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Topic: A discussion about method
Message: Posted by: weirdwizardx (Aug 26, 2020 11:29AM)
Hello everyone,

I created an effect that I love, with a presentation that amplifies the effect. The matter that I think I need to refine though is the method.

So Ive been searching for ideas that generate other ideas to discover what is it that makes it an invisible method.

Recently I watched an interview of Teller and he said something that might sound obvious but still something essential, he said something like,

"method is not one lie, but a stack of lies"

That idea has been resonating in my head for a while and created some questions ¿How do I add layers to my method by keeping the essence of the effect?
¿How do I misdirect the audience so they don't have any clues, just admit the impossible fact?

So I started my homework, Im currently reading Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono, a book recommended by Dani Daortiz and I hope there are ideas that will help me.

Any help is and will be appreciated,
Best Wishes,
Cristóbal González

PS: feel free to talk about method from every angle.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 26, 2020 12:42PM)
This is subject that has intrigued me for 60+ years of involvement with performance magic at many levels - including non-magic fields of persuasion, decision making, neuroscience and legitimate divination.

I would disagree with Teller as to the "lies." Deceptions and false expectations are not necessarily lies at all, but truths combined with deceptions in fashion to tell a story other than what actually occurred.

Yes, a combination of events prior to a "moment of magic" and events afterwards can influence this "story told after," and may be more important that the sleight itself in creating the illusion.

There is not enough written about these issues, and when included in effect instruction, are often ignored by the reader. Consider Al Schneider's writings on deception related to his Basic Vanish.
He spends far more time instructing on how to hold the apparent receiving hand than on the drop techniques employed. Many find this boring and then complain that the Fake Pass does not work as promoted.

On the surface a small object is apparently dropped into the left hand but actually retained in the right. What is unique is that the observer sees the coin/ball fall from the right fingers to the left open hand
die, in part to a psychological ploy called Predictive Vision. But, for that ploy to work there must have been a previous actual drop to establish a pattern, perfect timing of the hand movements, hold the left hand as if it now hold the object and the right as though it does not, coordinated eye contact and other Directed Focus concerns, and a showing of the right hand to be empty before it is revealed that the left holds nothing.

Some of this is called Framing, other acquitments and others audience engagement. For me, the balance of these factors is critical to effect design and even selection of method or sleight used.

I also consider a factor that I call "Backling" as I have not found any other name used (I am sure there is in some unread tomb) This a repeat action after the critical one that is completely natural (True) as a mirror of the earlier one in which a sleight was employed. A good example is the use of Click Pass to facilitate a false count. The first coin is tossed or dropped in a normal fashion (honest) and established a Pattern of Performance (PoP), the second drop is faked but matches the actions of the hands of the first transfer very closely. Now Backling would direct that a third transfer be made that is natural/honest as a mirror of the first two, but also shows the right hand to be empty and the left to hold three coins. This requires additional sleights or ways of Idling the coin, but the key is that the final 'Pattern" will be remembered as the standard for all three transfers (truth over fiction).

In a simplistic view this is an extension of acruitments to imagining where na observer might have suspicion and eliminating it before it occurs. The real value of this extra effort is that after a couple of attempts to "rewind" or "figure it out" the observer's orbital cortex accepts "must be magic" as a plausible solution and future astonishment is never routed to higher ordered reasoning at all.

Enough for now. I am interested in what others have to offer.

You are touching on one of the great secrets of performance magic - "how to create the conditions for an audience where they wish for magic to happen so badly that your bumbling won't mess it up."
Message: Posted by: tommy (Aug 27, 2020 12:21AM)
An illusion is a distortion of the truth as opposed to a complete lie. The steps in the process are mainly the truth with say one step being a lie. That way gives the illusion plausible deniability and it is far harder to find a lie in a stack of truth than in a stack of lies.
Message: Posted by: The_Mediocre_Gatsby (Aug 27, 2020 08:41AM)
Hi weird wizard. PM me and I'll send you to a resource that I've found hugely valuable in addressing some of what you are after.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Aug 27, 2020 09:38PM)
If you're looking to improve a method, you have to first understand what the weak points are, why it is weak, and then decide how, one by one, to combat those weak points. The more experience and knowledge you have, the better you will be able to do that.

The more tools you have in your toolbox--sleight of hand, scientific and mathematical principles, knowledge of gaffs, gimmicks, and psychology/misdirection--the more likely you'll find the combination that suits your effect. Read everything. Magic is not one thing, but a collection of lots of odds and ends.
Message: Posted by: Michael L (Sep 19, 2020 03:35PM)
Having just finished reading it, I would recommend The Books of Wonder by Tommy Wonder. In particularly a chapter called "The Architect", one of many where he examines his own creative process.
The main takeaway, as related to your question, is that it's easy to get lost in methods, in how to perform them, and in how to cover them up, rather than in how close the effect is to how it would be if magic were real with no methods.
Tommy's way was to start without method. Build a picture in your mind of the effect first, script it out the way you would want a spectator would describe it, as though it were seen on a TV screen ("I named a card, I named a 3-digit number, I opened the book I was holding and found my named card at that page"). The closer you get to that dream-image of the effect, I think the more invisible your methods will be by default.
Message: Posted by: weirdwizardx (Jan 25, 2021 04:27PM)
Interesting Michael, I remember reading The Books Of Wonder and sure there is invaluable content there.

Thanks for reminding us about it!
Message: Posted by: weirdwizardx (Jan 25, 2021 04:28PM)
[quote]On Aug 27, 2020, landmark wrote:
If you're looking to improve a method, you have to first understand what the weak points are, why it is weak, and then decide how, one by one, to combat those weak points. The more experience and knowledge you have, the better you will be able to do that.

The more tools you have in your toolbox--sleight of hand, scientific and mathematical principles, knowledge of gaffs, gimmicks, and psychology/misdirection--the more likely you'll find the combination that suits your effect. Read everything. Magic is not one thing, but a collection of lots of odds and ends. [/quote]

Thanks for the reply!

I was thinking, then, how could I use presentation to cover moves, techniques? To justify? To naturalize?

The above points made by funsway, I must admit, were golden to me.
Message: Posted by: SamuraiStag (Apr 14, 2021 09:20PM)
Hi Cristobal,
As someone who is neither a professional magician nor a beginner to magic, I have reached a crossroads where I am analysing my method and performance.
Recently I watched James Brown's "The Misdirection Sessions" and found them greatly influential to my direction for method and performance.

With regards to Method, I think it depends greatly on your style and goals. Is the magic/effect aimed at magicians or non-magicians? Do you view magic as a vehicle to display your skills (flourishes/cardistry/etc) or do you prefer a minimalist style where you look like to haven't done anything for the magic effect?

If you want to make your method invisible to magicians, then considering red-herring moves to mislead them into thinking that it uses a particular slight could be useful.
If you want to make it invisible to non-magicians, then I would suggest keeping it simple and just ensure you have justifications for any unnatural/unnecessary actions.

PS. Would love to see your effect if you're willing to share.

Good luck!
Darren.
Message: Posted by: ChrisPayne (Apr 15, 2021 04:52AM)
For me, the absolute Bible on this is Designing Miracles by Darwin Ortiz (If you don't have "Strong Magic" by the same author add that to your basket).
For PhD level thinking - Tamariz (Magic Rainbow)