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Topic: Critique my Elmsley Count? -- and filming advice?
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 16, 2019 02:42PM)
Hi folks,


I welcome comments about the video I made of my EC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yji-z8KtQM8&feature=youtu.be. It's under 20 seconds.



I thought I'd make this video before my habits become too ingrained. Although I was able to hide the card, my performance looks pretty rough to me. I swing my left hand pretty far to the left and tilt my wrist so that spectators can see the cards I'm displaying; not sure I like the way it looks. I'm sure I'll benefit from people's suggestions about that and other things.



I'm still having trouble figuring out how to record videos so that the viewer would see what a spectator would. I tried building up my chair with pillows, and putting my ipad on a box that was maybe a foot high, positioned opposite me at the table -- trying to simulate a real situation in which I'd be seated and a spectator would be sitting opposite me. That didn't work at all -- I couldn't easily get the cards to show up on the screen, and even when I did, the camera seemed to be looking at the cards edge-on. (*Maybe* this would have worked if I'd been able to tilt the ipad downward enough, like a spectator looking down at my hands.) Eventually I had to stand and leave the ipad on the table, without the box.


That worked in the sense that you can see what I'm doing, but it does make me wonder whether a spectator would be able to see the cards if s/he were seated across me at a table. My wife tells me this has been a problem for her. Many professional videos are filmed from an unrealistically high angle; this makes it easy for magicians to learn from them, but doesn't indicate how the performance would look to spectators.



Thanks for whatever help you can offer, on either the count or on how to make the tops of the cards easily viewable to live spectators.



Regards,


Bob
Message: Posted by: AsL (May 16, 2019 05:12PM)
I get a "This video is unavailable" error message.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 16, 2019 07:11PM)
Thanks, AsL. I'm new to uploading videos. I uploaded again, this time under that category "unlisted" rather than "private." Let's see if the video is now accessible:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlslzZOQag8
Message: Posted by: kShepher (May 16, 2019 08:15PM)
It looks a bit "studied", Bob. Maybe a bit stiff. I strive to make mine non-chalant. Kind of like to a drum beat, sort of a rhythm. It's hard to explain.
Message: Posted by: magicfish (May 16, 2019 08:33PM)
Where did you learn it Bob?
Message: Posted by: magicfish (May 16, 2019 09:02PM)
There are a zillion exposures of this count on youtoob. I just looked and the ones I saw were poor.
I shot a clip for you just now to give you a look at a few different cadences and speeds.
I hope it helps you.
I certainly don't ckaim to be a master of this count. I recommend reading as many different written descriptions as you can.
Cheers Bob.

https://youtu.be/3-KMkrL9JHk
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 16, 2019 09:03PM)
Thanks Kevin and Magicfish,


I learned it from Ian Kendall's ebook, Basic Training, from lybrary.com. Curious why you ask. It looks studied to me, too. Is it possible to teach a person to be nonchalant??
Message: Posted by: kShepher (May 16, 2019 09:11PM)
Bob...I learned mine from Card College Vol 2.

I am biased, but I think Vol 1 and 2 are mandatory reading. His insights are worth their weight in gold.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 16, 2019 09:14PM)
I think our messages crossed, magicfish. Thanks for taking the time to look at youtube videos and to shoot a video for me. After watching your video my conjecture is that the count looks much more casual if it's done quickly (though of course not so quickly that the spectators can't see the cards). Your speed struck the sweet spot. I need to keep practicing to increase my pace. I'm sure there's more to being nonchalant than just speed, but that's a good course correction.



I've also been working on a couple of other handlings also, but it seemed worthwhile to get feedback on the one I've practiced the most.


See you,


Bob
Message: Posted by: jaschris (May 16, 2019 09:21PM)
There are cheaper options. But for a fundamental move in card magic, such as the Elmsley Count, Aaron Fisher's teaching leaves no stone unturned.
http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/3641
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 16, 2019 09:22PM)
Thanks, Kevin. I've read Giobbi's description of the EC in Card College. I share your love of his work. I'll look again -- but I'm wondering whether the kind of casualness you're speaking of can be learned from a book. I don't mean that in a negative way: I'll bet there are people who can articulate what I'm doing that makes my count stiff.



If I remember correctly, the main difference between Kendall's and Giobbi's handling is that Giobbi has you "pinch" the cards in the right hand with at the middle of the right side, rather than at the lower right corner.



Bob
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 16, 2019 09:29PM)
Thanks, jachris. I've watched many of Fisher's videos on youtube, and he's great. Have you watched the particular download that you mentioned? I ask because $35 is, as you suggest, pretty pricey. If you think Fisher gives advice that would improve my EC it might be worth it , though.
Message: Posted by: kShepher (May 16, 2019 09:29PM)
Giobbi teaches the "classic". I like classics, to be honest.

Watch Magicfish...do you see the one, two, three, four?

I used to be a drummer, and I could write music to his beat.

Nowadays...I purposely mess up the beat. But you have to GET the beat before you improvise.

You're a math guy Bob...-))
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 16, 2019 09:38PM)
Ah, I always had trouble with numbers... I do my math with letters.


Cool that you were a drummer.


Okay, I'll start practicing with a metronome.
Message: Posted by: kShepher (May 16, 2019 09:49PM)
No metronome! That becomes robotic.

Loose is the word. NATURAL.

Get the fundamentals down. Really down. Then play around.

You DO seem to have the fundamentals down. There was no flashing of other mistakes. Just keep doing it.

I learned it because I wanted to do Dai Vernon's Twisting the Aces. I did it every morning with coffee for a year.

Viola...now I can do it.

Just stick with it, Bob.
Message: Posted by: kShepher (May 16, 2019 09:51PM)
Harry says some speights are not worth it and others are. Actually he says to learn them when a trick requires it.

I would think even Harry would consider the Elmsley Count mandatory.

You'll get it.

K
Message: Posted by: Rupert Pupkin (May 16, 2019 10:00PM)
[quote]On May 16, 2019, kShepher wrote:
Viola...[/quote]

Spoken like a true musician!
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 16, 2019 10:01PM)
Thanks, K! I appreciate the encouragement. I like your idea of practicing the same trick every day for a year. By the end of that time I'll bet you were pretty d**ned good at both the trick and the sleight.



I know I'll probably get kicked off the Café for saying this, but I'm not a fan of Twisting the Aces. Can you (or anyone else) recommend another shortish trick that uses the EC multiple times?
Message: Posted by: kShepher (May 16, 2019 10:02PM)
I am in on a Galaxy S5...thus my awful spelling gaffs...

This website is not conducive to mobile phones.

I have to go to work tomorrow...good night.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 16, 2019 10:05PM)
Good night... It's pretty late, now that I look. I don't have to *go* to work, but I have to work -- my endless textbook project. (I love it, I hate it...)



Thanks for all the advice so far, everybody -- very helpful indeed.



Bob


P. S. I actually do have a trick in mind -- Faulty Followers, with my own take on the story. But I'm still interested in people's ideas.
Message: Posted by: magicfish (May 16, 2019 10:32PM)
[quote]On May 16, 2019, Rupert Pupkin wrote:
[quote]On May 16, 2019, kShepher wrote:
Viola...[/quote]

Spoken like a true musician! [/quote]
...really?
Message: Posted by: Tortuga (May 17, 2019 08:15AM)
[quote]On May 16, 2019, kShepher wrote:
No metronome! That becomes robotic.

Loose is the word. NATURAL.

Get the fundamentals down. Really down. Then play around.

You DO seem to have the fundamentals down. There was no flashing of other mistakes. Just keep doing it.

I learned it because I wanted to do Dai Vernon's Twisting the Aces. I did it every morning with coffee for a year.

Viola...now I can do it.

Just stick with it, Bob. [/quote]

The metronome is suggested so that the 4 cards are counted in steady rhythm. Once you learn the count and it becomes natural then you can speed up or slow down as you feel comfortable. I personally never used one but I don't think it is a bad thing to recommend to those who struggle with the count. Too many who learn the sleight count 1....2..3..4 and it draws attention at the worst moment. Rhythm helps deceive by making the count look regular and unstudied.
Message: Posted by: AsL (May 17, 2019 08:31AM)
[quote]On May 16, 2019, Bob G wrote:
After watching your video my conjecture is that the count looks much more casual if it's done quickly (though of course not so quickly that the spectators can't see the cards). Your speed struck the sweet spot. I need to keep practicing to increase my pace.[/quote]

As you can see in magicfish's video, the ideal casual speed is slow enough to clearly display the conditions but fast enough to show your excitement about the magic you're about to share. Btw - Kudos to magicfish! I'm always highly impressed when a fellow member takes the time to respond with a helpful video. Keeping the Café's motto alive!
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 17, 2019 08:55AM)
AsL, Magicfish has been very generous to me -- and I'm sure to many others on the Café. Kudos indeed!


By the way, I like your "fast enough to show your excitement..." By temperament I run at a rather slow speed. But I have no doubt I'll be able to get my EC faster -- and that I'll be able to show my excitement in a multitude of other ways, once more sleights and tricks become second nature so that I can relax more as I perform.


Bob
Message: Posted by: Tortuga (May 17, 2019 09:38AM)
Magicfish's video is very well done. I would also recommend that after you get comfortable with the EC that you practice by doing the EC and then immediately go into a Jordan Count. The cards are set in the exact position for a JC when you are done with the EC. When you can do an EC, then a JC, and repeat, repeat, repeat, you will gain the smooth naturalness needed to make the move deceptive.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 17, 2019 12:24PM)
Interesting, Tortuga. I knew about the way the two counts interlocked, but it hadn't occurred to me to practice them alternately would increase the smoothness, and thus deceptiveness.
Message: Posted by: Mr Salk (May 17, 2019 04:11PM)
[quote]On May 16, 2019, Bob G wrote:
I think our messages crossed, magicfish. Thanks for taking the time to look at youtube videos and to shoot a video for me. After watching your video my conjecture is that the count looks much more casual if it's done quickly (though of course not so quickly that the spectators can't see the cards). Your speed struck the sweet spot. I need to keep practicing to increase my pace. I'm sure there's more to being nonchalant than just speed, but that's a good course correction.



I've also been working on a couple of other handlings also, but it seemed worthwhile to get feedback on the one I've practiced the most.


See you,


Bob [/quote]

Essentially the speed should appear to just be counting four regular cards, not proving they are all face down.
Practice counting four cards; That's YOUR target tempo.
You can play around with getting sloppy on 3 and 4 later.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 17, 2019 04:26PM)
Thanks, Mr Salk. That makes sense -- a given person's natural tempo will dictate the speed at which they count, whether they're performing the sleight or not. I'll give that a try.
Message: Posted by: Ado (May 19, 2019 05:04PM)
The whole thing should take two seconds.

Also, you should be able to do it without looking at your hands (while I can't see your face in the video, if you're doing something at that speed, then definitely you're looking at the cards, thus calling attention to them, which increases the odds of it looking like a move to your audience).

P!
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 19, 2019 09:57PM)
I'm working on setting up my camera on a tripod so that, with luck, I'll be able to make demos like this as they'd look from a spectator's point of view, and will show my hands and face. But, My Dear Holmes, you're absolutely right that I was looking at the cards. As I've continued to practice over the last couple of days I've been working on making the count faster, and not looking at my hands. So we're on the same wavelength! When I've made a substantial improvement I'll put up a new video for those who are interested. But I'm glad I put up the current one, because people's comments suggested to me that I'm on the right track even if I still have work to do. I wanted to make sure I wasn't doing anything beyond the pale before I continued practicing.


Thanks for your interest!

Bob
Message: Posted by: TeddyBoy (May 20, 2019 08:57AM)
[quote]On May 16, 2019, Bob G wrote:
Thanks Kevin and Magicfish,


I learned it from Ian Kendall's ebook, Basic Training, from lybrary.com. Curious why you ask. It looks studied to me, too. Is it possible to teach a person to be nonchalant?? [/quote]


I was just thinking that you did exactly what Kendall taught. Nice job!
Message: Posted by: Mr Salk (May 20, 2019 11:13AM)
It's very weird for a human to count something without looking at it..
Message: Posted by: Tortuga (May 20, 2019 11:23AM)
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Mr Salk wrote:
It's very weird for a human to count something without looking at it.. [/quote]


I agree, but I wonder if what was meant is to not stare at the cards. To me it is not just the eyes but the overall attitude. Just act casual, don't make it into a move.
Message: Posted by: Mr Salk (May 20, 2019 12:03PM)
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Tortuga wrote:
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Mr Salk wrote:
It's very weird for a human to count something without looking at it.. [/quote]


I agree, but I wonder if what was meant is to not stare at the cards. To me it is not just the eyes but the overall attitude. Just act casual, don't make it into a move. [/quote]

Such a great little casual move. But if the spec isn't looking at your hands there is really no point in doing it.
Message: Posted by: Rupert Pupkin (May 20, 2019 12:11PM)
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Mr Salk wrote:
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Tortuga wrote:
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Mr Salk wrote:
It's very weird for a human to count something without looking at it.. [/quote]


I agree, but I wonder if what was meant is to not stare at the cards. To me it is not just the eyes but the overall attitude. Just act casual, don't make it into a move. [/quote]

Such a great little casual move. But if the spec isn't looking at your hands there is really no point in doing it. [/quote]

I wouldn't go that far. In fact, I'd say the ideal scenario is that the spectator peripherally registers an Elmsley count without looking directly at it. You know, like the sun.
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (May 20, 2019 12:13PM)
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Rupert Pupkin wrote:
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Mr Salk wrote:
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Tortuga wrote:
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Mr Salk wrote:
It's very weird for a human to count something without looking at it.. [/quote]


I agree, but I wonder if what was meant is to not stare at the cards. To me it is not just the eyes but the overall attitude. Just act casual, don't make it into a move. [/quote]

Such a great little casual move. But if the spec isn't looking at your hands there is really no point in doing it. [/quote]

I wouldn't go that far. In fact, I'd say the ideal scenario is that the spectator peripherally registers an Elmsley count without looking directly at it. You know, like the sun. [/quote]

Or Rupert's FACE.

[high fives all around]
Message: Posted by: Rupert Pupkin (May 20, 2019 12:22PM)
REPORTED.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 20, 2019 12:40PM)
Rupert: Duly Noted.


Teddy: Thanks! I think I was able to pick up the basics of the Elmsley Count fairly quickly (though obviously I have a lot still to work on) because Kendall is so detailed, and gives practice exercises along the way that help you build up to the full count. But you already know I'm a big fan of this book.


As for whether to look at the cards: Giobbi's advice is to look at the cards on beat 1, look at your audience on beat 2, thus splitting their attention between the count and your (dare I say it) FACE, then return your attention to the cards for the rest of the count, and finally look back at your audience. That strikes me as a good compromise between the two viewpoints people have expressed. It's one way to carry out Rupert's thought that the count should be registered peripherally.
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (May 20, 2019 01:15PM)
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Rupert Pupkin wrote:
REPORTED. [/quote]

Better than being RUPERTED, amiright?

[high fives all around]
Message: Posted by: warren (May 20, 2019 01:39PM)
One tip I was given years ago which makes the count look better is to count the cards in a downwards fashion if that makes sense.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 20, 2019 01:41PM)
Hi Warren,


I'm interested, but I don't follow. Would be happy to hear you elaborate -- in a PM if you feel that your elaboration would be exposure.


Thanks,


Bob
Message: Posted by: Tortuga (May 20, 2019 01:52PM)
I think he means when the LH peels the cards off, it drops down, sometimes even giving the cards a snap.

BTW, as far as exposure, that horse has left the barn. Youtube probably has a thousand videos where you can learn the EC, so anyone that desperate to learn it has little obstacles. Oh, you can also learn the turnover pass, the riffle pass, and on and on and on......

This site is subtitled Magicians Helping Magicians. Personally, I assume anyone on here is a magician and not just rooting around for secrets. Who does that anyway?
Message: Posted by: Mr Salk (May 20, 2019 02:08PM)
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Tortuga wrote:
This site is subtitled Magicians Helping Magicians. Personally, I assume anyone on here is a magician and not just rooting around for secrets. Who does that anyway? [/quote]

Everyone! The quickest way to go from clueless-spec to hammy-magician is to be a snouty truffle pig.
Message: Posted by: mattH (May 20, 2019 03:07PM)
I think a good way to practice is count 4 cards from hand to hand ie count 4 face down cards as 4. Your elmsley should look identical and should have the same rythmn.
Message: Posted by: magicfish (May 20, 2019 03:42PM)
[quote]On May 16, 2019, Rupert Pupkin wrote:
[quote]On May 16, 2019, kShepher wrote:
Viola...[/quote]

Spoken like a true musician! [/quote]
Wow great catch! Nothing gets past you. That's some top notch stuff right there clever clogs.
Message: Posted by: Rupert Pupkin (May 20, 2019 03:47PM)
Clogs indeed! All in good fun. At least it wasn't [i]"wallah."[/i] Can't count how many times I've read THAT in a magic book.
Message: Posted by: Rupert Pupkin (May 20, 2019 03:53PM)
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Tortuga wrote:
This site is subtitled Magicians Helping Magicians. Personally, I assume anyone on here is a magician and not just rooting around for secrets. Who does that anyway? [/quote]

Agreed! God forbid anyone actually be interested in learning magic :)
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 20, 2019 04:16PM)
I'm inclined to agree with you, Tortuga and Rupert. I think most people would find this site Dull and Technical -- and, as you said, Tortuga, many, many secrets are already available on youtube videos -- which, as *you* said, Rupert, might get some people interested in magic. I imagine that there *are* some people who see a trick and are consumed with curiosity and manage to type in the right key-words to find the secret, but my guess is that there aren't that many such people. They either aren't especially interested in what happens behind the scenes, and discover that knowing the secret just ruins the trick for them, or they get caught up in what happens backstage and perhaps go on to learn some magic themselves. Neither outcome troubles me.



But there's room for disagreement on this, and I know that Warren is concerned about exposure; that's why I offered the option of a PM.


P. S. to Tortuga. You said: "I think he means when the LH peels the cards off, it drops down, sometimes even giving the cards a snap." That makes sense, and I have seen people do that. Personally, I don't like it; it looks unnatural. But each to her/his own!
Message: Posted by: Rupert Pupkin (May 20, 2019 04:19PM)
Yes, well put, Bob.
Message: Posted by: magicfish (May 20, 2019 04:29PM)
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Rupert Pupkin wrote:
Clogs indeed! All in good fun. At least it wasn't [i]"wallah."[/i] Can't count how many times I've read THAT in a magic book. [/quote]
References?
Message: Posted by: Ado (May 20, 2019 05:58PM)
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Tortuga wrote:
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Mr Salk wrote:
It's very weird for a human to count something without looking at it.. [/quote]


I agree, but I wonder if what was meant is to not stare at the cards. To me it is not just the eyes but the overall attitude. Just act casual, don't make it into a move. [/quote]

Yes, that's what I meant.

I believe there are *bad* times to use an Elmsley. If the first time I show you the cards, I do the count, it's bad. Let me show you the cards openly. You see 4 cards, you touch 4 cards, you know there are 4 cards and no more, and that they are regular, facing the same direction. If, later, having done a reversal or what not, I do an Elmsley, everything will look as it should. Therefore, it's ok to do it openly, without caring about it. As long as my script explains why all is normal, then all is normal, and everyone is happy.

P!
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 20, 2019 07:47PM)
Ado, aren't there times when magicians do an innocent version of a sleight early in a trick, so that spectators will get used to the unfamiliar moves, and then do the "sleight" version later? I'm thinking of a trick I'm especially interested in learning, Vernon's Variant (which is itself a variant, etc...), in which the magician goes through a series of moves. after which the cards end up face down, whereas the spectator goes through the "same "moves and one card is always face up. When Johnny Thompson performs this, he spreads his four cards, and so does the spectator. Then, in the second phase Thompson does an Elmsley count while the spectator deals the cards from hand to hand -- seemingly the same action. So Thompson is doing what you suggest -- openly showing all four cards first.


But isn't there an argument to be made for the magician doing an honest hand-to-hand display in the first phase, and then an Elmsley in the second? I'm not sure about this, but I could imagine that a spectator who saw Thompson openly spread the cards the first time might wonder why he didn't do the same thing the second time. "Hmmm.... he must have had something to hide the second time," the spectator might think.


Or maybe not. Maybe it all goes by so quickly that the spectator won't have thoughts like that. I dunno...
Message: Posted by: Ado (May 20, 2019 08:52PM)
This is becoming off-topic (and my fault as well), and others may have their own opinion.
There is definitely value in having your move look like the real thing. I agree with this. What I'm saying, is that the real thing may not be as convincing as *another* real thing. So, if I can, I'll do
1) the real thing that leaves no doubt about my honesty. That is, spread the cards, give them to examine, etc.
2) Once authenticity has been accepted, I can use the less-convincing real thing that will allow me to do the move later. Because I built trust, even though it's less convincing by itself, I build on the trust I acquired before
3) When I do the move, I can do it casually, because it's been accepted that I'm doing something fair, and really, it it shouldn't take any attention nor brain power from me to show 4 cards. So, my Elmsley happens as I look at people in the eyes, saying the cards are all face up (or whatever the effect dictates). People see the cards being counted/dealt/shown, but they care about me, not my hands.
4) if I can, I'll actually slow down, look at my hands, slow down, and do another real thing, and emphasize that really, it's magic. Now I can go back to 2) or 3).

Now, not all trick will allow you to do this. It's then your choice to decide whether you'll settle for what you have, or whether you'll keep looking.

P!
Message: Posted by: Tortuga (May 21, 2019 07:36AM)
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Bob G wrote:
Ado, aren't there times when magicians do an innocent version of a sleight early in a trick, so that spectators will get used to the unfamiliar moves, and then do the "sleight" version later? I'm thinking of a trick I'm especially interested in learning, Vernon's Variant (which is itself a variant, etc...), in which the magician goes through a series of moves. after which the cards end up face down, whereas the spectator goes through the "same "moves and one card is always face up. When Johnny Thompson performs this, he spreads his four cards, and so does the spectator. Then, in the second phase Thompson does an Elmsley count while the spectator deals the cards from hand to hand -- seemingly the same action. So Thompson is doing what you suggest -- openly showing all four cards first.


But isn't there an argument to be made for the magician doing an honest hand-to-hand display in the first phase, and then an Elmsley in the second? I'm not sure about this, but I could imagine that a spectator who saw Thompson openly spread the cards the first time might wonder why he didn't do the same thing the second time. "Hmmm.... he must have had something to hide the second time," the spectator might think.


Or maybe not. Maybe it all goes by so quickly that the spectator won't have thoughts like that. I dunno... [/quote]


Bob, what you are referencing is called conditioning. You have conditioned the spectators to expect something. This is a psychological technique. The limitation is that in some instances there is no opportunity to "condition" the audience before the move you are trying to camouflage. For that reason, your EC must pass muster. It must be practiced until it looks good. In my opinion if they are burning your hands too much then you have created suspicion or are showing tension, signaling that a move is coming. That's why I say relax and be nonchalant.
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (May 21, 2019 08:01AM)
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Ado wrote:
I believe there are *bad* times to use an Elmsley. If the first time I show you the cards, I do the count, it's bad.[/quote]

It's not quite this cut and dry.

Really, what we're talking about is managing suspicions. It's possible to open with a fair version of a move, show that it's fair, and use that as conditioning for getting away with the unfair version of the move later.

It's ALSO possible to open with the unfair version of the move, then in a repeat, raise the suspicion that this one was also unfair, only to show that it actually WAS fair. Now we're dealing with feints and retroactive conditioning and whatnot.

You can even elevate the latter into an effect. Do a couple of standard ACR phases. At one point, do a move that looks a bit sneaky, like a switch happened, then lift a double and casually flash it outwards before inserting it into the center. Attentive people might say that something happened at that moment, but you've already gotten your push-in change done, and can cleanly show everything is fair. This can be a very strong moment for the right audience, even though ostensibly nothing happened.

For something a bit less in-your-face, compare to the standard opening vanish sequence in the cups and balls. Get them to believe that the ball never goes into the other hand, and then, on the third ball, show that it really HAS gone into the other hand, before doing a wand-spin vanish or whatnot.

But all this stuff isn't automatic. Things like conditioning, feints, misdirection, motivation, etc. are like spices in a recipe. If you don't get the balance right, then one of these can overpower the flavour, ruining the dish and leaving you with an unhappy diner. The problem is, though, that even if you DO get the balance right, you might still have an unhappy diner because not everybody likes beef stroganoff.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 21, 2019 08:20AM)
Thanks for this compact summary of what strike me as advanced techniques, Burnaby Kid. It's clear from what you wrote that I have to get my EC looking casual before I can play with any of these techniques -- I tend to get ahead of myself!
Message: Posted by: warren (May 21, 2019 04:20PM)
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Tortuga wrote:
I think he means when the LH peels the cards off, it drops down, sometimes even giving the cards a snap. [/quote]

Tortuga has explained what I meant perfectly, it was a tip I picked up off Jay Sankey.
Message: Posted by: magicfish (May 21, 2019 08:23PM)
[quote]On May 21, 2019, warren wrote:
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Tortuga wrote:
I think he means when the LH peels the cards off, it drops down, sometimes even giving the cards a snap. [/quote]

Tortuga has explained what I meant perfectly, it was a tip I picked up off Jay Sankey. [/quote]
As shown in the clip provided. I think it was the third count?
Message: Posted by: Tortuga (May 21, 2019 09:11PM)
[quote]On May 21, 2019, magicfish wrote:
[quote]On May 21, 2019, warren wrote:
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Tortuga wrote:
I think he means when the LH peels the cards off, it drops down, sometimes even giving the cards a snap. [/quote]

Tortuga has explained what I meant perfectly, it was a tip I picked up off Jay Sankey. [/quote]
As shown in the clip provided. I think it was the third count? [/quote]

Yes, it was the third count, looked great.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 21, 2019 10:05PM)
I'm a bit confused -- which clip are we talking about?


Edit: I * think* you're talking about *my* clip, so, like Pooh, I'm looking proud to be called a Stout [Astute] and Helpful Bear.


Seriously, though, I thought I saw a bit of what Warren and others described in my third count. Didn't do it on purpose, but actually I rather like it (despite what I said earlier) because it was subtle and delicate. Another thing to strive to do consistently.


While I'm here, I can report that my count is getting faster and (I think) more casual. Part of it is simply taking the time to keep repeating it, but people's remarks have been really helpful, too. I'll put up another video when I feel that I've made significant progress.


More and more I'm realizing that I love packet tricks (and of course there are lovely tricks that are hybrid packet and full deck), and I feel that the EC is my opening. I figure (hope I'm right) that once I can do a really good EC I'll have developed the skills to learn some of the other counts more quickly.


So, many thanks!


Bob
Message: Posted by: Tortuga (May 21, 2019 10:21PM)
[quote]On May 21, 2019, Bob G wrote:
I'm a bit confused -- which clip are we talking about?


Edit: I * think* you're talking about *my* clip, so, like Pooh, I'm looking proud to be called a Stout [Astute] and Helpful Bear.


Seriously, though, I thought I saw a bit of what Warren and others described in my third count. Didn't do it on purpose, but actually I rather like it (despite what I said earlier) because it was subtle and delicate. Another thing to strive to do consistently.

The clip Magicfish posted


While I'm here, I can report that my count is getting faster and (I think) more casual. Part of it is simply taking the time to keep repeating it, but people's remarks have been really helpful, too. I'll put up another video when I feel that I've made significant progress.


More and more I'm realizing that I love packet tricks (and of course there are lovely tricks that are hybrid packet and full deck), and I feel that the EC is my opening. I figure (hope I'm right) that once I can do a really good EC I'll have developed the skills to learn some of the other counts more quickly.


So, many thanks!


Bob [/quote]
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 21, 2019 10:27PM)
Ha ha! Never mind! Forgot about magicfish's video, even though it was very helpful and I plan to watch it again every now and then as my sophistication with the count grows. Ah, too many things going on in my head... :) :)
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 22, 2019 02:00PM)
Where do you expect your audience will be when you are counting the cards? I.E. What's their line of sight?

Is this supposed to be your baseline approach to counting a small packet of cards?

How do you expect to acquire the packet before you start the count? [i]Not Sarcasm[/i]": And then when I looked down I found some cards".
Message: Posted by: Mr Salk (May 22, 2019 02:21PM)
[quote]On May 22, 2019, Jonathan Townsend wrote:

How do you expect to acquire the packet before you start the count? [i]Not Sarcasm[/i]": And then when I looked down I found some cards". [/quote]

This is a great question. Getting a packet into the starting EL order is often more complicated than the sleight.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 22, 2019 03:53PM)
Filming: Mirrors and cameras on tripods are wonderful [i]after[/i] you've got the blocking. <-- that's film director talk for specifying your position (where your hands, arms, which way to turn your body...) to start, what actions to perform and where to end the action.

If you or a friend have a smartphone - let someone video the action for you. After you figure out a useful line of sight for your particular practice run ...there are small light tripods for smartphones.

These days you can set up a baseball cap with a go-pro camera. Then ask a friend to put on the hat and watch your count or routine and let the camera record. There's much to learn from how they move their heads so remember to view the video as audience perspective.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 22, 2019 04:03PM)
[quote]On May 20, 2019, Rupert Pupkin wrote:
All in good fun. At least it wasn't [i]"wallah."[/i] [/quote] An ancient version of "whoomp, there it is"? :)
Message: Posted by: IanKendall (May 22, 2019 04:13PM)
Hello all.

I've just seen this thread (or parts of it).

If anyone is interested, here is thirty seconds of the count (with some very old cards...). Hopefully it will give an idea of the rhythm, and that you don't have to move your hands _too_ much once you have the mechanics down.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqyLaDwVBeE
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 23, 2019 04:10PM)
Thanks, Ian. Your count looks much better than mine, even though I learned mine from your Basic Training. No surprise there. I'm a relative beginner. Perhaps you noticed other differences, besides the distance through which my left hand moves, that I could work on? One of the differences between your count and mine counts relates to Jon's questions about blocking, so now we gracefully segue into blocking:


So, Jon, blocking. I'm not a theater person, and I wouldn't even be able to begin to answer the questions you and Mr Salk asked. Here's the extent of my thinking: I've performed a couple of tricks for my wife, with her sitting across our dining room table from me (the *short* dimension -- we're not reenacting Citizen Kane, thanks goodness), and she said she couldn't see the backs or faces or the cards very well -- mostly the front edge of the deck. That's why I've been practicing the EC with a little hook at the end, that is, twisting my wrist so that my palm faces the person in front of me. I'd be glad to hear more elegant solutions to that problem. I'd rather not stand; I'd rather sit at the table. More convivial, less stage-frightening.


As for cameras: I *think* I have a solution that won't cost me anything: Put a box at my wife's place at the table, and my camera mounted on a little tripod, with a broad enough angle so that the camera can record both my face and my hands, roughly from the place where my wife's eyes would be. I'll have to experiment, but does that sound reasonable?


And about getting into the count in the first place: I'm obviously missing something; I don't understand why that would be a problem. I suppose it depends on the trick. Please educate me!


Bob
Message: Posted by: Tortuga (May 23, 2019 06:14PM)
A lot of magic suffers when you are seated at a table, especially a high one. If you must, put a cushion on the chair to raise yourself up. Try to tilt the cards down so that your spectator can see them. Doesn't impress the audience if you change a king to an ace if they couldn't see the king to begin with.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 23, 2019 06:42PM)
An issue that I didn't mention, Tortuga: I have back problems that are exacerbated if I have to lean over. That's another reason I'm reluctant to perform close up while standing, though I haven't actually tried it to find out what it feels like. I've thought about performing seated at a card table, which is several inches than our dining room table.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 23, 2019 09:13PM)
Theres's some discussion elsewhere on the Café about handling the Elmsley Count without wrist bends and where the audience can clearly see the faces (or backs) of the cards. Here's one -> https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=248293&forum=133

Language from the theater is useful for matters of base practical performing. From sets and costume to how to address your audience, there are centuries of wisdom and practical advice already there for you and mostly free for the asking. Film language is useful for discussing attention and "effect".

From over five hundred years ago: [quote]... let your own discretion
be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the
word to the action; with this special o'erstep not
the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone ...
or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful
laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the
censure of the which one must in your allowance
o'erweigh a whole theatre of others.[/quote]
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 23, 2019 09:45PM)
Basic practice might be to say "They're all face down" timing your actions to your words. Maybe these will be easier - as you perform your counting action say "just a few cards". Now if you want something a little more nuanced - "watch these five cards" - then act as if you're wondering where that fifth card went.

Just a few suggestions for practice/rehearsal. You can carry four cards in your shirt pocket. Or in a small wallet - but remember to include opening the wallet, extracting the cards, and setting the wallet aside in your practice.

:)
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 23, 2019 11:08PM)
Thanks, John, for all the ideas.



Although everything you said was useful, there's one thing you mentioned that I'm particularly concerned with at the moment. I looked at the other thread that you linked us to, which is exactly what I'm asking about here. To paraphrase, accurately, I hope, you're wondering how to do an EC so that your spectators can see the cards -- but you're also asking about the general issue of how to do close-up card magic so that spectators can see the cards. Although I started thinking about this issue only recently, it seems so basic that I'd have thought that the problems would have been discussed and worked out long ago. Did you find any satisfying info?




This, on the other hand, is more of a P. S.:
I like the quote. Who wrote it? It strikes me as an eloquent description of the goal, but not of how to reach it. I'm sure there are zillions of good books about acting, directing, blocking, and so on that would help magicians. Pete McCabe's Scripting Magic books strike me as on good example that's specifically geared to magic. I have no doubt that my colleagues in theater could direct me to good books about blocking, etc. So I won't trouble you to list such books -- unless you really want to!
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 24, 2019 07:55AM)
Joe Riding, Fred Castle and Jack Avis were adapting the count almost as soon as Elmsley showed the item. David Parr and Robert Neale have more recent published work.
Some folks design their routines to look good when done over the coffee table or when standing up close to the audience. Joe Riding's video and Fred Castle's lecture notes on Magic with Jumbo Cards are still available.

Glad you liked the quote. It's from back when poetry and wordplay were as common as internet memes are today. There's plenty of commentary available online so here's a link to the source text: http://shakespeare.mit.edu/hamlet/hamlet.3.2.html
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 24, 2019 09:08AM)
Many thank, Jon. Ah, I should have figured Shakespeare. I'm guessing it's related to the "play within the play." I'll look into the Riding and Castle.
Message: Posted by: Mr Salk (May 24, 2019 10:30AM)
[quote]On May 23, 2019, Bob G wrote:

And about getting into the count in the first place: I'm obviously missing something; I don't understand why that would be a problem. I suppose it depends on the trick. Please educate me!
[/quote]

Unless the EC is part of the first-trick, it can be difficult to nonchalantly separate a small-packet with a single-card reversed in the starting-position.
Going from a borrowed and shuffled deck into an EC packet-trick takes some skill and forethought.
Personally with my repertoire, it takes a bit of handling and specific trick-order to start an EC cleanly.

But routine and presentation are another discussion. No point in filing until you have fingernails.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 24, 2019 11:12AM)
That makes sense. And you're right about fingernails!
Message: Posted by: Greg Kiefer (Jun 2, 2019 12:23PM)
The 4 Card Trick performed and taught by Dan Garrett utilizes the Elmsey count. Dan absolutely kills as I was not able to detect any misdirection. I know there are many card technicians that performs the Elmsey Count flawlessly. Check out Dan’s work if possible.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Jun 2, 2019 12:39PM)
Thanks Greg, I'll look into this. Do you happen to know where Garrett teaches the 4 Card Trick?


Bob
Message: Posted by: Greg Kiefer (Jun 2, 2019 01:09PM)
Bob, I believed the trick was called “4 Card Reiteration”. I recall Dan Garrett teaching the trick on one of his VHS tapes (Yep, you’ve read that correctly...it is that old). I’m not sure if Dan has put on another medium.
Message: Posted by: Greg Kiefer (Jun 2, 2019 01:11PM)
Correction... I’m not sure if Dan has put it out on print or another medium.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Jun 2, 2019 06:19PM)
He has a dvd with that trick on it on his website. Probably from the old tape.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jun 3, 2019 07:49AM)
The Four Card Trick manuscript by Elmsley at popular prices, as they used to say:

http://www.magicinc.net/thefourcardtrickbyalexelmsley.aspx
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jun 3, 2019 07:51AM)
[quote]On May 23, 2019, Jonathan Townsend wrote:

From over five hundred years ago: [quote]... let your own discretion
be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the
word to the action; with this special o'erstep not
the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone ...
or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful
laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the
censure of the which one must in your allowance
o'erweigh a whole theatre of others.[/quote] [/quote]

Nice. Never seen that applied to close-up magic before. It's a natural, isn't it.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Jun 3, 2019 08:10AM)
Thanks for the link, landmark.
Message: Posted by: kShepher (Jun 5, 2019 09:29PM)
Bob, how are you progressing?

One thing I just picked up, because I am into 5 card Elsmleys on a current trick, is make sure you push the cards over as you do the currant take. Do not wait for the next take.

This is one of those documented fundamentals that is easily overlooked.
Message: Posted by: kShepher (Jun 5, 2019 09:36PM)
That was not clear.

Immediately after you take your first card, even before you display it, you already have the other two in position. It has built in misdirection and makes the whole process so much easier.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Jun 5, 2019 10:56PM)
Thanks for asking, Kevin. I'm coming along pretty well. For most of my practice I've switched to holding the right-hand cards in a pinch-grip that's in the middle of the right side, rather than at the bottom right corner. (That's what you recommended, as I remember: you said Giobbi taught the classic method.) I like it better; it seems a bit more natural. I'm also doing the count faster. Still looking for a speed that doesn't look rushed, but isn't making a big deal by moving really slowly. And still working on accuracy -- pulling the right number of cards on each beat consistently.


Your suggestion is really interesting -- and if it's documented I've missed it. ---- Actually, as I think about it, that's more or less what Ian Kendall advises. He says, push the card(s) in the right hand over to the right at the same time that the left hand is swinging to the right, having taken the previous card. --- Yeah, so I think that's what you're describing. I need to give it some attention now that I have changed where I'm holding the cards. I hadn't thought of it as misdirection, but it kind of makes sense. Audience gets this impression of overall left-to-right motion, presumably focusing on the bigger movement in the left hand, while the right hand does sneaky stuff. I hope that made sense -- I was half explaining it to myself.


Anyway, yes, I feel that I'm moving forward. I want to put up a new video, but not until I feel I've made really significant improvement.


Bob
Message: Posted by: wizdangar (Oct 1, 2019 10:55PM)
Yes, all my old VHS videos have been authored from scratch to DVD format. (Not simply transferred.) Thanks for the kind words.
Four Card Reiteration has also been published under the name "Four For Spot" and is on my Cabaret Connivery DVD.