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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » "Too Perfect" Theory (9 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On May 30, 2016, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Musicians and singers don't usually mime their performances (okay maybe Dolly Parton did Yakkety Sax as a joke).
Comics don't usually get the benefit of giant "applause" signs and a crowd full of folks ready to laugh on cue.
Unlike those folks - magicians don't (usually?) have real magic to rely on and so have do something more (rather than less) than what's evident to the audience.


What does that have to do with anything?

Most music people come see in Las Vegas is live. Comedians don't use applause signs unless it is on TV.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On May 30, 2016, Dannydoyle wrote:
...Most music people come see in Las Vegas is live. Comedians don't use applause signs unless it is on TV.


Agreed. Yet audiences don't come to a magic show to see real magic.

Singers are supposed to be singing. Comics are supposed to be funny.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Dannydoyle
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See that is the issue. People do not come to see real magic. BUT they do come to see what looks like real magic. All the hand wringing and consternation does not change what is a fact. The huge majority want to be deceived and entertained.

Magicians have a job and everyone knows what that is. All the word parsing and bs so not change that.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
George Ledo
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I am having such a hard time with this thread...

If somebody gets up on stage to present something for a group of spectators, and they enjoy what he did, then it worked for that particular group of spectators. It doesn't matter what they came to see, or what they thought, or what labels they put on the guy, or whether it changed their lives for half a microsecond, or even whether they came to see a rocket scientist and actually saw a brain surgeon. And if they enjoyed it enough to want to come back and see some more, then it worked even better.

And if I change "gets up on stage to present something for a group of spectators" to "shows one person something at the water fountain," or "at the dinner table," or anywhere else, it's still the same. It worked.

And I don't care if it worked for 99% of the audience, or 54.5%, or any other number. If the audience as a whole liked it, it worked.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On May 30, 2016, Dannydoyle wrote:
...BUT they do come to see what looks like real magic. ...

Agreed. We have to do some hidden work so that our routines look magical.

Agreed a show needs to be entertaining. That's a given in show business.

"Too Perfect" is for when folks correctly imagined what we hid - it suggests ways to use that hidden mechanics to get a different effect audiences will go along with.

Here's "too perfect" in reverse:
Imagine a pickpocket reframing his act claiming to have super speed. He asks a volunteer up - then asks what time they have... as the volunteer starts to look down the performer make a gesture and produces the watch. Next asks for number, say the serial number on a dollar bill. As the volunteer starts to reach for their wallet to oblige... the performer produces the wallet. Same mechanics but different effects. So far the pickpocket comedy act works as is. Not sure "fast hands" would play well for audiences.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Brad Burt
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Mr. Townsend pointed out one of the real problems with the "Too Perfect" theory. It's in a sense an oxymoron. It's a pejorative term and yet it sounds like it should not be. Who doesn't want to do a presentation "as perfect" as possible? This is one reason I've never liked it.

Two magicians are watching an act. It ends and the first says, "Wow! That was just perfect!" The other looks at him and says, "Yes, but, well...was it too perfect?" It's nonsense. If the fear is that a spectator will go, "Wow! That was so perfect it must have been done with a holdout." More nonsense. Lay folk for the most part do not think in those categories. If the problem is that when folks are TOO MESMERIZED INTO DUMFOUNDEDNESS (fooled) they will say, "Hey that's gotta be a trick, but I sure don't know how it could have been done." Well, duh!!! Frankly, this is not chic, but that's about the best I hope for.

I don't care if folks are in a rage to "know" how it's done. That's WAAAAAY better than indifference. That's really what it's all about. If the audience just does not CARE that they just watched you do your thing.....that's bad. Really, really, really bad. Unless you are working a Psyche ward and they are all heavily sedated. Then, well.....

I espouse the "Is The Routine Sucky, Incoherent and Badly Presented" theory. Or, to compress: The Not So Perfect Theory. Some folks are going to try and come up with a method. What I want is to keep them from coming up with the correct one.
Brad Burt
Jonathan Townsend
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Too Perfect is about changing the effect while keeping the method. The bluff vanish is a fair example - changing the effect from a vanish to a penetration.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Ray Pierce
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For me, the Too Perfect theory should have been labeled "Too Simple" instead. It is a simple (as opposed to compound) effect where the only possible solution would be the correct one. In other words, an effect that is too simple for the audience to see the method. It has no layered subterfuge to create a richer background for the method to blend into. It still seems to be a weakness in the performer's presentation (and possibly the routining as well.) Remembering that a basic "trick" is typically a tool used to create an effect. Now days it seems that people purchase "routines" as opposed to learning techniques and methods that can be utilized to create many effects. When I was in my vernal years of magical growth, it was expected that you learned every basic coin utility move, basic card handling, a working cups and balls routine, color changing silks, paddle moves, sponge balls, C&R Rope moves, etc. These were all basic journeyman tools you could leverage to create routines of any type. In addition to the technical tools, you mastered misdirection techniques and the psychological tools to support the technical ones. using both sets of tools in both the design phase as well as the performance, you should be able to correct for any "Too Perfect" scenario. That was our goal in the magic shop every day to find ways to further bury the method of effects that were discovered too readily by poor design.
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funsway
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Quote:
On May 29, 2016, Dannydoyle wrote:

ACTUAL stage experience in your list. YOU have none.


Why would you assume that? I only mention my preferred method of performing for contrast. You have no idea of all that I have done.

no matter, this thread isn't about me or you. How about discussing the "too Perfect Theory."

but, thanks for clarifying that you feel that only "stage experience" can allow one to know magic or discuss it.

In fact, I will even agree with you a bit. I do not consider that my "stage experience" qualifies me to give advice on how a person today
should prepare to make money performing on stage for today's audiences. So, I don't.

The various threads on "Food for Thought" are for everyone interested in magic and the reasons why it works or doesn't.
I post for those who never intend to try and make a living for performance magic, but do desire to be better at what they choose to do.

I will read any and all posts on selected magic theme and extract what might be of use to my future work.
In this I might assign a higher level of credibility to someone with known performance experience relative to that theme.

Each person has different experiences and therefor different opinions about magic. How boring and unproductive is everyone had the same conclusion from diverse experience.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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PhilJake
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I have several comments regarding the concept of "too perfect" in spite or perhaps because of my lack of experience. I purchase an effect or a routine and try to learn it exactly as performed by the pro. I am trying to learn the classics and perform them in the classical way. I am not ready to create my own routines but I do try to add my own subtleties. I am still of the mind set that if I can't end clean, the spectator will assume I must be hiding a gimmick and demand to examine it. With that in mind I try to make scotch and soda, for example, look more like awkward sleight of hand than real magic, so the effect isn't "too perfect."

Preventing the "too perfect" effect is about the performance not the effect and creating an effect that looks like real magic but causes the spectator to question how it was done not what it was done with. The magician should get credit for the effect; not the coin. It's the same concept when a photographer takes a beautiful photograph and people say wow, that camera takes nice pictures. If it looks "too perfect" the assumption is the prop did it because in my case I don't have the reputation to back it up. I bet no one told Ansel Adams that his camera takes nice pictures.

Reputation, confidence and authority all create credibility and with that people can be convinced to believe in nearly anything evidenced by the popularity of mediums and ghost hunters. It's also odd to think that if I were "too perfect" and able to convince someone that I was performing real magic, mentalism or telekinetic effects, that I might be challenged as a fraud by the likes of The Amazing Randi. (not a complaint by the way)

I think this concept of "too perfect has created an entire genre of sucker magic and magic routines with explanations to throw off the "too perfect" appearance or to rightfully place the focus on skill. Pop Haydn is a wonderful example.
ZachDavenport
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I strongly disagree about that. What makes you think that the spectator will assume you are hiding a gimmick if you don't end clean? And also, why is it better for the spectator to assume it was sleight of hand as opposed to a gimmick?
Reality is a real killjoy.
Dannydoyle
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Here is my problem with the premise.

It is fair ru say generally we don't perform for people who think we demateralize an object and bring it back.

So at what point does "too perfect " even matter? Yes it was a gimmick, yes it was slight of hand. This is KNOWN by the vast Marjory of our audience


So why run in circles chasing your tail over a distinction without a difference?
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
tommy
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I think that I have stopped watching TV magic because it is too perfect.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
PhilJake
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Perhaps I can explain my thoughts regarding too perfect and sleights versus gimmicks by using a coin board as an example. I can perform it using the same technique as David Copperfield (only claiming method not skill) but when he does it there is the impact of his persona. I have no such persona so when I perform the vanish, the response is "lets see that thing." With that in mind I try to perform the vanish several different ways with the board by using additional props like a cup, silk or PK gimmick a la EvilDan. This helps me to distract from the obvious gimmick that I call a coaster, the "too perfect" gimmick. The response changes from let me see that thing to how did you do that. My goal is to get the "how did you do that" response. Gimmicked props are easy for a new guy like me to use as a crutch but I have learned that I need to be able to perform the effects without a gimmick to camouflage the times I need to use a "too perfect" gimmick. So the distinction for me is that it impacts how I think I should perform. p.s. The value of a forum such as this is the friendly exchange of different points of view and these forums have been a helpful learning experience for me.
ZachDavenport
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I just don't subscribe to the idea that something can be "too perfect". If it is so perfect that it is obvious then it isn't very perfect now is it? In other words, it isn't too perfect, it's not perfect enough.
Reality is a real killjoy.
tommy
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Perfect (v.) Look up perfect at Dictionary.com

"to bring to full development,"

I guess one might say too perfect means over development.

Reminds me of: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks" is a quotation from the 1599/1600 play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. It has been used as a figure of speech, in various phrasings, to describe someone's too frequent and vehement attempts to convince others of some matter of which the opposite is true, thereby making themselves appear defensive and insincere.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Pop Haydn
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If people would focus on what Rick said, instead of redefining "too perfect," they would find real wisdom there. Rick was a sensational magician.

I think that most feats of magic can be eventually worked out by the spectator if they are sufficiently motivated.

I find that red-herrings and other such devices can help to get the spectator to "give up" looking for the solution.

In the card in the envelope, I have found that it is perhaps stronger to have a spectator write his name on an Avery sticker stuck on the card than write directly on the card. I found this out by accident over the years, while trying to save money on cards. You would think that the writing of the name directly on the card would be stronger, but in fact the spectator realizes that if the card is actually the same card, the only way it could be in the envelope is if it went into the envelope somehow... This leads them to thinking about the various possible entryways into the wallet and then into the envelope. This is not where you want them to be focusing, but that is what the signature suggests--the necessary proving leads to the only possible solution.

The sticker adds a red herring. "Did he have me put it on a sticker so he could copy it? Maybe he has a way of making two stickers at once?" But as they consider this, they realize that the magician would still have to get the second sticker into the envelope, and on a duplicate card. The dead end leaves them at the same impasse, but they have defeated themselves by thinking things through and will more often tend to "give up" and admit to themselves that they can see "no possible" solution.

I have done the card in envelope thousands of times, and the impact and the remembrance of the effect is much stronger in my opinion with the "red herring" added--a little "less perfect" rather than "too perfect."

I think that a well-constructed routine should make the spectator "give up" on finding a solution before he actually does.

We are not trying to prove the impossible. We are trying to challenge the spectator's faith in his ability to discern the truth in the face of deliberate fraud.

Every magic effect is like a little joke. We are surprised and amused by our own fallibilities.
Dannydoyle
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I am not certain that a "motivated" spectator ever gives up.

I mean isn't it the same thing? SOMEHOW you had to get that card in the envelope. Sure it adds red herring nature to it bit in the end you wind up at the same place. Somehow it is in the envelope. I don't see how these extra steps cause one to give up?
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Pop Haydn
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Quote:
On Jul 4, 2016, Dannydoyle wrote:
I am not certain that a "motivated" spectator ever gives up.

I mean isn't it the same thing? SOMEHOW you had to get that card in the envelope. Sure it adds red herring nature to it bit in the end you wind up at the same place. Somehow it is in the envelope. I don't see how these extra steps cause one to give up?


But it does.
Dannydoyle
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Mind you I am not saying you are wrong, only that I can't see it. More a me problem than a you problem.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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