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Kaliix
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I never had a problem with "finger cutting" rope. I don't see how one can argue that FC a rope isn't magical when magicians by their very definition do the impossible. It shouldn't be possible to pass a ring through a solid piece of rope. Neither is it possible to stretch ropes and make them even, nor is it possible to cut pieces off a rope and put them back on. It isn't possible to cut a rope and then restore it, or have knots dissolve off. But somehow, after showing a rope whole and then performing magic with it and the ring, it isn't magical to cut the rope with your finger??? Come on...

When I was trying to learn Williamson's rope routine, I practiced it on my sister-in-law. She is one of those types who like to catch magicians on stuff, to figure out how we do something and she would never hesitate to tell me how I did something if she figured it out. When I finger cut that rope, her mouth dropped. She had no clue how it was done and it was actually the most magical part of the routine for her. Finger cutting is fine. IMHO, YMMV...
The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.
~Daniel J. Boorstin
funsway
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"Come on... " -- OK, since you asked.

I might agree to your view if you restored the rope AFTER the finger cut and passed the rope out.
Did you not use scissors before? Why if you can cut it with your fingers?

For me, one key to sustaining the illusion of "must be magic" is to avoid any action that might suggest something suspicious. (a tell?)

It is similar to using a wand in only one routine and not others. Do use it in only one trick draws attention the wand as a track.

You may do it differently, but I have never seen a finger cut offered as anything other than a flourish or humorous diversion.
Fine from the entertainment angle, but possibly diluting the desired "must be magic" memory.

Maybe the difference is that I don't strive for "magical." I desire a long term memory of "no explanation except magic."
I do not want the "cut" to be anything but a normal action and often let a spectator do it. The "inexplicable phenomenon" comes later.

I do not "do the impossible." I orchestrate conditions under which magic accomplishes results not normally possible.

"magical" is not part of any definition I know.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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countrymaven
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To me, finger cutting ropes, after a penetration, is like
floating a lady, then making a support "appear" under her, out of the blue.
I just don't think it contributes to the realism of the effect. this is true for the cut and restored rope, for me too.
I don't really care if all the top magicians said this was the only right way to do it, for me it is wrong.
the people I work for are not stupid. I know audiences can differ. Normally, it is not the audiences' intelligence that differs so much, mostly it starts with the mentally challenged assumptions the performers make. I don't need to justify a move or routine to save a little rope. I can come up with another move or presentation that would achieve something else.

this is my take on it. If you want to finger cut and also reveal how you do it, that is fine. that is just not my style. I also don't like fancy flourishes. I am trying to diminish any way they could explain this other than magic. don't blow your Christmas tree bulbs over this, ok? Merry Christmas.
Al Schneider
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Here is a new thought.
My big thing with magic is studying the theory behind it.
My point of view of what makes magic entertaining has changed.
I also have a point of view of what makes magic amazing.
These are two different things.
Of course I am willing to listen to your opinion.
This is let you know this idea will be abhorrent to many.
But, letís cut to the chase.
When something appears very magical but a method can be discerned, the something is very entertaining. The audience responds to this enthusiastically.
When something appears very magical and a method cannot be discerned, the audience is stunned and do not respond enthusiastically.
Example: The vanishing bird cage gets little response but is often the most talked about trick after the show.
Example: A ribbon of cards pulled from the mouth always gets a grand response.
The point: Entertainment is highest when the audience sees something magical but can discern a method.
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
funsway
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Thanks for posting that Al. I agree but hadn't yet put it into words.

Methinks that many today seem to prefer card tricks because they know they are tricks. They don't care to figure out method or need to - just enjoy.
Some are obvious skill demonstrations with flourishes and dexterity. That's OK too - not much magic, but OK. (Clown magic??)
Performers may confuse loudness of applause with appreciation of magic.

For many traditional effects like C&B and Linking Rings many have an idea of method, perhaps from an old magic kit.
Thus, they don't have to search for a method -- just enjoy. Of course, you cross them up with something impossible with a standard method and magic sets.

Many mentalists say that their prediction effects get rave reviews. Yup, since they know the future isn't fixed it must be a trick - sit back and be entertained.

Get into telepathy without huge props or obvious sleight of hand and you get more silence and more appreciative nods - an affirmation of what they feel is possible.

Could be that as more and more folks cry "entertain me" they are just looking for the endorphin rush and "magical' never happens at all.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Kaliix
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Your right, I did ask, but you didn't answer. The point I made is that magicians do impossible things all the time with a variety of objects, so explain what makes finger cutting rope any different? I don't see David Williamson's routine or Chad Chesmarks routine suffering from any of the points you offered but maybe I missed something.





Quote:
On Dec 13, 2018, funsway wrote:
"Come on... " -- OK, since you asked.

I might agree to your view if you restored the rope AFTER the finger cut and passed the rope out.
Did you not use scissors before? Why if you can cut it with your fingers?

For me, one key to sustaining the illusion of "must be magic" is to avoid any action that might suggest something suspicious. (a tell?)

It is similar to using a wand in only one routine and not others. Do use it in only one trick draws attention the wand as a track.

You may do it differently, but I have never seen a finger cut offered as anything other than a flourish or humorous diversion.
Fine from the entertainment angle, but possibly diluting the desired "must be magic" memory.

Maybe the difference is that I don't strive for "magical." I desire a long term memory of "no explanation except magic."
I do not want the "cut" to be anything but a normal action and often let a spectator do it. The "inexplicable phenomenon" comes later.

I do not "do the impossible." I orchestrate conditions under which magic accomplishes results not normally possible.

"magical" is not part of any definition I know.
The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.
~Daniel J. Boorstin
funsway
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I did answer. Just because someone is a successful entertainer does not mean that what they do is magic. There is a huge difference between doing something to get a laugh
and demonstrating something inexplicable for which there is not rationale explanation. Even worse for me is "exposure" of method by providing a hint of what might be an answer.
How does saying, "See, the ropes were a different length all the time enhance "must be magic" in the story told after?

But, the audience laughs and applauds so it must be wonderful, right? Too bad if it is the next magician who suffers from the exposure.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Kanawati
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Maybe the impact of a trick on an audience (stunned silence vs laughter and applause) also has to do with what your objectives are, what you want your audience to experience? I saw a clip of Paul Daniels doing the vanishing birdcage and his presentation was structured to entertain. Iím sure many in the audience would not have been able to guess how he vanished the cage. Iíve seen some performances on AGT or BGT that took things to another level in terms of looking magical. Yet they seem to elicit strong responses from the audiences. Anyway, Iím not sure if Iím giving you good examples but you got me thinking! John
Kanawati
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Btw. Iím not a fan of cutting the rope with fingers either. And I donít do it. But after cutting the rope David Williamson does do a second cut (he sends a small piece flying) which I think can serve to throw an audience off.
Kaliix
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Yes, you wrote a nice paragraph that totally avoided actually answering THE question, which was, for the record, "magicians do impossible things all the time with a variety of objects, so explain what makes finger cutting rope any different?" Any chance you can respond to the actual question I asked???

Finger cutting is no different then taking the "ends" off the rope. That exposes the gaff and shows exactly how it's done, but when done correctly, it looks magical and no one is the wiser. See Chesmark's fuse welded part in his routine as evidence.


Quote:
On Mar 7, 2019, funsway wrote:
I did answer. Just because someone is a successful entertainer does not mean that what they do is magic. There is a huge difference between doing something to get a laugh
and demonstrating something inexplicable for which there is not rationale explanation. Even worse for me is "exposure" of method by providing a hint of what might be an answer.
How does saying, "See, the ropes were a different length all the time enhance "must be magic" in the story told after?

But, the audience laughs and applauds so it must be wonderful, right? Too bad if it is the next magician who suffers from the exposure.
The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.
~Daniel J. Boorstin
Kaliix
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I agree that finger cutting can be done poorly. I must be part of a whole routine in which the finger cut makes sense (but that can said for most magical moves in general). I think Williamson's finger cut makes sense in the routine and has nice convincer in that smaller piece flying off.

Quote:
On Mar 8, 2019, Kanawati wrote:
Btw. Iím not a fan of cutting the rope with fingers either. And I donít do it. But after cutting the rope David Williamson does do a second cut (he sends a small piece flying) which I think can serve to throw an audience off.
The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.
~Daniel J. Boorstin
Bill Hegbli
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For me, it is a clear path to method of the other effects in the routine. As I stated earlier, if different lengths were cut, that may prove it is possible to magically cut rope with only the fingers, but to only cut an eight inch piece of rope off once, is questionable. In other words proof through repetition.

That is my opinion and I am not trying to justify or change anyone else of their views. If you like the finger cut, use it.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
RLFrame
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"The point: Entertainment is highest when the audience sees something magical but can discern a method." Quite a profound point by Al Schneider. I think it is spot on too... for most magic. A comedian, I think Seinfeld (?) talked about why he disliked magic something like, "The coin is gone, I'm an idiot." When "no method can be discerned" adults can feel frustrated and stupid... which can strongly interfere with the entertainment value.

My thoughts on this are that "most magic" tricks have no point in their doing aside from the attempt to show something that the audience knows is contrary to the laws of nature and so fool them. Henning Nelms suggested decades ago that adding purpose and meaning to effects greatly reduces the challenge atmosphere, the "I'm an idiot" outcome also reduced, so people can better enjoy effects which look truly impossible.
imgic
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Quote:
On Mar 7, 2019, Kanawati wrote:
Btw. Iím not a fan of cutting the rope with fingers either. And I donít do it. But after cutting the rope David Williamson does do a second cut (he sends a small piece flying) which I think can serve to throw an audience off.


As Davaid Williamson explains this bit in his ring & rope routine,he mentions how much he loves it..and how he does the routine just to do that second cutting bit. Itís that's strong. And yes, it does throw audience off.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Al Schneider
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RLFrame

I think the Seinfeld comment was, "Look, a quarter, its gone, you're stupid."

I appreciate your appreciation of my point. However, I would like to add to some of your thoughts.

Your comment "When 'no method can be discerned' adults can feel frustrated and stupid." is probably accurate for the way most magicians perform. I believe it does not need to be that way. Long ago I discovered how to change that perspective. Most magicians and most on this forum wish to see the effect of their magic on the audience. Thus, when they do something magical they watch the paying customers reaction. This action can squash the appreciation of the effect. Consider what the customer sees when a silver dollar disappears. They see the coin. Some change occurs and suddenly the coin is gone. If the magi is doing his job well, the spec could be shocked. Most guys on this forum have that capability. Now consider the what the spec is seeing and perhaps feeling. He or she just saw physics violated. The person must be feeling some kind of internal shock. I think a person can suddenly feel exposed. Something happened they cannot explain. Maybe they feel inadequate or as Seinfeld would say, stupid.

Its kinda like the time I dumped my motorcycle. I just bought it and hit some gravel. I did not know how to handle it and slid and fell. The first thing going through my mind was if anybody saw me do something stupid.

Can a person feel that way when something happens they cannot explain? In my mind this is very real. Now, this person just saw a miracle. Would they be worried that they wonder what others think of them. After all the person's intelligence is being challenged.

Then! And then the moment the coin disappears they look into the eyes of the performer staring directly at them.

How would that make you feel?

This is nothing about doing magic. It is about treating people with respect.

I have a solution that you may find at least interesting. While performing and I hit that point where the magic happens, I do not look at the audience. I find some reason to look away.

During my long involvement with magic I have always had trouble observing my audience because I never look at them when the magic happens. I can hear what is going on but I cannot see. I have had a friend watch a performance so they can later describe what I could not see.
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Kaliix
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I stated my hypothesis (magicians do magical things... what makes rope any different) and challenged people to answer that question. You can have any opinion you want. If you don't feel the need to discuss it, don't. If you just want to have an opinion, please do. But the minute you start trying to justify that "opinion" with reason, logic and argument, a discussion of those reasons, logic or arguments is bound to follow. People might even, gasp, challenge your logic/argument. I would think you would understand the difference.

Quote:
On Mar 8, 2019, Bill Hegbli wrote:
For me, it is a clear path to method of the other effects in the routine. As I stated earlier, if different lengths were cut, that may prove it is possible to magically cut rope with only the fingers, but to only cut an eight inch piece of rope off once, is questionable. In other words proof through repetition.

That is my opinion and I am not trying to justify or change anyone else of their views. If you like the finger cut, use it.


I'm with David Williamson on this one as he's done this rope routine for decades and I feel like he would know if the finger cut maneuver didn't play.

Quote:
On Apr 13, 2019, imgic wrote:
As Davaid Williamson explains this bit in his ring and rope routine,he mentions how much he loves it..and how he does the routine just to do that second cutting bit. Itís that's strong. And yes, it does throw audience off.
The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.
~Daniel J. Boorstin
Kaliix
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I will say Bill, I recently observed someone who did a fairly simple, repetitive, rope routine in which the rope was finger cut several times. In that case, I totally agree with you about the finger cut. It was not strong, nor really motivated and wasn't terribly impressive.

Quote:
On Mar 8, 2019, Bill Hegbli wrote:
For me, it is a clear path to method of the other effects in the routine. As I stated earlier, if different lengths were cut, that may prove it is possible to magically cut rope with only the fingers, but to only cut an eight inch piece of rope off once, is questionable. In other words proof through repetition.

That is my opinion and I am not trying to justify or change anyone else of their views. If you like the finger cut, use it.
The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.
~Daniel J. Boorstin
Kanawati
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Al, Many thanks for sharing that piece of psychology about not looking at the audience at the point when the magic happens. I've never heard anyone mention this before and I've never considered it. I'm now consciously trying to incorporate this in my routines. John
John Long
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Al:

Why would you look away? Away from where the magic is occurring?
Wouldn't' the spectator tend to also look away from where the magic is occurring, and miss it!? (at least miss what happens at that moment)

Couldn't your concern be met by looking at where the magic is occurring ?

John
funsway
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John, I think he means breaking eye contact with the observer - not glancing away from the coin or card. Magic happens in the mind of the observer - that is where you do not look.

This is why the apparent "moment of magic" is best other than where the tricky stuff actually occurs.

Not sure about how guilty or subconscious a spectator feels after a magic experience, but their mental focus is certainly diverted,
and they do not need another distraction to complicate matters. A pause may be required for them to safely tuck the memory away.

A good performer provides the moment before moving on to the next "thought commanding event."

However, neuroscience suggests that younger folks today process information differently from "pre-screen" observers. (distraction resolution)
Your best effect from the 90's may not rget the same responde today regardless of where you look. It is just one factor to consider in audience engagement.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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