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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Basic Card Fan (8 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Supernaut
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So I'm brand new to card magic (couldn't even riffle shuffle a week ago) and I am having serious trouble with the basic two-handed card fan in the Royal Road to Card Magic.

Firstly the instructions in the book seem to be completely different to how Paul Wilson does it in his Royal Road DVD and I'm not sure which way I should be doing it.
Secondly even when doing it very slowly I cannot seem to get the cards to fan out evenly to the point where most cards are completely hidden.

I understand that it's all just practice but I almost get the feeling I'm practicing it wrong. Can anyone give any pointers to a complete beginner on how to do a half-decent fan?

Also for what it's worth, I seem to be better at the one handed fan, still far from good though.
danaruns
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When I was learning the basic fan, I was so frustrated because I could never get it even, no matter what I did or how slowly I did it. It turned out that my fan was fine, it was the cards that were the problem. Old cards don't fan well. Cards that are cut a certain way (most of the lower end Bicycle decks) don't work well. Dirty cards don't work well. You might try getting yourself a new, high quality deck and see if that doesn't solve all your problems. It did for me.

With bad/old/cheap/dirty cards, I use a pressure fan.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Supernaut
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Oh okay, thanks for the advice.
I'm using Bicycle Rider Backs Air-Cushion cards, I thought these were the standard for card magic? If not what should I look at buying?

I live in Australia so it's hard to find cards that aren't the locally made plastic coated ones.
danaruns
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Rider Back Bikes can be absolutely terrible for fanning. It has to do with the way they are cut. If you get the gold label ones, they are great. The regular ones are crap.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Doug Trouten
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Many folks who do manipulation with cards prefer Bees to Bicycles. Others order Norm Nielsen's manipulation cards, which are designed for manipulation. If you're going to use Bikes, you might want to break them in a bit. If you can get your hands on a copy of Lewis Ganson's "Card Magic by Manipulation," you'll find advice on how to prepare cards.

You could use the Magic Café's advanced search function to look for the phrase "card manipulation" or "cards for manipulation." That will take you to some helpful threads.
It's still magic even if you know how it's done.
Terry Pratchett
Supernaut
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Thanks for all the help guys! I've got some reading to do. I'll definitely buy some gold standard bikes and bees as well, see what I like more.
55Hudson
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Supernaut:

Your confusion on card choice may be you confusion between manipulation and magic. Flourishes are not magic and vice versa.

Certainly you can include flourishes in a show or event central to the show. You can use flourishes to attract an audience or demonstrate credibility.

But ...

If your character is like a Pop Haydn - where magic happens around him, often without him realizing it, you don't need flourishes and I believe they would be counter productive to your character. See Pop's Six Card Repeat on his web site for illustration.

Of course if your character is a River Boat gambler, then you woukd want a large stable of flourishes. I think Stephen Paul Carlson is someone who presents this kind of image: a card pro who can make the cards dance and sing at his command! (Figuratively).

The character you select (which may change over the years) will drive you props, the tricks you perform, and the skills you need. Even as far as custom cards to standard locally used cards (Bikes in the USA).

I'm a big fan of Pop Haydn and his thoughts on character development. He has a number of downloads regarding character and theory that you may find instructive.

Dick Oslund is the master in the practicality of making a living performing magic. He's a friend and sometime a grouchy old man! But - anyone who can make a full-time living for 50 years, working out of a briefcase, with less than 5 minutes set up and tear down, has something to say that is worthwhile. Especially his rules for including a new routine in his act.

Good luck!

Hudson
danaruns
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Quote:
On Dec 5, 2016, 55Hudson wrote:

If your character is like a Pop Haydn - where magic happens around him, often without him realizing it, you don't need flourishes and I believe they would be counter productive to your character. See Pop's Six Card Repeat on his web site for illustration.

Of course if your character is a River Boat gambler, then you woukd want a large stable of flourishes....I'm a big fan of Pop Haydn and his thoughts on character development. He has a number of downloads regarding character and theory that you may find instructive.



Funny, I always thought of Pop as a riverboat gambler type of character, though certainly in his six-card repeat routine he looks a little lost as cards fall all around him. Wonderful routine! He does fill his act with card flourishes, including, for instance, fans, springs, and false shuffles and cuts in his take on the Chicago Opener. Plus, it seems to me that Pop's character is a huge con man, as he demonstrates in his "magnetic water" routine, his teleportation device, his three shell game, his Amazing Miracle Oil, and his entire medicine show.

Of course, my take might be a bit colored by virtue of the fact that I am a graduate of Pop Haydn's, Chef Anton's and Bob Sheets' "School For Scoundrels." Smile
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Pop Haydn
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I prefer to think of myself more as a man of science and medicine. I admit, that in my past, I had association with some rather disreputable people in Skagway and before in Leadville, Denver and Deadwood.

I have been making an honest living selling medicine and medical devices for almost twenty years since 1899.
Porridge
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I also have a tough time doing the fan.

Mine doesn't even come out in a complete arc or circle Smile
Dick Oslund
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I was "surfing", and the title of this thread "caught" my eye.......

First! Hudson! Thank you for your kind words! --And, yes, I occasionally can get a bit grouchy! Well, I'm "entitled"! I'm 85, as of December 11, '16, and, for Superenaut's information, we old carnies would say that he (Supernaut) is a "First o' May"! (a new guy). (When you're green, you can get ripe. When you're ripe, you may just get rotten! (Look at me!)

If you continue, with your good attitude, (Listen a lot, ask polite questions, and, practice, to "show" that you really want to learn) and, the old pro's will very likely help you along.)

Supernaut, I learned to fan cards when I was 13, in 1945. The only book I had was Erdnase! I learned the "cascade", the "waterfall" the Charlier "pass" (one hand cut)the arm spread and turnover, and the arm spread, throw up, and catch, etc. Then, I realized that a 13-14 year old "river gambler" wasn't going to "make it" just doing that stuff! (With the mentoring of an old professional, I also learned a bit of sleight of hand with coins (coin roll, Downs palm, etc.) With mentoring from an old pro., I also learned how to "sell" that stuff to an audience!

You may have heard the term, "contact juggling". Well, I consider those card "flourishes", and coin flourishes, to be a form of "contact juggling. (A "regular" juggler shouldn't get too much credit! --Gravity does half the work!) hee hee (just kidding, of course!)

Hudson says, "Fourishes aren't magic..." and, he is right, flourishes are "juggling". After I learned how to perform them in a manner that was entertaining, I've used a brief routine of card flourishes for a bit over 70 years! ("It aint WHAT ya do, it's HOW ya do it!" --Or, in one word: PRESENTATION,

When I was mentoring the late Jeff Helding, back in 1970, I started him with Hugard's "Royal Road". (He also learned to perform with other generic props like rope, silks, sponge balls, etc.) I got him a job, table hopping, and, that led to birthday parties, and, club dates. A few years later, I was able to help him get a tour of school assemblies. He did so well, that the bureau manager, offered him another tour, the following year. He did several more tours, before returning to college. Graduating, he accepted a position with the college TV station. Thirty years later, he retired, and did another school tour! He died later of diabetes complications, but Royal Road got him started, and he had never bought another card book!

I started with basic card fanning at 13. I had a new Aviator bridge size deck (Aviator was the "cheap" deck made by US Playing Card Company.) Then I learned about "fanning powder". THAT made fanning easier!

Although, I've known most of the top cardicians of the last 50+ years (LePaul, Marlo, Elmsley, Jaye, Racherbaumer, et al, I'm not a cardician. BTW, they tell me that, if you're planning on being a cardician, after you've learned fanning with a powdered deck, learn to fan without a powdered deck.

Get the best quality deck you can. I progressed from Aviators thru Steamboats (no longer available) to bikes, Tally-Hos, Bees, etc. In the act, I'm still using a deck of Fan backs, that I broke in, in the '50s for the flourishes! --Only about 20,000 shows!

Doug mentioned Norm Nielsen's deck. Yes, it's great. I've never met Pop Haydn, but, we have corresponded. I have great respect for his abilities, and, personality. I have, through the late Hersy Basham's courtesy, a hand written copy of Pop's linking routine, It's excellent! I don't KNOW Paul Carlson, but, have heard that he is GOOD.

Hudson mentioned "my" rules for putting a new trick in the act. The "rules" are the late Jay Marshall's and mine. This post is getting too long! If you're interested, just ask, and, "next time", we can talk about them.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
BlindWizard
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What is the best way to break in a deck?
Dick Oslund
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Well Wiz, it depends on what you're going to use the deck for.

Card fan productions need one prep, and fancy shuffles, another. I haven't done "split fans, since the mid '50s.

I understand that some of the new "manipulation" decks, need very little.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
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