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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Time after time » » Loopholes that let innocent audience actions mess up a trick (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of ViciousCycle
I get good reactions when I perform the two-card force from Wilson's CCIM. But when I first read the description, I knew I had to change the handling. The description [at least in the edition of the book I own] leaves open the possibility that the volunteer will mess up the trick when they put the indicator card in the deck. CCIM is a great book, but one still has to be mindful of how a volunteer can mess up a trick when they do just what you tell them to.

But there are also tricks where the loopholes cannot be readily eliminated. RRCCM is a great book, yet An Instinct for Cards has too many opportunities for the volunteer to mess up the trick. If they cut the deck at the wrong place, if they put their card back at the same place, if they shuffle more messily than you expect, etc., the trick does not work. I love performing tricks with audience interactivity, but I can't imagine performing this trick.

Are there any magic writers who approach the questions of breaking down a trick, seeing where it can go wrong, and building it back up again? I'm a professional software tester and a hobbyist magician. When I test software, I look for what can go wrong. When I practice tricks, I also look for what can go wrong. I'm informally applying my software testing approaches to my magic tricks, but I'd be interested in how professional magicians approach these issues.
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Inner circle
NJ, U.S.
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Profile of Jaz
There's a booklet called "Outs, Precautions and Challenges" by Charles H. Hopkins that's been helpful.
It applies to cards only.
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Profile of JackScratch
Audience control is an art. There are guys who leave opportunities you could drive a truck through, open and get away with it consistently. If you know how, and have the talent, you can make them see, hear, or do, anything you want or need them to. I'm not suggesting you should or have to, but it is always something to keep in mind. You have an advantage over them, you know the rules, they don't. Use that to your advantage.
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Profile of magicupclose
Any book, video, dvd or Apocalypse Harry Lorayne. He goes into great length about a trick - the whys, what to expect, the concept behind it, etc. His knowledge legendary & he ejoys to share.
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Profile of mtpascoe
I like ViciousCycle’s way of thinking. Murphy’s Law. Depending upon the trick, sometimes all it takes is communicating the directions a bit more clearly. Take one part, pantomime as you talk, then go to the next. Put pauses between explanations. I had to do that even with Scotch and Soda. I had to pantomime doing it with them on some cases. This can be frustrating because what can be more clear than put both hands behind your back and put a coin in each hand?
James Crosbie
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Profile of James Crosbie
*phew*. Still relatively new to cards - working my way through RRTCM, and glad I'm not the only one finding problems with the Instinct for Cards trick. Even with help from the Go Magic Go podcasts, there's still the possibility of it not working if the riffle is done badly, or you by chance riffle the selected card back to the same point. I thought it was just me being stupid.
Like you, I try to break the trick down completely, but can't find a way round this one..
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Profile of MagicRocks
I think everyone knows the self-working card trick overkill.

Here's the link to the performance:

I like this trick a lot but I stop performing it after a while. The reason being is that once, when I turned around and asked the audience to cut a small amount of card between 5-15 cards, he messed up the trick by cutting to the card with another colour back. How do I handle this ?
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Profile of Kuma
Couldn't you just brash it out and say "Congratulations! You cut to the only differently-coloured card in the pack !" Short trick, but effective.
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Profile of Ade2010
Hi ViciousCycle,

We have a lot in common! (I too am a software tester by day and hobbyist cardman by night).

"Are there any magic writers who approach the questions of breaking down a trick, seeing where it can go wrong, and building it back up again?"

See Darwin Ortiz (Books: At The Card Table; Cardshark; Scams & Fantasies. DVD: International Magic Lectures 1 & 2). All his routines are thouroughly 'bug-tested', with specific advice on the weak points in his routines.
Mr. Mystoffelees
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I haven't changed anyone's opinion in
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Profile of Mr. Mystoffelees
This is really a great topic, and I can't believe it has languished here for over 3 years with little action. One such audience messing up a trick has happened to me with, of all things, the Lazy Man's card trick. I had a spec that could have gone through the night cutting without the hit needed. Next time I was ready...
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
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Eternal Order
Look mom! I've got
14063 Posts

Profile of daffydoug
So what did you do?
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
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State near Arizona
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Profile of billmarq
There is a popular mental effect with cards in which the "assistant" separates the facedown deck into stacks of all red and all black cards in a feat of ESP ability. Before going into the public with this effect, I tried it on my wife. She knows little if anything of magic sleights and moves or arranged decks. I told her what to do. "Why can't I hold the cards in my hand?" she asked. "Okay," I said, "just don't peek at them so the test stays fair," I replied. She starts to draw cards from both the bottom and the top and set them down. I stop her and say to draw from the top only. "Why?" I didn't have an answer. It didn't go well. She was not deliberately trying to mess me up. It just happened. Now I need to figure a better handling procedure or risk failure in public.

I do not know why she reacts differently than 99+% of spectators, but she keeps me on my toes.
Honi soit quit mal y pense.
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Profile of Wizzard
Short, punchy tricks, don't let your audience catch their breath until you want them too.
My point is this; if you are doing any type of Magic that bores the spectator they are going to focus in on what you are doing, and catch you doing something real or imagined. You as a performer have to keep them on their toes. Lead them, make them follow you.
Here is a good thing in life to remember, If the (Spectator, Client, Sales prospect)ever sits back in their chair, you have LOST them.
In our "instant society" today the attention span is negligible. "Just do It" as the ad says.
Bore them and they will try to crucify you.
It's never the wand, it's always the magician
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Profile of charliewerner
Learning certain difficult sleight & a good patter or jokes will have you to recovery from any situation...

BTW people love to see magician fail.. but if you fail yet you somehow manage to recover.. (you miss their card, then recover by producing the card from your wallet....)
"Seeing Joy, Sadness, Anger,Contempt,Surprise, Disgust,Fear on people faces are the motivation of my MAGIC" Charlie Werner (C.C.L)
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