Misdirection Does Not Exist - review

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Matthew Field
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Misdirection Does Not Exist - review

Postby Matthew Field » June 21st, 2018, 6:24 am

I’ve got my personal heroes in magic, a relatively short list which includes past masters Vernon and Marlo, of course, as well as Tony Slydini, Alex Elmsley, Patrick Page and someone I was proud to call a friend, Tommy Wonder.

Tom Stone recently published, through his WARG on-line shop, a book titled “Misdirection Does Not Exist ,” a manuscript written by Wonder for a 2002 week-long workshop put together by Stone and his friend Peter Rosengren. Tommy had originally assembled his writings on misdirection for his presentation at the Escuela de Magica in Spain at about the same point in time as the Swedish workshop, and this was additionally annotated by Tom to create the pdf which I purchased and just finished reading and studying.

In brief, these 40 pages are the most important thing I’ve read on magic in a very long time.

There are no tricks. There are many places to find some excellent tricks, and I enjoy reading those books as we all do. But this is more: Practical education about how to improve one’s magic with specific exercises, how to analyse one’s performance to make the magic more effective, taught by the man whose “Books of Wonder” are invaluable to anyone who performs magic of any kind.

The book is illustrated by Tom and costs $16, ready to read on your computer or phone, or to print out (if you’re ancient, like me). It’s from http://www.wargmagic.com, and you’ll find lots more of interest there as well.

The impact of what is imparted in these pages will have a lasting effect on how I think about magic for the rest of my life. Thank you, Tommy. Thank you, Tom

Matt Field

Bob Farmer
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Re: Misdirection Does Not Exist - review

Postby Bob Farmer » June 21st, 2018, 1:00 pm

I took Matt's advice (as I often have) and he is absolutely right about this amazing monograph.

I never understood the psychology of the Ambitious Card until I saw Tommy Wonder do it. His mastery of the spectator's perception in his routine is something every magician should understand even if he doesn't do card tricks.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Misdirection Does Not Exist - review

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 21st, 2018, 10:55 pm

Tommy Wonder is one of the most brilliant magical performers I have ever seen. He had so much charm and charisma, which is a gift he used to great advantage. His knowledge of psychology, timing and misdirection, disarming manner and use of clever lines, combined with his fantastic ability to construct a routine, made for a devastatingly potent magical cocktail.

I agree with Bob's observation about Tommy in relation to the ambitious card; it's a study in applied psychology. Phenomenally strong routine - few could pull off the cat and mouse game he plays with the spectators, and one of the only AC routines I've ever seen in which the magician gets a stronger reaction in the second phase than the first...
Last edited by MagicbyAlfred on June 21st, 2018, 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mr. Charming
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Re: Misdirection Does Not Exist - review

Postby Mr. Charming » June 21st, 2018, 10:57 pm

The content is different from that of "The Books of Wonder"?

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Matthew Field
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Re: Misdirection Does Not Exist - review

Postby Matthew Field » June 22nd, 2018, 9:41 am

Some of the content reflects Tommy's ideas from "Books of Wonder," but that's just the beginning. The material in this book is much expanded, with exercises and in-depth analysis, as befits the advance-level course this was used in.

Matt Field

Bob Farmer
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Re: Misdirection Does Not Exist - review

Postby Bob Farmer » June 22nd, 2018, 10:36 am

The idea that direction should be the issue rather than misdirection first came to my attention in Henning Nelms' book, Magic and Showmanship For Magicians. That book has a lot of great ideas but bad examples of how to use those ideas. However, simply read any Eugene Burger effect for great examples. Those books in combination with this new one are invaluable, especially with Tom Stone's comments.

Mr. Charming
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Re: Misdirection Does Not Exist - review

Postby Mr. Charming » June 25th, 2018, 2:25 pm

The use of misdirection is totally overrated

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Brad Jeffers
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Re: Misdirection Does Not Exist - review

Postby Brad Jeffers » June 25th, 2018, 4:08 pm

The Wikipedia article on misdirection states that "misdirection is the central secret of all magic" and goes on to describe the basic way of misdirection as being "to encourage the audience to look away for a fleeting moment, so that the sleight or move may be accomplished undetected".

What a load of crap!

To be fair, that type of action does exist in magic, but it's use is extremely rare.
Certainly not "the central secret of magic".

We all know that the real central secret of magic is that "the hand is quicker than the eye". ;)

Bob Farmer
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Re: Misdirection Does Not Exist - review

Postby Bob Farmer » June 25th, 2018, 5:01 pm

The Wikipedia entry is perfect misdirection since it misstates the truth.

Bob Coyne
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Re: Misdirection Does Not Exist - review

Postby Bob Coyne » June 25th, 2018, 7:39 pm

Brad Jeffers wrote:The Wikipedia article on misdirection states that "misdirection is the central secret of all magic" and goes on to describe the basic way of misdirection as being "to encourage the audience to look away for a fleeting moment, so that the sleight or move may be accomplished undetected".

What a load of crap!

To be fair, that type of action does exist in magic, but it's use is extremely rare.
Certainly not "the central secret of magic".

We all know that the real central secret of magic is that "the hand is quicker than the eye". ;)

Just to be fair, the article goes on to point out that causing the audience to "look away" is just one type of misdirection. And that the other is re-framing the audience's perception, where the minds of the audience members are distracted into thinking that an extraneous factor has much to do with the accomplishment of the feat, whereas in reality it has no bearing on the effect at all.

And it then goes on to say that it is much more effective, from the magician's point of view, to concentrate on the positive aim of directing the audience's attention.

And to support this point, it quotes Tommy Wonder: "Misdirection implies 'wrong' direction. It suggests that attention is directed away from something. By constantly using this term, it eventually becomes so ingrained in our minds that we might start to perceive misdirection as directing attention away from rather than toward something."

Not a great article, but not quite as simple minded as it appears if you just read that one point. :-) I thought the article would be better if it gave some concrete examples of how misdirection is actually used. Generalities on their own don't mean much without having some context.


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