Dynamo, Magician Impossible, To Air in the US

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/11/12 03:38 PM

Found this link via Meir Yedid's Magic Times:
http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news/2012 ... 0207tlc01/

Dynamo's series Magician Impossible will air on Feb.16 here in the US. I wonder what people will make of it, particularly since his accent is a bit thick.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 02/11/12 10:34 PM

A couple episodes aired on the Travel Channel back in December.
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Postby TGR » 02/12/12 07:34 AM

Dynamo is extremely popular here in the UK and also a very nice guy. I'm sure you will like his shows and his style of presenting and delivering magic.
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Postby mrgoat » 02/12/12 07:42 AM

TGR wrote:I'm sure you will like his shows and his style of presenting and delivering magic.


Yes, if you like David Blaine mumbling "look at this" you will really dig Dynamo's way of doing that, but in a Bradford accent. And his use of stooges and camera tricks is second to none.
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Postby TGR » 02/12/12 08:38 AM

mrgoat wrote:
TGR wrote:I'm sure you will like his shows and his style of presenting and delivering magic.


Yes, if you like David Blaine mumbling "look at this" you will really dig Dynamo's way of doing that, but in a Bradford accent. And his use of stooges and camera tricks is second to none.


Jealousy is a second emotion and typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear and anxiety...

Dynamo is a great guy and great Magician. He has achieved more in magic than most of us can only dream of. I say the very best of luck to the guy. Years of hard work and practice have paid off for him. He has brought magic back into the public domain. Others can only snipe and make cheap, derogatory comments about people who are far, far more succesful than they will ever be. What a pity...
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Postby Ian Kendall » 02/12/12 09:17 AM

I met Steve many years ago, and he reminded me of myself at that age. He has worked hard, and has a good team behind him (which I think has had a bit to do with his success).

However - and I say this about every TV magician who uses camera tricks - that doesn't make them a 'wonder wizard' (for want of a term). When TV magic is all about editing, stooges and post production fakery, you might as well put an actor in there.

Also, please don't mistake criticism for jealousy. It's a lazy and facile reaction to something when we don't want to address the comments themselves (for example, 'I don't need to think about what you said because you are jealous of me'). Oh, and this is not a criticism of Steve, either. Just of people who misuse jealousy as a label.
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Postby TGR » 02/12/12 09:32 AM

Ian,
I agree with a lot of the points you made in your post.
I also have no problem with critiscm if it is fair, balanced and constructive. However, inane comments such as 'but in a Bradford accent' are totally unecessary and uncalled for. So Dynamo has a regional accent - so what? How on earth can that possibly detract from his magic ability, skills or performance? Hence my post. Dynamo is great for British magic. He has put magic back on the TV which can only be good for all magicians. I applaud his hard work and success. Unlike others.
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Postby mrgoat » 02/12/12 10:05 AM

TGR wrote:Jealousy is a second emotion


No idea what a second emotion is?

TGR wrote: and typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear and anxiety...


not at all. It's negative thoughts about camera tricks, stooges, and lowering our art into nothing more than mumbling "look at this" and think that passes for presentation.

By all means disagree with me, but rather than just call me jealous, explain why YOU think using stooges, camera tricks and Blaine presentational style is good.
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Postby El Mystico » 02/12/12 10:08 AM

"He has put magic back on the TV"?
Well thas simply isn't true; there has been quite a bit of magic on TV over the last few years; Magicians, Penn and Teller and Derren brown all spring to mind immediately for the UK.

"Which can only be a good thing for all magicians"?
I'd question that too; magic which is mainly about editing, stooges and post production fakery is a bad thing for all magicians. (I hope you don't need anyone to justify that to you.)
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Postby mrgoat » 02/12/12 10:10 AM

TGR wrote:So Dynamo has a regional accent - so what? How on earth can that possibly detract from his magic ability, skills or performance?


It doesn't detract from his magic ability or skills. His use of stooges and camera tricks does that.

It does however, sum up his 'performance' skills. He mumbles like Blaine, but in a Bradford accent. It's just a factual observation. My notes about him using stooges and camera tricks were the real point. Please explain why you think that makes him good.
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Postby TGR » 02/12/12 10:33 AM

Mr Goat,
Jealousy is the expression of two emotions fear and anger. One becomes jealous of another one due to the fear of that person. The second emotion that causes jealousy is anger; people who cannot have what they want or a person angry with a certain individual for taking what they feel belongs to them and moves on, the anger lead to jealousy. That is why you post silly, childish replies without any thought or substance behind them and also why you are critical of Dynamo. You wish you could have his success and fame. However you never will as you channel all of your energy into negative channels. Succesful people (like Dynamo) channel their energy into positve channels.
Think about it Mr. Goat. Just sit and think about it...
Here endeth the lesson.
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Postby mrgoat » 02/12/12 10:46 AM

TGR wrote:Jealousy is the expression of two emotions fear and anger.


I don't think that is right. Do you have any citations that back up your theories?

I take it that you can't explain why you think using stooges and camera tricks is good then?

Didn't think you'd be able to.

Hey ho.
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Postby TGR » 02/12/12 11:09 AM

El Mystico wrote:"Which can only be a good thing for all magicians"?
I'd question that too; magic


Does anyone really have to explain to you why having high profile, high rating magic shows on TV is good for professional performing magicians? I give up!
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Postby mrgoat » 02/12/12 11:13 AM

TGR wrote:
El Mystico wrote:"Which can only be a good thing for all magicians"?
I'd question that too; magic


Does anyone really have to explain to you why having high profile, high rating magic shows on TV is good for professional performing magicians? I give up!


Why is it good for professional magicians to have Dynamo using stooges and camera tricks on TV?

Come on, just have a GO at answering it rather than having a hissy fit like a 14 year old.
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Postby El Mystico » 02/12/12 11:14 AM

Well, that's a good laugh for a grey Sunday afternoon!
you know you've lost the argument so you pretend it's about something else! You specifically cut off my question and put in your own instead!
Wonderful. Thank you!
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Postby TGR » 02/12/12 12:58 PM

I repeat:
'Does anyone really have to explain to you why having high profile, high rating magic shows on TV is good for professional performing magicians? I give up!'

Obviously they do. Laughable. Completely laughable.
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Postby mrgoat » 02/12/12 01:05 PM

TGR wrote:I repeat:
'Does anyone really have to explain to you why having high profile, high rating magic shows on TV is good for professional performing magicians? I give up!'

Obviously they do. Laughable. Completely laughable.


Explain why magic that is mainly editing, stooges and camera tricks is good for professional magicians. Which was the point El Mystico was questioning.

As I think you know. I've a feeling we're being trolled here. TGR seems to do nothing but troll in the few days he has been here. I imagine it's just someone trying to be disruptive. Seems to be working. Well done kid!

Now, will you go back to the cafe?
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Postby Brad Henderson » 02/12/12 01:26 PM

Been hearing lots of rumors leaking from the dynamo camp. They suggest he is incapable of performing most of the stuff himself, so they have to surround him with people to do the work for him, and other 'cheats'. Also, stories paint his as an egotist of Hollywood d class variety - 'I'm famous. Treat me special or else.'.

I miss the days when a magician on tv could actually perform the stuff they did on tv. What we have today is not magic, it's special effects. I love special effects. But they aren't magic.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/12/12 01:35 PM

I've known Steve, "Dynamo" for many years. I've watched him take that incredibly shy demeanor and turn it into something that relates to people when he performs magic.

Any successful magic in mass media is good for all of us.

Look, I could do the Pass on TV and it could be easily dismissed as either a camera trick or the use of duplicate cards. Laymen could argue about it forever with no result.

The fact is, when laymen see ANY magic on TV they now immediately assume that camera trickery or stooges MAY account for the method. This was bound to happen eventually and we're here--at that moment--right now. Because of that, it really doesn't seem to matter whether you use camera edits and stooges or you don't because whether you do or don't won't make any difference in the viewing audience's perception.

I'm happy to hear opinions to the contrary.

But what this situation has brought us to is where we were before mass media: magic can now only be convincingly done (without the thoughts of editing, special effects, and stooges) when it is done LIVE, when the audience is right in front of you.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 02/12/12 02:02 PM

"won't make any difference in the viewing audience's perception"

Here's a contrary opinion. Several times over the years I've had to field questions about whoever was on TV that week from real people at gigs. Questions like 'why can't you float a foot in the air like Blaine?' to 'why can't you force a cell phone through a glass bottle?'

The implication is that I am somehow a lesser magician because I cannot do live what TV magicians do with tricks and post production. Similarly, I cannot dispel this implication at the time by saying 'it's all camera tricks and no one can do that' because, well, it's not the done thing, is it?

This was discussed here a few years ago with respect to Mark Wilson's reaction to the situation. After a couple of decades of carefully building an image of 'no camera tricks' by the leading practitioners, a couple of Copperfield specials and the advent of the Blaine generation have thrown all that good will out with the bath water. Now, camera tricks are the norm, and no one seems to care.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/12/12 02:11 PM

Ian, even though you can't duplicate the exact trick you're being questioned about at the time, doesn't an amazing trick well performed at that moment satisfy the questioner?
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Postby Ian Kendall » 02/12/12 02:30 PM

Most of the time, yes, but there's that lingering thing that hangs around (and I don't even do most of the things on TV). For example, in the Blaine era I would sometimes do the Balducci levitation, and get comments that it wasn't as high as Blaine - where do you go from there?

Back in the day, for a magician to make it on TV they had to have skill; now they just need an image consultant and someone good with After Effects. That means those of us still in the trenches are set up against an unobtainable ideal, not unlike real women trying to look like photoshopped models.
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Postby El Mystico » 02/12/12 02:39 PM

Something's just occurred to me; when I do magic, sometimes someone will say "it's all sleight of hand". That's not a problem.
So - what is the problem with saying, of Dynamo, 'it's all camera tricks and stooges?"
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Postby Simone M » 02/12/12 03:53 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:I've known Steve, "Dynamo" for many years. I've watched him take that incredibly shy demeanor and turn it into something that relates to people when he performs magic.


I do agree with that. I've already said what I think about Dynamo in the previous thread...I've watched a bit more since then and my opinion hasn't changed.
I've seen an episode in which he has to do a trick for someone and he shows up in an Adidas jacket and a backpack on his shoulder. He looked exactly like a everyday british lad -- it was about time we had a magician on TV who doesn't pretend he comes from outerspace. Another thing I really appreciated is that he seems able to interact with people of different social strata, always sounding respectful and never abusing his position.

I do not think that all you need to have in order to do magic on TV is an image consultant. You have to have a personality that works, that's it. Image consultants can help you enhancing some traits of your personality (positive or negative that they are), but it's hard for someone to live under a totally different skin without sounding fake.

As for the way TV is shaping the audience's perception of magic, I don't know. I'm just happy that people enjoy magic and realize how great and interesting it can be.
It's a bit like live music vs studio trickery...there's stuff that works great on the album but sounds sh*t live, and there's stuff that on record sounds flat and lifeless but when you hear it live is a totally different thing.
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Postby mrgoat » 02/12/12 03:58 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Any successful magic in mass media is good for all of us.


Even if he is using stooges, edits and camera tricks to the extent that he couldn't perform live?

Richard Kaufman wrote:Look, I could do the Pass on TV and it could be easily dismissed as either a camera trick or the use of duplicate cards.


Yes, but Dynamo does use a camera trick. I think that is bad.

Richard Kaufman wrote:it really doesn't seem to matter whether you use camera edits and stooges or you don't because whether you do or don't won't make any difference in the viewing audience's perception.


Laypeople don't think he is using stooges over here. They think he really is doing the magic.

The money is in live shows. Mr Copperfield proves that and Mr Kenner said that the tv specials were just a long advert for the live shows.

So, Dynamo is now unable to perform the most talked about effects live. That's a mistake isn't it?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/12/12 04:13 PM

I don't know that Dynamo has plans to do live shows with those types of effects.

Let me take another magician as an example: China's Liu Chien. He is an internet sensation for exactly the kind of "setup" tricks I think you're talking about, yet he also does hugely successful tours and stage shows. Some of the things he did on TV that you wouldn't imagine he could do live, like putting his hand through the side of a fish tank, he does in fact do live on stage. So it's not impossible to reproduce this kind of material in a live setting if that's your goal.

But Dynamo doesn't strike me as any sort of stage performer--he's a close-up performer and his only outlet is either walkaround or TV. So I don't think he's worry about a show in a theater at the moment.

I think a certain group of Brits relate to him precisely because he's "anti-posh" (as an American I don't have a better way to phrase it).
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Postby Brad Henderson » 02/12/12 04:26 PM

I thought the fish tank was Cyril?

We know that when someone hires a bad magician they tend to shy away from hiring other magicians in the future.

If a magician has a great promo video and delivers a show that does not live up to that promo video, the client is reasonably disappointed and will likely want to avoid other magicians.

Arent these tv shows nothing more than a promo video which establishes what they can allegedly do and what it would be like if you were there. Its what they
have led people to believe is deliverable by them.

So, what happens when they get hired for a live gig. Remember the review blaine's magic received after his talk in Dallas? People went to believe expecting material equal to that on the tv show - they were disappointed.

Blaine did a live show for a company in england - the exec was incredibly disappointed.

If these people could deliver experiences comparable to what they show on tv, it wouldnt be an issue. But they often can't, and when people are dissapointed by magicians it, unfortunately, reflects on all of us.

Sure, only a fraction of people may ever experience that dissapointment first hand, but why support anything that can negatively impact magic

In my mind, there is little difference between cheating tv magi and milli vanilli. They are magic lip syncers.

Is that something we as a community should support?
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Postby mrgoat » 02/12/12 04:26 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:I don't know that Dynamo has plans to do live shows with those types of effects.


He won't be able to. He uses stooges, editing and camera tricks as you will see when the shows air.

Richard Kaufman wrote:Let me take another magician as an example: China's Liu Chien. He is an internet sensation for exactly the kind of "setup" tricks I think you're talking about, yet he also does hugely successful tours and stage shows. Some of the things he did on TV that you wouldn't imagine he could do live, like putting his hand through the side of a fish tank, he does in fact do live on stage. So it's not impossible to reproduce this kind of material in a live setting if that's your goal.


That effect is a bit different from Dynamo's stooges and camera tricks though, isn't it?

Chien can actually do that live. Dynamo will not be able to perform his signature effects live.

Richard Kaufman wrote:But Dynamo doesn't strike me as any sort of stage performer--he's a close-up performer and his only outlet is either walkaround or TV. So I don't think he's worry about a show in a theater at the moment.


Ah, so then it's cool to use stooges, editing and camera tricks then?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/12/12 05:44 PM

Brad, you're right--I was thinking of Cyril. But my point remains, I think, valid.

Damian: I'm not saying that "it's cool to use stooges, editing and camera tricks." But at this date it's an inescapable fact of life if you're doing your own TV show because producers demand more than any human can actually do, no matter how talented.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 02/12/12 07:01 PM

Your point is valid IF the performer can provide an alternative experience of the same or equal Expected impact. Can dynamo? Can angel? Can Blaine?

What trick can cries angel perform live that would deliver the expected, anticipated comparable impact of many of the tricks he alleges to be able to perform on his tv show?

Could a smart performer make choose that would allow them to succeed in both worlds?

Absolutely.

But would a smart performers go to tool in their bag of tricks always be stooges and camera tricks?

Probably not.

They painted thenselves into a corner because they cared only about getting a tv show - then tried to figure out what to do on that tv show - rather than having a complete vision. I get calls all the time from magi who have people interested in them for a tv thing. They all want help figuring out what to do.

That's backwards

You should have something remarkable to do THAT gets you a tv show.
Damien is right. It's about image and management.

One producer requested a non white derren brown. The image landed the gig, not the material. That was written and rehearsed the night before.

When fame becomes the target, magic suffers. (any field does).

We are in the milli vanilli era of magic.
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Postby mrgoat » 02/12/12 07:10 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Damian: I'm not saying that "it's cool to use stooges, editing and camera tricks." But at this date it's an inescapable fact of life if you're doing your own TV show because producers demand more than any human can actually do, no matter how talented.


I can't think of anyone aside from Dynamo and Angel that have resorted to such, as brad said, lip syncing cheating. Can you?
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Postby Brad Henderson » 02/12/12 07:20 PM

As Vince dimartino, one if the worlds greatest trumpet players said: I will edit to save a great performance, not create one.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/12/12 11:17 PM

Yes I can, Damian, but I don't consider the first thing I'm about to discuss "cheating." It did NOT involve exposing anything to the audience(s) and both audiences saw an impressive illusion. It took advantage of the medium to accomplish something new.

I'm talking about the first time I know of editing definitely being used on a TV magic special: when David Copperfield edited together two different methods of levitation into one performance and the woman who floated moved in a way that we'd never seen before--first she floated up, then out into the audience. This is old old news--it's got to be 20 years ago, and I've written about it before. It was easy to spot, even as we watched it, because the spectators kept magically changing from one shot to the next.

The second time was when Lance Burton did the escape from the roller coaster tracks. I've been told on good authority that they simply filmed the parts separately and edited them together.

As I recall, the last shot in David Blaine's first TV special where he did the so-called Balducci levitation and you could clearly see both feet off the ground, had to have been surrounded by people who saw what was actually happening.

Criss Angel was late to the game.

"Dynamo: Magician Impossible" has been renewed for two more series:
http://www.digitalspy.com/british-tv/ne ... watch.html

I'm sure that virtually none of you have seen the footage from Orson Welles' unfinished film, "The Magic Show." I have, as well as other magic effects for a pilot of his talk show, all of which Welles shot and edited himself. The great film maker, a genius of cinema and a life-long magician, was editing together footage to create continuity and effect long before anyone else in our field. And he did this in films such as Othello and Chimes at Midnight, where continuous scenes were cobbled together from footage shot years apart on different continents, long before he did it in filming magic. He did it in "F for Fake," and he did it even more audaciously in "Filming Othello," in which the editing together of footage so obviously filmed at different times and places was a challenge to the viewer. For Welles, it seems that the thing which mattered most was the effect upon the person watching the film, not the method by which it was accomplished.

In "F for Fake," just as an example, Welles performs an Asrah while outside walking in what appears to be a park or garden. No theater, no stage, nothing. If someone had taken a photo of the larger situation they would have seen either a crane or a bunch of guys on ladders pulling the wires to raise the "sleeping princess" and then yanking the wire form up when Welles whipped away the cloth. Well what about that? Doesn't that qualify as camera trickery? Welles shot what he wanted you to see, and then stitched the film together to produced the image he wanted you to believe. He saw the performance of magic as no different than the illusion of continuity in film.

If you want to kick somebody in the shins about all of this, you need to start with Orson Welles.

Actually, seriously, if you want to kick someone about it you need to go back 100 years to Georges Melies, because he discovered the "special effect" in cinema, and quickly learned he could use the camera to create magic much more cleanly than it could be done on stage. Go watch "Hugo," and then tell me that Criss Angel or Dynamo are doing anything differently other than creating the pretense that the people watching them are not in on the trick. What you are seeing is simply the blending of 100-year-old cinematic technique and the modern "reality" show, in which nothing is real at all. The shows are shaped and scripted by producers and writers.

What you are seeing, my friends, is simply the collision and thus evolution of two different forms of media entertainment. It is a cycle, like all other cycles, and will eventually pass.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 02/13/12 12:39 AM

Except in the movie instance we have a special effect experience, not a magic one. The magic experience arises when what you know to be impossible collides with what is undeniably happening. The feelingful reaction is that of magic - in the traditional conjuring sense.

This feeling is different from what we experience when we watch captain Kirk transport or even a moment of simulated magic in a movie such as the illusionist or the prestige.

This of course begs the question of whether magic 'works' on tv. The solution adopted years ago was to film in front of a live audience so at least intellectually one could appreciate that the feelingful response of magic was being conveyed. Blaine brilliantly realized that one could come closer to conveying the experience vicariously by focusing on the reactions of the people watching.

But as tamariz discussed in the session at wms the experience watching on tv is a different one and really good only to sell a real show.

Orson's asrah was not intended to be a 'magic trick' (that response in the audience makes little sense at that point in the movie, and the fact that he's faking FAKING a levitation is perhaps even more appropriate given the subject.)

And, to be complete, sometimes magic effects are used in theater productions - sometimes in the role of simply a special effect (the levitation in wicked, pan, or beast), sometimes to convey to embue a magic impossibility hue to the moment - perhaps the end of phantom.

Blaine and Copperfield have used smart editing. We could rightfully take issue with both people to varying degrees. However, unlike Blaine, angel and apparently dynamo, Copperfield can deliver real life experiences comparable to those witnessed on tv. (grand canyon notably excluded). He even recreated every moment in the Alcatraz escape on stage. I don't know if he intended it, but that establishes his tv specials as representative of what he can do.

Believe, on the other hand, disappointed people who were expecting mind freak Caliber material.

Finally, while I believe that an artist could willing embrace 'camera tricks' as a tool, or produce work that exploited and provided artistic commentary on the role of media and magic, I see nothing in the output of today's tv magi to convince me that this is their intent.

If so, there would be substance beyond the trick

That's not the case. Its a bunch of zealous self promoters who have landed a tv gig and can't deliver what they promised - which is magic, not special effects.
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Postby mrgoat » 02/13/12 05:21 AM

Mr K, I'm confused. Is your point essentially "Some people made movies and used special effects therefore in 2012 it's cool for Dynamo to use stooges, editing and camera tricks to achieve what people think is ordinary close up magic?

Or is you just trolling!?
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Postby Ian Kendall » 02/13/12 07:29 AM

You can always tell when there's a camera trick in a Copperfield show - the voice over says something like 'there will be no edits' <cue dissolve> or 'Don't cut away!' <cue instant obvious cut>. (Taken from Niagra Falls and Bermuda Triangle specials respectively).

This may be the norm now, but it doesn't mean we have to like it.
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Postby Potty the Pirate » 02/13/12 01:39 PM

Like it or not, camera tricks, stooges and, frankly, every possible device available, will be used to present magic on TV. Most magicians seems happy to use every ploy at their disposal to present live shows. Electronics, stooges, etc...have been used for the last century at least. why should TV production companies think any differently?
It's a fact that we must live with. Laymen are incredulous at the impossible feats that Dynamo achieves. My carpenter thinks he's a "Magic God" having seen him walking on the River Thames.

But, truthfully, I am convinced that guys like Dynamo, Angel and Blaine have made magic HUGELY popular here in the UK. A far cry from the sad years when David Nixon and then Paul Daniels monopolised TV magic, and (Daniels, mostly) made magic something for a tiny minority, his arrogant and irritating personality turning most viewers OFF magic.

The plethora of magic shows now airing on British TV make me squirm, mostly, I can't watch them, they are so bad. But (a lot of, by no means a large percentage of) the viewing public find them highly entertaining, and so, good luck to all those who are a part of it. If you entertain, you are an entertainer. No two ways about it.

Of course, it would be nice to see a TV magician who has real personality, great shows, and can achieve all this without special effects. Such a performer will definitely emerge one day soon.
Meanwhile, I think it's fair to say that more magicians are getting work, directly as a result of the current mediocre TV presentations.
At least in the UK, after decades of indifference, the public are becoming fascinated with magic once again, and this can only be a good thing.
Doug
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Postby mrgoat » 02/13/12 02:24 PM

Potty the Pirate wrote:Of course, it would be nice to see a TV magician who has real personality, great shows, and can achieve all this without special effects. Such a performer will definitely emerge one day soon.


And his name will probably rhyme with Merron Frown.
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Postby Potty the Pirate » 02/13/12 03:10 PM

mrgoat wrote:
Potty the Pirate wrote:Of course, it would be nice to see a TV magician who has real personality, great shows, and can achieve all this without special effects. Such a performer will definitely emerge one day soon.


And his name will probably rhyme with Merron Frown.

....I mentioned "personality".....I guess you didn't notice that?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/13/12 03:24 PM

Potty, I think Derren Brown has loads of personality.
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