The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » Michael Close Devious DVD set (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3~4~5~6~7 [Next]
Andi Peters
View Profile
Inner circle
1331 Posts

Profile of Andi Peters
Sounds to me like Dennis is treating fellow Café members as Mike does his audiences!

Come on Dennis, you're a good lad, let's not stir things now.
Cohiba
View Profile
Special user
Michigan
749 Posts

Profile of Cohiba
Quote:
On 2010-04-03 15:07, Dennis Loomis wrote:

You guys are really something... Joe tells me to check out a particular girl who was, supposedly, embarassed and does not mention in which routine this occurs. Cohiba expresses a negative opinion and then admits he has not seen this DVD Set!

Dennis Loomis


I have to agree with the post directly above this that Dennis is trying to stir things up. I respect you and your opinion Dennis - I have no beef with you. And I was very careful to explain what my negative opinion was based on, and also that I hadn't seen much of the dvd's to be fair to Mike Close. Knowing about much of Mike's work, I even stated that I'm sure there is good material contained on the dvd's. My negative comment was on a routine I HAD seen however. I simply stated that the combination of what I had seen and what others were commenting on matched on multiple routines.

Please don't try to misconstrue what I said to make me look bad. I felt I was fair in my statements. And Joe seems to be making some very good points that are going unanswered.
Futureal
View Profile
Inner circle
1586 Posts

Profile of Futureal
For what it's worth - if I buy a DVD set and don't like it, or don't like a particular performer or trick, I generally watch it a couple of times, then sell it on.

I don't write essay-type rebuttals arguing my opinions with other people in a public forum.

What does it achieve?

Personally, I liked the Devious set. I do agree that the woman in question was a little embarrassed when Michael mocked her (good-naturedly) in front of the camera. If it was me, I would have done it the first time and then not used it as a call-back, because you could tell she was a little uncomfortable about it. Did Michael, at the end of the set when the camera was off, thank her and make her feel good about herself? I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me - he does that at the end of his repeat Card To Forehead routine where the woman has the potential to look foolish. Michael is an intelligent man, he would have known she was a little embarrassed.

If you liked this set, great. If you didn't, great. Going back and forth over small points doesn't achieve anything, I don't know why some of you guys take things so seriously.
Cohiba
View Profile
Special user
Michigan
749 Posts

Profile of Cohiba
Futureal, the purpose of this forum is to review dvd's. This is where I come to find other's opinions on items I'm considering buying. I want to hear the good and the bad.

I'm glad Joe spoke up, because I was less than impressed with the demo that was shown for this set. Joe made comments that were right in line with my thoughts on the demo - but he was referring to other effects on the dvd. This was valuable information as far as I'm concerned.

The only reason I'm still here is because I felt I was belittled, and I wanted to defend myself.
Futureal
View Profile
Inner circle
1586 Posts

Profile of Futureal
A review is great!

Going back arguing points with someone who doesn't share your own opinion is pointless.
Dennis Loomis
View Profile
1943 - 2013
2113 Posts

Profile of Dennis Loomis
Futureal,
I agree. Because I became upset, I allowed myself to get into one of these arguments. Wish I hadn't. I apologize to all.

Cohiba,
I did not intend to misconstrue your comments or to belittle you. I did not know that you had seen any of the DVDs.

I have watched this set many times, including once again last night. I think its excellent. It's my belief that the comments that Mike made which so upset some of you were meant to be ironic.

Dennis Loomis
Itinerant Montebank
<BR>http://www.loomismagic.com
Cohiba
View Profile
Special user
Michigan
749 Posts

Profile of Cohiba
We're all good.

I can't remember who used to close all his writings with:

Onward and upward.
Tom Cutts
View Profile
Staff
Northern CA
5778 Posts

Profile of Tom Cutts
"Onward and upward" - Jon Racherbaumer

And as to my experience, being someone who was actually there...

"picks, non stop, on a girl assistant." - Inacurate statement about the DVD set.

"You can see she and others becoming uncomfortable as it went on." - Inacurate statement about the DVD set.

"She is confused and embarrassed by his making fun of her answer, repeatedly." - Inacurate statement about the DVD set.

"Watch and tell me she is having fun." See her laughing and applauding genuinely. And yes, I spoke to her personally. She thoroughly enjoyed the shoot. People who weren't there, and never spoke with the person in question probably only have a partial opinion of the events.

"watch the footage of the young lady in question and tell us what you think she is feeling after being repeatedly made fun of. He facial expressions, body language, her friend patting her 'it's ok'." - Tells me your powers of interpretation are flawed when it comes to this event. That "patting" is clearly a friendly jesting. But how could you know they were cousins? Afterall, you were not there and never spoke with these two ladies. I did.

And why I bring this up is because this is a review thread. It is supposed to be read by those who have not seen the DVD and are trying to make a decision about buying it. To that end, innacurrate information should have its inaccuracies pointed out to those who may not get to see for themselves, if they let themselves be misled by misinformation.
truthteller
View Profile
Inner circle
2586 Posts

Profile of truthteller
What happened at the shoot is irrelevant. What is perceived to have happened is the only thing that matters.

If a magician doesn't use camera tricks but it looks like he does, do you fault the viewer for drawing a reasonable conclusions or the editor who allowed it?

When McComb tried performing the vanishing birdcage on tv, the director told him it looked like he was just throwing it over top of the camera.

If that ran, would you fault the viewer for saying it looked like he threw it over the camera?

(Ironically, McComb figured out how to make it look ok --- by throwing it over the camera!)

Michael Close is a friend and I really enjoy his work, but that does not give me the right to deny what someone perceives in the edited final product.

You accuse him of being wrong because he was not there. Perhaps you cannot see what he does now because you were!

A smart editor can make someone look brilliant or idiotic just by altering the length of the cut.

If it looks to him like the lady was uncomfortable, then it looks to him like the lady was uncomfortable.

And Tom, telling someone to observe genuine laughter and applause at an L and L shoot - you're funny.

I needed that.
bigmike
View Profile
New user
25 Posts

Profile of bigmike
The Trick That Fooled Houdini... is not something you are going to fool magicians with by just walking up and performing. Several years ago I met Mr. Close at a convention where myself, Mr. Close and several other magicians sessioned for a few hours in the lobby. After about an hour of talking about hard core moves and tricks Mr. Close did a variation of The Trick That Fooled Houdini... and I will admit that I and everyone else there was fooled. No it wasn't the kind of fooled where I lost sleep that night, but it was the kind of fooled where you sit back for a second and think "what the hell just happened?" before logic sets in and the method becomes all too obvious. In that context yes, the trick took in and fooled a group of magicians as advertised. Why, because after busting knuckles Mr. Close quietly rung in the gaffed deck and did the trick. Everyone was looking for the move but there was no move which is why everyone was fooled. I knew about the MC Spread DL, DB Cards, the Vernon / Houdini story and he still got me. I believe the logic in why this trick worked is in the Assumptions essay in one of the workers book. I think the point that is being missed is that in the right situation and context this trick is a fooler for magicians and laymen.
Dennis Loomis
View Profile
1943 - 2013
2113 Posts

Profile of Dennis Loomis
Quote:
And Tom, telling someone to observe genuine laughter and applause at an L and L shoot - you're funny.


To Truthteller,

If I understand you correctly you seem to be saying that the laughter and applause which you see on L & L tapes and DVDs is not genuine. If that is what you meant, I can assure you that L & L uses no applause signs, and that the laughter and applause you see during the performances is spontaneous.

The applause you see at the beginning of each routine is used as a bridge so that the performances can be shown in a logical order, not necessarily the order they were actually performed. To make this work, the audience IS asked to applaud at the beginning of each take. This is NOT done to deceive anyone, or to make the performer appear to be getting more applause and laughter than they deserve. Certainly the magicians in the audience do react differently than lay people. You can see that at any magic convention as well. Magicians may very well know the work that goes into doing something that is technically challenging and their applause reflects that understanding. Lay people may clap loud and long for an effect accomplished with a mirror box. Both are genuine.

The audience was NOT salted with friends of Mike's. Some of us knew him. In my case Louis may or may not have known that I knew Mike. But no one from L & L called me and asked me to attend. When I heard through the magic grapevine that Mike would be shooting a DVD I called L & L and asked if I might attend. Louis graciously allowed me to be there. If you want to know what I look like, I'm one of the guys Mike introduced during the final set as his "magic buddies." I'm the heavyset guy wearing the bright blue shirt.

Dennis Loomis

P. S. I'm not trying to goad anyone into an argument. But I have read, over and over on the Café about how L & L salts the audience and hypes the applause and laughter. What I've said is the truth as I know it. I think you would hear substantially the same thing from the other folks that fairly regularly attend the L & L shoots.
Itinerant Montebank
<BR>http://www.loomismagic.com
truthteller
View Profile
Inner circle
2586 Posts

Profile of truthteller
I have had the l and l audience recruitment plan explained to me by people involved in the early days of the shoots. (Heck, I was involved in the early days of the shoots!).

Louis would advertise the shoots and before inviting them would show them a trick. Those that reacted strongly (and presumably also had big breasts) would be invited to attend.

Through this process l and l managed to accumlate a highly reactive audience.

Because of this, we see non-moments in routines elevated to great magical happenings, such as when osterlind leaves soot on a business card.

I happen to find this decision unfortunate as it handicaps the student with unrealistic and innaccurate representations of how a given routine will likely play in the real world. Not all routines hit '11', not all moments in routines are blockbusters. Texture is a good thing.

There is no texture to a lot of the l and l audience reactions. (Having said that, it seems louis is conscientiously trying to change that.)

The problem now is that talented performers who actually CAN whip the room into a frenzy are lumped into the same category as those who are just fortunate enough to be working for a very forgiving and enthusiastic audience.

In short, l and l has created a perception that now works to their and their artists' detriment.

I have seen crappy acts get strong reactions at the magic castle because the audience is presold on the idea they will see great magic. Heck, my shows play stonger there than other places - they also play differently BECAUSE it's the castle.

People who claim a tv shoot audience reflects anything in the real world have worked neither.

It takes a smart performer to be able to successfully work both venues. It's a different approach. I think close is a smart performer. I also know that some of the l and l stars aren't - yet one would think they were the messiah by the reactions received.

As I said, it's unfortunate that we have been taught not to trust the l and l audience reactions. It's unfortunate for us, and its unfortunate for talented performers like Michael close.

But lest you think I am accusing louis of some heresy, I see no difference betwEen this and blaine burning up hundreds of hours of tape to get a single strong reaction.

The difference, though, being whether what we are putting out is entertainment or education.
davidpaul$
View Profile
Inner circle
Pittsburgh, Pa
2925 Posts

Profile of davidpaul$
Let me see Smile ....People are attending a shoot, there are cameras and lighting, they know they are part of the filming and that if they just sit there like lumps on a log it won't look good for the performer or for the DVD being shot. C'mon Dennis (with respect)

I have quite a few L&L DVDs and I've seen audience members being prompted to stand-up and applaud. (You could tell by the eye gaze) I'm very fortunate to have these DVDs and have learned allot but to say the audience reactions are all spontaneous and genuine, well I'm not drinkin that Kool-Aid.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Tom Cutts
View Profile
Staff
Northern CA
5778 Posts

Profile of Tom Cutts
David,

In the decade I have attended the shoots at L&L NEVER ONCE has an audience been coached or promtped to give a standing ovation. I'm sure Dennis can confirm. Either your example predates my attendence, or your assumption is inacurrate.

Brad (truthteller),

The predominance of advice in selecting assistants is to select expressive ones. This is even taken so far as to suggest one watch their audience and keep any eye out for those who would best assist with an effect onstage due to their expressiveness. Are you suggesting that the accepted rules should be ignored when filming the PERFORMANCE portion of a video?
Joe Mauro
View Profile
Inner circle
1133 Posts

Profile of Joe Mauro
I like the L&L vidoes and now DVDS. The first 3 Michael Ammar Easy To Master Card Miracles and the 3 Easy To Master Money Miracles were my favorites because they were shot with just a few people and the reactions looked so real. Nothing over the top. But over the years the audiences got larger and the reactions, many times to just "OK" tricks and to "OK" performers, looked forced.

Tom Cutts and Dennis Loomis have their 'spin' on the shoots and I don't think any of us are buying it or as David said, willing to drink that Kool-Aid.

Dennis Loomis said "the audience IS asked to applaud at the beginning of each take". Well, that's certainly coaching/cuing them that applause is expected.

Throw in friends and magicians invited to the filming and who are going to applaud throughout the performances and the guests will follow suit. It's not natural and "OK" tricks get great reactions. It gives the consumer/student an uneasy feeling that "something" is wrong.

Truthteller came here and gave a professional view of the shoots based on personal and inside knowledge of what actually goes on and it makes so much sense. He confirmed what many of us felt, but have always been told we're wrong by friends of L & L that come to the Café to try and protect the brand.

I'm OK with some care taken to choose guests that react well to magic. But having friends and other magicians present is not good. Why? If you ever go to an open mike night that has comedians, they bring their friends to cheer them on. So, you get many mediocre performers getting cheers and laughter that isn't warranted.
It's also bad for the performers because if they ever go somewhere without their friends and family, all of a sudden last weeks jokes that killed fall flat.

I think L and L would be wise to bring Turtheller in as a consultant to improve their shoots for the learning performer, because in the end, that's who these DVDS are for.

Having Tom Cutts and Dennis Loomis come here to sell us on how natural they are with genuine laughter and applause isn't believed by most of us, not matter how much they post about it and tell us we're wrong.
~Joe
truthteller
View Profile
Inner circle
2586 Posts

Profile of truthteller
Quote:
On 2010-04-06 00:32, Tom Cutts wrote:
David,

In the decade I have attended the shoots at L&L NEVER ONCE has an audience been coached or promtped to give a standing ovation. I'm sure Dennis can confirm. Either your example predates my attendence, or your assumption is inacurrate.

Brad (truthteller),

The predominance of advice in selecting assistants is to select expressive ones. This is even taken so far as to suggest one watch their audience and keep any eye out for those who would best assist with an effect onstage due to their expressiveness. Are you suggesting that the accepted rules should be ignored when filming the PERFORMANCE portion of a video?


Where is this advice written? Most of the professional performers I know select a wide variety of assistants. Most of them don't get to pre-qualify their assistants prior to a show. Tamariz gave an interesting talk on this - the types of assistants to pick. I think I'll listen to Tamariz, not Tom Cutts - thanks, though.(Unlike some, I do not think having magicians in the audience matters. Most magicians can't manage a genuine reaction let alone a convincing fake one. If anything, I am sure their presence is a greater hindrance than help - save for the moral support they may provide.)


But even with that said, I think there is something different between looking through an audience and picking fun people versus having a system in place that insures everyone in the audience is a fun person.

If you want to create a tv show - I see no problem than that. But it is not an accurate representation of what one encounters in the real world (I don't know about you, but I don't get to audition and place people in special seats in my audiences, or simply not invite back those who were less than enthusiastic in previous shows.) While current "reality tv" codes have twisted the concept of reality, I think INSTRUCTIONAL media should remain above that.

I may be alone on this. But I think educational media should first and foremost be educational.

Now, you can argue all you want, but it goes back to the original topic - the PERCEPTION is already established. You can scream and yell all you want, but that won't change the fact that is exactly what it looks like to the people viewing.

Stop trying to deny them their perceptions.

Not only is it rude to them, it is unfair to people like Michael Close who, unlike some others, can actually get strong responses from an audience. When you say the reactions are genuine, then you are saying that Steve Draun, Fernando Keops, Petrick and Mia, and and Michael Close all get the same crazy, genuine responses from an audience.

I think Steve has contributed a lot to our art and I am thrilled he has chosen to share his ideas with us, and Fernando clearly thinks he looks good without a shirt on - but do you really believe it is fair to say that the reactions he and Close received were both genuine? If I were Close, someone who actually CAN get reactions from an audience - I would be insulted.

Tom, open your eyes and realize that the perceptions of the L and L audience are real and your whining is not going to change anything. When the audience nearly wets themselves because soot was left on the back of a card after a lighter was held under it, those people are either idiots or over reacting.


If you want to change this perception, then stop trying to deny that it exists. Instead, tell Louis to change the way he culls his audiences.
Scott Fridinger
View Profile
Special user
Gloucester Pt, VA
883 Posts

Profile of Scott Fridinger
I would agree with both sides of many of the arguments here, and I don't think they are independant of each other.

I think Close often over-thinks his method. I have used "Oscar" for years. For some time I was doing Erma La Force, but found that it was really more than needed. This was a great trick if someone else was doing Oscar and you were in an environment were people saw magic over and over, but for normal laymen there was no need to "fix" this trick.

However, at lease Close THINKS about his tricks. People often expect too much from DVD's and don't often get the value of thought behind them, even if they don't like the work. This is often, to me, more valuable because it prevents me from doing those things I feel are wrong.

As far as fooling magicians with a simple force. Spending 8 years watching lecturers come through a magic club about 7-10 times a year, I can tell you how little many magicians know about card work. People that would most likely buy Close's DVD's are probably students of cards and will know most of the work, but the typical guy at the local club lecture (who Close is most likely talking about here when he says all over the world) is fooled by a lot. I often would sit back and enjoy the shocked and amused faces of the magicians in the crowd and wonder WTF, are you serious, that fooled you...

But hey, I am not a mentalist, and when Banachek(sp?) lectured he fooled me so bad, I would have sworn he really had psychic powers. Then he explained what he did and while I was expecting some astounding earth shattering mental methodology I was shocked at the simplicity of the method.

My point is, everyone's points have value, and most magicians don't know as much as we think.

A quick not on the "What are you, a child" comment. Aren't we supposed to create a sense of wonder and amazement for people? Kinda like when they were children and believed in Magic? I can see Close using this comment, because as much as I like his thinking in magic I am often taken back by his attitude when performing. I have seen him perform in Vegas for laymen, and there are times I cringed. But that doesn't mean the audience didn't like it. I wasn't in there heads to see if they were offended or not. Some people are hard to offend, others get offended by trying to shake their hand. Our whole profession/hobby is a crap shoot when it comes to how people will react.
www.JustGreatMagic.com
Sleight of Hand, Sleight of Mind
professorwhut
View Profile
Inner circle
Posts R US sold me
1346 Posts

Profile of professorwhut
Audience member John from the old days was the poster child for over reacting.
I kinda miss that dude, but not as much as I miss Janelle. Smile
After much soul searching about a signature, I decided not to have one.

TG Pop [aka ProfessorWhut]
chappelly
View Profile
Special user
Down Under
744 Posts

Profile of chappelly
Bring back John. Super reactions. I can't remember most of the magic but certainly remember John.
Tom Cutts
View Profile
Staff
Northern CA
5778 Posts

Profile of Tom Cutts
Quote:
What happened at the shoot is irrelevant. What is perceived to have happened is the only thing that matters.
The truth doesn't matter? Now that is ironic. As to the perception, there seems to be a differing of opinion from not only those who were actually there, but also some who have posted here with only viewing the DVDs to judge from.

In particular, I'll restate, the "patting its ok" is obviously from the facial expressions (smiles) and reactions (laughter) on the DVD a freindly jesting. Anyone who finds it otherwise is not very astute at judging such elements. That moment is inaccurately characterized as a comforting gesture when it is clearly not one. It is a gesture made in jest. Misinterpreting that is not a matter of opinion. It is an inacurracy of observation.
Quote:
If it looks to him like the lady was uncomfortable, then it looks to him like the lady was uncomfortable.
I agree, but that isn't what he wrote and more importantly it doesn't mean she was uncomfortable. If he said "Watching the performance made me uncomfortable." that could be accurate. If he said "I'd be uncomfortable if someone treated me that way." that could be accurate. The statements he made about Becca's state are simply inaccurate.

Quote:
You accuse him of being wrong because he was not there. Perhaps you cannot see what he does now because you were!
No, I informed him of being wrong because he is wrong. If he'd been there and said the same thing it would not change the truth. Becca was not embarassed. It is also an inaccurate assesment of the footage. That it is an opinion does not give it trump over the truth. Most people will clearly see the jest made in the "patting" moment. Some, obviously, will not.


Quote:
Where is this advice written?
Can we assume that you have never read such advice?

Quote:
I think I'll listen to Tamariz, not Tom Cutts - thanks, though.
Ignoring your attempt at sarcasm, I'll simply point out that I did not say it was my advice. That characterization of the statement is inaccurate.

When it comes to producing an instructional performance video, certain trade offs need to be made. Certainly any audience which is aware there are cameras is going to react differently. Some people, usually those experienced being around cameras, can turn the camera off in their head and just be in the moment, but they are rare to find. The options here are:

A. No audience for the performance
B. Using amazingly stealthy techniques to film the performance, ask for waivers after the fact, and hope the person sitting in the front row decides they don't want to be on camera and the whole shoot is useless.
C. Use a studio setting to capture as best as possible the actions of the performer doing just that, performing for people who know they are on camera.

And the outcomes are:
A. No performance interaction to learn from.
B. Much higher production costs will be passsed on to the consumer
C. Reactions are not "real world" and are "misleading" a concern to some who are inexperienced, but most people will enjoy the energy in the performances and learn from the points which the performer makes about the interaction with the audience.

L&L and the various artists who chose them to document their work make decisions about how they want to shoot their performances. These decisions are made to best capture the performance from many angles so that magicians can learn from the footage. You learn very little about performing from a guy standing in front of a camera doing tricks for himself. You also lose some learning when a performer has to explain that the participant for a certain trick was a real detriment because they did not react to anything and tried to mess with the magician.

While such a "difficult situation" DVD might make an interesting learning tool, I predict it won't be a huge success monetarily. History has shown me that viewers don't purchase such DVDs. They want to see enjoyable, fun performances, and learn how the tricks are done.

L&L has developed a system which is entertaining to watch and to learn from, and that has made them the leading publisher of magic DVDs. They have a system which works for them, and it works well. That isn't to say there isn't room for adaptation to a change in the market, which they have also done quite successfully.

Its a big world out there. Anyone who has an idea how to better shoot videos is welcome to buy or rent the cameras, lighting, editing software and have at it. As they say, the proof is in the pudding.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » Michael Close Devious DVD set (1 Likes)
 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3~4~5~6~7 [Next]
X
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.24 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL