 08:28AM)
Go for it tommy! I would love to see a video of you performing such a routine.

That's not what I want from my audience, but glad it works for you.

I will be especially interested to see how handle volunteer selection and care - the theme of this thread.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Mar 18, 2019 10:09AM)
I think all the magic in all the world begins with an incredulous proposition. I have never heard of anybody doing credible magic.

If the audience finds the proposition credible then what would be the point of proving it is true? Mind you, if you did propose the credible and prove it, I suppose you could bill yourself as the most boring magician in the world. Ladies and Gentlemen, you may find this very easy to believe, but I am now going to pour myself a cup of tea before your very eyes, watch!
Message: Posted by: tommy (Mar 18, 2019 11:23AM)
Https://teasetea.com/pages/empowering-women
Message: Posted by: funsway (Mar 18, 2019 11:58AM)
[quote]On Mar 18, 2019, tommy wrote:
I think all the magic in all the world begins with an incredulous proposition. I have never heard of anybody doing credible magic.

[/quote]


The may well be true, but has nothing to do with any "power of positive thinking" as a story line.

You seem to think it is a viable approach - so, I asked to see it done.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Mar 18, 2019 01:24PM)
How much are you offering me to do what you are asking exactly?
Message: Posted by: adrianrbf (Mar 22, 2019 07:50AM)
[quote]On Mar 17, 2019, tommy wrote:
When a magician starts talking about the power of positive thinking, then his audience will start to smile and receive the proposition with absolute incredulity and be rather amused than empowered.[/quote]
Please bear in mind that magic does not only happen in the context of some sort of magical performance. It's also uncle Harry doing magic tricks with his godchild on a rainy afternoon. It's done by hospital magicians in order to cheer up, and, yes, empower the patients at a hospital. I read a book about magic with children in a psychotherapy context. I know of mind benders used in coaching and in adult education, so why not magic?

You do not even have to frame an effect as a magical performance. It might not be "a magician" at all, who starts talking about the power of positive thinking, it might be "an adult education tutor". But then, somehow, his talking unexpectedly turns into some sort of magic trick. I am planning to do this in an adult education programme this summer.

I am not sure if I will ever be bold enough to do something like this in the context of an academic paper at a conference in front of well-known scholars, but I can tell you I am tempted. ;)
Message: Posted by: tommy (Mar 22, 2019 05:48PM)
Our Magic happens in the context of the real world and not in the context of a magical fantasy world. The proposition put to the audience is that which cannot be in the real world. The audience goes along with the unbelievable proposition for their amusement. The magician then apparently proves it true. It can not be, in the real world, but there it is! That is the dilemma of it.

"Now babble nonsense about the power of concentrated thought upon even inanimate objects, requesting parties to whisper name and number and mentally urge the required action."

SWE

The notion of mind over matter in Our Magic is as old as the hills.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Mar 25, 2019 04:41AM)
At a nursing home I noticed a man waving a wooden coaster at the TV occasionally. His daughter explained,
"He sees others pointing an object at the TV to turn it on or off, others pointing to change channels.
He has decided that his job is to make the commercials go away. See - it works!"
Message: Posted by: tommy (Mar 25, 2019 10:11AM)
Go for it, Ken!