About doing magic

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
Al Schneider
Posts: 95
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

About doing magic

Postby Al Schneider » August 28th, 2018, 6:47 am

I personally do not care a whit about being entertaining. I believe if you do magic, the audience will be entertained. When magicians sell magic they don’t call themselves entertainers they call themselves magicians. Then they often say, “audience participation.” That means, don’t sit near the stage.

I thought the Jinx thread about double lifts had turned to a discussion of care and feeding of the audience. I wanted to add my two cents to this. However, to be fair to that thread I decided to start a new one. And hi GLenn.

Early in my magic career I conducted a series of experiments. In Minneapolis I was elected president of the local IBM. As president I held a club magic party. At the time I lived in a high class apartment that had an attractive party room. In the party, club members invited friends and the members presented magic at tables located around the room.

During that party, friends I invited indicated that if there was another party they would enjoy attending. That sparked a series of experiments. The result was that I held two parties a month in that party room. In each party there would be someone that wanted to attend another party. I told them they could invite their circle of friends, bring food and booze, and I would supply the magic talent in the form of close up shows. I got local Minneapolis magicians to perform.

Over a period of several years, I used this venue to experiment with various ways to present close up magic. The people came from a variety of places. One was my ski club. Another was people from my karate club. And some were people I never met but friends of friends. Here are a few highlights of these experiments.

During one party a table was manned by the local magic shop dealer. He chose to do some kind of card trick in which cards were laid out and a counter moved from card to card to eventually select a card. Some of my friends from where I worked were in attendance. They were programmers. During this guy’s presentation, my friends could see how the effect was proceeding and told the performer where the counter would end up moves before the end of the effect. During the evening the dealer confessed to me he was sweating bullets when he performed.

Sometime later, the magic shop changed hands and the new magic shop operator manned a table at one of the parties. He told me he was going to perform the effects he sold over the counter at his shop. After the first set of performances of shows at the tables, he left his table and refused to perform additional shows. His material was so bad and he was so embarrassed he refused to do any more magic. I begged him to continue performing but he steadfastly refused to perform.

During another party one of the magicians was kind of like a Don Alan clone. He did the stuff with Chop Cup, Fez, Bowl Routine, Big Nut and so on. One of the people in the audience approached me and said the guy was a triangle performer. He said the guy moved props from the attaché case at his side into his lap then onto the table top then back to the case.

Much of the information I write about came from these experiments. Perhaps the most common factor I got from the experiments was a statement about how comfortable audience members were with various performers. Cutesy, aggressive, hard hitting, jibber-jabber performers were clearly not appreciated. A soft touch where the performers were in contact with the audience was a critical issue.

Gimmicks or sleight-of-hand tended to be a non factor but skill generally was noticed and appreciated.

During one event an old time performer did a basic cards across routine. It involved counting cards into helper’s hands. His performance style dominated the room. When some table’s show was over, the people would rush over to see the old guy do magic again. The patter was not the issue. The interplay between the helper and magician is what made his act. Technically, he used crude palming but that was not an issue.

After performing many of these experiments, I challenge most magicians about what they believe their audiences see in their act.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

performer
Posts: 2910
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby performer » August 28th, 2018, 8:29 am

With all due respect Al you are talking a load of tosh. If the magician has a personality which is as dull as dishwater and cannot jibber jabber in an entertaining manner then he may as well give up right there. The patter is always more important than the trick. As Dunninger once said, "Even nail through finger will suffice". There are exceptions to the rule of "Jibber Jabber" but they are few and far between. One exception is David Blaine who I quite appreciate but at least his lack of "jibber jabber" is calculated and I have always thought his lack of presentation is superb presentation in itself.

However in most cases if you rely on the trick alone to get reaction and perform with the personality of a dial tone then you are far less likely to garner the required reaction. If you do get reaction because of the strength of the trick then it is the inventor of the trick that deserves the applause rather than yourself.

You should ALWAYS be an entertainer first and a magician second. I don't actually like my last sentence since I believe they are not two separate things. If you are not a good entertainer you are not a good magician. Knowing how to entertain is PART AND PARCEL of being a good magician.

I have seen you perform and despite your frequent disparagement of yourself you are pretty good. You keep putting yourself down but I think your "jibber-jabber" is perfectly adequate and that you are a decent performer with a sound grasp of psychology and a gift for creativity. I have no idea if your stance is false modesty or a genuine lack of confidence in your ability as an entertainer. I hope the former rather than the latter.

I do thank Richard for the term "jibber Jabber" which I FAR prefer to that awful word "script" that various pretentious people use. The word should actually be PATTER as it has been for over a hundred years before snobby actor types tried to call it something else.

The trouble with the expression "jibber jabber" is that it tends to describe magicians who talk too much and are overly long winded. The worst ones who chatter for 5 minutes before the bloody trick starts instead of getting on with the job.

No. You do not have to be a fast talker to be a good jibber jabberist. You can talk slowly and deliberately with charm and dignity if that is your style. However you must PRESENT! If you can't do that then there is no point bothering.

On reflection "jibber jabber" is not a very useful term because it can give the wrong impression of what patter should be. However, I rather like the expression and shall continue to use it. I thank Richard Kaufman for inventing a new and hopefully historic phrase to describe patter. Anything is better than that horrendous pretentious word "script"

Al Schneider
Posts: 95
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby Al Schneider » August 28th, 2018, 8:58 am

I will never forget the words of a Chicago magician and magic authority that said, "I can get fifteen minutes out of a finger chopper."
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

Glenn Bish Bishop
Posts: 33
Joined: July 5th, 2018, 12:44 pm
Favorite Magician: Billy Bishop

Re: About doing magic

Postby Glenn Bish Bishop » August 28th, 2018, 10:30 am

Hi Back Al. And thank you.

I am in total agreement about magic and the magic is what is sold as entertainment to the audience. I have found that if the magic is strong, the audience reactions will fill in the blanks of the act. As the effect of magic happens in the mind of the people watching it, the magic should be strong so the audience has no way to explain it or what happened except by magic.

I am in the opinion of strong magic = effect of magic = audience reaction = entertainment.

Al Schneider
Posts: 95
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby Al Schneider » August 28th, 2018, 11:42 am

One of the things I wish to stress in my introductory post was the importance of the likeability of the performer. The kind of magic one does is entirely dependent on the opinion of the audience. One of my common statements about magicians is that any performer bows at the end of a performance to the audience for they are the final judge of the performance. If they don't like you, they will not see the magic. I had many local magicians come to my little parties. I watched and listened to the reactions of the judges. As I have said, I walked away with the idea that the relatable performer was highly valued. Many magicians just don't seem to get this.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

User avatar
Q. Kumber
Posts: 1572
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Manchester, England

Re: About doing magic

Postby Q. Kumber » August 28th, 2018, 5:00 pm

Al Schneider wrote:During one event an old time performer did a basic cards across routine. It involved counting cards into helper’s hands. His performance style dominated the room. When some table’s show was over, the people would rush over to see the old guy do magic again. The patter was not the issue. The interplay between the helper and magician is what made his act. Technically, he used crude palming but that was not an issue.


and

Al Schneider wrote: I watched and listened to the reactions of the judges. As I have said, I walked away with the idea that the relatable performer was highly valued.


Al, those two quotes summarise it all.

performer
Posts: 2910
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby performer » August 28th, 2018, 6:04 pm

I think I should clear up one common misconception. When I say you have to be "entertaining" I don't necessary mean "funny". People tend to get the two confused. You can be perfectly entertaining and never crack a single joke. Jimmy Grippo is a case in point but he isn'the only one. There are in fact many who can do this.

You don't need comedy to be entertaining. You can be dramatic, you can be charming, you can be interesting, you can be mysterious or just plain amusing.

What I am trying to say is that it is a dreadful and common mistake to think that the trick in and of itself is enough. It bloody well isn't. A dull performer with no charisma can perform the most fantastic trick known to mankind and yet a real showman can take something like Nail Through Finger and get the same or more likely better reaction.

As Joseph Dunninger once said, "That trick is of no importance. Anything will do. Nail through Finger will suffice if you can find some way of magnetising and hypnotising that audience"

I rather think some of you should get to work on Nail Through Finger immediately.

Al Schneider
Posts: 95
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby Al Schneider » August 28th, 2018, 7:39 pm

One of my goals in starting this thread was to discuss things I discovered during my experiments. It seems that the dear readers would rather offer me advice on performing. So be it.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 24465
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: About doing magic

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 28th, 2018, 8:09 pm

Al, I would love to take the credit, but "jibber-jabber" but it's really old ...

"Etymologists have been scratching their heads over its origin almost since it first appeared in the language in the middle 1500s. There's a set of similar words — gibber, jibber, jabber, gobble and gab (as in gift of the gab) — that may be related attempts at imitating incomprehensible utterances.
Oct 3, 2015
World Wide Words: Gibberish
www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-gib2.htm"
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Al Schneider
Posts: 95
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby Al Schneider » August 28th, 2018, 8:41 pm

Richard
You are being polite.
I have known what it has meant however I looked it up just to be sure.

Definition of 'jibber-jabber'
English: jibber-jabber
jibber-jabber in British
()
noun
1.
foolish or worthless talk; nonsense
verb
2.
to talk foolishly; babble
Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers

It was not I said the cat, it was some other wizard of smart. Curiously it is common in Britain. Could someone post the pic of T again. It gives great meaning to the word.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 3847
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby erdnasephile » August 28th, 2018, 9:03 pm

Image

performer
Posts: 2910
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby performer » August 28th, 2018, 9:55 pm

Al Schneider wrote:One of my goals in starting this thread was to discuss things I discovered during my experiments. It seems that the dear readers would rather offer me advice on performing. So be it.


Yes, Al. I have read about your experiments before in one of your books. But it seems you did the experiments with local magicians. The trouble is that local magicians know as much about magic as they do about the care and breeding of Japanese butterflies. They don't really count you know. Besides they are not very good at jibber-jabbering. I really should give lectures on the subject.

In any event I wasn't giving YOU advice on performing. I will concede that you do have a vague idea how to do that and I already remarked on it. Dearie me no. I was advising everyone else because I get a vibe that they are all pretty useless at it and I have always been full of the milk of human kindness and always feel the need to impart my great and wondrous wisdom to the needy.

Al Schneider
Posts: 95
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby Al Schneider » August 29th, 2018, 3:42 am

Crickets
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

performer
Posts: 2910
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby performer » August 29th, 2018, 7:24 am

Never when I am around. I always have something to say. Jibber Jabber is my speciality.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 888
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: About doing magic

Postby MagicbyAlfred » August 29th, 2018, 2:08 pm

Al Wrote: "Some of my friends from where I worked were in attendance. They were programmers. During this guy’s presentation, my friends could see how the effect was proceeding and told the performer where the counter would end up moves before the end of the effect. During the evening the dealer confessed to me he was sweating bullets when he performed."

"STEM"(Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) people are a unique animal unto themselves. Rarely will a group of people in a close up magic setting at an event, restaurant, or private party be composed exclusively or even primarily of such individuals. I do, however, have a few tricks that I keep in reserve when I am performing for such individuals and/or know that one or more of them is part of the audience.

Once about a year ago at the bar where I work, i performed for a guy who was a PhD candidate in Mathematics at the University of California Irvine. I did a trick I had gotten out of - I believe it was a Fulves book on math tricks, and which Harry Lorayne performs as "Lightning Calculation." (who to credit for creating it, I do not actually know.) I did this on a paper napkin with a sharpie under the patter that I was known as the "human calculator." The procedure is so seemingly fair and random, and the effect so devastatingly powerful that it fried the guy. After it was over, I excused myself "for a moment" under the pretext that someone at the other end of the bar was waiting to see a card trick. I took the napkin with me and deep sixed it in the trash back in the kitchen.

When I encountered the PhD candidate shortly thereafter, he did exactly what I thought he would do - asked "Do you happen to have that napkin?" Of course, I had destroyed the evidence and apologized profusely after a search of my pockets yielded nothing. He somberly related to me that he was now going to probably be up all night thinking about the trick. I made some sort of empathetic comment, but as sick as it may sound, I was belly-laughing inside.

Joe Mckay
Posts: 1481
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 6:56 am
Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
Location: Durham, England

Re: About doing magic

Postby Joe Mckay » August 29th, 2018, 3:55 pm

Why is it that a lot of dull magicians are actually interesting and entertaining in a non-magic context?

Why does performing magic bring out the worst in them?

Al Schneider
Posts: 95
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby Al Schneider » August 29th, 2018, 5:19 pm

Joe
Thank you for the observation.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

performer
Posts: 2910
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby performer » August 29th, 2018, 6:18 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:Why is it that a lot of dull magicians are actually interesting and entertaining in a non-magic context?

Why does performing magic bring out the worst in them?


Because they have not studied how NOT to be dull when performing. This takes a lot of effort and in fact more effort than the trick itself. It takes a hell of a lot more effort than learning a second deal but is far more useful in the long run.

Some people have a natural charisma given to them by the Gods but even that is not sufficient and can in fact be a detriment because they get lazy and think that is all they need. Maskelyne made the point in "Our Magic" that the fellow who has no charisma or natural presentational abilities deserves more credit when he eventually succeeds than someone who is blessed by the Gods in these matters.

When I first started magic I was very shy and quiet indeed. In fact, believe it or not I still am. However, I realised from the very beginning that it was utterly essential to find some way of making the magic entertaining. And I determined to find a way and studied this just as much as I did the technical part of things. And I believe it paid off.

I am afraid Al's first sentence in his longer post filled me with such abject horror that I had to say something. He said words to the effect that he didn't "care a whit about entertaining". Thank goodness I do not believe this to be true. If it were he wouldn't be able to write such long intelligent posts. However, if it IS true then he may as well not bother doing magic in the first place.

Come to think of it I believe that most magicians who do close up magic are dull and shouldn't be doing it in the first place. Or they go to the other extreme and are far too voluble, excitable and long winded. They shouldn't be doing magic in the first place either.

But they will and there is nothing I can do about it. I suppose I will have to accept it. At least some of them invent wonderful material and write good books. I suppose I should be grateful for that.

Al Schneider
Posts: 95
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby Al Schneider » August 29th, 2018, 6:46 pm

performer
Could we see a video clip of you doing some magic?
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

performer
Posts: 2910
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby performer » August 29th, 2018, 6:57 pm

Al Schneider wrote:performer
Could we see a video clip of you doing some magic?


There are two problems with that. The first is that natural bias sets in before even seeing what I do. When you see some opinionated upstart like myself that you have never heard of chattering about the correct way to do things you are naturally going to be by nature biased against me no matter if I am the greatest thing since sliced bread. And even if this wasn't the case magicians tend to think differently from laymen and see things from the wrong point of view anyway.

The second problem is that all the videos that are around of me show me working professionally trying to make a living. There is nothing in existence showing me working impromptu for no money at all for laymen and that is where my best work is. And I do believe it is this kind of situation which is under discussion. And nobody here has seen me in this situation so cannot tell you about it.

performer
Posts: 2910
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby performer » August 29th, 2018, 7:24 pm

I suppose my detractors are now going to be running around trying to find the worst videos they can of me. I should warn them that I am liable to put a hex on them.

Al Schneider
Posts: 95
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby Al Schneider » August 29th, 2018, 8:10 pm

Mr. T.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 7913
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: About doing magic

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 29th, 2018, 9:44 pm

Al Schneider wrote:... His performance style dominated the room. When some table’s show was over, the people would rush over to see the old guy do magic again. The patter was not the issue. The interplay between the helper and magician is what made his act....

Did the trickery part of his act work as magical?
Last edited by Jonathan Townsend on August 29th, 2018, 9:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Al Schneider
Posts: 95
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby Al Schneider » August 29th, 2018, 9:53 pm

Performer
I looked at your web site and found some clips of you performing.
You do an admirable job. What you do fits the kind of place you are performing.
Do you want us all to perform the way you do?
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

performer
Posts: 2910
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby performer » August 29th, 2018, 10:04 pm

Al Schneider wrote:Performer
I looked at your web site and found some clips of you performing.
You do an admirable job. What you do fits the kind of place you are performing.
Do you want us all to perform the way you do?


Ah, but I perform in many different ways according to the venue. However I do believe we were talking about close up magic in a non professional setting and I do rather a lot of it. And when that happens I do it in a different style than the videos you have been watching. Somewhat less aggressive. So to answer your question -no-I do not want you all to perform in the way I do since we are all unique personalities. However I DO want everyone to follow the ideas I have expounded. After all they are not my ideas. They are things I have learned from the masters who have gone before me. You were all privy to these secrets but you have all mostly ignored them. No skin off my nose of course.

Anyway, here is one of the styles I perform in. I think it is a good example of the awesome power of Jibber Jabber.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3GSItQV6io

Al Schneider
Posts: 95
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby Al Schneider » August 29th, 2018, 11:32 pm

That is one of the videos I observed. In general, I do not think you know what you are talking about. So, here’s the deal. Why don’t you tell us the technology you are using in that video? I will bet you can’t. Then after you have demonstrated you do not know what you are talking about, I will show the technology you are using that you don’t even know you are using. These are things I found out during my many experiments that you won’t let me talk about.

Here’s a clue: I think a magician should talk in a way to keep the audience comfortable with the performance.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

performer
Posts: 2910
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby performer » August 30th, 2018, 9:59 am

Al. You can talk about anything you want over the next few days since I won't be here to interrupt. You can expound to your heart's content.

I like yourself was born in the age of the dinosaur and have no idea about technology and the very word puts shivers down my spine. I wish you had used a different word. Still, I believe I know what you mean. Interestingly enough you made the same point expressed in a book which I always recommend called "The Hard Sell" by professors Pinch and Clark. In fact Professor Clark has made a post or two here in the past.

You see what I am doing in that video is not really "performing". It is "grafting" or "pitching". In other words attempting to remove money from people's pockets and place it in my own. The authors of "The Hard Sell" studied and recorded pitchmen/grafters for years and analysed their techniques which had become so automatic over years of doing it that the operators themselves no longer were aware of the techniques they were using and didn't really know why they worked themselves. Of course they don't need to know and neither do I as long as people are giving me money.

In the grafting business I don't give a stuff whether the people are comfortable with me or not. I am far more concerned with whether I am comfortable with them. And I often am not. If this is the case I get rid of them very quickly indeed.

My objective in the video is not really to entertain them although I know that if I do it makes life easier for me. But no. My objective is to rip them off selling sub standard merchandise which they will never be able to master when they get the items home. That gives me great satisfaction and protects the secrets of magic at the same time.

Still, perhaps I had better show you a shorter video where I AM trying to entertain them. I believe I am succeeding because of the laughter and gasps. And to prove my lack of understanding of technology the camera work is a bit haywire:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3-OHSFV5S4

Al Schneider
Posts: 95
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby Al Schneider » August 30th, 2018, 10:45 am

You made the following statement:
“I like yourself was born in the age of the dinosaur and have no idea about technology…”
You have no idea who I am or what I do based on this statement. Dinosaurs? I have a degree in Physics, I am highly involved with quantum mechanics and consider myself a theoretical physicist, I have spent my life programming computers down to the bare metal on things like pacemakers, airplane guidance systems, automated machines, and more. Not only that I have written one of the leading books on magic technology. I do not advertise it for it sells itself on Amazon.

On the other hand you have demonstrated a lack of understanding of the English language. And your comments contradict themselves. You dislike my statement that my intention is not to entertain but display magic while you state your goal is to rip people off with cheap material.

Very revealing.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 888
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: About doing magic

Postby MagicbyAlfred » August 30th, 2018, 10:53 am

I would like to hear more about the experiments and the results/findings, as I am always seeking to learn how to improve as a performer. In my own personal performing philosophy (and I am not promoting this for anyone else), my primary goals are two-fold: (1) to do strong, mystifying, magic, smoothly and cleanly and (2) to be a facilitator for people to have a great time - for them to to relax, laugh, and to actively get involved in the magic and the fun, often making them the "star" or center of attention. I want them to forget their worries and cares and just have a ball. This seems to have worked out well for me, and for that I am thankful.

Al Schneider
Posts: 95
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby Al Schneider » August 30th, 2018, 12:45 pm

MagicbyAlfred
You desires essentially match my desires. We will see how this goes from here. The thread on Jinx seemed to be addressing different types of audiences. I was intending to discuss that. As an example: I work very hard at making my moves flawless and smooth. In some cases that seems to be against me. I have performed some magic for a few people that perceive the magic I am doing as natural phenomena. In one performance I did a new coin routine and the spectator watched blankly without reaction. I questioned what was on his mind and he expressed the idea that what happened was the nature of coins. I think I performed so flawlessly that there was no hint of manipulation. The conclusion of this person was that was how coins worked. I experienced this at another occasion in doing Ambitions Card. The person watching had no reaction. Upon some discussion he said that is how cards behave. Once I watched Larry Jennings do a card trick for a young lady. He had her cut the deck into four stacks. Then the top cards were turned over to reveal aces. She did not respond. Larry inquired and the lady said the aces were there by accident. Once early in my career, I showed my brother a coin across routine. Later he said what he noticed was that my hands and fingers moved as if controlled by small pistons.

I am not sure what to do about this. I am not seeking solutions here but I am trying to show that I and I believe that many magicians do not really understand what goes through the minds of the audience when they see our magic.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 24465
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: About doing magic

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 30th, 2018, 12:51 pm

If the woman thought the Aces were there by accident, then she was dumb as a stump. I can understand other explanations that might be a fault of the presentation, but you really can't fight dumb.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

performer
Posts: 2910
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby performer » August 30th, 2018, 2:00 pm

Al Schneider wrote:I am not sure what to do about this. I am not seeking solutions here but I am trying to show that I and I believe that many magicians do not really understand what goes through the minds of the audience when they see our magic.


But I DO understand what is going through the minds of my audience when they see me work! Everything I do depends on this factor. I have devoted my life to knowing exactly what audience members are thinking at each and every stage of my performance. I can probably do it better than anyone else.

And I DO know all about you! In fact I was wondering what book to take with me on my travels over the next few days. I have decided to take a book written by Al Schneider. The one with the white cover. I consider you to be a brilliant theorist and creator. However, I also consider myself to be a brilliant showman. I shall therefore leave the theory and creativity to you and keep the showmanship to myself.

You seem a prickly troubled person. Geniuses often are. I have two questions to ask although they are none of my business and you don't have to answer if you don't want to.
Who is the old man that went over so well in your shows you put on in the party room? I think he deserves some glory.
And are you a Scientologist by any chance? Your dedication to L. Ron. Hubbard in your book does raise curiosity you know.

I have studied your book in the past. You conducted your parties over a mere 5 months but only twice a month. 10 times in all. However, despite this limited experimentation time I am certainly prepared to accept the results of your experiments and your statement that the person in the room who went over the best is the person that your audiences were most comfortable with is well taken.

However, I have had rather more time to experiment than a mere five months twice a month. I have had decades of time experimenting with all sorts of audiences day in and day out. I know nothing about quantum mechanics, theoretical physics or programming computers. After all it is not my job. My job is to entertain people with magic.

Now I don't tell you how to do your job. However, because I am the milk of human kindness and respect your intelligence and creativity I will deign to allow you to tell me how to do mine.

Not that there is any point. I am old and decrepit and not as good as I used to be. And this is how I used to be. It is not perfect but all I can find at the present time . I was quite young then. I do hope you like cats and the awful music at the beginning which wasn't what was there at the start. The chap who put the thing together is a bit odd and put pictures of cats all through it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZuBSSwBpdA

Al Schneider
Posts: 95
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby Al Schneider » August 30th, 2018, 3:50 pm

Yaaa, you really can't fight dumb.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

Glenn Bish Bishop
Posts: 33
Joined: July 5th, 2018, 12:44 pm
Favorite Magician: Billy Bishop

Re: About doing magic

Postby Glenn Bish Bishop » August 30th, 2018, 8:46 pm

I had the same experience doing close up magic back when I lived in Chicago. I did a spectator cuts to the aces routine and she said that the aces got there by accident. So I decided to play another trick on her, I put the aces back in the deck brought them to the top, palmed them using a action palm. Had her shuffle the deck then I did the LePaul trick where four spectators pull out a card, and the four cards end up to be the aces... I said that it was an accident and the table broke apart... The woman looked at me and called me a witch.

Back when I started doing magic I did it fast and I talked a lot. Now I slow down and I talk less. Over the years I try to let the magic speak for itself.

As I have a conversation with the audience with a touch of humor, not comedy. It may not be the right way but it is the way I do things now.

performer
Posts: 2910
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby performer » August 30th, 2018, 8:51 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:If the woman thought the Aces were there by accident, then she was dumb as a stump. I can understand other explanations that might be a fault of the presentation, but you really can't fight dumb.


Well, she may not actually be dumb but be subjected to a mistake in presentation. I can quite imagine that if you asked someone to cut the deck into four packets and then immediately told them to turn the top cards over without any build up this kind of reaction is quite liable to happen. You have to jibber-jabber and mention aces and recap what has happened to get the reaction.

I do know that Poker Player's Picnic is one of my strongest tricks. The reason that it is far better than all the fancy versions that are around is that it is the ONLY version where the magician does not touch the pack even once.

But you have to build it up with a bit of jibber jabber.

Glenn Bish Bishop
Posts: 33
Joined: July 5th, 2018, 12:44 pm
Favorite Magician: Billy Bishop

Re: About doing magic

Postby Glenn Bish Bishop » August 31st, 2018, 1:05 pm

To start off I would like to say that I have know Al Schneider for quite a few years. I met him in Chicago at the Top Hat Convention. My dad had a dealers table right next to his. Al Schneider would ask me to watch his stuff when he went to eat lunch or dinner. My dad was not getting a full work day out of me because during that two day convention I was watching Al Schneider perform magic.

One of the things that I loved about his magic is that it looked like real magic. The magic just happened, effortlessly or that was the way it looked to me. Al Schneider was the real deal. I purchased all his books he had out at the time.

Later I got a full set of his DVDs. And I do several things I learned off these DVDs. I don't own many magic DVDs but I don't consider many DVDs worth getting. In my opinion Al Schneider is a fantastic performer of magic. And when he talks he is worth listening to.

As is the case of many of the older performers I knew that I was lucky enough that they gave me there time to help me along when learning magic.

About performing, My Dad used to say if I wanted to be a good performer, and make a living doing magic do lots and lots of shows. And let the audience hone your show. I did that and it worked of me. Not only that doing lots of shows got me more comfortable on a stage and standing up and talking in front of crowds large and small. But by letting the audience reactions help me choose my material, plus as a conversational performer, I talk to the audience and the audience talks back to me, the audience gave me many funny lines I added to my next show making my show better with each show. I learned from my dad that a magician and his entertainment ability is a work in progress over years and a lifetime.

My mentor Buddy Farnan said to me one time. That each move I learned had to be practiced for a long time. Lets say I worked on a routine or a move for a year - Then when you added the move (in a routine) to your show, he said that it will take the same amount of time doing that move or routine in your show before it gets honed. In other words, If the routine took me a year to learn the moves it would take me a year of doing it in my show before it got honed. Doing it for live audiences for a long time, letting the audience help hone the show.

When I was teaching magic, this was always the part the magic students could not get. Why, because they were afraid of performing in front of people. Afraid of getting caught. Or whatever. This was why my dad liked to say that this was the difference of a hobby magician and a professional magician was 200 shows. This is why there is a lot of bad magic on youtube. And some magicians are awful performers as mentioned in this thread. My dads opinion.

Jack Pyle the legendary punch deck pro. And one of my mentors once said to me, Glenn, I know enough magic what I look for when I do a show is to listen to my audience and let them give me humorous lines and bits of business to make my act even better. At my age, putting something new into my act would throw the act off. Jack Pyle was only interested in making his act- that was already bookable - better.

So that is my post...

Best ahead.

User avatar
Q. Kumber
Posts: 1572
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Manchester, England

Re: About doing magic

Postby Q. Kumber » August 31st, 2018, 1:24 pm

Glenn Bish Bishop wrote:I had the same experience doing close up magic back when I lived in Chicago. I did a spectator cuts to the aces routine and she said that the aces got there by accident. So I decided to play another trick on her, I put the aces back in the deck brought them to the top, palmed them using a action palm. Had her shuffle the deck then I did the LePaul trick where four spectators pull out a card, and the four cards end up to be the aces... I said that it was an accident and the table broke apart... The woman looked at me and called me a witch.


You've just given me the idea for a routine that could be quite fun.

Al Schneider
Posts: 95
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: About doing magic

Postby Al Schneider » August 31st, 2018, 3:17 pm

I have given up on this thread as someone is driven to destroy me and my ideas.
However, Glenn has inspired me.

Glenn, I am humbled.
And I would like to reflect on something your mentors taught you.

On average, it seems the routines I favor and do often require about 6 years to develop.
And I tell my students the following when learning a magic effect. Master an effect. Develop patter for it. Incorporate the body language things that support the effect. Incorporate every technology you can into the effect. Then practice, practice, and practice. Then, and then do it for real people. Then, expect it to fail the first 10 to 20 times. By then it will start to work but it is not a finished work. It needs air time to learn how to communicate the effect.

Now, this all is not planned this way. I begin to do a trick right away. But the previous procedure is what seems to happen all by itself.

Normally a routine I am working on begins as an idea I start to play with. It seems to go nowhere. Then maybe weeks or months later I play with it. This goes on for a long time.

A good example is cup and ball routines. I began playing with cups and balls when I was 17. I am now 75. I think I put the finishing touch on a one a cup and ball routine.

Here is a version I produced about a year ago.

https://youtu.be/xvE0gTouogg

This piece was not intended for entertainment. It was designed to demonstrate the use of the eyes during false transfers. The big ball finish was just added to make it a complete routine for public display on You Tube.

The clip has several flaws. I am hunched over a bit. That is because I was too lazy to raise the camera so I could sit up straight. The colors of the balls are a bit wrong or my lighting was in error so I had to move the balls or bounce them during performance so there size and presence would be clear. Again, this clip was not aimed at being entertaining. It was solely to demonstrate some of my ideas about the technology of magic deception.

As it turns out, it has been a very well received routine. It is so good that people on the magic café forum posted that it is not good entertainment and I am a boring performer and on and on. One guy made a practice of showing the clip to laymen to prove it a bad routine. I do not know how that turned out. I suspect I will hear from him shortly.

This routine has been so successful it was added to my book titled, “The Theory and Practice of False Transfers.”

Anyway, the point here is that I think I finished this routine two days ago. Now, the same routine can be done away from tables in your birthday suit. There are no gimmicks or extra anything but what is seen during the routine. There are no body loads as all is self contained. And can be done surrounded.

This routine was designed for the trouper such as Glenn Bishop. It gets in fast, makes a hard kill, and you keep going.

I plan on making a video of it and sharing here.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

User avatar
Brad Jeffers
Posts: 896
Joined: April 11th, 2008, 5:52 pm
Location: Savannah, GA

Re: About doing magic

Postby Brad Jeffers » August 31st, 2018, 4:22 pm

Al Schneider wrote:Now the same routine can be done in your birthday suit.
I plan on making a video of it and sharing here.
:o

Joe Mckay
Posts: 1481
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 6:56 am
Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
Location: Durham, England

Re: About doing magic

Postby Joe Mckay » August 31st, 2018, 4:26 pm

Hey Al,

Mark Lewis really is a fan of your work.

https://youtu.be/0vYiairhhoI?t=23m9s

I am gonna' check out your theory book as well.

I should pick up your QM book as well. Speaking of QM - I am convinced there is a really simple way to explain Bell's Theorem to laypeople. A lot of people have given it a shot. But I feel none have really succeeded. I am just curious if you have ever come across a really good way of explaining it before?

Nick Herbert has my favourite attempt so far.

http://quantumtantra.com/bell2.html


Return to “Close-Up Magic”