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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » APPS-alutely » » Can app-magic be anything more than a trick? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

kal
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Having recently taken a wander around the old iTunes and such (what with a new phone purchase on the way) I began to wonder about all the apps.
No doubt some really clever little mechanisms are at work, and some nice effects can be wrought.

But can ANY app be viewed as anything more than a trick by the audience?

It strikes me as being similar to the situation mentalists go out of their way to avoid; producing something unique and 'special' to an audience.
Immediately it throws up red flags. No matter how clean the presentation, how 'impossible' it would seem, the presence of something unfamiliar to the audience destroys any credibility. "Obviously that >object< was how he did it."
So effects are based on things people can relate to, pencils, paper, simple numbers, playing cards. If you present them with something not available in their own everyday lives it immediately stinks of 'just a trick'.

With an app this is all too evident to the audience as far as I'm able to see.
All they see is a magician using HIS phone with HIS app that ISN'T on my phone. "I don't know how it works but it's just a trick"

So my concerns are whether any unique app out their can currently or in theory overcome such limitations?
I'm always honest about when I'm lying. And I'm always lying...
Max Krause
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kal
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Hi Max,
Thanks for your response, but having checked out Mental Killer let me first say congratulations on creating a fantastic product. And from what you've done with the updates and general customer interaction and service shows a great attitude and work ethic.
It's a great take on a classic!

However (you knew it was coming!), this is exactly the kind of app I'm NOT talking about, one that almost proves how clumsy regular magic apps seem to be.
This could probably be classed as a pseudo-app, or stealth app? In that it's NOT an app to the spectators. It mimics the regular functions on the phone itself and so nothing 'new' is presented to the audience.

Just like an IMP it's 'magic' is in looking totally harmless and normal.

Once I get my phone I think Mental Killer will be on my list however!...especially if you can work in creating your own answer messages.
I'm always honest about when I'm lying. And I'm always lying...
MAOmagic
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I agree with Max. iPredict also doesn't appear to be an app. You don't really introduce anything. They use their phone and you can use a deck of cards as well. iForce, if presented right can work. You can start looking for paper and when you don't have any use your phone. You can also tell them if they want the same app they can go to the app store and find it under "doodle". The apps like rising card and the one from ellusionist do just appear as "tricks". They are interesting and fun but still are apps and are most likely to blame.

The good magic apps are those that don't let on you are using an app. The problem is, with these, there aren't as many sales because no one knows about it.
Angelo Carbone
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Not to mention Magic SMS which is also a 'stealth' app - an app which does not appear to be an app. It just appears that you 'use' your phone as anyone normally would. The only magic app on itunes to be endorsed by Derren Brown and David Blaine - which is quite nice.

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/magic-sms/id409372560?mt=8
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kal
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I don't think anyone is really denying what I've been saying.

An app, that is clearly an app, cannot be viewed as anything more than a trick?

That stealth apps are not seen as apps just proves this point.
Apologies if this has been a confusing point.
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avenger
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I like 101 Deck App.

more discuz at

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=273
Carl Andrews
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I use my No Freakin' Way app all the time and it KILLS, people love it and are entertained by it, blows them away!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C77cYc9VOeQ

Sure it's a trick but it's so cool they love it!
kal
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101 Deck App again appears to be a stealth app.
While I appreciate people sharing what apps they like I think what I wanted was more a discussion on IF apps are 'magic' or just tech-tricks.
The best one's available and quoted above are clearly designed to just blend in and NOT be apps, which supports my theory that they can't, as apps, really work for a solid performer.

If that's the case then why are people spending and spending on these gimmicks and tricks (the notable exceptions being the stealth apps of course) when they could (should?) be working on the more fundamental aspects of craft and presentation?
Tricks are cool and fun but they don't really help the performer, because at the end of the day the audience knows they didn't really do anything. It was just the 'toy' they had and so anyone could do it.
Tricks, such as regular apps, take away from any skill or talent you have surely?
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Carl Andrews
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The Apps are just simply Fun and people enjoy them! It's not always meant to be a display of digital dexterity but a fun diversion that frankly I blow people away with! Don't over think it just enjoy them or leave them but don't think of them as a display of skill just a means to entertain people!
kal
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But isn't that detracting from your overall presentations? People can entertain themselves pretty well with new gimmicks and fads and shiny things. If you are a professional, or want to have a high standard among those who know your skills, won't this have a negative impact in the long run?
No matter how good an actor may be, if he keeps taking stupid roles he will eventually start to lose respect.
Is is any different for us?
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Carl Andrews
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Trust me it has no negative impact. They think not only is he great at sleight-of-hand but even does cool things with his phone. Try it you will be pleasantly surprised.
kal
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Do we really do anything is part of the question though. Do they really credit you with the skills or simply come away impressed by the app?
I'm always honest about when I'm lying. And I'm always lying...
James Mattox
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Quote:
On 2011-02-21 16:04, kal wrote:

So effects are based on things people can relate to, pencils, paper, simple numbers, playing cards. If you present them with something not available in their own everyday lives it immediately stinks of 'just a trick'.



Keep in mind that these days people CAN relate to an iPhone. It seems like half the people out there have one. In this day and age it seems like a natural progression to use a phone, which IS an everyday object, in a magic routine. I do think it is important for it to be a "stealth" app as you call it. If you are bringing out your phone to access your address book (iPredict) or your photo album (101 deck) then is seems "normal" and nobody suspects that an app as involved. Not too many people carry around photos in their wallet anymore, so it is natural to bring out an phone to show a prediction photo. And I certainly don't see people carrying around little black books anymore...
kal
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Well this is the feeling I'm getting in general. I just feel that too many younger/modern performers miss the point of being a performer. That it is you, the magician, that should be magical and not the tools we are using.
It's why so many of us go out of our to show the 'fairness' of our items or to only use 'everyday' items.
I'm always honest about when I'm lying. And I'm always lying...
yachanin
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Quote:
On 2011-02-21 16:04, kal wrote:

So effects are based on things people can relate to, pencils, paper, simple numbers, playing cards. If you present them with something not available in their own everyday lives it immediately stinks of 'just a trick'.

With an app this is all too evident to the audience as far as I'm able to see.


Hi kal,

I agree with you to some extent, but some of the apps out there are presented in contexts in which people can easily relate. For example, Magic SMS by Angelo Carbone uses the context of sending a text message. Text messaging is one of the most popular uses of cell phones... most cell phone users would relate to it and not give it a second thought.

Regards, Steve
Greg Rostami
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Hi Kal,

I struggle with your observation every time we set out to create a new magic app.

As many people have already pointed out on this thread, if the app calls attention to itself, then yes, it's perceived as the app doing the trick (unfortunately, most magic apps on the iPhone look like "magic apps")

Over the last 17 months, I've been doing LOTS of iPhone magic (mostly my own). I've discovered many ways of performing that COMPLETELY hide that there's ANY technology involved.

If you think about your presentation, and a VERY VERY logical reason why you HAVE to use your iPhone, then the technology disappears, and your presentation and magic remains.

I see people perform iForce with the words "Let me show you a trick on my iPhone" . . . that's NEVER what I had in mind when I created iForce.

In contrast, ALL of my iForce performances start with "Have you heard of NLP?" with my iPhone in my pocket.
My iPhone only comes out when I say "I usually do this with pen-n-paper, but I don't have any . . . hold on, I got an idea, I'll use this cheap "Doodle" program on the iPhone to write with" . . . and the performance proceeds from there.

In my experience, EVERY prop that a magician uses is suspect of being gimmicked . . . it doesn't matter if it's coins or cards or anything else that looks completely normal. The use of an iPhone isn't anything different. It's our job to produce a moment of wonder and entertain, regardless of what the audience might think is a method (or a false method).

Greg Rostami
kal
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Quote:
On 2011-02-28 00:28, yachanin wrote:
I agree with you to some extent, but some of the apps out there are presented in contexts in which people can easily relate. For example, Magic SMS by Angelo Carbone uses the context of sending a text message. Text messaging is one of the most popular uses of cell phones... most cell phone users would relate to it and not give it a second thought.

Regards, Steve


Hi Yachanin. The apps your are talking about, I think, are the 'stealth apps'. one's that are made to look like a normal function within the phone. In other words not to stand out. It is no surprise either to find these produce the best effects and are the most popular for those 'in the know' I feel.
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Eric Jones
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Quote:
On 2011-02-27 23:14, kal wrote:
Well this is the feeling I'm getting in general. I just feel that too many younger/modern performers miss the point of being a performer. That it is you, the magician, that should be magical and not the tools we are using.
It's why so many of us go out of our to show the 'fairness' of our items or to only use 'everyday' items.


Hey Kal,

Thanks for bringing some valid points into this discussion. In the post you made above, you feel as if we should always get the credit for creating the magic. Personally, I tend to agree. However, by that same logic, would you not perform effects like Deans Box since the magical apparatus is supposed to be the modus operandi rather than the magician?

In these situations, I would much prefer to preface the effect as saying that we not only create the magic, but can also be keepers of magical items. I liken it to Frodo and the ring. Frodo had no power. However, the ring was magical and when Frodo placed it on his finger, you can see a manifestation of its power. If Gandalf posessed it instead of Frodo, it could only serve to add to his already existing magical prestige, rather than detract from it. Deans Box, the spirit cabinet, haunted key\deck, and several others(including CERTAIN magic apps) qualify. It only takes a line or two of script to elevate the effect from a trick app on your phone into something unique for the audience.....

Im sorry you feel the younger generation of performers have missed the boat on what it means to be a performer. I respectfully disagree and submit that an app isn't going to make or break a lay persons perception of a magician. I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this to help clarify your position, so I can be sure that I havent mistaken your meaning.
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