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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Helpful Tips For The Card Manipulator (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

magic4u02
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

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I have had a lot of requests lately from my SYM students and others about tips that I and others have learned over the years that are a big help to the card manipulator. These are simply suggestions that have worked for me over the years and I would like to list some of them below in hopes that it might be of some use to others as well as they continue on with their own learning.

1) Work the cards in - One of the bigest mistakes many beginners make is that the cards they are using and not worked in properly. The cards need to be worked in to make them more plyable to the hands for the many moves you will be making and performing. I even work in manipulators cards like that of Norm Nielson. even these cards can and should be worked in before use.

I use a McBride technique for working in cards that is listed on his card videos. It is a simple process of using a table edge to wear down the wax coating on most Bee and Bicycle brands of cards. It works really well. You may want to check this process out for yourself for further details.

2) Do Finger Exercises - This may sound crazy but many people forget to do this. Like any part of your body, your fingers are not used to the many moves that we card manipulators put our hands through. The hands have to get use to the new movements and this means training the muscles to act the way we want them to. This means learning and performing finger exercises several times each week and especially before a performance. it gets the fingers used to the moves and gets them limbered up and ready to go.

3) Do card Warm Ups - Too many manipulators go and do a show totally "cold". By this I mean that they do not warm up properly as they should. You really should take your cards out before a performance and run through all the moves you will be required to make. This warms you up, warms your hands up and gets the cards comfortable to your hands. If you warm up in this process, you will find your performances will tend to run much smoother.

4) Practice with Video NOT a Mirror - This also may seem odd but many manipulators rely to much on the mirror. This is bad practice for 2 reasons. 1) The mirror is opposite of what the audience really is seeing. It is not a true representation of what the audience sees. 2) The manipulator gets too comfortable relying on seeing his/her own reflection in the mirror. Once they are on stage performing, and do not have the mirror, it tends to through them way off because they want to see that reflection again.

The best way to practice is to set up a video camera in your practice area. Videos do not lie and they show exactly what the audience is seeing. It is also good because you do not rely on seeing a reflection that may distract you in a real performance.

5) Keep Your Hands Warm - Manipulation is almost impossible to do well when your fingers are cold. When your hands are cold, your motor skills slow down and your reaction time does as well. It almost feels like your doing manipulation in slow motion.

Always keep your hands and fingers warm before every performance you do. Wear gloves if your going outside or bring a small hair dryer with you to warm them up before you go on. It makes a HUGE difference.

6) Keep Your hands Tacky - There are oils and solutions sold and made just for this purpose and some of them work quite well. You will have to experiment on which work best for you.

This may sound a bit gross, but if you do not have any oil or solution for yourhands, you can always use siliva. It sounds disgusting, but if your in a tight bind, siliva can add the tack to your hands that will help you along.

7) Keep Your Cards Straight - by this I see too often card manipulators work in their cards and when they are produced, the cards are all bent out of shape. This happens because as you prepare the cards for use, the cards lose the wax coating and become more plyable. Always keep your cards in a card vase or between 2 books over night. This will straighten out the cards again but will still keep them plyable enough for use.

8) Take Care Of Your Cards - Once your cards start getting old or are showing wear and tear, make sure to get rid of them and break in a new deck. image and appearance of your props really does make a difference in the overall impression of your act.

I hope some of these tips are of help to you. I look forward to your comments and hearing other tips that may work for you. Please share your tips with the group if you have any different ones.

Kyle
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-The Scot-
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Excellent Kyle, and of your usual (excellent) quality. Sound advice for the beginner to the professional. No card manipulator should overlook this post.

Well done Kyle, for producing another great post on card manipulation!
magic4u02
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

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Thanks Kevin:

I had a bunch of people asking me about this lately so I figured I would write some of it here in one place. This way I could direct people to it and others may get some help from it as well. These tips have always helped me.

Kyle
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peter teagle
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Redditch, UK
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Kyle

I'm really grateful for your offer of help with my technique, I'm sure I will learn better and more quickly. Ever since I saw Jeff McBride on a demo I was hooked, I practice hard everyday and I aim to be the absolute best I can possibly be. Your advice so far has been excellent! I will get some movies together and try to have them ready for the weekend, in the meantime, sounds kinda obvious but how can I tell when I need to throw away the cards and start a new deck? Should I try to get used to fanning powder as Jeff McBride recommends and what do you perscribe for keeping the hands nice and tacky?

Thanks again, Kyle

peter
"technique is science.
the application of technique is art."


peter teagle
magic4u02
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

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I look forward to seeing your movies and helping you out in whatever way I can. Let me try and answer your questions for you.

You need to throw the cards away when they become to brittle, you see tear or fold marks on the cards or the pil from your hands start to make the cards turn color. You usually can see this when the cards are stacked together and you look at edges. Usually the thumb causes a residue or dirt to build up here and that starts to tarnish the card edges. This is a good time to throw the cards out and get a fresh set. The more you work and handle the cards, the more you will no when to get rid of them.

My rule of thumb on fanning powder is to use them only on newer and no worked in cards that you plan on using for your fan and flourish work in your act.

I say this because cards tend to fan much easier and better if they are new and not worked in like your other cards.

Because of this, I prepare different sets of cards for my act and place these sets into different body clips for each segment. The more you work with the cards the more you will find what moves work best with worked in cards, what work best for newer stiff cards and what moves you need powder for.

I hope this helps you. Let me know any other questions you may have.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

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