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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All in the cards » » Explain self-working (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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marc_carrion
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Mr. Daegs,

one of the first "self-working" tricks I learned was.

The spectator picks a card, he shows it to the rest of the public, they put it back into the deck, you take the deck to your back to find the card with your magic touch. When you bring the deck to the view again, the spectator card is facing up in a deck of cards facing down.

It needs no sleight of the hand, it needs a little bit of misdirection, timing, a little of setup, and a lot of presentantion.

So, I have to disagree with your classification.
marc_carrion
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Mr. Combrinck

The Encyclopedia of Card Tricks is not a collection of self working tricks. It's a collection of tricks. It goes from impromptu to gaffed cards, from stacked decks to small packets.

It is a GREAT book.
Daegs
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I wouldn't classify that effect as self-working. It wouldn't work unless YOU did that secret action thereby making it work because of YOU, not "Self-Working".

I agree many effects are so simple as to be "practically self-working" but I wouldnt agree that an effect that basically requires a secret half-pass is self working.
marc_carrion
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The effect I explained doesn't need a half-pass or anything like this, really.

In "My best self-working card tricks" from Karl Fulves, page 136 there are some card to wallet effects. They don't requier sleight of hand, but they requier secret moves, of course.

I would also notice the difference between false techniques and secret techniques. The first ones you are not doing what people things you are doing, the second ones, people don't know they exist. So, a false cut is not a secret action, since you are cutting the deck. A false shuffle is not a secret action, you are shuffling. But this is not for this forum but another one Smile
Jaz
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I would have to say that reversing or rearranging a card(s) behind your back could be acceptable.
Whether this type of trick is self working or not is debatable.

Daegs stands by his "no secret actions" and I respect that. Sleights are secret actions too.
In one sense it's no longer self working because your making it work by secretly rearranging the cards. Then again we make them all work in one way or another, don't we?

Not that it matters too much but I'm on the line about this one.Smile
acmp
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I guess you could say a self working trick is one you could do over the phone!

Take the 21 card trick. You could do this over the phone, simply get the person at the other end to deal the cards out, make a selection and away you go, they are your hands and do as you say. The magic is in the understanding of the trick, not the manipulation.

Self working means just that, it works on its own. If you need to do something 'special' it becomes 'almost self working'.

We shouldn't let our understanding of magic complicate what is 'self working'.
acmp<><

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marc_carrion
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I can see the "no secret action" to explain the self-working, but not the "over the phone" since we would be excluding the use of the key card.
Shrubsole
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Surely if I buy a double faced card (IE no skill of mine went into making it) and I perform a very simply trick with it where I just turn over the entire packet of cards, then the trick is self-working ?!?!

Tuning over a packet of cards is not a sleight.

I think broadly speaking it/they mean any trick that is simple to do that doesn't require a slight of hand move.
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Daegs
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I agree over the phone won't work for things like 21 card trick which are self working as you need to know the secret(but not perform secret actions).

It depends on whether you actually turn the packet over or whether you secretly do. If secretly(or using the two card monte DB/DF "paddle slide" move) then I don't think it qualifies as self working.

More and more I think about it the more concrete I think that definition holds. Even though it may exclude some simple effects, I still don't think those effect should be called "self-working" no matter how simple they are.

And marc, I mean secret to the magician, not the audience. If you are doing a false shuffle and appearing to do a regular shuffle, that is a secret action whether they know it or not.

If the false cut is only false because of its blocking (no secret actions going on, but mearly slow arranging of the cards), then it's still self working (imho).
Hideo Kato
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I got no conclusion about the definition of 'Self-working Trick" after reading all of the posts in this thread. Maybe the name "Self-working" is not suitable for classifying magic. Any magic is not self-working after all.

Hideo Kato
RickyD
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I've always seen "self-working" as meaning no sleights used. By sleights, I mean things like false cuts/shuffles, DL's, controls, false counts, forces, even pinky breaks.

Karl Fulves has several books on what he calls "Self-Working Card Tricks". The one I own uses techniques like the Key Card, prearrangements, mathematical principles, etc. Don't have the book with me at the moment, but from what I recall, it also includes some simple moves like turning the deck over while it's underneath the table, turning a card over while the deck is behind your back, and even marking a card with a pencil dot (while openly drawing on the back of another card). Sounds like his definition is similar to mine, not that Fulves is the ultimate authority on what "self-working" truly is ...
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marc_carrion
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Daegs, I have to say that I like your definition, but I would agree more with RickyD one, because otherwise we leave out some tricks that I love Smile

About the secret actions, I knew what you meant, I just wanted to differenciate both because the difference is important when talking about theory. The level of misdirection that they need is not the same. I can do a false shuffle if front of your eyes, since it has an external life, it works as misdirection. But doing a pass needs misdirection, since there is no external life. I know people do it in front of your eyes, but they look weird. But again, this is not for this forum but for one about theory.
Daegs
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A bit off topic I agree with you, but what about a pass in the act of fanning cards, or a table tap pass, a free-turn pass, spread pass, etc... there are many passes that happen under an external action.


Anyway, not saying that its the most perfect definition, and I agree with you that it leaves things out. However something are going to get left out no matter the definition.

Perhaps we need a new catagory of "Almost-Self Working" card effects?
marc_carrion
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The pass with the fan or turning the packet are not secret techniques but a fake ones. They don't need misdirection, because the external life of the technique works as misdirection, I would recomend any magician to work on those ones instead of the classic pass.

I think the definition of "self-working" either including secret actions or not, is good enough for this forum, don't you think so? Smile
Dave V
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I would think any sleight of hand, visible or not, would knock the trick out of the "self working" category.

"Self working" would include counting (or spelling) tricks, a simple key card where you don't have to mark, crimp, pass, or control the key.

I think RickyD pretty much nailed it.

For example, my Quintuplicate Coincidence is self working. If you wished to embellish it by forcing the cards, or false shuffling, that would certainly work, but it's not really necessary for the operation of the trick.

B'wave, or it's John Bannon variant "Twisted Sisters" is also self working, at least it was before people added the Elmsley Count to it.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
marc_carrion
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I agree with RickyD definition too, but if we have the bottom card facing up, and we turn "secretly" the deck so the bottom is top now and all the deck is facing up except the top one that is facing down, is this a "sleight of the hand"? It needs misdirection, a lot of it... And then some you do some "secret actions" in your back. Are they sleight of the hand? There are no passes, crimps, marks, controls,....

Daegs would consider them sleight of the hand. And so, those tricks would NOT be considered "self-working"

I would not consider them sleight of the hand. So, those tricks would be considered "self-working"
Dave V
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Turning a deck over? No "secret skill" is required here, so I think that would qualify as "self working" at least at least as far as the mechanics go.

Misdirection on the other hand is a whole different skill set, but that can usually be covered by turning your back, going under a table or hankerchief, etc... Not perfect, but it works.
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airship
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Here's what Fulves says in the Introduction to 'More Self-Working Card Tricks':
Quote:
The intent here is the same as in the earlier book, to present some of the best contemporary thinking on self-working card tricks while avoiding all sleights, even rudimentary moves like the Hindu Shuffle. Tricks invonving complex setups or special apparatus have been avoided.

So there you go.
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
Dave V
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Works for me...
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Mike Lowry
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Airship's quote is definitely dead on. I think a good thing to keep in mind when trying to distinguish self-working from non self-working is that if a spectator can do it in their hands with just your instructions guiding them (with a non gimmicked deck coin or other prop of course) then it can be considered self-working. If a gimmick is used assistance is technically provided by that gimmick. Also I think a good thing to point out with self-working effects is that most, or all of them are based on a mathematical principal or calculation that will ALWAYS turn out in favor of a certain result which the effect is based on. Which is why the spectator can do everything themselves and the magician doesn't have to touch anything. All those "interactive" effects that you see on TV are all based on a self-working principle and everyone watching will end up with the same result. A great source of completely useable self-working effects are the "Impuzzibilites" booklets by Jim Steinmeyer. Check them out, you probably won't regret it.
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