Newist Osterlind DVDs

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Postby Guest » 04/27/07 06:42 PM

For the longest time, I used StenoESP as a real money-maker at restaurants. It was great! It was described in a book, and there was no video -- so no one else was doing it.

Then he performed it on DVD a couple of years ago. And now he's giving even MORE tips about it on his new DVDs.

Three DVDs, filled with stuff I wish he'd not tipped! These are set up as three TV shows, and titled "No Camera Tricks" to demonstrate that certain TV demonstrations of magic -- don't HAVE to depend on camera tricks. If you're good enough.

There's a 4th DVD which demonstrates Osterlind's hypnosis show, and a few other mentalism pieces -- including a different Q & A act.

And Richard & Jim have a booklet which is included if you order from them, at http://osterlindstore.com/catalog/index.php

I'm counting the hours until payday.

Yes, I know I come off sounding like a raving Osterholic. Anyone who knows me, knows how long I've been awaiting these, even though I know (YES, I KNOW!) I have more magic and mentalism in my baggage than any sane person should carry around in an entire lifetime.

Don't care. Gotta have these. I'll give up most of my other DVDs and very FEW of my books, if necessary.

*jeep!
--Greedy, greedy Granpa Chet
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Postby Guest » 04/27/07 06:45 PM

Argh! NewEst. Newest! That's what I meant to spell!
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Postby Guest » 04/27/07 10:06 PM

I'm with you. Wish he didn't do it but glad he did.
Anything by Osterlind tends to be very usable.
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Postby NCMarsh » 04/27/07 11:13 PM

Three DVDs, filled with stuff I wish he'd not tipped! These are set up as three TV shows, and titled "No Camera Tricks" to demonstrate that certain TV demonstrations of magic -- don't HAVE to depend on camera tricks. If you're good enough.
In fairness to Mr. Angel, though the same defense does not apply to Mr. Blaine's far fewer hours of television magic, Criss Angel has produced hours and hours of magic on television (primarily in the first season) that did not depend on camera/editing trickery...

If this project is trying to make a point, it would be more convincing if Mr. Osterlind produced several hundred hours of tv quality magic to fill several seasons of a weekly tv special -- and mastered the material on a tight production schedule...

I respect the intention of the product, and detest camera magic on tv...

That said, Criss had a business plan that involved using frequent national tv to create demand for a multimillion dollar vegas contract...in order to achieve that, he had to create high impact television on a weekly basis, and I think that there are very few people who could create multiple year's worth of strong tv without resorting to these cut corners...

I think of all the work that has gone into my little 35 minute platform show...literally hundreds of hours with many more to go...granted, that is something that is always a work in progress and that I can always work to polish more...it will never be a "finished" product that goes on a tape and over the air...but, even if we consider just the time to get the show to the level where it was watchable; it exhausts me to think of the work involved in coming up with 15-20 minutes of new strong magic each week...

I understand the frustration with the cut corners, and can't watch the newest Angel specials...but I don't know that there are enough hours in the day to mount a successful weekly show wihout resorting to editing room help...

That's a long way to saying that I don't think the "if you're good enough" comment is fair...

Best,

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Postby Guest » 04/28/07 12:51 AM

Watch a new fresh video trailer w. Richard Osterlind:
http://www.llpub.com/bonus.html
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Postby Guest » 04/28/07 08:14 AM

Nathan Coe Marsh wrote:
I understand the frustration with the cut corners, and can't watch the newest Angel specials...but I don't know that there are enough hours in the day to mount a successful weekly show wihout resorting to editing room help...
Nathan, Paul Daniels and his team did it in the UK for seventeen years of prime time Saturday night TV on the main BBC channel. And they did it without a hyped up audience and without padding out the show with individual reactions.

What's more Paul filmed two separate series of his TV show while his evening show ran for eighteen months in the Prince of Wales Theatre in London's west end.
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Postby Guest » 04/28/07 09:19 AM

Nicely said, Quentin.
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Postby Guest » 04/28/07 10:56 AM

Nathan said,
"but I don't know that there are enough hours in the day to mount a successful weekly show wihout resorting to editing room help..."
Gee, I wish somebody had mentioned this to Mark Wilson all those years ago...

*jeep!
--Granpa Chet
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Postby NCMarsh » 04/28/07 01:02 PM

Point certainly taken.

I have seen a very small amount of the Mark Wilson material on tape, and have only read about the Daniels material in John Fischer's wonderful book on PD...

From that limited base, however, I think the Wilson and Daniels specials have a very different focus than the Angel special, a different focus which places a different burden on the material used by the latter.

The entertainment value from the Angel specials seems to be driven, primarily, by the sheer impossibility of the material...and, talking to laymen, his brand is that of someone who does impossible things in ordinary situations..

Paul Daniels and Mark Wilson, however, were -- again from my limited base of knowlege -- charming personalities...they were appealing as entertainers first and foremost and the entertainment value of the specials was driven more by personality than by the impossibility of the material.

While I have no doubt that there was some very strong magic on the shows, I would not be surprised to learn that there was less pressure to shock and stun the audience each and every week...The audience knew that, while they may or may not be telling the truth about not using camera tricks, they are in a controlled envirornment with a polite studio audience...

So I think that, however strong their material was, (and this is based on my experience watching The World's Greatest Magic while a laymen) it was many times bound to be dismissed as merely clever by the home audience...

In fact, I would argue that -- because of their obviously controlled circumstances -- Daniels and Wilson, who had extremely high integrity in not using camera tricks, were -- ironically -- less able to do really stunning, mind-numbing miracles...because the envirornment felt so safe and controlled, I believe that if the audience encountered something that really astonished them in the way that Angel material has astonished friends they would simply dismiss it as camera trickery or collusion

If it is between the laws of the world as I understand them and the word of a magician, I'll side with physics...

So I think that the people who succeeded with the studio shows were strong entertainers and that the shows were driven by personality

With that consideration, there is much more material that is solid and deceptive -- and that can be made extremely entertaining by master showmen like Mssrs Daniels and Wilson -- than there is material that is viscerally, in your bones, absolutely impossible...

I think that a fairer comparison to Mr. Angel is David Berglas...someone whose brand was as a man who could do things that were utterly impossible, it is worth noting that Mr. Berglas used stooges extensively throughout his career...

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/28/07 01:07 PM

In the interview in our May issue, David Berglas clearly lists the priorities in order that he believes are important to a successful performance:
1) Personality
2) Presentation
3) Method
Criss Angel's work on TV is the embodiment of this list--method is the least important part of what he's doing. It's simply a means to an end.
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Postby NCMarsh » 04/28/07 01:12 PM

I'll add that the thoughts above are what lead me to believe that magic on television is a necessary business evil...

In this age of so many alternatives to live theater, magic on tv is necessary to create demands for large touring shows (when Copperfield, Henning et. al) and for Vegas spectaculars (Burton, Angel)...

I don't think, however, that magic really works on tv...there is always one obvious solution (i.e. that the magic exists only for the cameras), that is almost impossible to eliminate...

Now, by making magic specials feel like episodes of "Cops," we have found a way in which the experience feels less contrived and in which camera fakery is generally less suspected...but the effectiveness of eliminating that solution has made it too tempting to take the easy road...

My dream special, though I doubt it would be commercially viable, would be in the style of the Chan Canasta show that is now available on DVD...a small committee of trusted/celebrity guests watching an expert performing at close range...

I am, however, deeply impressed by what I have seen out of Derren Brown...

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Postby Guest » 04/28/07 02:45 PM

I haven't seen Chris Angel perform live. I do know from personal experience that both Derren Brown and David Berglas can and do perform effects "live" that appear equally as impossible as anything they perform(ed) on TV.

Paul Daniels did also perform on his TV shows mamny effects that fooled the hell out of magicians as well as laymen.

If Chris Angel's live show appears to be as impossible as his TV work, then his credibility won't be affected.
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Postby NCMarsh » 04/28/07 03:56 PM

Quentin,

Agreed.

Best Wishes,

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/28/07 04:20 PM

Criss's point has always been that he will be able to perform any trick from his TV series live on stage. Whether the same method is used or not is unimportant from the lay audience's point of view, and since magic is a live performance art, the effects will be stronger simply by virtue of being done in a live setting.
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Postby Guest » 04/28/07 10:24 PM

Folks, this is showbiz. There ARE no rules.

The geniuses at WGM will toil in perpetual second-classdom at the Greek Isles, while the genius from Mindfreak will have Lake Mead drained to put in extra seats for Cirque du Solangel.

Who's right? They all are, because they all are doing it their way. Their way. Not your way, or my way. Their way.

Personally, I think the next big TV magician will go even farther toward Bewitched. After two or three more, we'll be seeing a full-on Uncle Arthur.

Then, the pendulum will swing back as some guy who's "Changing the Face of Magic" (again!) pops up and makes his mark by rejecting ALL tricks that rely on a lens' restrictive viewing angle, or the talents of an editor.

Which is better? Both/neither.

The key is to BE the person who turns 180 degrees away from what's happening at the time, like Blaine did. Be the person who completely rejects the status quo and "conventional wisdom" and you'll be the one with bobble heads and breakfast cereals.

P&L
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Postby Guest » 04/29/07 12:11 AM

These are set up as three TV shows, and titled "No Camera Tricks" to demonstrate that certain TV demonstrations of magic -- don't HAVE to depend on camera tricks. If you're good enough.
I'm not speaking for Richard here, but I know from talking to him and what he presents on these DVDs, he has some strong feelings about what's going on with magic and TV.

With that in mind, I'm going to chime in since, at this point, I'm the only one who's actually seen Richard's new DVDs.

Chet's above comment is perhaps a little harsh in describing the way these DVDs are presented and Richard's attitude on the DVDs.

On the first DVD, before the performance, he talks about television and early perceptions of magic on television. Here is a quote from the DVD:

"...it's my contention that good, traditional magic can be made to look every good, if not better than a lot of the "gimmick" magic that we see on TV."

Next, before the explanations start he gives an example involving Copperfield. Specifically it's from the Statue of Liberty special and a levitation he presented. This was a TV only levitation in which several methods were used from a couple of different presentations and then edited together to look like one presentation. With some clever camera angles, he took the Aga Levitation a bit further.

Fast forward several years and now Copperfield is doing a levitation live (Flying) that is 10 times better than what editing did for him on that previous special.

The levitation as presented on the Statue of Liberty special could not be performed live. I was working for David at the time and we went on tour right after that special aired. We toured with the Aga and it didn't look anything like it did on TV.

And that's the point. The material we present live can be better than manipulating the cameras and creating the magic in post-production.
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Postby NCMarsh » 04/29/07 05:35 PM

Steven,

Thanks for your account of Richard's ideas.

"...it's my contention that good, traditional magic can be made to look every good, if not better than a lot of the "gimmick" magic that we see on TV."
Is there an opponent to this contention? Does he believe that Angel and a team that includes a personal student of Charlie Miller just don't know as much as he does about traditional magic and how strong it is?

I haven't seen the set, but the whole project just smells to me of condescending armchair quarterbacking...

Ironically, Osterlind seems to have similar tastes to the Angel creative team...Angel has featured a child of Pegasus Page (Hilford's Wizard's Manual) on the series...

On a different note:

Since you've seen the set, and I know that Sisti has experience in broadcasting (though, I was of the impression that the overwhelming majority of this was in radio (is that wrong?)), is there any discussion of the nuts and bolts of working on television? Getting booked, what to expect, advice for performing in this medium?

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Postby Guest » 04/29/07 07:08 PM

Is there an opponent to this contention? Does he believe that Angel and a team that includes a personal student of Charlie Miller just don't know as much as he does about traditional magic and how strong it is?

I haven't seen the set, but the whole project just smells to me of condescending armchair quarterbacking...
I cannot answer for Richard and am not claiming to with my response here. Richard is hardly a novice when it comes to what goes on behind-the-scenes at magic specials as he has consulted on several occasions. My point being is Richard's opinions are not from someone who's never set foot on the set of one of these shows. His opinion IS one of experience.

This DVD set is not a how-to for producing magic on TV. The simulated TV show is not going to look like a Blaine, Angel or Derren Brown TV special. It's a production that moves in a different direction from the standard L&L format and shows us that traditional methods can look as good on TV, if not better, than camera manipulation and post-production editing.
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Postby Guest » 04/29/07 07:16 PM

There is a huge difference between producing a one-off special and a series. Series television production has one thing of paramount concern: fast production. The writer-producer cannot say to the studio, gee, don't have anything today, come back tomorrow, maybe then. Producers like that vanish faster than a birdcage up a sleeve.

As a consequence, not every bit can be worked out in a performing situation and presented with the quality of something that's been performed for years. Mark Wilson's Magic Land of Allakazam often had illusions that Mark had never seen, some with the paint still wet, wheeled on and operated by assistants while Mark read the cue cards and hit his marks. On at least one episode you can see Rebo (Bev Bergeron) hurrying the operator of the Dancing Hank to finish up as they were running out of time. Such is the nature of television where every second of production time equals money.

On one show I am familiar with, an actress caused delays and the show ran over production several times. The actress was first cautioned and then, when she caused a delay again, she was fired because a day of production is a massive amount of money to waste. Several wasted days are unacceptable.

Producing a weekly television show is an insane business. How Paul Daniels did it for 17 years without becoming barking mad is anybody's guess. I would be willing to bet that Cris Angel has a much smaller budget than Paul Daniels did.

While a lot of what Cris does isn't my cup of tea, he should be respected as being able to produce a show each week under circumstances that would cause a breakdown in many (most?) of the people who are members of this board.
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Postby NCMarsh » 04/29/07 08:45 PM

Because most of what I have written in this thread has been about the things I disagree with Richard about, let me add that the material sounds really, really solid and I'm sure it is a worthwhile investment.

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Postby Guest » 05/04/07 04:14 PM

Nathan Marsh,

Let me ask you a question ... and please think long and hard about this.

In all the years I have been campaigning against using television camera tricks for magic, I have never once - not even ONE time - ever mentioned any performer by name.

So how is it then, if this kind of camera trickery is so good, so well hidden and advances magic so much, that everyone seems to know exactly who I am referring to?

Richard
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Postby Guest » 05/04/07 08:57 PM

Touche' !
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Postby NCMarsh » 05/06/07 05:56 PM

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the response. I didn't catch your post until today or would have replied sooner...

First, I don't think that camera trickery "advances magic;" and I certainly have never said that it does. That comment is a complete distortion of my position.

As to your question, magicians know because magicians know the methods and principles of live magic. We know what is possible live, and we know what is not.

Hence, when David Blaine asks someone to simply think of something, and then he rubs ashes on his forearm to reveal that thought...we know the preparation that had to be done to DB's arm, hence we know that the information had to be obtained before the spectator names the thought on camera...a piece of the puzzle is missing, and we know that there has been "outside help"

Laymen don't have that context.

Now, I will say that the use of "tv tricks" is becoming sloppier...if you're going to use it -- and I'm not an advocate on either side (indeed, I think that tv is not a good venue for magic) -- then you need to be smart in the way that you use it.

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Postby NCMarsh » 05/11/07 02:03 PM

Ok, its sudden position reversal time...

It was pointed out to me, in discussion on another forum, that Richard has worked on the Angel series...I don't know in what capacity or to what extent...but that definitely makes me more generously inclined to the idea of the series...

It seems to me that, when it comes to people who are really successful in magic, there is a myopic focus on every weakness...We complain about the latest Copperfield special or WGM...then, once they're off the air, we talk about how the newest star doesn't jive with the greatness of the people we used to complain about...

Often, the weaknesses we talk about are real...but the silence about the strengths and the ferocity with which the weaknesses are dissected and labored over, has seemed -- to me -- to be animated by a very petty jealousy

I thought that -- while I knew, from Richard's writing on and off line, that his views came from deeply felt principles -- this project was the kind of thing that was going to become a rationalization for the same old petty jealousy...

The notion that a DVD shoot -- one that allowed for months of planning -- demonstrated anything about what worked on television struck me as incredibly knuckleheaded...(and, had the source not had experience working on series television, it still would)

I knew that Richard had done some television consulting, but I had the sense (read: uninformed assumption) that this was for one or some of the many one-off specials or short series that have been on cable in recent years (I still want to meet the other 6 magicians who had nothing to do with Mysterious World of Alain Nu)...Truth is that he worked on the Angel series at least at the begining -- though I do not know for how long

So, Richard was not "armchair quarterbacking"...he has participated in creating magic for tv under the stresses of series production...and that makes what he has to say much more interesting to me

Would someone please pass the crow?

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