Script Ocean

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
Al Schneider
Posts: 230
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Script Ocean

Postby Al Schneider » January 14th, 2022, 3:49 pm

SCRIPT OCEAN

This is a repeat of ideas I have expressed before. The basic point is that we have scripts in our head (subconscious? whatever) that we use to function in life. The issue in this post is to indicate that this mechanism is massive. Essentially, we are what our scripts are. This is so pervasive we can’t se it. It is like a fish that says, “Water, what’s water.” This is the thought behind the title; we are an ocean of scripts. The goal of this post is to shed some reality on this concept.

Let’s begin with a coffee cup. Assume there is a coffee cup sitting on the table in front of you. (Assume the table also if need be,) How do you know it is a coffee cup? The theory is that there is an image of a coffee cup someplace in your head. This suggests that everything that we recognize and deal with has something in our head to represent it. And it is not limited to objects. How about actions? We can see some specific action and it triggers a script of a specific action we have recorded. So we don’t see the real one but our mind sees the recorded script. And here’s a real weird one. An action can trigger a script that has an object in it. My theory is that these scripts contain everything. This includes objects, actions, emotions, sounds, feelings, sense of touch, etc.

Want to add power to a magic trick, include something in it that triggers emotion like baby bunnies.

Now, let’s see how this affects magic. Our first thought is about moves of deception. Say we do a move of transferring a coin from hand to hand. The move is close to the real thing but has a trigger of the scripted move; the audience will see the scripted move as real. However some triggers are about negative issues. For example, we are taught that a hand palming a coin should remain motionless. I think that that is a trigger to suggest something is wrong. I believe when a performer does that, the eye of an observer will instantly fall on it. Now the observer may not consciously question it but the deception will suffer from it because, “Something is funny.”

There are triggers that say, “Nothing is happening.”

There are triggers that say, “Something is happening.”

There are triggers that say, “The performer is a jerk.”

So, contrary to what some have suggested, triggers and scripts play an extremely important role in magic deception. I believe that in the practice of magic over the years, valuable triggers have become popular because of there effectiveness. I am suggesting that understanding the phenomena can lead to more effective magic.

My book, The Theory and Practice of Magic Deception, goes into this in great detail.

But there are a couple caveats. The first comes from those that stress magic is about entertaining. In this the audience enjoys seeing the execution of a move. A customer may say, “Wow, it looks just like you put the coin in the other hand. Let’s hire him for our next party.”

Another is that the magic can look “Normal.” I have done performances where audience members believe three coins can produce a forth. I have had personal acquaintances say, “Isn’t that the way coins normally act?”
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

Tarotist
Posts: 396
Joined: July 29th, 2021, 7:16 am
Favorite Magician: David Nixon

Re: Script Ocean

Postby Tarotist » January 14th, 2022, 7:13 pm

Al Schneider wrote:
But there are a couple caveats. The first comes from those that stress magic is about entertaining. In this the audience enjoys seeing the execution of a move. A customer may say, “Wow, it looks just like you put the coin in the other hand. Let’s hire him for our next party.”


I would have thought that magic would be less entertaining if the audience saw the execution of the move! Furthermore they would be more likely to think or even say, "Let's NOT hire him for your next party!

I do believe (as I suspect you do too) in the philosophy of "Art that hides art". Your skill should be hidden rather than displayed. If a member of the audience sees the slightest glimmer of a move they will, rather than be inclined to appreciate you, be more likely to think you are incompetent!

Al Schneider
Posts: 230
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: Script Ocean

Postby Al Schneider » January 14th, 2022, 9:25 pm

Are you like the fish that doesn't know what water is? You wouldn't know would you he that can't grok PDF's.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1947
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: Script Ocean

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 14th, 2022, 11:52 pm

One night I was performing strolling magic at a very well-to-do club on Hutchinson Island, Florida. Several times during the event, I performed a routine that was one of my favorites, and always well-received. To summarize (without going into the plot/patter here), each of the four queens turned face up, and then face down again in succession in the (initially) face-down spread of four, and then they were all face down again. Next, a through-the-fist flourish and the playing cards turned into credit cards (VISA, MC, Am Ex, and Discover). Then with a flick of the wrist, the credit cards turned into five one hundred dollar bills. The next day I received a call from a gentleman who had been a guest at the event. He started out by saying, "You're the magician who turned playing cards and credit cards and credit cards into money. I can't stop thinking about that trick. I've seen a lot of magic but never anything like that before. I'd like you to perform at my wife's birthday party next month and to do that trick for the guests at the party."

I'm trying to figure out how (if at all) that series of effects fits in to the ocean of recorded scripts theory. I mean, in doing the routine I described, I didn't simulate an action like placing a coin in my hand and perpetrate deception based on the spectators perceiving the action in accordance with an expectation or script that was stored in their brains or subconscious. Since the onlookers (including the gentleman who'd seen a lot of magic) had never seen anything like that before, it would seem that it was more in the nature of a brand new script, with which they were previously completely unfamiliar, was written in real time.

Al Schneider
Posts: 230
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: Script Ocean

Postby Al Schneider » January 15th, 2022, 12:21 am

Reminds me of Karrel Fox talking about a gig he did for some bankers. He says he drew a bill in a slip of paper and folded it in a set of Buddha papers. When he opened it, the paper was a thousand dollar bill. Then he said, "Oops, I put the decimal point in the wrong place." You don't think the sight of money triggers thoughts? I suppose you don't think baby bunnies doesn't trigger emotions either.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

Al Schneider
Posts: 230
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: Script Ocean

Postby Al Schneider » January 15th, 2022, 12:30 am

And this brings up another point. In general, we don't know the triggers. They are discovered through trial and error. And if you don't believe in the concept, you will never see them.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1947
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: Script Ocean

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 15th, 2022, 1:57 am

Al Schneider wrote:Reminds me of Karrel Fox talking about a gig he did for some bankers. He says he drew a bill in a slip of paper and folded it in a set of Buddha papers. When he opened it, the paper was a thousand dollar bill. Then he said, "Oops, I put the decimal point in the wrong place." You don't think the sight of money triggers thoughts? I suppose you don't think baby bunnies doesn't trigger emotions either.


Oh I definitely think the sight of money triggers thoughts and emotions, and I never said otherwise.

I've never seen you perform the bunnies. It's actually my favorite close up routine, in large measure, because of the emotions I know it triggers.
Check it out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVjLHcz9w1w

And people love it - not just because of some pre-recorded computer program or script in their brain, but because it's entertaining and fun. And people love to laugh and have fun. There, that's my theory -- and about as complicated as it gets.

Al Schneider
Posts: 230
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: Script Ocean

Postby Al Schneider » January 15th, 2022, 2:43 am

I will not do the bunnies.

I will not be an old fart grabbing someone’s wrist, hand, and fingers forcing something unseen into their hand and holding onto it so they won’t peek inside prematurely. I find that disgusting and so do a lot of women.

I was once sitting beside Bill Larson’s daughter at a convention in London. At this show some guy did sponge balls with a lady helper. He did the standard grabbing and forcing sponge ball tricks often require. Bill’s daughter was aghast. She viewed me as some kind of authority in magic and wanted me to write to someone in authority and complain about this treatment.

Did you know that when ladies attend magic lectures and shows they warn each other not to sit near the front because they will be asked to be a helper?

Once I was hanging around the castle with a date. Albert Goshman talked with me for a bit and did his famous sponge ball routine for my date. As he walked away she turned to me with a disgusted look on her face saying, “He just jammed both balls into my hand.”

The bunnies work, but I prefer other venues.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

Dave Le Fevre
Posts: 230
Joined: December 24th, 2015, 10:29 am
Favorite Magician: Paul Megram

Re: Script Ocean

Postby Dave Le Fevre » January 15th, 2022, 3:38 am

Tarotist wrote:Particularly the last sentence
I assume that grok means understand. Many decades ago I was addicted to the works of Robert Heinlein, so I know that word.

But I can throw no further light on it.

Al Schneider
Posts: 230
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: Script Ocean

Postby Al Schneider » January 15th, 2022, 6:17 am

Dave, very well done. It also means the ability to apply or do that which is groked. It also means that it is part of your existence. But if you speak Martian it means even more. To bestow grokness on an individual means to assign the highest level of intelligence to the grokee. This word was once popular in geek high tech culture and a bit beyond. Perhaps I misused it but it is offered in the spirit of hyperbole. From a wiki; grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed – to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1947
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: Script Ocean

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 15th, 2022, 6:49 am

Al Schneider wrote:I will not do the bunnies. I will not be an old fart grabbing someone’s wrist, hand, and fingers forcing something unseen into their hand and holding onto it so they won’t peek inside prematurely. I find that disgusting and so do a lot of women.


B.S.

That stands for "Bunnies Slay."

Tarotist
Posts: 396
Joined: July 29th, 2021, 7:16 am
Favorite Magician: David Nixon

Re: Script Ocean

Postby Tarotist » January 15th, 2022, 7:44 am

I haver now developed a complex over the sponge ball trick. I am glad I don't do the bunnies otherwise I would have a complex over that one too! Alas, I think Eugene Burger also had a complex over the trick. He got great reaction from it but kept trying to give it up. I am not sure if he ever succeeded. I am not sure if Al gave him the complex but he must have gotten it from somewhere.

Talking about Al Goshman I was quite shocked when he advised me to pitch sponge balls to the public and sell them along with the other slum magic I sell such as svengali decks etc;. I would never do that and I was surprised that such a master of the art would advise such a thing because of the exposure element.

I don't think I grab anyone's "wrist, hand and fingers" and do what Al says but I am now not sure about it and will have to check one of my wondrous videos to make sure. I do remember showing the trick to a famous Irish broadcaster, Liam Nolan, who liked the trick and I remarked to him "For some reason women react very strongly to this trick". He responded, "Oh, it is because of the testicular nature of the trick". That had never occurred to me before because I have led a very sheltered life. I had better not think too much about it otherwise it will increase the complex I have over the trick. It might even persuade me to do the bunnies instead.

I just found this. Wonderful camera work I must say. I don't think I grab their hands too much but I haven't had time to look at it properly yet.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3-OHSFV5S4

Dave Le Fevre
Posts: 230
Joined: December 24th, 2015, 10:29 am
Favorite Magician: Paul Megram

Re: Script Ocean

Postby Dave Le Fevre » January 15th, 2022, 10:14 am

Al Schneider wrote:I will not be an old fart grabbing someone’s wrist, hand, and fingers forcing something unseen into their hand and holding onto it so they won’t peek inside prematurely. I find that disgusting and so do a lot of women.
On the criterion of age, I fall into the old fart category. And I perform a very short and very simple sponge ball routine of my own devising.

I don't grab the spectator's wrist. Nor their hand. Nor their fingers.

I ask them to open their hand. I ask them to close their hand.

My wife is sitting next to me as I type this, and she confirms that the spectators (usually women) invariably enjoy it, and she enjoys watching it too.

I share your distaste at the grabbing/forcing. But that needn't be an argument against sponge balls per se.

Al Schneider
Posts: 230
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: Script Ocean

Postby Al Schneider » January 15th, 2022, 10:45 am

I agree. I am addressing the bunny thing the way it is normally done.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

Al Schneider
Posts: 230
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: Script Ocean

Postby Al Schneider » January 23rd, 2022, 12:46 pm

I think I have not communicated my theory well. It goes way beyond magic. Everything in life is a script. The point is that it is so pervasive, we don't see it. Like a fish in water, "Water, what's water?" Then, if we as magicians know this, we can capitalize on it.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8559
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Script Ocean

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 23rd, 2022, 4:44 pm

Discussing how to present plausible scripts which hide magic methods seems sensible. Keeping a watch for things presented which are not part of our scripts also seems sensible. If this language framework works for others - hurray! Bravo Al!

Building up our presented reality in a way that permits the audiences pre-set scripts to support our deceptions is critical to our craft.

Our craft is performed in presumed context of theatrical arts. Specifically what we do is bounded by ethos (they accept us a local/human), pathos (we present situations built from local script elements), and logos - our apparent actions are congruent to what we purport to present.
To do this we also limit out work from being perceived as within the realms of charlatans, cons, polemics, and jugglers. Just to make that last line less terse; if they accept us as doing sleight of hand - we are jugglers. If they accept us as presenting tricky props we are demonstrating clever devices. If they believe what we show is true for others or elsewhere or that it's a minor demonstration of what we could do elsewhere - (for a fee, if you ask nicely ...) that puts us in conland. The good news for most of us is that our audiences already know about tricksters and that magic trickery has its place as immunization against charlatans, cons, and misrepresentations.

* for the sake of cafe readers - a counterconclusion: I spy with my little eye; something beginning with lie. ;)
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time


Return to “Close-Up Magic”