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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » 'Fooling' them is the most important aspect of magic? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Jonathan Townsend
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The "fooling" (there has to be a better term than fooling) is a requirement. If they can't perceive that whiff of brimstone or pixie dust or faint breeze from another dimension and concern from a certain feeling that there's something not quite normal about what they are seeing... you may as well be a juggler or a singer or a comic.

However, since you are there to entertain it would not matter how much cool stuff you know till - as it's been put by others- they know how much you care about (entertaining) them. Oh look, Rainman's got a pack of cards. Let's make him drop them and then he can tell us how many are face up and the sum of the values of the face down cards. Kinda sad huh?

So unless you want a very limited audience who tolerate bring tricked or feel tasteless eye-candy is good enough... you need audience rapport as one of your skills.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Whit Haydn
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Quote:
On 2009-04-14 18:10, JackScratch wrote:
"Fool" can be used in a wide variety of contexts...Don't try to fool your audience, forget about deceiving them, try reaching them instead, speak to them, communicate with them. You will get much better results and I assure you they will appreciate it. Having a really nifty paint set doesn't make you an artist, neither does knowing really great "tricks".


Drew, you say this same mantra over and over again. It is not true, and it is very misleading.

Having a nifty paint set doesn't make you an artist, but great artists make use of "nifty" paint sets. Michaelangelo had to know how to sculpt and to paint.

Magicians need to know how to magish.

Being the most entertaining, charming and communicative person on the planet doesn't make you a good magician--you must also know the craft of magic.

There are a lot of magicians who come to work at the Magic Castle who are funny and entertaining but don't do much in the way of magic. They are not considered "magicians" by our audiences, but "comedy magicians." They are fun, but seen as a novelty.

If there are several acts among our eight act line-up that feature good fun, comedy and interest, but not much Magic, we will get complaints...from our members and guests.

Magic is an art form with its own demands, nature, and value.

You constantly insist that it doesn't matter what tricks are chosen or whether any magic is actually done or not.

You have said that the comedy act of Carl Ballantine is one of the "great" magic acts. It is not. It is a comedic parody of a magic show.

Carl Ballantine is a good magician, he just isn't doing magic when he does the show that you like. He knows it. He will tell you the same thing. He will laugh at you if you tell him he is a great magician on the basis of his comedy act, he knows what he is doing, and it is not magic.

Vito Scotti did a great comedic parody of magic completely in mime. It was entertaining and wonderful, but not magic. Neither would he have claimed it was magic.

Dom DeLuise is a good amateur magician, but did a very funny comedy magic act that was very successful in nightclubs and television. He would not have claimed it was magic. It was a comedy act.

Steve Martin is a good magician and a magic buff and regular visitor to the Magic Castle. He did not consider "Flydini" to be magic--the point of the act was to make fun of certain types of performers.

You conflate "entertainment" with "magic" and that is just unacceptable. Great magic can be entertaining with very little or no "presentation." In fact, the greater the magic effect, the less it will depend on presentation for its entertainment value.

If the trick is strong enough, people will scream and yell and laugh and applaud even when it is presented by a competent, but otherwise untalented amateur. I have seen it happen many times with things like the newpaper tear, rising card, coin in bottle, and so on.

The same amateur might have a hard time holding a crowd for ten minutes with lesser effects.

How can you say that effect doesn't matter? One needs to choose effects based on a number of criteria, and those effects must be chosen carefully. One of the qualities that should always be considered is how powerful an impact it will have on the audience--how greatly will it "fool" them and how long and intensely it might cause them to wonder and argue about how it was accomplished.

A good, and especially a great magician, will weigh these things carefully.

Name one "great" magician that doesn't carefully consider the choices of his methods and effects. Who is this great magician you keep talking about that thinks one effect is just as good as another. This is insulting and stupid.

Singers need to be able to sing. Painters need to know how to paint.

Magicians need to understand how to fool people.

I would love to see your work one day, Drew. With all your pedantry and self-assurance, I would love to see if the act held up at all under performing situations. I have a suspicion that it is not going to be that impressive.

You talk like an armchair performer who has lots of opinions, but few accomplishments. Perhaps you are a one of a kind genius and will surprise me.

But until that day when all is revealed and I finally see the one Truth through your own performance, I would love to hear you name a few of the "great" magicians that you think do not consider the method or effect of the tricks chosen for their performances to be important.

I can't think of any, and I have known and been friends with some of the best in the world.
The Burnaby Kid
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Oh snap.
JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
tommy
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There is nothing crooked about presenting this “openly” as deception. As Ricky Jay said.

There is crookedness in presenting this as if it might not be a deception.

When someone asks is it real magic? You do not say “Is it?” as Jack has wrongly said is the correct answer, unless you want to be crooked.

The reason is simple;


Quote:

He makes no claim to the possession of powers beyond the scope of physical science. Neither does he, while rejecting the suggestio falsi, substitute
in its place the suppressio veri. That method is one frequently adopted by charlatans in magic. The latter gentry often refrain from committing themselves to any definite statement on the subject of their powers.
In effect, they say to their spectators, "We leave you to decide upon the nature of our feats. If you can explain the methods we employ, you will know that what we do is not miraculous. If, on the other hand, you cannot explain our methods you will, of course, know that we have the power to work miracles."


The distinguishing characteristic of a legitimate magician is his straightforwardness. He makes no false pretences, either by suggestion, implication, or reticence.

Nevil Maskelyne



So it seems to Maskelyne that you Jack fool people in the wrong way.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Steven Youell
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Quote:
On 2009-04-14 18:57, Whit Haydn wrote:
I would love to see your work one day, Drew. With all your pedantry and self-assurance, I would love to see if the act held up at all under performing situations. I have a suspicion that it is not going to be that impressive.

Whit-- wear a helmet when banging your head against a brick wall.

SEY
The Burnaby Kid
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Quote:
On 2009-04-14 21:29, tommy wrote:
There is nothing crooked about presenting this “openly” as deception. As Ricky Jay said.

There is crookedness in presenting this as if it might not be a deception.


I think Jack's a twit so don't take me disagreeing with you as agreeing with him. That said, if you've got a trick wherein there's any sort of dramatic movement, you're not going to undermine that by reminding people that deception's in play. Have a look at Ricky Jay's own version of the card to sealed card case. He does it as a magician-in-trouble plot, and while it's all very playful and not too serious, he does go through the motions of having each of the failed revelations. If he were being truly open about the deception, and really letting us in on what's going on in his mind, he'd have forsaken that part altogether.
JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
Scott F. Guinn
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Not sure I agree with that, Andrew, if you take his quote in context from the fuller quote above:

Quote:
I do think of them as theatrical pieces, and as pretentious as that might sound, there's a real reason for it. It's not the idea of tricking you; it's the idea of taking you along on this particular journey the way you would in any other theatrical situation. But, hopefully, you're going to be fooled at the end.


Just as you know Bruce Willis is really Bruce Willis and not John McClane in the Die Hard series, but you still allow yourself to be immersed in the story and root for him to beat the bad guys. Bruce Willis doesn't have to tell you that he's not really John McClane--you know it and yet you allow yourself to set that knowledge aside and believe that he is for the purposes of the story.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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lane99
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Well I guess I can see why JackScratch needs to wear a mask around here.

But as one who hopes that more people can come to regard magic with something other than indifference, if not outright disdain, I hope he'll be able to overcome the heartbreak he must feel at learning SEY won`t play with him anymore and somehow find the strength to continue exploring his audience-centric views.
The Burnaby Kid
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Scott, that's actually my point. Within the confines of the drama, you don't necessarily admit to the deception as it's going on. You aren't open about the deception as it's going on. If you're in trouble, you present it as if you're really in trouble. If you're claiming that a snap of the fingers is what's making the magic happen, you put in every detail that supports it and remove every detail that doesn't.
JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
Steven Youell
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Mr. Scratch:

After reading a large number of your posts it has become apparent that at least one of your views is so important to you that you have repeated it consistently in one form or another.

The latest version of it was in this thread:
Quote:
Don't try to fool your audience, forget about deceiving them, try reaching them instead, speak to them, communicate with them. You will get much better results and I assure you they will appreciate it.


Here is a partial list of well known performers, past and present, who obviously disagree with you on this particular view:

Dai Vernon
Larry Jennings
Bruce Cervon
Mike Skinner
Brother John Haman
Darwin Ortiz
David Devant
John Maskelyne
Cardini
Nate Leipzig
Malini
Bert Allerton
Francis Carlyle
Sid Fleischman
Dr. Jacob Daley
Slydini
Ross Bertram
Dariel Fitzkee
Ted Annemann
Johnny Thompson
Derek Dingle
Paul Chosse
Ron Bauer
Paul Rosini
Paul LePaul
John Muholland
Jay Sankey
John Carney
Gary Kurtz
Doc Eason
David Regal
Tom Mullica
Tommy Wonder

Now before you accuse me of appealing to authority, let me clearly state that I am not. I have, instead, given a partial list of qualified experts (past and present) who have demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that they disagree with your view-- either directly by writing opposing views or indirectly by their work and published material. (Often, it is both.) Without swearing in all these people, it is as close as I can get to providing “Expert Testimony” that would demonstrate you are wrong.

All of these men cared/care deeply not only about *entertaining* an audience, but also about *fooling* an audience and they were/are experts at both. You may dispute the expertise or views of a few of them, but trying to dispute the expertise or the fact that they oppose your view with all of them would be folly.

I find it difficult to believe that you are asking the members of the Café to take your advice over the examples of such well known past and present masters. I would also find it difficult to believe that you could fault my reasoning on this as the list provides an overwhelming number of world renowned *performers*, some of which have actually studied subjects like writing, acting, theater, film and directing.

Given the choice of going with any 6 Magicians in the above list or the opinion of Jack Scratch, the choice should be obvious to anyone.

I therefore conclude (as have many others) that the credibility of your view is negligible and your credibility in presenting the view is negligible.

SEY
Ken The Klown
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Since JS is using painting as a metaphor...

Tromp l'oiel deceives the eye. If it does not, then it's a failure as tromp l'oiel. So it is with magic. If it does not decieve, then it's not magic, by definition. Entertaining, affective, compelling...perhaps. But it's not magic.

I'm curious, JackScratch, what is your experience as a performer? What sorts of shows do you do? (I'm looking for context through which to view your assertions of what you believe my audience will "appreciate".)
tommy
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It seems to me sir that all art is presented “openly” as deception. All works are either an “imitation” of something real or something imagined by the artist. A painting of you is not actually you, you are actually you. An actor playing the part of you is not actually you. Nor does he purport to be actually you. An impostor on the other hand would purport to be actually you and that is not art it is crookedness it seems to me. A charlatan would not present magic “openly” as a deception. He either says it is real or lets the victims think it is or might be real.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
JackScratch
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Quote:
On 2009-04-15 00:55, Steven Youell wrote:
Mr. Scratch:


Now before you accuse me of appealing to authority, let me clearly state that I am not. I have, instead, given a partial list of qualified experts (past and present) who have demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that they disagree with your view-- either directly by writing opposing views or indirectly by their work and published material. (Often, it is both.) Without swearing in all these people, it is as close as I can get to providing “Expert Testimony” that would demonstrate you are wrong.

SEY

Yup, that's one of the things I expect for people who can't make a case to do. I certainly wouldn't expect you to think that maybe you misunderstood either that list of individuals, me, or both. I would never expect that.

Many of the great pinnacle thinkers of history believed that the world was flat. With the respect and authority wielded by those great individuals, how could you dare to disagree that the world is, in fact, flat?
Dannydoyle
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I have often found a direct corelation between those who don't think it is important to fool the audience, and those without the ability to fool an audience. The opinion comes from their own personal experience.

I think Glenn cuts right to the heart of the matter. Directly.

While being "fooled" is fun nobody wants to BE the fool. It is not entertaining to be made a fool of.

A good example of this is the way Glenn himself does the 3 shell game. (if you have not seen this I suggest you find a way to) The demonstratin is done as an "educational" message almost. The end takes everyone and is magical, not just the pea jumping about mindlessly and an endless barrage of "nope you were wrong stupid". The routine builds and has a magical conclusion and NOBODY is made to feel the fool. They ALL feel as if they were entertained. Also just as important is the WAY in which Glenn does the routine. Never "ha ha".

Also at the heart of the matter is what Glenn quotes. If they like you, they will like what you do. (To put it in a way I can understand) A "gentleman" will not make a fool of anyone. Anyone who does so will not be liked in general.

If you want to earn a living as a magician, I suggest having the ability to fool people.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
JackScratch
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I would be willing to bet that you can't SHOW that "corelation". "Anyone who does not believe as I do is dumb." That's what that post said. Anyone who falls for that argument is a waste of my time, you can have them. If insulting me in other ways hasn't convinced me, what makes you think that one would? I have no doubt it will help your little posse feel better about themselves though.

Whit, you would certainly hate my act. It isn't for you, or about you, It's pretty clear you wouldn't like my performance no matter what it was, what effect it had, who else liked it, how many others liked it. You have decided that you disagree with me, and as such you would not like my act. I, on th other hand, love your performance because it proves, beyond question, that everything I have said is correct and true. The linking rings are about as bottom rung, to those who believe in "strong magic" as you can get, and yet you present a perfectly entertaining presentation with them. If what you say is true, how can that be?

As to great painters using great mediums, almost never, except when it suited them. History is rife with great artists who's piers ridiculed them for their choices of mediums. Would you say that Leonardo was a poor artist because he chose the wrong medium for the last supper. What of Degas, who was ridiculed by his piers for not using oils, the art medium. I have never implied that just any old effect would do just any old time, which many of you seem to believe that I have, what I have said, and I'm wasting text saying it again, is that, like the great artists of all mediums of history, a magician should select his effects based on those effects ability to impart his desired emotion or message, NOT based on some arbitrary innate quality possessed by certain effects. The great artists of history, created the great art of history using whatever medium they felt conveyed the message an emotion they wished to convey, which was sometimes the height of art medium technology for their time, but was very often not. That's because the medium is only important based on a given mediums ability to impart said message.

I see the gang is all here now, and you seem to have made a new friend, so I think my work here is done. You guys can pat each other on your collective backs and talk about how stupid I am without my help. And remember, never ever let a little thing like being completely wrong get you down, but I guess I really don't need to tell you guys that, it's clear you already know.
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On 2009-04-15 10:36, JackScratch wrote:
I would be willing to bet that you can't SHOW that "corelation".


I will admit is tough because most of the people who feel this way also hide behind broad pontifications they can not back up. They speak in flowery language and attempt to make everyone think they are smart, when they are really just the "light".

Oh and the most important part is to never post their work so that anyone can gather that they really know what they are talking about.

Yes Drew indeed it would be tough to prove anything to you to your satisfaction, as Whit has proven time and again in an embarasing amount of threads for you. Showing that corelation would require someone to not hide behind the "I am not posting my stuff, I have nothing to prove to you guys" attitude. Funny how this also is such a large part of the equasion.

Hmmm interesting logic puzzle huh Drew?
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Johnny Butterfield
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Quote:
On 2009-04-15 10:36, JackScratch wrote:
"Anyone who does not believe as I do is dumb." That's what that post said.


Acutally, I think it said that (and forgive me for paraphrasing here) "you seem to be at odds with the great majority of thinkers in the field. While that in itself is not a bad thing, we have nothing to evaluate but your word - not all of us can get to Texas to see your act, nor have you posted any videos. As such, all we have is an opinion that disagrees with all we have read and heard for the past masters, almost entirely, from top to bottom."

Quote:
On 2009-04-15 10:36, JackScratch wrote:
Whit, you would certainly hate my act. It isn't for you, or about you, It's pretty clear you wouldn't like my performance no matter what it was, what effect it had, who else liked it, how many others liked it.


I would bet the rent money that Whit is big enough to admit he's wrong when he's wrong, and that he could look objectively at something, and form an honest opinion.

Quote:
On 2009-04-15 10:36, JackScratch wrote:
I, on th other hand, love your performance because it proves, beyond question, that everything I have said is correct and true. The linking rings are about as bottom rung, to those who believe in "strong magic" as you can get, and yet you present a perfectly entertaining presentation with them. If what YOU say is true, how can that be?


The Linking Rings is strong magic - how did you not get that? For anything to endure as long as the Linking Rings, it would have to be above average, wouldn't it?

I mean, how many plays from Shakespeare's contemporaries are as widely known and loved? How many other British Invasion acts had the influence and impact of the Beatles? These endure because they are strong works.

Quote:
On 2009-04-15 10:36, JackScratch wrote:
History is rife with great artists who's piers ridiculed them for their choices of mediums. Would you say that Leonardo was a poor artist because he chose the wrong medium for the last supper.


If the work itself wasn't strong, then the work isn't strong. The medium doesn't matter much - it's like calling someone out for using Kennedy halves instead of Franklins. It's the art that matters. Peers didn't ridicule the work, did they?

Also, Piers have to do with boats. Peers are your contemporaries.

Quote:
On 2009-04-15 10:36, JackScratch wrote:
what I have said, and I'm waisting text saying it again, is that, like the great artists of all mediums of history, a magician should select his effects based on those effects ability to impart his desired emotion or message, NOT based on some arbitrary innate quality possessed by certain effects.


While I agree with part of this (that effects should be selected to impart a desired message, usually to reinforce character in my opinion), there is a certain minimum level of "impossibility" that has to be cleared. The effects must be at a certain level of impossibility, for lack of a better term. If you go to se the Rolling Stones, you can reasonably expect to hear "Start Me Up". If you go to see a magician perform, you can expect to see impossibilities, not just "odd coincidences" or "puzzles that can't withstand any applied logic". Otherwise, make your set the 21-card trick, a paddle trick, and the 'got your nose' trick, and prove me wrong that strong magic doesn't matter.

Also, "waist" is the narrow part of the torso. "Waste" is rubbish.

Drew, if we are nothing but misguided bullies, that constantly bash the lone wise man among the fools, then why do you waste your time here? What can you possibly be getting from dealing with idiots that just don't get it?
The current economic crisis is due to all the coins I've vanished.
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Steven Youell
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Quote:
On 2009-04-15 09:47, JackScratch wrote:
Yup, that's one of the things I expect for people who can't make a case to do. I certainly wouldn't expect you to think that maybe you misunderstood either that list of individuals, me, or both. I would never expect that.

Many of the great pinacle thinkers of history believed that the world was flat. With the respect and authority wielded by those great individuals, how could you dane to disagree that the world is, in fact, flat?

Fact: Expert Testimony is admissible in court.
Fact: You have not disputed my point.
Fact: You have not disputed my point.
Fact: The above quote engages in fallacies.
Fact: Your response avoids the question entirely.

Please list a few of the magicians in the list that you believe are not qualified to have a worthy opposing opinion to yours.

Or you can just continue to send me PM's calling me names as you have already done. Perhaps that's the only kind of debate you participate in...

SEY


Posted: Apr 15, 2009 1:23pm:
-------------------------------
Quote:
On 2009-04-15 10:36, JackScratch wrote:
I see the gang is all here now, and you seem to have made a new friend, so I think my work here is done. You guys can pat each other on your collective backs and talk about how stupid I am without my help.


Mr Scratch,

I am disappointed that you choose to take the role of a victim rather than debate in a calm, rational manner.
I am disappointed that you make personal attacks against the people that disagree with you.

Disappointed, but not surprised.

SEY
tommy
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No Jack is powerful. It is us who have no magic power, that have to resort to trickery to create illusions of magic, who are weak. When Jack does magic it isn’t an illusion of magic. “Is it?” Smile
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
critter
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Nowadays we have peer reviewed scientific journals and double blind studies.
I don't trust anything scientificky that hasn't been peer reviewed.
Ain't arguing, just giving my point of view on this paragraph.
Quote:
Many of the great pinnacle thinkers of history believed that the world was flat. With the respect and authority wielded by those great individuals, how could you dare to disagree that the world is, in fact, flat?
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
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