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Topic: Bafflers vs simple tricks
Message: Posted by: Lord Anacho (Jan 11, 2008 09:20AM)
Hi all,

Returning to the art after 30 years, I wanted to do it properly this time. So I bought a load of recommended books and I also bought the [i]Paul Wilson DVD[/i] to accompany the [i]Royal Road to Card Magic[/i]. I strictly adhere to the rules in both book and video, so I am not going to study the next chapter before I have mastered the previous one. I am still struggling to do a half decent [i]injog shuffle[/i]; several weeks at it, little progress.

What I did do, was watch all the tricks Paul Wilson performs on the DVDs (without looking at the explanation, I swear!). One in particular caught my attention: [i]Roy Walton's Pass on Red.[/i] As I knew from the caption on the DVD, this is a trick that requires the pass. And realizing that, I quickly figured out how the trick works, a real baffler.

I tried it out on my true love, even without being able to do the pass. The trick has built in misdirection, so all it took was to lower my hand below the table at which I was performing and making a quick two-handed cut whilst my true love was laying out her cards. She thought I had indeed forced three cards on her. (Well, in a way I had, as those knowing the effect will realize.) She wasn't over the moon with the effect though, but she's not really into magic. (Read: I am a lousy performer.)

So I did the Pass on Red later on my number one stepson. He was flabbergasted alright, but again, not over the moon. I was beginning to think that I really suck at this magic thing...

Then, my number 2 stepdaughter came 'round for a visit. I decided to show her two tricks. One is a little self worker (actually the second trick in [i]Mark Wilson's Course in Magic)[/i]. For those who don't know it, the effect is as follows: Card is selected and returned to the middle of the deck. Magician riffles and snaps deck, ribbon spreads deck face down, and one card is seen to be reversed. It is a five card of an indifferent suit. Magician states that the fact that a five has been reversed must mean something, so he counts down to the fifth card below the reversed card and, lo and behold, it is the selected card. The icing on the cake is that after the revelation, the magician flips over the four cards that were between the reversed five and the selected card, and they're the four aces.

I did that trick and followed on with the [i]Pass on Red[/i]. As my number 2 stepdaughter is in the family way, I could patter merrily along the lines of she being more prone to being influenced in her condition patati patata. The [i]Pass on Red[/i] went on fine. Even with my true love watching, who already saw the effect, I managed to make an unobtrusive cut below the table. (I still have many chapters to go in the Royal Road before I reach the Pass!)

The short point of this long story (my third mini-performance since returning to the art, so to speak) is that my stepdaughter was a lot more baffled by the simple Mark Wilson trick than by the Pass on Red.

Does this happen to you experienced magicians, too? You have an effect that you consider to be a stroke of genius, a masterful creation, a very clever idea, and then you discover it is upstaged by one of the very simple tricks?

Ciao for now,
Erik
Message: Posted by: Jerrine (Jan 11, 2008 09:31AM)
[quote]
On 2008-01-11 10:20, Lord Anacho wrote:
Does this happen to you experienced lot, too? You have an effect that you consider to be a stroke of genius, a masterful creation, a very clever idea, and then you discover it is upstaged by one of the very simple tricks?

[/quote]

Yes.
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (Jan 11, 2008 11:00AM)
Different people react to the same effects in different ways. As magicians we often get caught up in the method, but the audience does not know the method, they don't see or even understand the "move". Beyond that, it is how the effect is presented to them that often results in the "reaction".
Message: Posted by: KapBoy77 (Jan 11, 2008 11:23AM)
Yeah, I find to the audience the moves you use to achieve the effects are irrelevant. But seriously, if you like an effect that requires the pass, just learn the pass. It's o.k. to skip a few chapters to learn sleights that you are actually going to use. Hiding your hands under the table when you don't have to is a no-no in my opinion. You will be called on it sooner or later.

Andre
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Jan 11, 2008 11:41AM)
Pass on Red was one of the ten or so tricks from Royal Road that made it into my notebooks. And there it has stayed, unused. I'm now transferring all the best material from my notes with better descriptions and additions to my NEW notebook, and a couple of days ago I came upon this effect again.

I read it and thought, "Why did I write down that one?" I always write down the effects that grab me the most the first time (!) I see them. My hope is that they will work on others equally strong at least once, even though I myself may have lost my initial fascination for it. Or maybe they are still good, but I have since found another very similar effect which is better. There are, for instance, some sandwich effects that are very good that use the same concept as Pass on Red.

Two conflicting thoughts, though... On the one hand, I think that the effects that you like the most are the ones that will possibly fit your style later on. The same way that, as a (failed) screenwriter, I tend to love the movies the most that are closest to my own work or style. So they may not play well for you now, but once you have digested and adapted it...

On the other hand...we have different opinions on different days, and you may have just liked that effect on that particular day for some reason. A temporary state of mind you were in. A spectator will of course have similarly varying preferences, and that is impossible to predict.

Ok, I'm ranting. Why not write it down in a notebook, explained well enough so that you can understand it in a year without having to re-watch the DVD? And then, leave it for now while you explore other things. Maybe the next time you discover it, you will have worked on a pass or you will find that it fits perfectly next to another trick you have discovered.

And yes, I too think that some of the strongest tricks in the world are very, very simple and "unsophisticated".
Message: Posted by: NeoMagic (Jan 11, 2008 11:54AM)
[quote]
On 2008-01-11 10:20, Lord Anacho wrote:

Still struggling to do a half decent injog shuffle; several weeks at it, little progress. [/quote]

If you want something to keep control of the top card or stock - and don't mind skipping a few pages ;) - try the Overhand Lift Shuffle from chapter 9 of the same book. It's a personal favourite. It makes for a great force, too.

And yes, sometimes the simple tricks have the greater impact. Often, they are straight to the point and the audience clearly understands and appreciates what has just happened.
Message: Posted by: Larry Bean (Jan 11, 2008 12:51PM)
My experience has shown that effects involving very difficult to master sleights do not necessarily impress the lay spectator as an effect which is very simple to do.

Also, the effects that I like the best, that in the past have fooled me the most, are the ones that are super easy to do.
Message: Posted by: abc (Jan 11, 2008 01:07PM)
Off the point, but you can do the exact same effect from the Wilson book by using a different card and then have the cards in between be someone's phone number. If they do not know that you have it (for example, they booked at the restaurant you work at and left the number), it is real baffler. The aces could be a trick, but how can you possibly know there phone number??! Same card handling, though.
Message: Posted by: Lord Anacho (Jan 11, 2008 02:18PM)
[quote]
On 2008-01-11 12:23, Andre M Bisson wrote:
Hiding your hands under the table when you don't have to is a no-no in my opinion. You will be called on it sooner or later.

Andre
[/quote]

Well, Andre, I agree obviously. I do not intend to keep on doing the trick this way with the cut under the table. The pass is called for, and I shall learn it in due course. I just wanted to try out the effect and, since the misdirection is strong enough, I was fairly confident I could get away with it, certainly in a one-on-one situation.

Ciao for now,
Erik
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Jan 11, 2008 05:16PM)
I have to admit to skipping around a lot in the various books and videos that I have. When something catches my eye, I learn that and then go on to the next thing. I probably will take a lot longer to get through things, but I think that you should get to performing as soon as you can. This isn't to say that you shouldn't practice things, but once you really start performing something you can really accelerate your ability to perform that effect.

I am continually amazed by what fools people. Some really simple things will fool your audience, even if it is comprised of a bunch of magicians. I often find that the simple effects allow me to concentrate more on the presentation. I'm more at ease and can better gauge the audiences reaction.

I've gotten gasps from simple things like Crazy Man's Handcuffs, Hot Rod, and Sponge Balls. I've gotten pretty good with these things, so I don't think about it anymore and can just have fun.
Message: Posted by: Jerrine (Jan 11, 2008 08:58PM)
[quote]
On 2008-01-11 18:16, marty.sasaki wrote:
I've gotten gasps from simple things like Crazy Man's Handcuffs, Hot Rod, and Sponge Balls. I've gotten pretty good with these things, so I don't think about it anymore and can just have fun.
[/quote]

There you go. The very simple trick is the one you can do in someone else's sleep. Next to zero thought is given the diabolical bits of business. Now that ever amazing brain of yours can devote it's vast potential to creating Magic!
Message: Posted by: ViciousCycle (Jan 13, 2008 12:40AM)
[quote]
On 2008-01-11 10:20, Lord Anacho wrote:
Does this happen to you experienced magicians, too? You have an effect that you consider to be a stroke of genius, a masterful creation, a very clever idea, and then you discover it is upstaged by one of the very simple tricks?
[/quote]

Max Maven once said that when you do magic for someone, they'll ask themselves three questions:
1. Who is this person?
2. What are they doing?
3. Why should I care?

If you can successfully deal with question number three, then a simple trick can affect someone strongly. I watch a lot of magic shows in Chicago, and I know that the performers that I want to see again are the ones that made me care the most.
Message: Posted by: andre combrinck (Jan 13, 2008 01:02AM)
As for the Jog shuffle, just keep at it, you'll get it. This is a fundamental move you need to learn. For bafflers in RRTCM that are relatively easy: Design For Laughter (the Glide section), Round and Round (the Glimpse section), and Do as I Do(Key Card section) are hard to beat.
Mark Wilson also has some excellent effects that are real bafflers. At one point, I did a Torn and Restored Card Through Window--combining the T/R effect in Mark Wilson and a simple card through window in 'The Amazing Book of Card Tricks' by Jon Tremaine. This never failed to kill.

Good Luck,
AJ
Message: Posted by: Brad Burt (Jan 14, 2008 01:46PM)
This is a GREAT post as it points 'up' something that we have all seen: In MANY cases the simplest of 'tricks' are in fact the most magical and baffling! Why is that?

I have spent untold hours thinking about this subject as I believe it to be one of the core concepts in looking to make our magic more, well....magical.

Consider the following and answer for yourself which you would think would be 'more' magical and more mystifing: #1- Magician places a small ball on the table. The ball sits there for a moment and suddenly vanishes in full view of the audience. #2- Magician places a small ball on the table. He then passes his hands over the ball obscuring it for a moment. Ball is still there so he lays a handkerchief over the ball. Pulls hanky away and ball is gone.

The point is simply that almost invariably the simplest method is the most following. Combine a simple method with a routine that has the fewest number of moves and the routine becomes even more mystifing. The human mind 'tends' to add complication and thus fools itself when attempting to figure things out.

Consider the utter simplicity of the coin thru the Rubber Dental Dam trick. For those of you familiar with it could anything be more simple? I STILL remember the first time I pushed the coin through the rubber sheet myself. The snap and the coin was gone from on top of the rubber sheet and now then inside the glass!

Here's a recommendation: Even if you never do a single effect out of it....get Theodore Annemans "Pratical Mental Magic" from Dover publications and read through it. Original title: Practical Mental Effects. Anneman was a genius and reading his material will give you an education on simplification of method to achieve maximal effect. It's not so much the material itself, but "a way in which to think about doing magic" that is so valuable. Best regards,