Thursday, February 13, 2014

Not that hard!

Magicians, man up!

Start making decision that make you look like a real man.
You are wearing a jacket, a shirt and a tie... you're half way there.

Now get rid of the Jeans and become an adult who wears trousers and not just pants!

Leave the boy with all the toys at home. Let the man with the magic become you!

Aside from that... a really good coin trick! I love the premise and the method. Straight forward and to the point. Strong and cool. I love that!

But the sleeves need to be up!


The Smiling Mule said...

Is it just an inherent flaw of this trick that you have to do the "I have an invisible cast on my arm and my hand is an ironing board" bit?

I suppose it must be, I've never seen anyone do it without standing there like they're trying to hide the statue of liberty in their hand.

It's just so damn obvious to a "layman."

Magicians love the trick so much, they fool themselves into thinking the insanely unnatural pose is worth it because it "doesn't matter if the audience suspects you of hiding coins."

If somebody could come along and do this kind of thing naturally then it might be quite a decent trick, but this is just practicing in public. Horrendous.

Now, what's that you say about the jeans?

Marco Lippolis said...

I agree with you Roland.
Another thing: I love the British and their intrusive 'r'!!!

Laurent said...

Would love to see your magic, Smiling Mule. You've got a big mouth but we've never seen you do anything.
As for the jeans, I did not notice it until reading the post, and I really think it suits him. Besides, who cares? The coin handling is some of the finest I have seen. There are some very nice moments in there.

Paul Higgins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Smiling Mule said...

"Would love to see your magic, Smiling Mule. You've got a big mouth but we've never seen you do anything. "

Good argument there. Were I the worst performer in the world, would it make my analysis any less valid?

The stiff, unnatural posture looks terrible. The hands scream "I'm hiding coins here!" I have highlighted and demonstrated how to solve this problem with playing cards - I don't do this coin trick so I don't know if it can be solved or if it's inherent in the trick. If it is, then just don't do it. Or at least modify it so the fingers don't need to be pressed together so hard that it looks as if you're trying to squeeze out a big hard turd.

It's just terrible, and constipated fingers will still be terrible if I am the greatest magician who ever lived, or if I'm the worst magician who ever lived.

Barry Solayme said...

Mr Mule raises an interesting point in typically rambunctious style. I would posit that us lot are looking for what you describe, and that is exactly how it looks to us. To the audience it doesn't look natural, but all those clean displays act as a constant check; this in itself is quite probably 'a bad thing' in terms of structure.

But it is endemic to these types of tricks. Troy Hooser seems to favour holding out in finger or curl palm, but to my eyes it looks just as dodgy, particularly when working with dollar sized coins. What I would say is that this sort of visual coins across really does please people when it is not overblown. I dunno why, but it's true. The best we can do is just be totally consistent with all the displays, regardless of whether coins are being held out. Oh, and 'soft hands', like a quality batsman.

And Laurent, you are barking up the wrong tree; he [the smiling burro] is annoyingly good.


The Smiling Mule said...

When it does genuinely please people, I'd contend that it pleases them in the same way as a sequence of flourishes might please them.

Be honest with yourselves, folks. The audience knows precisely what's going on and, behind your back and away from the obligation of being polite, the BEST you can hope for is "it was really clever how he was hiding those coins in his hands and making them jump in and out..."

Barry Solayme said...

A bit like deceptive juggling, yes.


Barry Solayme said...

Oh, I saw Mr Sadowitz performing during the season of good cheer. Naturally, he was a bit good.

He did a coin routine, and from the layout I was very interested in what I reckon he used. No funny palms, no plaster cast arms. Very direct, very sure, very strong. No surprises there, then. A brief lesson in how to do coins for an audience that's paid out £20 to willingly miss the last tube home.


The Smiling Mule said...

Was it the matrix type routine from one of his manuscripts? The one that ends up with miniature cards and a jumbo coin?

Please don't depress me by saying no he's doing new stuff.

Michael Jay said...

Mr. Houstoun constantly proves that he is only using two coins which nullifies the way that he holds his hands at any given time. At the point where the spectator might accuse him of hiding something, he then openly shows both hands and there are only two coins. If you actually take the time to break down what Will is doing you will quickly realize just how much time, thought, and effort has gone into the choreography of this effect.

Furthermore, you'll notice how thin and boney his fingers are. This forces him to hold his hands the way that he does because of his natural 'windows.' If he holds his hands in a relaxed state you can see right through his fingers. Still, it's much easier to attack him because you don't like his style than to laud him for overcoming a physical condition of which he has no control.

Are you really that little of a man that you need to do this?

Barry Solayme said...

Aww, Mr Mule, it was not the matrix type routine. Ouch. He also did a very beautiful chink-a-chink with dice. After it finished, my brother leant over and said in wonder, "How the fuck did he do that?" The sparkly eyes were testament to some proper magic.


Barry Solayme said...

Mr Jay, you know I don't have a gripe with you. But Mr Henning is very positive about this performance, he just doesn't like the jeans/jacket/tie combo. I tend to agree, by the way.
Mr Mule is pointing out the endemic flaws in these chest height, visual, coins across routines. He has a right to an opinion, and to be fair, you must admit that he is a man who understands sleight of hand rather well.
I stand somewhere in the middle. But I'm a crowd pleaser, a whore, if you will. It's not Will's hand positions that are being debated, it is rather the position of anyone's hands when making these moves.
For the record, I like Will's hands, they seem nice and soft to me. Very relaxed, and I was tickled by the thrown coin moment. Very pleasing, and well executed.
I think if you read Mr Mule's comments dispassionately you will see the point.
I think we will all be interested in your take on this endemic issue with visual coins across.


The Smiling Mule said...

Hello Barry,

Particularly, watch the video from the 1:13 mark.

If you think this (which seems to be the default pose) is soft and natural then we really are talking cross purposes. Apart from that, is there really a single soul in the audience who doesn't know exactly what's happening at this point? (By the way, even if they were wrong, it doesn't matter - they still know!)

Incidentally, this represents a part of the reason that most can't palm cards for shit. Some do it like this and fool themselves into thinking they are "getting away with it" whilst those with a little self awareness just give up before they've practiced enough to realize what it takes to get a natural looking hand.

For the record, I might as well be a layman in watching this trick. I don't do a lot of coin stuff and I have no idea exactly how he does it. It just looks like he's hiding coins in his hands. Not good.

I am fully aware that 99% of magicians will not get it at all - hell, it is at the heart of most of what I've been blogging about over the years, but I do not consider "effect of suspicion" and "be natural" as "nice to have" features to incorporate into your magic if possible; I consider them the very essence of magic - the necessary starting point.

The Smiling Mule said...

P.S. Yeah I've seen him do the chink-a-chink.... amazing how good a simple trick can look when done naturally, eh? ;)

Barry Solayme said...

Yes, at 1:13 things are not looking good, I admit. I suppose I'm comparing it with so many other visual coins across poses which often look even more stiff and unnatural. Oy vey, it's one of those tricks with which we kid ourselves I suppose.

All the best,


The Smiling Mule said...

I'd still like to know if it is an inherent flaw in this kind of trick.

Without getting too much into it, I have posted about this very problem concerning cards, though I am well aware that certain coins have a property which may render the advice partly inapplicable. Though I suspect the same principle applies.

Maybe I'll give it a go sometime, though the motivation isn't really there - personally the effect doesn't appeal to me.

Barry Solayme said...

You've certainly got me thinking. I wonder if edge grip and/or curl palm would free things up a little at certain points? The thing is, the angles then become more troublesome, and it would be far more technically challenging. Hmmm.

Clearly he is using a shell, whereas a slippery half shell (a la Kohler's U3F) makes things less cumbersome, as most of the time you are genuinely only holding three(?) coins...

Anyway, food for thought. I'm glad you brought this up.


The Smiling Mule said...

Why not just relax the posture of the fingers, a-la advice for cards. Are the coins so shiny that they sparkle through the gaps in the fingers? Is there another reason that I don't know about for forcing the fingers together unnaturally?

Barry Solayme said...

The sparkliness is problematic, yes. This trick is usually done with silver dollars, so you'll be limited by what sort of hands & fingers you were born with. Here is some footage of Troy Hooser (2nd video down)

Now, it's a different gaff, but the same modus operandi is at work. What do you reckon?


The Smiling Mule said...

The first video started off alright, but deteriorated quickly.

Honestly, I find this kind of stuff terribly confusing as well as unnatural.

I understand that some people are into stuff specifically for get-togethers where they can impress/confuse/fool other magicians, and in that context I suppose it has its place.

Barry Solayme said...

Yes, I didn't think it would appeal. To be fair the first video is just Todd demming a new gaff for prospective buyers. The second one (Hooser) interests me. He is no slouch, and yet, as you say, it all seems a bit confusing. What I wanted to draw your attention to was the hands. They are more relaxed, but still......


The Smiling Mule said...

The hands did indeed appear somewhat more natural, largely thanks to the fact that they were moving around more as opposed to being frozen in a stiff pose for a significant amount of time.

Maybe that's an avenue to explore.

Barry Solayme said...

Agreed! I'm sure Troy sells this well in a sober, working situation; I think this was shot rather late at night... I have the manuscript, and although the concept doesn't work so well for me, he probably does it justice.


Roland Henning said...

Gee could you guys be any more constructive. Don't you have your own blogs to write. Gee!

Personally I agree that his somewhat stiff, but I do not agree on the Mules point that the audience thinks they know what is going on. Keyword is conviction. If they are convinced that only two coins exist (granted the prooving could be done a little better) it is hard for them to convince themselves otherwise. They rather thing a rubber band snaps it back in the other hand than to assume a 3 coin might be in play, as it would violate they previous assumption.

Barry Solayme said...

Sorry Roland!

I'll get back in my hole now...


The Smiling Mule said...

Disagree Roland, keyword is suspicion.

The kind of "cancelling out" you mention has it's place, but it is not in covering for bad technique.

Even were the trick done perfectly naturally, it would probably still call for the reinforcement of the open display as a preemptive tactic - not as a sucker "ha, there's nothing hidden here!" jibe.

It just pushes things down the road of being a puzzle to be solved, a stick to beat people with.

I maintain that it is just plainly obvious to most that he is hiding coins in his hand *before* the effect even takes place, which is very different to them backtracking and being unable to come up with that solution due to the subsequent open displays.

For me, it's the old chestnut of seeing the mic boom during a movie. Yes, everybody knows it's not real magic, but this kind of thing just spoils the whole feeling of the performance and slaps people right in the face with the realities of palming, sleights, fakes, and technique.


I too shall now get back in my hole.

clevernamehere said...

the problem with many of these 3 fly type routines is they fail to address the effect. A coin flying across requires two beats - the vanish and the appearance. Many of the 3 fly routines have a "will of the wisp" nature to them. The coins fly across but you don't really feel it fly across, it's more of a "did that just happen" sensation.

While that is an interesting sensation and one that works great when used sparingly, I do like how he manages to give his routine a little texture by first isolating the vanish from the appearance, before highlighting the simultaneous "travel" with the waving transference. The Geoff Latta esque throw that did not happen is a great "did that just happen moment" but I prefer the original handlings as the fact the coin remains in the tossing hand comes after a beat instead of at the moment the coin is lands.

The last phase, which isolates the vanish from the appearance makes sense for variety sake, but is largely anti climactic given that it is little more than a repeat of the first phase (or is likely to be remembered as such).

I believe the a better solution would be to end with that first phase. It is clearer, cleaner, and one could play up the complete impossibility of it, even perhaps by having the audience isolate the coins by holding the performers sleeves.

The non visible type of ending is stronger as it forces the audience to engage their imaginations at the moment of magic.