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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Running when you are not being chased (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

PatUmphrey
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Running when you are not being chased


I have seen several uses of the phrase “That’s running when you are not being chased”. I have openly disagreed with some of these uses (and I am sure people will openly disagree with me, as they have, and I respect that), but I failed to elaborate on this. I wish to do so now. I would really like people to respond to this with their thoughts.


The reason that running when you are not being chased is bad, is because the SPECTATOR will often sense something awkward. (In other words, they can sense when you are running because you are over-proving something that doesn’t need to be addressed). A good example of this is showing that the selected card is not on the top or bottom of the deck. The spectator just saw the card go into the middle, and to show that it isn’t on the top or bottom is awkward from the spectator’s viewpoint. Another example is to show a card via DL, and then set the card down and mention its' name a few more times, as if to convince the spectators that it really is the card you just showed. It is this over-proving that reads funny and the spectator can pick up on it at some level. That is the key to this whole thing. The reason 'running when you aren't being chased' is bad is because the spectator can pick up on it and it can weaken your magic.

For instance, suppose I choose to make sure that my gaffed cards match my deck. While you are not being chased, this is not running and this is not bad, because the spectator does not know that I went through the pain of matching my cards. This is a preventative measure to ensure that I am not going to be chased, but it is not "running" by any means. It is not perceived by the spectator, so it will not read funny at all.

Likewise, having a spectator return a card to the deck in the same manner in which they took the card, is not running. The spectator has absolutely no indication that I am trying to prove or accomplish something, and therefore it cannot read funny. What I mean is, if they pick it from a fan and return it to a fan, they do not know that I am trying to accomplish anything or prove anything, so they do not assume that I am running.

It seems that people think that they can only improve or change something if they are being chased (if the spectator “says something”), and furthermore it seems as though people assume that if you change or modify something because you believe it is better, even though no spectator has "busted" you, you are running.

There is nothing wrong with taking measures to assure that your spectators do not have an “out”, or a “solution” to your magic. Having props examined, making your gaffs match your deck, or choosing to use certain sleights because you think they are more natural, are all methods by which you reduce the chance for suspicion. But this is not “running when you are not being chased”, and it is not a bad thing because it is not perceived as awkward.

Based on some of the uses of this phrase, I could easily argue that rolling up your sleeves prior to a performance is “running when you aren’t being chased”. To me, it clearly isn’t. It is just smart and pre-emptive.

Please respond with any thoughts,

Pat Umphrey
“And you’ve got a perfectly logical reason for showing the cards like this” -Harry Lorayne

“Paging Mr. Herman” –Rafael Benetar
mysticz
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Quote:
On 2002-08-20 14:34, PatUmphrey wrote:

Likewise, having a spectator return a card to the deck in the same manner in which they took the card, is not running. The spectator has absolutely no indication that I am trying to prove or accomplish something, and therefore it cannot read funny. What I mean is, if they pick it from a fan and return it to a fan, they do not know that I am trying to accomplish anything or prove anything, so they do not assume that I am running.


However, if you have the spectator return his/her fan-chosen card to the pack in a seemingly fair process that does not involve having him/her insert it back in the same fan (e.g., placed back in the pack as it is cut), I don't believe the spectator is likely to question that process either. The obsessive concern with a "foolish consistency" may not be "running when not being chased," but it is a rigid, rather narrow concept to adapt to all of your magic.

Quote:
It seems that people think that they can only improve or change something if they are being chased (if the spectator ?says something?), and furthermore it seems as though people assume that if you change or modify something because you believe it is better, even though no spectator has "busted" you, you are running.


Modifying what you do to improve your magic is certainly a good thing and is not what I would classify as "running..." My problem with the theory that everything must be accomplished in the same, consistent fashion (i.e., the "foolish consistency" theory) is that it unnecessarily limits what you can do without adding any meaningful conviction to your actions. In other words, the consistency doesn't necessarily make your actions any more believable to the spectator. You aren't "running," but you are applying needless limitations to your actions.

Joe Z.
Joe Zabel
"Psychic Sorcery"

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

-- Shakespeare's Hamlet I.v. 174-175
Sid Mayer
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Possibly the worst of these crimes is, "I have here a perfectly ordinary ..."

It's a sure way to make a person wonder.

Unless it's something truly inane such as, "I have here a perfectly ordinary dove pan."

Sid
All the world's a stage ... and everybody on it is overacting.
Garrett Nelson
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"I have here a perfectly ordinary half-dollar in a shell, hanging by perfectly normal invisible thread."
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