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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Pardon me, sir... » » Practice (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of odomenech
I am not really interested in performing pickpocket effects in my acts, but I was just wondering out of curiosity. How does one practice pickpocketing? Practicing on someone who knows you are going to pickpocket them seems like it would be incredibly difficult because they know they need to be on guard. But practicing on someone who does not know could lead to a criminal record. So, how does one go about practicing pickpocketing? Do you just pickpocket your family randomly without warning?
Doug Arden
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A mannequin can be quite useful.
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Profile of ac-magic
Also, if you practiced on someone who knew that you were going to try and pickpocket them, if you get away with it then you know that you are good enough. Also, try telling them "During this next trick, I'm going to try and steal something from you right pocket." Then actually steal their watch, something from their left pocket etc etc. That will have the same effect of the spectator being drawn into the effect. Obviously during the trick you need to make subtle gestures and moves towards their right pocket or else they'll get suspicious. Also you could only use this technique once but once is enough surely (JOKE).


P.S. Using a mannequin is another alternative, but you don't get feedback like "I felt that", plus they stand up right and not every speccy you come across will stand up right plus you don't get the natural sway that you do of a live spectator.
A Smile, mind reading, funny escape artist wanna-be
Doug Arden
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AC -Magic is correct about the lack of feedback from a mannequin but I did find it quite helpful when I first began practcicng. I was able to practice the "mechanics" of the steals until I became comfortable with the techniques and then moved on to "live" people.
Harry Murphy
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Profile of Harry Murphy
You can do what they did in days of old at the School of the Ten Bells. If you read Dickens “Oliver Twist” you read a good description of how little nippers got trained. It was an honest description of how it was done in that day. By the way, “little nippers” (nippers) is a term that goes back to the 1500’s meaning a child taught to be a cut purse/pickpocket.

Anyway… I practice on a coat hanging from a hanger and pair of trousers hung using suspenders under the coat hanging from a screw eye in my ceiling. I have a number of small bells (jingle bells) sew to each pocket and to the hem of the coat and lapels. They tinkle if I make to dramatic a move. The hanging coat/trousers set-up is much more mobile than a manikin. A cord from the hanger neck to the hook eye helps you adjust the set-up for different heights.

You can also simply use a chair. Put the coat over the chair and practice. This gives you practice on the level of a person sitting down.

Once you have basic technique down it’s time for practice on real living people. Find a friend or family member and tell them you want to practice a magic trick. Do the dip as you show the trick.

If you are not comfortable touching people and can’t get inside their comfort zone with ease (using a line of banter and eye contact as you touch them) then this field is not for you.

Successful pickpocketing on stage is about sensory overload. There is just too much going on for the person to notice the dip.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
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