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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » I am starting to get very uncomfortable with.... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Cyberqat
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... this idea that, when selling a magic product, you describe what happens in the audience's mind rather then what is happening on stage.

What is to separate what really *will* happen from what the inventor *hopes* will happen? It seems to me there used to be a kind of honor in the description of illusions which, while they didn't give away the secret(s) did fairly and accurately describe what was seen or felt.

Honestly, this idea that "I can't tell you too much or show you a demo or it would give it away' is garbage to me. Its just too easy a cover for week or impractical effects and I think it is being abused more and more. If you can't show me the effect or I'll guess it, I have to wonder how many of my audience it will fool either.

I'm at the point where I'm getting unwilling to buy *anything* without a demo of some kind.

Am I unusual or unreasonable?
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
Absinthe
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Demos sometimes can't capture the same feel of a routine as the routine counts on misdirection and the camera will not fall for it... so it may look weaker than it really plays...
Cyberqat
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Ive heard that stated... I've even said the same myself, but I'm not sure I believe it any more.

Look at film clip of Slydini or any of the other greats. They can misdirect just fine on film.
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
Olympic Adam
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I agree Cyberqat, and I have seen clips where the magician says, "this is hard to show to a camera but here is the effect" and they still show it and it is still great. I have purchased a good few items and I have only been disappointed a few times, I really consider each purchase. I have a few favorite sellers and generally they always provide a video, or a REALLY good description of what happens. I think it's very important, we are not selling the effect to the public in a performance, we can keep secrets there, but for potential buyers the truth should be told. We should be told pretty much everything apart from the actual secret.

Also, why not film a demo of a performance, even a staged one, seen that done a lot and it works nicely. (not a stooge)
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funsway
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There are a couple of factors not mentioned here. Any video quickly becomes public and is viewed as reflective of the creators skill and shooting ability rather than the effect or routine. As Scott Guinn offered, "I can't make a good video and have no intention having my name attached to a poor one.

Secondly, not every effect creator can afford to make quality videos -- or a network of trusted friends to help. I cannot even shoot quality still shots of both of my hands, no less a video. I have created dozens of incredible eefects that I cannot perform with crippled hands -- and you want a video?

There are factors like "Inattention of Vision" that make a sleight work with people but never a camera -- it isn't "misdirection" but often "Directed Focus." For example, I have several sleights that are executed only when you have eye contact with the spectator. There is no way to demo that.

The key is that a video demo is not always representational of what an audience sees -- which is the point of this thread. I have purchased many effects with a video that disappointed me as neither that nor the written description presented a true concept of what the audience sees, e.g. having to start with items plamed in both hands. That will not happen in any real routine.

If you are going to shoot a "good" video I want to see the two minutes leading up to the presentation and the two minutes after.

One might also ask, "If you cannot create a mental image of the effect in your mind, how are you going to do that for a spectator?"

Should effect creators be willing to provide more info on request for a bonofide buyer? -- yes. Should that be "video on demand?" -- never. If a quality video of the effect is provided why learn to do it? Just carry around a notebook computer and show the video to people.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2010-09-09 14:05, Cyberqat wrote:
... this idea that, when selling a magic product, you describe what happens in the audience's mind rather then what is happening on stage...


...as if they were doing ecstasy and remembering it a few weeks later after you prompted them about what they should have seen and eager to please you with what they say hoping you will...
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Cyberqat
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I think video demos are great and I don't really think they have to be highly produced though they should be professional if they are part of your marketing materials. But as a magician I'm looking at the effect. Peter Austin's demos are a great example. There is no routine or fancy marketing there but it shows me what the thing he is selling does very clearly. If you don't feel comfortable on camera, then get one of your users to do a performance and let you setup a camera on a tripod.

But if there is no demo, then you had *better* have a very good, honest textual description of your effect.

And the problem right now is that lots of people seem to feel justified in making very dishonest descriptions, so unless I have a history for you, you have a VERY strong community rep, or I cna go to a store and see it demoed, Im probably not buying it.
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
funsway
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Part of me relates to your views, but mostly I am confused and disheartened. I am sorry if you have received tricks that did not meet your expectations -- but I wonder at those expectations. If you are looking in a box, DVD or Ebook for a solution of "how can I be a better magcian," then no one can provide you the right information.

If you want an effect creator to provide information or demonstrate how the effect will play for your audience, then they will require a knowledge of what you intended audience is, what character you have developed and what other effects you already have in your routine. I have no desire to sell you an effect you cannot use -- more importantly, will not use.

I, for one, have dozens of effects available as tools that might assit you to become the magciain you aspire to be. Provide me the essential information and I can tell you whether any given effect will meet those needs, and if it does, provide explanations or a demo to assist with a purchasing decision.

Even better, give me a commitmen that you will provide timely feedback on the clarity of the instructions or demo, a commitment to properly practice and perfect the effect, and a commitment to provide me a video of you actaully performing the effect -- and I'll sent it to you at no charge! After the fact you can pay what the effect is worth to you.

Instead you somehow expect a creator to guess at your ablities, audience, setting, etc. and create a glimpse of what it might do to allow you to better engage your audience. This is not possible. Yes, many tricks are offered simply to induce you to buy "sight unseen" -- in hopes that this tire-kicking approach will work for you. Instead, I would ask, "Why are you purchasing effects from anyone without a clear idea of what it will be used for?" I think that is what you are saying also -- but you will never get that from a video demo.

So, give me your "history" give me your "community rep" give me a demo of you performing before your audience of choice and I'll give you any effect I have and even create a new one for you.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

eBooks at https://www.lybrary.com/ken-muller-m-579928.html questions at ken@eversway.com
Laurent van Trigt
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The issue here is that a lot of people are not interested in buying a trick as soon as they know how it's done. So the question becomes, can the effect still fool after multiple viewing of an online video, or does it belong to the sort of magic that can only be shown once? Having said that, I feel irritated with descriptions that give the illusion the effect happens as if by real magic. The typical lists "no gimmicks, everything examinable, no sleight of hand, no IT, no magnets..." imply that the given method is better than any of the old that could potentially create the same thing. Quite often however this is not the case.
Michael Daniels
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Wikipedia says this on caveat emptor

"The only exception was if the seller actively concealed latent defects or otherwise made material misrepresentations amounting to fraud."

Mike
Olympic Adam
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If you are savvy enough to be able to sell a trick or effect online, surely you can make a video?

Use the video as a forum and show the effect and even *edit* the clip, but explain why, say, some sections rely on misdirection and would not come across.
If someone appears to be faithful and speaking well about their trick or effect I will be more likely to believe them.
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Cyberqat
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So, if an illusion cannot stand up to repeat viewings, that's a knock in my book because it means it heavily depends on the audience always being new to it. There is no guarantee that my audience hasn't seen someone else do the illusion before, or even me do it before, so that's pretty limiting.

The one thing I will grant that video allows that the real world doesn't is slow motion or frame by frame analysis. (Interestingly enough, on 60 fps video, a well done 3-Card Monte move shows for exactly one frame. So frame by frame analysis isn't exactly a magic bullet either. The camera just plain misses what happens between frames.)



If I wasn't ridiculously well paid in what I do now, that might be a fun job actually. Start a video company that specializes in making "cleaned" videos of illusions for the sellers...

If that really is a concern, then my advice is to edit out the few frames that show the gimmick/technique/whatever and then say in your accompanying text that thsi is what you have done.
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
Laurent van Trigt
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Hence the rule "never do the same trick twice". I actually wonder what happened to that rule with all the videos going on. Has it officially changed?
Olympic Adam
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Some tricks though can be done many times in a row and no one will have any thoughts as to how they are done.

Maybe the difference could be in routines and effects? Something with a gimmick might be harder to spot, or some mentalism technique, but a routine of usual sleights being marketed differently (albeit in an original way) can perhaps be spotted a mile off with a video.
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Laurent van Trigt
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Definitely. Think of the invisible deck or anything with multiple outs. Copperfield seemed to be very conscientious about the stuff he put on his specials.
Recently however I was surprised to see the type of material magicians would do on the Letterman show. Something like a cups and ball routine with final loads, no matter how well constructed it is, as soon as it's replayed even a layman can decipher some of the steps.
Olympic Adam
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Yeah, I wasn't so keen on the stuff on Letterman. :S

To me it was an opportunity missed.

My girlfriend (sick of magic thanks to me) watched the one with the coin (sorry for forgetting his name) and she was adamant that her grandfather does that more convincingly. Coin behind the ear, I don't think I've ever seen an actual magician perform that!!

I know these guys are greats of magic, but for some of them that was the first time I had seen them, and I don't want to see any more of a few of them...

Penn and Teller were in the UK recently and I saw them on numerous television shows and they did really nice stuff each time. Some of them were straight up purchasable effects but they did them well and the layman couldn't work them out.
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Donal Chayce
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Quote:
On 2010-09-10 15:21, Olympic Adam wrote:
My girlfriend (sick of magic thanks to me) watched the one with the coin (sorry for forgetting his name) and she was adamant that her grandfather does that more convincingly. Coin behind the ear, I don't think I've ever seen an actual magician perform that!!

Your girlfriend must have some grandfather--that was Johnny Ace Palmer about whom you're commenting.
Olympic Adam
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Her grandfather wasn't great... and she thought less of Johnny Ace Palmer. I think they didn't used the time well.

You have to say a few of those tricks were less than impressive, I don't care what they have done before and who they are.
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Donal Chayce
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Quote:
On 2010-09-10 17:18, Olympic Adam wrote:
Her grandfather wasn't great... and she thought less of Johnny Ace Palmer. I think they didn't used the time well.

You have to say a few of those tricks were less than impressive, I don't care what they have done before and who they are.


Actually, no, I wouldn't say that at all. Quite the contrary, actually.
Olympic Adam
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Guess I must have high standards then...

preferred the other guys that week
Protection for mind readers and mentalists: http://tricksofthemind.com
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