Page 12

August 05 ED

6/29/05

6:37 PM

Page 52

been delayed several times all having to be shot one on top of the other. GENII: How does your family feel about your doing these kinds of things? ANGEL: They are all greatly concerned. GENII: Is this the most dangerous thing? ANGEL: No—each one has its own danger that can be pretty severe. “The Building Walk” … if I’m not doing what I have to do correctly, or if something malfunctions, I’ll plummet to my death right then. And Criss isn’t kidding, either. There have been several false starts in filming the building walk, which begins with Criss walking to the edge of the roof, 500 feet in the air, and leaning perilously over the side before actually going over the edge. The winds in Las Vegas have been very strong and while the crew wanted to postpone the filming of the “lean,” Criss insisted on doing it. Once he’s on the side of the building, about 12 stories in the air, the wind gets stronger as the morning wears on and he’s having trouble keeping his feet firmly on the stucco side of the Aladdin. If he fell, he would most likely die. GENII: And you did this without darkening your underwear … ANGEL: Yeah, it was pretty insane, and the winds were gusting up to 30 miles per hour. Anyway, it got to a certain point in filming where I just had to stop while I was ahead. GENII: That was a smart decision to make and it’s probably the reason you’re still alive. The last time a magician had a TV series was Mark Wilson and, at that time, he went out of his way to announce that there would be no camera trickery of any kind. And that used to be a very prominent part of every magic show on television, where they would intone this announcement. One can define camera trickery in different ways, though most people tend to think of it as a special effect. Let’s say you were going to do a levitation, and on TV the audience would see someone floating in air. But the person being levitated was photographed separately in front of a green screen or something like that and then digitally added to the main shot. But the reality was that there was never anyone actually floating at all. That’s the kind of thing people tend to think about when someone states that there’s not going to be any camera trickery. I think it’s kind of silly to perform in a medium and not make use of the advantages that medium has to offer. It makes no difference to the laymen watching whether you achieve the effect using a special or secret piece of apparatus or through editing. The end result, visually, can be identical. ANGEL: I think that each person has a different belief in what is acceptable and not acceptable. GENII: Let me give you an example of a trick that could be done both ways. You have a big trunk, you open it, a person gets in the trunk, the magician is outside the trunk. He walks around the trunk and the person is gone. This can be achieved by a mechanical device, or through a trap door in the floor, or more simply by editing and having a cut or two during the shot. It makes no difference to the audience watching. I don’t think most people realize the extent to which they’ve been conditioned through watching thousands of hours of film and TV to the natural aspect of cutting. I’m certain it never enters the mind of the average 52

Genii

viewer that when they see a character outside a house, and the character then walks into the house, and the camera cuts to a viewpoint inside the house so you see that person entering the door and then closing it behind them, that the portion of the shot where the person is outside the house is shot at one location, outside, and the portion of the shot where the person is inside the house is shot at a completely different location in a studio. There is a seamless illusion created by editing the shots together to which we have all become accustomed through endless repetition. ANGEL: But you have to be able to do the trick live for a live audience in a theater. GENII: The replication of it live might use an entirely different method, though it would appear exactly the same to the audience. ANGEL: Yes, but Richiardi, who is one of the guys I admire more than just about anyone in magic, appeared on a TV show many years ago and did the DeKolta Chair with, I think, Kathy Lee Crosby. But they didn’t have any rigging in the stage, so they had to insert a cut into the shot in order to get her out of the chair. So be it. For me, this is what it boils down to: I don’t use trick photography in my shows. I will use the camera. If I’m performing a close-up effect or stage piece, I’m able to control the environment. What does that mean? If I’m doing a card trick for somebody, I can direct their attention where I want it and move my hand, or hands, out of their peripheral vision to do the dirty work. If you put a camera into that situation and it’s a full body shot, that does not reflect what the spectator would be seeing in the live situation. GENII: Because you can’t misdirect the camera. ANGEL: So you have to utilize the camera as if it is a person. And, provided that the person witnessing it live gets the same experience, then it’s fine. But I’m not about doing things that I can’t do live. What you see on my TV specials or series is what you get when you come see me live. There’s another guy who does street magic out there who’s never had a live show … [Laughs] … so he can cheat and maybe get away with it but there’s no barometer to really judge what’s what with him. With me, because I’ve been performing more years live than doing television, live performance is in my blood. Yeah, you could sit there and look at the trick where I produced a panther out of the trunk of a taxi, I could have just done the entire thing in post [production], but as a practitioner I have artistic integrity and I have to be able to sleep at night. It’s important to me. Everybody probably has a different perception of what that is. I remember watching David Copperfield’s TV shows as a kid, and he would crop the frame with the camera. I remember he did something with keys, and dropped his hand out of frame to do what he had to do, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Performing magic on TV is an entirely different version of our art. When you shoot an effect live for TV, you have to re-block and reevaluate how you’re going to perform this on the street, for people, because not only are you performing for live people, but you also have a camera that’s shooting this and has to get something out of it—it has to see the effect, get the experience, and get the reactions from the live audience. And you have to do all of this while shooting it in such a way that you don’t reveal how the effect works.

2005 Aug Chris Angel  

Criss Angel: Beyond Houdini Criss Angel: Beyond Houdini THE CONJURORS’ MAGAZINE AUGUST 2005 $5 Criss Angel: No Fear ● Richard Kaufman The Pi...

2005 Aug Chris Angel  

Criss Angel: Beyond Houdini Criss Angel: Beyond Houdini THE CONJURORS’ MAGAZINE AUGUST 2005 $5 Criss Angel: No Fear ● Richard Kaufman The Pi...

Advertisement