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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » You Oughta Be In Pictures » » What do you think is wrong with Repro Rètro? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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fotballski
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Ok, so here's my performance of Repro Retro so that you can see what the effect is like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZRm8mzs_......nel_page

If you have some constructive feedback on my performance and technique or anything at all, please tell me!


I also have a question to you guys about the design of the effect.
I personally think there is a flaw in the design, which leads us to my question:

Do you think there are one or several flaws in the design of Bebel's Repto Rètro and what are those flaws?

Please write why you think there are/aren't flaws in the design of the effect.


And as I said, if you have some constructive feedback to give my presentation, technique, or anything else. (You can even tell me that you think I suck, if that's what you mean!) please tell me!


Regards,

Daniel


Here's the same effect presented in Norwegian for you Norwegians out there:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AYaWpPpvTc

Enjoy,

Daniel
"Someone creates a trick, many people perfect it, but its final success in front of an audience depends on the person who presents it"

René Lavand
satoeri
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In a sense, there will always be flaws, since we are not actually performing real "magic." There have to be work arounds to account for where we input sleights, misdirection, and play on the limited understanding of the layman's mind. For example, Twisting the Aces (Veron), a truly amazing trick, but some would argue that the phases leading from the clubs - > diamond, and the diamond -> spade, is unjustified, and does not fit in with the opening of the trick. Although this maybe true, we, the magician, have to make up for those "flaws" with our performance ability.

Now, as for your video, because it is a video with no live spectators to play off with / use in your routine, of course I can point out many flaws. Now, if you were doing this live with an audience, there would probably be less flaws, because you would have spectator reaction to work with.

As for technique, the second Ace -> Queen paint change, my only advice is to watch your timing. The biggest selling point of this change is that it just seemingly tends to appear whilst you "paint" over the card. In your video, there is a definite change of speed which draws a lot of attention to the sleight.

Your last two were quite smooth, as I like the subtle turn over of the "two" queens at the same time. Great use of the magicians mat to do so. Many magicians are scared to trust in that the "queens" will remain as "queens" (you know what I mean, as to try and not expose).

For an overall flaw in the make up of Bebel's original routine... well the count of the four queens and four aces at the end is always a bit sketchy, but I feel Jordan Lapping has done a great job with it in his variation (found on youtube).
Open Traveller
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There's not a whole lot wrong with your technique; you handle cards pretty well.

The design flaws in this routine are the same as those in any Reset routine, being that there's no sense of build and really no inherent drama or charisma in four cards changing places with four queens one at a time (or two at a time). It's more an exercise in sleight of hand than anything else, and where's the interest in that?

Beyond the method design, though, there's the design of the presentation, and this suffered from the same problem as, say, coins across. The worst kind of story for coins across is, "I have four here, none here. Now I have one here, three here. Now I have two here and two here. Now I have three here and one left. Now they're all over here, and none here." This kind of approach takes what is actually a fairly nice and clear event and turns it into mediocrity, and it's the same kind of approach you use for the Reset routine in the video.

These problems aren't insurmountable. Caleb Wiles has a nice Reset routine that takes care of most of it. Your question is, where is the interest in the routine? What part of that would actually intrigue an onlooker? Once you identify that, you can figure out ways to maximize only that and minimize everything else.
Ben Train
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Hey Dan,

You executed the effect fairly well (a little heavy handed and tense, but otherwise quite good), but the presentation left me cold. In fact, it's the reason, your presentation, that I refused to do Rest.

Why should we care about what you are doing? What are we watching? And, one of my favorite magic theory questions, from the great thinker of magic David Letterman, "the practical application of that is... what?"

Once you have a routine that answers those questions (Which you don't now) you'll be better off.

Ben
p.s.
I agree OT, Caleb's routine is what got me interested in the plot because he's found a way to justify everything.
If you're reading this you're my favourite magician.

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fotballski
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This is not to defend myself or anything; I merely find the topic itself worth discussing

I have played with a lot of different patter, but I have got down to bare bones for several reasons:

1) Lack of Credibility

The most important reason why I don't have some practical application or anything like that is because I don't feel that it's credible. For example, if you use a gambling presentation where you show how you can switch cards in a game, painting cards into queens won't do it.
Substantive meaning is good and can be very strong, but it do not believe it is strictly necessary, and IMHO, in this trick it actually weakens the effect. In this case, people might even think you are insulting their intelligence saying that professional card cheaters paint their cards into the desired hand.

2) Substantive magic not necessary

Substantive meaning is good and can be very strong, but I do not believe it is necessary for an effect to be strong. When René Lavand makes those red cards separate from the black cards and says: "It can't be done any slower", this has no practical value whatsoever, and the effect is still a miracle! However, every effect demonstrates a power, and I believe I have succeeded in both performing and presenting that power: "I have the power to make the cards places".


3) Destroys Pace

Through experimenting I have found out that slow pace weakens this effect, and by cutting down to the only the absolutely vital information. If the tempo is too slow, people might even lose their emotional memory, which n turn will ruin the effect completely. I believe I have accomplished to keep a fast enough pace and still let the audience to be able to let everything sink in.
If I, after each transformation come with a lot of information and explanations to how, what, why and so on, the whole thing becomes cluttered, and things might actually become confusing.

This is closely related to number

4), which is: Destroys Clarity



I in this effect a lot of things are going on in a short period of time.
If I, after each transformation come with a lot of information and explanations to how, what, why and so on, the whole thing becomes cluttered, and things might actually become confusing. I believe this effect is easy to understand for lay people, but only when clearly explained. All that extra information that might even be very entertaining will destroy the clarity in this particular effect since there is so much to keep track of already. And even though they are rolling on the floor in laughter because of your amusing patter, they might not know what really happened effect-wise, and if they don’t know what happened, there will be no magic.

So why use longer and more extensive patter when it destroys clarity slows down the pace, lacks conviction, and especially if it not substantive meaning isn’t absolutely necessary in the first place?

In my opinion the only place where you need some extensive patter that might give some humour into the trick is at the start of the trick before you have really begun, taking out the cards from the deck and placing them on the table. But once Repro Rètro has started, one better cut the patter down to a minimum and enjoy the magic.

Regards,

Daniel
"Someone creates a trick, many people perfect it, but its final success in front of an audience depends on the person who presents it"

René Lavand
Ben Train
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1) Lack of Credibility
- Your problem is the paint move? Easily fixed- replace the paint move with something else.
- Additionally, it doesn't have to be about a gambling move. There are numerous other 'hooks' one could use.

2) Substantive magic not necessary
- You are correct, it isn't necessary. But I think you are incorrect in your assertion that it is a miracle. What you currently have is a nice little trick. That's all.
- I don't think Rene's trick is what's fantastic about that routine- it's him. What people remember is this smooth, one armed older-gentleman doing amazing things. That's what sticks, not that red and black cards separate.

3/4) Destroys Pace and clarity
- That only means you haven't found a routine that works yet. I feel the same way about some of my material. It simply means I haven't found the right fit yet.

Anywho, you asked so those are my thoughts.
Ben
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DonEngland
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This type of effect is very hard to sell, sometimes less patter is more.
The effect is born in the audience, and there is no real way to tell
but by many many performances. If the truth be known we all own a few
effects and play with many.
MickeyPainless
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I don't feel qualified to offer critique here but I will state that this is a Info-A-Plenty topic and I'm enjoying the input!

Thanks guys,

MMc
The Burnaby Kid
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Fotballski,

I see your point, and it's been said before (by Whit Haydn, amongst others) that the better a magic effect is, the less "presentation" is needed for it.

The problem for me, though, is that I don't feel this is one of those tricks. It's essentially a sleight-of-hand demonstration, because there's (a) nothing punctuating a separation between the sleights/moves and the effects, and (b) there's no compelling cause beyond sleight-of-hand for explaining the effect, nor a motivation for showing cards to change only to change back.

For (a), there's small packet displays, cards being shown and then immediately turned over, and we don't even really get the chance to look too closely at the cards being shown to us until the very end. The fact that a high pace is necessary should be a clue that there's something wrong with the effect from a magic standpoint -- people should be allowed a moment to appreciate the magic. What's more, all of these card moves are interspersed with the effects, meaning that there's too much of a relationship between card handling and magic effect.

For (b), you've got to ask yourself, what exactly is happening in the trick? A good clue as to clarity is to basically watch a trick with the sound off. After watching the trick in this manner, there are questions... Are cards changing places, are they transforming, is it just an illusion, etc. What's more, what's causing this to happen? Is the cause compelling? If these things are not self-evident without patter, then patter is necessary to flesh them out. The risk in this situation, though, is that if the trick requires patter to be clear about what's happening and why people should care, and the patter itself is only play-by-play stuff, maybe they'll be able to follow it, but it's not necessarily inherently powerful. What's more, even if you could answer these questions, you've still got the problems with (a) above to address, which is that there's a heck of a lot happening to the cards for sleight-of-hand to be cancelled as a suspicion.

I'd be willing to bet that in terms of impact, this wouldn't hold a candle to something like Cards Across or "Be Honest, What Is It?" which are tricks that essentially show the same general class of effect but allow people a chance to really get involved with the magic. Reset always keeps them at a distance and passive.

Here's a good guideline. Take Tommy Wonder's Mind Movie exercise. You have real magic power. You can make cards switch places, and then switch back. You can even do it one-at-a-time. How would it look, if it were done by real magic? Would it look like this? Wouldn't you want to pause after each transformation, to let it sink in? Wouldn't you want to let them see the state of the cards in between the two parts of the effect? Reset has always felt to me to be an answer to the question of "How can I get the most out of these card moves?" rather than an answer to the question of "How can I best pull off this effect?"

In the end, I feel that people's attraction to Reset has to do with the graceful card-manipulationy feel for it, sort of like ballet in the hands. That's all well and good, and for some performers, this is exactly what they want out of a trick. It could even be useful as a setup for a gaffed version of the same class of effect, whereby you can really sell the hands-off feature of the latter trick.
JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
fotballski
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Andrew, I belive we think similarly when it comes to Repro Retro and it's flaws.

The reason why I'm asking is that I have come up with a variation of the original, and I wanted to see if I had improved it by "deleting" some of the flaws.

To be honest, I think I actually have succeded. Not with everything, but with quite a lot. It's still under process, though, so I might be able to eliminate the last flaws as well.

Thank you,

Daniel
"Someone creates a trick, many people perfect it, but its final success in front of an audience depends on the person who presents it"

René Lavand
Ben Train
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Quote:
I'd be willing to bet that in terms of impact, this wouldn't hold a candle to something like Cards Across or "Be Honest, What Is It?" which are tricks that essentially show the same general class of effect but allow people a chance to really get involved with the magic. Reset always keeps them at a distance and passive.

- Andrew 2009.



Quote:
On 2009-04-18 18:49, fotballski wrote:
Andrew, I believe we think similarly when it comes to Repro Retro and its flaws.

The reason why I'm asking is that I have come up with a variation of the original, and I wanted to see if I had improved it by "deleting" some of the flaws.

To be honest, I think I actually have succeeded. Not with everything, but with quite a lot.

Hey Dan,

If you're talking about eliminating the flaws specific to Retro Repo, then maybe. But if you are talking about Reset in general... I'm afraid I don't see it.

What does your routine have going for it? If it's simply the visual nature of the trick, wouldn't it be better to have a single card change numerous times (you could even have it change from an ace to the 5 in sequential order, which is the same number of changes, approximate, of a standard Reset)- from a clarity and directness perspective, something you said was important to you before, then wouldn't that be even more effective?

The bottom line is that you have a nice trick, well executed from a technical standpoint, that is nothing more then an outlet for you to show off your 'stuff'. It is, to be blunt, a bit of masturbatory nothingness.

Now, that isn't necessarily a bad thing (I guess that depends on your performing ideals)- but if you want to make it better, and I think you do, then you may want need to rethink your approach.

Ben
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Open Traveller
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Cup too full again, I think.

From where I sit, the problem is with what the Reset plot engenders, not with Bebel's specific routine or your handling of it. They don't have significant issues other than what originally came with the plot. In other words, the problems are deeper than you've been willing to see.

Reset is nothing more than a series of transpositions. In most cases, making two cards simply change places isn't intriguing at all. It helps if one of the cards is a selection (Fechter's "I've Got A Surprise For You," for instance) so the spectator has a reason to care. Then, in the process, you have the added "Magician in Trouble" element that always plays. Both of these theatrical aspects are always missing from Reset, and as far as I've seen, either no one has thought to put them in or no one's been successful.

One problem with what's in the video is that you apparently haven't thought through how to sell a transposition, let alone multiple ones, so the inherent problems in the Reset plot are magnified as a result (in other words, if the inherent problems in Reset are a series of meaningless transpositions with no hook, then not knowing how to sell a transposition makes the problem worse, not better).

When I mentioned coins across as an example, I tried to point out a similar problem. Magicians too often focus on where everything is instead of what's happening. By constantly pointing out the number of coins in each hand, they actually don't clarify the effect, but hinder it. Constantly pointing out the number of coins in each hand makes the effect about the changing quantities, not about the coins traveling. If you want to sell the fact that the coins travel, then everything you say and do should be about their arrival, not the numbers.

When most magicians make an ace and queen transpose, they usually sell it by pointing out that the ace is here and the queen is there, and then later point out that the queen is here and the ace is there. What is often overlooked is that this is NOT what the effect is about. Instead, what you have to do is make one card the important one, and through your words and actions, THAT'S the one you follow. The effect isn't about the two cards changing places, it's about the adventures of one of the cards.

In Reset, the repeated transpositions are more of a challenge, but it still starts with applying focus to one group or the other, and staying with that group until the end. That will only solve part of the problem, but it's a start. The audience still has to have a reason to care, and by this, I don't mean necessarily a presentational thing like a poker game. It could be that you jokingly offer them money if the trick doesn't work or you playfully pit the observations of one spectator against another or it could simply be the willfullness of the queens. Regardless, there has to be something more than, "These are here and those are there, now one's here, now another's here, that leaves two over there, now they're over here, now..." That kind of thing will only take a bad effect and make it worse.

Minimal presentations work well when an effect is inimitably clear, like the Ambitious Card. Reset isn't one of those effects. Not only is it NOT one of those effects, it's so far removed from being so that no one has yet offered a really good way to sell the plot. I say we keep trying.

And good luck in your efforts.
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I think one of the weaker points in that handling is the sequence before any magic happens:

1. Four Queens and four Aces are displayed.
2. Four Aces are displayed
3. Four Queens are displayed.
4. Four Queens are displayed.
5. Four Aces are displayed.

At most I think it should be:

1. Four Aces are displayed.
2. Four Queens are displayed.
3. Four Aces are displayed as a reminder right before the first transpo.

but personally I think it'd be enough with two displays.

/Tomas
bugjack
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Quote:
On 2009-04-18 15:56, Andrew Musgrave wrote:

In the end, I feel that people's attraction to Reset has to do with the graceful card-manipulationy feel for it, sort of like ballet in the hands. That's all well and good, and for some performers, this is exactly what they want out of a trick. It could even be useful as a setup for a gaffed version of the same class of effect, whereby you can really sell the hands-off feature of the latter trick.


I've always liked "Reset," I kind of agree with the above. I don't necessarily think that is such a bad thing. For me, the plot of "Reset" has always been pretty clear: the cards are transposing one by one, and at the end instantly switch back. The real appeal of "Reset" for magicians is I think the deceptiveness of discarding the odd cards one by one and then that instant "reset" moment. With regards to the above conversation, though, I think many of these points could apply to tons of plots, and not just "Reset." I've always been bored to death by most "Three Fly" routines and think much of this conversation could just as easily be directed towards that plot.

I'll admit that I'm not a heavy reader of magic theory, but sometimes I think these conversations are backwards. Magicians start with a trick they like for some kind of visual or performance or method-based reason, and then work backwards towards finding ways to make these tricks "emotional' or "meaningful" or "logical." Often that leaks to hoary presentations or generic scripts about gambling. I'd rather accept that these tricks are "ballet in the hands" and then try to actually make them that in the best way, or else develop an engaging persona that makes anything you do inherently entertaining or meaningful, or, finally, start from the premise that your effects have to have these emotional hooks and then seek out the tricks that will allow this instead of the other way around.

As a side comment, I love "Reset" and practice the original version all the time. I recently picked up "True Astonishments" and decided to try "Twilight Angels" on my wife. That trick has never interested me because it seemed hokey and the method isn't interesting. All I can say is that my wife thought it was the best trick she had ever seen me do and even woke up the next morning talking about it. And that's all because there's something about the symbolism of trapping an angel and repositioning next to its friend that is very emotionally affecting for some people. In other words, it's not really about the presentation but more the symbolism inherent in the trick. So, having had that experience, I'll probably always keep this trick around... but I'll still like working on "Reset."
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Quote:
On 2009-04-19 12:24, TomasB wrote:
I think one of the weaker points in that handling is the sequence before any magic happens:

1. Four Queens and four Aces are displayed.
2. Four Aces are displayed
3. Four Queens are displayed.
4. Four Queens are displayed.
5. Four Aces are displayed.

At most I think it should be:

1. Four Aces are displayed.
2. Four Queens are displayed.
3. Four Aces are displayed as a reminder right before the first transpo.

but personally I think it'd be enough with two displays.

/Tomas


I agree.
In this video, the magician has the four queens and the four aces WIDELY separated on the table, highly visible, in nice neat spreads. He then picks them up, puts the packets together, and counts them into piles.

Why

At least start with them mixed, or take them out of the deck so you have a reason to sort/display them.
Engali
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I personally like Harkey's version of Reset called Persuasion because I feel it addresses a lot of the problems already raised. From a technical standpoint it isn't harder than a lot of the versions out there--and arguably easier in some respects, but I don't think it necessarily should be or needs to be for it to be a strong version of Reset. I don't think the "best" version from a spectator standpoint can be reduced to how best to create prettier eye candy, even though it seems like a lot of recent versions try to make the changes more visual and/or simply emphasize and re-emphasize the number of words you're working with at any given moment.

Persuasion is constructed so you gather the eight cards, display each packet once, put one set into the card case, and go into the first change while casually showing how many cards you have. From a spectator's standpoint I think the isolation of the first set in the box makes a huge difference, both in how much more impossible the changes seem as well as adding an element of mystery that is lacking in many versions of this effect. I think with Persuasion the question that creeps in isn't just "how/why is he switching them without me seeing", but "Am I really seeing this? What's going on in that box?" The method supports this because of how the cards are isolated and the presentation gives the kickback switch at the end meaning, making the routine come full circle in a way a lot of versions don't. Ortiz mentions in Strong magic how much more audience impact there is when you do the last phase of Twisting the Aces, for example, in the card case even though it doesn't make it at all harder. There a number of really nice, subtle touches in Persuasion I haven't mentioned that I think a lot of magicians will dismiss. Too bad.

As far as Repro Retro, my one biggest pet peeve with this effect is how after the first two switches the magician displays that there is an ace under the card case. To me, it begs the question, "If TWO have traveled, why not show me both of them instead of one." I know it seems like I'm 'thinking like a magician', but this part of this effect is fundamentally flawed from a spectator's POV. I mean, if you are ostensibly *showing* me the the two cards really have traveled...why are you showing just one? For that matter, if you are going to stop the routine to emphasize the cards really have traveled, why not show all the cards under the case and show me two queens and two aces? It doesn't take anymore time or effect to flip over four than to display just the top card so...? It's one of those phases where you words and actions don't quite match and imo can raise suspicion when there was none. I also don't like the idea of touching the packet set aside from the beginning until the end because it gives a possible solution to the effect--that you are switching the cards as you are "openly" showing that the cards traveled. This isn't all that far fetched when you consider that the effects in Reset usually are presented as the magician invisibly switching the cards. By touching the packet that was first set aside to do a weak display of the first two transpositions(by showing just one of supposedly four cards), it seems to me to undercut the overall effect you're presenting, of you "invisibly switching" the cards because you clearly are touching the packet you are switching cards with. I think it can play a lot like the coins across gag where you say, "I'll do this one visibly" and you openly put a coin from one hand into the other. Many will be fine with the patter that justifies the action, but some will think something fishy happened. Since touching the packet that was set aside isn't necessary for the method and the display is weak, I don't it adds a lot if anything. But everyone has their preferred version of Reset.
fotballski
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I think I have to clarify in something


Quote:
On 2009-04-18 18:49, fotballski wrote:

The reason why I'm asking is that I have come up with a variation of the original, and I wanted to see if I had improved it by "deleting" some of the flaws.

To be honest, I think I actually have succeded. Not with everything, but with quite a lot. It's still under process, though, so I might be able to eliminate the last flaws as well.



This variation is not the video, which is Repro Retro only with a fex touches of mine.

The variation is actually very different from Repro Retro, yet is similar in plot and effect.

More opinions are greeted.

Regards,

Daniel
"Someone creates a trick, many people perfect it, but its final success in front of an audience depends on the person who presents it"

René Lavand
Ross W
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Well, I liked it! It was clear what was supposed to be happening, and there were no obviously "tricky" moves. In contrast to Ben, above, I thought your handling looked pretty relaxed.

(Your English accent, BTW, is charming - an unusual mix of London and northern. How did you acquire it?)
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Open Traveller
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I believe it's a Norwegian dialect, which to our ears isn't too far removed from, say, New Zealanders.
fotballski
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Most Norwegians speak like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=my1P-HlUe7Q

I have no parents or any relatives from England, and I have never even been there, so I really have no explanation for it.

Maybe I was English in my previous life or something Smile


Regards,

Daniel
"Someone creates a trick, many people perfect it, but its final success in front of an audience depends on the person who presents it"

René Lavand
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