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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Time after time » » What to do when you forget (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

steve j
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Special user
Long Island, New York
559 Posts

Profile of steve j
I have found that I am at the point where I may have learned to much too fast, I have come to notice that whenever I am asked to perform on the spot I tend to think for a while before a I think of a trick. On the other hand when I am in my room just messing with a deck I'll start to remember a lot of tricks that I don't even remember learning. Anyone else have a similar problem, I think I just have to start writing stuff down.
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Veteran user
St. Pete, FL
362 Posts

Profile of docelk
Yes, but I'm a hundred and four years old
Life is a test. It is only a test. If this had been a real life, you would have been given further instructions on where to go, and what to do.
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Inner circle
1480 Posts

Profile of scorch
What you are discovering is the difference between amateurs and professionals. In general, amateurs do lots of different effects for the same audience. Professionals do relatively few effects for difference audience each night. Even though you might be an amateur (and there's certainly no shame in that!), you might try to take a cue from the pros and refine what you do down to a dozen or so effects that are truly powerful and that you can truly make your own.

Another thing that might help is to work up actual routines, instead of just random effects. You should have several routines of different lengths and through-lines, or "themes." Practice each of them as a routine, a whole that flows well from one effect to another (see Card College for great advice on routining). Really practice them as routines. That way you'll tend to remember them and not have to pause while you think of something to do. That pause can really kill the momentum and sense of interest in your magic.
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Inner circle
Los Angeles, CA
1520 Posts

Profile of Cain
In addition to Scorch's sensible advice, I have two suggestions:

1) Pick an anywhere, anytime effect. Some argue "impromptu card trick" is a misnomer, but suppose you're in a situation where someone discovers you're a magician, thrusts a deck of cards into your hand and says, "do something." This is what you will do without hesitation (and please don't pick ACR unless you're planning on performing only one trick).

2) A parable (of sorts) I recall once reading involved a young man boasting to a famous magician that he knew more than one-hundred card tricks. "How many card tricks do you know," he asked the professional. The response was characteristically utilitarian: "Eight".

Write down every card trick you know; you're keeping a list. Magicians forget more card tricks than they remember. If you're likely to forget how the trick is done (which often suggests it might be a clunker), include a description of the effect (and/or where you can easily find it). From your master list you should be able to put together routines. After these are practiced write down the tricks in your working repertoire; remember that you're tailoring routines for the environments that you work in. Keep this list where you keep your cards and look over it consistently.

You're probably never going to do more than half a dozen card tricks in a sitting (I hope!). Even if you get the sense that people want more, you should know when to stop (or possibly save something for later). Essentially I'm stating what should become obvious: maintain strict quality control; less can be more.
Ellusionst discussing the Arcane Playing cards: "Michaelangelo took four years to create the Sistine Chapel masterpiece... these took five."

Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes: "You know Einstein got bad grades as a kid? Well, mine are even worse!"
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Eternal Order
20833 Posts

Profile of Dannydoyle
The reason professionals will not be flustered by this is they have routines they will use. Invariably when someone asks to see tricks and hands me cards I will do a set routine. It makes sense. Come up with a routine you are comfortable with even if it is only 3 or 4 or less effects. Do them the same way every time and no hemming and hawing will be necessary.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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Loyal user
Ca, US
265 Posts

Profile of HusssKarson
One step at a time.. perfect every trick!
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New user
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Profile of yutszfung
I agree, always pratice one trick at a time and make it perfect before you go for another one.
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