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Topic: Do Card Effects Make Bad Openers?
Message: Posted by: krist0pher (May 24, 2005 12:34PM)
Ie Ambitious Card, 2CM, Paperclipped, T&R, etc...

I've noticed I've gotten better reactions to "metal" openers,...Slam Coin Merge, String-through-ring, Spoon Bends, etc.

Your 2 cents?
Message: Posted by: Tabasco (May 24, 2005 12:39PM)
I couldn't tell, I only do cards, so I always open with cards and never had any problems with that ;-)
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (May 24, 2005 12:49PM)
There is nothing wrong with using cards as an opener. Many many top magicians do nothing but cards. If you like the reactions you are getting with the "metal" stuff then go with that. Card trick are not "bad openers" per se. They may not be working for you but that probably dosen't have to do with cards themselves.

It may be the card tricks you are doing, or the way you are doing them. Maybe the people you are working for have some aversion to cards for some reason. But I believe to say card tricks are bad openers would be incorrect.

Message: Posted by: EddyRay (May 24, 2005 12:49PM)
Whatever your opening effect is, make sure it is direct, to the point, visual, and not lenghty.

If you make an initial bad impression or bore them you lost the game. Think of attention getters, or grabbers to get them interested, then proceed and do a lead in for the cards.

Make the deck appear or something to that effect if you want to open with cards, don't just go into a routine.
Message: Posted by: Corey Harris (May 24, 2005 12:51PM)
I believe that you want something visually appealing to open with, Especially if you are comming from out of no where with it. I would probally start with either a mental effect or a rubberband or coin effect.
Message: Posted by: Jaxon (May 24, 2005 12:53PM)
In my opinion. Yes, card tricks make bad openers.

try to imagine that you are not a magician and you've never seen one live and up close before. You've seen them on TV and you've seen a friend or two do a card trick. You might even know one or two yourself but you're not a magician. You just learned these from Dad, uncle Lou or some guy you meet at a bar. :)

Anyway. You're out and some guy there is presented as a "professional magician." He approaches your group. Pulls out a deck of cards. Spreads it and says, "Pick a card.. Any card."

Now, as the nonmagician I described above you might be thinking that this is exactly how Uncle Lou's card trick starts. So you feel you've already seen this trick before so right away you've lost some interest in them. you'll be surprised at how many people will say, "Oh I know this trick" as soon as they see the deck of cards.

They also feel that all card tricks are the same and for the most part the "Pick a card" tricks are. They know you're gonna loose the card then find it. As a magician we know that there can be a lot more entertainment in a routine then that. But they don't know that and until you are established in there minds it'll be hard for them to give you the chance to show that.

I don't think that the material the props are made of (such as metal) has any effect. What matters more is that it's something that'll get and hold there attention. It could be words or it could be an object.

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (May 24, 2005 01:01PM)

You have only mentioned one type of card trick, "pick a card". I agree that is not the best opener. But to say card tricks are bad openers just dosen't seem right to me. Do we have to start a thread listing of all the great magicians that use cards as openers? I think eddiekap had a good idea about making the cards appear or something rather than just going into a routine. But I wouldn't just dismiss cards out of hand.


P.S. Sometimes a spectators bias can be used against them. If they have the feelings about cards that you described above, they may just be ripe for the picking with the right card effect.
Message: Posted by: Frank Tougas (May 24, 2005 01:27PM)
I tend to agree with Jaxon on this one.

Excluding those who only do cards (and are are really a whole different breed of magician than those of us who do cards in conjunction with other forms of magic), in general, it is a poor opener.

First most people immediately think "pick a Card" when they see a deck in a magician's hands. Even if you have a spectacular opener with flash and dazzle you still have to overcome that initial reaction. First impressions are important.

Secondly, most magicians who do cards as part of a broader spectrum of magic are not as devoted (some might say obsessed - just visit the card forum and see the post count!) with card magic and so tend to perform less strongly with cards.

Remember the fact that no one has said anything to a card worker or appeared less than interested does not mean you actually know what a spectator is thinking. Even mentalists can't do that! If a hammer is all you got then anything can be fixed with a hammer. Think about it.

Frank Tougas
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (May 24, 2005 01:39PM)
I'd agree with Ron too. The pick a card is not necessarily a good opener. You want something visual, entertaining, relatively short and easy to follow. Your opener is like the "character development" in a play. You have to introduce the character and establish who and what the character is rather quickly. That is what your opener is. I did do a card effect for years as an opener and it went well, but it was not "pick a card". It was cards up the sleeve. Visual, the audience could sit back and watch and not have to think too much, and the patter kept their attention. Mental effects often require a lot of patter, after all, you are not displaying a lot of visual anything in them. That patter is sort of an introduction to the audience and establishes who you are and what you are. Probably why it works for you.
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (May 24, 2005 01:44PM)
I won't argue with Frank or Ron. But I will never say that "card tricks are bad openers". I don't believe that and I never will. Frank, you can say that "most people" think "pick a card" when you show a deck. Of course you also stated that you really don't know what the spectator is thinking, even if your a mentalist.

If all you got is a hammer then anything can be fixed with a hammer. And if all you got is a Hot Rod and a Ring on a String, then Hot Rod and Ring on a String are great openers.

If you believe cards are bad openers, by all means DO NOT open with them. If you disagree and believe that cards can be used effectively as an opener go ahead and use them. I hope that Frank and Ron aren't saying that nobody can make cards as an opener work or that no spectator wants to see card tricks as an opener. Then I will argue, because that's not true. There are to many exceptions to that particular "rule"

Message: Posted by: spatrick (May 24, 2005 02:53PM)
Card effects can be used as an effective opener, just make the effect stand out.

Do something out of the ordinary with the deck. Don't do a pick a card type of effect. There are many other "off the wall" routines that don't start off with "pick a card".

I usually use a card effect as an opener, but then launch into two non card effects to complete the set.

S. Patrick
Message: Posted by: Frank Tougas (May 24, 2005 03:12PM)

Point well taken but remember I also stated that most magicians who don't specialize in cards are less likely to devote the time and energy to making some eye popping card effects to be used as openers. That is not the same as saying cards could never be a good opener - it was a general question so I answered in a general way.

In the times I have used cards I've done tricks were the cards are not necessarily the most important thing. Examples would be Card Warp, Changing a mini deck to full size, or Card on Ceiling (which is not a good idea for walk-around or restaurant work ;) )

Frank Tougas

I still stand behind my statement about not really knowing what is in the mind of a spectator - the implication was that sometimes we fool ourselves more than we care to admit.
Message: Posted by: Mustang (May 24, 2005 03:15PM)
Try to steer away from cards on your opener, people have seen cards and magicians as synonamous for ages, so they get into a mental frame that says "he's just like everyone else." Show em something different then by all means continue with cards.
Message: Posted by: DanielTyler (May 24, 2005 03:57PM)
I kind of like to open with a card trick but without the cards in my hands. So, for example, I might go up to someone and say, "Hey I'm Dan, I'm a magician, can I show you a quick trick? Do me a favor and think of a card." Then pull out a Breaktrhough Card System, Invisible Deck, or whatever and do a trick. So I think cards can make an excellent opener, but I'm not fond of going up to someone with a spread deck and saying, "Pick a card, any card."
Message: Posted by: Jeremy L. (May 24, 2005 04:31PM)
On 2005-05-24 13:34, krist0pher wrote:

2 Card Monte? The one Blaine calls 2 card monte is actually "Be Honest, What Is It?"
Message: Posted by: Jaxon (May 24, 2005 04:40PM)
Oh, we all know that not all card tricks are "pick a card" tricks and we also know that there are some amazing things that can be done with a deck of cards. The point is that most non-magicians only know of pick a card tricks so they might not give you the chance to show them otherwise.

It kind of reminds me of something that happened to me not long ago. This isn't magic related but I think it's a similar situation. I was at a bar and they had advertisement flyers on the table for some entertainer they'll have there on week ends called, "The magic accordion." Of course the word magic caught my eye but an accordion isn't a very popular piece of a bar band. I've been deaf for some years now so it caught my attention. I asked about it because it seemed so odd for this kind of place to have an accordion player. The people said he was very good and that he's basically a one man band with synthesizers and a drum machine.

I went back there to see what it was all about and the place was packed and people where dancing. The guy was playing modern music and they say it didn't sound like he was playing an accordion. He played fast and slow music and the people where responding as if it where an entire band.

My point is. If you read that a place was going to have live music of an accordion player. Would you be interested in going to the show? Most people wouldn't be interested in that. In this case they might have miss out on something good but the prior assumption of it will be hard to overlook. Accordion makes me think Polka (Polka) (Pick-a)card. Hey, they're similar.. :).

I know that seems like a kind of silly comparison but I hope you see my point. I agree that there are some great card magicians out there and some great card tricks. But many of our spectators won't know that. When they see cards they might only think of the "pick a card" or "three rows of 7" or "Hold your fist out. Put the cards between your fingers and slap them away leaving your card behind."

Not everyone will feel this way. But not knowing who you are performing for presents a risk that you might be in front of someone who thinks this way. So I feel it's best to do something you know they've never seen before first. To establish yourself as a magician. Not just one of the many people who know a card trick or two. Once you've established to them that you do things they've never seen before then they're more likely to keep an interest in what you can do with that deck of cards and not think they know what you're going to do with them before you do it. I don't think anyone is saying it's not possible to open with a card trick. I know I'm certainly not saying that. I am saying that some people out there will think this way and you [b]will[/b] run into them.

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (May 25, 2005 02:39PM)

I hear ya' your input and advice is appreciated as always. I'm not completely sold, but I understand what your saying. I think the venue has to be considered as well. What might be right for strolling may not be right for tablehopping and what might be right for table hopping certainly would'nt be proper for a parlor show etc.

Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (May 25, 2005 05:13PM)
Plenty of other quick tricks around before you hit them with cards!!

Give this a go!!
Message: Posted by: sjdavison (May 31, 2005 04:15AM)
I agree with not using 'pick a card' tricks to open - if we think they are interested in the cards straight away, I think we are deluding ourselves.

That said, cards can be used as an opener - in my close up mental set, I open with a strong presentation of the Invisible Deck, then a PK effect - quick, strong, and gets some good rapport.

Message: Posted by: ALEXANDRE (May 31, 2005 08:02AM)
Even as a mentalist I don't have a problem opening with cards. I think it depends entirely on the choice you make, your presentation, and what follows it.

If you're concerned about opening with a "card trick" then perhaps you should be more concerned with how your performance is currently put together.
Message: Posted by: Paul (Jun 3, 2005 08:39AM)
ANY effect can be a bad opener depending on how it is being performed!

I've opened my close up with coin tricks and I've opened with card tricks. I've opened with a paddle trick and I've even done close up mentalism. Currently, I often open with a pick card trick, which I think takes their preconceived ideas and blows them out of the water. However, the effect I use incorporates skill, humour, lets them know I don't take myself too seriously, seems amazinly fair and above board and convinces them I am well worth watching. As soon as people realize you are a magician they have their preconceived ideas anyway.

John Cornelius's version of The Shrinking Card Case (or several other versions of Peter Kane's original effect)is a brilliant card opener, something totally unexpected and visual happens within seconds! I have used a few versions of this over the years.

However, I would suggest not opening a close up set with any popular gaffed deck effect. The last thing you want is to conclude your opening effect and have someone say, "Can I look at those cards?" or "My son/brother has one of those trick decks".

Message: Posted by: James Watkins (Jun 3, 2005 03:52PM)
On 2005-06-03 09:39, Paul wrote:
ANY effect can be a bad opener depending on how it is being performed!


I don't think anyone could have said it better. I totally agree with Paul on this one. I, too, have opened with different things.. Ropes, coins, cards, mentalism. It isn't about what it is you are performing, it is about HOW you present it. Something else as well, if you do plan to open with a card trick, be careful with what you choose. You want an ice breaker, not something one would usually close with.. for example, do not open with an Out of this World plot. Open with something simple and to the point.