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RandyWakeman
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The Pass as a Card Control

This is my personal viewpoint. It seems many are looking at things from opposite ends of the spectrum regarding the pass used as a card control.

Conviction / belief: Let's assume a spectator replaces their selection in the center of the pack, and you square the deck. To my way of thinking, it is all over with. It's done. Finito. No further convincing is necessary, it would be redundant. The selection really is in the center of the pack, after all. Unless you give the audience encouragement to suspect otherwise (openly seen jog, break, etc., etc.) the action is complete- as far as they are concerned. What it looks like is what it actually is. No further clarification is required or indicated, you would just be overstating what is obvious.

Enter the pass: classic, otherwise, it matters not. This "secret move" can convince people of nothing, in no way can it add to belief or conviction. All that it can do, from an audience viewpoint, is destroy the belief, weaken the quite clear condition that already exists. A pass can only hurt things for the audience, it cannot help or convince. That is what is tantamount and paramount in this discussion: damage control. The pass cannot help, it can only retain the fairness of the condition. A bad pass, however, can either weaken or annihilate it.

Quite simply, you want to use a technique that in no way alters what is already an absolutely fair situation. How you go about this is your choice, I've said enough about the "classic" way (as dismissed by Erdnase for advantage play) as "not the best choice for the thinking performer." Before you start showing that their card is not on the top or bottom, consider that you are actually insulting your audience, displaying additional cards without reason.

With the pass / shift / hop, the idea is not to convince- the idea is not to create any basis to think that there has been a change in the condition of the deck or the position of their selection.

Best,

Randy
Lance Pierce
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I've always had philosophical differences with the pass in performance, even though I've worked up a couple of fairly decent ones myself. To my mind, ANY technique that's unseen or unsuspected is a good one, but the pass is rarely either. Even if the audience doesn't know what was done, it's pretty obvious most of the time that SOMETHING was done. Sometimes this is given away by the cards, sometimes by the hands, sometimes even by the wrists, arms, or shoulders.

Someone once asked me about a pass, and I said I'd show him an invisible one. He selected a card, I crimped it. He shuffled, I took the deck back. I cut the deck at the crimp. I asked him if he was ready for the pass. He said yes. I turned over the top card. He was completely fooled.

I asked him if he saw me cut the deck. He said no. The reason he didn't notice this action was because it was meaningless in the face of the fact that he'd just shuffled the cards himself. This is the fair procedure you just mentioned, Randy. The cut was an ordinary one, but it was invisible and unsuspected because of when it happened and under what conditions. Not only did he not give the cut any credence, it was completely absent from his observations. I've done this for magicians over and over and over again.

The lesson here is that a simple cut -- unseen and unsuspected -- is as good and probably better than any pass any time anywhere.



TCR
Garrett Nelson
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Quote:

The lesson here is that a simple cut -- unseen and unsuspected -- is as good and probably better than any pass any time anywhere.

TCR


If I understand that quote right, I definately disagree.

Lets say you did the same procedure up to the point of him finishing shuffling the deck.

Wouldn't it be more impressive if when he handed the deck back to you you could simply take the top card and it was his? And if he was watching the deck the entire time, never took his eyes off it, and yet his card was on top?

There are passes which can accomplish this (a Malone shift, for one). I am with you that many times a magician does a pass and people know "something" happened. But that is the fault of poor execution.

In the right hands, in the situation you mentioned, a shift can be done without one even suspecting a move.
truquero
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Well, I think everybody wants to be proud of being able to execute the pass "invisibly" right in the eyes of the audience, and as Erdnase recommeds: One should change the moment, I think that doing pass immediatly after someone replaced the card in the deck is the worst moment to do it, it´s better to use time misdirection, in that way, the pass is an excellent technique. On the other hand, there are several techniques wich allow immediate execution such as: Revolutionary Pass by Baltazar Fuentes or Bill Malone pass.
Regards.
"No es suficiente que yo sea feliz, necesito que los demás sufran" Groucho Marx.
RandyWakeman
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Quote:

Someone once asked me about a pass, and I said I'd show him an invisible one. He selected a card, I crimped it. He shuffled, I took the deck back. I cut the deck at the crimp.


I've been fooled badly with crimps-- many, many times. But, never with a pass, never.

I'll confess to not understanding the thinking of endlessly talking about passes, when a slight crimp-- and letting the spectator shuffle lacks nothing in terms of deception, or conviction.
Myrddin
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With Randy, I don't believe that the (classic) pass can help to convince people of an already established "fact" : that the selection is where it is supposed to be. The pass causes the idea of "He did something" and that weakens the impact of the trick.
Actually I use the pass in just one trick (soon in two tricks): it's a collector trick in which the 4 aces are going to find three selections. I "send" the aces one by one into the deck in order to "find" the selections. For this I use the classic or the riffle pass. The audience is aware that I'm doing something, and that it has a purpose : find the selections.
How to control a selection depends on the way you let the spec select a card and evt. return it IMHO. From the many existing card controls I use the tilt, Le Paul's Pass and Earl Nelson's variation of Marlo's convincing control.
IMO the tilt needs a little convincer, so the Schwarzman-Aste tilt feint comes in handy here.
For Le Paul's Pass I learned a lot from the Slydini books.
The convincing control can also be used to easily bring the selection on the second positon from the bottom.
All these controls allow you to keep the cards as they are, without any pass, cutting, shuffling. Here, in further agreement with Randy, no extra moves are necesary to :
a) bring the selection to a wanted position;
b) convince the audience of the "actual" position of their selection.

Peter
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Quote:
On 2002-08-04 11:21, RandyWakeman wrote:
Let's assume a spectator replaces their selection in the center of the pack, and you square the deck. To my way of thinking, it is all over with. It's done.


I think the problem is the establishment of this conviction. Audiences are not stupid. They are aware of the fact that somehow later this very card has to be reproduced to achieve some magical effect so they expect a control of some sort. Simply putting the card in the deck and square it up might not be enough. They even might suspect estimation or "gaps". So convincers like a jog fan or dribble are welcome.
I do not think that an immediate double undercut is a smart control.
Whenever possible you should delay the control (replacing card, perhaps fanning, putting deck on table, later controlling the card).
Lance Pierce
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Quote:

Wouldn't it be more impressive if when he handed the deck back to you you could simply take the top card and it was his? And if he was watching the deck the entire time, never took his eyes off it, and yet his card was on top?



That's just it...as far as he was concerned, he did just hand the deck to me and I showed him the top card was his. He thought that I had to have done what I said: an impossibly invisible pass. The cut was unobserved; it flew completely under his radar. There's no way that a pass could have succeeded there (especially given my set up with him), and I don't know of any pass that would have. Like Randy, I've NEVER been fooled by a pass, not even Malone's, as good as it is in his hands. Keep in mind also that this wasn't an experiment conducted once. It's been done many, many times.

Quote:
I am with you that many times a magician does a pass and people know "something" happened. But that is the fault of poor execution.


I always get into trouble with this one: I think it's inherently the technique itself, not the execution. No type of classic pass can withstand a direct burn. A cut can be completely innocuous and unseen -- even if someone is looking at the deck -- because given the right conditions, it doesn't mean anything, but with a pass there's always a jerk, a swing of the arms, a snap, a quick turn of the wrist...something that signals a sudden burst of energy. That change in rhythm, that spurt of energy, is what sets off alarms.

The best cover I've ever seen for this "burst of energy" is Derek Dingle's "Cockroach Pass." He simply covers the burst with an even larger burst by pretending to stomp on a bug at the moment he does the pass. You can't see anything happening in his wrists, arms, or shoulders because his entire body is engaged in stomping a bug. But here, he's removing the burn. Dingle does one of the best passes I've EVER seen, and even he works to cover it up when possible. Even his will not withstand a direct burn.

When we're talking about critical observers (the kind Erdnase talks about who, when something is well done, don't suspect let alone detect a technique), a cut can be meaningless (and therefore invisible), but the actions required to execute any type of classic pass can NEVER be meaningless because they're inherently out of context. Therefore, they have to be covered...and sometimes we have to go to great lengths to do so.

I'm not saying that a pass has no place in magic...as I mentioned, I've worked up some myself over the last twenty years or so: The Hermann Pass, the Classic Pass, the Riffle Pass, the Black Pass, the Dribble Pass, etc., etc., etc. It's just that given the effort and time needed to get one to performance level (not to mention the angle problems with almost all passes), there's far less investment in other techniques, subterfuges, and subtleties that get more mileage as far as creating the illusion that "nothing happened."

Best,



TCR
Steve Friedberg
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One quick thought...Marlo's Shuffle Pass, as simple and as rudimentary as it is, works wonderfully, because it takes place in the context of an action that the spectator expects. No need for herky-jerky, half-hidden moves.
Cheers,
Steve

"A trick does not fool the eyes, but fools the brain." -- John Mulholland
Garrett Nelson
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Quote:
On 2002-08-09 08:12, TenCardRow wrote:
No type of classic pass can withstand a direct burn. A cut can be completely innocuous and unseen -- even if someone is looking at the deck -- because given the right conditions, it doesn't mean anything, but with a pass there's always a jerk, a swing of the arms, a snap, a quick turn of the wrist


I do see the point you are making, but imagine your friend hadn't EVER taken his eyes off the deck. Even when he handed it back to you. And you didn't do anything, just took the top card (no pass, no cut). I will never, ever, be convinced that that isn't stronger than you doing anyhting (be it a pass, or a cut).

On that same line of thinking, it can look like nothing happened with a great pass.

I have seen many passes with no jerk.

A la "Strong Magic" advise, one should ask himself what it would look like if you could really do magic, and try to make the technique look like the same.

I didn't say use a classic pass (I think that would be a bad idea). I am not a pass-a-holic. The pass isn't my main control. But for a one-one situation like this, where the magic is the card being shuffled to the top by the spectator himself, with the magician seeming to do nothing, a pass would definately be my weapon of chice. Since it has worked fine for you, why change it?? Smile I definately don't want to downplay how effective appearing to figit with the cards can be for a control (like a casual cut).

But for me, I will not take the risk of someone watching me cut the deck and remembering it.

Just clearing up any misconceptions about what I said.



As for being fooled by a pass, I find that a very poor example. I am not fooled by the Invisible deck, either, but laymen sure are Smile
TheAmbitiousCard
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If you were fooled by the Pass, you wouldn't know it would you?

I've watched John Carney on video do some effects that totally fooled me and when I went back, there it was... The Pass.

I notice the following with his pass

Not quite invisible
Just enough misdirection
Of the classic variety
Smooth
Pretty Quick
And here's what I think makes it so good...
The top hand is very quiet. That is the key point that i remember. With a tad of misdirection and a quiet top hand, it is very deceiving. No jerks, No rocking, No riffling.

A lot of the video clips I've seen used to seem so fantastic until I saw Carney's Pass. Then when I went back and looked at the video clips, I noticed that perhaps I don't see flashing on top or bottom but i see a lot of chuckin' and jivin' with the fingers, wrists, elbows, you name it.
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Lance Pierce
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That's the thing, Garrett; he didn't take his eyes off the deck. That's why it was so significant later that he didn't perceive the cut. He was looking right at it, but it wasn't what he was looking for, and he didn't remember it happening. Hardly anyone does.

I don't think there's any "right" or "wrong" here. I just think our experiences are telling us different things.

Classic-type passes all have problems with the energy needed to accomplish them. Hermann-type passes all have problems with angles. All passes have problems with the necessity of "framing up" before the execution. All these problems can be solved, but not all by the same pass. You see, it's because I AM trying to imagine what it would look like if it were real magic that the passes are not the solutions I'm looking for, even though I can do several of them fairly well.

To me, the pass has always been a fidgeting action, but not a simple cut, done casually, slowly, and without heat. I know it all comes down in the end to simple preference, but I also know from experience that a pass is a more laborious path to the same result as a simple cut, and a simple cut done at the right time with the right psychology behind it gets equal if not better results. 90% of any move, of course, is the attitude of the performer. I've sometimes wondered if a lot of magicians out there don't really WANT their passes to be seen.

Know what I mean? Smile

Anyway, this is all theory. In practice, laypeople generally don't know what to look for in deconstructing an effect, so that works greatly in our favor regardless of whether we're using passes, cuts, or any other move we care to employ.

Oh, and yeah, I'm not fooled by the Invisible Deck, either, but at least once, I was.

Cheers!


TCR
truquero
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Why don´t try the following:
The spectator returns the card, you palm by side steal and give the deck to be shuffled, when it returns, you replace the card.
I have use this, and is very effective, the strong point is, of course, that the spectator believes that himself lost the card (if the palming and replacing techniques were good)And you don´t have control on their actions.
Regards. Smile
"No es suficiente que yo sea feliz, necesito que los demás sufran" Groucho Marx.
Stephen Long
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The example TCR gives, whilst being a very good one, is not relevant if we're talking about the pass from the perspective of lay audiences.

It seems to me that the reason your pass worked in the example you gave, TCR, is because magicians are rarely looking for the obvious (especially when it comes to something like a pass). It is for this very reason (as I'm sure you are aware) that the cut flew by them.

However, lay audiences are looking for the obvious. The cut would not be forgotten by a lay audience. In fact, I'll bet that if you showed them exactly the thing they would respond simply with: "that's because you just cut it to the top."

I have to say that I have absolutely nothing against the classic pass in the right hands.
Remember, any control is invisible when they aren't looking.

There are plenty of performers who make the classic pass work for them.
If they can perform it, and perform it well, by no means am I going to tell them they shouldn't be doing it simply because I think it is a bad control.
I don't think it is a bad control when done well. However, I certainly think it is far from the best control in card magic.

Also, (this is by no means a personal attack on anyone posting here, or anywhere else) I have found it common that magicians who attack the classic (or any other) pass as being "out of date" are generally the ones who have never bothered to put in the time to master it.

Both Sankey and Malone (to name but a couple that initially spring to mind) use the pass as a visual vanish/appearance of a card.
Malone even has the audacity to use it to incredible effect in his ambitious card routine when he puts the card in the centre (or "center", depending on where you're from) face up.
One classic pass with a little riffle as cover and the card appears "instantly" on top of the deck.
In instances like these it doesn't matter that the audience saw you "do something". Of course you "did something" otherwise the trick wouldn't work.

If the pass was as terrible as some magicians make out then it would have died out long ago.
I am not a particularly strong advocate for the classic pass, but I am most certainly not against it.

My two English pennies for whomsoever desires them.

Stephen
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RandyWakeman
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I'll quote a well-known professional:

"So called magicians have been struggling with how to cut the deck for centuries. Maybe in another hundred years, they will decide how to properly use it in a trick."

Makes you wonder.
Lance Pierce
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Hi, Stephen,

Quote:
The example TCR gives, whilst being a very good one, is not relevant if we're talking about the pass from the perspective of lay audiences. It seems to me that the reason your pass worked in the example you gave, TCR, is because magicians are rarely looking for the obvious (especially when it comes to something like a pass). It is for this very reason (as I'm sure you are aware) that the cut flew by them.


I’ve never made it clear: in one form or another, this was done for many people, both laymen and magicians. You see, the larger principle this illustrates is that if a situation is arranged so that an action is completely without meaning, then it will, for all intents and purposes, be invisible when it’s done. Attention always focuses on whatever possibly means something, not anything that carries no meaning at all. What we have with this understanding is an opportunity to arrange things so that our moves fall in the category of “meaningless and therefore unobserved,” whether we’re talking about a cut, a shuffle, or even a pass.

But most classic-type passes (riffle pass, dribble, pass, etc.) contain an action or moment that possibly means something, because it stands out in some way, whether it’s a flare of a finger, a boxed grip of the deck, or a momentary tension and release. Something is always going on other than simply holding the deck, which (at the time most passes are done) is all that should be happening with the deck. These signals can all be misdirected from, yes, but moves that require no misdirection at all are inherently better.

Quote:
However, lay audiences are looking for the obvious. The cut would not be forgotten by a lay audience. In fact, I'll bet that if you showed them exactly the thing they would respond simply with: "that's because you just cut it to the top."


And my experience has been exactly the opposite. Laymen and magicians are no different in this regard. They attend to what they think is important to their understanding. In the example we’ve talked about, they shuffled the deck. Any cut after that has absolutely no meaning (and keep in mind that the performer must do it as if it had no meaning…a shifty attitude can give it away). They can look straight at the deck when you’re doing it, and even the few who do remember it taking place give it no weight when later trying to reconstruct what happened.

Trust me, this principle of assigning meaninglessness to an action can help with all kinds of moves in all kinds of routines.

Please keep in mind that I’m not saying that there’s no place for the pass in magic. I’ve never said it’s not a viable move. Compared to a move that delivers as much result for far less effort, though, it should be understood in its proper perspective. Simply using a well-timed and well-situated cut is the thinking magician’s approach, because a lot of thought has to go into just how and when to do it, and no move, not even a cut, serves all circumstance.

Quote:

If they can perform it, and perform it well, by no means am I going to tell them they shouldn't be doing it simply because I think it is a bad control.


If it seems like this is what I’ve been saying, then I apologize. I would NEVER tell someone that they shouldn’t be doing a pass. All I ever suggest is that they regard it as what it is compared to other moves…in some ways usable, in others horribly inefficient.

Quote:
Both Sankey and Malone (to name but a couple that initially spring to mind) use the pass as a visual vanish/appearance of a card.
Malone even has the audacity to use it to incredible effect in his ambitious card routine when he puts the card in the centre (or "center", depending on where you're from) face up. One classic pass with a little riffle as cover and the card appears "instantly" on top of the deck. In instances like these it doesn't matter that the audience saw you "do something". Of course you "did something" otherwise the trick wouldn't work.


Yes, and now we’re talking about something entirely different. Here the pass is being used to create an effect. Before, we were talking about the pass as a secret control. Not everyone has the same direction or goal in magic, but one valid and recommendable approach is to make things as magical as possible. This is usually best done by leaving the audience with nothing that they can use to hang their suspicions on. One of the best responses you can get from a layman is, “But he didn’t do ANYTHING.”

Quote:
I am not a particularly strong advocate for the classic pass, but I am most certainly not against it.


Nor am I, but I do think that a lot of magicians are far too in love with it.

I’m not going to take the blame for this topic. This is all Wakeman’s fault. Smile

Cheers,



TCR
RandyWakeman
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"ars est celare artem"
Lance Pierce
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Agreed, Randy!



TCR
Myrddin
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Quote:
On 2002-08-10 02:50, RandyWakeman wrote:
"ars est celare artem"


Perhaps that's the reason why many magicians (including myself)like to demonstrate flourishes, as a little compensation for our secret moves... we can't show how skillful we are in our tricks an yet we want to...
Mmm, I'm getting a bit off topic. Oh well ;-)

Peter
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The greatest compliment one can get as a magician is "How in the world could you do that?!?!?!?! You didn't do anything and yet......."

Who needs showing off with flourishes when one hears that enough. When you apparently do miracles and they don't even have a "I saw you do something, not sure what it was but I saw something", that IS how a magician should look to their audience.

PSIncerely Yours,
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