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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The November 2005 entrée: Al Schneider » » An absence of moves » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Chris "linkster" Watson
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Hi Al,

Great to see you here at the Café, thank you for sparing the time to share your knowledge.

The things I have seen you perform online and read in your books seem to have a common theme of an absence of "moves" and have a very natural handling. Do you feel this needs to apply to all effects to make them magical or do you feel there is place for more flourishy, flash moves as well? What do you feel makes good magic in general? Do you have any personal favourite routines for cards and coins...outside of your matrix(although do feel free to give us your insight in to that as well). And what makes these routines "good magic" in your eyes?

Hope that's not too gready on questions for one post Smile

Great to have you with us

Chris
Al Schneider
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Chris "linkster" Watson
You cover a lot of ground with your question. Here is a quick answer. More to follow as I ponder the question.

For most of my life I opened my close-up show with a series of card flourishes. So I guess that answers the question of my opinion of fancy moves. I think they are great and can be a part of any act. I opened with flourishes to establish communication with the audience. As I proceed, one of the flourishes is actually a card trick. To the audience a flourish suddenly becomes magic.

As to the question, "What do you feel makes good magic in general?" I believe that which creates the appearance of magic in the minds of the audience is what makes good magic in general. I will go to any end to do that. I will use a gimmick if that is what it takes. I will have everyone in the room be a stooge for one person if that is what it takes. (I seriously would do this if I could determine a way to do it in a repeatable practicle way.) My goal is to create the appearance of magic in the mind's of the audience. I find gimmicks can fail at this. Gimmick coins often do not behave as real coins. Ofen manipulating a gimmick coin so it appears real is more difficult than doing a straight sleight. I, essentially, have no favorite tricks. Matrix is good, but there are places it doesn't fit. I use all props, coins, cards, balls, etc. I do not percieve myself as a coin guy. It happens to be what I am known for. My act draws from all areas of magic.

More later.
Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Al Schneider
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More on flashy moves.

Flash is ok. However, flash is not OK when it tells the spectator where to look when a move happens. It does not make sense to do a flourish that labels the time a move occurs and then reveal the result of the move. I have seen magicians do this. The spectator reacts with a, “Wow,” when a pass is done. Then the hand is shown empty and the spectator says, “That’s cool”. Isn’t it better to toss a coin in your hand and then do the flash stuff to show the coin gone?

I was at a party once with a few magicians and a number of laymen. This young finger flinging kind of guy performed a very flashy vanish. A lay spectator watching went wow as this guy did the move and then the magician went through some gyrations to show the coin gone. There was no amazement when the coin was shown gone. The spectator said that it really looked cool. At another time I was watching someone in the magic shop do a trick for an older person. The performer did some kind of a move and the older person closed their eyes just as the move was executed. Then the performer showed the coin gone. The person said, “Very good, very good” From my point of view the person just shut down exactly when the move was done. I was stunned to see that the person knew exactly when the move was done and stuffed it.

You may be concerned about my lack of flair when I perform. There is another reason I do this. One of my primary concerns is that my audience is comfortable. I do not want them to feel pressure of any kind.

The DVD’s bring this out quite well. Most performers act as if they are doing magic for people. I attempt to share some things with other people that which I find interesting. The DVD’s show a relaxed environment in which the audience can see what is supposed to be going on and feel comfortable interacting and reacting.

One of the reasons I work as hard as I do at all of this is that I want the audience to know I have respect for them and am showing them the best that I can do. I do not want them to think that I have shown them some kind of lame, unrehearsed trick and then act as if I have blown the away.

To summarize this, I do not believe one should do a flashy move that is obvious how it works and then display even more flash to show the result of something that is obvious. I do believe in executing some move with skill and deception but reveal the magic in a spectacular and theatrical way.
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Martino
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Al,

Your thoughts on using the entire audience as a stooge in order ot do an effect for one person are interesting. Guy Hollingworth has some routines in his book "Drawing room deceptions" where although he is not strictly using the audience as stooges, they believe a certain thing is happening which sells the effect to the spectator assistant on stage. It's a very interesting concept for which I am sure there are a number of as yet untapped applications! If you haven't red Guy's book I would urge you to do so.

Regards,

Martino.
"There's a difference between not knowing how something is done and knowing it can't be done!" - Simon Aronson
Al Schneider
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Martino

Your comment triggers a memory.

Long ago I bought a book about mentalism. You get a guy on stage and put some earphones on him so you can talk to him as you roam the room via a mike. What happens is that when the earphones are put on his head, someone else talks to him. That someone else tells this person on stage that this is a comedy show and he is going to do some amazing things that will suprise the audience. The performer talking to the audience tells the audience they are going to witness some incredibley amazing mindreading demonstrations. Then the performer has people think of things and the guy on the stage does wild gyrations to revaal what the person is thinking of. The guy on stage does not know he is revailing the results of a mind reading stunt.

Can't remember the details, but I always though it was a great idea.
Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Jim Pace
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Mr Schneider,
I have enjoyed your thoughts. Your style is very natural. If I were a layman and sat in on one of your sessions I would not know what to think...Is this real? Who is this guy?
I can see you sitting at a table with a bunch of people around you, their eyes wide open along with a slack jaw. I walk up and see a man who looks like anyones uncle Joe. He has some coins and a deck of cards. I am thinking "hmmm, I know some card tricks, I know this one with three rows of seven cards. Let's see what he's got."....
"What?... What? Come on who is this guy, I thought I was good. I wish my friends were here."
Then the next day you are on my mind and I am telling my friends about this guy who blew me away with magic tricks.
I see two styles of close up magicians... flashy, and reserved. Both can offer humor and occassional juggling feat. But my favorite style is your Mr. Schneider.
I would come back often to your performances as you seem so ....real.
Thank you,
Jim
"The drum that beats the loudest is always the most hollow."
Al Schneider
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Jim Pace

You are another that writes good posts.
I appreciate hearing what you say.
Makes me glad I am doing this.
Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Chris "linkster" Watson
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Thank you for the insight, I like performing routines which look like they are moveless and the magic just happens however it is nice to be able to do the odd flourish here and there Smile
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