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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

Profile of magic4u02
I kind of like to look at developing a manipulation act by thinking past the obvious and going beyond the norm in regards to the props we use. Who says a manipulator must use billiard balls, coins, cards or thimbles? The only people who say this are the magicians ourselves. I started thinking about this and figuredit might make an interesting thread open for interpretation and discussion.

We tend to hinder our own personal growth by always trying to contain ourselves to what we feel we have to do because that is what manipulative magic is all about. I say simply.. WHY? Why hinder yourself and your creativity by forcing your mind into a funnel that will only limit your results?

So what happens when we look beyond the norm? Well failure can certainly happen and that scares so many people that they come running back to what they consider "safe". That is the life of a manipulator trying to tread on new grounds.

However, I say, sure you may fail but isn't failure a learning tool? To me failure is not failure at all unless you fail at really learning from it. If you do learn from failure, then isn't failure just a stepping stone to success? I say yes!

So strive to break out of this box that tells you a manipulator has to think a certain way or move a certain way or perform with certain objects. Now I am not saying give up on the foundations of manipulation. I want to be clear on that.

A good manipulator must study and learn the building blocks of the manipulative art. This means learning, reading, watching videos and really understanding the moves and fundamentals of the manipulative art. An architect can not begin to build a new and different building until he learns to study the foundations that will hold it all together. The same applies to the manipulator.

Learn these fundamentals of manipulation but do NOT force yourself into searching your magic videos or DVDs for inspiration on coming up with creative ideas for your own act. This is what so many of us do wrong. We go searching to latch on to what we feel has already been done, tested and know works. We do this because it is the safe way out. It is easy to follow what another has done. The heat is off of us. It it fails, it is not our fault, but the fault of the person who's routine we may have used.

Go beyond this. Do not force yourself into taking the easy way out. No one said creativity for a manipulator was going to be easy. It is not, but I can tell you that creativity and your own mind can create some of the most imaginative manipulation you have ever seen. You just have to try it and train your mind into thinking in creative terms.

The magician Topas is a perfect example of this. Here is a man who obviously understands the foundations of manipulative magic but refuses to use the common props of the trade and refuses to do the same old thing. He has charted new grounds and territories by expanding upon what is possible if we just reach out.

Why does a card have to always be a card? Break it down to simple terms and it really is a mere shape. A billard ball is also just a round circle. When you learn to break down the barriers that hinder us, you learn to realize that there are so many objects out there in our everyday world that can be adapted to moves and the foundations of which you already know. The idea is to go out there and find them and study them and work with them.

Once you do that then you can really start to think in a creative fashion. Now your magic becomes as unique as you are and the character you play on stage in your manipulative act. If your act starts to use different and unique props, then these props could very well factor into a story being told by your character as you are doing the manipulations. Now you start to add and build in "layers" to your act.

"Layers" to me is a term referring to what you as a manipulator can personally add to your act that is above and beyond a mere showing of skill alone. Sure a manipulator has to have skill, but should that be the only thing the audience has to latch on to? I say no way. Give the audience so much more then that.

These layers can be anything such as themes, character, style, pacing, transition effects and emotional response to just name a few. Each of these starts to give the audience so much more to get excited about. Soon the manipulative act is not just a guy showing off some killer skill and me expecting to clap for it. The manipulator, using these layers can develop responses in the audience that are emotional in nature just based upon character or theme of what he or she is presenting on stage.

So I say go and reach for creativity. Seek and study different objects that are not the norm for a manipulator. Learn from them and build upon them. Go away from your videos for inspiration for your act and learn to look at culture and the arts and music to give you ideas that have not been done before or even thought of, There is so much more where manipulative magic can go if we are willing to not be afraid of trying.

What do you all think about this?
What ways help you to think about your manipulative act in new creative ways different from the norm?
What magicians out there do you feel are taking manipulative magic to new levels and why?

I would love to hear others thoughts on this topic. I think we could all learn a lot from it.

Kyle Peron


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Inner circle
Phoenix, Arizona
1185 Posts

Profile of ufo
Good brain starter! One formula I have always used to come up with twists is "Necessity is the mother of production". For instance if I produce a silk and tuck it in my breast pocket neatly but now I notice it doesn't match my tie...I produce another...still no good...and another, another, split it in two...now the color is even worse...so I color change the tie and blendo the silks: now all matches.
If I notice a loose button on my jacket sleeve that comes off...well now its a "tailor's dream" instead of a misers dream to get a matching button, and then a vanish with the reappearance being a securely sewn on replacement button.
I am always looking for personal cause and effect, a need and a magical answer. Now the the magic has plot, plot allows characterization, characterization deepens audience connection, etc...
I cant think of any time or place I have ever needed an endless supply of billiard balls. And I love to do the ball moves!! So I look for a prop connection and try to build on it. I would have to say that the audiences seem to respond to the fresh approach and of course, it is much more satisfying to me personally.
"What's your drug?" she asked. "Hope" he said, "The most addicting one of all."
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Special user
Myrtle Beach, SC
639 Posts

Profile of WagsterMagic
Great Thoughts

In my opinion you need to do some manipulation with items that intrest you.

For instance,

Jeff McBride-Masks
Peter Marvey-Goblets
Arthur Trace-Paint brushes and art

In my opinion I love chinese fans. I have a whole routine with them.

One of my friends does parasols.

None of these are in the norm of manipulation. In my opinion find something you truly love. There are clocks, keys, flowers, maybe picture frames. Who knows. Just let your creativity run wild and with a little persaverance(sp), you can have an amazing manipulation that is all your own.

The Wagsters: World Class Magic & Illusion
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

Profile of magic4u02
Thanks all for chiming in here. This is becoming a very fun and interesting discussion on creative thinking for the manipulator. I thank you all for your thoughts and hope others may chime in as well.

Ed: Great thoughts my friend. What you discuss is an interesting and creative though process where by what you produce and why you produce it does not just look different then the norm, but it directly related back to your character in your manipulative act. Now what you produce and how you manipulate the object stems from the situation your character finds himself in. this certainly can lead to new and exciting paths of creativity for any manipulator.

The button idea is another great thought. it gets back to what I was referring to earlier with the idea that manipulative objects can and should change. We get to locked into standards of balls and cards that we forget that what are they really? they are mere shapes. If we can look at them as shapes, then we can start to learn that other non common objects to the manipulative arts still fit into these shapes as well.

When we do this, we can relaize that hey buttons can be fun, different and unique and I can probably manipulate them using standard coin manipulation moves you may already know. But now because they are buttons, you are working more creatively. You are thinking outside of the box and creating something new and different. I could see how many fun things could happen with a simple ideaof a button manipulative act.

Brandon: Also nice thoughts you shared here with us. Thank you my friend. Items that are of interest to you is certainly an eare from which to start. If you like something and know something, why not apply that to your magic. I often tell ny students what do they like to do besides magic. it is these ideas and hobbies that can be applied to your magic to create new and exciting ideas.

Thanks guys and I hope others chime in here as we explore the creative side if manipulative magic.

Kyle Peron


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