Monday, February 3, 2014

On Premises

Here is a constructive post (it's rehashed, but the other blog is no longer available)

Coming up with a premise for a trick can change the impact of a trick drastically. So I play this little game, simply called: "Same trick over and over again". The plot is a coin vanishing in the left hand and then being reproduced. The structure is that the coin is transferred from the right to the left hand three times (two times the condition the audience) and on the third one the coin is gone. Sticking to that plot and that structure there is only room left for premises. So playing that game means I need to make the same trick different each time without violating the plot or structure. Here is what I came up with:

1. Three ways to make a coin go form one hand to the other.
Here the conditioning is part of the premise. "Arc" and "Straight Line" are very easy to understand concepts. And offering a third version to make the distance even shorter has some real world implications. That is why it works well for a not so drunk crowd.

2. The doggy stick story.
This is just great for kids. I've done it many times. It has a "pretend" element, it refers to an outdoor activity and has a funny outcome. Poo jokes are funny for kids.

3. The shrinking coin.
This is my least favorite. But instead of doing this with a coin, do it with a bill. Rolling it up and press it into the fist. When you open it up it will look considerably smaller, because of the wrinkles. So on the third time vanishing the bill - sorry I meant shrinking the bill - so it cannot be seen anymore makes sense. Then reproducing the bill/coin by stretching it is a neat finish.

And some more:

4. The Camera Trick.
This works well with a single coin, but imagine the effect is has with stuff like Three Fly! It's a tongue in cheek presentation and should be presented as such.

5. The Sucker Bit.
This is pretty old school. But as you can see you can work in the old gag into the plot. Technically it's not a sucker trick, as the sucker element is missing, but it feels like a sucker trick, as the function of the gag is that people think no magic will occur, lowering their expectations. That makes the final "travel" so strong. Works great with drunk people.

6. The Invisible Coin.
Here the coin doesn't vanish, it doesn't shrink or hide. It's just invisible. Sometimes I prove this by tapping the invisible coin against a glass creating a sound. You need a relatively sober audience for that. Each time the same freaking trick seems different. And whenever I create some magic sequences that I like I try to get away with it again, without it being an obvious repeat. This is when a different premise comes in handy. So that makes the game that I play a valuable asset in my creative toolbox.

Hell, even more:

7. The Déjà Vu.
As you can see that changes the effect drastically. Suddenly the coin didn't vanish, but somehow reality seems to jump back. I think this is a good example how a changed premise (structure and plot remain the same) changes the overall perception of the effect.

8. The Wishing Well.
I like this one. You could even include fancy color changes. The wishing well routine by David Williamson is such a great trick. And wishing for money bit is actually a nice subtext justification why you the great magician do not do magic that is meaningful, like world peace.

9. The Toss.
Let's be honest this is just to milk time. But I like the covering the eyes part while at the same time hiding the coin in a motivated action.

I hope you see, that just changing the premise can really make a difference. 

And to clear up some words!

Premise: Why it happens.
Plot: What happens.
Structure: In what order it happens.

1 comment:

vincent priour said...

Number 1, 7 and 9 were really good.
This is quite a valuable tip as a simple coin vanish can look like a crazy miracle with the right patter