Saturday, May 9, 2015

WMF Steve Gaudet

Go to 15:25 to see Keith Barry's version of the spike trick.



Alright, now that you've see the trick, watch this:



A copycat! His name: The Amazing Raven, a performer who's real name is Stephen Robert John Gaudet. He's a tour manager of a hypnotist called Reveen. So you would think that he knows about not taking other people's material. If you look at some other acts of his, you'll notice that nothing really is his own. You will see a lot of The (not so) Amazing Kreskin bleed through as well as some other well known mentalists.

Watch him fuck up the Magic Square by clicking here. In case you don't know what was supposed to happen. Within 60 seconds he was supposed to fill in the numbers in a grid. I do a Magic Square in my show. 23 seconds. So 60 seconds is more than enough not have an error. But he had an error. He was not able to subtract 20 from the target number. So naturally he fucks up. And needs another 60 seconds to get himself back on track. The only redeeming thing about that performance is his assistant Whitly holding the board that he's writing on. Man, she is a piece of eye candy,,,, Kudos! If you clicked the above link you can see the entire show. And I dare you to watch this in one go. You cannot.

These things happen if you don't practise and rehearse. Which is what I accuse Steve of!

His production quality is good. Too good actually as all the screen, the music and the light makes it appear that Steve Gaudet is a professional. He clearly is not... or should not be. He maybe a wonderful human being, he maybe a great tour manager, but an even decent mentalist he is not,

Here is another video. Him doing hypnosis. The guy is clearly a stooge.This is clear to even the most brain dead spectator. Steve Gaudet make is look like he is able to hypnotise a random guy into becoming a juggler. Which he does. Then the stooge juggles, way too good to be believable. With knives!

Is there any need to be that "false"? He does some routines that I cannot place. But I have a hard time believing that he came up with any presentation by himself. Except maybe that atrocity of a hybrid monster that is Svengali and Tossed Out Deck. Stealing material, sucking at basic performance skills and failing to understand mentalism, as the limits of believability were clearly broken, make me announce the following. Steve Gaudet, you are this weeks magic failure.

But in order to be more on the constructive side of things, here are some pointers.

Put your spin on the classic routines! Do not take other people's work and sell it as your own! There are a few simple steps to take in order to create you own presentation. Start with a premise on why you are able to do what you can do! If you solved that the rest should get worked out.

Rehearse your material! This means (among other things) going through the motions so often, that you can do it effortlessly.

If you wanna be a mentalist, make sure you are believable. If you cannot figure out what feels real and what clearly is not, then you should get the help of those who can differentiate. Those usually are other mentalists,but they wont help you as you are stealing their material. But a good producer can do the same. Get help!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Has the Shwood lost his focus?

Short answer: It seems so!

Long answer: Brian Brushwood has long been of a thorn in magic. His heart may be in the right place, but his actions are not helping to get that message across. I'm talking about his long running YouTube series Scam School. The premise of that show is to "scam" other people into buying you a drink. Naturally he covers magic on that show. And exposes it. Most of it is harmless. But once in a while he fucks up. The exposure of the Invisible Deck comes to mind.



But now he's "teaching" a retention vanish of a coin. It absolutely is exposure and NOT a scam to get a beer. In fact that little premise of the show is completely omitted this time. It would have led to a scam if a duplicate coin was loaded under the spectators drink. And the bet would be that "if I can get the coin under your drink without you and me touching the drink, I get that drink that you are having."

Then doing the NOT a vanish but a switch for a transparent plastic disc which is then dropped into the spectators drink. He looks inside, it looks like the coin is in the beer. But a little magic and everything is as it should be. That would be a scam.

It looks like Brian has lost the focus on what to do.

Brian! Get help! Get a research team! A creative team!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Connecting the tissue! Part 4 of 6

This is a continuation of this

Have a rewarding running trick!

Similar to a running gag in a comedy show a running trick is a trick is about repetition. There are two main ways of doing it. The first one is to attempt a certain trick over and over again, but failing. The Second one is to repeat a minor trick over and over until it becomes increasingly better and better.

Both ways need a rewarding finish. All this interluding stuff needs to add up to something.

Here is an example for the first way. You declare to perform the famous cut and restored rope. You show the rope, you cut it and then comment "This is the easy part. The next part.... well I'm working on it." Then you toss the ropes in a bag next to you.
Later you get out another piece of rope and cut it, this time you do a knot to get them back together and toss the bundle in the bag.
A few tricks later you attempt it again, Cut the rope, it is then visually restored but just as you take your applause the rope breaks again. You toss the pieces in the bag.
And finally you attempt it again, you cut and restore the rope. Being confident you take the bag, rip it open and from it all the pieces have become one long rope. Knowing the magic apparatus out there will make you understand that this routine is a self worker.

Here is an example for the second way. You borrow a 10 dollar note from one spectator and then another 10 dollar note from another spectator. Fold both together, then unfold, both have fused into a 20 dollar bill. So far the setup.... now you show two little bags, one red, the other one blue. "I'm gonna place the bill into one of the bags, then the first guy gets to guess where the bill is. If he's right, he gets to keep the bill. If he's wrong the game continues." Of course the spectator guesses wrong.
You do your next trick and after that you come back to the bills. "Now it's the second guys turn, red or blue? It was in the red one, maybe I put it there again, but I wouldn't be so stupid would I?" So he guesses and is wrong.... This can go on an on. Now for the finish.... "I'll make it easier." Now the twenty is openly placed into the blue bag. "You both get to choose. You can either trust me and take the blue bag or mistrust me and choose the red one. But whatever you get, the other guy gets the other bag." The choice is made and both open their bags at the same time. Both find nothing but their 10 dollar notes. Methodwise a TT gets your far ahead.

A running trick doesn't connect the tricks, but gives the impression to do so. It creates the illusion of a well thought out show. Try it, if you have nothing else.

The above image shows German magician Kalanag doing the Water from India running gag. The rewarding finish is that the bucket that supposedly holds all the produced water is dumped out and a rain of confetti goes airborne.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Connecting the tissue! Part 3 of 6

This is a continuation of yesterdays post, It all starts here.

Use the same props over again!

A really simple way to make your string of tricks feel connected is to reuse your props. As simple as this maybe I've seen magicians putting away the cards, getting out some coins, putting away the coins getting out a different deck of cards. It blows my mind. Switching decks.... sure thing, if it is not obvious. Best would be to do your card trick, do your deck switch (if you have to) as you are getting out the coins, then placing the deck to the side. After the coin trick you pocket your coins and continue with the "same" deck of cards.

Here is another example. The magic wand. The magic wand is more than a bit of motivation and more than a power claim. It can connect the tricks.

Here is an example from my repertoire. I do coin tricks, card tricks, using a lighter for a bill change a key and other stuff. Later in the show I do a trick with "random" objects. I ask my audience for stuff and I get out my lighter, my coins, the key and a single playing card. The audience has seen them, but now they are back. It even reminds them of the tricks they have seen 30 minutes ago. The reintroduction of the props for a different purpose connects the tricks in a subtle way.

This is no hard science. This is a simple devide that is underexplored. Try using it!

Please don't confuse this with reusing the same method or the same gimmick all over again. That is entirely different.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Connecting the Tissue! Part 2 of 6

This is a continuation of yesterdays post, either below this one or here.

Foreshadow the end!

The ending is what people will remember most in a show. So the ending needs to be special. Aside from being the strongest trick you do it needs to feel like a rewarding ending. One technique to do that is to foreshadow the end. You basically tell your audience what is going to happen, but not right on the nose but indirectly.

Here is an example from my repertoire. "I love old magic books. You find so many cool tricks in there that unfortunately you cannot do anymore. In one of the tricks - for example - a gentleman's handkerchief was borrowed. Usually his initials where sewn into one of the four corners. That was then stuffed into a pistol and then shot across the stage into a small locked box or some other impossible place. Nowadays nobody has a handkerchief with the initials sewn in. And a loaded pistol... the laws have changed. But I found an old magic trick that I can do...." 

Then I proceed to do that other trick. But in that story I have put in a few thing. First something about me, digging into old literature making me a bit more interesting, also answering the common question where to learn magic. Also it tells them something about my regret of not being able to perform such a cool sounding trick which pays off, because I just foreshadowed the end. 

My last trick of the show indeed is "Silk to apple" There a silk cloth is being signed then the silk cloth in being stuffed into a Nerf Gun and being shot across the room into an apple. 

So when this happens near the end, People get excited as they recall me telling the story about my regret of not being able to do the trick. It feels wonderful in the brain. People feels smart about being able to pick that up and it connects the show. The ending trick is not just a stand alone trick anymore. It feels like all has been building up to that. The ending feels rewarding and it tells people that it really is the end.

Of course you can foreshadow a lot of things in your show. But if you use that technique too much in becomes "unrewarding". However If you decide not to use this as a device to enhance your ending, because you may feel that your ending is strong enough I urge you to try it somewhere else in your act. Sometimes a natural spectator's response will help you greatly. Like you borrow a ring and you want to make it appear in a locked box. You do your magic method business, hand out the box and all you need to do is to make that "ring" disappear. But right before you do that the spectator says "If you can make my ring appear in the box that I'm holding, that would be a great trick."

This happened to me more than one time and it is a great moment. "Yeah that would be a great trick.... and I'm sure you all, but especially you would go crazy and applaud like there is no tomorrow.... but I'm not that good!" Basically unbeknownst to the spectator he did the foreshadowing him-/herself. I don't need to tell you how to go from here.

More tomorrow...