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SamtheNotasBadasIWas

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hello all,

I was watching a documentary about magicians, I don't remember which it was, but the question came up about how much skill one should display before doing a trick. The guy doing the card tricks said that people know magic isn't real displaying card skills doesn't hurt anything and did some pretty impressive cardistry before his trick. Then there was a video of David Roth doing a coin routine in his understated style.

I was impressed with the cardist, but I thought the impact of Mr. Roth's coin trick, with no display of sleight of hand skill, made more of splash, at least with me it did. However, I understand that presentation is a big part of what is done in magic and it seems sometimes flashy is appropriate, i.e. big stage productions, and I love to watch a good show of cardistry, but my time is limited and if a move doesn't have a specific place in what I'm doing, I don't want to bother it. I'm curious to know how much flash you like to do in your tricks? What do you consider to be your rule of thumb in demonstrating your skills?

Thanks,
Sam

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Senor Fabuloso

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Reply with quote  #2 
Demonstrations of skill denote, expertise in the craft.  Ie flourishes makes one look, more professional.

While secret moves, should remain secret. So showing off a pass just because you can, is more self gratification, than entertainment.

Imo of course [wink]

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #3 
I think it all depends on style. Personally, I avoid flashy flourishes most of the time, but do execute several showy false cuts. (My performances are more understated and laid back.)

Cardistry impresses me when I see it done correctly, but it's not something I want to practice or use. If it is used in magic, I think it should be directly related to the effect, and not gratuitous. So, in essence I agree with your personal assessment, but as the Senor points out, it's a matter of opinion and style. If the Sybil cut fits, then wear it. 

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamtheNotsoMagnificent
Hello all,

I was watching a documentary about magicians, I don't remember which it was, but the question came up about how much skill one should display before doing a trick. The guy doing the card tricks said that people know magic isn't real displaying card skills doesn't hurt anything and did some pretty impressive cardistry before his trick. Then there was a video of David Roth doing a coin routine in his understated style.

I was impressed with the cardist, but I thought the impact of Mr. Roth's coin trick, with no display of sleight of hand skill, made more of splash, at least with me it did. However, I understand that presentation is a big part of what is done in magic and it seems sometimes flashy is appropriate, i.e. big stage productions, and I love to watch a good show of cardistry, but my time is limited and if a move doesn't have a specific place in what I'm doing, I don't want to bother it. I'm curious to know how much flash you like to do in your tricks? What do you consider to be your rule of thumb in demonstrating your skills?

Thanks,
Sam


Sam, there have been a number of threads where this topic has been discussed.  In general, I would say that it all depends upon the image you wish to create in the mind of the spectator.

Let me offer a few examples.  Let's say you are doing a gambling demonstration.  Many magicians do them, right?  Do any of them do gambling demos where all of the movements look like your Friday night game with your pals?  No, none of them really.  Instead they do flashy cuts, shuffles and waterfalls all over the place.  They leave no doubt for the spectator that they are in complete control of the cards.  Sometimes I think the deck might catch on fire because their running cuts are so fast.

Now let's say you did that presentation and followed it up with your best version of Ambitious Card.  Do you think they would be surprised?  Of course not, you just showed that you can do pretty much anything you want with a deck of cards.

Some use the magic versus juggling comparison and I think it is sometimes accurate.
A few will say that they generally eschew the use of any fancy moves but will do a "Hotshot Cut" or something similar at times.  So is that OK?  Can you walk both sides of the fence?  

The answer lies in you.  Some can carry it off and some maybe not so much.  

Old magic books used to recommend against "finger flinging".  Cardistry is finger flinging on steroids.  It doesn't have to include magic effects, but it often does.  So are the effects diminished because they are surrounded by card juggling?  That is for you to decide.  I don't think there is a consensus.

Much more to say but a lot has been said in other threads.  

As you yourself pointed out, your experience was impacted by a person's style, their lack of flair.  So if that is important to you and you wish your audience to experience the same feeling then I suppose you should think hard about how you present your magic.

Are you the skilled performer that can manipulate objects and exhibit complete dominion over them?  Or are you more of a "facilitator" where you allow the objects to take on a life of their own and become more of the focus.

There are as many opinions on this as there are magicians and countless examples where lines are crossed.  

If you do a trick where the deck changes color do you want the audience to believe:

A.  It is a trick deck
B.  You used your skill to switch decks or something
C.  You really do have super powers and we need to go buy lottery tickets asap!

If you have three spectators, depending upon your presentation you might get all three responses.

So in the end, everyone has to decide what they want to be.  How do I want to be perceived.  Do I want them to know it is ME that is responsible for the magic, or do I want there to be a little doubt?  Do I want it to be a little more in doubt.
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Chi Han

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Reply with quote  #5 
I mostly agree with RayJ. I think where we'll differ is when and what types of tricks the effect will be harmed or enhanced by the skill. I'd also say it depends on the style and audience. No audience is the same, and being able to read them is a huge thing.

That said, while my more understated style leans towards not using advanced cardistry, I don't use that as an excuse not to learn it. I enjoy doing very basic cardistry, and if I had more time would devote myself more to it. To me, if you know how to do something and choose not to do it, that's a performers choice and a step towards finding your style. If you don't do something because you can't do it, then you haven't really chosen anything. Of course it isn't practical to learn everything, but if someone else made an artistic decision to use a skill they have put time towards, I won't be offering criticism about their routines unless I myself could do what they can.

This means the magic tricks of say Dan and Dave Buck are beyond my critique (although I have slowly begun learning a few of their routines), but someone like Lennart Green who I have studied a lot more, I am better able to say what I like or don't, and why I deviate from his ideas a little more (at least in terms of tricks and routining, dramatic concerns and things like character are a little trickier to talk about).
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SamtheNotasBadasIWas

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


Sam, there have been a number of threads where this topic has been discussed.  In general, I would say that it all depends upon the image you wish to create in the mind of the spectator.

Let me offer a few examples.  Let's say you are doing a gambling demonstration.  Many magicians do them, right?  Do any of them do gambling demos where all of the movements look like your Friday night game with your pals?  No, none of them really.  Instead they do flashy cuts, shuffles and waterfalls all over the place.  They leave no doubt for the spectator that they are in complete control of the cards.  Sometimes I think the deck might catch on fire because their running cuts are so fast.

Now let's say you did that presentation and followed it up with your best version of Ambitious Card.  Do you think they would be surprised?  Of course not, you just showed that you can do pretty much anything you want with a deck of cards.

Some use the magic versus juggling comparison and I think it is sometimes accurate.
A few will say that they generally eschew the use of any fancy moves but will do a "Hotshot Cut" or something similar at times.  So is that OK?  Can you walk both sides of the fence?  

The answer lies in you.  Some can carry it off and some maybe not so much.  

Old magic books used to recommend against "finger flinging".  Cardistry is finger flinging on steroids.  It doesn't have to include magic effects, but it often does.  So are the effects diminished because they are surrounded by card juggling?  That is for you to decide.  I don't think there is a consensus.

Much more to say but a lot has been said in other threads.  

As you yourself pointed out, your experience was impacted by a person's style, their lack of flair.  So if that is important to you and you wish your audience to experience the same feeling then I suppose you should think hard about how you present your magic.

Are you the skilled performer that can manipulate objects and exhibit complete dominion over them?  Or are you more of a "facilitator" where you allow the objects to take on a life of their own and become more of the focus.

There are as many opinions on this as there are magicians and countless examples where lines are crossed.  

If you do a trick where the deck changes color do you want the audience to believe:

A.  It is a trick deck
B.  You used your skill to switch decks or something
C.  You really do have super powers and we need to go buy lottery tickets asap!

If you have three spectators, depending upon your presentation you might get all three responses.

So in the end, everyone has to decide what they want to be.  How do I want to be perceived.  Do I want them to know it is ME that is responsible for the magic, or do I want there to be a little doubt?  Do I want it to be a little more in doubt.


I guess I should have used the search function, but sometimes it is hard to know what keyword to use to look something up. Magicians have their own technical lingo, which I am still learning.

cheers,
Sam

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #7 
Sam, I hope you didn't think I was lecturing you to use the search function.  That is not my style.  I was merely suggesting that there are other threads where it was discussed and that it might be good to search them out.  You are right, it is difficult at times to even find threads depending on the verbiage.

I've seen forum members on other sites lambasted for not doing their research or looking up subjects before posting about them.  I've also seen people made fun of for resurrecting so-called "zombie threads".  Well, I think reviving old threads is awesome because there have been many that I never, ever would have found had it not been for the resurrection of the old thread.

All is well friend!
Ray
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
Sam, I hope you didn't think I was lecturing you to use the search function.  That is not my style.  I was merely suggesting that there are other threads where it was discussed and that it might be good to search them out.  You are right, it is difficult at times to even find threads depending on the verbiage.

I've seen forum members on other sites lambasted for not doing their research or looking up subjects before posting about them.  I've also seen people made fun of for resurrecting so-called "zombie threads".  Well, I think reviving old threads is awesome because there have been many that I never, ever would have found had it not been for the resurrection of the old thread.

All is well friend!
Ray


Sam,

I'll piggyback on Ray's comments. Asking questions and seeking answers in a relaxed, welcoming environment is one of the reasons this forum exists, so by all means help yourself.

I took Ray's remark about previous threads only as an invitation to check the vault. There's a great deal to be found if you can figure out the correct search strings and such. Drop any old timer or mod a PM and we'll be happy to help you find the elusive info you seek.  

I have advised some newer members and less experienced magicians to search out topics started by member Ken Theriot. Ken jumped into magic late in life as a passionate beginner. He took advantage of the forum's generous, welcoming nature and asked lots of questions. He also got lots of useful responses and replies, as well as encouragement and support. Don't hear from Ken too often these days, and I hope he's out there pursuing his dream of performing professionally. At any rate, if you search members using his name, and then look at topics he started, you'll likely find a great deal of useful info.

Oh, and as you learn, we also learn and rediscover, so it's beneficial to us all.

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SamtheNotasBadasIWas

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
Sam, I hope you didn't think I was lecturing you to use the search function.  That is not my style.  I was merely suggesting that there are other threads where it was discussed and that it might be good to search them out.  You are right, it is difficult at times to even find threads depending on the verbiage.

I've seen forum members on other sites lambasted for not doing their research or looking up subjects before posting about them.  I've also seen people made fun of for resurrecting so-called "zombie threads".  Well, I think reviving old threads is awesome because there have been many that I never, ever would have found had it not been for the resurrection of the old thread.

All is well friend!
Ray


Ah, I wasn't offended or even thought I was being chastised 😉 It just struck me that I should have tried to search function first, duh. I am still developing my style, so I spend a great deal of time analyzing things (I only seem to have two modes now, practicing magic and thinking about magic) so when I get stuck or need something clarified I tend to put something up without thinking it through. I also do a lot of posting when I get breaks at work and so sometimes I rush things to get them out there without doing due diligence. I also respond quickly sometimes and don't express myself very well. I sometimes, in my haste, forget that posts like this lack all of the non-verbal information we normally process and it can seem abrupt when you don't mean to be.

Pax 
Sam

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Wayne T

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Reply with quote  #10 
Sam, I couldn't agree more with AV and Ray both with lot's of performing experience and good advice.

I probably risk repeating what they are saying but I think you have to consider both the trick and your style.

We probably all know and learned lot's of tricks that we don't actually use but enjoy learning and improving our skills.

Look up rready's videos which he posts here. He's has very casual style with some deceptively simple trick by Steve Beam. 

For me it's more about performing things that fit my style than a flash demo. I have so much fun with simple tricks like One Eye Jacks and Mathematical Finder and can keep people engaged. No flash but they are fascinated.

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamtheNotsoMagnificent


Ah, I wasn't offended or even thought I was being chastised 😉 It just struck me that I should have tried to search function first, duh. I am still developing my style, so I spend a great deal of time analyzing things (I only seem to have two modes now, practicing magic and thinking about magic) so when I get stuck or need something clarified I tend to put something up without thinking it through. I also do a lot of posting when I get breaks at work and so sometimes I rush things to get them out there without doing due diligence. I also respond quickly sometimes and don't express myself very well. I sometimes, in my haste, forget that posts like this lack all of the non-verbal information we normally process and it can seem abrupt when you don't mean to be.

Pax 
Sam


No worries Sam, we are all trying to squeeze in time for the forum and everyone should bear that in mind when reading posts.  

Hey, the fact that you are analyzing is a great thing!  Long before the internet and cell phones were a thing John Mendoza used to recommend that a performer put a tape recorder under the table or in an inconspicuous place in order to fairly judge audience reaction and to listen to your patter.  But mainly for the reactions.  His contention was that what magicians think are killer effects doesn't necessarily follow with the reality of laypeople's reactions to them.  In fact, sometimes what we might think of as "filler" tricks or a bridge to get to your "big finish" actually garner bigger laughs and applause than your giant coin or whatever.

So analyze away and don't hesitate to prop up a cell phone or a video camera in an out-of-the way place and record your performance.  Study the reactions, especially the facial expressions.  You can tell a lot that way.  You can tell if interest is maintained or if there are any awkward moments where they get bored watching you deal cards in a pile.  Sorry, had to get that in there because some magicians hate dealing tricks!  

But keep on asking questions of yourself, refine, revise and find that presentation that "fits".
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Senor Fabuloso

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Reply with quote  #12 
So being professional matters.

Even the hobbyist should be professional, in his execution of technique.  Flourishes, which are not at all magical and are akin to juggling, do denote skill.  It is one of the ways a performer can show, that they know their stuff. The sloppy handling of cards, for instance screams amateur. Now in some cases that might be what you want, like in mentalism where extensive control with cards might telegraph tricks, instead of demonstrations. But in most magical circumstance being handy with cards, is a good thing.

However, our secret moves are secret for a reason and it's our job, to practice until they look as natural as possible. Why? We are trying to convey a sense of wonder, to our spectators but if they think it's just some kind of manipulative techniques were using, the wonder is gone. They know, how it's done. By manipulative techniques. That's what we want to avoid.


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