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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workers » » Critique my Elmsley Count? -- and filming advice? (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Tortuga
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Quote:
On May 21, 2019, Bob G wrote:
I'm a bit confused -- which clip are we talking about?


Edit: I * think* you're talking about *my* clip, so, like Pooh, I'm looking proud to be called a Stout [Astute] and Helpful Bear.


Seriously, though, I thought I saw a bit of what Warren and others described in my third count. Didn't do it on purpose, but actually I rather like it (despite what I said earlier) because it was subtle and delicate. Another thing to strive to do consistently.

The clip Magicfish posted


While I'm here, I can report that my count is getting faster and (I think) more casual. Part of it is simply taking the time to keep repeating it, but people's remarks have been really helpful, too. I'll put up another video when I feel that I've made significant progress.


More and more I'm realizing that I love packet tricks (and of course there are lovely tricks that are hybrid packet and full deck), and I feel that the EC is my opening. I figure (hope I'm right) that once I can do a really good EC I'll have developed the skills to learn some of the other counts more quickly.


So, many thanks!


Bob
Bob G
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Ha ha! Never mind! Forgot about magicfish's video, even though it was very helpful and I plan to watch it again every now and then as my sophistication with the count grows. Ah, too many things going on in my head... Smile Smile
Jonathan Townsend
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Where do you expect your audience will be when you are counting the cards? I.E. What's their line of sight?

Is this supposed to be your baseline approach to counting a small packet of cards?

How do you expect to acquire the packet before you start the count? Not Sarcasm": And then when I looked down I found some cards".
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Mr Salk
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On May 22, 2019, Jonathan Townsend wrote:

How do you expect to acquire the packet before you start the count? Not Sarcasm": And then when I looked down I found some cards".


This is a great question. Getting a packet into the starting EL order is often more complicated than the sleight.
.


.
Jonathan Townsend
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Filming: Mirrors and cameras on tripods are wonderful after you've got the blocking. <-- that's film director talk for specifying your position (where your hands, arms, which way to turn your body...) to start, what actions to perform and where to end the action.

If you or a friend have a smartphone - let someone video the action for you. After you figure out a useful line of sight for your particular practice run ...there are small light tripods for smartphones.

These days you can set up a baseball cap with a go-pro camera. Then ask a friend to put on the hat and watch your count or routine and let the camera record. There's much to learn from how they move their heads so remember to view the video as audience perspective.
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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On May 20, 2019, Rupert Pupkin wrote:
All in good fun. At least it wasn't "wallah."
An ancient version of "whoomp, there it is"? Smile
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IanKendall
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Hello all.

I've just seen this thread (or parts of it).

If anyone is interested, here is thirty seconds of the count (with some very old cards...). Hopefully it will give an idea of the rhythm, and that you don't have to move your hands _too_ much once you have the mechanics down.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqyLaDwVBeE
Bob G
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Thanks, Ian. Your count looks much better than mine, even though I learned mine from your Basic Training. No surprise there. I'm a relative beginner. Perhaps you noticed other differences, besides the distance through which my left hand moves, that I could work on? One of the differences between your count and mine counts relates to Jon's questions about blocking, so now we gracefully segue into blocking:


So, Jon, blocking. I'm not a theater person, and I wouldn't even be able to begin to answer the questions you and Mr Salk asked. Here's the extent of my thinking: I've performed a couple of tricks for my wife, with her sitting across our dining room table from me (the *short* dimension -- we're not reenacting Citizen Kane, thanks goodness), and she said she couldn't see the backs or faces or the cards very well -- mostly the front edge of the deck. That's why I've been practicing the EC with a little hook at the end, that is, twisting my wrist so that my palm faces the person in front of me. I'd be glad to hear more elegant solutions to that problem. I'd rather not stand; I'd rather sit at the table. More convivial, less stage-frightening.


As for cameras: I *think* I have a solution that won't cost me anything: Put a box at my wife's place at the table, and my camera mounted on a little tripod, with a broad enough angle so that the camera can record both my face and my hands, roughly from the place where my wife's eyes would be. I'll have to experiment, but does that sound reasonable?


And about getting into the count in the first place: I'm obviously missing something; I don't understand why that would be a problem. I suppose it depends on the trick. Please educate me!


Bob
Tortuga
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A lot of magic suffers when you are seated at a table, especially a high one. If you must, put a cushion on the chair to raise yourself up. Try to tilt the cards down so that your spectator can see them. Doesn't impress the audience if you change a king to an ace if they couldn't see the king to begin with.
Bob G
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An issue that I didn't mention, Tortuga: I have back problems that are exacerbated if I have to lean over. That's another reason I'm reluctant to perform close up while standing, though I haven't actually tried it to find out what it feels like. I've thought about performing seated at a card table, which is several inches than our dining room table.
Jonathan Townsend
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Theres's some discussion elsewhere on the Café about handling the Elmsley Count without wrist bends and where the audience can clearly see the faces (or backs) of the cards. Here's one -> https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view......orum=133

Language from the theater is useful for matters of base practical performing. From sets and costume to how to address your audience, there are centuries of wisdom and practical advice already there for you and mostly free for the asking. Film language is useful for discussing attention and "effect".

From over five hundred years ago:
Quote:
... let your own discretion
be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the
word to the action; with this special o'erstep not
the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone ...
or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful
laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the
censure of the which one must in your allowance
o'erweigh a whole theatre of others.
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Jonathan Townsend
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Basic practice might be to say "They're all face down" timing your actions to your words. Maybe these will be easier - as you perform your counting action say "just a few cards". Now if you want something a little more nuanced - "watch these five cards" - then act as if you're wondering where that fifth card went.

Just a few suggestions for practice/rehearsal. You can carry four cards in your shirt pocket. Or in a small wallet - but remember to include opening the wallet, extracting the cards, and setting the wallet aside in your practice.

:)
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Bob G
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Thanks, John, for all the ideas.



Although everything you said was useful, there's one thing you mentioned that I'm particularly concerned with at the moment. I looked at the other thread that you linked us to, which is exactly what I'm asking about here. To paraphrase, accurately, I hope, you're wondering how to do an EC so that your spectators can see the cards -- but you're also asking about the general issue of how to do close-up card magic so that spectators can see the cards. Although I started thinking about this issue only recently, it seems so basic that I'd have thought that the problems would have been discussed and worked out long ago. Did you find any satisfying info?




This, on the other hand, is more of a P. S.:
I like the quote. Who wrote it? It strikes me as an eloquent description of the goal, but not of how to reach it. I'm sure there are zillions of good books about acting, directing, blocking, and so on that would help magicians. Pete McCabe's Scripting Magic books strike me as on good example that's specifically geared to magic. I have no doubt that my colleagues in theater could direct me to good books about blocking, etc. So I won't trouble you to list such books -- unless you really want to!
Jonathan Townsend
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Joe Riding, Fred Castle and Jack Avis were adapting the count almost as soon as Elmsley showed the item. David Parr and Robert Neale have more recent published work.
Some folks design their routines to look good when done over the coffee table or when standing up close to the audience. Joe Riding's video and Fred Castle's lecture notes on Magic with Jumbo Cards are still available.

Glad you liked the quote. It's from back when poetry and wordplay were as common as internet memes are today. There's plenty of commentary available online so here's a link to the source text: http://shakespeare.mit.edu/hamlet/hamlet.3.2.html
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Bob G
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Many thank, Jon. Ah, I should have figured Shakespeare. I'm guessing it's related to the "play within the play." I'll look into the Riding and Castle.
Mr Salk
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Quote:
On May 23, 2019, Bob G wrote:

And about getting into the count in the first place: I'm obviously missing something; I don't understand why that would be a problem. I suppose it depends on the trick. Please educate me!


Unless the EC is part of the first-trick, it can be difficult to nonchalantly separate a small-packet with a single-card reversed in the starting-position.
Going from a borrowed and shuffled deck into an EC packet-trick takes some skill and forethought.
Personally with my repertoire, it takes a bit of handling and specific trick-order to start an EC cleanly.

But routine and presentation are another discussion. No point in filing until you have fingernails.
.


.
Bob G
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That makes sense. And you're right about fingernails!
Greg Kiefer
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The 4 Card Trick performed and taught by Dan Garrett utilizes the Elmsey count. Dan absolutely kills as I was not able to detect any misdirection. I know there are many card technicians that performs the Elmsey Count flawlessly. Check out Dan’s work if possible.
Bob G
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Thanks Greg, I'll look into this. Do you happen to know where Garrett teaches the 4 Card Trick?


Bob
Greg Kiefer
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Bob, I believed the trick was called “4 Card Reiteration”. I recall Dan Garrett teaching the trick on one of his VHS tapes (Yep, you’ve read that correctly...it is that old). I’m not sure if Dan has put on another medium.
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