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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » T-Jay here again...and possibly opening yet another can of worms... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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55john55
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This has been an excellent post and has had wonderful advice in it.I would like to add a few things which I hope are in keeping with the spirit of the other comments. Here are a few analogies:
When Grandma Moses painted, was she not an artist until she was discovered much later on by the art community and her paintings sold?
Are people who invent dozens of things not inventors until they patent an idea or until they sell an invention?
Was Paul Potts not a singer until his appearance on the "Britain has Talent" program or until he sold his first CD?
As pointed out earlier, magicians who perform in Las Vegas use lots of props (gaffs). Is there anyone who has ever sawn a lady in half using only slight of hand?
The terms magician, hobbist, and related terms have never been defined by the magic community and I doubt if they can be with clear distinct lines. I read a 600+ page book in which the author tried to define what is science and what is not science. He admittedly didn't succeed. If we can't do it in science I doubt if we will do it in anything that is more art than science.
I certainly don't pretend to have an answer. I've done magic effects as a hobby for over 20 years in front of my students, friends, family, and an occasional strangers (mostly kids who look bored at places like airports). I treat magic seriously, try to do things "right",invented 4 tricks (3 of which actually sell). I've spent up to 40 hours learning one effect.
Yet when the topic comes up I tell people I'm not a magician, I'm just a guy who does magic. Then I knock their socks off with both slights and gaffs. It doesn't matter what I call myself, what matters is that the magic that I do, I do well( and I don't always succeed)and I don't fo effect that are beyond my current abilities. Calling yourself is a personal thing, different for all of us. I do it out of respect for magicians. I don't feel like a magician. I feel like a guy who does magic effects. I think when you feel like a magician, when it's imbedded in who you are as a person, then you are a magician.
Sorry this was so long. I hope it adds rather than detracts from the post.
The Futurist
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Quote:
On 2009-11-23 07:05, 55john55 wrote:
As pointed out earlier, magicians who perform in Las Vegas use lots of props (gaffs). Is there anyone who has ever sawn a lady in half using only slight of hand?


...and, if so, did she live to tell the tale Smile

Quote:
On 2009-11-23 07:05, 55john55 wrote:
The terms magician, hobbist, and related terms have never been defined by the magic community and I doubt if they can be with clear distinct lines. I read a 600+ page book in which the author tried to define what is science and what is not science. He admittedly didn't succeed. If we can't do it in science I doubt if we will do it in anything that is more art than science.


I'm reminded of Wittgenstein's thought experiment on the definition of the word "game". Language does become a slippery thing when we examine it under the mental microscope!

Also, some aren't entirely comfortable with the label "magician" or even "mentalist"*: eg) our most celebrated UK mentalist Derren Brown calls himself a "psychological illusionist", Banachek adopts the title "thought reader"... it is what fits you personally and whether, I guess, you feel that your art, as a tributary from the main stream of "magic", merits a new title.

*of course, in the UK, Steve Coogan's comic character Alan Partridge has given that word a new and unflattering meaning!
Ed_Millis
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Bottom line (in my never-to-be-humble opinion) is that the audience doesn't care _how_ you do it, as long as you give them a magical experience. Keep it simple and easy for yourself, and let their enjoyment of your performance guide you.

Ed
JamesTong
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Well said, Ed, and I fully agree with you.
tjaymagic
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When I first started the post I was well aware that it could have easily gone down the road of gimmick vs sleight of hand, and could have been a very heated discussion!! So I am pleasently suprised that it hasn't gone down that route!!

Obviously a better class of magician comes into this forum, rather than the others that are around the internet. - A better class meaning one who cares about the art, and cares about the secrets, new people who come into magic, and most importantly cares about the audience and the presentaion of routines!

So wow! this topic exeeded my expectations, and made me realise that certian utilities (TT, PK, Raven) and certain gimmicks (svengali, invisible and stripper) doesn't make you less of a performer, it just seems to be a minority that want to be 'purist' with thier magic and keep it as 'sleight of hand only'.

This can be said of any hobby, I used to be an American Civil War re-enactor, where their was a minority who would go as far as not taking thier medication during an event because 'it wasn't invented yet' or would make sure that thier uniforms had the right amount of stiches (I am not joking!) There are those into classic gaming who are also pursit in thier thinking...the space invader pixel has to be at the right size etc.

With these two examples, I think I could safely say that the 'sleights vs gaffs/gimmicks' is pretty much the same behaviour! - Interestingly these two examples also have a large amount of males within thier own respective community... looks like REAL MEN DO IT CORRECTLY while the rest of us who don't, (this applies to ALL male hobbies, not just magic)don't...therefore we need to be 'urinated on'!

What I'm basicly trying to say, is that from what this topic has achieved is that effect is more important than method (applies to any hobby/interest)and that this topic has been aproached with maturity too...rather than turn into (which it could have done!) into a 'mass urination' (sorry futurist for repeating this, but its a good analogy!)....Not macho at all in my view!
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stijnhommes
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I remember seeing an effect on a DVD. The person interviewing the performer marvelled at the effect and was eager to hear how it was performed. (The effect was basically that of a spectator cutting to a selected card as the magician read the other spec's mind). The magician said he considered a whole lot of complicated moves before simplifying the whole thing.

In the end he used a force deck that only had the selection. Blatant gaff deck, but it worked. And that's what matters.

I just have one tip: Learn to deck switch effectively (using the intermediate non-card trick as mentioned before). You want to condition the audience to think the deck is normal and if they still grab for it, you need to have the regular cards ready.
seneca77
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Tjay, I have to say I'm very impressed with your attitude and approach toward magic, just in these few posts I've read from you. You've been given excellent advice so far and I encourage you to keep doing what you're doing. You're definitely on the right track. It matters not how you accomplish the effect. It might if you're trying to impress a fellow magician, but as long as everything is transparent to the spectator and you leave them entertained, you've done your job.

Just another word of unsolicited advice...you mentioned some of the gimmicks/gaffs you work with, but don't neglect learning from books and DVD's. You get a much bigger bang for your buck. A book like Bobo's "Modern Coin Magic", Hilliard's "Greater Magic", or Hugard & Braue's "Royal Road to Card Magic" are great starting points and will help lay a solid foundation in your learning. Tarbell's course is excellent as well.

Cheers!
- Bob
tjaymagic
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I am already doing that, as an example, when I bought by cups and balls combo, I also bought the Worlds Greatest videos for those.

I also did the same for rope and the TT too.

I have also bought a few books too, but I seem to pick up magic much better through DVD, possibly because it's like having a few professional magicians in your living room!

Also many thanks to your kind comments seneca77
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Bean
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Quote:
On 2009-11-21 23:31, tjaymagic wrote:
So gaffed decks that are bought from dealers (geffed decks such as Svengali/mirage/stripper) are OK if used correctly are fine in a pro show? This is the point I got confused in all of the postings around the 'net etc.


This made me giggle just a little. I'm re-reading, "The Handbook of Magic" by Marvin Kaye. He says, "Sleights are necessary mechanical evils. If they are too hard to perform, they should be eliminated....When a double lift effect is unavoidable, I simply use a "stripper" deck...." And, of course, I'm reading all this and his comments on "sleight-of-hand snobs" while diligently working on my sleights. Smile

Like any other human endeavor, you'll always find people who claim their way is the "only" way, the "best" way. Take what's useful, discard the rest and use what works for you. If it mystifies and entertains your audience, it's good no matter what anyone else says.
tjaymagic
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After looking at various dealers on websites etc, one thing that does come into my mind is that magic is evolving... in the early days of magic it was sleight of hand only, then came the printing press...which gave us card magic, now because of technolgy, we don't have to rely on sleight of hand...interestingly I performed an effect that uses no sleights at all, and the person I was perfoming it to was convinced I did...maybe sleight of hand when not used is another form of misdirection!

Also what has just came to mind is Robert Houdin... he used clockwork in his act, as technology seems to mistify the best of us, it seems that the creators of various new gimmicks are just following in the same footsteps, maybe in the future we will be looking at certain tricks we have now, and they will look 'dated' because of the nature of thier gaffs!

Having said that, from what little history I have read on the TT, the utility is over 100 years old, but it has evolved over time...now that we have an invisible one!
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funsway
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My acquisition of gaffed coins has led to the development of new sleights to take full advantage of their potential, or a mix of old sleights and the gaff that appears new. Just as magic really occurs in the mind of the spectator, the impact of any 'tool' is limited only by the mind of the performer.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
tjaymagic
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So basicly, new product that has a new gaff, (whether this is a box, deck of cards etc), it may be 'self working', but in the hands of a creative performer it can 'update' hand sleights...

Obviously performance and great patter plays a part of it too.
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coolini
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Hey mate,
I seems to me you are over analysing what you are going threw with magic...relax and pratice and practice and practice...magic is an art, you only learn an art by making mistakes, and learn from them...
so what the big deal if you do a trick and your audience discover you are using a gaff card or deck?
in addition to magic, I do latin dance performances and competitions...once I fell with my partner on the floor while performing in front of a big audience, I stood again and kept going...i was annoyed about it later but after that, I noticed that pple forgive and forget, and in most cases, they appreciate what you do because you are trying to entertain them...therefore, you are giving them a gift, and they will appreciate what you do.
tjaymagic
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From what I've seen with magic is when an audience member see's that you are using a gaff deck, then you go down in thier estimation as a magician, most members of the public percieve all magicians doing sleight of hand, therefore once a gaff deck has been 'exposed' to them, you loose that audience.

What I want to do is get it right from the start, and have always been a perfectionist regarding theatre (amatuer actor, and pro stage management, so at the start of this topic I wanted to know whether I could go professional if I wanted to use gaff decks, as there are a lot of other forums that say 'sleight of hand all the way, don't use gaffs (either cards or otherwise) at all. What does seem apperent though is this is a 'fairly' new problem, as technology has moved on, and so has magic hense my previous comment.

Me over analysing....possibly because I am a 2nd year undergraduate studying TV, Film & Theatre - which incidently, if you look into the history of magic shows that magic evolved throughout the 19 - 21st centuries as the first 'editors' of films in 1890's where magicians.

So to conclude - Gaffs and sleights - if used together can make for a great performance. If using a gaff (cards or anything else!) they still need practice. When a new gaff/gimmick is invented, it is the creativity of the magician to use it to its maximum potential.

Would everyone agree that would be what came out of this dicussion! Smile
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