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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #1 
John Carey's Supersession on Saturday contained a wealth of practical information.  There were tons of sleights and even complete routines taught.  I encourage anyone that didn't attend to consider buying it, I guarantee you'll get your money's worth and then some.

But one thing John mentioned I think is worthy of some follow-up, even if you attended the session or watch the replay and that is the topic of "framing".

Framing, the way I describe it is a situation where the magician, consciously or unconsciously, attracts the audiences attention to the worst possible place at the worst possible time.

An example would be where a magician is gearing up for a Classic Pass or a Top Palm and suddenly draws attention to his or her hands by looking down at them and hesitating just as the sleight begins.  All eyes focus on the performer's hands.  Sometimes the performer unwittingly even draws additional attention with body language.  

If you read enough magicial literature or forum posts you will undoubtedly come across someone claiming they desire to acquire a "burnable" pass.  What they mean is a pass so invisible that there literally is nothing to see.  So they can even encourage folks to "burn" their hands and still pull off the move.  What they fail to understand is that while it is fine to pursue technique of a high caliber, they probably should spend more time understanding misdirection and how to take the heat off of moves performed at critical times.  

If you can do a "burnable" pass, yet the audience is aware that you "did something", can you really call it successful?  

I believe that was the point John Carey was trying to make.  I don't think he spent a great deal of time on it, and that is why I started this thread.

The point is that the audience shouldn't be aware of sleights.  And in an effort to help cultivate a "sleight-free" performance, framing should be avoided, because framing can in and of itself, lead the audience to be aware of manipulation.  They might know what you did exactly, but merely understanding that something DID happen lessens the magical effect.

There are lots of ways to prevent framing and it is not the purpose of this thread to list them all.  Students will seek out the works of those authors who have studied misdirection and direction, in-transit actions, crossing the gaze, etc.

If you know of good references, by all means please list them in response to the topic!

The Expert at the Card Table, by S.W. Erdnase is a treasure trove of information about gambling, magic and card handling in general.  

When a magician gets caught out performing a sleight, he/she might face embarrassment, but the gambler's fate could be much worse.  For that reason, Erdnase took great pains to talk about the risks of getting caught.  One of my favorite sections is his discussion of the
pass and its applicability to the card table.  Whether his thinking is still entirely correct in 2020 is debatable, much of it is still true.  I like his thoughts on finding the moment or creating it is need be.

"There are many methods of performing the manoeuvre that reverses the action of the cut, but in this part of our work we will describe but three which we consider at all practicable at the card table. This artifice is erroneously supposed to be indispensable to the professional player, but the truth is it is little used, and adopted only as a last resort. The conjurer employs the shift in nine-tenths of his card tricks, and under his environments it is comparatively very simple to perform. A half turn of the body, or a slight swing of the hands, or the use of "patter" until a favorable moment occurs, enables him to cover the action perfectly. But seated at the card table in a money game, the conditions are different. The hands may not be withdrawn from the table for an instant, and any unusual swing or turn will not be tolerated, and a still greater handicap arises from the fact that the object of a shift is well known, and especially the exact moment to expect it, immediately after the cut. The shift has yet to be invented that can be executed by a movement appearing as coincident card-table routine; or that can be executed with the hands held stationary and not show that some manoeuvre has taken place, however cleverly it may be performed. Nevertheless upon occasion it must be employed, and the resourceful professional failing to improve the method changes the moment; and by this expedient overcomes the principal obstacle in the way of accomplishing the action unobserved."

I am not saying that we all shouldn't practice properly until our sleights are as undetectable as possible.  What I'm suggesting is that along with that pursuit we should also incorporate other strategies to help guarantee success.

I think your magic will be the better for it.





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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #2 
I'll have to check out John C's notion of "framing" from the lecture. But my sense of the meaning of "framing" is totally different than what RayJ posted. I always thought that framing meant consciously creating an "attention space" for the audience i.e. the space you want them to focus their attention on.

My understanding of the term isn't that you're unconsciously drawing attention to the worst possible place. But rather that you're consciously drawing attention to the space you want the audience to focus on. What's inside the "frame" is to be the center of attention.

Mike
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
I'll have to check out John C's notion of "framing" from the lecture. But my sense of the meaning of "framing" is totally different than what RayJ posted. I always thought that framing meant consciously creating an "attention space" for the audience i.e. the space you want them to focus their attention on.

My understanding of the term isn't that you're unconsciously drawing attention to the worst possible place. But rather that you're consciously drawing attention to the space you want the audience to focus on. What's inside the "frame" is to be the center of attention.

Mike


There can be multiple definitions of framing.  Certainly you could use it in the way you describe.  

What he said, and it was early in the proceedings was that he has seen many performers who did a sleight well but ruined it by framing.  Again, framing can be intentional or unintentional and I guess I'm talking about the unintentional sort.  


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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #4 
I "borrowed" this verbiage from another thread.  The thread doesn't matter, nor does the identity of the poster, but it is an example of what I mean so I hope it helps.

"One could argue that if your sleights are good enough, meaning (to me) they look and feel precisely like the actions they are meant to simulate (Harry Riser's explanation of Houdin's Feints and Temps concept), it shouldn't matter how many times you use a sleight during a program. Yet, nearly all sleights have tells, even if it's simply framing of the sleight by the performer.

For example, even when an expert does a classic side steal over and over in a multiple selections routine, it just stands out to me (maybe I've been watching the wrong people). Another example is the way many use the Topit or Holdout--after a while, I can't help but think the audience starts to associate certain movements with certain magical events."
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #5 
Framing, of course also has the meaning of putting things into context or a particular order.  One definition:  

Framing:
create or formulate (a concept, plan, or system).
"the staff have proved invaluable in framing the proposals"
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #6 
I would call "bad framing" putting something with a tell in the "frame." In other words, if the move you're using has a tell, put the frame somewhere else when you're executing the move.

Framing is a technique of both misdirection and direction. I don't think of framing as a negative thing in and of itself. When it leads to problems I'd call it "bad framing."

M
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
I would call "bad framing" putting something with a tell in the "frame." In other words, if the move you're using has a tell, put the frame somewhere else when you're executing the move.

Framing is a technique of both misdirection and direction. I don't think of framing as a negative thing in and of itself. When it leads to problems I'd call it "bad framing."

M
b

Works for me.
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Alan Smithee

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This is part of ramble lifted from a magzine. Its wider outlook is “movement”. I didn’t ask for permission, but if we don’t tell anybody, it’s our little secret. I think it fits here, and whilst completely agreeing with Rayj’s observations, I confess I ally myself to Mike Powers’s interpretation of “framing”.

If you’re looking through a telescope, then you need to keep your whole body very still as well as the scope. If you’re hitting a nail with a hammer, then a pause as you “take aim” can save pain. But if you’ve had a card chosen by a spectator and returned to the pack, movement is all part of the job. Why should you stop mid-control? No reason at all. But many would-be pass experts do just that. They stop mid-control so that they can pose for the camera. Well, for the spectators, anyway. Particularly when the spectators are magicians. It’s a case of: “Look at me! I’m up to something but I’m so smooth you have no idea what it is. Is this cool or what?”

Of course it isn’t cool. It’s pathetic. The flow of the routine is interrupted so that the cardfoolian can stop, apparently do nothing but pose, then proceed. Trouble is, the stopping does the very thing the cardolian should be trying to avoid—drawing attention to a crucial moment.

 The whole piece is interesting, to me at least, so standby for a longish post sometime, somewhere.

[smile]

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #9 
"Cardfoolian" just went into my lexicon of magic terminology.

RE: Framing - I think you can imagine a camera that's been zoomed in a bit to create a "frame." Framing means controlling where that camera is pointed. Often you want it pointed at your face and upper body. People are looking at your face as you speak. Later you might want to redirect it to the close up pad as you perform matrix. Even if you're talking, people shouldn't take their eyes away from the cards and coins.

If you have a card selected and are going to use a classic pass to control it to the top, you might get set up and then look up at the spectator as you say, "You have a card in mind, yes?" You're hoping to re-frame by getting the spectator to look away from the deck (the original frame) and into your eyes so that your pass won't be burned. If the person continues to burn your hands, you have failed in that endeavor. If you don't actively try to control the frame, you may accidentally allow or even cause the frame to go exactly where you don't want it to be i.e. burning the move. 

M
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arthur stead

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Reply with quote  #10 

I have yet another interpretation of “framing”.  To me, it means directing the audience’s attention to a specific point … creating a picture ... but not necessarily involving a sleight or a “move” within that frame.  

It could be when, at the climax of a pick-a-card trick, you display the chosen selection just beneath your chin, so that you’re “framing” the visual of your face together with the chosen card.  (I learnt this from Max Maven many years ago).  

Or it could be directing a theater audience’s attention to a certain onstage action or prop, i.e. “framing” that scene, while something else is surreptitiously happening elsewhere.

A perfect example can be found on one of Tommy Wonder’s L&L  DVDs, where he focuses the audience’s attention to a small area on one side of the table.  In essence, “framing” that tiny spot so they are all looking directly at it.  While everybody’s gaze if focused there, he unnoticeably places an egg on the other side of the table.  Then, very casually, he turns and asks one of the female spectators on that side of the table, “Did you lay the egg?” 

Side note:  The ensuing laughter as they notice the egg provides a perfect opportunity for a sleight.  Although I can’t remember if Tommy does one at that moment.  Probably not.


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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #11 
   I can't contribute anything to this thread - oh, wait, I guess you can call this a "contribution" ---- I've been controlling/locating  selected cards for about eight decades and have never/ever used a pass to do so. 
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Mind Phantom

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
"Cardfoolian" just went into my lexicon of magic terminology.




Me too ...lol

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #13 
Arthur described what I was trying to convey above. It's not just about moves, it's about keeping attention on what you want the attention on. Some have proposed that the Elmsley Count should be done up just under your face so that your face is in the frame as you perform the count. Otherwise you get the proverbial "crotch shot." Framing is about controlling/directing attention.

M
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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
Arthur described what I was trying to convey above. It's not just about moves, it's about keeping attention on what you want the attention on. Some have proposed that the Elmsley Count should be done up just under your face so that your face is in the frame as you perform the count. Otherwise you get the proverbial "crotch shot." Framing is about controlling/directing attention.

M

My point exactly. The mid-air stop-action thing I attempted to describe was merely to demonstrate how utterly wrong it was. But I've seen it many times. I've also seen it used during a top change. The magician does the change, thinks the spectator wasn't burning his hands enough, does the change again, this time drawing attention to the move. And all this under the illusion that it's so smooth and invisible it's worth not-seeing again.

As I also said: pathetic.

I mentioned the pass in an attempt to illustrate my point. I don't use the move either, unless no one's looking. And to ensure that, I usually have to leave the room.

Glad "Cardfoolian" raised a couple of smiles. It's one of several I've used over years.

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Bill Guinee

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Reply with quote  #15 
I believe that a frame, as it is commonly used, is a method of drawing attention to something, establishing its boundaries, and defining what it is. In Erving Goffman's wonderful sociology book "Frame Analysis" he describes something we have all seen, two dogs playing at fighting. Goffman asks the question "how do they know they are not really fighting?" What are the signals that they use to frame this activity so that they each understand what it is and how it differs from the rest of the world? And, indeed, this is what a frame does. When you look at a framed painting in a museum, the frame somehow tells you that this is art. It tells you where the art ends and the normal wall begins. It tells you to appreciate this section of space in a way that is different from the rest of the wall, to think about it and perceive it differently. To a great extent, I believe that the frame is socially what creates the art. Looked at this way, framing becomes far more than just a question of whether the audience's attention is drawn to the wrong moment. Rather we have to think about how we frame our entire routines, our persona, and so forth. We have to think about what kind of frames will make our magic the most baffling and entertaining. What is the part of the trick that we most want them to see, and how do we want them to see it?

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John Cowne

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Reply with quote  #16 
‘I’’ve found this discussion of negative and positive aspects of framing extremely helpful. The applications everyone are giving are indeed worthy of going into Mike’s ‘lexicon’ (I’m taking that aside as literal - I’m certainly building a personal electronic Magic lexicon, as I suspect many of you are).

My own thought (like Alice’s Cheshire cat, when he uses words) is that framing can be like Disney’s ‘story-boarding’, which helps my entire routine have an internal logic. This can be at two levels. First, it is the flow that the spectator sees...the observable ‘reasons’ for why we do what we do. The second story-boarding is what we do ‘under the surface’. I’ve found Duane Laflin’s ‘sequencing’ advice extremely useful here. We aways look for opportunities to ‘drop off’ when we ‘put down’, distancing moves from the effect, and making it easier on ourselves. Story-boarding/framing can let us see where everything is heading. While being aware of all the other meanings of ‘framing’.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #17 
Framing is a natural way to describe holding the right hand over the pack. If you read enough magic literature you are warned about holding that position for too long. THAT is what is meant by framing. I didn't come up with it.

Vernon used to admonish purveyors of the pass to do it the instant the hands came together. Any longer and it is a magnet attracting the spectator's attention.

But the concept isn't confined to the pass. It can happen with a lot of sleights.

Framing has a lot of definitions as readers of this thread have found.

My original attempt to describe it is accurate in my opinion.
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