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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Gordon Ramsey (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

tommy
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Wouldn’t it be good if magic had a Gordon Ramsey; somebody who could come in and transform magic acts from hell?

I was just watching his show on TV and it occurred to me that a good professional magician might get a TV show doing likewise with magic acts rather than kitchens, from hell.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
WitchDocChris
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There are several people in the magic world who do this. They are called "consultants".
Christopher
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Dannydoyle
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But oh so few who would hire them.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Brad Burt
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For years I have tried to figure out why "magicians" really, REALLY resist critical observation of their work. I would seek it, but I didn't like it either. Maybe other performing arts have the same plight. I don't know.

But, I have come to the following conclusion: The need to have a 'trick' fool folks is essential to the magic craft. It's what we do. You start out being fooled and then something drives you to want to DO the fooling. Fool 'em. It's my opinion for better or worse that the reason that magicians often...VERY often in my experience resist being corrected/helped/whatever is that it's taken by the performer AS IF they are being critical of the "fooling" part of the process. That may not in fact be the problem. Whether or not your presentation 'fools' is just one of the parts of making up an act that entertains and brings in the gigs.

I believe that it's too easy to hear, "Your trick didn't work", when what they might be trying to tell you is, "You need to change your pacing, or slow down how fast you were talking because your were nervous."

That's the reason that magicians don't want to spend the money on consultants: It's painful.
Brad Burt
tommy
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Most of the time, it is the blind leading the blind. One really needs somebody who knows the magic business, as well as Ramsey, knows restaurant business.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
tommy
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My uncle Johnny Gough was England’s top professional gambler and his only advice to part-timers was - Don’t: It's like a fashion model trying to be a Rugby forward.

To be good successful one needs to work hard full-time every day studying one's game and putting into practice what one knows.

In any field of endeavour, most are part-timers, giving one another tips.



Such is life.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Dannydoyle
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Magicians don't learn the way most arts do.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
tommy
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The Magic Circle in London has a young magician’s academy where professionals work with them in the development of their acts and they have had some top class magicians come out of the club there.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
George Ledo
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Quote:
On Jul 4, 2017, Brad Burt wrote:
But, I have come to the following conclusion: The need to have a 'trick' fool folks is essential to the magic craft. It's what we do. You start out being fooled and then something drives you to want to DO the fooling. Fool 'em. It's my opinion for better or worse that the reason that magicians often...VERY often in my experience resist being corrected/helped/whatever is that it's taken by the performer AS IF they are being critical of the "fooling" part of the process. That may not in fact be the problem. Whether or not your presentation 'fools' is just one of the parts of making up an act that entertains and brings in the gigs.

In my own experience in theatre and allied fields, I've noticed that people's motivations for getting up in front of an audience are different. Some want to -- need to -- be up there performing because it's hard-wired into them. Others do it because they want to act, or sing, or tell jokes, or whatever. And there are shades of gray in between.

But what I've also noticed is that the ones who seem to be "hard wired" for performing are the ones who put the most work into it: they are the ones who take classes, get coaches, practice, audition over and over, do whatever they have to do to get ahead because that's what they want to be. They may start off with a little talent or a lot of talent, but they don't just sit on what they have: they want to improve. On the other hand, the ones who just want to act, sing, or whatever, are the ones who don't work at it, who do sit on what they have, who don't "need" classes or teachers, who go on doing what they do the same way over and over because they feel "they're already there." These are the stereotypical actors and others we often see in community theatre.

Between my 50 years paying dues to IBM, plus ten+ years hanging around the Café, plus watching countless YouTube videos and live performances, I believe it's the same in the case of magic. Some are hard-wired for performing while others just want to fool people. There's nothing wrong with either one, but I think the difference in motivation is what makes some want help, while others don't want it.

"You can lead the horse to water, but you can't make it drink."
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

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hollywoo
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Receiving critical feedback hurts in any field.

Part of it is shame, fear that anyone pointing out flaws means the whole thing is junk, and by extension, maybe we're not as good as we thought we were (which may or may not be the case), or worse, that somehow a flaw in a performance we worked hard on reflects on our worth as people.

Part of it is a different kind of fear, that somehow if someone else has input, it'll lose what makes our performance uniquely ours.

The solution to both of these is self-worth and self-compassion. Your value as a person is not contingent on your performance, and your value as a performer can only go up from getting feedback. And feedback is just that. Nobody can make you change what you do. Listen to the advice, consider whether it's true, and if it is, adjust, while if it isn't, shrug it off.

The thing is, when someone says, "x isn't working, what if you do y?" what they mean probably isn't, "x sucks, you should do y." What they probably mean is, "I'm not sure x is the best approach to what it seems you're trying to do, so here's suggestion y that may or may not work better." And if that isn't what they mean, that's how you should interpret it anyway.

That isn't to say this is easy. It's something I struggle with myself (albeit not in magic since I haven't gotten to the point of performing anything more than a trick or two for friends).

None of this has to do with Gordon Ramsey, though. Critique one-on-one or with a group of peers who will likewise have their turn to be critiqued seems great, but having an expert yell at me that I'm terrible at something I've worked at for years on international television would not sit well with me.

Plus I can't see how a show like that would work without major exposure.
landmark
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Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art, as Mr. Stanislavsky used to say.
Pop Haydn
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My grandmother was an abstract painter in Virginia who studied art in NYC, married to my grandfather who was self-made man who never finished High School. He made money in furniture and real estate. Sometimes she would make him come into the studio to see what he thought of her newest painting. He would always say something stupid, like "It needs more red here." She would get mad and throw him out of the studio. Then she would look at the painting. She told me he gave the stupidest advice possible, but he always pointed to the place that needed work. She said that is how she takes all advice. Look where they are pointing, don't listen to what they say about it.
WitchDocChris
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Quote:
Look where they are pointing, don't listen to what they say about it.


That's good. That puts into words a way I've been thinking about critiques for some time. Thanks!
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
lynnef
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Quote:
On Jul 22, 2017, WitchDocChris wrote:
Quote:
Look where they are pointing, don't listen to what they say about it.


That's good. That puts into words a way I've been thinking about critiques for some time. Thanks!



A succinct definition of misdirection! Thanks to Pop's Grandma! Lynn
Pop Haydn
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In magic, we are usually our own writers, directors, special effects person, actors and businessmen. Most of us don't have training in any of these fields. It isn't easy to write the song, sing it, play the music and book the act without training.
foolsnobody
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Quote:
On Jul 5, 2017, tommy wrote:
My uncle Johnny Gough was England’s top professional gambler and his only advice to part-timers was - Don’t: It's like a fashion model trying to be a Rugby forward.

To be good successful one needs to work hard full-time every day studying one's game and putting into practice what one knows.

In any field of endeavour, most are part-timers, giving one another tips.




Such is life.


Thanks for this Tommy. The song is called "Fugue for Tinhorns" and is one of my favorites from Guys and Dolls. The middle guy, Stubby Kaye, also did a fine job on "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat." He was in the original Broadway cast as well; I don't know about the other two guys.
tommy
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You are welcome.
Stubby Kaye as Nicely-Nicely Johnson
Johnny Silver as Benny Southstreet
Danny Dayton as Rusty Charlie - the tall guy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danny_Dayton

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0798721/
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
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