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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » What do you do ...? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Yola Sol
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Netherlands
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... if you really mess up a trick? I know you're supposed to have an out or two, but in some cases I just can't think of anything that would actually work.

This morning I was practising some card tricks and I tried to do a trick where after a lot of trying and 'failures' of my side, the spectator manages to do what I couldn't do: reveal his own card. You know the type of trick, I guess. But when I tried to do some nice shuffles.... I lost track of the card (thank god I was only practising! Smile).

So what I'd like to know is what you can do if you have no idea what card you're looking for. Of course you can try to make a joke about it, but then they'll know things didn't go as planned. I also thought you might try something like Dai Vernon's 'Trick That Cannot Be Explained', but I don't think I could pull off that one and besides, how do you explain why the spectator had to choose a card first?
On the road of life, don't forget to stop and eat the roses
Jlowhy
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158 Posts

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The invisible deck makes a good out although I think using it as an out greatly weakens its effect.

Keep practising and work hard at your effects. Try to be economical with your shuffles when performing. There's no need to over shuffle the deck to the point that you lose the card. Just a short overhand control and a double undercut would do nicely to get the card to where you want it to be.

Expert Card Technique Page 194 offers an out that you could use if you lose the card.
MDew
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Sydney, Australia
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It might also be a good idea to force a card (that you know beforehand) on a spectator, so even if you lose the card, then you can always, as an out, reveal the selection OR you can still find that card, regardless of where the card is in the deck.

In the past, it was often said that you should always force selections on the audience. That way, for any pick-a-card trick, you can never fail to name their card, regardless of the situation.
Steven Steele
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Chief of Staff
Hesperia, California USA
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Yola,

I've lost cards during performances before (not recently, but I have done it); so I know the panic it can cause. I have a couple of outs of my own, but I'd hunt down a copy of "'Outs'-Precautions and Challenges" by Charles H. Hopkins. It's a pamphlet, running about 80 pages, published in 1940, but there are copies around to be had.

It's well worth the read and will give you several ideas.

On the other had, if you're really motivated, you can study Dai Vernon's 'Trick That Can't be Explained'. There is a topic over in "The Workers" here at the Café.

Here is the link TheTrick That Can't Be Explained

Here is another: Another discussion

Good luck

Steven
tony2514
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Yorkshire, UK
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I would never not know what card I was looking for - it's just too risky. Always, wherever possible, force a card. Even if you don't need to it's good practice and could just save your bacon in the situation you describe.

Make sure you know a trick inside out, back to front, upside down and then practice a bit more before you dream of taking it to an audience and you should never fluff.

Also, always have an out because you can never say never.

I once saw a guy doing table hopping and he had clearly done the same as you and pulled several cards out saying, "is this one yours?" in a comedy fashion so that the specs didn't realise he'd fluffed. Then he asked, "Well what was your card then?" fanning through the deck. The spectator told him and he, cleverly, culled the card and palmed it. He handed the deck to the spec and said "You find it" Of course the spec didn't and two or three tricks later it turned up in a lady's purse.
Jaz
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Inner circle
NJ, U.S.
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A couple of precautions are forces, crimps and/or a glimpse.
Justin Style
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There is nothing wrong with just being honest. "Sorry, I'm not God". I lost the card. (If you were from Boston, that would rhyme)!

The most important thing is just to enjoy yourself and the company of the person you are performing for. Have a good time and don't worry about messing up or forgetting things. It happens. As time goes on and you become more proficient, you will be able to cover any mistake you make.

Besides, perfect people are boring. It's adversity that makes interesting results!

Don't sweat the small stuff...
Greedo
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Edmonton, Canada
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I once saw a card with a Bicycle back at an online magic store that has small pictures of all 52 cards in a deck on the front. Don't ask me where I saw it, because I forgot.
Kevin
Justin R
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I read one on here one time that I thought was really funny but it's only to be used for very close friends and family: Jokingly put the blame on them. Say in mock anger,"Good job, you just ruined a great trick!"

Again, it only works with certain people and only if they get that kind of humor.
Billgussen
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Central Japan
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The professional thing to do is to muddle through somehow, and get out the other side. You don't stop a performance just because you messed up. You just figure out a way to plow on.

But the suggestions above are probably what you'll want to give yourself the confidence if you lose your card. The first is to buy yourself an invisible deck and keep it with you whenever you do card magic. Although, as someone mentioned above, it lessens the effect of the ID, it's worth it to lessen the effect rather than blow the magic "suspension of disbelief" that you've built up with your audience.

After that learn forcing, peeking and culling.

A note. The same things has happened to me, and it is always when I have stopped concentrating, and instead am just relying on my muscle memory while I shuffle. I've been playing poker and other games all my life, so my muscles want to shuffle fairly. If I'm not concentrating on the shuffle every time, my muscles will win, and I will shuffle fairly losing the card. If that was your problem too, then try to train yourself to always concentrate whenever you shuffle the cards.

Good luck,
Bill
Father Photius
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El Paso, TX (Formerly Amarillo)
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Harry Lorayne, the best man at recovering from a flub that I've ever seen says "just keep going until you come up with something". You can't always force a card and you can't always keep track of it. It happens to all of us. It varies with what trick I'm doing but if it is a trick where I lost the card without knowing what it was, muck on for a bit, then say to the spectator something like , I guess I lost your card, what was it. They tell me, and I act like, Oh well they don't all work. Then I go on with another trick or two, in the process of doing those two tricks I locate their card, cut it out of the deck. At the end of my routines I appologize again for not locating their card, and spread the deck face up in front of them. I then look down at the spread cards and say "are you sure the (what ever it was) was the card you chose? When they assure me it was, I scratch my head and say, well no wonder I couldn't find it, the (what ever their card was) isn't in this deck, and I point down the to the face spread up cards. They generally start to go through the cards and realize the card is indeed not there. Then I say, I don't know how you possibly chose that card, and reach into my back pocket, pull out my check book case, open it up and show them that the card is inserted behind the clear inner cover of the checkbook case, pull it out and hand it to them, and say " I took that card out last night and put it in my checkbook, so I still can't figure out how you chose it. Gets a good reaction every time.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
Phil Thomas
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Newark, Ohio
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I always make a joke about it. I say something like... "Well, it worked when that guy on TV did it". Gets a laugh from the spectator and it makes the mood a little lighter. If you don't get frustrated and embarassed (which is normal) and just make light of it, they'll see the humor in it.
"If we lose the sense of the mysterious, life is no more than a snuffed out candle."

Albert Einstein
ivfour
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Texas
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Most of the time you are the only person that knows that you messed up. I did that with the vanishing bandanna, I opened up the silk and the bananna hit the ground. I yelled, " Wait, I can do this." I backed the tape up a little and made the bananna disappear. No one knew what had happen but, my wife, and she told that she thought everyone really liked that new ending.
Jerry Smile
Strangelittleman
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Sydney Aus
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Its true, when you fluff a trick only you normally notice. Case in point - doing 'prohibiton' last week in my pub gig and at the key moment one of the bar staff knocks me....and the cap goes flying.

For those who know the trick - the extra was self evident - but no one noticed..instead focusing on the cap on the table....after the shock wears off - a blatant reset and off I go to 'successfully' put the cap in the bottle...

My girl saw me do this and was in stiches for ten minutes - she said the look on my face was priceless....and the best bit - the audience loved it when it 'worked'...lesson - just keep plowing on and something will happen eventually lol
Yola Sol
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Netherlands
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Thank you all for the advice, it's really helpful!

I think it's true people don't always know when you mess up. When I showed my mother a trick (she's my test-audience) I simply wasn't able to perform a double lift anymore. Don't know why, but I had way to many cards and it was showing. Or at least that's what I thought. She said she wouldn't even have noticed it if I hadn't stopped.

But about always forcing a card. It sounds like a wonderful idea, but I really can't believe the classic force is going to fool anyone. In my experience, people will want a card near the top or bottom (hm -does my family really think I would try to force them a card? Smile). Same thing with the riffle force, it looks suspicous -nobody would let someone pick a card that way, right?
On the road of life, don't forget to stop and eat the roses
Jlowhy
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Yola Sol, don't discount the classic force. Pick up some texts writing on it or Paul Green's Classic Force DVD. It is so powerful when used well in a routine. And practice it for every pick a card trick you do. My favourite use of it is in Whit Haydn's Chicago Surprise.

I used to use the riffle force when I started out, no one ever caught me as long as I was nonchalent about it.

You're probably getting performance jitters. It could be because of inconfidence in yourself. If that's so, keep practising and rehearsing until you can do the trick without worrying of what's next and messing up. When you know that you can do the trick 100% without worrying of failure, the performance jitters will be greatly reduced.
Mark Wilden
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San Francisco
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I use an Heirloom wallet as my regular wallet, so I always have an out with me. And it's not as bulky as having to carry around an Invisible Deck.

///ark
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