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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workers » » The emotional affect of effects (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Wesley James
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It won't surprise me if many who read this think, well, I guess it had to happen, Wesley has gone off the deep end. That may be true; I've been accused of worse, but bare with me a moment. I've noticed that some moves even some sequences of moves are enjoyable to practice. I call them "happy fingers moves" or "happy fingers tricks." Other moves, while not particularly fun, have a lulling effect. I find I can practice them, getting into a rhythm of sorts, and, before I know it, an hour has past. I'd be interested in knowing whether others have this experience but I want to go further with the notion.



Do any of you find different magical effects (not only whole tricks but even phases within tricks) create different kinds of emotional states, either in you or your audiences? I don't ask this without purpose. If different effects create different emotional responses then some combinations of effects would be more or less complimentary with others. This interplay, like that of major and minor chords in music, might provide us with a tool for orchestrating the emotional tenor of our audiences on a non-verbal level. If effects don't produce different emotional responses, we are freed from that constraint but burdened by the need to seek other means for giving our performances emotional subtext. Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Steve Brooks
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Wow...you just might be on to something there. I do know that something as simple as body language can "imply" certain things, I use it all the time as a small form of misdirection...because it works.



Hmmm...it would be interesting if certain moves and flourishes started slow, and then gained speed and ...boom!



Yes Wesley, I do believe your thoughts are very worthwhile.

Anyone else have thoughts on this? Smile



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asmayly
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This is a VERY interesting idea; kind of like a "Wonder Words" idea but with card moves.



There is a thread in this category of the tricks that gets the best reaction. If one knew them all, perhaps one could analyze what moves are in common and when the reactions are the best in the routine (eg; in Twins, the first time the red queen appears in the middle, or when the king, from nowhere, appears at the end).



Of course, there is most likely a "wonder words" component to getting emotional reactions. As someone said, tricks with good "stories" often get the best reaction.



AA
Michael Peterson
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I think spectators often react to different moves because of what they know how to do with the cards.Usually shuffling, cutting & dealing.When we as magicians do all of the impossible things we do with such a common object,the spectators do react. Fans, spreads or fancy cuts, lay people don’t think of doing such things.One of the best reactions that I get from people is when I do "you do as I do".I ask them to follow along with multi packet cuts & one handed cuts & shuffles that they of course can not do (but often try & fail).I think by doing these types of moves, you are establishing yourself away from uncle Bob & the 21 card trick.

Ichazod
Wesley James
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Ichazod,

While doing flourishes may distinguish one from "Uncle Bob" in terms of skill, it also provides a plausible explanation for everything else you do. Without getting into the whole "to flourish or not to flourish" argument, since I think it depends upon ones performance character and goals, wouldn’t a compound cut sequence like the seven-packet cut Lennart Green uses, which requires no skill, just an attention to detail on the spectator’s part, produce the same "joke" result. And, isn’t it our magic we want to distinguish from the "tricks" "Uncle Bob" does, rather than our skill?



I don’t doubt that some fancy cuts, shuffles, etc. might produce different emotional reactions-- I suggested as much in my initial post-- but I’d rather look at the emotional response created by effects, than techniques, even open ones.







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Tom Cutts
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I’m still pondering Wesley’s original post. I can, however, comment on this post. I was at a wine tasting weekend (it’s a recurring theme) with a friend who does goofy magic to get the attention of ladies. Well, after a day and a half of this, one of the ladies asked, no begged, me to do something.



I didn’t per se want to be lumped in with this goofy, just fun gags type of magic. It has its place but it isn’t for me.



I did some one handed cuts simply to highlight the difference of what she was about to see.



I then followed with card warp. Well, no sleight of hand in the world can explain CW so I was onto another plane at this point.



I should tell you I think there are card tricks (ie find a card) and there is card magic, impossible magic that happens to be done with cards.



I only do so much card work so I stick to effects that either are magic or have really wonderful and personal presentations which diffuse the challenge of a "trick".



It worked because there was a totally different reaction to what I did. A respectful response to respectful magic.



The florishes did not dilute the power of the magic one bit. Of course, a lot of that has to do with the presentations leading a person to want the magic to be real. Not leaving them feeling fooled or tricked but enlightened.



I guess I can’t go into further detail witout writing a book...oops, too late. Smile



Tom Cutts
RandyWakeman
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This is an interesting topic; and says a great deal about your goals as an entertainer. As in most things that are style related, there are only shades of gray.



The "shift" in recent years, I believe, has been toward more "Snap-Crackle-Pop" handlings. This is evidenced by the popularity of such examples as Daryl's "Hot-Shot" cut. Does it negatively hurt the "magical experience?" I believe that it certainly can detract, but that is contingent on where and how often flourishes are employed.



The "uniformity of action" school would be appalled by exhibitions of skill in such routines as Vernon's "Twisting the Aces," and other such routines where the effect just happens . . . and does not seem related to fast or flashy hand movements.



On the flip side, Bill Malone breathed life into a hoary story deck by infusing grand old Sam with flashy cuts and productions. Whether you view that as a fundamentally magical event is a different matter.



The question is probably best left answered on a personal level. Are the flashy moves gratutious, or do they add to the experience you want to create? No one expects a performer to handle props sloppily or heavy-handedly, yet there can be too much of a good thing.



A flourish spells death for a mentalist, but not so if your persona is the "Card Shark." Vernon, Marlo, and Slydini would no doubt cringe at the current direction of close-up, but looking at Goshman's act . . . a game is being played, and his coin rolls help set the premise.



I believe that flourishes either add or detract: and if you cannot quantify how they add - - - they most certainly take away from the magic. It is worth analyzing in the specific context of your own personal presentations.
Tom Cutts
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Interesting spin on the topic, Randy. Got my mental wheels flying.



Examining my post above, the florishes were seperate from the performance. That may have aided in their not tainting the effects. I must stress, however, that the effects I did seemed not to be accomplishable, and indeed mostly so, by sleight of hand manipulation.



The experiencial gap and conceptual gap teamed together to release me from the chains that most florishers experience. At least in this one instance. I haven't had to do so since, thankfully.



I do have a routine that uses my finessed handling of Daryl's Hot Shot. The point of that performance is a true story/biography that culminates in the use of this florish.



The florish is integral to the story!! That is what differentiates this routine from the every day barrage of florishes that some performers display.



If a florish has purpose, meaning, and a seamless integration into the routine, it is no longer a florish. It can shed the gaudy, flashy display of juggling that haunts florishes.



But that ain't as easy as it sounds.



Tom Cutts
Michael Peterson
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In response to what Wesley said regarding my last post, I guess I misunderstood what you were asking. I am into bizarre & story based magic, I do understand about the debate over flourishes and spectators thinking that if he can do all this fancy stuff, that must be how he is doing the trick.



As for the emotional effect, I do much more prefer less flashy effects where the magic just seems to happen. I work with mentally disabled adults who very often can’t follow story lines. As a result, for them I do much more visual moves because it is easier for them to follow.

With my magic, I am trying to create an experience for the spectator. Not just simply "a trick".I want to leave them with a feeling of enchantment, not simply a puzzle to figure out.

Thanx Wesley,

Ichazod



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J R Thomas
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I think emotional response is dependent on how an effect is framed. I try to frame effects to reach a common ground with the spectator. If they have some kind of vested interest in the outcome beyond just "can the magician find my card" then the emotional response is heightened.



Stories are a great vehicle to do this. I agree with Randy’s assessment of Bill Malone and Sam the Bell Hop. It is very entertaining but I wonder how truly magical it is for laypeople.

In Freeman’s Time Traveler I talk about when cards were invented and make references to old magic. It seems to draw people in.



There is a certain ambiguity about what the actual effect is until the very end. The spectators know something is going to happen but do not know what it is. The tension created by this ignorance enhances the emotional response of the effect when the tension is resolved.



I get a similiar response with Fulves’ Gemini Twins from More Self Working Card tricks. This effect garnered a marginal response until I asked the spectators if they played any sports. By having them share some event in their lives where they succeed and fail I found a common ground, thus heightening their interest in the effect and the tension as the climax approach’s.



JR
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Paul
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I think people went slightly off track here Wesley, but I know what you mean.



I can pick up a deck of cards just to move it and a few hours later still find myself cutting and shuffling to smooth away the worries of the world.



My only hope is I don't disappear into this other worldly place in performance and snap out of it to find everyone gone.



Perhaps a rehabilitation clinic should be set up.... before I disappear into deck world, like children entering Narnia through a wardrobe door. Smile
Barry Mink
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When I start off with card routines I usually start with routines that are fun, light hearted and may have flourishes.

But the intent is to entertain, break the ice and loosen everyone up.



At some point I string along effects that become serious mysterious and almost frightening for the spectator with their improbability and yes, along the lines of mentalism and supernatural predictions or outcomes.

My countenance changes to "I don’t know how this happpens but it does" type thing.



Effects I use are:

Vernon’s Out of Sight Out of Mind

as a starter, one of

Marlo’s Open Prediction plots,

Clarvoyant Spectator by J. Birnman, and Tremaine’s Out of this World, or

Larry Becker’s Out of Body.



The mood changes because my mood changes when I do these effects. Hope that is what you wanted Mr. James.
Paul
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Hi Barry,

Tremaine's Out of This World???



Larry's presentation is silly. If you were going out of the body why be looking through the deck in that state to see what is missing? You'd project yourself straight to the card. Something to bear in mind.



I think I had a better presentation for that kind of thing in "Mental Mix," though superior presentations would probably be without playing cards.
Geoff Williams
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I'm not so sure that spectators enjoy the emotionally "lulling effect" of certain card or coin moves as performers do. I bet they enjoy the OVERALL effect when it touches them emotionally (with no tangible emotional investment on any one individual move or sleight).

That would explain the popularity of John Edward, mentalists such as Max Maven and even palm readers at fund raiser events.

For me, I can zone out doing Tenkai Side Steals all day long and never realize what my hands are doing. I suppose that would be my "happy finger move" (thanks for the term, Wesley!).

The movement itself, once it has become practiced to such a degree, can be a calming form of exercise.

I certainly hope that my side steal doesn't lull my audience into a comatose state.

Ha!
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