Framing your effect ?

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Alice Pailhes
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Framing your effect ?

Postby Alice Pailhes » December 14th, 2020, 11:44 am

Hi everyone,

I wonder in what ways a magician should introduce his magic for it to be the most effective? For instance, do you think it is better to introduce your magic as a trick, an illusion, a piece of magic .... ? How do you frame your performance, and do you feel it is important ?

Thanks :)

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Tom Stone
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Re: Framing your effect ?

Postby Tom Stone » December 14th, 2020, 12:30 pm

In my experience, it doesn't matter how the piece is introduced. The main thing is that they get to know that I am a magician, and that they get at least a few minutes to let that sink in, as knowing that will shape their observations in a way that benefit my work.

Curtis Kam
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Re: Framing your effect ?

Postby Curtis Kam » December 14th, 2020, 5:25 pm

It depends entirely upon context. Different effects should be framed differently. Some are inherently about surprise, some are not. Some are funny, others not at all. Different magicians will/should frame their performances differently. Some are deeply mysterious, and others, not at all. Different occasions should be met with appropriate presentations. The resourceful performer need never feel like a polka band at a funeral.

Some tricks, because of their methods, are better framed as temporary experiences, i.e. “illusions” or “hallucinations”. Michael Ammar points this out in his analysis of the Kalush finger ring on rubber band. Since the effect is that the ring penetrates the rubber band so that they are linked together, but the method prohibits leaving the items in that condition, he chooses to openly admit that the experience is an illusion that fades fairly quickly.


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Bob Farmer
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Re: Framing your effect ?

Postby Bob Farmer » December 14th, 2020, 5:39 pm

Frame the magic in a way that is intriguing and interesting to the audience. If you say it is a trick, that is bad--no one likes to be tricked (Seinfeld: Here is a coin. Now it's gone. You're an idiot.). Read Magic and Showmanship For Magicians by Henning Nelms for the theory and any book by Eugene Burger for the practice.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Framing your effect ?

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 15th, 2020, 10:26 am

Hi Alice,

Excellent question. There is no one size fits all in framing an effect. The environment we are in and who we are performing for is a significant factor. For example, when I am in a store and paying for my stuff, I often call the cashiers attention to my credit card before sticking it in the machine saying, "I have a very strange credit card, I hope you accept it." Then I quickly vanish it (using the Tenkai Vanish), then reproduce it out of thin air. Or if I pay with cash and receive any coins back, I may do a quick vanish of a coin, reproduce, and then give it to the cashier for "Luck."

These bits of business are casual and fit the situation. They almost always bring a smile and/or an exclamation of astonishment. In a restaurant with friends or family, I have often asked the server or cashier if 5 dollars is enough to cover the bill, showing five one dollar bills. As everyone is smirking, or questioning my mental health, I turn the 5 one dollar bills into 5 hundreds. I have also done it in reverse. Having made a withdrawal of $500 (five one hundred dollar bills) from a teller in a bank, saying that there is something "funny about this money," then shaking the bills and turning them into five one dollar bills. I guarantee this is something they will never forget. And, corny though it might sound, you can never go wrong pulling a coin out of a little child’s ear and doing a little vanish, or vanish and reproduction sequence.

In his book, Showmanship for Magicians, Dariel Fitskee wrote that the two things that interest and fascinate people most are first, themselves, and second, other people. Dale Carnegie wrote in his epic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, that the best way to captivate people is to express an interest in them and the things they care about. With these fundamental, bedrock psychological principles in mind, we are limited only by our imaginations in how to frame our magic, how to engage people and draw them in. As an example of applying this, I like to make the spectator(s) the center of attention or star. There is a world of difference, for instance, between having a card selected and a magician finding or revealing it in some way (generally uninteresting or even meaningless to people), versus asking the spectator(s) if they believe in ESP or psychic phenomena, telling them that you would like to try a little experiment to confirm your feeling that they have a powerful sixth sense, or the ability to read minds, or to send their thoughts telepathically, or to foretell the future (or whatever such patter will suit the effect). Now the spectator is engaged, and because it is about him/her and the onlookers are interested too, because it is an unfolding drama or story featuring one of them (other people),

Hence, questions geared toward what will interest people (themselves or others) are often a great starting point. You can ask people about their hobbies or what they enjoy doing in their free time and then segue in to telling them that you’ve long had a fascination with magic or illusions or ESP, and proceed.

Also, human beings have loved stories since time immemorial. So, I like to wrap a lot of my magic inside an engaging story. It can be humorous, dramatic, somehow touching or inspiring. For example, my Multiplying Rabbits routine is a comedic love story featuring two rabbits who met at the "Bunny Hop" and fell in love. And, the Magician Versus Gambler or the Story of the Twins (not to be confused with The Gemini Twins) never fail to be winners for lay people. It’s fun and creative to make up stories. For many years, in my Cups and balls routine for kids or mixed kids and adults, the balls are the 3 child heroes of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The cups are their dorm rooms at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, etc., and the magic lies in the kids evading or besting their foes. The wand, of course, was given to me as a gift by my friend Dumbledoor (the Hogwarts headmaster and master magician) There are many fun and creative ways to take it. In saying “I would like to tell you a little story” (caution: not too long), and then proceeding to do so, you will take the focus away from being someone who is going to fool or puzzle them, to one who is going to share something and entertain them.

With a husband and wife (or other romantic partners), I set up a drama where one will read the other's mind. This will intrigue them and the other spectators. Have one of them select a card and concentrate on it, and telepathically send an image to their partner. Meanwhile, you have palmed it off or side stolen it, and put it on your forehead, standing behind the "Sender" and facing the "Receiver," so they can see the card's identity. I have had people doubled over with laughter with this, but the theme announced in the beginning is what draws them in. On the other hand, if you start with, "pick a card," you will often get, "I've seen that one," or at best, they will brace themselves for boredom.

Tom Frame
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Re: Framing your effect ?

Postby Tom Frame » December 15th, 2020, 5:56 pm

My first book is called Framed! My most recent book is called Framework.

At this point, I just introduce myself and get busy.

Unless you share my surname, your mileage will vary.
"There is more to consciousness than meets the mind's eye." - Frame

Alice Pailhes
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Re: Framing your effect ?

Postby Alice Pailhes » December 16th, 2020, 7:22 am

This is great, thank you very much to all of you for your answers! I find it really interesting that you have quite different points of view on the importance of the framing.

Would you say that how you present yourself / your introduction (e.g. magician-fooler, famous etc) result in different reactions from your audience? :)

Bob Farmer
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Re: Framing your effect ?

Postby Bob Farmer » December 16th, 2020, 11:03 am

I usually start with, "Hello, I've sold my soul to Satan and I'd like to show you why." This doesn't work well for kid shows (depending on the neighborhood), so there use, "Hello, I've made a deal with the big magic bunny in the sky, would you kids like to see what that means."

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Re: Framing your effect ?

Postby El Mystico » December 16th, 2020, 11:50 am

Framing can make a huge difference in all walks of life. And it certainly can in magic. But there is no one way to frame. It depends on your effect and on your setting and your audience and on your personality. To make the point in a sledgehammer way - if you make balloon doggies you shouldn't say 'I'm doing this with the power of my mind'; if you are working in a cheap bar don't claim you've performed this trick for Obama (even if you have, they won't believe you); if you are working for surgeons, don't make out that you are 'really' cutting and restoring your assistant; if you are twelve, don't claim you've been studying this with Tibetan monks for years. Although, my non-magician wife came back from Tibet many years ago with a trick she had learned from a Tibetan monk. It completely fooled me. Turned out it was based on a principle I knew well...So, OK, there might be times when these can work, but generally not. I think framing, along with acting, are as important as the tricks and sleights. If you come with a reputation, that will probably be better than starting cold. Vernon billed himself as 'The Man Who Fooled Houdini'. Of course, this is assuming your act can support the framing.
I'd be tempted to say, 'You shouldn't do close up magic saying - This is an illusion' because it sounds pompous - but then there are effects like Larry Jennings' 'The Close Up Illusion' where that framing fits perfectly.
Also - if you can find a way to frame a trick differently from anyone else, that is probably a good thing.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Framing your effect ?

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 16th, 2020, 12:51 pm

Bob Farmer wrote:I usually start with, "Hello, I've sold my soul to Satan and I'd like to show you why."


Bob, I know you meant it as a joke (at least I hope so), but you have now inadvertently given me the perfect line to do as a prelude to my flaming wallet. And since I actually have a lot of cash crammed into my flaming wallet, I can then follow-up with the one-word line:

"MONEY!"

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Brad Jeffers
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Re: Framing your effect ?

Postby Brad Jeffers » December 16th, 2020, 3:58 pm

Image ...

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Brad Jeffers
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Re: Framing your effect ?

Postby Brad Jeffers » December 16th, 2020, 3:59 pm

“My name is Albert. What’s yours? Betsy, I’m going to magish for you.”
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