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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Whit (Pop) Haydn and Character Development (17 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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funsway
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As usual, I heartely agree with 90% of what Pop says and have problems with 10%

"Story telling is mostly an auditory, almost inductive process.

Magic stimulates the critical faculties, story-telling relaxes them."

are opinions geared towards the idea of "I want to me the best magician possible" Great -- if that is your goal. Research everything Whit has ever posted and buy his effect package with his "Story" included.

However, if you desire to be the best story-teller possible it will take as much work as becoming a great actor or a great magician. It is possible for a Story-Teller to cause a "suspension of disbelief," fill the senses with images of awe and wonder, shock a listener into Wht's False Dilemma and create a "30 year memory" of the magic that occurs. ( you can describe a magic effect and cause the same memory response as actually seeing it)

Should magic tricks be employed in a such story-telling? Carefully, as Whit mentions, but not eliminated off-hand. A properly applied magic effect can be a visual aid or dissonant note or a way of sustaining attention.

Orson Wells could (and did) captivate an audience by reading out of the phone book. He was also a magician. I never heard of his combining the two, but his performance were consider "magical" by many. The War of the Worlds event was magic in results if not planning.

With either goal (and others too) -- volunteer at a hospital an read stories aloud to listeners with as much passion and empathy as you can muster. The tell stories of your own. The make of your own life a story worth telling. Magic will fit in there somewhere
"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
Johnny Butterfield
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Quote:
On 2012-03-16 06:01, funsway wrote:
( you can describe a magic effect and cause the same memory response as actually seeing it)


I don't believe this is so. Could you do this for us? A video, an mp# or something, and get the same response from me as seeing a magic trick? I would love to experience this.

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On 2012-03-16 06:01, funsway wrote:
his performance were consider "magical" by many. The War of the Worlds event was magic in results if not planning.


You're equivocating. Nobody would call that a "magic trick", nor a "magic show" nor that it was "performed by a magician". Do you understand that "magical" is used as an adjective to describe something, and that doesn't always mean that it is "our magic"?
The current economic crisis is due to all the coins I've vanished.
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Pop Haydn
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I think it is fine to use magic tricks as story-telling aids. But in that case, the magic is meant to serve the story--magic is used as a transitional device, or a thematic accent. This is fine, but it isn't magic as an art. It is story-telling. When magic is used in this way, the rules of good magic must be sublimated to the needs of the story--the rules of theater and story-telling apply, and the needs of the magic are only satisfied afterward. Here magic is only a kind of "special effect" and not an artform in itself--not "Our Magic."

Putting a coat of paint on a car or house is "painting," but it isn't the Art of painting.
Pop Haydn
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Story-telling can not provoke the Dilemma. The dilemma is caused by a conviction of the reality of the experience of the impossible, knowing that it could not have been a real experience.

A story about the dilemma, is a story of someone else's experience of the impossible, not the listener's. If the argument for the impossible is not convincingly made in the presentation of the magic, it becomes less important, and the point of the story becomes the important focus. The spectator is wrapped up in the imagery and meaning of the story and is not paying enough attention for the magic to provoke a strong sense of conviction. It is pushed to the side. It becomes merely a special effect for the story. If it is too dilemma-inducing, it will overwhelm the story and it's meaning--like a too convincing guillotine in a performance of Tale of Two Cities. If the audience is shaken by the believability of the execution of Sidney Carleton, they will forget all about Carleton in thier concern for the actor.
Pop Haydn
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Ken, I have stipulated this many times. I do not intend to talk much about the Theater of the Impossible or Theater of Charlatanry. When I am talking about magic, I mean "Our Magic"--the Theater of the Dilemma.

That is all I do, and that is the subject of every thread on this board. If you want to use magic to tell a story, that is fine. I have nothing against it, and I think it can be done artistically.

If you want to hint to people that your wisdom comes from some magical knowledge and shamanistic ability, the hint and suggestion of magic "happening around you" can be very effective, though I believe it to be a form of Charlatanry and not really a part of the story-telling; it is designed to add to the "ethos" of the speaker, and not to the story itself.

Magic assisting a ghost story is a good example. You can add to the scare of a ghost story with a candle suddenly blowing out, or something still on the table suddenly moving. But these are special effects.

The spectator is aware that he is listening to a "story" about a ghost. When he tells about the experience later, he will say they told a great and scary story, and made me jump. They will not say they met a real ghost.

A magic trick is like meeting the ghost yourself.

If someone creates the experience of meeting the ghost for the spectator, and he goes around telling people he "could have sworn that he met a real ghost," that is like a magic trick.

When someone listening to this spectator's story objects, the spectator will offer him the "proofs" that were given to him by the "magician," not just his belief in ghosts, or merely a retelling of a story told to him.

The spectator experienced in an upsetting way, the reality of actually meeting a ghost.

He knows it wasn't a real experience, but can't shake off the conviction that it was real.

This is what causes the dissonance that accompanies a true dilemma of the impossible.

It may be that his need to tell the story is an attempt to resolve the dilemma and ease the dissonance.
Pop Haydn
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BTW, I was born in Tennessee, and my family is from Va, but I spent all my formative years in Eastern North Carolina, and just between you and me, WhoeDeani, there really shouldn't be any mustard in any decent vinegar-based BBQ sauce. I know you were raised in South Carolina, and I don't want you to remain in the same kind of mental darkness as those others you grew up with in S.C. who insist on the peculiar and unhappy practice... just sayin'.
Pop Haydn
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One thing more, about theft, from the Boss:

"Instead Springsteen confined himself to playing music critic for nearly an hour, and he's a good one. The doo-wop music he heard on his mother's kitchen radio in the '50s was "the sound of silk stockings rustling on backseat upholstery." Roy Orbison dramatized "the tragic unknowability of women" and made the listener feel that despite the "romantic apocalypse" his songs portrayed, "the ruin was all worth it."

The Animals' version of the Barry Mann-Cynthia Weil song "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" inspired "every song I've ever written" with its class consciousness. "Listen up, youngsters," he said after demonstrating how another Animals song inspired his "Badlands" riff, "this is how successful theft is accomplished."

"He parsed the difference between "frightening" and "shocking" in regard to the Sex Pistols, who were the former, he asserted, and in part inspired his 1978 "Darkness on the Edge of Town" album. James Brown was the showman no rocker could ever follow on stage, and Bob Dylan "is the father of my musical country." The kids who grew up in the '50s and '60s felt something was wrong with the world, but couldn't articulate how or why until Dylan's songs came along, Springsteen said. Dylan "gave us the words ... to understand our hearts."

In the same way, Springsteen tried to give South by Southwest a philosophy to make sense of now. A fragmented musical world is not necessarily a lesser one, he said. At heart, he urged open-mindedness, an ability "to keep two completely contradictory ideas in your head and heart at all times."

"Have iron-clad confidence, but doubt that keeps you awake and alert," he said. "It keeps you honest."


All this is from Springsteen's keynote speech in Austin at SXSW:

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-......l-memoir
WhoDeanie
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On 2012-03-16 15:32, Pop Haydn wrote:
BTW, I was born in Tennessee, and my family is from Va, but I spent all my formative years in Eastern North Carolina, and just between you and me, WhoeDeani, there really shouldn't be any mustard in any decent vinegar-based BBQ sauce. I know you were raised in South Carolina, and I don't want you to remain in the same kind of mental darkness as those others you grew up with in S.C. who insist on the peculiar and unhappy practice... just sayin'.


LOL! I was tempted earlier after I had taken a look at one of your websites to enlighten you on the epicurial delights of mustard based sauce!<g>

I'll chime in and go a little further on my experience of the magic and story-telling mixture. I had a couple of reasons for doing it, of course. One was the thought of creating and releasing tension. It was an experiment if they could work together. Although, admittedly, the humor, magic and story all three did those things on their own. Secondly, it was an attempt to reveal sort of a warm, folksy type person to them, me. Did it work? Well, it was indeed a rollercoaster of emotion, from laughter to the other extreme, and back again. But I think Pop might have hit on it a little as he explained the difference between the two. There was a bit of raggedness to it. And I don't mean because you were laughing or crying one minute to the next. There is a difference between the way you are illiciting their response, (or getting them to play together with you...or just mostly observe). I'm not sure the two things play together in some ways. I think Pop gave a clue about this in his response to me. Interesting thought, and I guess you can explore it from all sorts of ways. Probably would have helped me had I studied a little theatrical theory in college. *shrugs*
Magically yours,

Dean Burgess
Pop Haydn
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I will continue to pray for you and your brethren for spiritual enlighenment about pork butt...

Actually, most of these ideas are Magic Theory, and come from a close study Maskelyne and Devant's "Our Magic"
stoneunhinged
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I have a theory that the reason Germany has such a strong tradition of storytelling magic is because magic all by itself is a really, really hard sell. The culture is too "rational". Even if you could work a true miracle, your average person would be mildly amused and wonder how you disguised doing what you did by a non-miraculous method. Storytelling misdirects away from magic as an art form by making the magic an accessory to a different purpose altogether. So people are caught in the spell of the story, and are startled by the special effects (as Pop acutely phrased it).

I very much like the style, and find it can be done very beautifully and effectively. Someone like Christian Cagical, for example, is one of the very few magicians on my "must see even if I've gotta drive hundreds of miles out of my way" list.

But I agree with Pop that it is something different than "Our Magic". That doesn't make it inferior, of course.

Regarding barbecue: I'm non-partisan, as I was born in California. Texas has the best barbecue. That stuff out east is mighty tasty, but it ain't barbecue. It's just called barbecue. Talk about misdirection!
Alan Wheeler
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[Stone, don't you think red bikes would look better in your current avatar, more like the iconic source to which you may be alluding...]

I am blessed by the review of key principles in this topic as I copy-and-paste as fast as I can, praying too for revelation about the barbecue...
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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stoneunhinged
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[Alan, my current avatar was actually made back in the days of the icon, and was meant to be a direct parody--hence I chose a fanning deck so that it wouldn't be...ah...too much of a direct imitation. Thinking back, maybe I should have used blue bikes. lol!]

I too await Pop's attempt to defend vinegary pork as "barbecue". Barbecue is whole animals smoked for at least 24 hours and covered with a sauce made according to secret recipes handed down through generations, having passed through the hands of extraordinary chefs of all races and genders in places as far east as Memphis and as far north as Kansas City, but reaching perfection by Toby in Abilene, Texas.

That's my opinion, and Pop is more likely to sell me a case of miracle oil than changing my opinion. On barbecue, that is.
WhoDeanie
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On 2012-03-16 17:02, Pop Haydn wrote:

Actually, most of these ideas are Magic Theory, and come from a close study Maskelyne and Devant's "Our Magic"


Just purchased and downloaded to my e-reader....isn't the 21st just wonderful?
Magically yours,

Dean Burgess
Pop Haydn
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I will add you to my prayer-list, Jeff, of those in mental darkness concerning BBQ...

and, yes, I think the 21st Century is wonderful, Whodeanie!

Can't think of anyplace I'd rather be.
Vick
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WOW!!! BRAVO!!
:applause: Smile Smile Smile
Smile Smile Smile

Thank you Pop!
and thank you WhoDeanie for starting and asking ....

This is one of the best threads ever to appear on the Magic Café


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Pop Haydn
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Thanks, Vick!

By the way, Jeff, your avatar creeps me out.
RickThibau
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Great thread! Many thoughts...!

Than you!!!
Pop Haydn
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Jeff: In North Carolina, we prefer to cook the whole pig in a pit. A "Pig Pickin'" would have our wonderful, healthy, vinegary sauce. We avoid the corn syrup, molasses, sugar and tomatos that the unenlightened use. It isn't easy for me to Pit BBQ a pig here in Los Angeles, so I have to settle for pork butt cooked in a crock pot. It is not the same, but it is still mighty good. If you want to try real Eastern NC BBQ, you will need to cook the whole pig in a pit.

You have been horribly misled about BBQ, and I am sorry for that...

Perhaps we can get back to the subject.

Did anyone have any questions about Pop and the character work involved?
WhoDeanie
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Pop,

I probably could have asked tons more questions but was trying to be respectful of your time...I was so greatful of the time you gave me. Besides, it gave me lots to think about.

For instance, one, your back story. Did you have like a Eureka! moment or was it slowly developed as well?

Another, when you are looking through tricks and effects to add, what are you thinking of as far as your character? You know, I can sorta see it both ways. A character sort of gives you something to develop your effect along, something to hang it on. But I suppose at times your character may be sort of confining as you are considering effects to perform. Sheesh, even your closeup and bar work seems to be so tightly woven into the same character, it just really seems more of a work of art to me. That's why I picked you to ask. (besides being so generous with your time of course.)

Anyway, hopefully more people will chime in. This seems to be a very fertile area for exploration.
Magically yours,

Dean Burgess
WhoDeanie
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BTW, I had never really considered that the back story gives the character so much depth and weight...just very interesting. Very creative and colorful. Of course, we can't all be Pop Haydn, but it sure makes me want to strive to create tightly woven effects and routines that flow so well together with a rich back story full of depth. Interestingly, it is also making me rework scripts, think about economy of words, pauses, phrasing, etc.
Magically yours,

Dean Burgess
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