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Is Sandbagging a Worthy Goal
Yes 57%  57%  [ 4 ]
No 43%  43%  [ 3 ]
Total votes : 7
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 Post subject: Sandbagging
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:25 am 
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Joined: 24 May 2009
Posts: 18
Location: Japan
I am new to magic, only started a couple of months ago. Therefore, I have not practiced many moves. Neither do I know all the best tricks, though I do have a couple that are quite enough to fool most people all of the time, even at my current level of clumsiness.

While I expect to eventually get more experience in all aspects of the field, there is an inherent advantage in not knowing what I am doing.

Or to be more exact, to have the spectators assume that I am not knowing what I am doing. In the ideal case, spectators don't expect me to do magic at all, so anything I pull off hits them as an even stronger surprise.

In contrast, if they know that I am an immortal super robot with a nuclear power plant hidden in my shoes, and Houdini, Copperfield, and Slydini all took lessons from me when I was newer out of the factory, they will expect all sort of impossible miracles from me, leaving the impact of a simple invisible string levitation or some such effect rather lacking.

Or, to get back to reality, if you are performing for people who know that you have years of experience in the field, they will be less surprised by anything you pull off than if they have known you for years and this is the first occasion you hit them with an invisible deck.

If that is true, it follows that while performing it should be one goal to give the impression of being less able than you actually are. Or as they write in the Klutz book, practice to make it look that you haven't been practicing.

The title of this post, "sandbagging", means exactly that. It is used in Internet game sites dealing with the Japanese game of Go. You might pretend to be a lowly seventh Kyu player, while you actually are of the six Dan grade. The poor opponent who falls victim to the sandbagger will never know what hit him. It is generally frowned upon.

Is hiding your ability from the spectators a worthy goal? And if so, what are efficient means to reach it?


Last edited by Kflenz on Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:32 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 28 May 2007
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Hrmmm...Well first off as you continue in magic their will most likely be a core group of friends and family who become the first to witness new tricks and effects you work on. The kind of people you trust to tell you, "that was amazing," or "you flashed you'll need to work on that one some more," or "your work is good but your presentation is dull." You wont be able to sandbag these people.

As for the majority of people you will perform to I think that choice is up to you. Sandbagging could work if you are going for the comedy magic angle but even there I think it has limited uses. A key ingredient in almost every magic effect is the proper use of direction and misdirection. If you start acting like you don't know what you are doing it will likely draw attention to you. If you are doing a secret move at that time you will likely get caught.

A more cogent question as you progress will be how much of your skill will you display? If you watch some of the XCM masters more than half of an average performance is wowing you with their mastery of cards. Contrast that with some of the older masters who took great pains at making their card handling look natural and unassuming. My guess is that you will find yourself somewhere in between. If you realize you just need to show off with flourishes you may as well learn to juggle and if you realize you like going unnoticed and underestimated you may as well start grifting.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:29 am 
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Your initial premise is wrong. You state:
Quote:
if you are performing for people who know that you have years of experience in the field, they will be less surprised by anything you pull off than if they have known you for years and this is the first occasion you hit them with an invisible deck.
By this I understand you to believe that the "surprise" aspect of magic is what the audience want.

The main thing about magic is actually the entertainment of the spectator. The story you tell while performing the effect. I have done sponge balls several times for the same group and each time they have marveled at the effect. Not because they were surprised that the ball appeared out of nowhere, but the story I was telling when the appearance happened was totally diferent each time. Same old stuff, different patter and it works.

Paddy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:38 am 
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Location: Las Vegas, NV/Albuquerque, NM/Pensacola, FL
What you refer to as Sandbagging is generally called Hustling.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:56 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 05 Jun 2008
Posts: 1525
You say you "don't know all the best tricks yet", there is simply no best trick, only tricks that really work well for you.
Also this "Sandbagging" you refer to, no you shouldn't go for it,
why? well let's say me, being an amateur were to perform something as "amazing" as metamorphosis, underwater, with sharks swimming around.
Since I don't have any experience with performing that, sure it's amazing that I could pull it off, but my patter, no matter how well scripted and practiced will still most likely blow (to put it politely) due to the lack of testing it in the real world.
I'm sure I could get better reactions with a simple ACR or some beginners coin vanish because I have far more experience with those tricks, my patter has improved and adjusted after each time I have performed it.
Entertaining with magic isn't about the tricks you perform, but the way you perform your chosen tricks in.
I highly recommend you read "Maximum Entertainment" by Ken Weber, it's an interesting read on the subject.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:10 am 
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Joined: 24 May 2009
Posts: 18
Location: Japan
A couple of replies to the people who kindly commented on my post:

@eostresh: Actually, sandbagging would be one form of misdirection, and most of it would be done in patter, as opposed to making obvious mistakes designed to be caught by anyone half awake, like in this Gazzo performance when he vanishes the second ball by just openly putting it in his pouch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAGm6987xTE

To give an example of this kind of misdirection, I like to tell people that I can do no magic whatsoever by myself and all magic is done by a demon I conjure from the seventh dimension (credits to the Bartimaeus trilogy of Jonathan Stroud for that particular idea (those books rock, anyone interested in magic should read them)). I place a small figure of a mildly demon-like nature on the table, light up some flash cotton, spin a top that sparkles magically and try to conjure a demon into the figure. I tell people to watch if the figure moves. It won't, since it is only there for misdirection. It helps distract people from what is going on, and it helps with the general sandbagging approach.

@Paddy

I agree completely that performance is more important than any particular trick. I agree particularly that the story you are telling is important.

And as I said above, sandbagging actually is about the story, not about any particular trick I might have in mind. To give one example, I could announce that I magically increased the amount of money in some particular spectators' wallet by $1 and have him check (many people would not know), and then maybe apologize for my failure at actually achieving that, explaining that I only started with this magic thing a couple of days ago, or that my demon had a couple of drinks too many and didn't understand my command, he thought he should take $1 from the wallet and place it in my hat.

I disagree however about the surprise factor. If you take the surprise away, what is left of any magic trick? Rules enforced on this site and elsewhere against exposure are designed to protect the surprise for the spectator. If anybody knew how to do for example Richard Sanders' "Extreme Burn" (a trick I just happened to receive yesterday), there wouldn't be much point in performing it, even with the best story in the world.

And I think exposing the fact that you are an experienced magician also works to diminish the reaction.

@exodus

Thank you for this pointer. While I do know some English, this is not my native language.

That said, a quick check at the appropriate Wikipedia page

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hustling

shows that I need to hesitate to agree unconditionally. I don't intend to lure people into gambling, which seems to be one condition for talking about hustling, and magic is probably not a sport or game, which is another one. Hustling actually seems to be a criminal act (fraud). I hope no one read my post as advocating that kind of thing.

While I don't agree with your point, it raises another interesting question. What exactly is the difference between a pool match and the intellectual competition between the magician and his spectators? But that would need another thread.

@sebishungry

I agree that there is no single best trick. I was only trying to make the point that I am new to this.

That said, I think that there is quite a difference in impact between different tricks. Many people seem to agree, since they pay vendors like PenguinMagic to learn better and more impressive ones.

I also agree that patter and performance is the key. As I said above in response to other magicians, this sandbagging concept actually is one to develop a story line.

Again, thanks to everyone who kindly replied to my initial post.


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 Post subject: Vandalism by Forum Moderator
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:41 am 
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Joined: 24 May 2009
Posts: 18
Location: Japan
Some joker has edited my original post, resulting in a violation of the rules for this forum against profanity. I have reverted that edit as soon as I noticed it.

That someone has moderation rights for this forum, since I have not given my password to anyone else.

That person also changed the title to my poll in the same offensive way, a change I can't undo.

I don't appreciate having people editing my posts to include profanity. I would also like someone with the adequate rights to revert the change in the poll title.

It will be interesting to see if there is a trail for this vandalism. In my humble opinion, abusing moderation rights in this way should lead to immediate termination of said rights.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:53 am 
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Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 8861
Location: Las Vegas
I fixed the poll title for you. I'm pretty sure that no Mod here would ever do that kind of editing. How is your physical security? Who has access to your computer when you're not around? Staying logged in or having a stored password is the number one security leak in computer systems.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:56 am 
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Penguin

Joined: 24 May 2009
Posts: 18
Location: Japan
DaveV wrote:
I fixed the poll title for you. I'm pretty sure that no Mod here would ever do that kind of editing. How is your physical security? Who has access to your computer when you're not around? Staying logged in or having a stored password is the number one security leak in computer systems.


Thank you very much for your friendly cooperation in this matter.

Anyone who would use the computer I have at home (where I did stay logged in) would need to know my name and address, invest in a trip to Japan, and beat the locks on my door for the purpose, which seems rather a lot of effort for this kind of juvenile prank.

I sure hope that no Mod would do this kind of editing as well. Is there any way to find out (e.g. looking at a log file)? And isn't the fact that the poll title was edited proof that a Mod was involved? I didn't seem to be able to do that myself, even when logged in.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:45 am 
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We're looking into it. Any further conversation about this should be taken private in case the "culprit" is watching.


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