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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Key points to a good routine? Tricks recommended for close-up? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of vootrage
I am trying to construct a good routine but I'm having a hard time coming up with one. What aspects do you think a good routine should have? Any tips? What tricks are killers in your opinion and need to be part of a routine? How long should a routine last? Lastly, what do you think of my routine so far? Here is the routine I have come up with so far:

Color changing deck and face up different color selection. (From Sankey's Secret Files.)

Micheal Skinner's Three Card Monte
They'll never find the money card. Smile

Ambitious Card
With six to seven trips to the top, last of which is a color change.

Twisting The Aces
Aces turn over one by one.

Dr. Daley's Last Trick
Two sets of cards switch places.

Hopping Halfs
Coins keep returning to hands until both disappear.

What If?
Predicted selection on notepad. The second selection they find out what would have happened if they chose another card. The second selection is revealed on the crumpled up sheet from the first prediction. (From Sankey's Secret Files.)

Break Time
Floating Lifesaver using Fearson's Hookup

Not sure what to do from this point on, so help!!!

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Toronto, Canada
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Profile of Bong780
Are you doing this in a show or party or table hopping? If you still need some I would add a cups and balls routine and/or sponge. Sponge rabbits always get great reactions.
Jonathan Townsend
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Ossining, NY
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Some variety helps. The sponge routine "clones" is cute. Stuff with odd props tends to be memorable. all the coins I've dropped here
Mediocre the Great
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Rich Hurley
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First off Vootrage, you're doing the right thing. The only way to get a routine is to start putting tricks together and start trying them out. Over time, you'll cultivate the routine and it won't even resemble the original. At first glance it looks like you have too much material and too many card tricks.

Here are some suggestions:
  1. Think beginning, middle and end. I found it useful to write out all the tricks I can do and classify them as good openers, middles or closers. Have you heard of the power of three? Johnny Ace Palmer writes about it in his lecture notes, and I think you may want to study the principle as you assemble your routine. Try to incorporate the power of three in everything you do. It's real magic.

  2. Consider limiting the number of tricks you do. Milk each effect for every moment. Take your time.

  3. Try to find a theme that brings everything together. This is the hardest part. Gregory Wilson did a wonderful routine that is all centered around working in an office. He brought out his deck of playing cards—called it paperwork. Shuffling was filing. He did his (recap) pen tricks, and tied everything in the routine to the workplace.
In my closeup act, I talk about the evils of casino gambling and start off with coins. Then I move to cards, talking about card cheats...

Anyway, it's late and I'm rambling. Hope this helps you out a bit...keep up the good work!
Mediocrity is greatly under rated!

Rich Hurley aka Mediocre The Great!
Craig Krisulevicz
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The biggest factor for a routine is to have great transitions. This makes the routine flow together and make itself a unit. Without proper transitions, through your actions and spoken words, the whole routine will have less impact.

With the proper "flow", each effect will imprint itself into the spectator's mind more. Also, keep in mind that the order of your effects is also just as important as the transitions between each. There should be a purpose or underlining meaning as to why you went from one effect to another. Think of why you should be showing a certain effect after another.

You should open with a strong item, and close with your strongest.

Once you master the patter for each effect, and the effect itself, then worry about the transitions and order of your effects. Trust me, it will mean the difference of being "just another magician" and actually being a performer your audience will remember.

Hope this helped,
Who is John Galt?
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Profile of vootrage
This routine is meant as a close-up show. It's not walk-around. I appreciate the tips so far...Keep em' coming. I don't know any sponge or cups and balls unfortunatally, so I can't add them.

Mediocre the Great:
  1. Consider limiting the number of tricks you do. Milk each effect for every moment. Take your time.
What trick would you eliminate or add? I want at least a 15-minute show.

Thoughts are appreciated!
Paul Menzel
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Boise, Idaho
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  1. The list of effects you've provided will run well over 15 minutes unless you are going for a speed record (not recommended). You'll need to take into account transitions and the fact that many of these effects involve spectator participation to some extent. Selecting participants takes time, as will the actions you request from them.

  2. Think about how one effect will lead into the other and how this will impact your prop management. You list five card effects first. Are you planning to use the same deck for all of these? Will you remove the cards for the packet tricks from the deck you begin with? Will you need to make a deck switch? If so, when and how? Can you arrange the effects so that the conclusion of one sets you up for the next?

    Routining Twisting the Aces with Dr. Daley's Last Trick is pretty common, but have you considered leading into this by magically producing the aces? Doing so would be more entertaining for your audience than watching you run through the deck to find the aces.

  3. As has been mentioned, try thinking in threes. The rule is flexible, but you might consider limiting yourself to only three card effects in a row, separated by your non-card effects. If a deck switch is needed, this can provide an easy, natural opportunity as you set one prop aside for the others.

  4. My opinion only, avoid starting with an audience participation effect (card selection, etc.). Give them a chance to warm up to you. Show them something that will set the tone you want for the rest of the performance. Something strong, yet fairly brief (not your strongest effect, though, as you'll want to build on the opener). They'll be sizing you up first, so give them that opportunity and influence their opinion with something that establishes you as a credible magician. Starting with, "Here, take a card..." may make you look cliched.

  5. If possible, avoid duplication of effects. If you open with a color changing deck, you might want to reconsider ending your ambitious card routine with a color change. You've already established the ability to change the color of the card backs. Perhaps you could separate these two effects and use them as the starting points for building two routines.

  6. If you stay with the current arrangement, be careful how you present the Three Card Monte effect. If you present it as a challenge (which is tricky to avoid) that early in your set, you run the risk of creating a challenge atmosphere throughout the rest of the performance and they'll be more concerned with catching you than enjoying the magic.

  7. Finally, give it a run-through to find out how it feels. Will you be comfortable set up for the lifesaver effect throughout? Also, keep in mind that there may be conditions in which performing an IT effect would not be advisable. What will you do in those cases? Maybe that would be better reserved as an encore effect.
Those are just a few things you may want to consider. Take any advice that works, disregard the rest. Good luck!
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Questions and comments for everyone in response to Paul Menzel's post:
  1. I was already thinking about magically producing the aces before the twisting the aces, BUT, I'm not sure how. I would have to be careful to keep my stack, which is not a huge problem. Is there any particular revelation you would recommend by chance? I am thinking about doing acrobatic aces.

  2. I am planning on using the same deck for all the card effects. Once the deck changes red this allows me to use my red backed three card monte cards which will be placed throughout the deck and I'll just take them out. I don't need any deck switch right now.

  3. What I meant about the color change at the end of my ambitious card was that it appears face up on the top after a pass to the top and the classic color change, not the back of the card. I think that I will move my ambitious card to be after the aces tricks because this will allow me to keep them stacked.

  4. I will be careful about the three card monte presentation and I am still thinking of how I will ever keep the set-up for the IT effect. Any ideas?
Answers, comments, and advice are all appreciated!
Smile Smile
Paul Menzel
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I half considered that you may have meant a face-up color change with the ambitious card routine but wasn't sure as I'd consider the back changing a bit stronger, especially with a signed card having been seen as the same as the deck throughout (dark card). You could probably close with something like that.

Just to give a possible alternate arrangement to help you look at possibilities:

Start with a blue deck, aces ready to be produced:
  • Produce the aces (however you decide)
  • Twisting the Aces
  • Dr. Daley's Last Trick. Set the deck aside (out of view) and grab your coins...
  • Hopping Halves
Pick up your deck again (switch):
  • Outsider (blue deck changes to red and finish with red deck)
  • Skinner's Three Card Monte
  • What If?
If you opened with the Lifesaver effect you could avoid potential problems with the setup interfering with your motions throughout the set, but you may run the risk of it being too strong at the outset. It couldn't hurt to try it though. It may work great as your opener.

With this sort of arrangement you start with non-selection effects so the audience has a chance to observe you first and you gradually involve them more as the set progresses. The coin effect is a nice break from the cards and a splits the card effects into groups of three. Naturally, as the coins disappear at the end, you create a good reason to go back to the cards.

Yes, I left out the ambitious card routine. Why? To bring your set closer to your desired time and also to prod you to face one of the toughest decisions—the possibility of needing to drop something you really want to include. It's hard to do.

Ultimately, you have to make the decisions, though. If it is well-rehearsed and you show that you are enjoying yourself, your audience will hopefully catch your enthusiasm.

And thank you for bringing up the subject with specifics. You've given me things to think about and the exercise helps clear the cobwebs in my thinking.
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