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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Basic structure of any magic affect (9 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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suyash
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What do you think are the most fundamental elements of the structure of any magic affect or trick?

I think the following:

1. Setup : This can be done before or during
2. Misdirection: This is where the the affects takes a 'turn'. For lay audience this is not yet noticeable but for magician, this is where the he changes "reality" of the lay person.
3. Ta-Da aka Reveal : This is the finale, where for the lay person sees the magic affect happening. e.g a transformation occurs

I'm trying to focus on the basic structure without going into other topics such as story or patter as they are another topics all by themselves.

Please consider your favorite trick, would you say this structure is pretty universal, too broad, are there more elements to it?
tommy
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I think so but while the basic structure of the magic experiment is the same there is a difference between our magic and charlatan magic, a difference which lies in the way it is presented, the dressing. The basic structure of the magic experiment it seems to me is like that of an apparently step by step rational experiment, wherein a step or so is not actually true, which in effect results in an irrational outcome, an illusion, a distortion of the truth. The way the illusion is created is a matter of secret methods, techniques, skill. The art of it lies in the presentation - the dressing, the bosh. The two are interrelated, however, I mean, the bosh can be used for misdirection as well amusement.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
writeall
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Effect, not affect.
danaruns
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I think the fundamental elements of any magic trick are:

The effect (that which the audience perceives)

The misdirection.

The secret.


I also think the fundamental elements to the performance of any magic trick are:

The physical movement

The verbal patter

The psychology
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Jonathan Townsend
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Let's not blindly adopt the Chrisopher Priest wink about "Pledge, Turn, Prestige". It might be more sensible to go with Aristotle's "Ethos, Pathos, Logos" to get context and character involved before the particular situation setup before the magic is claimed. Did you like what the book "Our Magic" offered on the topic? Was there something in M&D's discussion and examples you found lacking?

Darwin Ortiz wrote a fine book on magic effect design, "Designing Miracles".
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Pop Haydn
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Every magic trick is an argument for, and demonstration of an impossible event. Every magic trick should be designed to make it easy for the spectator to tell the story of what he witnessed and be able to defend it.
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Aug 22, 2017, Pop Haydn wrote:
Every magic trick is an argument for, and demonstration of an impossible event. Every magic trick should be designed to make it easy for the spectator to tell the story of what he witnessed and be able to defend it.

Yes and I think the key to your sentence is it would be easy for them to do so.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Gerald Deutsch
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1 To entertain
2 To fool the audience

(In that order.)
Pop Haydn
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Why does it have to entertain? I think it is a good idea, but there is a lot of art that doesn't "entertain."
Stellan
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Quote:
On Aug 22, 2017, Pop Haydn wrote:
Every magic trick should be designed to make it easy for the spectator to tell the story of what he witnessed and be able to defend it.


This is true for some, but not all tricks. Many,if not most, multi-phased tricks are designed with another purpose in mind. If this was the purpose many rope-routines, eggbag-routines etc would be constructed in a more simple way. Though I agree that the retelling is an important principle, there are tricks that serve a different purpose. They still should be clear and easy to follow. I have never heard anybody retell what happened during a Chinese Sticks routine.

I think that this has to do with that only two or three things stay with a spectator after a performance, the rest is more or less forgotten. It is better to construct a show and put emphasis on a couple of tricks that you really want to be retold than try to compete with every trick. Maybe you could say that some tricks are arguments, other tricks are stories.
"There is no reality, only perception."
Gerald Deutsch
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Quote:
On Aug 23, 2017, Pop Haydn wrote:
Why does it have to entertain? I think it is a good idea, but there is a lot of art that doesn't "entertain."



Because so many people find magic boring.
danaruns
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Quote:
On Aug 24, 2017, Gerald Deutsch wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 23, 2017, Pop Haydn wrote:
Why does it have to entertain? I think it is a good idea, but there is a lot of art that doesn't "entertain."



Because so many people find magic boring.


Not if you do it right.

What was it Max Maven said about magicians taking something which is inherently profound and making it trivial?
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Gerald Deutsch
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Quote:
On Aug 24, 2017, danaruns wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 24, 2017, Gerald Deutsch wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 23, 2017, Pop Haydn wrote:
Why does it have to entertain? I think it is a good idea, but there is a lot of art that doesn't "entertain."



Because so many people find magic boring.


Not if you do it right.

What was it Max Maven said about magicians taking something which is inherently profound and making it trivial?



But even if done right - even if done perfectly - if it isn't entertaining and if the audience is bored they may want to stay away from future magic performances.
tommy
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The magic does not entertain, which is why on the whole it is boring if you don’t use some bosh.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Aug 24, 2017, Gerald Deutsch wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 24, 2017, danaruns wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 24, 2017, Gerald Deutsch wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 23, 2017, Pop Haydn wrote:
Why does it have to entertain? I think it is a good idea, but there is a lot of art that doesn't "entertain."



Because so many people find magic boring.


Not if you do it right.

What was it Max Maven said about magicians taking something which is inherently profound and making it trivial?



But even if done right - even if done perfectly - if it isn't entertaining and if the audience is bored they may want to stay away from future magic performances.


I have heard magicians claim this and if that is your experience then so be it I won't argue that.

But in my experience people do not find magic done well boring in the least. Certainly those in a magic audience do not find it boring. I find opera boring, and therefore you do not find me in an audience of opera goers. (Opera is a fine art, the problem is me not opera by the way.) But it is sort of self selecting in that fashion isn't it? Or at least it should be.

I have no idea how so many magicians seem to find people who are bored by magic in an audience for a magic show. It boggles the mind.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Gerald Deutsch
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I am bored by much of the magic I see.

In some cases I see all the apparatus on the magician's table and I think "Oh no! He has to use all that stuff!"

But when I see a good magician I am entertained and I am delighted - whether I am fooled or not.
danaruns
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Quote:
On Aug 24, 2017, Gerald Deutsch wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 24, 2017, danaruns wrote:

Not if you do it right.

What was it Max Maven said about magicians taking something which is inherently profound and making it trivial?



But even if done right - even if done perfectly - if it isn't entertaining and if the audience is bored they may want to stay away from future magic performances.


I have recently taken to opening my close-up and parlor acts with a single-coin transposition that has almost no patter (the only thing I say is "grab my wrists" and "watch") and no movement except for one closing/opening of my hands. It is not an entertaining trick, and I make it a point not to say anything entertaining, as I want to strip it down to its simplest form, with all attention on my hands and the coin. But the magic effect is so strong that it's a tremendous hook. EVERYONE is interested after seeing.

I don't think there has been a single performance of it where I haven't heard people gasp and say things like, "No, no!" and "No way!" It's why I've taken to it as my opener. And then I vanish the coin in slow motion, which gets a similar response. (This is stuff I learned from Ben Earl, and if you know him, you know how strong his stuff is.)

The reason I mention that is because the coin transpo and vanish are not "entertaining," at all. But they are highly astonishing, and no one is ever bored by them. Indeed, they are captured! Lol! And as Pop says, it gives them a story of the impossible to tell and defend. And so it makes me think that magic need not be "entertaining" per se to be completely enrapturing.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Gerald Deutsch
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Synonyms and Antonyms of ENTERTAIN (FROM THE ON LINE THESAURUS)
“to cause (someone) to pass the time agreeably occupied.”

Perhaps it’s just a confusion of a definition.

If a magician comes out and expertly does a card trick using a beautifully executed pass and a series of double lifts done perfectly that may not “cause someone to pass the time agreeably occupied”.

It would seem that if anyone watches danuruas perform her single-coin transposition and if “the effect is so strong that it is a tremendous hook—"—and if “everyone is interested” the spectators have “passed the time agreeably occupied” and are “entertained”.
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Aug 24, 2017, Gerald Deutsch wrote:
I am bored by much of the magic I see.

In some cases I see all the apparatus on the magician's table and I think "Oh no! He has to use all that stuff!"

But when I see a good magician I am entertained and I am delighted - whether I am fooled or not.


Isn't all bad art bad? Do you appreciate poorly performed music?

Poor performance is poor performance. It has nothing to do with magic. I think you are needlessly confusing yourself and getting bogged down in definitions when there is no need.

The mechanics of the trick are not interesting to many. The mechanics of dance, or singing are similarly not that entertaining to many. This is not news.

Do not confuse the mechanics of how things get accomplished with the impact an audience has. It is possible you have experienced many who think that the method is the hook. But it is not.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
longhaired1
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I look forward to reading page 7 of this thread three months from now after it has devolved into full blown cyber fisticuffs.
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