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 Post subject: To Flourish? Or Not To Flourish? That Is The Question.
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 12:54 pm 
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To Flourish? Or Not To Flourish? That Is The Question.



After browsing the Essays forum i noticed nothing has been written about Flourishes. (I only checked the front page and the titles so maybe something has been written about it in the past.)

These are simply my thoughts on Flourishing in a Magical performance. I hope this helps you, even if you think the opposite to me. My aim isn't to make you think any differently, only to share my thoughts on the subject.

I'll start of by saying a fan, ribbon spread, Charlie cut, Waterfall spring ect... are, in my opinion, not Flourishes.

Now, and this is only my opinion, but i don't think Flourishes have any place in a serious Magical performance. If you don't create patter and presentation based on Magic, or some sort of supernatural effect, then please, Flourish away, the more the merrier. If you don't mind your audiance thkning you are doing everything anyway you might aswell entertain with a few Flourishes.

However, if you claim to be a Magician, and not a Trickster, and you wish your audiance to believe what you are doing is Magic, then as soon as you Flourish you might as well say "and yes, of course, everything you have seen/ are about to see, has been controlled by me. I'm clever arn't i?" (Or something to that effect...) :P lol

Now i'm not telling you to be "sloppy" in your performances. Quite the opposite. Magicians are known to be dexterus with a deck of cards, so any "sloppyness" on your part will kill your image as a serious Magician. But at the same time so can displays of amazing skill and dexterity.

For the most part, teenagers are not going to be taken seriously as a Magician. Sorry but it's a true fact. At best you will look very skilled at what you do, but your audiance will know it's you making everything happen, not Magic.
In this case, take advantage of that. You can still amaze, puzzle, mystify ect... an audiance who know it isn't real Magic. Adding Flourishes in these types of performances will only enhance your reputation.

As said these are just my own thoughts on the subject. I havn't thought about it too deeply though, i just noticed nothing written (lately) on the subject and started "free writing" this.

These are just thoughts off the top of my head so if anyone wishes to post anything please do so. I'll enjoy hearing your opinions on the subject.

In answering my question more directly, i would have to answer; If you want to be seen as a Magician, don't use any Flourishes. If you don't mind being seen as a trickster, or you don't mind your audiance knowing you are controlling everything, then flourishes can really enhance your reputation and should be performed.

I will write another (short) essay on Belief: Why And How To Suspend It.
This is because i see more and more people performing and they tell me "They know it isn't real anyway"... My thoughts on that later...

Here's a link... (LINK TO FOLLOW)

As said, i welcome everyone's opinions on the subject, and look foward to reading them.

Thanks for your time.

Shaun.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 12:59 pm 
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born to perform.

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Location: President of the Sluggo for U.S. President Committee
Very nice essay. I flourish as a hobby, but don't use it in any magic performances.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 1:00 pm 
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Sankey once said you need at least one flourish "to separate yourself from Uncle Bob, who does poor card tricks".


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 1:07 pm 
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PJHMarine wrote:
Very nice essay. I flourish as a hobby, but don't use it in any magic performances.


Personally, i love flourishes. I use them if i don't want to be seen as a Magician. By this i mean i have different perfomance styles depending on where i'm performing, or who i'm performing for.

My 2 basic styles are, 1. a Magician. 2. A normal person who seems to have some sort of persuasive powers over people. For the latter style Flourishes enhance my reputation as not only am i seen as a persuasive person but also very skilled with a deck of cards. (It should be said that when i'm doing "real" work, style 2, i don't use cards unless it's obvious it's a trick.)

That might sound weird but if i ever use cards they must either know it's a trick, or they must know it isn't a trick. Obviously i help them along the way and one or two times bring them to false endings. ie in one of my style 2 effects, i use a standard card trick, but it comes across as me using persuasive powers.

There's only one or two i use and that's just to "lay the foundations" for when i come to perform non trick effects that really do rely on my persuasive powers, with a little help on their part.

P.S. Glad you enjoyed the Essay.


Last edited by wallis666 on Fri Jul 20, 2007 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 1:09 pm 
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akirafist wrote:
Sankey once said you need at least one flourish "to separate yourself from Uncle Bob, who does poor card tricks".


It's a fair point, but displays of skill can often kill your reputation as a real magician. I know if i saw someone do one or two flourishes i wouldn't be surprised when my card jumped to the top of the deck, or changed colour, ect...

That said, i do agree that a Flourish can separate you from "Uncle Bob", but only at the expense of separating your audiance from the Magic...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 11:07 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 29 Jun 2006
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Just for the heck of it, I will once again quote the relevant passages from RRTCM: :D :D :D

from p. xvii of the Preface:

"Complete naturalness of action, speech and manner is the essence of the art. There is a school of card conjuring in which the artist, by the mere rapidity of his actions, attempts to impress his audience with the great skill he possesses. We urge you to eschew this type of card work and instead strive at all times for a natural, relaxed, graceful handling of the cards."

from p . 37 (III: Flourishes):

"Used in moderation [flourishes] are a decided asset to the card conjuror, but when carried to extreme lengths they defeat the very object that the magician should always have in mind, namely, that the effects he produces are done by magic and not by skill. A series of brilliant flourishes leaves only the impression of juggling skill on the minds of the onlookers, and the performer's feats are dismissed by them with the remark, 'He's clever with his hands'."



Sean


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 11:06 am 
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wallis666 wrote:
akirafist wrote:
Sankey once said you need at least one flourish "to separate yourself from Uncle Bob, who does poor card tricks".


It's a fair point, but displays of skill can often kill your reputation as a real magician.


Define a "real magician".


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:06 pm 
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AtticusFinch wrote:
wallis666 wrote:
akirafist wrote:
Sankey once said you need at least one flourish "to separate yourself from Uncle Bob, who does poor card tricks".


It's a fair point, but displays of skill can often kill your reputation as a real magician.


Define a "real magician".


In the spectator's eyes, a "real Magician" is someone who genuinely creates or aids in the Magic. Someone who isn't producing effects with mere trickery, but through Magical influence.

These spectator's are VERY hard to come across in this day and age, but i hope my next essay will help with that fact.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:28 pm 
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wallis666 wrote:
In the spectator's eyes, a "real Magician" is someone who genuinely creates or aids in the Magic. Someone who isn't producing effects with mere trickery, but through Magical influence.

These spectator's are VERY hard to come across in this day and age, but i hope my next essay will help with that fact.


And you shouldn't want to come across spectators like that. There are some people who want to bring back the stake.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 1:40 pm 
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I think you're missing the point slightly. Obviously not a single person is going to believe what you do is "real Magic". But for a short period of time they can be made to believe it's "real Magic."

That's what we should be aiming toward. Those brief few moments when the audiance thinks "maybe it was real... Obviously they, will later know it was a trick, but for those brief moments you get something special.

I will cover this more in my essay which will be based on how and why to suspend your audiance's dis-belief as well as their belefs.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 2:26 pm 
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I wasn't missing the point because the point wasn't there to miss.

But I understand you now, and I agree.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:03 pm 
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Location: God's Country
I personally relish the whole "is it real isn't it real" debate I try to get going in the minds of all my spectators. Basically, most of my stage show is acomplished through means other than sleight of hand, maybe a gimmick here or there but I love stuff that's actually real, appears to be real (with a very deceptive method behind it) and stuff that's based almost entirely on psychological influence.

Example - on August 4th I'm performing a stage show that will be based entirely on choice. I'm thinking I'll call it Choice. Now, the first effect in said routine will see four spectators input a randomly chosen three digit number into a calculator, push the multiply button and allow the next spectator to do the same. Once the fourth spectator has entered his/her number s/he will press equals, write the answer on a large displayed board and after suitable by-play have the envelope I introduced onto stage as I walked on to my introduction opened to reveal I have predicted the answer perfectly. Now, I will for not one second suggest this was magic. I won't claim psychic power, and I make a point of that, and I do say that everything that I perform on stage is acomplished through magical and psychological means, but I don't ever actually suggest either verbally. I may say things like "the odds against such should almost themselves prove it can't have been luck", but I'll never say what that it was instead.

All this verbal smoke screening creates for the spectator a feeling that they can question the show, ask themselves how much of it was real and how much was real magic? How exactly did he predict the answer? Trick calculator? Trick predicition that changes to the answer? Trick spectators? It's a little like my proposed plans for creating a show based on the Victorian Seances. I will advertise them and introduce them when performed as "recreations of a Victorian Seance". Does that mean that it is a seance performed in the Victorian manner? Does that mean that it is a pretend Victorian Seance? Or, how much of it is real?

Wallis666 is, I think, suggesting that when performing magic we should try to suspend peoples' belief in what is real and possible and what is not and not. We should aim to suggest that what we are doing is very real and very possible, even though it is clearly impossible. We as magicians are in a very empowered position, and it is one we should not take lightly, in that we are essentially altering peoples' perception of their own reality. We are meeting people we have never met and telling them about their past. Or floating their coins. Or bending metal. We are making the impossible possible, the unreal real and the seemingly mundane world we live in magical, even for the briefest of moments. And we as magicans should be aiming to make this last for beyond our performances. We should be making more than just mere magic, performing more than juggling with cards; we should be making our spectators not only experience magic but also feel it. To feel magic is to feel all the childish joy and wonder that comes from something so fantastic, so impossible, so inexplicable that it bypasses dry logic and reason quickly and lands in the 'magic' box in the brain. This is something I've discussed in Impossible is Nothing already, and to mention something that that essay tried to make emphatically clear, title and all, as a magician even the most impossible thing in the world is at your very fingertips; you can perform magic remember? No, you can't float coins really, but you can if you use magic!

It is this self belief, this knowing that what we are doing is impossible yet possible that helps create the magic in the mind of the spectator. And that my friends is the real magic.

32


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 Post subject: what are the odds
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:47 pm 
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What are the odds of making a coin dissapear and reapear in an instant?What are the odds that i can find your card? i think i prefer the ladder. i mean there are only 52 cards in a deck, all different. with cards you can lay the odds out in front of the spectator, 52 to 1, every time. i never get tired of the reactions i get from people with cards, beter than just about anything else.
i often show tricks at the local convenience store, they still call me mr. shoelace after i showed them the STS. but when i buy a fresh deck of cards, open them and do something like triumph, or a 3 card prediction, or an ambitious routine, everyone just loves it. ill get stuck for 20 minutes at a time showing card tricks with the deck i just opened.
to some, that is a close to real magic as it can get. no gimmicks, no preparation, all magic. i never say that its magic or slight of hand. i usualy am 'on the offbeat' (to quote oz). i prefer an aproach like saying hey do you want to try something with me? or tell me if this seems odd to you? this seems to not only get people to intrigued, but also keeps them off their toes on what they're about to witness. i try to give no hints to what is about to happen. but most of all, this nonchalant approach keeps the attention off of your hands.
approaching someone and asking if they want to see some magic usualy doesn't work as well, unless someone is out looking to see some magic. but also it makes spectators more intent to see the magic happen. that means watching your hands, alot. then you are trying, blatently, to make eye contact, big gestures, and alot of misdirection. it always feels like im being watched harder i ask if someone wants to see some magic.
im geting sidetracked though. and i dont want anyone to think im saying coins and gafts arent magical. i love coins, and i do at least 5 gaft card tricks a day. but i just love spreading out the deck on the counter, table, cardboard box after iv finished a successful routine and telling everyone that 'there are 52 choices in the deck. and you picked one. what are the odds?'


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