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Mike Lowry
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Why is there such a taboo against self-working tricks among most magicians? Why is it that whenever the words "self-working" are mentioned to magicians they grimace and turn their noses up like they're too good for a self working effect?

The way I see it is that the genius behind a self working effect is the way it actually works. The genius behind sleights are the creativity and the cleverness behind the move itself. To come up with a self working trick probably takes just as much effort mentally as it would physical effort to come up with a sleight. I think typecasting self-working effects as "beginner effects" would be a huge mistake and closed minded to a certain degree. The ability to perform a self-working effect is not what should be judged but the way that it is performed and it's application. The self-working effect should be used as a tool for a specific presentation and not a simple "guess your number" effect that uses a mathematical principle. I think that people with minimal experience with magic are quick to disregard a self-working effect in order to look "cool" and "keep up" with the more experienced veterans. More experienced people would probably take a self working effect and try to figure out an application for it. Anyways I think the fact that there are 3 posts in this category shows the general feeling about self-working tricks among the majority of people. Just thought I'd give people who pass through here something to think about.

Any thoughts?
Daegs
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Because most magicians are more concerned about ego/themselves than audience?
They are too lazy to go beyond what is "Popular" to what is actually good?

One, actual practical reason would be, that if all we used were self working tricks, then anyone could take our place doing them, whereas with skill they'd have to put it a lot of work.

Of course, that is easily countered by saying we are selling ourselves not our magic and no one can replace you... but perhaps this might be one line of thought.

I love self working stuff... some of the only things that will fry magicians.
FredNarlo
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Daegs said:
Quote:
Because most magicians are more concerned about ego/themselves than audience. They are too lazy to go beyond what is "Popular" to what is actually good.

I agree 110%. Unfortunatley, I have been caught in this "trap" before. This is one reason I enjoy MD work...I consider it be self-working, for the most part. At most, some mental calcualtions are required but, if adding things such as 12+32 and associating a card with a # is "work" than maybe not, Any thoughts?
marc_carrion
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Using a MD is not selfworking, yes, the math is easy, but what about the false shuffles, dl, misdirections, psycologhy... I agree that some effects with MD could be considered self-working, but not all of it, to get 100% of your MD you need to know a lot.
acmp
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I guesx that the traditional 'self workers', like the 21 card trick, are things that have been murdered by kids for years (a guy at work did the 21 card trick on my and it sucked, no presentation at all) so there is an air of amature about it.

But if can present it I'm sure it would be more than possible to entertain with self working effects.

Do you have any 'good' self workers that you use?
acmp<><

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Daegs
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I think mem. deck stuff is self working as long as no secret actions are used.

All self-working effects require some mental work(even if its just picking up the right pile as in 21 card trick) and we can't exclude mem. deck just because its "harder" than that.

Every self working trick requires mental memorization and mental work, mem. deck is still 100% self working if there are no secret actions imho.
Dave V
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My favorite self worker is Quintuplicate Coincidence ( www.dennymagic.com ) but than again, I might be biased Smile

As I did before against another "absolute" statement in another thread, I must take issue with the "All self-working effect require some mental work (memorization)." Many, yes. All? No. There are some that are so much "no brainers" that that just can't apply.

Unfortunately (for the spectator mostly) we hear "self working" and just show the trick with no presentation, thinking that somehow it can stand on it's own. That's simply not true. If constructed well, self workers can be powerful magic and once your mind is freed from having to remember what to do, or worry that you might flash some sleight, then you can focus on making the trick's presentation more entertaining.
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Daegs
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Quote:
There are some that are so much "no brainers" that that just can't apply.


I disagree... you obviously have to remember the sequence of events of the handling or else it couldn't work... memorizing the method = Mental Work.

If you don't memorize that you have to pick up the middle packet in 21 card trick, then it won't work... that's mental work.

If you don't remember to put the 4th jack on the bottom/top of the deck in the 3 robbers trick, or you forget where to put the 3 jacks, then it also fails... without the mental work it won't work.
Dave V
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Smile
If you simply want an argument, everything in life requires "mental work" but that's hardly the same as a "memorization" trick.
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Daegs
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No argument, but a definition of self-working that actually makes sense.

If we want to describe easy/simple tricks then we need to come up with a term for that, but as long as we use self-working, we can't use what we normally delegate self working effects as, but we need a definition to classify them.

The best working classification I have, which actually holds true is:

A card effect, requiring mental work and possibly preperation in which no secret actions take place.

Secret action would be any sleight or action done hidden to the audience. Simple motions that do exactly what they look like are not.

This means some memdeck work is going to be self-working, which is the correct classification in my mind. Self-working effects can still be difficult to do...

Obviously we can't say that if it requires memorization/calculation that its not self working, because that would exclude things like 21 card trick or simple things where you add the faceup cards to arrive at a number.

So then if we wish to exclude mem deck stuff or "hard" material, we fall into the trap of needing to define HOW MUCH memorization/calculation makes the effect non-self-working, and I don't think that is a line that any of us can draw reliably.

so logically, it has to all be in or all be out, and if its out then we have zero effects we can do, so it has to be in.... So any mem deck stuff not using any secret actions IS in fact self working.
Dave V
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Taken to the extreme, I wouldn't call a full deck memorization "self working" by any stretch of the imagination.

I'm trying to simply things rather than complicate them. A Devano rising deck could be considered self working, because it operates itself. But we have a category for mechanical effects already (Gaffed and Funky). Stacks and memorized deck work has it's category in "Shuffled not Stirred." Packet tricks can be nearly self working but they too have their own category.

I'm not saying that self working automatically excludes any thinking on the performer's part, but there are limits. This forum was added by request as a "catch all" category for simple tricks that don't fit the other categories. There's bound to be some cross-over, and if I was running things, I would have left things the way they were to avoid arguments over what is best posted where. Steve gave us an out by describing this topic as "pretty much self working or extremely easy to do" so I'm happy with that.
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Daegs
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I'm not saying that self working automatically excludes any thinking on the performer's part, but there are limits.


There is the problem. Where is the limit, who sets them and how are they determined???

If this was a catchall for "simple tricks" then it should be called something like "simple beginner tricks".

Saying its for self working effects just confuses it imho if that's what it was intended...

self-working does NOT equal simple or easy...anyway just saiyng that some very difficult effects could fall into the "pretty much self working" catagory...
Mike Lowry
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On 2006-05-13 02:31, Dave VanVranken wrote:

Unfortunately (for the spectator mostly) we hear "self working" and just show the trick with no presentation, thinking that somehow it can stand on it's own.


I'll back Dave up on this one. I think this is the common misconception and misrepresentation of self-working effects. Just like in mentalism, it would be completely banal to watch someone perform a trick that involves a C**** T*** and just simply reveal the thought that was read. The more you build up what you're about to reveal, the better the trick is. I think the same would apply for self-working effects. If you hide the self-working principles within a great presentation or concept, then the effect becomes that much greater. I've seen mentalism performers do this numerous times. Even something as redundant as the 21 card trick (not that I've tried nor recommend it) could probably be reborn using something other than cards. Maybe if you even layed the objects out in a different manner than the standard 3 rows of 7, maybe 3 circles of 7 using patter about "the alien triangle of circles in the sky", it would be possible to disguise the fact that you are pulling the 21 card trick on someone. Just a thought. Let us know what you think.

Posted: May 14, 2006 6:01pm
If it helps to clarify anything as to what's self-working and what's not...check out the post

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......6&41

There's quite a bit of debate on it about it but I think it clarifies anything that people would consider self-working. But to beat the point to death, self-working to me (and probably most others) would be an effect that you could borrow someone's cards (or whatever object you want) and take ANY cards have the effect happen in the spectator's hands. No gaffs, pre-arranged orders, sleights or anything that would be considered alterations from the natrual state of the card (or object) itself. Once one of those comes into play, then they are no longer self-working because they have been assisted by that device or tool. If you want great examples of self-working concepts or material, check out Jim Steinmeyer's "Impuzzibilities" and "Further Impuzzibilities". These two small booklets are inexpensive and worth 10 times more than what they're sold for (if you present them properly). I recommend them highly.

Hope this made sense. If not feel free to post.
marc_carrion
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Mr. Daegs, I have to agree with Dave.

The MD it's a secret action. I would never accept that as self-working. I agree that we can include "some" MD as self working, but not the MD as a whole. Since for the good use of the MD you need to do good controls under the spreads, good breaks, estimations, pinky counts, dl, etc...

Your definition of self-working is totally wrong, IMHO, since I could even classify the Elmsley count as self-working, since I works automatically if I push the second and third card and I pull back the first one, hey!!! it works automatically.

No one said that self-working means easy. Since self-working should not requiere sleights of the hand, they requiere more presentation and more coberture. If you deal ten cards on the table, and you deal them again, the top one is going to be the same that the top of the original packet, how to you prevent the spectators to realize that, that's more difficult that doing a elmsley, because there, there is no chance for them to think something is going on under their noses.
Daegs
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Since for the good use of the MD you need to do good controls under the spreads, good breaks, estimations, pinky counts, dl, etc...


Whoa, you are wrong there I never said anything about controls, pinky counts, DL, etc....

I am mearly talking about using the mem deck for the purposes of cutting or knowing the position of a card. if there are secret actions then its not self working.

I'm saying Mem deck by itself can still be selfworking, but I'm not saying ALL mem deck stuff(like things that include sleights) are self working.

Quote:
Your definition of self-working is totally wrong, IMHO, since I could even classify the Elmsley count as self-working, since I works automatically if I push the second and third card and I pull back the first one, hey!!! it works automatically.


My definition says nothing about "automatically working", nor would my definition include the elmsley count.

In the ghost count, you push 2 when it seems you are pushing a single, that is a secret action, as well as the steal.

By my definition, elmsley would NOT be self working.


My definition is simple enough I don't see how you have it so confused....
marc_carrion
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I don't have it confused, I'm just trying to understand what do you mean by secret action, when I push two cards, I push two cards, if the spectator only sees me pushing one, it's their problem. So, there is no secret action. What it is, is a sleight of hand, a technique, an illusion... So I have to disagree with your "no secret action". The definition I'm using, and that I think it's more adequate, is "no sleight of hand". So, no technique that requieres practice and some degree of ability.

I'm not saying that self-working tricks are easy. They are more difficult to present. It's easier to do the McDonalds aces, you don't even need to speak, see Copperfield, than presenting 21 cards. There you need some presentation to make it more interesting. And that's not easy. But the techniques used are easy, there is no movement that requires practice. I agree that the whole routine will need practice, and the presentation, but you won't need to practice specific moves.

Your definition, as you say, it's too simple, that it's excluding a lot of self-working tricks, or it's including everything depending on what you consider "secret action". Because if the MD it's not a "secret action (o secret procedure)", then a DL isn't either. And the test of the book should be selfworking too, because there is no secret action, at the most, there is a prop. And the levitation of a bill should be self-working, since there is no secret action, only a IT.
Daegs
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Your twisting words here, a secret action is any physical action in which something different than what the audiences sees happens.

With a mem deck, assuming no sleights happen, then there are no secret actions. Simply memorizing a deck is not a "Secret action".

How can you compare a MD and a DL to be the same thing?

A book test very well COULD be self working, whether the prop is there or not.


Besides, IT/book test are besides the point, this definition is about SELF WORKING CARD TRICKS. and not self working other effects.


Again, you are confused, the definition is "No secret actions" which means "No secret *physical* actions".(in your head isn't an action imho).

So a mem deck and a DL are worlds apart, the same with elmsley count... if the fact you are pushing off 2 cards needs to be a secret, then it is a secret action and therefore not self working.
marc_carrion
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So, If I look at the bottom card and I use it as a key card, it is a secret action, it's physical, I have to look. But If I know it before the effect starts, it is not. Even if the effect is the same. In one case it would be self-working in the other it would not. Does that make sense to you?
Daegs
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Not if you openly look at the bottom card. In that case(you openly look) you are only doing the mental action of memorizing rather than any secret action.

If you do a bubble peek or glimpse or something that is a sleight then its not self working.

However, just looking at the bottom card as you turn the deck over or something, is NOT a secret action, its an open action.
marc_carrion
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Turning the deck in your hands while squaring it and secretly looking at the bottom card, no one should know that you looked at it, and you memorize it. This is a secret action.

Holding the deck a little bit tilted so you can see the bottom card, this is a secret action.

looking at the bottom card when you start a riffle shuffle, this is a secret action.

They are not sleights, but they are secret actions. It's secret, you don't say, "Look, I'm looking at the bottom card"

According to your definition, openly turning the top two cards is not a secret action, correct? The fact that they are perfectly squared shouldn't be taken in consideration, as long as you don't say, "look, I'm turning A card"
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