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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » I'm building a routine for Christmas 2014, appreciate your help (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

GreenKnight33
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Hey Everyone,

I hope you are all well.

I’m working on a routine and wanted some feedback and the effects.

Quick note on myself. I’ve only been doing card magic for less than a year. I’m only going through RRTCM and not adding on more books like that until I complete it thoroughly. I’m expecting to be roughly done by first quarter of 2015. That would then be about 2 years for this most excellent book.

Last Christmas I did a small routine for family and friends (about 15 folks total, mixture of ages 5 to 65). The effects I performed were ‘Topsy Turvy’, ‘Design for Laughter’, and ‘Do as I do’. It was amazing and everyone had a great time...it really topped off the Christmas day evening.

I want to do another performance at Christmas time again and I went ahead and splurged to get ‘What’s up Deck’ from Aldo. I also have Jazz Aces and Acrobatic Aces, and that’s it.

The performance will once again be with the same folks as last time, but at a dining room table with the audience a bit away to make room for them all. I can be seated or standing (I was standing last time using a pool table from the short side while everyone stood around the long sides).

The list of effects I feel comfortable enough practicing and performing are:
A tipsy trick - RRTCM
Four Split- What’s Up Deck
Four Cast – What’s Up Deck
Magnetic – What’s Up Deck
Italian Dressing – What’s Up Deck
Obliging Aces – RRTCM
Jack Black Detective – RRTCM
Acrobatic Aces – Paul Le Paul
Jazz Aces – Peter Kane

The connecting theme for the routine so far is “Mystery”. Many of the family members love mystery books, movies, etc., and we’ve gotten into a lot of mystery shows this year, so the routine will touch on different aspects of mystery. I could go into more detail but hopefully that’s sufficient for this question.

I’ve been playing around with the order having reviewed other posts here about length of effect, and power of the effect, and also thinking hard about how to transition most naturally.

I’ve tried multiple combinations but so far the best I have is:
Acrobatic Aces – Paul Le Paul (i.e. Magic is about mystery)
A tipsy trick – RRTCM (magicians solve mysteries, and we always get our ‘card’ no matter how messy the situation)
Jazz Aces – Peter Kane (the mystery of ‘attraction’ in our lives is also reflected in certain cards, as in these aces, that always are attracted to their ‘leader’)
Italian Dressing – Aldo Colombini (here is one mystery I can’t solve, but maybe the audience can help me…I show the separations, but at the end, I have the kids solve the problem by laying their hands on the small packet. Because of their friendship with each other and sticking together even though they are different (reds and blacks), they help bring the cards back together)

I would appreciate your thoughtful feedback from:
1. I know I’ve broken the cardinal rule of sticking to 3 effects, so will 4 just be too much? Is it really the number of effects or length of time in total? Acrobatic aces is a pretty fast trick, although #3 and #4 could drag on.
2. I’m worried that both Jazz Aces and Italian Dressing use the same ‘method’ in counting the cards…albeit for different type effects. Should that bug me, or am I thinking too much like a magician and not like a spectator? Because they’re right after each other, I’m thinking they may start to notice I’m always ‘counting’ a certain way.
3. Is there a better 3 combo from the above, hopefully still keeping the theme intact?

Thank you first off for reading the above. I am really trying to think through this carefully to do magic and the effects justice (as they rightly deserve). I am a total noob, so I’m humbly submitting this situation to those here MUCH greater than I. I have read ‘Magic in Mind’ Theory book twice and I'm half way through Devant’s Our Magic (I love this book!), but haven’t found something super appropriate in this exact situation. Maybe I missed it.

If it of any import, the presentation styles I aspire to most so far are those of Paul Vigil, Armando Lucero, Arturo de Ascanio, and Michael Vincent. I'm more about anticipation, sincerity, and coming alongside the audience. "we're in this together witnessing something unique and singular."

I look forward to your critique.
GreenKnight
rklew64
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You may love a 45 minute show of just card effects, would you know for a fact if others do as well? Plus no one can really provide you constructive feedback because no one has experienced your show. I will say ignorantly that it seems you are starting to smush a square peg in a round hole. Pretend and ask yourself if you would pay to see someone perform your show exactly the way you perform it in its current format. Hey, you do have 7 months to work out the details. Most people on this forum only believes in sugar coated positive laden "feedback". May I suggest reading Jamy Ian Swiss - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamy_Ian_Swiss

Have fun!
rklew
jimgerrish
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My idea of doing card tricks at Christmas runs more along the lines of Qua-Fiki's "Wild Reindeer Games" from The Wizards' Journal #23. Video at Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/45089878
GreenKnight33
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Thanks for the comments rklew64 and jimgerrish.

rklew64 - love Jamy Ian Swiss. I've read all the free stuff I can find. His books are hard to get and expensive so I have to hold off right now, but he's on my book list.
The effects I'm listing if I did all four, wouldn't be more thna 15 minutes, so definitely wouldn't be doing a 45 minute show. It's the same people as last yea, so they like card magic. My key question is really just the best sequence of effects. Thanks for the feedback.
MRSharpe
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I'm not going to try to deter you from doing all card magic. I'm not going to give you any suggestions about set order. All I can say is try to routine the effects together so that dramatic tension builds, so that the is some logical connection from effect to effect. What ever order you settle on, perform the set multiple times in front of individuals or groups multiple times before you do it before your family. Family and close friends are always the most difficult audience a magician can find.
Custom Props Designer and Fabricator as well as Performer from Indiana, USA
GreenKnight33
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Thanks MrSharpe for your feedback! Greatly appreciated.
1KJ
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Hi. I would suggest that if you have an IBM close by, consider joining. You can explain to them what you are planning on doing and show them pieces of your act at each meeting. You will get good feedback.

KJ
GreenKnight33
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Thank KJ,

I appreciate the feedback and idea. I have very little time though with work and a full family life, so I have still haven't pulled the trigger for joining the IBM or SAM. I agree though that in the company of magicians, I could best walk through the routine to get feedback.

Thank you again,
Greenknight
Aus
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There are a number of different routining options that I would go with, I would suggest you consider you’re performing environment and what you think you can get away with since the only person that really knows what your Christmas celebrations are like are you. If it’s an intimate gathering of family and friends then I can’t see why you can’t put together a lengthier routine with more effects for a table top performance. If it’s a rather large event with extended family and friends you may like to go to the shorter side of things as not to encroach on people’s time for socialising and engaging with each other. In this case following a more restaurant/strolling performing set might be a better approach as it allows you to perform for those that wish to watch well leaving others to do their thing.

Here is a strolling set made out of the tricks you listed. The reason I’ve chosen these effects are for a number of reasons, firstly each effect doesn’t require a table and can be performed standing which in my opinion in strolling situations is important. You need to be self-contained as much as possible allowing you to perform in all situations that arise. Secondly I think with the Mystery theme as the focus, these three effects lend them self nicely to one another to that theme which I’ll give suggestions for later.

The tricks are:

Four Split – Aldo
Jack Black Detective – RRTCM
The Tipsy Trick – RRTCM

Four Split is a quick flashy trick which should establish the magic rather quickly and it’s for this reason I have chosen it as the opener, the only problem is the re-set after the performance which I think wouldn’t be too much of an issue if your adapt at rearranging cards on the hop. Jack Black Detective offers a nice little tension build when presented right which makes it a nice middle routine for the set. The Tipsy Trick offers the best big bang finish out of the tricks you listed and with the right presentation can offer a prominent end to the set.

Here is the presentation angle I would go with for each trick:

Four Split: I would use this effect as a general introduction of the “Mystery” theme. I would do this by saying mystery is usually established by obscuring the facts, take this card for example (show the 4 of spades), for most people seeing with your own eyes is enough, but it’s not until circumstance intervenes that our perceptions become unclear, (produce the two deuces). Conclude by saying the winds of change are always at work (Blow Away Change to produce the four Aces), so you can never really take anything on face value.

Just a tip here which should help with transitioning from this effect into Jack Black Detective is use the Jack of Clubs as depicted in the book for Jack Black Detective as the indifferent card used in the Four Split set-up. All this does is enable you to retrieve the card easier without ferreting around in the deck looking for it since it was already in play from the last trick. This will enable a smoother transition from one effect to the next with little dead time.

Jack Black Detective: I would play this effect as a detective mystery as it’s described in the book, the only changes being a few embellishments and capitalising on a few dramatic points of the routine.

Make sure when you’re dealing the cards out from the bottom of the deck when you pass the Jack don’t turn over the spectators card which is next right away. If you pause at this moment and don’t finish right away, a certain amount of tension will be created until you do so as the audience anticipates the conclusion they’ve been led to expect. It may seem a small thing but it’s a cumulative effect of these small moments that increase the impact of your magic and are points most new magicians don’t capitalise on.

Another way of embellishing this effect and to ramp up the impact is by heaping new impossibility’s, new puzzles and new mystery’s onto the original one. So the basic premise is for the detective to find the spectators card which could be representative of a victim or perpetrator depending on what angle you choose to go. To illustrate let’s say the spectator’s card is a murder victim which the detective is to find, but to further add to the mystery the murder took place in a room locked from the inside which you could replicate buy having the deck held by the spectator with both hands once both the selected card and the detective are returned to the deck. Click your fingers as if the jack has done its job then take back the deck and proceed to deal the cards from the bottom as per the handling.

It has no bearing on methodology of the trick however it does affect the sociology of your spectators. Now they’re not only asking how you found their card but also how you found it without touching the cards well the spectator was holding it.

The Tipsy Trick: If you go the victim angle on the pervious trick then you could go the perpetrator angle going into the final trick bringing about a nice conclusion to proceedings. Have a new card selected as the perpetrator and go on with the trick as described. Describe the twist and turns of the journey that has lead up to this point (well twisting and turning the piles of cards face up and face down) and the efforts of the perpetrator of not being caught as you display the haphazard nature of the deck with face up and face down cards mixed together.

Conclude by saying that with persistence of the truth comes clarity, and with clarity all is revealed (spread the deck showing all cards have righted themselves except the chosen card).

Anyway that should be more than enough to help your brain tick over with some ideas. If you want more let me know.

Regards

Aus
Yellowcustard
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GreenKnight33 first up good on you for thinking and planning ahead. Also I like the way your building up your reptiour. You have already received some great advice in this topic already. The advice I give is just how I would think about it.

There are a few things that worry me,
1- It all cards, (I know there are pro that have done nothing but cards and you might be one of them and that's fine. And rember the effect might be different to you bu?t what dose the viewer see. if they just see the card gose in the deck, then it on top again and once you proved you can find four of a kind in a deck whats left?)
2- Audience and time, (5-65 that's some age group to hit. Also how long do you perform for)

My advice to you is to ether a 15min routine suitable for family groups then lets the kids out to do what ever then do a secound half of 15min to adults. you could fill in the break by telling a short story. Or I would do a 20min family show and after wards say you can do more if people want in a more one to one walk round style.

Before the effects as such I would draft up the story to tell as well and try to make a set that has a lot of pepole involed and gose from levle to levle.
Enjoy your magic,

and let others enjoy it as well!
GreenKnight33
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Thanks Yellowcustard for the thoughtful comment.

When I performed for them last year, it was the ‘Topsy Turvy’, ‘Design for Laughter’, and ‘Do as I do'. Total time was 10-15 minutes. It was all cards, but to your point on audience involvement, both the second and third trick had the kids as part of it.

I'm not accomplished at all yet to pull off something longer than what I did last year, so most likely I will have to think much more about what I choose from, making the assumption that the kids will be there. I really want to perform the Jazz Aces but that's definitely a much slower, thoughtful routine, so would have to figure out how kids can participate or at least have them be enough in the other effects, that they can just watch this one as it stands.

Thanks again. The more I think about this, the more I have such greater appreciation of good magic, and how much preparation, practice, and thought goes into it.
GreenKnight33
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[quote]On May 13, 2014, Aus wrote:
There are a number of different routining options that I would go with, I would suggest you consider you’re performing environment and what you think you can get away with since the only person that really knows what your Christmas celebrations are like are you. If it’s an intimate gathering of family and friends then I can’t see why you can’t put together a lengthier routine with more effects for a table top performance. If it’s a rather large event with extended family and friends you may like to go to the shorter side of things as not to encroach on people’s time for socialising and engaging with each other. In this case following a more restaurant/strolling performing set might be a better approach as it allows you to perform for those that wish to watch well leaving others to do their thing.

Here is a strolling set made out of the tricks you listed. The reason I’ve chosen these effects are for a number of reasons, firstly each effect doesn’t require a table and can be performed standing which in my opinion in strolling situations is important. You need to be self-contained as much as possible allowing you to perform in all situations that arise. Secondly I think with the Mystery theme as the focus, these three effects lend them self nicely to one another to that theme which I’ll give suggestions for later.

The tricks are:

Four Split – Aldo
Jack Black Detective – RRTCM
The Tipsy Trick – RRTCM

.....

THANK YOU AUS for your thorough and most excellent post. Jack Black was in my initial list of three but I then I removed it for another one. I do like the effect though and the holding of the cards would be a great way to get more audience participation. I'm totally on board with your tipsy patter, as I was running along the same theme of finding the perpetraitor. Our families (who'll be at the event), have been reading and watching a lot of Sherlock Holmes and Murder She Wrote, so we've been joking about how Jessica Fletcher always finds the killer.

Yes, the event is really a family and very close neighbor gathering, so it will be intimate albeit with 10-15 folks. You're idea of standing up scares me a bit, as I'm used to performing standing over the table. I'm still very much a neophyte, but I will consider this option. It's at a house this year, so space could be somewhat limited (last year there was much more room with the billiard table).

I'll run through these three for a couple weeks to get a feel for if it's 'flowin'. Thanks so much again.

GreenKnight
Aus
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GreenKnight your most welcome. There is no requirement for you to stand up or be strolling to do this set, the advantage is that it has the versatility to be used in ether case. You might like to look at my Routining How-To Guide that I wrote some time ago that describes by approach to routining a performance. Also I have a crime/mystery card performance in that same thread highlighting my principles I lay out.

Routining How-To Guide: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=41

If your going for a more formal table top performance then your act can be a little more elaborate with additional effects. I see the trick four cast with it's divining of the selected card as a nice piece to insert between Jack Black and The Tipsy Trick with a studying the crime scene theme as a pretext for using the four cards to nut out the selection. If you do this however I would not bother having a new card selected for Tipsy Trick but use the same card reveled in Four Cast as the card used in Tipsy Trick.

My reasons for this is that since my story justify's the uses of the same card in the themed context it also allows you to avoid the dreaded pick another card syndrome that often occurs when you start stringing to many pick a card type tricks together in a routine.

Magically

Aus
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