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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Thinking like a Magician/Thinking like a Spectator (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

CRMagius
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I just had an unexpected turn of conversation with a non-magician friend. (He's a firespinner.)

We watched a performance that he admitted was beyond his skill, but lamented that the performer was "too slow". (a firespinning show, yes)

I argued that it was too slow "for him" as one intimate with the art, and for me as well, as one accustomed to seeing HIM perform enough that I could follow the moves. I then argued that for this man to perform "at speed" would simply confuse the audience, and seem like no more than the simple twirling of a baton, albeit one aflame. (the performer was reversing the spin of his staff in a very smooth and almost mesmerising way, 'magical' in the sense that I have NO idea how he was doing it, but "at speed", most likely the average person would see nothing but a spinning arc of flame with no sense of the direction of spin)

I then showed him something that I honestly thought he would catch on to and relate to, but he did not (this is the buddy that I test my material on). Maybe, one may need to see the move to know what I mean, but I think it works by a combination of assumptions and retention of vision - I did it SO slowly, and literally could NOT make him see it. (its a fancy looking cut, which is actually a shuffle, but you can do a variant which is a completely false total deck retention)

Conclusion for myself: Remember that nobody thinks like anybody else, but EVERYBODY has retention of vision. (Also don't stop doing that move - it fools your friends! that rocks!)
scottds80
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Absolutely! Magician's need to put themselves in the spectators shoes more often.

They achieve an effect using the most difficult sleights, just to prove to themselves they are MORE than the average magician. But in the spectators eyes, that's not what it's about. If you can achieve magic the most basic surefire way, with the best presentation, you are better off.
"Great Scott the Magician", Gippsland
funsway
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old things in new ways - new things in old ways
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Years ago I served as a mentor/critic for several budding professional magicians. I developed a process for evalauating a show from the perspective of the audience ans to minimize my own bias.

1) I would watch the performance with a notepad and stop watch and focus exclusively on the audience, i.e I would not look at the stage at all. I would notate audience reactions with time-ticks including destracting elements like people leaving for refreshments or chatting amoungst themselves.

2) I would watch the performance a second time and only watch the stage, shutting out any influence form the audience. I would notate actions, introduction of props, jokes and "magical moments" with time-ticks.

3) I would then compare the two and link audience reaction (pro & con) with what was physically occurring on the stage. I would identify any shift in perception between what the performer thought was happening and what engaged the audience.

4) I would then watch the show a third time for my own enjoyment. Later I made notes of what had impressed me as magician.

5) The performer and I would sit down with all three sets of notes and evaluate the Routines and effects. In all cases the performer made substantive changes in the show, of the elimination of some favorite trick.

Sometimes being a good entertainer and being a good magician are a universe apart.
"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
Cyberqat
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Interesting, as a Film student I developed exactly the OPPOSITE technique for film analysis.

(1) Watch as a member of the audience, immerse myself in the experience

(2) watch for subtleties in the story telling that I missed the first time.

(3) Tear it apart and analyze how it inspired the reactions I had the first two times.
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
stijnhommes
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Funsway, did you tape the perfomance? If you watch the same show 3 times in real life, all sorts of things can throw off the time ticks you noted down the first time.
funsway
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old things in new ways - new things in old ways
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This was decades ago and, yes, the performance had been videotaped as part of practice and assitance with technical excellence. I was bought in to assess "when and where the magic happened," something not possible with a video recording. This thread is about the difference between a magician's perspective and that of the spectator. If I had watched the videos or watched the performance first it would not have been objective. I am all for the use of a video as part of routine development, but it has limitations:

1) a film or video is not "real," giving only a restricted view of the performance or selected spectator reactions,
2) the observed scene will be biased by the person shooting the video,
3) magic is an emotional experience that cannot always be appreciated on a video, e.g I want to know why 1/3 is not applauding rather than recording those who do,
4) a stage performance has many things for a spectator to look at, not just what the performer wishes they look at. Both a video and a magician observer will give a restricted view of what is happening.
5) a spectator may not react the same when being recorded -- the presence of a camera may reduce spontaneous reaction.
......................................................

so, my experience is offered as an alternative to video if the objective is audience engagement under "natural" conditions. The key is to observe audience reaction before developing any personal bias for the performer or particular effects. A video is invaluable as an evaluation too, and the performer himself should always be the first to comment during a view so as not to be biased by the opinions of others. However, any future audience will not be viewing the performance on video -- so why rely on that for a true appraisal of what a spectator experiences.

The same thinking applies to only having friends, family or peer magicians evaluate your performance. Neither can you rely solely on applause.
"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
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