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Profile of Shawn74
How do you practice misdirection? This may sound like a silly question, but my though process is a bit complicated, maybe unnecessarily so.

We are told never to reveal the secrets of magic. Practice until you have the effect complete and could do it in your sleep. That way your chances of flashing are minimized.

So we routine our effects to take into acct misdirection during a sleight. We'll say this, or cause the spec to look into our eyes or look at the other hand, where ever we want them to. And this all will work in theory, but how does one know that it will work in "the real world"? WE don't, until we actually show the effect to someone. However what if your misdirection were routined wrong and it doesn't direct them to where you want them to look, and they do see how the effect is done. Because even if some of the spectators don't see, play to a big enough group of people and 1 or 2 of them are pound to not follow the misdirection it seems. So now that someone has seen how the effect is done, you've just revealed a seceret of magic. Even though you didn't mean to.

So how does one practice misdirection in a way that will not necessarily guarentee sucess, but just like practicing sleights, at least cut down on the probability of something being detected. Surely with enough time you will learn what works for you and what doesn't, but until then...
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Profile of JackScratch
You know, everyone (laymen) talks about misdirection, but I can think of *** few places in magic where you use it.
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Profile of Jaz
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Profile of Foucault
Thanks for pointing us in the direction of that topic, Jaz - good stuff there.
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Profile of HusssKarson
Play with stealing or pickpocket helps!
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Profile of yutszfung
How to pratice pickpocket?
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Profile of MagikDavid
Practicing pickpocket won't work.... what if your next gig is in a nudist camp?

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Is the pleasure it brings to others.
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Profile of Xaethia
Nice one MagikDavid.

To practice pickpocketing, bump into them (preferably a friend, unless you want to get bashed or gaoled overnight) and reach into their pocket and grab out their keys. Or even better, talk to them/point somewhere/bump into them and just put your rubbish (or something you don't want) into their pocket or handbag.

For misdirection, keep all your attention on the object/hand/what ever you want them to look at.
YOU, YOURSELF, MUST BELIEVE THAT THE OBJECT IS IN THAT HAND!! (or what ever senario you are doing).

A classic, is to just stop in a crowd and just look up into the sky. Many people will follow your eyes.

"Technique beats skill. Psychology beats technique. Philosophy beats all. Think about it." CrdShk
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Profile of here2009
Practicing misdirection, huh? Well, let's see, I would say that you can just practice a routine by yourself at home and include all of the nuances in your practice. Other than that, you can go out and simply practice in public whenever you talk with friends, whatever. Let's say you develop rapport with someone, you can then take a glance somewhere in an interested way and see if they follow you. As you see, there's plenty you can do.
Jonathan Townsend
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Profile of Jonathan Townsend
Every time you use the word "misdirection" where 'cover' serves, you push yourself further from understanding.

Every time you fret over your misdirection rather than focus on making sure the audience has something interesting to look at or think about, you greatly increase the risk of your audience looking where you are doing something sneaky.

Focus on the show as seen from the audience. what's in it for them? what's the moment as far as they are concerned.

And kindly use positive language to discuss your intents and actions. all the coins I've dropped here
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Profile of Rizzo
Would this not be directing attention rather than misdirecting? We would want to direct the spectator to look somewhere specifically by perhaps a gesture, a gaze or verbal command.I thing we confuse misdirecting and directing attention.
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Profile of funsway
For me, taught way back, misdirection is simply "fooling the mind" as opposed to sleights which "fool the eye." Any action that gets the audience to naturally look at your right hand while the left is "doing the diry work," is misdirection -- they key being that YOU look at the right hand. So, practice is very important and at times difficult. The solution is always to practice the move without the Sleight and then replicate the moves as exactly as possible with the palmed ball, or whatever. Yes, you can "direct attention" to the Cup you are reaching for. The Misdirection is not looking at you left hand that is making the Steal-- or finching, or shifting balance or closing your eyes,or ...
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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Bill Palmer
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Profile of Bill Palmer
On 2006-01-31 16:45, JackScratch wrote:
You know, everyone (laymen) talks about misdirection, but I can think of *** few places in magic where you use it.

Maybe you should learn to be a magician, Drew. Or may be you should consider thinking before you write.

Remember when we made Jason disappear in front of the gate? There was a lot of misdirection there. The effect wasn't entirely misdirection, but misdirection was a major part of it.

Do you remember when I would vanish from the stage and appear at the back of the crowd at the Globe theatre? That was accomplished by misdirection.

Without misdirection, I couldn't have done the bill in the lemon.

I really hope your view of misdirection has matured since you wrote this. If it hasn't, maybe you should read Magic by Misdirection by Fitzkee.

BTW, people who quibble over whether "misdirection" should be replaced by "directing attention" or "indirection" or some other fiddly synonym are trying to overexplain a very simple concept. People who know what misdirection actually is and how to use it, do not need to have some new term thrown at them so the intellectually challenged can understand this concept.
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Lawrence O
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Profile of Lawrence O
Hello Bill,
I'm one of the "people who quibble over whether "misdirection" should be replaced by 'directing attention' or 'indirection' or some other fiddly synonym are trying to overexplain a very simple concept". This is because obviously, as you can see days in days out, lots of magicians don't understand what it is, why they need to use it and how to use it when every master magician knows that it is essential.
Thus an attempt at finding a word to communicate better that it is more than imitation of natural movement (which is greatly insufficient).

To your very sound recommendation of Dariel Fitzkee's book Magic By Misdirection, which for stage magicians is a must, I'd like to add The Magic of Ascanio books that some of us were privileged to have in Spanish but are now in English and explain why Juan Tamariz is one of our greatest magicians

I also would like to add the Karl Fulves' The Magic of Slydini... and More which in the first chapters delivers better than any books the misdirection of a man who was a master at it.

Finally I would suggest buying John Carney's DVD Carney on Ramsay and the Andrew Galloway DVDs on the Magic of John Ramsay (Andrew has a slightly dull performing style but knows more about John Ramsay's misdirection than anyone : he was his pupil in Ayr. We are after learning Ramsay's misdirection more than Andrew's performing style)

Now as the tricks' design and the script are very strong and widely ignored parts of misdirection (that I prefer calling indirection), I would also recommend Darwin Ortiz's two books Designing Miracle and Strong Magic
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Profile of supra97
Thank you Lawrence O, I'm having trouble getting through fitzgees book, ( it keeps putting me to sleep) ill give one of these others a try.
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Profile of Hedberg
A good way to practice is by doing Slydini's "paper balls over the head trick."
Lawrence O
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Profile of Lawrence O
If one doesn't understand how misdirection really works, it's understandably difficult to know how to rehearse it.

Now if you follow Ascanio's In Transit actions, you can practice:
- Glancing at the destination of the "main action"
- being casual in doing the secondary action done to remove the obstacle to the performance of the main action
- giving a purpose and a reasonable volume to the main action

Example 1:
Show a coin in the right hand and briefly glance at the left elbow
Pass the coin to the left hand to be able to
Tug the left sleeve at the elbow (classic palming the coin along the way) and express that the coin is not going to be sleeved
Bring the left hand back into center position, cause the magic (blowing, snapping, casting a shadow...) and reveal the vanish.

Example 2: the wand (for example in C&Bs)
Show a ball in the right hand and briefly glance at the wand on the table
Pass the ball to the left hand to be able to
Take up the wand
Push the wand through the left fist, rotate the fist fingers up with the right finger catch the inner end of the wand and push it forward opening the left fingers and displaying the left hand palm up

This are example for Ascanio's type of misdirection. Now you may want to practice Slydini's type of misdirection.

Take a coin or a sponge ball and show it at the left fingertips, look up at the audience as you ask a casual question and wait for the reply as, breathing out, your shoulder move down and your chest moves back, dragging the left hand down to the table's edge where it drops the coin into your lap and,.
Now, breathing in, let your chest move forward, taking your left hand back up still assuming the position as if it was still holding the coin and keep looking at the audience.
Cause the magic flashing the right hand
Freeze every movement including breathing and reveal the effect breathing out and still looking at the spectators.

Al Schneider misdirection: find the way you would handle a prop naturally. Find the constraints that sleight of hand forces your hands to position your hand into. Place such a hand position, without sleight, at least twice at earlier phases of the act for the audience to accept this type of handling. Practice in a routine the "empty" hand positions that you will need later.

Find convincers for creating time displacement and rehearse with your convincers in hand

Actually put these technique together in practice in one of your routine:
Forget about "visual magic" (where the secret move immediately precedes the revelation of its consequence). Do Ascanio's type of misdirection but involve Slydini's chest and breathing directing the hand movements with binary rhythm of breathing in and breathing out, being erect and relaxed. Make sure that the audience cannot track back an effect to its actual cause, by introducing time displacement between the real cause and the magic one (ideally with a convincer).

If your routine is well designed (actual cause, casual meaningful gesture, magical cause marking the magic moment, pause, revelation of the effect), you can rehearse misdirection very well and even add feints to gain time misdirection and conviction between the moment the real cause is achieved and the one when the "magic cause" is supplied.
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Profile of Ade2010
This needs to be pinned, and placed in the Rehearsal forum.

Lawrence, stirling post Sir!
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Etienne, I have an entire OneNote notebook filled with your posts!

Thank you Sir.

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Profile of DhiaJafar
Michael Vincent has a very good lecture that tackles and breaks down processes and psychology of misdirection and shares his theory and practise accompanied with a booklet. It called the tapestry of deception
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