Continuity & Impact

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
TJD
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Continuity & Impact

Postby TJD » January 6th, 2017, 9:39 pm

If the spectator looks away for a fraction of a second, I can Classic Pass the Ambitious Card to the top. Sometimes, they look away longer and I delay the sleight, bring attention back to the deck, then complete the move when they look up for a moment. The reason is that I fear a break in continuity will lessen the impact. But, in the mind of a spectator, is there a break in continuity?

If they turn to a friend then turn back to see nothing has changed (i.e., though the Classic Pass is complete, the deck and hands of the performer are in exactly the same position as before the spectator turned away), is there any break in continuity in the SPECTATOR's mind? - even if they turned away for 5 seconds?

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby Leonard Hevia » January 6th, 2017, 9:46 pm

If the spectators suspect that you are manipulating their attention, they will detect the break in continuity. The momentary distraction has to be subtle enough to go below their radar. It shouldn't take longer than a brief glance. Study John Ramsay's magic. John Carney's DVD on the Ramsay Cylinder and Coins should answer your questions.

TJD
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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby TJD » January 6th, 2017, 10:21 pm

But here I do not manipulate their attention for the full duration. They naturally look away on their own.

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby performer » January 6th, 2017, 10:26 pm

I think they will smell a rat. Besides it sounds like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Still, having said that, there is only one way to find out for sure. Do it, observe the people and see what happens.

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 7th, 2017, 7:13 pm

Some related information on the topic of narrative (the story as they know it) and perception: find and watch the trailer for that video teaching the pass where it shows a layman responding to a face up card in a face down deck. As usual watch the audience to infer their narrative.

The theme of invisible by way of attention was explored in Watt's story Blindsight. It's been explored since Clarke's "Profiles of the Future" but not really helpful in conjuring for audiences. See the current attempt in the Harry Potter theater show for example.

A general problem ... what if you have more than one viewer in your audience? And what if some of them are watching in peripheral vision? ;)

Others went the route of creating those moments (see Robert-Houdin) by offering something more interesting/relevant/to think about - misdirection. These can get sorted into basic distraction as in the cups load, routine design as per Vernon's illustration using the top change, and cognitive as illustrated by Ramsay's feints (fenching term)

If you're seriously interested in pursuing the matter - see Wiseman's video on the color changing card trick with audience attention and maybe they can help get you set up to experiment. :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wxbeEuGW00

:)
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby performer » January 8th, 2017, 6:51 am

I have never been a fan of doing things the hard way when an easier alternative is available. Providing that easier alternative is equally as effective. I am getting a vibe that you should do double lift and be done with it.

Having said that I do the pass in an ambitious card routine. The difference is that I don't need any misdirection and in fact I want them to look at my hands while I am doing it.

Why?

Because I put the card FACE UPWARDS into the face down deck and say, "A little flick and you can actually SEE it rising to the top!" It looks like real magic!

There. Your problem is solved. I know all, see all and will tell all. And I have just told all.

TJD
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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby TJD » January 11th, 2017, 3:26 pm

Despite "telling all", the problem is not solved. A double lift is not a substitute for the Classic Pass. After the Card is CLEARLY inserted into the middle, the Classic Pass brings the card to the top where it can then be turned over by the magician or spectator. A double lift does none of this. In fact, with a double lift, the spectator is not even sure what card you're holding.

Though a face-up card appearing on top works for your routine, it does not for my own.

In any case, the Ambitious Card was a hypothetical meant to bring clarity to my question regarding continuity (narrative) in the spectator's mind.

The Richard Wiseman videos were very helpful and I will take a look at the Ramsay material, thank you.

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby Brad Henderson » January 11th, 2017, 4:19 pm

before worrying about how laypeople see, you would be better served revisiting your beliefs about how lay people think.

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 11th, 2017, 4:22 pm

If a spectator isn't sure what card you're holding after a Double Lift, then you're doing the Double Lift badly or your blocking, patter, and attitude are problematic.
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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 11th, 2017, 4:23 pm

And Houdini used to do this (I believe it's referenced in Gaultier):
"Because I put the card FACE UPWARDS into the face down deck and say, "A little flick and you can actually SEE it rising to the top!" It looks like real magic!"
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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby performer » January 11th, 2017, 4:27 pm

Why on earth would a spectator not be sure of the card you are holding with a double lift? The only drawback of a double lift that I can see is that it is TOO popular. Some ambitious card routines suffer from a disease known as "double lift indigestion" because you can have too much of a good thing. Mind you, if you were to do a whole bunch of passes then you would REALLY be having too much of a good thing!

I am glad you clarified things by explaining that you are not specifically referring to ambitious card routines. You should definitely not use the pass when doing this particular trick.

The only way for me to judge whether there is a lack of continuity (and I can assure you my word will be gospel in these matters) is for you to describe the specific context and circumstances where you intend to use the pass.

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby performer » January 11th, 2017, 4:29 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:And Houdini used to do this (I believe it's referenced in Gaultier):
"Because I put the card FACE UPWARDS into the face down deck and say, "A little flick and you can actually SEE it rising to the top!" It looks like real magic!"


Good God! Has Houdini been stealing my trick? I do have the Gaultier book--I will have to check this out.

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby performer » January 11th, 2017, 4:32 pm

Oh, it appears he didn't steal it from me after all. I was the one who stole it in the first place. But not from Houdini. I stole it from Paul Alberstat. I am not sure where he stole it from. I never liked it at first but then I tried to be objective and put myself into the mind set of a layman and realised it was better than I thought. And I use it all the time now.

TJD
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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby TJD » January 11th, 2017, 6:05 pm

The intent of the post was to revisit layperson thinking. I should have made that more clear. I'm not too interested in their rods and cones.

I have seen many double turnovers in an Ambitious Card routine but hardly ever a double lift. Hence, my confusion regarding the suggestion of a double lift as a substitute for the Classic Pass.

Using several methods to accomplish the same effect hinders the spectator's ability to reconstruct. This is nothing new. If it is a single-phase Ambitious, then I would agree a double turnover may be the best method. With a multiple-phase, there may be room for the Classic Pass. The advantage of the Classic Pass is the ability to show the card clearly, unquestionably going into the middle. The spectator can even put it there. If the spectator looks away for .5s, the magician can pass it to the top and spectator will not think there was any time to do such a maneuver. But . . .

What if the spectator - on their own volition and without any misdirection by the magician - looks away for longer? Because they chose to look away for longer (again, without any encouragement by the magician), does the impact of the card appearing on top lessen? Or, are their thoughts something akin to: "He could have possibly taken the card back out and put it on top but no! He didn't even know I was going to look away that long!" When they think back to the effect, are they even aware they looked away?

Once, I showed the Card on top. Then, performed a top change. The x-card was ready for placement in the middle. At that precise moment, a spectator turned to another and remarked, "I can't believe that just happened!". They laughed and returned their eyes to the deck. The Card came to the top again and everyone clapped. The reaction was great but reactions are not always a great gauge of how effective you were at concealing the method. Sometimes reactions are out of courtesy, sometimes astonishment, sometimes a mixture of both.

As suggested, further experimentation is beneficial here. Maybe I'm asking the wrong side of the aisle. The Spectator's need to be asked.

Thank you for all the responses.

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby performer » January 11th, 2017, 7:35 pm

I am curious. How long have you been doing magic? The only reason I am asking is get some context to your thinking.

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 12th, 2017, 8:29 am

There are some solid stepping stones along this road of establishing credible narrative which includes impossible events.
One of the milestones along the way is getting an unsolicited audience report which includes the effect but omits the performer's culpability. ;)'

And for those attending this show by way of radio:
I turn the card face up.
I turn the card face down.
I put the card into the middle of the pack.
I turn over the top card...

meh
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby erdnasephile » January 12th, 2017, 8:50 am

TJD wrote:What if the spectator - on their own volition and without any misdirection by the magician - looks away for longer? Because they chose to look away for longer (again, without any encouragement by the magician), does the impact of the card appearing on top lessen? Or, are their thoughts something akin to: "He could have possibly taken the card back out and put it on top but no! He didn't even know I was going to look away that long!" When they think back to the effect, are they even aware they looked away?

Once, I showed the Card on top. Then, performed a top change. The x-card was ready for placement in the middle. At that precise moment, a spectator turned to another and remarked, "I can't believe that just happened!". They laughed and returned their eyes to the deck. The Card came to the top again and everyone clapped. The reaction was great but reactions are not always a great gauge of how effective you were at concealing the method. Sometimes reactions are out of courtesy, sometimes astonishment, sometimes a mixture of both.



A couple of thoughts:

1. In the first scenario you posit, I do not believe the spectator voluntarily chose to look away. The spectator was so carried away by emotion that they had a natural, unforced reaction. Since they will not believe that you were in any way involved in "making" them look away--their glance away won't register to them because it was natural. Therefore, their glance won't have a negative impact on the impact of your trick (if you don't telegraph guilt) because the glance away will not be remembered as part of your method. This will be especially true if you give them a chance to react and avoid stepping on the emotional reaction (which is what some magicians do to their detriment). I believe that when people are busy reacting emotionally, theiy aren't busy trying to figure out your trick because now their attention is split. That's why it's so easy to "toy with the deck" (to quote Mr. Lorayne) to set up for your next trick when the spectators are reacting to the previous one.

2. In the second scenario: as you know, the best time to do the top change is not when they are burning the deck because the move is not generally deceptive under those circumstances. So, when your spectator reacted and looked way and everyone else laughed at (and likely looked at) the spectator, that was the perfect cover for the move. If you didn't just rush through the routine at that point and let the reaction breathe, I'd say that you fooled them, and I see no reason why the impact would be harmed by their organic reaction.

(PS: IMHO, when it comes to Ambitious Card routines, the reason for untoward reactions most probably lies with the length of the routine rather than with misdirection problems.)

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby performer » January 12th, 2017, 9:44 am

Talking about the top change (which I have been doing my entire life) I have recently come across a little known top change which I have been experimenting with. Or at least I think it is little known since I have never heard anyone mention it before. I wasn't at first terribly enthusiastic but I can now see certain advantages with it at certain times. It is the method used by Ross Bertram and described in his book. It is a sort of delayed action top change and seems to work very well. I may well use it in my trade show work where it seems to fit a particular trick very well.

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 12th, 2017, 11:52 am

"the spectator" ??? methods in this craft tend to be more geared toward a gathering rather than one-shot/one-on-one. See Watt's Blindsight example for meretricious example of goal.
"Vision's mostly a lie anyway," he continued. "We don't really see anything except a few hi-res degrees where the eye focuses. Everything else is just peripheral blur, just— light and motion. Motion draws the focus. And your eyes jiggle all the time, did you know that, Keeton? Saccades, they're called. Blurs the image, the movement's way too fast for the brain to integrate so your eye just—shuts down between pauses. It only grabs these isolated freeze-frames, but your brain edits out the blanks and stitches an — an illusion of continuity into your head."
He turned to face me. "And you know what's really amazing? If something only moves during the gaps, your brain just—ignores it. It's invisible."
All well and good if you are out to deceive one camera or one pair of eyes.

The oft quoted Jean Huggard report of Ramsay may serve as useful example of successful narrative intervention/invisibility of methods.

Working backwards from technique has inherent difficulties. Working directly to smooth out observable glitches in executing sleights can mislead into affected mannerisms which alert an indifferent audience to trickery.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby performer » January 12th, 2017, 9:49 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:And Houdini used to do this (I believe it's referenced in Gaultier):
"Because I put the card FACE UPWARDS into the face down deck and say, "A little flick and you can actually SEE it rising to the top!" It looks like real magic!"


I went to check out the Gaultier book to find out what Houdini had been up to. However, although it mentioned some pass that he allegedly invented it had no mention of doing it face upwards and rising to the top. I did however, get lots of amusement seeing all the rude things that Gaultier was saying about Houdini.

But then I got caught up in reading the book. It really is an excellent book and I must read it more often. It certainly fits into my ideal of being published before 1954. But here is the bit I found most interesting. Gaultier quotes the 12 rules of magic which had first been published by another Frenchman (possibly Decremps or Ponsin--I can't remember) in the late 18th Century. It particularly mentioned three of them which I have known all my life and they are standard wisdom even now. I had no idea they had first been published in the late 18th Century and it implied they were old rules even then having been republished time after time by various authors.

Things like never repeating a trick or not telling beforehand what you are going to do. Putting tricks in the correct order. That sort of thing. It just goes to show that the wisdom from centuries ago still stands.

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby Rick Franceschin » January 17th, 2017, 9:40 pm

TJD:
If someone is relating something interesting to me and I am momentarily distracted by my feelings on the matter (I am "freaked out"), then reconnecting with that person after the momentary pause may require processing on my part. Being into what's happening I may return to the conversation with a heightened sense of curiosity / enthusiasm. I may interrupt to ask questions that would add context, I may ask for elaboration on the point that broke my attention. Ex. - "wait, wait, wait, he said what?" So, is executing that pass while they are freaked out and taking on, going to be problematic? Sure, because they are returning to you for a fuller picture of what they just witnessed, only you have sallied ahead with that pass. Is it a continuity thing? Certainly, in the sense that they know what they saw and basically know what they need to see the second time. When they reconnect with you they sense you are past the moment they need as a starting point. That's why these situations are often greeted with comments along the lines of, "wait, wait, do it again slowly."
I also agree with others when they point out that spectators can sometimes sense that either they have been misdirected or deem the moment ripe for the magician to have done something sneaky.
On a slightly different note, if you haven't done so already, I highly recommend you study Dai Vernon's Ambitious Card from the Stars of Magic series. If read thoughtfully you may understand how Vernon applied the pass to the effect under question. It's very implicitly demonstrated, so you have to really study it up. Maybe it will lend you added perspective.
Hope these opinions help.

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 22nd, 2017, 1:46 pm

Rick F Wrote: "I also agree with others when they point out that spectators can sometimes sense that either they have been misdirected or deem the moment ripe for the magician to have done something sneaky."

I think the challenge for the modern magician then becomes to seek to do tricks and routines with a methodology and presentation that eliminate all possibility in the spectators' minds that they could have been misdirected or the magician have done something sneaky. This may mean throwing out a lot of conventional "wisdom," presentations, methods, and routines, and totally revamping our thinking. A formidable challenge? Absolutely. But I believe eminently worthwhile...

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby anonymousmagician » January 31st, 2017, 2:56 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:Rick F Wrote: "I also agree with others when they point out that spectators can sometimes sense that either they have been misdirected or deem the moment ripe for the magician to have done something sneaky."

I think the challenge for the modern magician then becomes to seek to do tricks and routines with a methodology and presentation that eliminate all possibility in the spectators' minds that they could have been misdirected or the magician have done something sneaky. This may mean throwing out a lot of conventional "wisdom," presentations, methods, and routines, and totally revamping our thinking. A formidable challenge? Absolutely. But I believe eminently worthwhile...


I think this might be why a more open style of magic has become popular as of late. Gone are the days of doing moves from a squared deck. Perhaps some bold and/or illogical moves (a la Justin Higham) would work well in this context?

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby Philippe Billot » January 31st, 2017, 3:35 pm

performer wrote:
But then I got caught up in reading the book. It really is an excellent book and I must read it more often. It certainly fits into my ideal of being published before 1954. But here is the bit I found most interesting. Gaultier quotes the 12 rules of magic which had first been published by another Frenchman (possibly Decremps or Ponsin--I can't remember) in the late 18th Century. It particularly mentioned three of them which I have known all my life and they are standard wisdom even now. I had no idea they had first been published in the late 18th Century and it implied they were old rules even then having been republished time after time by various authors.


These 12 rules were created and first published by Henri Decremps in his book Testament de Jérôme Sharp (1785).

Not only Gaultier's book was published before 1954, but it was published in 1914 and translate in English only in 1945.

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby performer » January 31st, 2017, 8:27 pm

I read that Gaultier went missing in the last war never to be seen again when the Nazis invaded France.

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Re: Continuity & Impact

Postby Al Schneider » March 9th, 2017, 11:25 pm

If there is a break in continuity of any kind during the presentation of an effect, the feeling of magic will be destroyed.
The job of the magic performer is to keep the attention of the audience on the effect during the presentation of the entire effect.
That doesn't mean the entire routine but a sub magic sequence such as inserting a card into the middle of the deck and magically rising to the top.

If the spectator looks away for his own reasons, the magic is lost. You have failed at your job.

You are asking the question that if a spectator does that, in their mind is a continuity maintained. The answer is no.

However, it sounds as if you are a working guy and must get on with the show. Chances are you are pleasing the crowd with byplay and cute chat. That is senior to any theory of magic for you must please the guy paying the bill.

I can hear many say that eliminates a given number of moves that are done on an offbeat. I claim that is the cost of doing good magic.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.


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