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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Stereotypes in magic. Beat them, or Join them? - Your Theory Matters. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Head Case
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Hi All.

This is an open discussion for all to join in, no right or wrong answers. Everyone's input is welcome on the way they feel!!! Please join the fun!

I have been doing a lot of reading lately and trying to kind of redefine myself as a magician and the way that I want people to see my magic, also the direction I want to take my magic to. I have been all over the bored from types of effects, to scripting changes, costume, tone of voice, performance style etc. The list is ever growing.
This is not going to be one of the typical threads that is going to result into a single defined answer, But I hope that people will take the time to read though and give some honest feedback on their ideas and theory behind my little rant here, as well as all the other sub topics that shall pop off from this.
I also please request that if there is a similar thread pertaining to MOST of the information on here, please feel free to share these links as well.
Finally, Please excuse my spelling, and grammar. I will try my best to express all my ideas in a clear manner.
So all of this has started by a post I read from another magician talking about why he personally does not like sponge balls. Not that this is the main focus of the topic, but he did mention some points that I have been personally been trying to find a balance with myself. Which is finding props that seem to be more organic. Off the cuff. Yet still amazing to watch. Examples could include, barrowed finger rings, barrowed cards (Laymen talk here), barrowed money, Even trick shop effects that seem ordinary enough, ring flight revolution, ring leader, CHOP by craig petty etc.. All of these effects seem very natural, not using anything that looks like you went to the magic shop one day and now your doing tricks for people all of a sudden.
In a sense, that's what this person was talking about, and how sponge balls just seem to "Childish" or "Magic Trick-ish" for him.
I for the most part am 50/50 in agreeance with what he said.

But after reading this I did take a little time to sit down and really try and figure out where do you draw the line of balance, between knowing your an entertainer there to do one thing, entertain. VS. jumping into the more "artistic" side of things, and wanting everything to be organic, pure, perfect magic. Like a perfect painting. Which is a battle that I have personally been dealing with for a while now (Thinking along the lines of where to call it art, and where to call it business) - Strictly talking about the working pro in that aspect.
So now with a little background of how I even got into this probably very long post by the time I'm done with it, we can start.

I have a goal. What I want to do (With the help of anyone willing to participate) is to compile a list of all the stereotypes that we are faced with as magicians (So people may like the stereotypes, some may not) that is not the point. And once there is a good amount of these typical sterotypes listed, I personally, (or anyone else that wants to) want to sit down and try and figure out why we have these stereotypes, and how can we avoid them in out routines, costume, characters, etc.. Might not be able to have an answer for all of them, but this is a good experiment I feel I want to try.
So please help me out by listing any typical stereotype that you may have encountered as a magician, Weather it be, Oh, your a magician? my 5 year old will love you, or your the next david blane, or do you pull rabbits out of your hat? Should I hold onto my money. ETC.... Anything from the way we dress to the things we say, to the props we use is fair game.

This was my direct quote to myself before typing this out.
" My main goal of this paper is to try and list all the stereotypes of magicians that a layperson may think about, whether it be about props, moves, attitude, dress, looks, money, performance audience (6 year olds only) etc...
And then try and come up with an effective solution and answer to why people relate these to magicians and how I can break that way of thinking with my own performance style and trick selection as well as character and wardrobe."

that's PART 1


PART 2 - Acceptance of the inevitable. These are here to stay, and I understand that, In fact, some people have come to embrace these stereotypes and use them as some sort of BRANDING, Which brings me to a great MUST READ thread by Christopher Lyle = His thread post about branding can be found here and is well worth the read. http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......&forum=5
The funny part is it actually works, because when I was sitting down thinking about all this, all I could remember was the word BRANDING, and the guy in the yellow suit. So he has it down.
So feel free to take a browse at his excellent post and see his thoughts on branding.
No offence to Christopher in any way shape or form, but just notice the comparison between the branding and lack of "Organic" which was talked about above. It works for him, and if its not broken, don't fix it. and I don't think Mr. Lyle is broken haha.

This all leads me to part 3, Taking the organic feel as an ARTIST aspect, and mixing it with the branding and WORKERS way of thinking... and coming up with your own custom mixture of what suits YOU, Where is your balance, where do you deicide to draw that line?

Which brings me to my final answer that I hope to get to which is to the question.

"How can I effectively mix the two elements of organic magic, and the artistic drive of the perfect painting, with the effectiveness of BRANDING. Because branding is BIG, your suppose to stick out and be remembered, your suppose to leave an impression. that's the WHOLE POINT. But at the same time, it counters the idea of being organic and natural, almost if you were able to do the things that we pretend to do. It would be very relaxed.

So where is the line?

Curious on what others have to say about this. Just for fun.
Alan Munro
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Kentwood, Michigan, USA
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I consider the source when reading comments by magicians. I don't care if a "magician" doesn't like sponge balls. When I use them, the audience is having a good time. If audiences don't view you as a cliche, you're making some progress.

As far as branding goes, Christopher definitely projects a great image.
Head Case
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Make sense. So I wonder how you manage the balance of being viewed as "cliche" and "artistic", because it seems that you need both to be effective.
David Ranalli
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Chicago & Indianapolis
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You be true to yourself. Be less focused on what strangers think, and make friends with as many people as possible who are willing to support your art. Listen to their criticism, but take it with a grain of salt.
tomfish117
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Everyone you perform to is going to have a different idea of what constitutes a magician. In my experience, most people have never seen close up magic live before. So as long as you're good at what you do you'll fry them.

I think the trouble with being a magician is that we're no longer fooled by magic. So when we think of the tricks we do, we don't see them as being as strong as they are because we already know the secret. Don't worry so much about your magic being "organic", try to remember the feeling you had when you first saw that trick being performed, because that's what the audience is going to feel.

Having said that, some magic props seem more organic than others. To me sponge balls are more normal than a chop cup. Card and coins more organic still.

I guess it also depends on what you are trying to achieve. Are you trying to convince your audience that you have magical powers? Or are you trying to entertain them, make them laugh and have a good time.

My 2c as an amateur, take with a grain of salt.
Head Case
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Quote:
On 2012-12-24 09:15, tomfish117 wrote:
Everyone you perform to is going to have a different idea of what constitutes a magician. In my experience, most people have never seen close up magic live before. So as long as you're good at what you do you'll fry them.

I think the trouble with being a magician is that we're no longer fooled by magic. So when we think of the tricks we do, we don't see them as being as strong as they are because we already know the secret. Don't worry so much about your magic being "organic", try to remember the feeling you had when you first saw that trick being performed, because that's what the audience is going to feel.

Having said that, some magic props seem more organic than others. To me sponge balls are more normal than a chop cup. Card and coins more organic still.

I guess it also depends on what you are trying to achieve. Are you trying to convince your audience that you have magical powers? Or are you trying to entertain them, make them laugh and have a good time.

My 2c as an amateur, take with a grain of salt.



Very good points for an"amateur" Smile Thanks for posting.
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