Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
Philippe Noël
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Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby Philippe Noël » August 4th, 2002, 1:11 am

On monday I met a friend magician and we discussed the following topic:
Let's discuss of the Sponge balls.
Is it good to have a sponge ball routine in your repertoire?
Every close-up magician HAS a sponge ball routine in his repertoire. Isn't it preferable to avoid doing a sponge ball routine if you want to be different.
Making a sponge ball routine with rabbits or cubes, does it make it a "different" routine?
On the other side, are there so many routines that have a comparable strength of impact?
And anyway isn't it personality more important then the tricks you do?
You see, many questions. What are YOUR thoughts on the subject of being a "different" magician?

Philippe Nol

Guest

Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby Guest » August 4th, 2002, 3:11 am

Phillippe,
There's not much point in being different, just for the sake of being different.
If every other magician also has a sponge-ball routine, so what?
You can be your own person without dropping the effect.
If everyone was required to be original, there would be a lot fewer magicians around.
(Hmmm, both ideas have considerable merit! <G>)
The tricks have as minor a bearing on the performance as the piano would have on a piano recital; anyone can buy a trick, just as anyone can buy a piano.
But how many can be a Horowitz?
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com

Guest

Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby Guest » August 4th, 2002, 9:38 am

Hi Philippe,
If you want my opinion, it is the complete opposite of Peter's. Hope this helps.

Guest

Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby Guest » August 4th, 2002, 7:35 pm

This is short. It is a good thing to be different but it is more important thing to perform good solid entertaining magic. So if you can perorm super original magic and have people enjoy it by all means do so, but don't bore your audience with somehting just because you don't want to perform a standard effect. Just thoughts

Noah Levine

Jim Maloney_dup1
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Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » August 4th, 2002, 8:51 pm

You should be yourself. Since you are not the same as anyone else, naturally, you will be different. This will have some bearing on the effects you choose, but not completely. Why do so many magicians use sponge balls? Simple, because people like them and, perhaps more importantly, they are a great way to start interacting with people. Before discarding a trick simply because everyone else does it, remember that no one else will do it the same way you do.

-Jim

Guest

Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby Guest » August 5th, 2002, 4:37 am

John Blaze writes: "Hi Philippe,
If you want my opinion, it is the complete opposite of Peter's. Hope this helps."

Hmmmm. Interesting. Then what you are saying is that everyone should slavishly copy a few perfomers?

Because that would be the complete opposite of what I said.

cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com

sleightly
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Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby sleightly » August 5th, 2002, 10:28 am

In Issue 61 of The Magic Menu , we published Whit Haydn's somewhat controversial article, "Against Originality in Magic". It put forth the argument that studying and performing others' routines is a valuable part of learning how to perform (and ultimately) create magic.

An interesting article with quite a bit of merit...

ajp

mike cookman
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Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby mike cookman » August 6th, 2002, 2:55 pm

A lot of magicians do card tricks. I'm not going to remove card tricks from my act just because others do them. :rolleyes:

Guest

Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby Guest » August 7th, 2002, 7:53 am

While it is a very easy thing to say "be yourself", it is a very difficult thing to do in practice. Part of the problem is that as magicians, you have "props" to hide behind plus the added comfort of routines already provided to you, some effects with built in visual bits, etc..

Even when you feel that you are being yourself, it is a hard thing to do, to be yourself. It is also an easy trap to fall into. Also, it is one thing to do the same "trick" or "effect" as others but when one resorts to using the same tired old gags, that is a whole other can of worms and is part of the reason that so many lay people feel that all magicians are alike. I am refering to such "stolen" bits as ALL of Don Allan's material. It makes me sick to hear magicians justify the use of such gags. "It works for audiences, so I use it", "I paid for the trick regardless of who's it was originaly"......

Personally, I learned to "be myself" working in a comedy club, performing stand-up comedy. No magic, just me, my microphone and my material (no props, just words). My material was all written by me, about me. No "dick" jokes or any other tired old gags or stolen bits. You can't be more vulnerable than to use your own material infront of an audience but you also learn to drop all pretenses too. It's just you and the audience and either they like you or they don't and THAT is where you learn to not only be you but to be "likeable". After that, it's all easy. If you don't beleive me, ask Dave Acer, Jay Sankey, David Merry.....

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
http://www.stores.ebay.ca/abstagecraft

mike cookman
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Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby mike cookman » August 7th, 2002, 10:18 am

I don't use any kind of gags in my act, and the only purchases I make are decks of cards. Oh, I bought a cups and balls set, too, and I buy limes before each performance. Oh yeah, I bought a set of linking rings, okay. I have never looked at magic as "hiding behind props," and being myself is quite easy, I find, because I don't know how to be anybody else. I learned years ago that the audience will only like your magic if they like you. I tried stealing lines from Harry Anderson once, but got nowhere with that. And so I just have to be myself and have fun and hopefully the audience will have fun too.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby Dustin Stinett » August 7th, 2002, 3:16 pm

Originally posted by Andrew J. Pinard:
In Issue 61 of The Magic Menu, we published Whit Haydn's somewhat controversial article, "Against Originality in Magic." It put forth the argument that studying and performing others' routines is a valuable part of learning how to perform (and ultimately) create magic.
My problem with Whit Haydn's views are not the sentiments he endorses, but the simple fact that there are so many experienced performers who believe that he was speaking to them.

Originally posted by Paul Alberstat:
While it is a very easy thing to say "be yourself," it is a very difficult thing to do in practice.
The idea of being "yourself" can be as difficult as the creation of a character (that may or may not be grounded in "yourself"). It's so dependant on knowing who "you" is and being true to that person. Just ask George Carlin and Richard Pryor. Both men began their careers not being themselves, but being who they believed they were expected to be. Pryor worked clean and Carlin was clean and clean-cut (conservative suits and short hair). It wasn't until they consciously decided to be true to themselves that they became the comedic superstars that they are.

Dustin
"The are two kinds of artists left: those who endorse Pepsi and those who simply won't."
-- Annie Lennox

Guest

Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby Guest » August 10th, 2002, 2:00 pm

You put a sponge ball into your hand and another sponge ball into a woman's hand. Your ball has vanished. The woman opens her hand and both balls are there. She will laugh or scream or say "The other guy did that." Another patron might say "I saw that before."
It doesn't matter what type of personality you have or what type of clever presentation you use the trick is the same. Even if you use sponge squares or sponge rabbits it's the same.
The decision to using sponge balls depends on what your competition is doing. If all the local magicians are doing sponge balls in their paid shows you shound not do it.
If personality and presentation are as important as magicians claim then why do the majority of magicians do the same tricks using the same patter suggested in the instructions.
When all of the magicians do the same tricks the cheapest magician gets hired.
Why would anyone be content to be classed as an average magician doing the standard tricks?
There are a lot of great tricks available that are not used by all the magicians.
The ideal is being able to do all the standard effects your competition does in case a spectator asks if you can do the sponge ball trick for example and having tricks your competition does not have.
Did you ever notice that the super star magicians on TV don't use the same standard tricks we use? Now there is a big clue on being successful.
Steve

Guest

Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby Guest » August 10th, 2002, 3:08 pm

Beautifully put Steve. Hopefully your post will be re-read again as it IS the truth!!!!
PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
http://www.stores.ebay.ca/abstagecraft

Guest

Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby Guest » August 10th, 2002, 3:27 pm

Excellent post, Steve.
Which is why I get so frustrated (for want of a less-polite word) when someone says something like, "Do you do such-and-such a trick?"
I might. But he or she would never recognize it as such after I've finished putting my own spin on it.
And that's true with everything that I do.
It really isn't all that hard!
So, as Steve asks, "why do the majority of magicians do the same tricks using the same patter suggested in the instructions?"
I think I know the answer:
Because they're just too damned lazy to think of an original presentation!
And that's why I've said before that, if we really want to improve magic's preception in the eyes of the general public, then about 75 per cent of the magicians perfoming today should STOP!
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com

mike cookman
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Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby mike cookman » August 10th, 2002, 6:52 pm

Well, we're really laying down the law now. I dont know about you guys, but I dont hear much about what the "competition" around here does. So I dont know what to compare my act with. I dont do sponge balls, simply because I've never bothered to learn anything about them. But I do a cups and balls routine, and just because somebody else does cups and balls doesnt mean I'm going to stop doing mine. I don't use any patter from any instructions book, I provide my own patter. What's the big deal? Let's just have fun. Peace to all.

sleightly
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Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby sleightly » August 10th, 2002, 6:56 pm

Not one to defend a lack of originality, but...

98% of working musicians play the same music (within their genre)...

Even original performers can't get away from their early material.

Audiences want to hear that which they are familiar with...

To put it another way:

Every song has been sung, but not by me.

Classics are classics because they allow an enormous amount of self-expression.

Discuss...

ajp

Brian Marks
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Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby Brian Marks » August 10th, 2002, 7:31 pm

There are hundreds upon hundreds of great tricks that nobody seems to be doing. Sponge balls is a fine effect to do but if they have seen other magicians doing this effect than you should have 1 or 2 effects that other magi dont seem to be doing. It never hurts to get a couple of tricks no one else is doing up your sleeve.

Guest

Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby Guest » August 10th, 2002, 9:00 pm

There is nothing wrong with doing the classics. People will often request specific tricks they saw other magicians do. If you can't do those tricks they think the other guy might be better.
I was one of 6 close-up magicians performing at an expensive resort. Three of them did the invisible deck, 3 did the card to wallet, 3 did the $100.00 bill switch, 3 did the pen through dollar and 3 did the sponge balls etc.etc. etc. When I asked for a dollar the guests would ask "Are you going to change it into a fifty or stick a pen through it?"
While these classics are definately great tricks, most magicians do them because they are easy and the presentation is already supplied. The guests see magicians at check, at lunch, at dinner, even at breakfast and at check out. I might be the 5th or 6th magician they see and I certainly don't want to do the same tricks they already saw.
You don't have to invent your own tricks to be different you just have to buy good tricks you know your local competition isn't doing.
If they ask if you can stick a cigarette through a coin like that guy on TV or bite a coin like he did they will be very impressed if you do it for them. If they don't ask and you do those tricks they will say "Oh I saw that before." Strange isn't it.
A lot of people were asking me if I could do that story telling trick that uses the full deck of cards like that guy on TV. I came up with an easy stand up version, where they cut the cards. But I only did it when asked.
True most musicians do play the standards but there are many more standard songs than there are magic tricks. The bands also play requests. But the famous successful groups and million selling records are not the old classics. They are new original material.
There are just as many lousy musicians who copy successful musicians as there are lousy magicians doing their imitations of Don Alan and Terry Seabrooke.
Again I suggest you look at the really successful, working magicians, who are making big money, before you say doing the invisible deck, which is sold in toy stores, or sponge balls are tricks you want your career to depend on.

mike cookman
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Joined: December 8th, 2008, 2:48 pm

Re: Being different or not to be, that is the question!

Postby mike cookman » August 11th, 2002, 9:07 am

Very well put, Steve.


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