The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » "Too Perfect" Theory (9 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2~3~4 [Next]
Koolmagic114
View Profile
Veteran user
338 Posts

Profile of Koolmagic114
Curious as to others thoughts on the "To Perfect" theory.. For those not completely familiar:

It's a magician's term and the theory goes like this: Any trick that is absolutely astoundingly perfect gives itself away. Pass a cigarette slowly, carefully through a quarter and the observer can only think: Cool quarter with the hole in it. There is no room for doubt, for other possible "solutions" to the trick.

The effect is so impossible that the spectator, in the wake of amazement will grasp for a method for how the seeming miracle was accomplished. If they are unable to find a method they will create one, no matter how foolish and impossible. Give the spectator a false solution. Actually work a false method of how your effect was accomplished into it. He didn't mean give them a false method afterwards, he means do something so that the people you perform for know that this was accomplished by great skill honed from much practice.

Can a trick be "too perfect"
Eddy

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Co-Creator of "TAGZ" / "Iced Over" / " TelePad" / "Penigma"
www.magicianslair.com
Brad Burt
View Profile
Inner circle
2674 Posts

Profile of Brad Burt
No. If folks are going to come up with a "method" they will do so no matter what....at least in my experience. Re the Cig thru Quarter...that's why many routines are strengthened by "convincers". The switch of a 'real' quarter for the gaffed. I've done the trick innumerable times to great effect. If the switch is good enough it really leaves folks with no where to go.

Prof Nightmare without a really good smooth false count is NOT the same routine. Just after the ropes are stretched it demands something to convince the folks that the ropes are not just trickily stretched out, but that they also separate entities, etc.

To be honest I don't remember the finer points of the theory because after I heard it discussed and read stuff....I just let the other guys mess with it. I couldn't see how it could make what I did better. Read Pop Haydn's stuff on the dilemma, etc. The whole point of a properly structured routine is that it simply leaves folks with no rational place to go. It couldn't be that because of.....and on and on in their minds.
Brad Burt
Ray Pierce
View Profile
Inner circle
Los Angeles, CA
2241 Posts

Profile of Ray Pierce
Great thoughts. Brad. If I remember, the too perfect theory is for an effect so impossible and simple that the only possible method is the correct one. The goal of great magic isn't to demonstrate an effect beautifully but to weave a tale in the spectator's mind that when remembered, will be impossible with no possibility of a solution. Part of the routining is to systematically break down the paths to the real solution so no one even thinks of going there. You must destroy any links in their minds so it creates a false memory of what actually happened.

"The real secrets of magic are those whereby the magician is able to influence the mind of the spectator, even in the face of that spectator’s definite knowledge that the magician is absolutely unable to do what that spectator ultimately must admit he does do... The true skill of the magician is in the skill he exhibits in influencing the spectator’s mind. This is not a thing of mechanics. It is not a thing of digital dexterity. It is entirely a thing of psychological attack. It is completely a thing of controlling the spectator’s thinking. Control of the perceptive faculties has nothing whatever to do with it. Convincingly interpreting, to the spectator, what the senses bring to him, in such a way that the magician’s objectives are accomplished, is the true skill of the skilled magician." - Dariel Fitzkee, Magic by Misdirection
Ray Pierce
<BR>www.HollywoodAerialArts.com
Dannydoyle
View Profile
Eternal Order
19625 Posts

Profile of Dannydoyle
If people are thinking about methods a performer might want to look at his show and see if a better way to engage them might be possible.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Dick Oslund
View Profile
Inner circle
8334 Posts

Profile of Dick Oslund
Absolutely! Brad, Ray, and.....oh yes! Danny, all UNDERSTAND.

"Magic" is 5% sleight of hand skill, 5% sensory illusion, 5% esoteric science principles, AND, 85% PSYCHOLOGY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Remember Walter Gibson's "The Shadow"? (The "Shadow" had the ability to 'cloud men's minds', so they could not see him.)

>>>>>PRESENTATION IS ALWAYS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE PROP!<<<<<

Forget about "Fitzkee's Fallacy"!!! Fitzkee may not have been a great businessman, but hr KNEW what he was talking about, when he got into the "technicals of trickery"!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Brad Burt
View Profile
Inner circle
2674 Posts

Profile of Brad Burt
Ray: Yes, that's the way I remember the theory constructed. Thanks. I remember when it was all the "rage" as a theory. I just never found it particularly helpful for myself. It always seemed somewhat tautological: If the routine does't work then it doesn't work. Well, ok. You still have to fix whatever are the weak points/point so that you get the desired effect/affect.

I don't have anything against it. It just was not helpful for me, because it tells one nothing about "WHAT" the problem actually is in a routine. It just restates what the performer already knows. For South Park fans, there is a character in the Coon trilogy called Captain Hindsight. Truly hysterical. Captain Hindsight is the "Too Perfect" guy. He tells you what you already know, but there's no real help.
Brad Burt
Ray Pierce
View Profile
Inner circle
Los Angeles, CA
2241 Posts

Profile of Ray Pierce
Yeah, I never liked it. A prime example is an effect that was so "clean" the only obvious solution was that it must be a stooge. If that is the only logical option, then every effort must be made to clear up that solution in the spectator's mind. My usual feeling was that "too perfect" translated into "too lazy" to me.
Ray Pierce
<BR>www.HollywoodAerialArts.com
0pus
View Profile
Inner circle
New Jersey
1740 Posts

Profile of 0pus
My father would do home repairs because we couldn't afford a tradesman who knew what he was doing. (I have inherited some of his propensities, even though I can hire a person who has knowledge and skill.)

Whenever my father did rough carpentry, stuff didn't fit together as it should have. This was especially true when he cut wood. He said his measurements were "too exact."

That is how I think of the "too perfect theory."
Brad Burt
View Profile
Inner circle
2674 Posts

Profile of Brad Burt
Quote:
On May 19, 2016, Ray Pierce wrote:
Yeah, I never liked it. A prime example is an effect that was so "clean" the only obvious solution was that it must be a stooge. If that is the only logical option, then every effort must be made to clear up that solution in the spectator's mind. My usual feeling was that "too perfect" translated into "too lazy" to me.


It's funny you should bring that up. I was in my early 20's and at the local IBM Ring meeting. Can't remember the magicians name, but he was a pro and very good. He did Koran's Medallion effect. Truly one of the finest routines ever devised. I remember (as a magician) being absolutely, totally convinced that it was a stooge! It just knocked me out. A friend pointed me towards Tannen's....they had it in stock...LOL

But, I know what you mean....
Brad Burt
Jonathan Townsend
View Profile
Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
26941 Posts

Profile of Jonathan Townsend
Quote:
On May 18, 2016, Koolmagic114 wrote:
Curious as to others thoughts on the "To Perfect" theory.. For those not completely familiar:...


One problem comes down to choosing between what one finds clever and what one finds deceptive for others.
Another problem comes down choosing whether to describe an effect in terms that others tell us they saw or what we'd like to believe they should see.

Johnsson was writing for ... anyway here's some about the item: http://www.geniimagazine.com/magicpedia/Too-Perfect_Theory
...to all the coins I've dropped here
funsway
View Profile
Inner circle
old things in new ways - new things in old ways
8506 Posts

Profile of funsway
Quote:
On May 20, 2016, Jonathan Townsend wrote:

Another problem comes down choosing whether to describe an effect in terms that others tell us they saw or what we'd like to believe they should see.


an early mentor told me, "Never trust what a man says he liked about a magic effect when his wife saw the same performance."

I later learned that the story of a magic effect told years later bears little relationship to what is said in immediate response, and that the very act of asking
someone what they saw biases the response.

Another mentor offered, "If you want to be know as a performer of good magic then only perform for people who think you are a good magician."

but, the suggestion with the greatest impact was, "Learn how to create the conditions under which the audience expects magic to happen."
"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
Brad Burt
View Profile
Inner circle
2674 Posts

Profile of Brad Burt
People seeing a magic routine and then describing it years later is like the old Telephone game. They saw something that really impressed them. Usually in the context of a bunch of other stuff that they liked. They describe it to someone soon after the show. Cool.

A while later they describe it to someone else. They are not aware that they changed it slightly. This process goes on and on. Eventually, if you were to compare the first and last times they did the description you would see the evolution. It's a natural function of various aspects of cognition and memory. Most folks who do this believe that they are describing the event in exactly the same way each time. It's incrementalism at it's finest.
Brad Burt
Dick Oslund
View Profile
Inner circle
8334 Posts

Profile of Dick Oslund
YUP!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Brad Burt
View Profile
Inner circle
2674 Posts

Profile of Brad Burt
One thing I left out of the above and meant to say: The description virtually ALWAYS gets better in the sense that the routine gets more and more amazing. Think the zillion pound fish that friend of yours caught that originally started out as a ten pound mackeral. Nobody tells "little" stories. Why would you? If the trick really caught your imagination each time you tell it it's bound to get a little bit better each time. That's all. I've had folks meet me years after a show and tell me about X routine. Holy Moly!!! Did I DO that? No, but I appreciated that they liked what I did and cared enough to share the experience even though I knew that what they recounted was not really what happened. I didn't try to correct them as it would have made no difference and was pointless. They have a great, for them, story to tell, even if only partly true.
Brad Burt
ZachDavenport
View Profile
Inner circle
Last time I posted I had one less than
1197 Posts

Profile of ZachDavenport
I showed someone a trick, and then got to see him retell the story several times. Each time he told it, it was more amazing. It almost got to where I felt dishonest.
Reality is a real killjoy.
Dick Oslund
View Profile
Inner circle
8334 Posts

Profile of Dick Oslund
Quote:
On May 22, 2016, Brad Burt wrote:
One thing I left out of the above and meant to say: The description virtually ALWAYS gets better in the sense that the routine gets more and more amazing. Think the zillion pound fish that friend of yours caught that originally started out as a ten pound mackeral. Nobody tells "little" stories. Why would you? If the trick really caught your imagination each time you tell it it's bound to get a little bit better each time. That's all. I've had folks meet me years after a show and tell me about X routine. Holy Moly!!! Did I DO that? No, but I appreciated that they liked what I did and cared enough to share the experience even though I knew that what they recounted was not really what happened. I didn't try to correct them as it would have made no difference and was pointless. They have a great, for them, story to tell, even if only partly true.


YUP...(AGAIN!)
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
View Profile
Inner circle
8334 Posts

Profile of Dick Oslund
Quote:
On May 22, 2016, ZachDavenport wrote:
I showed someone a trick, and then got to see him retell the story several times. Each time he told it, it was more amazing. It almost got to where I felt dishonest.


Really, Zach! I think that it was YOU who did what a good magician does! --You must have fooled the guy! --AND, YOU must have entertained him, too! Otherwise, he would very likely not have told, and retold the story!

................................................................................................................................................
Houdini got a lot of great publicity, and, his fame grew, because he never denied a story about "something" that he had apparently done.

A story "going around" back then (Who knows how "true" it was?) was that the best "pick lock" for a jail cell, was a $50.00 bill, folded in "thirds", and inserted into the hand of the jailer!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Gerald Deutsch
View Profile
Elite user
488 Posts

Profile of Gerald Deutsch
Regarding the “Too Perfect Theory”

1 There was an extensive discussion about this on this very forum back in 2003

2 I believe this theory was first published in the Hierophant by Rick Johnsson in 1970 and then in Genii in 2001.

3 In the Perverse Magic thread of the Genii on January 1, 2009 I discuss this in an effect where a selected card appears – not in my shoe but protruding from the top of my sock.

There I say: “Many of you are familiar with Rick Johnsonns Too Perfect theory. An interpretation of this theory is not to lead people to the actual method of how an effect was performed but leave other alternatives available. So, if I had the card for example, in my shoe no one will believe that it was my skill that got it there as is the case where the card is protruding from my sock.
ThomasJ
View Profile
Special user
Chicago
743 Posts

Profile of ThomasJ
Racherbaumer has an e-booklet that is worth checking out. Various viewpoints are discussed, and it will definitely get the wheels turning regardless of where you stand on the matter.

Something interesting regarding the cig thru quarter - At the end of the routine, Derek Dingle used to switch the dirty quarter for one with a hole that was juuuuust small enough to be impossible for the cigarette to pass through. The idea was to steer the audience away from even considering a switch was made, which is typically the immediate (and correct) assumption one will make at the conclusion of cig thru quarter.

TJ
Dannydoyle
View Profile
Eternal Order
19625 Posts

Profile of Dannydoyle
Does anyone think in lieu of an explanation that anyone over the age of 6 says to themselves "then it must be magic"?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » "Too Perfect" Theory (9 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2~3~4 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2019 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.26 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL