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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » L&L Publishing Videos (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Tom Cutts
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Brian,

I'm not trying to hound you but your "guesses" are particularly unfounded.

Quote:
If they ever do second takes, which they sometimes must have to do, they're going to be at least as equally enthusiastic, even though they've already seen it. Guaranteed. Otherwise, they'll get bumped to the back of the room, or worse, not asked back for future videos.

People get moved around for many logistical reasons but never because of a lesser reaction on a second take. In fact, many times the second take is more unbelievable because the magic happened again and the spectators still have no clue. The initial surprise is not the magic.

I'm sure we have all watched a real strong trick which fooled the heck out of us and it was just as strong, if not stronger, the second and third time we saw it. It is because we thought we knew what to look for, for the trick, but still just saw magic.

Perhaps you are seeing people get moved around because you are unaware that the finished product is not necessarily in the order it was shot. People do move around during an entire day of shooting. Do most people want to see four hours of the same audience? No, so there is some moving around for purely aesthetic reasons. Add in the final edit jumps and, yes, you have people coming in and out of frame over the course of a DVD.

Quote:
I could be wrong; but nobody in the world could be so enthusiastic about everything all the time.

You are right... about your being wrong. John's energy is baffling but very real and 100% John. No acting. You base your "opinion" on a guess, I base mine on interaction with the guy over the years.

Quote:
But, occasionally, not all the time, it's just TOO much (ie phony).

There it is. The big fallacy. I agree that some reactions, a few rare ones, are "too much" for me too. That does not make them phony. It just means that person is more expressive than I am.

I think most magicians, in their growth, go through the "C'mon, it's just a trick, lady." phase. Growing out of that and allowing your audience to experience what you do on their own level is a vital tool for someone in our field. Every once in a while in the real world I have to embrace a reaction which I feel is "out of proportion" because to negate that real reaction would be to dismiss that person and their feelings. A magician who does that is asking for trouble. So many performers beat their audience's reactions down which, in essence, trains their audience to simply not react strongly to anything the performer does.

Creating a welcoming environment for reaction is part of the job of the performer.

Just another of the many great underlying lessons that one can learn from studying how the very top performers in our field handle their audiences.

Cheers,

Tom
rowdymagi5
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In my opinion, they should make the videos with a real audience. By that I mean, people off the street that "want" to see a magic show. Even people paying to see the show. This would be more believable, and you could see real situations with skeptics etc. and see how the Magician reacts and overcomes this.

I let my wife view the performance parts of the tapes, and she noticed the same audience right away, and even commented how hokey that seemed. Like they were part of the act.

It gives the whole thing a sense that it is not "live" at all, kinda a staged thing.

I also think most of the audience is coached into reacting a certain way. Ive never seen an audience that enthusiastic.
Whit Haydn
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Rowdymagi5: You may never have had the opportunity to make a performance tape, or sit through the making of one.

It is a lot of work for the audience. People off the street (what street? where are you shooting? where do you find them? how much time do they have?) would never sit through the adjustments in lighting and sound, the retakes, the breaks, etc. that normally occur in a shoot.

Getting a live performance before a real audience is also problematic. Paying audiences object to the interruptions, bright lights, and cameras in their faces that are required to get a good video of a performance.

There is also the possibility that a good shoot can be wrecked by a heckler, by people talking over the performer, or by many of the other little things that can go wrong in front of a live audience.

If you have ever tried to get a decent performance tape of your own show, you will know what a problem this can be.

With a group of unpaid audience volunteers, you will find many will wander off, change places, or leave during the shoot, creating havoc with your tape's continuity.

Often the only way to shoot a live, properly miked and lighted, in-studio performance is to gather a group of paid actors, or of friends and neighbors who are willing to sit through the tedious process for nothing but beer and food.

Magic videos are much more difficult and expensive to shoot than most people realize. They do not have the big budgets that, say, a one hour talk show on television has, nor even of a half-hour "info-mercial."

They do not have the drawing power of a well-known star to bring in an audience "off the street" in Hollywood the way that a television show can.

The volunteers sometimes have to react enthusiastically to the same trick several times, and occasionally their reactions seem stilted or over-enthusiastic. The alternative is to hire professional actors for the audience role, as is done on most "made for television" magic specials like Masters of Illusion or World's Greatest Magic.

This is prohibitively expensive for a magic video that most likely will sell less than a thousand copies (nowadays, 1000 sales is considered a very successful magic tape) at wholesale and jobber rates of less than $10 or $15.

When you figure in the cost of the performing artist (usually 2 to 3 grand), the cameras, lights, sound and crew for a one day shoot (easily another 2 grand), and the cost of editing, duplicating and advertising the video, there is not a lot left over for paying for a professional audience (Screen extras get $80 to $100 a day--an audience of twenty will cost $2000).
rowdymagi5
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Whit Haydn,

Thanks for educating me on this subject. I never stopped to look at it from that viewpoint.

In this case, I spoke without knowing what I was talking about.

Thanks again for the information.

I learn something new everyday!
Whit Haydn
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Hopefully, we all will learn something new every day. Smile
zeroG
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John, the guy with the dirty blond mullet, drives me nuts. I think that the way he acts is "special"
ChopCup
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Quote:
On 2003-10-09 14:51, zeroG wrote:
John, the guy with the dirty blond mullet, drives me nuts. I think that the way he acts is "special"


Who cares which way he goes-he's enjoying the magic.

Cop Cup
Skulldini
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Just a little note about "retakes" at the L&L shoots.
I have been one of the lucky ones who have been "invited" to attend the shoots for the past two years. I have been very surprised at the amount of retakes there have been. I can recall about 7 total retakes in the many hours I have seen at the L&L shoots. Believe it or not the reaction to the retake is usally better than the first take because everyone is sort of rooting for the performer to have the effect come out right.
I have been to an Ice Follies that was being filmed for a Christmas special. In one section the girl was tossed into the air and she was spinning and was supposed to land on her feet. She didn't ! FIVE TIMES THAT POOR GIRL LANDED ON HER BUTT. When she landed on her feet the sixth time the whole audience gave them a standing ovation, which normally won't receive a standing O. My point is sometimes things aren't what they seem. Just a thought.
Skulldini Smile
Richard Osterlind
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The audience in an L&L shoot is typical of a live TV audience. They are receptive and warm, but so is any audience being filmed. Yes, there are some of the same faces, but I was with Louis on a trip to the Post Office when he met a friend and had me do something for her. When she was impressed, she ASKED to come to the shoot the next day and did. Quite a few people in the audience were in that situation.

As for retakes, if I am not forgetting anything, we did only ONE. And that was one that I screwed up. Given how much material is recorded in those two days, it would be impossible to keep doing retakes.

Louis makes the whole experience a wonderful one, but the audience is still real people reacting in an honest way. Notice on the video how one person remarks, "The bill isn't in the envelope!" Or in the bonus material one person says, "Now THAT was good!"


The bottom line is no matter how good the audience may be, it is the strength of the MATERIAL on videos that sells them and not the applause.

Richard Osterlind
rowdymagi5
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I appreciate your input Mr. Osterlind, I look forward to purchasing your videos soon.

Thanks
bekralik
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>Notice on the video how one person
>remarks, "The bill isn't in the envelope!"

I remember that now; I laughed when I heard that. Was that person moved to the back on the next video? Heheheh just kidding. I think the interview with Louis in the latest L&L magazine was good and talked about retakes and moving people upwards based on good reactions.

I also have no doubt Jim Sisti is a great host. However, out of the L&L videos I've seen, in my mind nobody comes close to Max Maven.

Brian
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