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Bob G
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Hi folks,


I like my props to be examinable by the end of a trick. I just had an idea of sorts, and I wondered if people with more experience than I have could help elaborate the idea.


To give you an example, I saw an O & W trick in which there appeared to be 3 black cards and 3 red; in reality there were 2 black and 4 red. So presumably not examinable, at least without doing something currently above my pay grade like lapping or palming or a packet switch.


My thought was to immediately follow the O & W by another trick; magi would keep the six cards already in use, and add a few more cards to the original ones, and perform a second trick that *was* examinable at the end.


For instance, you could go into 8-card brainwave -- except that isn't examinable either!


I hope I've conveyed the idea. I'm looking for suggestions for short sets of packet tricks that could be routined together so that by the end of the *last* trick the cards could be examined. Wouldn't have to include O & W; that was just an example. Generally I'm not a big fan of O & W, but I liked the version I'm referring to because it had a nice climax: all six cards appeared to be red at the end.


Thanks for your help!


Bob
CardGuyMike
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If you can't palm out or lap a card then it's all about audience management. Routine the effect so that they think they have already examined the cards, or so that the cards with heat on them are examinable. Lose them in the deck and go into another trick. Put them back in a gimmicked wallet so if they ask to see them you can open the wallet back up and pull out ungimmicked cards. Or do as you say and routine several effects so that you are eventually clean. Some tricks end with the cards you want to ditch reversed on the bottom, at which point you can drop them on the deck and you are clean. Look at John Bannon's fractal packet tricks. John's definition of fractal is that you end clean which has become important to him.
Bob G
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Those are all good ideas -- thanks, Mike. I have a Z-fold wallet and one of the fractal disks, so those are definite possibilities. Can you remember off-hand any effects that end with cards reversed on the bottom? That seems like a promising idea, too.
CardGuyMike
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I'm sure there are a lot of tricks out there that end with dirty cards reversed in the packet. Off the top of my head from what I have performed lately,

Shaking the Aces from Do Ki Moon's "Brave" DVD ends with a card reversed on the bottom
Bruce Cervon's "A Matter of Psychology" ends with a dirty card reversed in the center of the packet, but there are ways to get it to the bottom. For instance a final display using an Ascanio spread, casually setting the bottom 2 cards on top of the packet.
Bob G
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Thanks. Smile
Tom G
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Don't feel like stuff needs to be handed out.
Bob G
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This is something that I've gone back and forth about, Tom. My feeling is that effects are stronger if the props can be examined a the end. But I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.


Thanks,

Bob
draupnir
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I know John Bannon does a lot of work to try and make these kinds of tricks examinable at the end of the routine. He calls them fractal I believe and it might be worth researching that more to see if he has any work that could help you
peppermeat2000
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I started performing Bannon's, "Sizzle" and "Royal Scam" before the pandemic set in. I wasn't choosing them based on audiences being able to examine the cards (which they can), but that they both play very strong. I'm still trying to figure out why I set them aside when I first purchased them, but happy I have them in my arsenal.

Anyhow...obviously I'm with draupnir in advising you to check out Bannon's fractal magic. "Triabolical" is a great start (co-written with Liam Montier).
Bob G
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Thanks for the suggestions, pm2000. I have one of the fractal disks somewhere in my cabinet -- Fractalicious, maybe? -- so I'll take a look and see if those effects are on the disk. Funny -- despite all the posts about magic during the pandemic, it hadn't occurred to me to practice magic on my friends. Could certainly do so, using something skype-like.
Tom G
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I guess handing stuff out indicates there could be something fishy and if you do have a great trick and it can't be worked to hand out then you look suspicious. Handle the cards (even if clean) at the end of the effect, and display them as above board.
Bob G
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I think I see what you're saying, Tom. It's better not to hand out the cards for examination even if you can. Because if you hand them out then specs will expect you to hand them out every time and will be suspicious if you don't. But you can *show* the cards at the end in such a way that specs don't see any gaffs. Am I interpreting you correctly?



Still open to ideas related to my OP: a small set of tricks in which you keep adding cards to the packet at the end of the trick in order to show a new trick, and, by the end, evidence of anything out of the ordinary has been destroyed. Wouldn't work with gaff cards, I guess, but it should be possible with tricks that use ordinary cards in which you have a different number of cards in the first trick from what you claimed. I'd think...
Mark Williams
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Hello Bob, There is no reason to allow spectators to examine cards or props. You are in charge of your show, not the audience. Here's an idea, if you are hired to do a show, ask the host to purchase a brand new deck of cards and have it available for your performance. Let them open the cards and shuffle them, proceed performing your magic routine. There is no need for the cards to ever be examined, as they themselves bought them. Or, bring a brand new sealed deck to your show and let someone open & shuffle them...proceed as I recommended before. Either way, the cards will never need to be examined, they are above board. Did I mention that your props never need to be examined? Smile


Best Magical Regards,

Mark Williams
"Once is Magic!! Twice is an Education!!"
CardGuyMike
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I think when you are performing a "professional" show in front of an audience, you are in charge of your show. When you're performing informally for friends and family (and forgive the assumption if I am wrong but I get the impression that's what Bob is doing) it becomes a bit more problematic.
Bob G
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Hi Mark and CGMike,


First, yes, Mike, "performing informally for friends and family" is exactly what I'm working toward (and even doing a bit of Smile ). I think you make a good point, one I hadn't thought about, about the difference between a formal show and a more informal one. It's got me thinking about something that I had wanted to do but is not possible this year: setting up a card table at our annual street-wide yard sale and showing magic to whoever's interested. That seems somewhere between the two scenarios you mentioned.


And Hi Mark, always great to hear from you. Maybe I'm taking your idea too literally. If I'm letting my spectators open a new deck as you describe, then there's no possibility of using gaff cards, is there? In which case the the cards could be examined at any time anyway. I guess you could palm in cards (like the stranger card in Chicago Opener) and then palm them out again, but that's way above my pay grade at the moment. More generally, isn't the magic more magical if the props can be examined?


Interested in your thoughts, folks.


Bob
Wravyn
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By having to prove/over prove with examination of our props all the time, in my opinion, it lessens the magic and brings a puzzle aspect with what we have presented. By introducing the puzzle we now change from Magicians to puzzle masters.
Bob G
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Interesting, Wrayn. Opposite of what I'd have thought -- but then, I don't have much performance experience.
CardGuyMike
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You need to strike a balance between proving and over proving. I really like what Tommy Wonder has to say about it. He talks about constructing routines so that the proof is part of the routine, either explicitly or implicitly. He calls this "running before you are chased". I often don't hand out my props, and I don't feel the need to hand out my deck of cards more than once (if at all). I strive to perform packet tricks by taking cards from a deck in use (or even allowing the spectators to do that for me) and palming gaffs in and out as needed. However some kinds of tricks beg for examination.

If I change a copper coin into a silver coin, people are going to want to examine the coin. I don't have to hand it out, but if I don't the assumption will be that it's some sort of trick coin. Handing it out makes the effect more magical.

Similarly packet tricks are problematic, and even John Bannon recognizes this by trying to make his tricks end clean. Many card magicians disdain packet tricks saying that taking out a special packet of cards from a wallet makes audiences think the cards are special (gimmicked) since they didn't come from a deck. If I take four aces from a wallet and change them to four kings the assumption will be some sort of trick cards. Spectators don't have to know the details of flap cards to suspect some sort of trickery in the cards. Again, handing the cards out in this instance makes the trick more magical. And I have seen this first hand with both coins and cards -- spectators who weren't that impressed with an effect, assuming trick cards/coins, became much more amazed when they were able to look at the cards/coins and see that they were completely normal. In many cases you can hand out the objects in the beginning rather than at the end, but there is value to allowing inspection for certain kinds of tricks. After all, why are so many tricks advertised as ending clean if that is not an issue?
Bob G
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All very interesting. This makes sense to me -- whether to hand out props is context-dependent. I find myself attracted to packet tricks -- in general I like things that are the smallest of their kind -- so eventually, if I'm going to do gaffed ones, I'll have to learn palming. Right now I'm working on Dr. Daley's Last Trick, which can certainly be examined, and half a year ago I could have shown you Color Monte (need to refresh my memory on that one); those are great tricks because there's nothing to hide at the end.


Although I'm speaking from not a lot of experience, I agree with what I take to be your philosophy, which I'd paraphrase (I hope correctly) as, "Don't hand your props out if no one asks, but be ready the hand them out, after discarding any gaffs, if someone does ask."


I'm really intrigued by Tommy Wonder's idea of running before you're chased. Does he address this in his DVD's? I'd love to see examples of his philosophy carried out in practice. I have his 3-DVD set -- Visions of Wonder?? -- but none of his books.
CardGuyMike
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If you're serious about performing, Tommy Wonder's 2-Volume Books of Wonder is gold. Of course it has some great tricks but also wonderful discussions about magic theory and performance theory. He starts with a dissertation on misdirection, why that is an unfortunate term to use, and then a masterclass on the theory of focusing attention where you want it. Lots of other wisdom about how to construct effects and much more. He talks about running before you are chased because once you are chased it's too late to run and you're going to be stuck. So don't put yourself in that position.

Every performer has their own style, and I see lots of advice about not over-proving, not running when you're not being chased, etc. And it's true that doing these things can arouse suspicion where there wasn't any to start with. But I have to disagree with those who take it to the extreme of saying that you're in control and never have to hand out anything. It's true -- you don't ever have to hand out anything, but you're kidding yourself if you think that never detracts from the experience.

Look at how tricks are sold. It's a virtue to end clean and even better to begin clean as well. Many coin sets come with un-gimmicked versions of gaffs so you can do a sleight to switch out the gaff and end clean. Many creators explain how to clean up after a trick. On his DVD set, Jason Ladanye goes to great lengths -- even throwing in extra sleights -- to end clean, even in situations where it is unlikely someone would want to examine the deck. Darwin Ortiz also makes sure to teach you how to end clean. Why all of this emphasis on ending clean if it's never necessary to let spectators take a look?

One of my favorite performers of all time is Daryl, and I have watched his Fooler Doolers set countless times. He performs with all sorts of props including ropes, cards, dice, matches, rings, etc. In his performance he almost always hands out these objects for examination. Why? Is he wrong? Is he over proving? He even states during one trick that he always likes to end clean and will design bits of business into his routines so that he can.

Stage magicians often invite a member of the audience on stage to examine a magic prop to verify that is is "perfectly ordinary." Why?

So it is up to you to design effects and routines that achieve the audience reaction you want. Don't over-prove. Don't make a point of showing your hands empty at a time when spectators have no reason to believe otherwise. If you're doing a card set, don't hand out the deck after every trick. Don't go overboard continually showing both sides of the cards, counting the cards or otherwise proving things you have already proved. Allow things to be inspected casually as part of the performance. Don't shove a prop at someone and insist that they examine it closely to make sure it's normal unless this is important. If you're dirty and can't clean up, maybe you want to replace the effect with something else. Otherwise just move on. Just because you end clean doesn't mean you have to hand things out, but you do want to be prepared for the spectator who thinks he knows something. You can learn spectator management to try to sidestep that situation but isn't it better to truly be clean? And maybe there is something to be learned from the seasoned and respected performers who do strive to end clean and who do allow props to be examined within the context of the performance.
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