Week 4: The pivot

This week after trying to conceptualise my form of transmedia for the film Inception as a game, I decided that I don’t think I will be able to design a concept that will encapsulate the complex nature of the film Inception in the time given. I tried to think of ways I could simplify the concept in my game but I felt that I would lose the main idea of the film and the layers of complexity Nolan spent almost a decade developing (Source).

Due to the reasons outlined above I decided it would be best to go with my next favourite option in the films I did my initial analysis on and explore the universe of Now You See Me. Now You See Me follows the story of a disparate group of magicians who are scouted for a secret society called “The eye”, where they are given the task of taking down some of those who have wronged society. The film explores extensive use of unexplainable tricks and illusions that have to be passed off as just simply magic while the group of magicians now coined “The Four Horsemen”, work to expose the rich and powerful exploiting society. Though the film can leave you confused and wondering “how” at times it does a good job at revealing the tricks and illusions to the viewers in a plot twisting manner. I think it is important that at least some of the tricks and illusions are explained throughout the film as it keeps the viewers engaged and some what brings the series of events closer to reality so they are no longer so “farfetched”. Below is a collation of research for my newly chosen feature film, Now You See Me.

SWOT Analysis

Exisiting Transmedia

Now You See Me: Back to Macau

A virtual reality hidden object game designed by the developers of the film, Lionsgate. The game involves a plot following the detectives tasked with catching “The Four Horsemen”, to accomplish this they need to search scenes for clues to their location or upcoming plans. Though this is a great idea for a game the decision to make it available only in VR really reduced the demographic that its available to as it requires players to have a VR headset.

Now You See Me 2 Magic Set

A magic set based on some of the tricks seen in the films, this does appear to be a beginners type set and most likely targeted towards the younger demographic 7-16 years of age. However there is not much in this magic kit that would differ from any other magic kit on the market apart from the fact that some of the tricks were shown throughout the film.

Conceptual research

What is magic?

Magic is a performing art in which audiences are entertained by tricks or illusions of seemingly impossible feats using natural means, the illusions most commonly achieved trough the use of sleight of hand, distraction or rigged props. There is a clear distinction between illusion magic and supernatural magic which involves unnatural or physically unexplainable events, the movie attempts to blur the lines between the two by not revealing how some of the tricks were accomplished, leaving them only to be explained by “magic”.

Why do people enjoy it?

From a very young age we are always fascinated by the things we can’t logically explain, it gives us a sense of wonder. Though we try to find a logical explanation for everything a lot of us seem to get a thrill when we cannot. This simple concept is what makes magic one of the oldest types of performing arts. There is also a sense of nostalgia involved with witnessing unexplainable illusions or tricks that remind us of being a young and naive kid again, some people yearn for this feeling.

Why do people spoil the illusion?

The old saying “a magician never reveals his secrets” is almost a code to follow in the magician world, the idea behind this is to persist the wonder that is instilled in viewers when they witness an unexplainable trick or illusion. You will notice the thrill and hype around the trick very quickly disappears once the trick is revealed. However there are some people who just can’t stand to accept the unexplainable as the construct of “magic”, instead they seek the answers similar to Thaddeus in the Now You See Me.

How can we engage with these different types of people?

There are a couple of different ways people enjoy magic;

  • People who enjoy creating and performing magic and amazing their audience with captivating and unexplainable tricks and illusions. They also like to share and compare their tricks with others in the profession or with the same hobbies.
  • People who enjoy the wonder of some tricks and like to accept the idea notion of simple magic, even though deep down they know it is all a trick it is the sense of not knowing and wonder that thrills them.
  • People who can’t accept that notion of “magic” even though they may be amazed with the trick they may be they are still well aware that it is just a trick and they sought an explanation, they know this ruins the illusion but they are frustrated with the idea of not knowing.

Is there a way we can bring these types of people together to share, collaborate and support one of the oldest known performing art to man kind?

How has technology affected magic?

The 21st century advances in technology have brought us social media platforms which have eased the process of sharing and collaborating from anywhere, to anywhere in the world. This has allowed professional performers as-well as novice/beginner performers to share their stories and tricks with the rest of the world easier than ever before through the use of videos on Youtube and Facebook. However this has also allows viewers to share and explain how tricks are done making it harder and harder for the performers illusions to stay alive. This is similar to the role of Thaddeus in the film, once a performer himself was never able to make it as a performer so instead made his living outing magicians and the art behind their tricks. To see this happening online you only have to look at the comments of any magic trick or illusion and one of the top comments is bound to be revealing or spoiling the “magic” for the rest of the viewers.

Among the positives impacts that technology has had on the performance of magic is the introduction of Cyber Illusionists who use the power of Virtual Reality, Machine Learning or even Robots to help perform their tricks and stun their audiences. See Marco Tempest or Konstantin and Yuri as some example Cyber Illusionists.

My pitch

What

I would like to create a magic social media app, that allows all types of audiences with an interest in magic to watch, share and discuss/reveal magic tricks and illusions. The idea will be to bring like minded people together who have a shared interest in the performing art of magic whether that be learning to perform themselves, inventing new tricks, watching magic tricks or even analysing/explaining magic tricks. The app will be named “The Horsemen” inspired by the group in the film, there will also be a exclusive member only aspect called “The eye” where serious magicians can apply to join with an audition tape and share their tricks and illusions with other trusted talented magicians.

Why

As mentioned earlier Youtube, Facebook and other social. media platforms don’t cater to all types of appreciating viewers. When watching magic tricks you don’t always want someone to spoil the trick for you in the comments, or you are someone who likes to discuss how the magic trick is pulled off. This platform will cater for both types of audiences by categorising their content in the app, bring like minded people together to discuss or even collaborate. The same can be done for content creators (magicians) they will be able to easily find like minded magicians with similar tricks and learn from each other.

Where

This online platform will be available anywhere in the world through the use of mobile app, the idea of having this content readily available in a mobile app allows users the freedom to access whenever and wherever they like. It also allows them the opportunity to create content when possibly offline to upload later, similar to how TikTok or Instagram handle content creation.

How

The application will be available for free through Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for anyone to download.

Any one can make an account on the platform though it is not required in order to view the content. However if the viewer would like to create content, interact with content such as like, comment or discuss an account will be required.

“The Eye” will be an exclusive section of the app that only members will be able to access. In order to join “The Eye” prospects must submit an audition clip that will be judge by the founding members. Though this will be advertised as an exclusive group there is no strict criteria for acceptance in the group and is aimed to be very inclusive, its purpose is to differentiate those who take their content creation seriously.

Who

The target for this application is essentially anyone with an interest in magic, this could range from a casual interest in watching magic tricks to someone who makes a professional career out of magic. These people could have interests in watching magic, performing magic or even discussing how magic tricks are pulled off.

Investigation of Audience

Personas

Ben Wrightson


Age: 10
Location: Alberta, Canada
Education: Crescent Heights High School
Occupation: NA
Family: Lives with his parents and two younger sisters

Goals/Interests

  • Reading
  • Computer games
  • To make a career out of magic


Frustrations

  • Trying find good magic tutorials to learn
  • Only has his family to practice with who are sick of watching

Alex Dyer







Demographics
Age: 29
Location: Las Vegas, USA
Education: UFRGS
Occupation: Magician/Illusionist
Family: Engaged and lives with fiancé, all family lives in home country of Brazil

Goals/Interests

  • Inspiring others to get involved with the art of magic
  • Travelling and exploring the world


Frustrations

  • Pressure to leave his home country to get recognition in this field
  • Audience ruining or revealing his tricks to others

James Willoughby





Demographics
Age: 32
Location: Washington D.C, USA
Education: University of St. Louis
Occupation: Microbiologist
Family: Single, born and raised in Washington D.C with large family

Goals/Interests

  • Get an award for microbiology research
  • Triathlons


Frustrations

  • Not knowing something or how something is done
  • People on social media that think they know everything

Sara Ellwood




Demographics
Age: 27
Location: Perth, WA
Education: University of Western Australia
Occupation: Student/Orchestra Flutist
Family: Only child lives with boyfriend and parent lives in the same city

Goals/Interests

  • Join the Australian Chamber Orchestra
  • Interest in all aspects of performing arts


Frustrations

  • People who analyse performances instead of appreciating them.

SURVEYS

Survey here

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