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Waterman

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Reply with quote  #1 
...he's talking without moving his lips! The weird thing is that he doesn't care if the whole world knows the secret. That poor masked ventriloquist who wanted to expose ventriloquism on television years ago didn't make a stinkin' dime!

Audiences still pay to see him perform despite knowing, "how he does it".

Gets me thinking...is his secret method for making the dummy talk the most important aspect of his job?
Does the secret itself truly make his act worthy of winning a televised talent show?

This past weekend I watched some top notch professional magicians perform. I knew many of their secrets, but was  entertained (and fooled) just a much as the laymen in the audience. How can that be??? I knew how they did it!

The ventriloquist is lucky. They don't have to worry about their methods being exposed to the public by pre-pubescent boys on YouTube, masked ventriloquists, or a bumbling newbie.

So I guess the question is, does the exposure we worry about have that great an impact on our magic if it is done in an entertaining and skillful manner? Would audiences be more impressed with a close-up performance by a skillful card man knowing that he was doing false shuffles and other fancy sleight of hand moves...but doing them effortlessly and with personality? Maybe they already do!

I'm not saying that we abandon our efforts form preserving the secrets of magic from the public, but perhaps re-think our position on how exposure impacts audiences from still enjoying a well rehearsed magic act.


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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #2 
A lot of it depends on the attitude of the one presenting the magic.
If it's performed as a challenge or to make fun of audience members on stage, then people will look to bring you down a bunch of notches. And it doesn't matter if they're right in their exposure as long as they got one up on the magician.
However, if you're taking people on an entertaining ride and people are enjoying themselves and they like you, you can screw up a trick revealing the gaff in the process and the audience will let you do it again and applaud when you do it right the second time around.
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Waterman

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Reply with quote  #3 
...like the juggler I saw this weekend. His plate spinning routine was tough to do because the riser was a bit shaky. Plates were wobbling and falling throughout the routine...but he was so likable we were cheering for him the whole time. When he finally got to spinning all 7, he received a roaring standing ovation( the only standing ovation from the whole crowd the entire weekend!).
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #4 
Ventriloquists are conduits: they inject character and personality into lifeless props they use misdirection and blocking to divert their audiences attention away from the real work. Hmm... 

While cliche, it is nonetheless worth repeating that the audience, at least as a general rule, wants the performer to succeed. Else wise they've wasted their time and feel exploited. If the audience like the performer, they will forgive minor mistakes and even, as Waterman noted, cheer them along. 

Exposure bothers magicians far more than it should. Like the psychology experiment where manly men were asked to enter crowded rooms wearing pink Barry Manilow tee shirts only to find that hardly anyone noticed or commented. People don't pay much attention to exposure, and some of those who do become interested in magic as a hobby. Or profession. After all, weren't most of us attracted to magic through exposure?

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Gerald Deutsch

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Reply with quote  #5 
Perverse Magic (which I've written much about on the Genii Forum) is, in a way, like ventriloquism in that it's not the magician against the audience ( sometimes - not always - with the attitude "look how great I am") but the "effect" against the magician to the amusement of the audience.

Take for example a magician coming out with a bird in a birdcage and vanishing both. For Perverse Magic imagine the magician coming out with the bird in the birdcage and telling the audience he's going to make the cage float when, to the surprise of not only the audience but the magician the cage and the bird inside vanishes. Perverse Magic!
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Jake07712

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Reply with quote  #6 
I don't think that anyone can convince me that exposure is good for magic, or that it adds to the audience's entertainment. Although there are some, There are very few secrets to ventriloquism, the same as there are to acting. The secrets of magic, combined with good presentation, is the lifeblood of the art.
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Jake07712

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Reply with quote  #7 
Blathermist .... where are you seeing all of these ventriloquists? I enjoy a good vent show, but I don't find many vent shows around except on YouTube.
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Waterman

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Reply with quote  #8 
I once saw a strolling ventriloquist working a restaurant in Upstate New York. There was a magician as well. I'm not sure why management decided to have them perform on the same night, but the patrons seemed to enjoy it...until one fateful night.

Seems the vent thought it would be fun to perform at tables next to where the magician was performing. The dummy would make wisecracks pertaining to how the magician was accomplishing his tricks. According to an eyewitness I spoke to later, the magician became upset and ripped the vent figure out of the arms of the ventriloquist and smashed it to the floor!

The two of them tussled in the middle of the dining room, the staff and patrons thinking it was all part of a planned act. Supposedly a young child, who thought the vent figure was an actual human being, was freaking out uncontrollably after witnessing the magician hurl the dummy to the floor. It didn't take long for everyone to realize that the vent and magician were having a full-fledged fist fight (more like a slap fight according to the eyewitness I spoke with).

Obviously the two performers (I guess three performers when you count the dummy) were fired. Rumor had it that the parents of the freaked out kid sued the restaurant for the pain and suffering their child endured while witnessing the horrific scene...and won an out of court settlement!
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #9 
Whereabouts in upstate NY and when?
I live in the Albany NY area. If it was around here, I'd like to ask some of the local magicians if they remember.
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Waterman

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Reply with quote  #10 
It was in Binghamton NY...before my son was born so over 26 years ago.
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #11 
Oh yeah....that's far from me.
Great story though.
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Jake07712

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Reply with quote  #12 
Ventriloquism involves many other skills besides talking without moving your lips. I don't know how to inbed this in a post, so, if you will bring up Bill DeMar and Felton on YouTube, you'll see a great performance by your ne of the finest ventriloquists ever. It's really worth watching.
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