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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workers » » Creating misdirection/offbeat when doing the "dirty" work (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Magic-Daniel
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I think it's extremely important to have some kind of misdirection/offbeat happening when doing most sleights - even sleights where the spectator is "supposed" be looking, like a colour change, double lift etc...
Let's take a control: This could be a pass, side steal whatever....No matter how goood my sleight is, I don't want the attention on the deck while
I do the control.....But I'm having a bit of a difficulty coming up with any natural misdirection...

What kind of misdirection do you use in this case?

Any help on this subject is greatly appriciated

Daniel
Jonathan Townsend
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Consider being in the shoes of your audience.
Surely there must be something of more interest to them at the moment than watching you execute a sleight.
What are you showing them or asking them to consider just then?

Others have expounded upon the matter - here are two references:

Andrew Galloway
Diverting ... and also on DVD

Gary Kurtz's Leading with your Head should also still be available.

what elephant?

-J
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Vincero
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If you haven't already, get "The Books of Wonder" by Tommy Wonder and Stephen Minch. It deals with how to incorperate misdirection extensively.

Zac
"Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell; And in the lowest deep a lower deep
Still threat'ning to devour me opens wide, To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heav'n" -John Milton, (Paradise Lost)
Steven Youell
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Here's something I never understood. I've heard magicians use the term "Offbeat" for thirty years. Now I don't know squat about music, but isn't the term "Offbeat" meant to suggest an anomaly, something that was out of time with the music? If that's the case, then the term is exactly what you DON'T want to do, right?

As I said, I don't know squat about music, so I expect someone who does to explain this to me?

SEY
taiga
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Ask them a direct question concerning themselves. The spectator will look at you to answer and the other will look at him answering you! On a more formal setting, try to establish a running gag with an object or a spectator. If it is established soon in your presentation, you'll be able to use it against them later.
vinsmagic
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Off beat,,,, is not on the down beat ..f or example 4 beats to a measure the 1 and 3 beats are the down beats 2 qand 4 are the up or beats
vinny
Come check out my magic.

http://www.vinnymarini.com
Breather
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I guess the use of the term offbeat in this context is simply referencing the notion of utilising the weaker / less overt moments in an effect routine to undertake sleight of hand i.e. when the heat is off as compared to the normal, more emphasised moments. To stretch the musical term further in this respect, in terms of actual accentuation of off-beats, then I suppose this brings to mind the emphasising of the naturally less stressed moments of the act (actions / words / gestures not directly related to the creating of magic) in order to camouflage or divert attention from the "work" i.e. misdirection.
Vincero
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Quote:
On 2012-04-12 17:55, Steven Youell wrote:
Here's something I never understood. I've heard magicians use the term "Offbeat" for thirty years. Now I don't know squat about music, but isn't the term "Offbeat" meant to suggest an anomaly, something that was out of time with the music? If that's the case, then the term is exactly what you DON'T want to do, right?

As I said, I don't know squat about music, so I expect someone who does to explain this to me?

SEY


In musical terms it means:

The weakest beats of the bar. so in 4/4 the beats are 1 (strongest) 2 (off-beat), 3 (second strongest), and 4 (off-beat).

In magic terms:

I think it refers to the "opportune moment". Plastering over a badly constructed routine with misdirection isn't the best wat to go. The "opportune moment" shouldn't be generated on the spot, but actually incorporated into the routine as a whole. At least, that's what Tommy argues for and it seems like good advice to me.

It could also refer to the tension/relaxation wave our audiences experience. The relaxation period would be the "off beat", or opportune moment.

Zac
"Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell; And in the lowest deep a lower deep
Still threat'ning to devour me opens wide, To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heav'n" -John Milton, (Paradise Lost)
Magic-Daniel
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Thanks Breather:-)
bluemagic
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When I do a double lift I relax and then they well relax, that's a offbeat after I do a double lift and show the card I pause for moment.If I'm worry about the heat on my hand I bring my eyes up and look at someone else ask them if they saw the card.peope well look at them,not my hands,misdirection.
Hideo Kato
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I am listing three different types of strategy to cover an secret action.

Case 1 : When I lower left hand to steal a coin, I raise right hand and produce a coin there. This cover method is 'Misdirection'. The strategy is to get audience's attention far from the place where secret action is done.

Case 2 : When I lower left hand to steal a coin, I lower right hand at the same time and produce a coin there. This covering method is 'Camouflage' in my definition. (I don't know what is the proper term for this in English). The startegy is to make lowering action of hands look more natural.

Case 3 : When I lower left hand and produce a coin with right hand, I turn the body to left so left hand is hideen by body. I have never found a proper term for this. Jerrry Andrus regarded this strategy important and he even said Misdirection is not necessary.

I use these different ways of covering depending on context of the routine. But I always try not to use Misdirection in 'off-beat' way. Such way is very powerful at the moment it is used, but later audience would tend to notice they were misdirected.

Hideo Kato
The Burnaby Kid
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Quote:
On 2012-04-12 17:16, Magic-Daniel wrote:
I think it's extremely important to have some kind of misdirection/offbeat happening when doing most sleights - even sleights where the spectator is "supposed" be looking, like a colour change, double lift etc...
Let's take a control: This could be a pass, side steal whatever....No matter how goood my sleight is, I don't want the attention on the deck while
I do the control.....But I'm having a bit of a difficulty coming up with any natural misdirection...

What kind of misdirection do you use in this case?

Any help on this subject is greatly appriciated

Daniel


Different moments are going to require different things. Some tricks will have a moment of revelation which can act as great misdirection -- you lift a cup, and there's a ball they weren't expecting, in that moment you have a chance to do something else. This is one of the key benefits of getting one ahead somehow.

Other moments are a bit tougher. You show a card, it's the wrong card, and you're going to top change it for the right card. You show a card in the middle, you pass it, and it's on top. Tough, bold construction... but still doable, as is stuff that's even bolder than that. Now you've got to look at things like tension and relaxation, eye contact (and making sure you're not using too much eye contact), a question at the right time, focusing and then redirecting (a la Ramsey), etc. Some of those things are so context-specific that it's difficult to come up with solid rules. What's more, some of those things are so valuable that it's almost irresponsible to talk about them outside of Secret Sessions... and heck, maybe not even there.

This is one reason to take the advice given by Whit Haydn and others -- if you're still learning, always start with a proven trick that's got everything worked out for you. Live with it until you know it inside and out, and in that trick study those moments that seem to be offering natural misdirection. What's more, performing it a ton and settling into your natural rhythms will allow you to study how people naturally react to you -- not just during the key sleight moments, but in general. You can prime people ahead of time to respond to you in a favourable manner, so that when it comes time to get away with something, it should be easier for you. However, again, this is all context specific. If you're doing a coin vanishing routine, you might be able to get away with misdirection for a specific sleight early in the routine that you can't later in the routine, because they'll be more likely to burn you. This is actually one reason why it's to any magician's benefit to spending some time studying coin magic or the cups and balls, because there are so many lessons in those tricks that can be brought into your card magic that'll improve it, whereas apart from the top change and maybe the pass, there aren't many things specific to card magic that are beneficial to other magicians.
JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
Magic-Daniel
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Quote:
On 2012-04-12 21:40, Hideo Kato wrote:
I am listing three different types of strategy to cover an secret action.

Case 1 : When I lower left hand to steal a coin, I raise right hand and produce a coin there. This cover method is 'Misdirection'. The strategy is to get audience's attention far from the place where secret action is done.




Lance Pierce talks about this in his wonderful book "Elements" and refer to its as "Focus and Tension"
Jonathan Townsend
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Beats - start counting when you perform.
when there's rapport you can also count out regular beats.
pacing. leading. realtime audience stuff.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Steven Youell
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Quote:
On 2012-04-12 21:46, The Burnaby Kid wrote:
This is actually one reason why it's to any magician's benefit to spending some time studying coin magic or the cups and balls, because there are so many lessons in those tricks that can be brought into your card magic that'll improve it, whereas apart from the top change and maybe the pass, there aren't many things specific to card magic that are beneficial to other magicians.

Would you please clarify this? I'm not sure I understand your point.

SEY
kentfgunn
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BK,

You mentioned the top change and pass specifically. I can think of a butt-ton of other things in card magic that lead to analyses of directing attention; palming, mucks, deck switches, packet switches, the side steal . . .

Many, many popular sleights benefit from good blocking and timing. (I think good magic relies on so freakin' many things NOT just misdirection)

I don't want to get on a rant here, but . . .

Misdirection is too simple a concept for me to take it as it's generally used by card guys. BK, you mention the top change which I've seen abused by too many. Broad arm swings, blatant attempts at getting people to look up often accompany an equally lousy card trick. I think you picked one of the most difficult sleights to do well to bring up. VERY few guys can do a top change and not have many in their midst know that something just happened. They don't get called on it, so they continue blithely on confident in their ability and continuously drawing a vacuum.

I don't use a top change or a classic pass because . . . I'm not good enough to. Those two moves require so much more than sprinkling some misdirection on them. I'm not trying to argue with you, just ranting, btw.

I think the best magic is done when every action is blocked and thought out so when sleights are required your hands get into and out of the move and NOTHING is suspected. On top of that preparation you should have a script with the pauses we're speaking around worked out to supplant the moments when attention is to be focused and when it is to be blurred.

Misdirection - pfui! It's not that simple.

Watch someone like . . . Steven Youell when he's doing his act. You don't see any sleights because I suspect he doesn't use any. Or at least that's what you'll see . . . NOTHING, just magic.

Weave some subtle concepts like stacks, peeks and ultra-subtle forces around some solid sleight-of-hand held together with the thread of an engaging story and the misdirectional points will define themselves.

Wish I could do all this theoretical stuff I'm talking about. I do recognize it when I see it.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.


If you read Jon Townsends entries you may learn something. You might have to read them several times. Also know he's kidding about half the time. Watch for obscure puns.

Hey Andrew! Hi Steve!



KG

PS. Great discussion of the beats; back and off Vincero. Nice!

Hideo-san, thank you for your interpretation of misdirection. Very interesting.
The Burnaby Kid
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Quote:
On 2012-04-13 00:36, kentfgunn wrote:
You mentioned the top change and pass specifically. I can think of a butt-ton of other things in card magic that lead to analyses of directing attention; palming, mucks, deck switches, packet switches, the side steal . . .


Let me try to expand upon the point better. Cards offer a large variety of moves and strategies that are largely very prop-specific. With coins and the cups and balls, the scope of moves and strategies isn't quite as large, but the major lessons learned from them, that you're forced to learn from the get-go, are immediately applicable to almost all of card magic.

You can learn aspects of timing and misdirection for the side-steal, but you can learn those for any sleight, in any genre of magic. The most common cards sleights that possibly require it the most blatantly are the top change and the pass. Deck switches would be another decent one to add to that set. Tyler Erickson made the point that understanding how to get away with the top change will help you get comfortable with the concept of open loads on the table, which can make for very strong magic. Another example might be this... learning how to make people forget that your hands came together for a pass is a lesson that could be reapplied to an acquitment (or steal) of a small object from one hand to the other -- know how to do that with 52 cards, and smuggling a coin across ought to be child's play.

Things like DLs, culling, shuffle controlling, etc. are so closely tied to the nature of the prop that there's little, if anything, that can be extrapolated from that to help somebody in another branch of magic. In some of these cases, the cover provided by having 51 allies help camouflage the selected card is an extra advantage not always afforded to somebody trying to do a sleight with a single coin or a single ball. You'd have to really think about them in abstract terms to rationalize a lesson out of them, which would be a waste of time given the fact that there are probably better object lessons elsewhere.

Yeah, just because you can do a decent FT with a coin doesn't mean you're automatically going to do a DL well, but the adjunct concepts you're forced to learn about through successfully FTing a coin can be taken and used to help surround the DL with a similar context.
JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
chappy
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Plenty of great suggestions here.
I agree completely with what Kent said:
"I think the best magic is done when every action is blocked and thought out so when sleights are required your hands get into and out of the move and NOTHING is suspected." To me, that describes misdirection well.

Also "Many, many popular sleights benefit from good blocking and timing. (I think good magic relies on so freakin' many things NOT just misdirection)" ... I agree but tend to think of blocking and timing as integral to misdirection. They should all be worked out together. I guess I generaaly don't think of misdirection in the classic sense of just diverting attention, but rather carefully controlling attention.

Good misdirection needs to be worked out in detail for any given trick/routine, by understanding where it is needed, considering those areas as beginning long before the sleight(whatever) occurs, and continuing after it has occurred. This way we can truly hide those areas. If you look at an area requiring misdirection as a crack in a wall. You might just fill the crack to hide it, even up close the crack my be difficult to see. But if you stand back, and look carefully you can see where the wall around the crack is different, and the crack remains visible given the right perspective. By plastering across a wider area around the crack, and sanding back, then replastering, and sanding again for a smoother finish, the crack is rendered invisible from any position.

The smooth cover begins long before the crack starts, and continues long after its end.
FARO FUNDAMENTALS, DETAILS OF DECEPTION and THE DEVIL'S STAIRCASE at www.thedevilsstaircase.com
SilentScReaM
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The upcoming book Magic Rainbow by Juan Tamariz will stress many things on this topic about how to deal with the memory; energy focusing and releasing sort of thing. I feel finding the offbeat is one thing, there are many nature breaks in one specific routine; but creating the offbeat is another thing, which heavily based on personality/presentation etc.
There is an interesting essay about how to switching the "performance mode" on and off to create the offbeat in Card Fictions by Pit Hartling you can read. I perform a set of routines using the principle which allow me to make 4 signed aces change into spectator named 4 of a kind, and reappear one under a glass, one in the box, one under the mat, one may be in spectator's pocket.
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2012-04-13 00:36, kentfgunn wrote:... Misdirection - pfui! It's not that simple....


Direction is the challenge. To find something of interest to engage them for even a moment.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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