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Irfaan
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Hi Everybody

This is my first post ever in a magic forum, so forgive me if I ask a stupid question.
I am an amateur, I've performed for friends, colleagues, and a few Bed & Breakfasts due to popular demand (it's like they've never seen a card trick before!).

However, being an amateur (I've first started with magic about a year ago), I made the mistake I guess most amateurs make - I tried to learn everything and do everything at once. I must have attempted hundreds of effects, practiced tons of manipulations over the last year - with the inevitable result that I messed up in front of somebody at least half the time (sorry).

Now, I'm considering performing professionally. I've taken the advice in books and picked out just a few effects, structured them into a routine, and refuse to perform them in front of anybody until I can do so blindfolded!!

I've put together 12 effects (too much??) and so far have mastered about 8 of them. It's a combination of stand-up and sit-down effects, a nice mix of coin / card and other, to sort of cater for different situations.

My question (finally), is your opinion of the effects, i.e. too many / too few / the variety / etc. You guys are real magicians (I've never actually met one in real life!), and I certainly will respect and take to heart your comments and feed back.

The routine (in order of performance):
1) Steve Fearson's Floating Cigarette
2) Color Stunner – Art of Astonishment Vol 1.
3) Tap Dancing Aces – Art of Astonishment Vol 3.
4) Invisible Palm – Art of Astonishment Vol 3.
5) WOW!
6) Recap – Art of Astonishment Vol 1.
7) Cups and Balls – Tommy Wonder; Books of Wonder Vol 2.
8) 3 Ball Transposition – Lewis Ganson; Dai Vernon Book of Magic.
9) Stowaway - My own four coin effect
10) Tamed Cards – Tommy Wonder; Books of Wonder Vol 1.
11) Wild Coins – Richard Kaufmann Coin Magic
12) Grippo’s Wish – Art of Astonishment Vol 1 (
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Erdnase27
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Way too many effects in my opinion Smile
6 is enough Smile
"He must be content to rank with the common herd." - S.W. Erdnase
Irfaan
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Thanks

Which 6 would you recommend of the 12 above?
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Hansel
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Michiel its right! I recommend the 6 that you best do!
All my best,
Hansel!
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Erdnase27
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A funny story also.. I used to have 14 effects in my mentalism act. wayyyyy too much I now know. Now I do like 6 or 7 at most. perfect!
Any 6 effects you do best mate(like hansel also says). I have a passion for the cups and balls so id really love to see you doing that though(and I perform mentalism only Smile). ANother advice I can give you is.. try to make each effect stronger then the effect before that so you hold your audience's attention(Dan harlan recommends your last effect not being your best effect though, more the cream on the dessert so to speak).
Please let me know what effects you choose and I can help you further with it Smile
Sincerely Michiel
"He must be content to rank with the common herd." - S.W. Erdnase
JackScratch
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You should use as many effects and take as much time (and not one bit more) as it takes to make the statement you wish to make. Please try to make certain that the statement is clear and worth hearing. Don't allow your performances to be a series of puzzles for your audiences to figure out. Make it about entertaining them in an engaging way. Anecdotes are a nice start, but your statement, and the conveyance of it is limited only by your creativity. You will most likely want a deeper explanation of what I have said, but the fact is, if you are thinking about it, you are on the right track already. Just keep this post in mind, and remember that you serve your audience and you should be fine.
newtomagic
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I have also been in magic for about a year and I made the same exact mistake. I tried to learn everything and when I would get new material (through dvd, etc..) I tried to learn every effect on that dvd. I now realize that is the hard way to do it. I've found that sticking to your favorite/best material is much more efficient. I also I'm in the process of picking my "best" stuff and developing a routine with that, which includes my own stories and reasoning for these effects. I have also found that purchasing single effects (gaft or not) is more efficient as well because they tend to be stronger then the effects that come as 10-25 on one dvd. Long story short I am on the same journey as you and wanted to let you know you are not alone. Good luck, and hopefully we get our magic to a higher level through what we learn in the forums/anywhere else.
Irfaan
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Thanks everybody
Although I admit I panicked yesterday when you said to cut down the number of effects (still mildly panicked . . .). Well, I've cut them down to 7, with a preference towards the effects that can be done standing up (to try and cater for different performing situations).

This is what I have now:

1) Steve Fearson's Floating Cigarette
2) Color Stunner – Art of Astonishment Vol 1.
3) Cups and Balls – Tommy Wonder; Books of Wonder Vol 2.
4) 3 Ball Transposition – Lewis Ganson; Dai Vernon Book of Magic.
5) Tamed Cards – Tommy Wonder; Books of Wonder Vol 1.
6) Wild Coins – Richard Kaufmann Coin Magic
7) Grippo’s Wish – Art of Astonishment Vol 1

This is the performing premise I was thinking of when setting out this routine (I think I'm thinking along same the lines as Jackscratch):

The hapless magician, caught off guard and unprepared in front of the audience (instead of the toilet where he was headed!), pulls out a cigarette to calm down but realizes before lighting it that everyone's watching him. So it falls from his mouth, and floats along much everyone amazement (especially the magician's) as he tries catch it. The routine will (I hope!) progress from there through each effect as the magician gains in confidence and mystery until we get to Grippo's Wish (a dissolving knots effect), where an audience member(s) make a wish for every knot and then they dissolve in their hands - transporting the audience into the world of fantasy.

Maybe I'm naive - but that's my ideal and what I'm trying make my presentation do.

Thanks very much for your interest and advice! Great forum.
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Erdnase27
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I can imagine you mildly panic Riley. Let me tell you about my first restaurant gig.. I wanted to be a magician(instead of a mentalist, heck, I didn't even know what the **** that was). I arrived with eeh like 3 boxes full of stuff. I was scared that I didn't had anything to perform(lol 3 boxes , can you imagine Smile). After the night was done I noticed I only performed 5 effects at each table.. the same effects!! What the **** were all these boxes full of blabla for then? Well I called it my security thing. I know that I will not perform everything out of these boxes.. it just feels safe. Safe hiding behind gimmicks etc without truely being yourself and your presentation. Nowadays I take only my mouth with me. I can give Psychometry, telepathic(even mediumistic) readings, some solid mental effects etc. Ow ye, the only thing I take with me is a small Tommypad or a thought transmitter.. that's all.. for the magician that would be a thumbtip or cards(really, you can do MIRACLES with them alone). On stage I recommend 6 effects, great job choosing 6,7, you won't regret it Smile
"He must be content to rank with the common herd." - S.W. Erdnase
Vick
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Riley_5000
Was wondering how you were going to open with Steve Fearson's Floating Cigarette, really like your idea how to use that as an opener, nice work. Having someone push you up on stage?

If what you posted is what you're thinking of for a set list I'll be very interested in seeing how you segue from Color Stunner to Cups and Balls.

Maybe you tell the story of your friend who always busts your chops about your "tricks" and that's the segue from Floating Cigarette to Color Stunner or maybe you've thought of a hapless way to get into Color Stunner and then the confidence build up allows you to do cups and balls?

To the audiences when you get a pop/reaction (applause) "oh did you like that, well maybe I can try this" Perhaps fumble over something for effect and laughs

I'm a huge fan of Tommy Wonder and his work

Better than that, it's great to see someone who's been studying the art for a year take the approach you are on

and please don't let my words influence any ideas you have, again you're on a good track

Good work!
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marty.sasaki
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What are you trying to do? You say you are planning to do this professionally, but what does that mean? Where are you performing? Who is your audience?

As an example, if you want to do restaurant magic, then get maybe 3 or 4 effects. If on the street, possibly the same. If you are standing up in front of a trade show audience, one or two tricks may be all you need.

More important than the tricks is creating something that is entertaining to everyone.

You've come to the right place though. Read everything you can here at The Café.

Good luck.
Marty Sasaki
Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Standard disclaimer: I'm just a hobbyist who enjoys occasionally mystifying friends and family, so my opinions should be viewed with this in mind.
solrak29
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Quote:
On 2009-02-09 23:48, riley_5000 wrote:
I am an amateur, I've performed for friends, colleagues, and a few Bed & Breakfasts due to popular demand (it's like they've never seen a card trick before!).

I messed up in front of somebody at least half the time (sorry).


Even the pros mess up, it matter on how you act when you mess up. Your audience
should, idealy, never know that you messed up.

Quote:

I've put together 12 effects (too much??) and so far have mastered about 8 of them.
It's a combination of stand-up and sit-down effects, a nice mix of coin / card and other, to sort of cater for different situations.



Here is the question you have to ask yourself. What venue or style of magic am
I going to perform? Pick one and focus on that for now. This will affect which
effects that you would choose. Later you can expand and adapt your choices to
different situations.

Quote:
My question (finally), is your opinion of the effects, i.e. too many / too few / the variety / etc. You guys are real magicians (I've never actually met one in real life!),


As mentioned already....too many. I to was in the same boat and a friend of mine
had me focus on 10 effects. Later, I boiled it down to 3 or 4. Grant it, I still
play with the other effects, but in time they get added. So I say start with the
magic number...three. There is beginning, middle, and end.

Quote:

The routine (in order of performance):
1) Steve Fearson's Floating Cigarette
2) Color Stunner – Art of Astonishment Vol 1.
3) Tap Dancing Aces – Art of Astonishment Vol 3.
4) Invisible Palm – Art of Astonishment Vol 3.
5) WOW!
6) Recap – Art of Astonishment Vol 1.
7) Cups and Balls – Tommy Wonder; Books of Wonder Vol 2.
8) 3 Ball Transposition – Lewis Ganson; Dai Vernon Book of Magic.
9) Stowaway - My own four coin effect
10) Tamed Cards – Tommy Wonder; Books of Wonder Vol 1.
11) Wild Coins – Richard Kaufmann Coin Magic
12) Grippo’s Wish – Art of Astonishment Vol 1 (


You should actually pick for youself only you know what your style is
and what venue you are targeting. Unless you want to share that information
with us?

Hope this helps...
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kendavis
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Many people have made the mistake of buying more tricks than they will ever use. That's one of the ways dealers stay in business! Recently I bought a small illusion from a nationally know magician at half the price he paid for it. He never took out of the box because he didn't have the time. So you see, even the big pros are humans, just like the rest of us!
Irfaan
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Sorry, I haven't checked this thread in a while - I thought it was closed.
Thanks for the further input.

Ok, I don't have a specific performing arena in mind. If it so happens that I get a gig for a restaurant - then I'll pick 3 or 4 effects out my routine and do them.
My plan was to include effects in my routine that will cater for various performing situations. That's why I've got effects that can be done standing or sitting, on a table or in the hands (not all of them - but that's the point, they cater for different situations)

Is this being realistic, on my part?

Next thing;
After opening with the floating cigarette, I put the cigarette away and wonder just what I’m going to do (because I’m off-guard and unprepared), so I pull out a deck of cards. To my dismay, I’ve brought the wrong brand (the non-magical one,see – they look so similar it’s easy to make a mistake?) but I stumble along the routine anyway – mistakenly shuffling the cards face up into face down, because I’m talking to someone as I shuffle! (if you know the routine, then I’m sure you’ll see how this can be funny). Thank god, I find their card in the end – and in my disgust I say at least I didn’t have the worst card deck of all – the dreaded (insert back design description here). Of course, I flip over the spread and what do you know! Shucks. That’s the last card trick folks.

And then, I’d like to show you a classic of magic – the cups and balls. And so I progress to the end.
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JackScratch
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You need to script that. The premise is very good. Reminds me of Cardini. It is important to write out blocking notes, and exact lines, then rehearse them. Assuming you have not already done all of that, I know what you are thinking. "I don't know how my audience members are going to react, or what they are going to say." You will in time, and with experience. Until then, having a complete script which you have rehearsed allows you the freedom to improvise when opportunities arise, and not stand there thinking while they wait when opportunities do not arise. Your well rehearsed script is a road map, that helps keep you from getting lost, not a requirement that you take a particular path. A lack of efficiency of word and movement is not entertainment. It is, in fact, the opposite.
Jaxon
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Here's my 2 cents.

Go out and perform what you do as often as you can. Not to friends and family though. Perform for people who haven't seen you perform before. During this experience a hand full of your tricks and routines will stand out and evolve. Through experience you'll automatically change the tricks and routines over time. Maybe a joke will be added here and a site gag added there. These things will just happen.

When you have an idea to add to one of your tricks. Try it out. Some will go over great and some won't. The ones that turn out will likely end up being a part of the trick or routine. In the end you'll have a hand full of tricks and routines that you do very well and in some ways you do it differently then others do it. In other words you'll be developing your own performing style. You don't have to concentrate on your performing style too much at first. Just let it happen through experience. Later on when you've got more experience you'll be able to consciously create a performing style, but for now just let it evolve into your performances.

Ok, you'll eventually have a hand full of tricks that work very well for you. Because you've had so much experience with these tricks you'll have material to stretch them when needed. For example you can take a trick that actually only takes 30 seconds to perform but because you've performed it so many times you'll have a lot more presentation experience and you'll be able to stretch that trick to last a few minutes.

So let's assume you've got 5 or 6 really good routines that work best for you. You've now got the "heart" of your act. Those tricks are you key ingredients. Other tricks you know will be what's know as fillers.

Let me give you an example based on your list.

Always start your shows with something that draws their attention, is entertaining and gives them something to react to right away. In your list I'd probably open with the Fearson floating cig. but think about when it's appropriate to use a cigarette or not. You can perform it with other objects when a cigarette isn't right for the atmosphere. A quick suggestion, make a straw float out of a drink, float around then into your mouth.

I see you've got a number of card tricks. Combine them. Don't do a card trick, put your deck away, do something else then pull the cards back out. Put all your card tricks into one portion of your show.

If you don't know any Ambitious card routines I suggest you learn one. It's a great out routines (An "out" means you use it to cover for a mistakes such as finding the wrong card).

From your list I would probable pull out some coins, do a matrix routine (Because it uses both coins and cards so it can be a good transition between card magic and coin magic). Then fallow that by putting your cards away and do your coin routine.

Tricks like Recap can be used as a filler. For example you're show is suppose to be 20 minutes long but your act is too short. Small tricks like that can be done just to add a little spice to the act and fill time. They can also be used to help transition between one trick and another. Take for example you've just done a rope trick, your next trick is a trick with silks. You can't think of a way to transition from rope to silks. Then use a filler between them. So when you put the rope away, perform a filler then pull our tour silks. So the break between them is still entertaining. For Recap I'd probably just pick up my drink when a trick is over just to take a sip. Then perform it as if I just thought of it. It wasn't planned. I just had the idea to do it.

Now I'm not suggesting the tricks I mentioned are the best for you. I've never seen you perform so I don't know which are strongest for you. But unless you yourself know then it'll be hard to work it out. So get that experience and find out which tricks are your key ingredients and make them yours. Then you'll have you act.

I hope this helps.

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
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