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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The September 2014 entrée: Jason England » » Your working set » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of disgruntledpuffin
Hi Jason

I'm curious to your approach to repertoire when you work professionally. As a cardman first and foremost, do you work exclusively with cards when gigging or do you have other routines in your set?

Also, if you work only with cards, what was the decision process that led to that choice?

Always interested to hear why a pro does things the way they do.


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Profile of JasonEngland

The answer to your question depends largely on what I've been hired to perform. Much of the time here in Las Vegas, I'll be hired as part of a small group of performers working for hundreds of people at once (too many for a single walk-around magician to work alone). In these situations, there will be a few magicians (not me), a pickpocket (not me), and a "gambling guy" (that's me). In these cases, since I've not been hired to do magic per se, I stick virtually entirely to gambling routines and use cards 99% of the time, with other props being a few poker chips and maybe a pair of dice or two. Of course, just between you and me some of these "gambling routines" are really just dressed up card tricks, but the clients don't know that and the spectators don't know or care. They just like being entertained.

Other times I am hired as a magician and I will incorporate a larger variety of props into my routines. Coins aren't entirely out of the question although I do very few coin routines, rubber bands, cups and balls, a few paper money effects, and even a few pocket-sized gimmicked prop effects can occasionally find their way into my act when the mood strikes me.

I guess overall my magic sets run about 80% card magic and 20% non-cards. I don't do these sets very often, but I enjoy them when I do have the chance to perform magic instead of the gambling sets.

As for a decision process, I really didn't have one. My gravitation to mostly card magic grew primarily out of only having cards on me most of the time. In other words, I was always ready to show someone a card trick, but rarely had any other props on me. For the first 15 years I was interested in magic I was an amateur. Perhaps a highly-skilled amateur technically, but an amateur nonetheless. When I began to perform professionally, I just stuck to what I knew: card magic. Often when performers vary their props they're doing so to add some texture to their act. I think adding texture is a critical idea in creating a good act, but varying the props isn't the only way to achieve that goal. I was fortunate that when I started to perform professionally that I had sufficient technical skill with cards that I could add texture into my act simply by being capable of doing an extremely wide variety of routines, from self-working to knuckle-busting, and from pure magic to gambling routines, to mentalism effects if I so choose.

Thanks for the question!


PS: You didn't do this, but to those that say you can't do a good show with nothing but cards, I always point to Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants which was all cards with the single exception of the cups and balls, and Nothing to Hide which was exclusively card magic. Both of those shows did okay without a wide variety of props - they added tremendous texture via the power of charismatic and interesting performers, great writing, and a wide variety of effects. It's hard, but it can be done.
Eternal damnation awaits anyone who questions God's unconditional love. --Bill Hicks
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Profile of shaunluttin
This is so resonant. My gravitation to mostly card magic grew primarily out of only having cards on me most of the time.

Here is a 29-minute live performance of mine:

I used to be quite sensitive to criticism; I am much less so now; so, please do criticize my technique, presentation, and posts. It helps me to grow, and I promise to take responsibility and not to be defensive.

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