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Profile of asif
Hello friends,

It's been sometime since I posted here. Tried stage manipulation for the first time in my life. It was fun, here's the link
Pls let me know your thoughts on this.
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Profile of Ronin
Hi Asif,

Looks great for a first try at stage manipulation--I had a lot of fun watching it.

Some specific (and occasionally nit-picky) points:

I liked how the bubbles are nice fit with the feel of the music, followed by the rather dynamic choreography with the first ball appearance/transformation, which made for a nice contrast in the energy of the piece.

With that dynamic start, I felt that the couple of seconds spent screwing on the cap of the bubble solution bottle at :27 was a little bit of an energy drain, a bit of housekeeping that seemed inconsistent with the character you seemed to be portraying. Perhaps just one quick twist of the top, then place it into a designated holding spot in the box that will keep it from tipping over after?

I felt the choreography of the silk appearance at :46 was a bit muddy. The ball is on top of L. fist. R hand takes ball, and the silk appears in the L hand, whereupon the R hand shows the ball vanish. As a way of transforming a ball into a silk (which is what I think you were trying to do), this felt like a convoluted sequence of events to get there.

You've got a nice presence on camera. That made the shadowy lighting a little problematic for me, the way your face kept going into shadow. Also the way you would occasionally turn your body away from the audience/camera, like at the 1:00 minute mark as you tie the knot in the silk, and later at about the 2:50 mark.

I like the way you build up to the magic with the knot vanish at about 1:14. If your intent was to make the knot transform into the ball, the timing seemed off--the fact that the knot vanishes visibly from the silk, and then the ball is in your R. hand disconnected the two bits of magic. I.e., would it be more "logical" to have the R. hand pluck the knot off the silk, and then open the R hand to show that the knot has transformed into the ball?

I like the playful attitude you bring into the routine at about 1:26 with the non-vanish of the ball, it made a nice change of tone, and I loved your handling of the actual vanish--very magical. But the way you turn your head away as the vanish occurs seemed a little off to me. I'm guessing that you were trying to communicate that the ball is magically transporting itself to the box? If so, turning your head away BEFORE showing the vanish of the ball seemed to just muddy the plot. Perhaps playing it as a "ball is now invisible, now I'm watching it fly invisibly through the air, now I'm watching it land in the box" sequence with your eyes and body? Or a kind of Richard Ross-ian subtext:

(ball vanishes)
(magician looks at empty hand, looks at audience. Subtext: where'd it go?)
(magician glances at the floor, the ball's not there. Pauses. Looks deliberately at the box, glances at the audience. Subtext: you don't think...?)
(magician produces ball from box, displays it to audience. Subtext: Well, whaddaya know!)

The continuous ball production sequence at 1:42 is another nice fit with the music. However, the rapid pace of the movement made it a little difficult for me to register the magic going on--the tempo of the placing of the ball in the box and the appearance of the ball was all the same, with no pauses to register the appearance of the ball. I also think that there's an inherent humor in this kind of continuous production sequence, a chance to connect with the audience, and that not playing into that is a missed opportunity.

At the 1:52 mark, you place a ball in the box with your L hand, and immediately adjust your R sleeve with the L hand. This made me wonder, did he just sneak a ball under his arm? Did he just do something fishy?

The section from about 1:55 to about 3:05 was where I had the most problems. The section from about 2:00--2:20, where your body is hunched over and so much in shadow felt a little awkward to watch. Also, like with the continuous ball production sequence, this section seems to just speed through, with little opportunity for the audience to appreciate the magical effects.

The appearance of the second ball at 2:00 seems kind of lost. Partly because of your hunched over body position, partly because of the shadow. I found it difficult to tell where my focus was supposed to be, with the hands in near continuous motion, and the fact that you don't pause to let the appearance register lets it get kind of lost in the shuffle. I had a similar problem with the transposition of the ball from hand to hand at 2:04--I found it hard to keep track of.

From 2:07--2:18 you do a lot of hand spinning to no apparent purpose, and your hands are so close in to your chest that it looked awkward and suspicious to me. Several times during this sequence I get the idea that you're doing "something funny".

At 2:20, a third ball appears and transposes to the L hand at 2:22. Again, the rapid pace made it hard for me to register--and appreciate--the magic. The fact that you don't bother to pause for the magic (like here and at 2:00--2:04 mark and the continuous ball production back at 1:42) makes you seem a little indifferent to the magic happening.

The whole section from about 2:25--3:05 felt very muddy to me, and much too rushed. I just found it difficult to keep track of how many balls you had at any given time, how many in which hand, and what was appearing or disappearing when. There was a sense that *something* was happening, it was just a little hard for me to tell exactly what.

I like that the routine regains some focus at 3:05, with just one ball centerstage, as it were. The rhythm of the color change seemed to project a lot of guilt at the wrong moment. Similarly, a lot of your big movements (at about 3:40, 3:44 and 3:47) during this section feel a bit too much like attempts to hide something, or at least like large movements that aren't sufficiently motivated.

The streamer production is a really nice ta-da way to end. But the second streamer felt redundant to me.

My opinion is that a little manipulation goes a long way, so your routine felt a little long to me. Since your routine didn't have a direct plot (like "one ball turns into two turns into three turns into four"), it felt a bit like David Devant's classic critique of billiard ball manipulation:

"The manipulator finds the temptation strong upon him to linger lovingly over sleights, passes and palms galore, whilst losing sight of the ultimate effect on the mind of his audience...On being asked afterwards what the conjuror did with a billiard ball the spectator probably replied, 'Oh, all sorts of things.'"

I've found it challenging to present manipulation routines. The problem of how to motivate the different phases of a routine, for one thing. The question of how much to sell it as magic and how much to sell it as fancy sleight of hand, for another. I've just finished working up my first billiard ball manipulation routine, and don't feel like I've solved all the problems, though the routine seems to go over well with audiences. Anyway, I may be projecting some of my difficulties of my own work onto yours, sorry if that's the case.

I love that you seem to have gone for selling your routine as magical, as opposed to fancy sleight of hand (not that I'm overlooking the hard work you put into the sleights!). But, in my opinion, in a billiard manipulation routine, one ball vanish/reappearance or color change starts to look like another, limiting the number of effects one can do in the routine before it starts to get a little redundant in the minds of the audience.

I think you did a nice job of matching the effects and their choreography to the tone of the music, issues of tempo aside. I suspect that setting your routine to such a relatively long piece of music is what made the routine (again, just my opinion) overly long. Finding a good piece of music and choreographing to it was one of the hardest things I encountered when building my own routine (and I'm still not sure that I've really solved the problem fully).

Anyway, thanks for sharing this. As I said at the outset, I think it was a terrific effort for your first try at stage manipulation. You've obviously got chops and nice esthetics, and I'll look forward to seeing anything else you care to post.
David Hirata

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta."
--Federico Fellini
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Profile of asif
Ronin am awestruck by your review. You really blowed me off man Smile.That was like frame by frame .I will surely need some time to go through this and will surely disturb you with my doubts,LOL.
Once again a big thanks from my side Ron:)
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Profile of debjit
That was a pretty nice act. I do think you were slightly nervous and hence dropped the props a few times but at least you continued performing without missing a beat. I wasn't a fan of the music though. And were you directly performing to a camera or to an audience?
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Profile of asif
Hi Debjit, thank you for your comments. And yeah I've been performing to a live audience. I've to work on my choreography now.
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