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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Jay mattioli on AGT (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Ray Pierce
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Quote:
On 2009-09-05 06:47, Dennis Michael wrote:
A Magican does have their work cut out for them.


Yes, but addressing all of your great comments and ideas would be a great start!

I do agree about the Fitzkee book as a great resource that is largely overlooked. We tend to be so tecnically driven in relationship to the effect, we forget who we're performing for.

Thanks for reminding us.
Ray Pierce
magiclimber
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Quote:
On 2009-09-03 01:21, Ray Pierce wrote:
I'm not sure what was there to understand. It vanished and reappeared between the other two. Even if you can't comprehend the concept of a transposition... you can get that something vanished and something appeared. I really love the effect but I just didn't understand why he did it on this show.


Go watch the the clip. It's as plain as day! You can easily tell the audience just didn't understand it like they should. The effect did not "hit" correctly. I'm not sure why, probably some issue with timing. Maybe too fast. I noticed the lack of audience reaction the first time I watched it. I'm not saying I could do better in that situation, and I'm definitely not criticizing him.

I'm a fan of 20th century silks and I do perform it, so don't think I'm knocking the trick. But in this situation it didn't work like it should.
JNeal
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What was wrong is that the effect(s) are not clearly delineated or sold to the audience.

The traditional (original) 20th century plot is that two scarves are tied together and a third scarf (distinctly different from the other two) is vanished and then found tied between the first two silks. Had he done that, the audience would have grasped the action /plot quicker.

By using an appearing cane, he in effect transformed the silk to a cane. The lay audience does not consider a transformation as a vanish. He then reveals that a duplicate silk is tied between the two original scarves.

At this moment they have to THINK: Did the scarf become a cane? Was it replaced by the cane and the scarf just magically' flew' between the other two? These are plot complications that to us as magicians seems obvious , but laymen don't see it that way.

Since he was not talking, he couldn't explain the plot as he perceived it , so they (the audience) were left to their own devices and decided that it was confusing perhaps. Any hesitation in the minds of the audience will affect how, what, and when they applaud. In brief TV spots like this one, it's best to develop routines that are simple, clear and emotionally involving...and leave any thing that requires mental deliberation and processes aside.

To quote from another part of the Cafés' fora, (Food for Thought) where a discussion of Maskelyne's 24 rules of magic is underway, In his handling of the 20th Century trick, he didn't follow rule #2 : "Always endeavor to try and form an accurate conception of the point of view most likely to be adopted by a disinterested spectator."

As to 'selling' the trick: it was not the strongest version of that trick. As hip and modern as the music was, it had nothing to convey the magical 'moment', did not support the 'beats' of the trick, and added no tension or suspense. His handling was limited by the choice of music, requiring him to do specific actions while attempting to do this on a dance beat.

Despite the uninformed judges comments, there is nothing inherently weak about silk tricks, but to sell them requires flawless execution which unfortunately did not happen in this case. In tricks with objects that the audience is not familiar with or have no vested interest in... such as silks and canes (as opposed to money, beautiful women, dangerous swords,blades, and fire) the performer must find a way to infuse them with meaning and value.

In short, he didn't tell us what to think and he didn't make us care.
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magiclimber
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Quote:
On 2009-09-06 20:21, JNeal wrote:
What was wrong is that the effect(s) are not clearly delineated or sold to the audience.

The traditional (original) 20th century plot is that two scarves are tied together and a third scarf (distinctly different from the other two) is vanished and then found tied between the first two silks. Had he done that, the audience would have grasped the action /plot quicker.

By using an appearing cane, he in effect transformed the silk to a cane. The lay audience does not consider a transformation as a vanish. He then reveals that a duplicate silk is tied between the two original scarves.

At this moment they have to THINK: Did the scarf become a cane? Was it replaced by the cane and the scarf just magically' flew' between the other two? These are plot complications that to us as magicians seems obvious , but laymen don't see it that way.

Since he was not talking, he couldn't explain the plot as he perceived it , so they (the audience) were left to their own devices and decided that it was confusing perhaps. Any hesitation in the minds of the audience will affect how, what, and when they applaud. In brief TV spots like this one, it's best to develop routines that are simple, clear and emotionally involving...and leave any thing that requires mental deliberation and processes aside.

To quote from another part of the Cafés' fora, (Food for Thought) where a discussion of Maskelyne's 24 rules of magic is underway, In his handling of the 20th Century trick, he didn't follow rule #2 : "Always endeavor to try and form an accurate conception of the point of view most likely to be adopted by a disinterested spectator."

As to 'selling' the trick: it was not the strongest version of that trick. As hip and modern as the music was, it had nothing to convey the magical 'moment', did not support the 'beats' of the trick, and added no tension or suspense. His handling was limited by the choice of music, requiring him to do specific actions while attempting to do this on a dance beat.

Despite the uninformed judges comments, there is nothing inherently weak about silk tricks, but to sell them requires flawless execution which unfortunately did not happen in this case. In tricks with objects that the audience is not familiar with or have no vested interest in... such as silks and canes (as opposed to money, beautiful women, dangerous swords,blades, and fire) the performer must find a way to infuse them with meaning and value.

In short, he didn't tell us what to think and he didn't make us care.


So...

you agree with me? Your comments, while more detailed, seem to support my thoughts.

I agree 20th century silks is a strong trick, as previously stated.
Ray Pierce
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I'm not sure about that. I think he was saying that 20th Century silks "can" be a strong effect when presented clearly with focused staging and mastery of audience control skills.

There are not many who can make silk work exciting, Jonathan is one of the few. He understands how to create tension and power from effects that would elicit yawns in others' hands.

I also love great silk effects and methodology but I know that it has to be exceptional to do it for a paying audience. My personal feelings come from growing up with it and seeing masters creating miracles with silks. I also know that unless I'm performing for myself, it really doesn't matter as much what I like as what my audience will like. Because of that I select effects that will resonate with the most people. Of all the effects in magic available today, 20th Century is an odd choice even WITH a clear and straight forward presentation which wasn't done here. Keep in mind this is from someone who has done the effect many times in many different iterations (my personal favorite is the Justiniani).

To be clear, the 20th Century effect isn't necessarily strong, but the presentation can be in the right hands... but that's rare. More often it's a good filler or transition in a middle routine. If you have one shot at success, I might not hitch my wagon to that particular star.
Ray Pierce
mantooth
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First, let me say, I think Jay is a talented magician and I know he will have tons of success for years to come.

That said... here's the problem with doing 20th century silks...

First, NO ONE CARES ABOUT THE TRICK! There's nothing at stake, No one cares about a silk, infact... Now-a-days... No one knows what a silk even is! Let's be real.. In our society, how often do you see a silk or handkercheif? I mean... At least make them look like a modern bandana or something...at least they'd be a tiny more recognizable.

And honestly... even if they look like bandanas...there's no emotional connection to hook the viewer at all... WHY SHOULD AN AUDIENCE CARE ABOUT A BANDANA THAT DISAPPEARED? The only time I've ever seen that trick get a GOOD reaction is when it's Underwear that appears between the silks...AGAIN...It's recognizable, and adds a little more impossibility. Even then...I think it's more of a visual gag at best... I don't think many people actually believe it's actually the persons underwear. Smile

Secondly... You can see that trick at any kids birthday party... Doesn't actually make Jay look like the expert he should be... I mean...if anyone in the Café was told... I have the President of NBC coming over, you can bring ONE trick to wow him/her with... Would you pick 20th century silks? I don't think so.

Thirdly...Talk about tapping into a negative magic cliche! People think of magicians as cheesy tuxedo/vest wearing nerds... That's truly a laymans first thought when they think of a magicain. It's our job to show them we're more than that... Jay's vest was cheesy and again taps into the same negative magic cliche'!
I mean... who wears a shiny american flag vest???? If Jay wanted to use the vest...at least get a flag vest made in an Affliction/Ed Hardy-like style. Then you're modern...

Fourth and finally... It's called the 20TH Century Silks... News-flash, we're not even living in that century anymore! Smile LOL We as magicians need to look at the material we are performing and realize when it's time to say when...
Remember, when that trick first appeared...we were living in a time when everyone carried a handkercheif.

Jay had a shot on NETWORK TV to WOW America, and unfortunately he chose a unimpressive material. I think the Judges reaction was honest and really represents how the modern public views magic...

He presented his act backwards... He did the most impressive illusion first...making the girls appear...

It's like making the statue of Liberty disappear and then doing the 21 card trick.

But as I said, Jay will continue to go far...but hopefully he learned a valuable lesson... Personality is CERTAINLY most important, but Material Choice runs a close second! Smile


We need to advance as magicians and take a look at our material as a whole... We don't entertain and fool people as much as we'd like to think.

Just some food for thought.
Bill Hegbli
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I would not be so quick to dump on the performer. What has to be considered it the knowledge of the magician. If you have not been exposed to other things, then you will do what you have been exposed to and think is good magic.

I am often surprised at the magic presented at many magic conventions by very young people. Looking into this I have found that most if not all have had mentors that have the knowledge to give excellent advice and introduce other magic effects.

Example: I was at Abbott's Get-Together one year and Bret Daniels was performing his dove act. He uses so many techiques that took me years to find out and a lot of research and money to acquire. General Grant was there and when he met with Daniels, he offered his Color Changeing Silk gimmick and instructions.

It is a puzzle to me that Daniels did not know about such a gimmick. The next year Daniels was invited back and in the big show with is large bird productions he did the color changing silk.

Just an interesting observation.
JNeal
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Mantooth,

You have brought up several great points about the performance that I didn't cover, such as each effect being stronger than the preceding one, and Personality being the most important component and valuable commodity in show business. I concur most heartily! but I was trying to limit my commentary to the question at hand...why didn't the silk trick get the reaction the OP thought it deserved.

And as Ray mentions, the plot of the 20th century silks is not one which would be my first choice in a 90 second spot...not even my first choice among silk effects. But the big problem is not that it was a silk effect, but rather that he failed to make us care..about anything! Why produce a girl (or two) from a box...only to have one of them push the box offstage?

Silks aren't the easiest 'sell' in show business...as you mention they aren't cool, or contemporary...but no one cared about short pants, white socks, penny loafers or a sequin glove until Michael Jackson MADE us care (and by extension-made them cool).

Added note: Penn and Teller are doing mismade flag (with silks!) in their contemporary show...I think they found a way to make it relevant.
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mantooth
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Yes, Penn & Teller have a GREAT Flag routine! LOVE IT! Great example of what I'm talking about.

I didn't really care about the trick at all in the first segment... Where they are using a silk and a piece of paper.. even Penn points out, "Who cares about a handkerchief and a piece of paper...BUT what if..."


It's not until they use a flag and the declaration of independence, that I cared...

I agree with your post completely.

wmhegbli: Again, I want to point out... Its not my intention to attack Jay at all...i think most of his work is great.. I'm just being honest about his choices for this TV spot. He definitely has experience and knowledge.
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