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Toronto Canada
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Profile of RayAnderson
Ultra move,

Great post! Thanks for giving me something great to read at three am in the morning when I could no longer sleep. As always I find on a lot of these posts half way down, people start sliding away from the original comment or phrase and you being always on top keep the comment back on track I commend you. Congrats!

I didn't pen this phrase but I remember it well, "there are no bad audiences only bad entertainers"

And then the next phrase is "Cards are not boring. Cards have no feelings no personalities. They are just paper and with logo's. But a performer, he can be boring or exciting, interesting or thought provoking. After all he is the performer not the cards"

I open almost every show I ever perform at for the last 16 years (when I am performing walk around) with Chicago opener (gasp) yes it is a card trick. And I think its one of the greatest tricks (I said it, not greatest card tricks but greatest tricks)out there. Why? Because of the roller coaster effect it has. Audience member picks a card (sorry about that. The audience sometimes has to play a part. After all what fun is it when I do everything myself, I can do that in front of a mirror) The card they chose is now a different colour...yippie for the magician he did it.

If I walk into a room and say I am a magician people already start thinking thoughts about me. (Hey you would be great for my kids. Let's say on a scale of one to ten, they all think that magicians are a five (kind of cool but not really anything to jump up and down and scream you are a god kind of person). You have them select a card...and now changed colour.(pretty good trick if I do say so myself) I am now at a seven, maybe an eight (if I smile really really big (after all I have to do some work). Then a second card is chosen (opps I did it again...I made someone else pick a card...sorry about that the rules say I should never open with a card trick and to make people pick two cards Before I did a rubber band floating, coin flying out of the rubber band trick? (gasp) what am I thinking?

But no different card is to be found. So now I went from an eight down to a two...(you suck mister magician) but what? The first card is now turned can't be...the second person's card. I am now on a scale of one to ten...a eleven.

Ahh (singing now...How sweet it is)

It is called chicago opener for a reason.

the second (takes a bit longer than a second but hey its my fantasy let me live it) I perform this...people go...hmm..lets watch...this guy is going to be better than what I thought she would be.

I too make my living out of performing each and everyday, every year, year after year. I start each and every little mini show with Hey my name is... I am a magician that they dragged in here to amaze confuse delight anger the guests. They are going to pay me anyways. They just feel a lot better about signing my check if I actually work. So do you mind picking a card?

Ray Anderson
Ray Anderson
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Profile of jrbobik
So to sum it all up.

1. Open with something that YOU feel or know will get the audience attention.

2. Then just entertain and amaze them.

3. Always leave them wanting more (sorry just had to say it)

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted"
Doc Eason
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Profile of Doc Eason
Okay.. phrases like “never” and “certain death “ are too strong.
and what works for me may not work for someone else...

I simply feel that most people aren’t inherently interested in seeing a card trick first. Now those of you familiar with my act KNOW that I do a lot of card tricks... I just don’t like to open with one...

every once in a while I get the comment”do you do anything other than cards?” I can’t help but think that other people may feel that way and don’t say anything.

I like to capture their attention with something non card related and THEN move into a fun quick card trick my impossible opener... to set the tone that we are going to have fun first and cardtricks are the way we are going to have fun... I feel that the audience is warmed up and ready...

bottom line... dazzle them with some personality, chat with them first, make em laugh, amuse them, if they like you as a person, it doesn’t really matter what you open with.... if opening with a card trick works for you, then do it. If it works for Whit then it obviously works. Anything else is just opinion.
Doc Eason’s Rocky Mountain Magic

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Mike Wild
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Profile of Mike Wild
RE: "I simply feel that most people aren’t inherently interested in seeing a card trick first."


"bottom line... dazzle them with some personality, chat with them first, make em laugh, amuse them, if they like you as a person, it doesn’t really matter what you open with..."

To the first quote: I totally agree with that statement in the strongest possible terms! I'm a coin guy, but I'm also known to do something here and there with cards, dice, keys, assorted table and bar accessories, etc. I've found that opening with a card effect can subconsciously turn a spectator's mind off, or at least put it in neutral for a little while. Card tricks are in general, overdone, and play into the negative stereotype of the "pick a card, any card" magician. This is not always the case, as I have mentioned in previous posts... ID, Svengali stuff, Impossible Aces, etc. can be a great way to open, if you.... -->
"... dazzle them with some personality, chat with them first, make em laugh, amuse them..."

-Thanks for the great post Doc.

Best to All,

<><>< SunDragon Magic ><><>

"Question Reality... Create Illusion"
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Profile of DVA
Personality is the key. In another thread I said it is 10% what you do and 90% how you do it. Establishing who you are with the audience does not require some spectacularly mystifying or highly visual effect. Demonstrating you are in control is probably 8 or 9% of that 10% I mentioned earlier. I sometimes open a set with simple word play. It is a lot of fun, requires no props and plays for a large number of people. I can then move in a direction that best fits my audience.
Thats my .02
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Profile of S2000magician
On 2004-08-17 13:19, doceason wrote:
bottom line... dazzle them with some personality, chat with them first, make em laugh, amuse them . . . .

In the other thread on this subject I said much the same thing: I introduce myself, ask the guests their names, find out how they're enjoying their evening, and so on. I find it's much easier to entertain friends than strangers, so I start by making friends.

On 2004-08-17 13:19, doceason wrote:
I simply feel that most people aren’t inherently interested in seeing a card trick first.

I hate to disagree with Doc - ever - but on the occasions when I have asked a new group of friends what type of magic they like - money, cards, rubberbands, pencils, or whatever - I'll hear money or cards most often. What's more interesting, perhaps, is when I start with something other than cards, then bring out the deck, and hear, "Ah, now comes the real magic!" or words to that effect. Maybe there are more card magic lovers out there than we believe, but who think that everyone else won't like card magic.
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Eternal Order
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Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
I'm wondering what percentage of spectators don't want to be asked questions right off the bat.

Because I feel that way personally, I take a slightly different approach. I say something that is a little off-beat such as..
"Excuse me. I noticed something about you. I'm the magician this evening and would like to try an exeriment. Would that be ok with you?"

After my first effect, then I start to ask their names, as they become the next person to take a card, etc..

I'm wondering if any of you would feel that this was inappropriate?

I probably do it this way because, as a person having dinner, I'd rather be approached in this type of manner.

As you can see there are differences in what makes people feel comfortable so there is no right answer for everyone. The best we can do magicians is to QUICKLY figure that out for each group.

Let me know your thoughts.
Frank Hand Crafted Magic
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Profile of Romulo
First of, I'd like to apologize for haven't read all the posts here as I'm working on my office.

I just would like to say that for some reason, I don't like to approach a group of people with card tricks.

Recently I got an agreenment to work in a local resort (kind of an acqua park). I do close-up magics all Sundays from 11:00am to 13:00pm. I always approach tables with sponge routines, some simple coins manipulation, poker chip polka and then I do some 2 or 3 card tricks effects, no more than this.

I just think this way works better for me.
The Mighty Fool
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One of my faviorite approaches is to ask the people at the table "have you ever seen a card trick?" (As I remove a deck from my pocket) Invariably they answer "yes" , whereupon I replace the deck and say "Oh, well I won't do any then. I don't like to repeat!" This will garner 1 of 2 responses, a exclamation of releif (rare) or a chorus of "no! No! Go ahead!" So the audience has now been tested and primed to receive a card trick.
Everybody wants to beleive.....we just help them along.
Larry Davidson
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The Mighty Fool,

Here's an old bit of business you might want to try. Coil up a rope and place it in a card box. Walk up to the table, remove the card box from your pocket, ask the audience, "Have you ever seen a card trick?", and when they say that they have, open the box, pull the rope out, and say, "Good, because this is a rope trick."

I personally don't approach a table with a prop, but if you're comfortable doing that, this may work for you.

Larry D.
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Profile of RonCalhoun
All I can said is I like Cards. Cards are MY best stuff. I said mine not anyone else. I enjoy doing cards, I have more fun with cards. Ya, I do other things, But, to me cards are what I do best.

So I want to do what I do best, first.

Look, if its worked for someone for 30 plus years leave it alone. Some times ya need to brake a few rules.
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Profile of ShaunRobison
We have all heard it enough times. "If it works for you than do it!" (pertaining to cards). I have a LOT of respect for Doc Eason, if he doesn't open with cards that's fine. Personally, for me, I can open with several different things. I CAN (and often do) open with a card trick but I have several things as well. You all should look into REBOXED by Steve Bedwell. I am lucky enough to have bought one and can make them myself since I wear it out to fast. That is a great opener and FAST too! Then I go into a pick a card trick or even better a "Just peek at a card" trick.
The truth IMHO is do what you feel comfortable doing. People should like you not the card trick. If you can remember that than you are on your way! If they don't like who you are no prop or trick will make things better!

Shaun R.
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Profile of Close.Up.Dave
I think there are two points that haven't been touched up on (even if it's an old thread). This doesn't have to do just with openers, but more so the confidence and the psychology behind why some laymen groan when someone takes out a deck of cards. The first is that many of you who say that you shouldn't open with card tricks are claiming to be magicians. When people think of the word magician they either associate it with bad card tricks or with doing the impossible such as making a signed bill appear in a lemon. I think the laymen who don't like to see card tricks don't like to see them because they want to see something magical, not you displaying your skill with a pack of cards (or they just don't like magic). Many of the people who say laymen don't like to see card tricks is because you are claiming to be someone who can do the impossible, but don't mention it will only be with a deck of cards. That's why when asking if they want to see any magic some will say "only if you can make a dollar into a hundred dollar bill," they do think it would be cool but only if it's something that will affect them in a positive way. We all know of course there are many great card tricks out there that we know an audience would love if they would just give it a chance, you can't do that by giving false impressions of mystical wonder and then only offering to find their card.

The other problem is that many of you seem to hate the term "card tricks." As Kostya Kimlat says "In the end, it's just a stupid card trick" and he is perfectly right. All we are doing is manipulating pieces of paper to do seemingly impossible things in an entertaining manor. Unfortunately many people on the Café love to see card tricks, but can't get excited about their own card magic in front of laymen. They figure "eh they don't want to see it," of course they won't if you're not excited to show them. They may just be card tricks, but that doesn't mean it can't be fun.

In my mind, laypeople love to see card tricks but won't like them if you are claiming to be someone who can do REAL magic and are ashamed when you take out just a deck of cards. I like the way Simon Lovell opens in a restaurant "I came over here because you cannot continue your night until you see at least one amazing card trick." Although it's not exactly how he says it, it basically sums it up. You went over there because you think they should see something, you won't be there for long, you have the ability to show more if they want, and IT'S AMAZING. I think you have to establish that you are there to have fun and not to try to make them feel stupid or to just show off. Card tricks may not be real magic but they certainly are fun and we all have the ability to make them fun, even for laymen.
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Profile of mdspark
It's not that people, ingeneral, do not like card tricks.... It is that they do NOT like card tricks that are POORLY DONE and NOT ENTERTAINING! As has been said what you feel comfortable with... But to say no one should EVER open with a card trick is rediculous when you think about it and not grounded in reality.

Ross W
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Profile of Ross W
Confessions of a convert...

I used to be firmly in the "don't open with cards" camp. Stuck to it rigidly in fact.

And a recent walk-around gig there was a group of young guys, maybe 20 years old. Somehow my regular openers felt wrong, and I was avoiding this group. TO be honest, I was a bit intimidated: 20 year old lads can be a tough crowd.

SO I approached then, cards in hand, and did my own *very* adult presentation of Red Hot Mama. It slayed them ( always does!) I went on to show them couple more card tricks.

they thought I could walk on water. And they were laughing.

Since then, I have more or less abandoned the rule. I still probably won't open with cards for a group of women only, but hey...if it feels right I will.

Rules are there to be broken once you've learnt them, though "don't open with cards" is a disputed "rule" at the best of times anyway.
Twitter: @rosswelford
steve j
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I too am primarily a card magician and when I perform I rarely use pick a card and when I do I only have one card chosen and I use that card troughout my routines, I personally think that it dosent matter whether your opener be cards or not, what does matter is YOUR ability to make what you do entertaining, I think the problem most people have with cards is that they may find it difficult to entertain a group of people with them right away, but to tell the truth though the first thing the may think is "not another card trick", that can be changed if you are just able to entertain, after all that is in our job description, at least I should hope so.
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