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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Salt pour psychology (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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mcharisse
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I recently purchased Levent's excellent salt pour and am busy trying to come up with my own presentation. I'm wondering, though, about the use of a gimicked salt shaker (Al Baker or Levent or make your own pretty easily). I like the effect of pouring that much salt into the fist, but am wondering if it changes the psychology of the trick
It seems to me the pour attempts to create the illusion that you have reproduced way more salt than you started with. To me, it's a salt production as well as a transposition.
So might it not undercut the long pour to start with so much salt in the first place? Wouldn't a smaller salt shaker to start with reinforce the illusion of never-ending salt at the end?
I've done a TT passe-passe salt for many many years, but never a staged-sized pour. So while I think I know something generally speaking about the impact salt seems to have on lay audiences, I freely admit I know nothing about how the long pour really plays.
So I'm curious to know the thoughts of others on this, especailly Levent, if he happens to see this thread.
By the way, the Levent DVD gimmick is one of the best things I've ever bought. I own his Benson book as well, so already have much of the same material, but the clear handling, and seeing the various gimmicks manipulated in actual size, to say nothing of the erudite historical analysis, make this a worthy add-on to the Benson book.
Overall, I think the effect is exactly the kind of closer I've been looking for for adult performances, and probably a good middle trick for kids as well. It's simple, puzzling, and showy. What more could you ask for?
I'd also be interested in hearing other's thoughts on the handling, or performance suggestions and insights - though it might be hard to top what you can learn just from Levent.
Marc the Magic Man
JamesTong
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Fred Kaps' salt pour routine may give you a lot of ideas. Check out his performance and you'll be amazed at the illusion he created.
daviddeltoro
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The psycology of a long salt pour...

What a difficult question...

Mr Nelms says in "showmanship..." that the maic towards the need of something makes that virtually more magical than a magic mistery with no reason... that's true but if we evaluate our magic in that straight pattern the most incredible act in the world has no sense: Cardini's Act.

Assumming that we are actors acting as magicians we can say that Cardini's act is perfect because of the reflect of uncontrolable magic that happens to the magician. See Kaps, his reproduction atonish him because he didn't expects that big additional long pour, again the magic has his own life and the magician can not control it. If you see Kaps doing it one of the time the effect was preceded by the Comedy Homming Card so the ilogical uncontroled magic in the long salt production has it own reason!! The magicians has "failed" all his magics giving the magic a personality itself!!.

Think obout in wich situation you are performing that and try to make it as a mistake, or by the way Levent sells a Salt Shaker that seems to carry more salt that it actually does so the effect of dissapearing a big salt shaker is stronger than a little bit of salt from a salt shaker. is a question of cuantity. In magic the apparence of a car on Stage is from a spectator point of view more difficult that appearing a coin!!.

David
JamesTong
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I agree with David fully. It is the angle you want to focus your performance on - e.g. the magic of the effect itself, or your stage character, or the plot or storyline, etc.
kosmoshiva
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The Kaps routine is stellar IMHO. What David says about the magic having a personality of its own is interesting - in Kaps' hands, it's almost as if he's being 'punished' by the magic, kinda like a Sorcerer's Apprentice storyline - the magic gets him back in a way he wasn't expecting. I've seen him do it over and over and the gag of trying to stuff the excess salt back in his pocket cracks me up every time.
Don't forget to breathe.
drhackenbush
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Marc-
Hi, Charley here - glad you got a Salt Pour gimmick! After I did my salt pour routine when I saw you last, one of the other fellows from PA gave me some feedback along the lines you're talking about, why don't I pour just a small amount of salt into my fist rather than the whole shaker? I've been working with that idea since then, only having a small bit of salt in the shaker, which is poured into my fist, and it seems to be just as easy to do that as pouring the whole shaker's worth out. What I haven't done yet is test that version on an audience, having just done the way you saw me do that night, with the shaker full. When I watch Fred Kaps or Levent, they both pour the full shaker in, but I kind of like the pour-a-tiny-amount-in-the-fist-and-produce-five-minutes-of-salt-pour idea, and perhaps both ways might work and get a good audience response. In a sense, the whole premise of the salt pour borders on the absurd, so there seems to be enough room for as many different handlings as there are performers and if one's routine gets a good response, then it's the right way for that person.

What I decided not to do, and I can't remember if we talked about it but a few of the fellows did suggest it, is change the color of my coat from white to black, since the white costume works with the rest of my act, and I decided it's more of a matter of physical blocking to make sure the audience can see the stream of salt.
wizardofsorts
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I just saw Kozak do his salt pour at the World's Greatest Magic Show (at the Greek Isles in Vegas). I love his reasoning. He's pouring salt onto his fist to do a shot of tequila! But alas, it's his and we should all be so lucky to be creative enough to have our own.

Edd
Edd Fairman, Wizard of Sorts is a corporate magician available for your next trade show, hospitality suite, client luncheon, or company event. http://www.wizardofsorts.com
mcharisse
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Some good comments here, but I want to emphasize that I think there's a balance. Obviously you don't want to vanish too little salt, but the difference between a full, feked shaker and one three-quarters full seems negligible in terms of the vanish, but the smaller amount may reinforce the illusion of a lot more salt at the end.
marc
Nedim
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Kozak has great routine for salt pour. I think you will have great ideas from him.


magicially yours,


Nedim Guzel
mcharisse
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I'm interested in the Kaps routine as well as the Kozak. Are they available?
hugmagic
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Levent gives you the work on the Kaps routine on his DVD. To see it performed you can buy the dvd of the Ed Sullivan show that had the Beatles on it.

Richard
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wizardofsorts
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Paul sells the gimmick that he uses. I read a short description that says it comes with a dvd of a live performance and a back stage teach-in. So, I guess that means you can use his routine. For $300 I would hope so! A Google search turned up that Hank Lee carries it. I'm sure other's do too.

According to Ronjo's site, Fred Kaps rountine is included on a cdrom of lecture notes called, "It's so Simple."

I like Jeff Hobson's work on the salt pour. I just wish I could figure out a justification for putting something on the floor before the salt shows up, as to not make a mess, but not call attention to the fact that a mess is coming.

You know what I mean?

Edd
Edd Fairman, Wizard of Sorts is a corporate magician available for your next trade show, hospitality suite, client luncheon, or company event. http://www.wizardofsorts.com
Levent
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Personally I find the use of the gimmicked saltshaker (during the long pour salt trick) necessary for two reasons.

The first reason is because of visibility. The fact is I perform mostly in theaters that seat between 900 and 1350 people and I am essentially a verbal comedy performer who features manipulation (sort of like the vaudevillians T. Nelson Downs and Emil Jarrow).

I do not perform illusions, nor much in the way of box tricks. Basically my one-hour show consists of sleight of hand tricks with small handheld items such as silks, cards, canes, ropes, coins, billiard balls and salt.

My choice of small props can be visually challenging and as a result I must make every effort to insure that my tricks can be seen clearly by everyone, including someone sitting in back of the second balcony.

While developing my salt pour routine I found that an ordinary saltshaker was too small for the trick. I was not that people couldn’t see that I was holding a saltshaker, it was that there wasn’t enough white colored surface on the exterior. And compounded by the glare caused by the stage lights, I found that an ordinary shaker often looked the same whether or not it was full of salt or empty.

Therefore I opted to use a very large shaker. But it turned out that it wasn’t visible enough to use an un-gimmicked extra large shaker. This is because if you put the correct amount of salt (that would fill the gimmick) into the big shaker, then the shaker would only be about half full. But by using the gimmicked shaker (as did Roy Benson), the audience clearly sees the shaker and the large white exterior surface makes it readily apparent that it is full of salt. After the contents have been poured into the fist, the clear shaker is obviously empty to the furthest reaches of the theater.

The second reason for the use of the extra large shaker is that I found the applause to be greater when I vanished a larger quantity of salt. Pure and simple, in this case quantity counts (the funny thing is that my gimmicked shaker allows you to use the same amount salt as an regular shaker, it just looks like a more salt has vanished).

As a commercial performer, I want the initial applause for the salt vanish to be strong and then I want the reappearance to build to a large sustained ovation.

To my way of thinking, the trick starts as the vanishing salt trick and that initial portion of the effect must be powerful and stand on its own. The reappearance of the salt is a surprise and the shear quantity of the pour makes for a strong climax.

If the initial vanish of the salt is a seemingly small amount then the first part of the effect is weak. I freely admit that if the trick is performed close-up, the vanish of a small quantity of salt is perfectly ok. I am just referring to my experience with the salt trick as a stage performer.

Finally, as to the psychology of whether or not it is better to vanish a small amount of salt so that it contrasts with a very large pour at the end. I agree with the sentiment, but frankly either way the final pour will always look like a LOT more salt has reappeared than the quantity that was vanished.

But I think that it is far more commercial to make a large amount of salt vanish at the beginning and then make an enormous amount of salt reappear at the climax and I believe that the use of my specially gimmicked saltshaker (and the techniques that I teach on my DVD) allow for a routine that is magically strong at both phases of the routine and not only at the finale.

Levent
montemagic
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Aim To Amaze
drhackenbush
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Levent -
Thanks for your post - it's very helpful! Your gimmick is a pleasure to use and the DVD and Benson book provide a master class in the Salt Pour.

Charley
mcharisse
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Indded, great post. Thank you for your insights.
Marc
Potty the Pirate
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I just got the Levent salt pour, and I'm very impressed with the erudite historical analysis and demonstrations of the effect, as well as detailed handlings for several different presentations. Levent also explains how to change a watch into an hourglass, then perform the salt pour, and finally turn the salt back into the watch.
Plenty of food for thought, excellent value for money.
Doug.
Richard Evans
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I've been interested in the salt pour for a long time and have a number of gimmicks. I find the Kozak gimmick a bit too large for my hands - but Jim Riser's and the Levent's gimmicks are perfect.

I have to admit that I wasn't sure whether to buy the DVD from Levent - but I'm so glad I did (I know, I should have known from the quality of the Benson book). The gimmick is very practical and the DVD contains way more info than I expected: it's the single best resource on the salt pour ever. Fantastic - I thoroughly enjoyed it.

mcharisse, who started this post, posed an interesting question that I've often wondered about. Are you reproducing the same salt that's been vanished, or more salt? The wonderful thing about the Kaps routine - shown in the Youtube clip linked above - is that he addresses this by refilling the shaker and then producing more again. The routine also illustrates the advantage a live band has (a point made in the Levent DVD) by using it to emphasise the duration of the pour: it would be very difficult to have the same effect using recorded music.

Richard
I have six locks on my door all in a row. When I go out, I only lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three. Elayne Boosler
mcharisse
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Yes, I was finally able to see the Kaps DVD and see what you mean. He started with just a little salt in the shaker (I assume his gimmick must have been nearly full when he started, and it was a bit bigger than Levent's.) Now I'm thinking about gimmicking a second, duplicate salt shaker so that it fills up very quickly and switching for that one during the pour.
By the way, I operformed the Levent routine for my wife the other day and her comment was, "Very simple, you had the hankerchief in your hand the whole time and poured the salt into the hankerchief, then produced the empty hankerchief at the end."
Not correct of course, but it sure reminded me that often layman, and laywomen, can think very differently than we do. So now I'm thinking of other ways to ditch the gimmick at the end. Perhaps I can just take the hank out of my pocket during the pour and use it to "clean up." Still, that lacks the flash climax. Any suggestions?
Marc
sethb
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I know this post duplicates much of what has already been said, but I can’t resist saying how great the Levent “Salt Pour” DVD is. This is a fellow who 1) has obviously done his homework and 2) is truly a “thinking man’s magician.”

Rather than just buying and using whatever Salt Pour gimmick was currently available, Levent researched the history of the trick, reviewing how past greats handled and presented the effect. He carefully analyzed the benefits and flaws of each version, and then added his own original touches. While not all of us have the time, money or patience to do that for every single trick we perform, it’s obviously the preferred way to go and produces superior results.

As for the “thinking magician” aspect, it’s equally clear that Levent has a painstaking approach and an eye for detail, always analyzing every piece of the effect and trying to make it simpler, smoother or better. I especially liked his pickup arrangement, which permits a smooth one-handed pickup of the shaker and gimmick, while also ensuring that the salt doesn’t cake and flows smoothly. Just excellent thinking here! Ditto on the “tray ditch” of the gimmick at the end of the routine –- it’s logical, natural, and extremely effective. It’s also as old as the hills, as Levent demonstrates. But it’s this kind of attention to detail that distinguishes the pros from the amateurs, and it was very kind and unselfish of Levent to share this sort of information.

Finally, this DVD shows that instead of frantically trying to find and buy the next “big new thing,” we might all be much better off mining the great magic books of the past for forgotten gems and techniques. For example, I’m sure most of us have played around with a Stillwell Ball at some point, but who besides Levent or Cellini would have thought to use it for a Salt Pour instead of a Hank Vanish?

Anyway, kudos to Levent for his respectful and detailed production of the Salt Pour DVD, it was the most satisfying purchase I’ve made in a while. I’m really looking forward to his next project, which is a “Miser’s Dream” DVD, due out in 2008. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
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