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Profile of simchamagic

After thinking about the subject myself a lot, I thought I'll ask for other opinions.
Seriously, why practice and accomplish a manipulation (with cards) act - where could it be useable at all in the rea; world?!
The minimal requirements for such a act is to have the audience in front of you, some minimal space for yourself and distance from the audience - that already takes down many venues.
Let's see - birthday parties - no (children too young or conditions don't suit).
Malls - NO.
Schools etc. - One can't know in advance what type of hall he'll have to perform at.
The only place I could think about to be suitable for performing a manipulation act is a known to the performer theater, and even there, only to certain audiences.

Why to bother so much (practicing, rehearsing etc.) building a manipulation act when it's nearly never an act that is practicable?
Also, which type of audience appreciates such a act? Wouldn't a 3-5 fantasio product act get a much better response (and with lots less trouble)? Does such a act appeal to a regular lay audience?

I'll be happy to hear any insights on this topic,

Ken Northridge
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Well, Jeff McBride and Lance Burton have done pretty well with this. Its hard to argue with that kind of success. Yes, I think card manipulation has appeal to a lay audience. I see your point though. You would get more bang for you buck, and by that I mean your time investment, by other things such as Fantasio products like you mentioned or doves, silk effects, linking rings, zombie, the list could go on.
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
Lou Hilario
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I find manipulation fun and more of a challenge to myself. It is true that you won't be able to use it in most venues. Mostly magicians appreciate your efforts on this. It is good for mental and physical coordination.
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Harry Murphy
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In general you are absolutely correct! Especially if you narrow your perception and limit your thinking to some small slice of performing in a “real world” situation, what ever that is! LOL!!

Jeff Sheridan performed a classic card manipulation act on the streets, busking, and made it work!

Doing a small manipulation act at a birthday party in someone’s living room is not out of the question, not impossible, and not all that difficult to do. Chris Chaphart does exactly that! He has his parlor show (mainly kid’s shows) but will “show-off” in the middle showing that he has the skills often associated with being a magician. The adults really like this little interlude! It gives you a bit extra in your shows.

Jeff McBride used to do strolling manipulations in bars for goodness sakes!

John Fedko does (and put out on video) a classic card manipulation act much of which can be done with people to the side.

Silvano, put out a very brief card manipulation routine that is pretty much angle proof.

So it can be done if you want to add a bit to your act.

You can frame and block the act (the manipulations) such that you can have people more than 180 degrees. It takes much more thought and probably more skill but it can be done!

In terms of cards only manipulation, an appearing fan of cards or two, a simple diminishing card routine (can be done pretty much surrounded), some scaling, and exhibition fans with the multi-colored backs, ending with Jumbo fans, gives you an interlude that looks magical, has surprises, and gives you credit (deservedly) that you have skills! And the whole thing can be done surrounded (but people standing behind you won’t see anything! LOL!!).

There are some gimmick less billiard ball manipulation routines that can be done pretty much surrounded too! Single ball and multiplication (one to four) routines abound.

Heck, I do thimble manipulations in parlors (and can be pretty much surrounded).

Is this kind of act/routine appreciated? I’d say yes (as borne out by those that add it to their existing repertories, e.g., Capehart mentioned above).

Will you get more reaction from your box of Fantiso products? I’d say that depends on you the performer. I’ve seen people die using Fantiso products and I’ve seen people get rousing response to them. Frankly, I see the same problem with the Fantiso products that you see with manipulation. If the canes and candles are too close the spiral nature of the material is obvious and the methodology can be tipped. Also, if you are too close in a small room the noise of the product is a tip-off that something is collapsing or expanding.

Still, the problems of these products can (and have) been addressed by the thoughtful performer.

Personally I prefer an act that incorporates some variety, is colorful, easy to follow, plays in many different venues, and is magical. I do like to include some form of manipulation in the act, even in a kids show!

So in general, you are right, why bother to spend years of practice on something you will have little opportunity to actually perform! I’d say don’t waste your time! Spend your time on things you will actually perform for real people in the real world.
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And for the school question just ask what kind of venue it is. If you can use it. Use it. If you can't. Don't. Simple as that. And as for distance, that is just out there don't you think. I have done my manip act for a lay audience with them 6 ft in front of me and were blown away.

It can work for many venues. Just ask.

Best advice I can give.

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John Bowlin
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One can easily get 8 minutes of great entertainment of a card manipulation act. Good Luck getting 8 minutes out a few fantasio gimmicks. Cane appears...cane dances...cane disappears...two candles appear....time used...about a minute, 2 minutes with great patter.

One of the differences in the entertainment value of say...a card manipulation act, is that many performaers today don't put the time necessary into perfecting so that it does look magical and entertaining. It only takes one bad flash to kill a manip act...and it is all too common these days.
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I think you have to decide on what kind of act to put together depending what market you are entering. Lance Burton put his brilliant act together knowing that someday it would be the opening of his full evening show. Until then, a good manipulation act to music is perfect for someone who wants to work around the world with no language barrier, be one of several acts in a review show or work the magic convention/competition circuit. Good examples of excellent performers who are doing just that, without a full evening show, are Christopher Hart and Danny Cole.
Kent Wong
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Sammy Patrick Smith used to perform the multiplying balls in his children's birthday shows. He had great patter and a large variety of moves.

"Believing is Seeing"
Peter Pitchford
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I open every single show that I do with a manipulation act. I open my kids shows with a manipulation act, my adult standup shows, school shows, family shows, stage shows, etc.

Just a note about opening kids shows with it: if you do it right it plays huge. I find that parents will stick around and watch the entire show if I can impress them at the beginning. I can't tell you how many times parents have said something like, "Wow, you're the first magician we have ever seen who actually did magic" (I believe they were implying something like 'as opposed to those who play games with the kids'). I have booked adult shows because this is in my kids show. I find it far better for me than something like the Axtell microphone. And, in the trenches is where an act is sharpened. So I am always ready to perform it.

Just some thoughts.
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Jeff Sheridan perfpormed card manip outside for street magic with everyone standing everywhere.

Your mind can only be limited to the the limits you put around it.

Ken Northridge
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On 2008-03-17 13:41, John Bowlin wrote:
One can easily get 8 minutes of great entertainment of a card manipulation act. Good Luck getting 8 minutes out a few fantasio gimmicks. Cane appears...cane dances...cane disappears...two candles appear....time used...about a minute, 2 minutes with great patter.


Good point. The master himself could only get about 4 minutes from Fantasio products. But what an awesome 4 minutes it is!

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"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
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I used to have a friend that worked bars,and he would do a multiplying billiard routine with the sh***,completely surrounded,and CLOSE-UP.What he would do is that he would gather a crowd and incourage them to come closer as he performed.By the time his set was comming to a close he would have people litteraly within 2-3 feet of him or closer.He would then whip out the vernet's.
He performed them at waist level so that everyone was forced to look down and directly on top of the action.The only way you could detect the sh*** was if A)you were 3 feet tall and could look under his hands or B)bend down and look under his hands.
I am writting this to demonstrate that in "real world" situations we often have a better opportunity to manipulate angles and people.It is our job as magical entertainers to direct/misdirect our audience;don't forget we are the ones that manipulate the "real world".
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C Christian
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People ask me a lot what do I do for fun... and I tell the Truth. I climb Mountains and friends of mine ask me why... and I always say, "Because it's there to climb"

I agree with everyone who has posted I would just like to add... That a manipulation act is only as good as the performer and what I mean by that is Take Lance Burton, Jeff McBride and Jeff Sheridan They worked hard and I mean real heard to let their personalities show thru there Manip Act. For them that was there mode of choice to tell the world look at me I have something to show you, and many people took notice. Vernon on the other hand used a Deck of Cards Mac King Comedy.

So I say on to you... See if you cannot come up with a great and I mean great 5 min. Manipulation Act don't worry about a venue. Make it so great that people want to see it like your local magic club or what ever.... You may be shock at the response you get, and once you have that down you can tweak it to fit just about any venue I am sure.
cheers chris
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The performer makes the magic. Not the other way around.
Buying magic even grand illusions won't make you a great magician.
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There have been some very creative ideas shared here. I think the important thing is to learn to think creatively with your manipulation and manipulative routines. Explore things that are not the norm and determine exactly who you are on stage and what it is exactly you are trying to tell the audience.

Let me post here something I wrote about on routining and creativity for the manipulative arts. it is something I wrote a while ago but I feel it has direct merit here and may really get you thinking about routining your manip acts in a whole new way. I hope it is of some help to you.

I decided to write this article out of numerous requests I have received from many magicians and manipulators on the subject of putting an act together. How do you keep it creative and different and why is it not the best to just do an act of pure skill alone. Below is my answer to these questions along with some tips on what has worked for me in regards to ways anyone can make their own acts more creative and therefore connect better with the audience and gather more response and applause along with it.

My first question to anyone putting an act together may seem a bit strange or sound like I am being too harsh, but read on and I think you will see what I am referring to. Some of these tips relate to manipulative magic, but the tips can be used for any type of an act. My big question to you is: WHY!!!!!

I told you that it may seem a bit strange, but let me go on now to tell you about what I am referring to. To a magician, we are fascinated with cards and flourishes and vanishes and anything related to manipulation. It amazes us by the technique and the method and skill involved in doing the executions of the routines. This alone keeps us striving to learn more and peaks our interest and curiosity.

However, this is often NOT the case with a lay audience. A lay audience does not see manipulative magic in the same way we do. They do not understand the techniques and skills involved and nor should they if what we are doing is supposed to be magical. With this in mind, the audience often will say to themselves... "WHY". Why is this magician doing the same thing over and over again.

Why? Because the magician knows he is doing different vanishes and each one is slightly unique. However the audience only knows that the card vanishes, the card returned and now your doing it again. This is why an act of manipulation is very hard to do well if your doing it for 7-8 mins in a normal act time. You do not want your audience ever going "Why" at any time in the routine.

So how do you work around this problem of boring your audience to tears? Well that is where research and creativity comes into the picture. It gets back to the point that in a manipulative act you must give the audience "more". It is not good enough to simply show an 8 minute act of pure skill alone doing moves that appear the same to any audience.

So how do you give your audience more? Well you can give them more through the use of themes, character, style, pacing, transition effects and emotional response to just name a few. Let me go on to talk very briefly about each of these I just mentioned. Each could be an article all in itself but I will just give you my tips on each one for now in hopes you can grasps what I am referring to.

- Themes: You can give more to your audience in any manipulative act if you simply add in a theme to the act you are doing. This can be a generalized theme in regards to the objects all relating that you are manipulating, or the act itself can be themed around a storyline. In this way you are performing a small 8 min play that just so happens to have magic in it. The audience can relate to the themed objects or the story and get more involved with your act and with you.

- Character: Every act you do should have a strong character present on stage. The audience needs to be able to connect with this character. If you can connect the audience with you, then they become more attached to you and can relate to what you are doing on stage. Ask yourself if your character is suave, comical, athletic, hip, sad, down on his luck. Each of these can become a strong character that can be conveyed in your stage movement and even your music.

- Style: With style, I mean the way you move on stage and the way you conduct and hold yourself throughout the act. It is something that must be learned over time. It is those little things that make a huge difference to an audience liking you or not. It can be the way you pause at the right moment and look at the audience and wink right before a big production. It could be the way you move and look and smile at the audience as if saying thank you without moving your mouth at all.

- Pacing: The way you pace and time your act can make a world of difference to an audience. In many manipulative acts, the audience is being barraged with too much visual input. They can not follow it all the time and so start shutting themselves down from even watching what it is you are doing. You must pace your act and place in it pauses that give the audience a chance to catch up, breathe a bit and give them a chance to applaude you before going into the next sequence.

- Transition effects: These are the simple things you can place into your act that changes it up a bit and ads so called "spice" to the act. It gives your audience something more to watch and breaks up the act from being too repetitive.

For example: You could be doing a billiard ball act. You do a few vanishes and produce the ball. The ball gets tossed up and as you catch it it turns into a white silk. You do a knots of silk effect and the not becomes the ball again. In this way the ball to silk becomes a transition effect that gives your audience something more to be interested in.

- Emotional Response: This is a HUGE one and can work so wonderful if done well. If done right it can make your audience connect with you long after you have left the stage. It is causing an emotional response in your audiences by allowing them to connect and relate to your character and the predicament presented on the stage. It can also work closely in with the theme you are presenting.

Every person in your audience has experienced something in common. What is common to us all is emotions. We have all felt fear, love, confusion and happiness. These are common to every person know matter who you are performing for. So if you can connect with them on one or more of these emotions, you can get that audience member to really relate to you because they are remembering a similar situation when they too had that exact same emotion or situation happen to them. they can relate.

For example, your manipulative act could be all about this guy at night who is just trying to reach a bus to get home. It is late and he misses his bus and the entire world seems to be passing him buy. He sits on a bench to wait for the next bus and turns on his radio. He drifts off to sleep only to awake moments later. He realizes that magic starts happening to him even though he does not know exactly why it is. Through out the act the magic that happens to him causes him to smile and to realize that life is full of wonder even if we may not always see it.

Now this is just a very vague example but you can see how the entire act could be a manipulative routine but now you are relating to them a story of a very well defined character with a well defined theme. You give them an emotional response to the act because most can relate to being in a similar situation in their own life. In this way they relate better to what you are doing on stage.

Now these ideas are not meant to be the bible for a great act by any means. They are simply some of my own understandings on what I have experienced that has really worked not only for myself but to other acts that have really "made it." They are meant only to be reviewed and given some thought to. Take even one thing from them and I think you will see your act reaching your audiences in a whole different light.

So I simply ask you to ask yourself. WHY?

Kyle Peron

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John Bowlin
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Kyle, I knew all those short recent responses were killin you! Smile Seriously though, many good points made. Especially the one about emotional response.

I have watched Denny Daney do his card manip act many times and I still feel it is one of the best in the world...if not the best! He may not be the most technically skilled in the world but...the way he brings out his character and responds to his act, combined with his music selection just gets people emotionally involved. He still gets standing ovations at the magic castle just from his card manip act. It is some of the best 8 minutes of magic there is.
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A lot of methods for manipulation are not very workable outside of a theater, but that doesn't mean manipulation can't be done. I personally like the challenge of finding ways to accomplish things in various settings.
Christopher Moro
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Many have touched upon some of these thoughts, but...

From personal experience, a lay audience absolutely CAN respond overwhelmingly to a card manipulation routine. It depends completely on how and how well the performer sells it. The audience appreciates it on a completely different level than an audience of magicians would. I've found that finding how to present it so that the lay audience is entertained, is based on several things. One is of course, clean technique. But just as important is in trying to see the effect through their eyes. To them, technique isn't an idea in their minds - or it shouldn't be. It's got to be real magic and it's got to matter to them. You're not cleverly "holding out" or "hiding" cards -- you are reaching out into the air and plucking invisible cards out from it (or whatever the effect may be). If you can sell the idea that it is magic, and that they should care at least somewhat, it will have a tremendous response.

Why bother practicing? Well, practice and perfect it only if you feel you want to perform it. So if you don't, don't. Leave such effects out of your show. Go ahead and create a routine with Fantasio products. You can also get a great response from that kind of routine (remember, the audience shouldn't know that it takes less finger dexterity or "skill") Perhaps in such a routine there is a difference in the amount of practice needed to make those effects look good, but...the effort and attention to presentation is as much needed to get a great audience response as it would be with any manipulative routine. You can imagine seeing two acts: one card manipulation, the other with Fantasio products. If neither act has great presentation, then they will not generate a good response. Now you can imagine a card manipulation act with great presentation and a fantasio product act with mediocre presentation and the lay audience will respond better to the manip act.

On Venues: You can always qualify any venue over the phone before you accept a gig. Feel free to ask everything about it: What size the stage is, where it is located, where the audience will be sitting in relation to that stage, etc. etc. It will help you decide what material to do, or if you even want to perform there at all. If it is a high-paying gig, it's no problem to visit the venue and evaluate it beforehand.

Hope some of this helps.
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I think when a magician performs a manipulation act, the audience will give a certain respect to him. Well, as magicians, we do things that normal people can't do. That alone, it's enough reason for me to do a manipulation act.
I remember the first time when I saw a manipulation act, I think it was great. Maybe there're too many people doing card manipulations in the outside world, which makes it less enjoyable to the audience.

Oliver Ross
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My opinion is that we have to "touch" and interest the audience with our magic. Audience opinion polls have braught out that they like more effect, tricks, acts where they can refer to in the real world.
Concerning manipulation, the poll said that audiences preferes coin and or bill manipulations to card or thimble manipulation. Ball manipulation are popular.

Topas, the worldwide known german magician and illusionist braught out his own points to concerning the objetcs to use in manipulation acts :

"Manipulation act are interesting for an audience if the objects used are :

- hand sized
- quickly recognizable by the audience
- have some value (at least a little bit, not like used tissue paper)
- have some emotions involved

There would be some extra positif points if the objects used :

- could extend their volume or size naturally (umbrella, fans, glasses...)
- look modern
- which optical point could be raised by an accustic interest (music instruments, bells that sounds...)
- could be naturally put on or used directly (put on the hat used, the glasses, a ring on the finger).
- are generally difficult to handle (fire, ice, hedgehog...)"

In my view this is something to think of when putting together a manipulation act.
We should never forget, that we're here to make the audience dream.

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