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Magic Oli
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Hey Guys,

Today I went to a family friends Christmas Party with my pack of cards and coins and did some magic for the kids and adults. I did a few simple tricks for the kids and a few of the adults and when I had the confidence I pulled out my big guns and started to fry the adults brains using the top change instead of a double lift. I must confess that the double lift used to be my most over used sleight until I discovered and learnt the top change as an alternative. When we first start out in magic we are always told to learn a good double lift, force and card control, which are great places to begin, however when we start to overuse the same force and control and double people can get suspicious. In my opinion, the top change is a great utility move that can act as a switch, a force and a control. I'm going to break down why I use the top change and the benefits of using it over some of the over techniques.

Double Lift/Switch:

With the regular double lift there is a relatively high probability that your double lift looks totally different to your turning over of a single, which in itself looks suspicious to laymen. Also, it is quite possible that laymen you are performing for have seen or own a pack of Svengali cards and will be familiar with the move. These negatives need to be overcome in some way by making your lift as perfect as possible, however, the top change is a good alternative. To start off you really are holding one card and the spectator can examine the card to see there is only one which cuts out the possibility of a switch. The switch occurs under the cover of misdirection but the card can be burned the whole time you hold it before and after the switch and nothing will appear different. Finally the audience doesn't really see the card go near the deck which adds to the imposibility.

Force:

Spectator's may become wise to the criss-cross force and the hindu force after a while if there is not enough misdirection to distract them and this can also be said for the rifle force. Top change you can make the selection seem as fair as possible and is a good application of the move if you have not mastered the classic force yet.

Control:

Many controls seem to movey and sleight of hand based which can put some spectators on red alert and they could decide to heckle you and stuff you up, especially when you're starting out. By doing the top change and cleanly placing the card in the middle of the deck you eliminate any suspicion of the use of sleight of hand.


When you first read about the top change and how it works you will think it will never work as it's so simple and bold, like I did, but trust me when I say, it really does just fly past laymen. So remember to learn your double, your force and your control and make them as good as possible and then give the top change a try. Having a utility move such as the top change will give you more freedom to create and perform new tricks to stun your audience.

Magic Oli
MagicKingdom10
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Thank you for that inspirational anecdote Oli, the Top Change is a sure killer! Could you elaborate on your motivation when making the switch? Were you doing the classic version or using a clever ruse like how the legendary David Williamson did?
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Magic Oli
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Mainly asking for peoples names is enough to distract them for long enough. You ask a spectators name whose further away from you and others will look at them and you can execute the change. David Williamson's torn and restored transpo was a big inspiration in using the move for me, you create a offbeat by producing the wrong card from the deck and people relax and then you make the switch as you ask them what the actual card was and then reveal it however you like.

Oli
MagicKingdom10
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Thanks Oli, that is a very witty strategy. You've taken full advantage of the offbeat moments, a sign of a first-rate magician!
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MVoss
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Very cool Oli.
Magic Oli
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Thank You guys, I just think more people should give the top change a try every now and again. To me it seemed to get a much stronger reaction when it changed and "never went near the deck" than when it came off the deck

Oli
davidpaul$
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Iv'e been performing the top-change much much more since I've got the timing and technique down. Have I been caught? Yes.
But that's why I now use the move consistantly. Tough audiences are your best teachers as long as you learn from and critique your mistakes. It's great to see the likes of Ricky Jay, David Williamson and others execute the move at just the right time with natural hand movements.
Thanks Oli, for posting your thoughts on this super sleight.
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MRSharpe
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The Top Change can be a little intimidating at first, but misdirection is the key. Develop as many misdirective strategies though or you'll have the same problem as with other moves in that the spectators will become accustomed to the misdirection.
Custom Props Designer and Fabricator as well as Performer from Indiana, USA
Mortimer Graves
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I remember the fear and trepidation with which I performed my first top change in front of a live audience; when it actually worked, I almost lost track of where the effect was going from there, I was so taken aback by it! My audience probably thought I was about to have a cow in front of them, and for no apparent reason.

Either way I survived, but it was a big thing for me at the time.

I think that getting past the hurdle and just doing it is a major step towards developing more confidence in performing sleights, as it's one of the bolder moves most of us encounter when we're starting out. If you can swallow the nervousness and push on through, you eventually realize just how incredibly versatile it is as a utility move, and it opens the door to so much more, in so many ways.

In fact, it helped me learn so much about timing and misdirection that even though I'm not as big on cards as I used to be, I still have to admit that I owe a lot of my success in later performance to having learned it. What used to be so scary to me became something I all but over-used for a while, and it was actually a big part of my beginnings as a magician. For a good year or so that formerly scary monster was my favorite pet, once I had finally tamed it.

Thanks for sharing your insight! I'm sure many will find it a great help in getting through something that's scary to do the first few (dozen) times.
'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.

Hastur, Hastur, Hastur! See? Nothing hap-

...and if we rub each other the wrong way, let's try going in another direction. - Pokey the Porcupine
davidpaul$
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[quote]On Dec 7, 2014, Mortimer Graves wrote:
I remember the fear and trepidation with which I performed my first top change in front of a live audience; when it actually worked, I almost lost track of where the effect was going from there, I was so taken aback by it! My audience probably thought I was about to have a cow in front of them, and for no apparent reason.

Either way I survived, but it was a big thing for me at the time.

I think that getting past the hurdle and just doing it is a major step towards developing more confidence in performing sleights, as it's one of the bolder moves most of us encounter when we're starting out. If you can swallow the nervousness and push on through, you eventually realize just how incredibly versatile it is as a utility move, and it opens the door to so much more, in so
many ways.

In fact, it helped me learn so much about timing and misdirection that even though I'm not as big on cards as I used to be, I still have to admit that I owe a lot of my success in later performance to having learned it. What used to be so scary to me became something I all but over-used for a while, and it was actually a big part of my beginnings as a magician. For a good year or so that
formerly scary monster was my favorite pet, once I had finally tamed it.

Thanks for sharing your insight! I'm sure many will find it a great help in getting through something that's scary to do the first few(dozen) times. [/quote)

My thoughts exactly....great post!!
Now it's time for the watch steal. I've been avoiding it.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Magic Oli
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I agree with mr sharpe, the spectators will never fall for the same trick twice and will be watching extra closely and ignoring your banter after a few times
Mortimer Graves
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Quote:
On Dec 7, 2014, Magic Oli wrote:
I agree with mr sharpe, the spectators will never fall for the same trick twice and will be watching extra closely and ignoring your banter after a few times



I agree with this in some regards, but I feel a lot of it has to do with the performer and their connection with their audience. I have seen one of my friends get away with a top change 3 times in a row for ten performances in a row, and every time he revealed the effect, it got gasps from his audiences.

It was like watching Doc Eason do the card under the glass 15 times in a row, with the same results.

I don't think it's all in the move, it's mostly in the misdirection; with the right misdirection, the audience often doesn't even realize your hands came close to one another. It's kind of hard to catch someone if he knows how to get the drop on you psychologically.

While I don't believe in, say, following the cups and balls with the cups and balls, I do believe that with the right presentation and misdirection it doesn't matter if you repeat a sleight. Keep it fresh, and they'll never see it coming, anyway.
'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.

Hastur, Hastur, Hastur! See? Nothing hap-

...and if we rub each other the wrong way, let's try going in another direction. - Pokey the Porcupine
Magic Oli
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I mean the same people over and over
Mortimer Graves
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Often, in busking situations, I've had people stick around for several shows. Sometimes they leave, and come back later to watch again. I think this qualifies as the same people over again.

I try never to repeat a sleight right after doing the same sleight, so I mix it up, but even after seeing me do the same effect 20 times, people have told me they still couldn't figure it out. This is the power of misdirection at work.

If you have more than one method of misdirecting, it ultimately doesn't matter if you only know one sleight. The key is in pretending you're doing something different, even if you're doing the same thing, just like you can pretend to be doing the same thing while using a different method each time.

Short version: it's not what you do, but how you do it.

Doc Eason puts a card under his drink 14 or 15 times in a row. For the same audience. And using the same move every time. The result is highly entertaining to watch; the audience falls apart at the seams, screaming in disbelief every time he points out that the card is, once again, under his drink.

The key to it all? Timing and misdirection, the very thing that makes the top change work.

Timing and misdirection are the primary tools of sleight of hand. The moves are secondary.
'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.

Hastur, Hastur, Hastur! See? Nothing hap-

...and if we rub each other the wrong way, let's try going in another direction. - Pokey the Porcupine
Kabbalah
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Quote:
On Dec 8, 2014, Mortimer Graves wrote:

Timing and misdirection are the primary tools of sleight of hand. The moves are secondary.


Uh, no. The very foundation of sleight of hand are moves and technique. Without them, there is no need for misdirection or timing.
"Long may magicians fascinate and continue to be fascinated by the mystery potential in a pack of cards."
~Cliff Green

"The greatest tricks ever performed are not done at all. The audience simply think they see them."
~ John Northern Hilliard
Mortimer Graves
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Without timing and misdirection, it's just flourishy juggling. Without sleight of hand, you can still do magic, but timing and misdirection are still required. Leave them out, and it's not even close to being magic. We're talking about doing magic, right?

Sorry if we weren't, I've been wrong before. I know I said sleight of hand, but what I meant was magic. Sorry for any semantic confusion. To avoid it in the future, I'll try to be more thoughtful and specific.

I don't think sleight of hand is even worth doing outside a magic performance, unless the focus is on shoplifting or something.

Also, in reference to Sharpe, if your patter is set in stone, and you're reciting it from memory, then it's totally true that they'll lose interest and burn your hands. I think that's why it's important to allow yourself to speak extemporaneously, and not recite the same thing over and over.

Nobody wants to listen to a robot, unless perhaps they're just incredibly lonely.

I used to call myself a prestidigitator, because I was embarrassed to call myself a magician. As a result, my audiences were constantly trying to catch me, and burning me all the time. I couldn't relax and enjoy my own show, and the audience became my enemy, people I had to conquer through impressing them with my superior technique.

It wasn't magic, and in the end, it just depressed me. Jim Cellini told me that my problem was that I was using sleight of hand as my show's theme, and not using it to make magic happen. He told me "You have to believe, or they won't care what you do, and they won't care about you, either."

When I learned how important other aspects of magic were, and got over my hangup on technique, people liked my shows more, and fewer of them stared at my hands the whole time. Now I meet a crowd and they become my friends, and I give them something wonderful. When a stodgy old guy tells you that you just made him feel like a little kid again, that's magic.

Technique is cheap. Magic is not mechanics.
'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.

Hastur, Hastur, Hastur! See? Nothing hap-

...and if we rub each other the wrong way, let's try going in another direction. - Pokey the Porcupine
Kabbalah
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Thanks for clarifying.
"Long may magicians fascinate and continue to be fascinated by the mystery potential in a pack of cards."
~Cliff Green

"The greatest tricks ever performed are not done at all. The audience simply think they see them."
~ John Northern Hilliard
Mortimer Graves
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Thanks for making it clear to me that I needed to. I hate making mistakes, and I'm not being sarcastic when I say thanks, either. I appreciate your willingness to keep me on my toes.

Please forgive me, I knew not what I did. I think I needed an extra sip of coffee on that one.
'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.

Hastur, Hastur, Hastur! See? Nothing hap-

...and if we rub each other the wrong way, let's try going in another direction. - Pokey the Porcupine
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