Brilliant news - Shawn Farquhar on Ellen

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Postby Mark.Lewis » 01/14/10 03:34 PM

I suppose I should comment on this. This chap was lecturing in Toronto and I was there but of course I never watch lectures since I know everything anyway. I therefore have nothing to say about it.

Regarding the television programme I am somewhat in agreement with the goat person. He did indeed look very ill at ease and very nervous. I have always said the key to appearing on television is to look as relaxed as possible and act as if you own the place. But it should be quiet acting. Not over anxious.

I agree about the riffling and snapping but that was probably nerves. I think new to television performers should beware of the long shots. Not because of anything being exposed but when the performer is seen from a distance they often look terribly nervous sitting on the edge of their seat looking terribly self concious. I have seen this several times even with quite big names. It is especially noticable if there is a host present (as there was in this case) who looks terribly relaxed in comparison.

If there are other people in the picture who are perfectly used to being on television you have to look as relaxed as they are especially if you are viewed with a long shot. Something for Shawn to work on the next time he is on TV.

On the other hand I am not going to be too critical for one good reason that transcends all my objections. And the goat's objections too. He went over very well for whatever reason and the enthusiastic audience response was very apparent. In fact I am wondering if they were rented from L & L. But the audience response is all that matters. Or nearly so anyway.

I was quite impressed with Ellen, more for what she didn't say rather than what she said. I have seen TV celebrity hosts time after time interrupt the performer and never shut up. They always seem to want to steal the limelight and of course the performer is too intimidated to shut them up.

Ellen knew how to be quiet and help the perfomer do his thing. I am afraid that Shawn would have died a terrible death if he had a more impolite host. Ellen is to be congratulated for her courtesy in simply being quiet and letting him do his thing.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/14/10 04:05 PM

These days I'm hesitant to critique anyone's work on TV because if I went on TV the result would be only an entertaining heart attack followed by being carried off on a stretcher. That would be me, dead.

That said, I think Shawn works far too fast, diminishing the effect of each item because he just keeps piling it on. This is not unique to his appearance here, but something I've seen him do before. Also, he spends too much time looking down at his hands when he's working, and only looks up at the spectator's face for any length of time if he's not doing anything with his hands.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 01/14/10 05:25 PM

I agree 100% with Richard. In fact I forgot to mention that I thought he was a mite too fast. Television is an intimate medium and does not relate well to too much sound and fury. Neither does it relate well to somebody going a million miles an hour. Still the audience seemed to love it.
I bet the chap has never been on television before. I could be wrong but he gave me that impression.

I found Shawn's speed quite unusual since I have always said that Canadians talk slow, walk slow and especially think slow. When I first came to this country to rip off the masses I had to slow down so they could keep up with me. I gave that up though and figured that since the place was part of the British Empire it should adhere to British standards and they would have to keep up with me rather than the other way around.
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Postby skmayhew » 01/15/10 04:33 PM

I think Mr Farquhar did an excellent job. This is the best magic on TV performance I've seen in a long, long time.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/15/10 05:17 PM

I enjoyed it, though I do agree with Richard about his pace (and I too would be D-E-D dead!). At first I thought that the opening with pairing off cards from a shuffled and cut deck wasto mea tad too strong. After that, the audience might be thinking, What cant you do with a deck of cards? Thats why Martin Nash always closed with pairing off the deck. But, the sealed deck settled the question: It killed!

I also thought Ellen was terrific. She is following in the mold of Johnny Carson when it comes to magicians, and I like that. And yes, shes looking great these days, but (if I may say) I do prefer her girlfriend!!!

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Postby Tim Ellis » 01/15/10 08:28 PM

We just saw Shawn on Ellen her in Australia last night.

I thought he did a great job. Well routined and a great selection of effects.

Yes, he was fast, but that's TV.

When Sue-Anne did a spot a few months ago on a live show with the regular magician from the program, the 5 minute segment was pushed back repeatedly and suddenly became a two and a half minute segment a few moments before they went on.

The producers expected (and got) every single effect in half the time.

I do enjoy slower, more deliberate magic pieces, but to capture and hold the interest of non-magic fans on TV you do often have to work at a somewhat breakneck speed.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/15/10 09:48 PM

Ellen is looking at Shawn's face, or trying to, but she's looking at the top of his head because his eyes are locked on his hands unless his hands aren't doing any sleights. Then he looks up.
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Postby Joe Pecore » 01/15/10 10:15 PM

He also did a mismade torn and restored effect with Ellen's publicity photo after the commercial break, which wasn't on the clip available on her website.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/16/10 12:59 AM

And more kudos to Ellen for, shall we say, assisting with that effect as well as she did. (Im surprised its not on the clip.)
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Postby CraigMitchell » 01/16/10 04:15 AM

I found a clip of the second section of Shawn's performance featuring the torn & restored card:

http://img85.yfrog.com/i/ellen.mp4/
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Postby mrgoat » 01/16/10 07:24 AM

Took him a while to ditch!
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Postby Seuss » 01/16/10 09:32 AM

Dustin Stinett wrote:I also thought Ellen was terrific. She is following in the mold of Johnny Carson when it comes to magicians, and I like that. And yes, shes looking great these days, but (if I may say) I do prefer her girlfriend!!!

Dustin


I think you mean her hot wife. If you are referring to Portia de Rossi that is, they were married 2 years ago.
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Postby Jim Maloney » 01/16/10 06:46 PM

You may have heard that, but they haven't.

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Postby The Slow One » 01/16/10 11:11 PM

Amazing card stuff...i agree 'twas a little fast, but he probably had to fit a large routine into a short time window. But dang..signed card in sealed card box...in the spectator's hand...amazing. Kudos to Farquhar.
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Postby Roberto » 01/16/10 11:29 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:She is cute, but boys are not on her agenda, goat. You'll have to make due.


Richard, that was hilarious! Now I have to blow out the Muscle Milk I squirted out my nose when I read that, lol.

Wow! That sealed deck effect Mr. Farquhar did for Ellen was excellent!


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Postby Ryan Matney » 01/17/10 05:50 AM

Dustin,

I'm not sure the torn and restored effect works the way you are thinking. Shawn teaches the torn and restored photo in his lectures. It is impromptu and does not require any advance work on the part of the spectator.
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Postby amp » 01/17/10 09:32 AM

I think Shawn Farquhar did a great job. He performed four tricks in 5 minutes and 53 seconds which is very good for a guest spot.
Ellen was good but her staff is a pain to work with.
We receive many calls from Ellen show for my son Eli.
I think the reason they didn't used him was time.
A few years ago he was performing his 6 minute act. But I think it was too long they didn't say why. Now when Oprah called her staff was very nice . Ellen not so nice.
I hope Shawn had a better experience.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 01/18/10 02:07 AM

Tim Ellis wrote:We just saw Shawn on Ellen her in Australia last night.

I thought he did a great job. Well routined and a great selection of effects.

Yes, he was fast, but that's TV.

When Sue-Anne did a spot a few months ago on a live show with the regular magician from the program, the 5 minute segment was pushed back repeatedly and suddenly became a two and a half minute segment a few moments before they went on.

The producers expected (and got) every single effect in half the time.

I do enjoy slower, more deliberate magic pieces, but to capture and hold the interest of non-magic fans on TV you do often have to work at a somewhat breakneck speed.


Dearie me. Young Timothy has a lot to learn. Television is the LAST place you should operate at breakneck speed.
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Postby Tim Ellis » 01/18/10 08:14 AM

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Postby mrgoat » 01/18/10 08:56 AM

Tim Ellis wrote:Is this you Mark?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PB3wQz-Md4


I think the title is a clue to the answer of your question.

"Magic and Fun with [censored]"

I love the video. Hearing the kids scream and laugh, yet remaining in his control. Excellent stuff.

Did you have a point?
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Postby amp » 01/18/10 08:57 AM

Mark.Lewis wrote:
Tim Ellis wrote:We just saw Shawn on Ellen her in Australia last night.

I thought he did a great job. Well routined and a great selection of effects.

Yes, he was fast, but that's TV.

When Sue-Anne did a spot a few months ago on a live show with the regular magician from the program, the 5 minute segment was pushed back repeatedly and suddenly became a two and a half minute segment a few moments before they went on.

The producers expected (and got) every single effect in half the time.

I do enjoy slower, more deliberate magic pieces, but to capture and hold the interest of non-magic fans on TV you do often have to work at a somewhat breakneck speed.


Dearie me. Young Timothy has a lot to learn. Television is the LAST place you should operate at breakneck speed.



TV is changing Mr.Dearie me . It's been how fast or how much you can cut out.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 01/18/10 12:40 PM

I must respectfully disagree with amp. If you work too fast on television it shows up like a sore thumb. I have seen magicians often get tempted to make this mistake just because they have a time limit.

You shouldn't work too fast anywhere but on television the fault is magnified. The key is to be yourself and work at your normal pace. If you have to cut things ou then so be it. And if your normal pace is too fast then slow down. I well remember many, many years ago watching Roger Pierre on the Johnny Carson show. He had only a limited time and tried to fit in everything he could, by working a million miles an hour. . Bad mistake.It only made him look bad.

Television is an intimate medium. The best way to work it is in an intimate natural relaxed manner. The best television worker was the late David Nixon. No rush, he just took his time and worked with great charm.

Shawn's performance reminded me of something I read in "Expert Card Technique". It applies to the type of magic he does as well as his pace.
"The performer who constantly riffles the ends of the pack, who rushes through his feats as though Beelzebub were hard on his heels, whose movements are quick and jerky, is defeated before he starts, for his spectators always are concious of the fact that he is employing sleight of hand; his every action betrays this fact."
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/18/10 02:21 PM

Ryan Matney wrote:I'm not sure the torn and restored effect works the way you are thinking.


Signed and "mis-made"? (And quite openly signed, not cozy at all?) Wowsers...I'm glad it's still on my DVR....... :)
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/18/10 02:26 PM

I used to riffle the pack with my thumb like crazy. Barry Price use to admonish me on it all the time (he called it "finger fibrillation"), but it took seeing myself on video to break me of this annoying habit.

There are a lot of folks who do it.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 01/18/10 02:36 PM

Gary Kurtz talks about this 'visual noise' in Leading with your Head. Reading that book changed my performance dramatically.

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Postby mrgoat » 01/18/10 02:38 PM

Dustin Stinett wrote:I used to riffle the pack with my thumb like crazy. Barry Price use to admonish me on it all the time (he called it "finger fibrillation"), but it took seeing myself on video to break me of this annoying habit.

There are a lot of folks who do it.


Yes, that at the perpetual 'clicking' of cards against the right thumb as they are turned over. Like when you are 'proving' there is only one card.

Many people do that ALL THE TIME. FOR NO BLOODY REASON AT ALL.

It gets on my tits a bit. :)
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/18/10 02:39 PM

Ugh--manboobs again.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 01/18/10 05:33 PM

Signed and "mis-made"? (And quite openly signed, not cozy at all?) Wowsers...I'm glad it's still on my DVR.......


Well, it fooled just about everyone at Winter Carnival last year, myself included.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/18/10 06:38 PM

Good scripting can pack more tricks into the same time at your natural pace, if that's what you need to do. A good exercise is to take any trick you perform and try to streamline it to the bare minimum words, time, and procedure necessary to communicate the effect, then add back only that which makes it stronger.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 01/19/10 01:25 AM

I detest that word "scripting". The correct word is "PATTER". The word "scripting " reminds me of the acting profession. And I have never seen a single magician in my life who is any good that has taken acting lessons. They are always over loud and artificial.

Having said that I sort of agree with Mc'Cabe. I have often thought that magicians are too long winded. Mind you , you certainly couldn't say that about David Blaine even if he is a little publicity hungry.
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Postby Joe Pecore » 01/19/10 06:32 AM

Mark.Lewis wrote: The word "scripting " reminds me of the acting profession.

I think that is exactly what Pete wants people to think. I believe Pete is referring to Scripting as in actual TV Scripts, like an actor and director would use.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 01/19/10 01:19 PM

How awful. A magic performance is not a television script. You have to have the human element. And using a written script that you learn off by heart makes me shudder. It is actually the wrong way to go about things. And I don't care what the standard wisdom on this is. That is not to say you can't say the same thing every time you work. You do have to plan your patter. But there are better ways of doing it than learning it off by heart the way an actor does.

I believe that actors should stick to acting and magicians should stick to magic. They are two different professions with little in common even though people of dubious competence will tell you otherwise. I am referring to formal acting here. As in awful acting training and drama school. A magician should be a good actor but that doesn't come from bloody drama school. I have seen magicians on stage chatter as if they are reciting Hamlet instead of doing the damn professor's nightmare. And nightmare it is.

I can always tell a magician who has had acting school training and worked with a director. Without exception they are all bloody awful. I often ask them after their show if they have had acting training. They always say "yes". They don't realise I am not paying them a compliment.
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Postby mrgoat » 01/19/10 01:29 PM

Mark.Lewis wrote:Magic should come from the heart and you don't show heart when you are operating from a formal script


Hahahaha.

You are amusing.

I am glad Pete Mc isn't rising to your bait.

Come on, Lewis, do try harder. This is below you. Sorry I spoilt your game on the SNAP thread. Maybe you could revisit the Haiti one. I reckon that has more potential for you to annoy folk.

HTH

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Postby John Lovick » 01/19/10 01:41 PM

And I have never seen a single magician in my life who is any good that has taken acting lessons. They are always over loud and artificial.


Too bad youve never seen Andy Nyman or Jonathan Levit or Tommy Wonder or Richard Kaufman or Derek DelGaudio or Aaron Fisher or Steve Valentine or Rob Zabrecky or Bob Fitch or David Regal or John Carney. All good magicians who have taken acting lessons or formal training in acting. And those are just the ones I know about. I'm sure there are hundreds more.
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Postby mrgoat » 01/19/10 02:02 PM

John Lovick wrote:
And I have never seen a single magician in my life who is any good that has taken acting lessons. They are always over loud and artificial.


Too bad youve never seen Andy Nyman or Jonathan Levit or Tommy Wonder or Richard Kaufman or Derek DelGaudio or Aaron Fisher or Steve Valentine or Rob Zabrecky or Bob Fitch or David Regal or John Carney. All good magicians who have taken acting lessons or formal training in acting. And those are just the ones I know about. I'm sure there are hundreds more.


My degree was in Drama and I acted from the age of 7 or so. And I'm much better than ANY of the no-names you listed there, Lovick.

:)

It's obvious Lewis is just trolling.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/19/10 02:03 PM

Mark.Lewis wrote:How awful. A magic performance is not a television script.


A magic performance on television, which is what we were discussing, is a television script. Right?

Mark.Lewis wrote:Magic should come from the heart and you don't show heart when you are operating from a formal script that you can't deviate from. You should certainly prepare your patter and how you deliver it but you should remain human and not a robot.


Mark,

It seems that you and I mean different things when we say Scripting. In particular the idea that if you have a script you can not deviate from has nothing to do with scripting as I understand it.

I realize that you do not read anything written after 1954 but if you PM me your address I will gladly send you a copy of Scripting Magic with my compliments. I can send you a list of which scripts are for tricks which were created before 1954 if that helps.
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Postby Jager » 01/19/10 02:12 PM

Pete McCabe wrote:I will gladly send you a copy of Scripting Magic with my compliments.

Hey... I paid $36.00 for my copy. And It is worth Ten times that.
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Postby mrgoat » 01/19/10 02:25 PM

Jager wrote:
Pete McCabe wrote:I will gladly send you a copy of Scripting Magic with my compliments.

Hey... I paid $36.00 for my copy. And It is worth Ten times that.


Ditto. But did you get him to personally uncensor the censored word?

I did.

Beat that.

:)
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Postby Brad Henderson » 01/19/10 02:35 PM

Mark has a point, but I don't think it is the one he is actually making.

First, I think Patter is an awful word. On one of those 1950's game shows where you had to guess the words from clues, patter came up. The clues were akin to "meaningless, drivel, chatter" etc.

I think a magician's words can be a powerful tool both methodologically as well as dramatically and to stick one's hand blindly into a tool chest hoping to come up with the right one for the job is a position I cannot advocate.

I would be willing to bet Mark has a script, though it probably evolved out of performance as opposed to having been written from theory and memorized by rote. I also think a lot of people assume, incorrectly, that a "script" must be set in stone. It does not. I prefer to think of it as a spine. The script gives a performance structure and form. One can deviate when experience dictates it is wise, but that core structure keeps the show/trick headed in the correct direction.

I can imagine someone who has been "in the trenches" for years feeling as if their work is more free form that it is. It's like a great jazz man telling you "just play what you hear." But I think this comes from being such a master of your instrument that you are making conscious choices so quickly, that you know your chord changes (script) so well, that it seems like you are completely extemporaneous when in reality, there is a lot of ingrained structure swimming beneath those waters (to mix a metaphor).

HOWEVER, I can think of dozens and dozens of times when I have seen a magician "ACTORRRRRR! (to be read ala Lovitz) perform. They are forced and stentorian. They speak at the audience, not with them. They over gesticulate. And they usually mysteriously acquire some sort of faux British twang.

Of course these people understand "acting" as well as a lot of "magicians" understand "magic."

Like magic, I think a lot of people take acting classes and assume they are now actors. They think acting is little more than "being louder." And I agree with Mark, in those cases, there may be no worse combination.

In the best of cases, acting becomes invisible. It should seem real. Seems an appropriate match for magic. However, to achieve that "reality" in either art takes much more work than many might realize.
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