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Brand New Magician

Apr 29, 2022
3
3
Hello everyone! I am brand new to Magic. I've been practicing for about 2 months on and off. I have two young kids at home so I have limited free time! I have fallen in love with magic. I've always enjoyed it. But I recently got started after watching Penn and teller fool us on YouTube for hours on end.

I bought the Joshua Jay book - the complete course. I read it cover to cover twice and have learned a lot from it so far! I even took some methods from the book and an effect I've seen before to create my own trick and way of doing it! I know it has probably been done in that exact way by many people, but it was so cool being able to develop something on my own.

I have a couple questions that I need some advice on. For now, I generally perform these effects for family/coworkers right now. They often ask 2 questions - how do you do that? And can you do that trick again? I push off the question of how it is done pretty easily. But when they ask if I can do it again, I can't. Most of the tricks require setup and that would give the trick, or at least part of it away. How do I combat this question?

Secondly, most of the tricks I know right now require some sort of deck setup. If I want to do 3 or 4 tricks in a row, I need to switch decks at some point. What is an effective way to do this? I don't like having several decks out as I feel like it cheapens the magic and rids it if the awe.

Lastly, the Joshua Jay book mentioned language of effect vs trick being important to the community. Does that hold true?

Thanks in advance for the help!
 
Nov 6, 2017
11
8
Hey! Welcome to magic, I'm glad you're enjoying yourself so far! Good on you for really exploring one book for an extended period, that is one of the best ways to study! I am only a few years into my journey, so my answers may not be fully informed, but I'll tell what I can.

First, it is great that you are getting questions; that means they are interested and engaged with your magic! Think of these questions as less of a request for explanations and repeats, and try to reframe them in your head as a way that your spectator is trying to continue the magic. They want to talk about it, and they want to see more if possible! Most people are not professional magic critics, so their repertoire of questions is limited, so they use what they can. I've always gotten around repeating a trick by reframing it from can't to won't. It's not that you can't show them the trick again, it's that you think it'd be boring to do again, but check out this other cool thing that explores the same ideas or concepts! Have confidence in your magic, they don't know that you can't do it again.

Additionally, if these are informal performances, don't shy away from fiddling with the deck a bit. If they are interested in your magic, talk to them and gauge their experiences. People love to talk about their own experiences and this gives a good window to set up the next effect, just try to do it casually, like this is just how you fiddle with cards when you aren't paying attention. Then, do some really simple false shuffle without even paying attention, and set the cards aside and keep up the conversation for a bit. When there is an opening, feel free to go into your next trick. This is how some of my performances go, and it really takes that scripted and stilted feeling that some performances have. If you want to circumvent these longer set ups, try routining some effects together so that they flow naturally. Some sources (The Approach by Jamie D Grant for example) suggest having three to four sets of two to three tricks that are practiced and good! This is definitely something to aspire to, and it will take time.

If these are full deck set ups, maybe keep two decks in different pockets of your coat or in different parts of your bag or desk, and then put the deck away after each trick. Then when you want to show another trick, pull out the duplicate deck and use it. There are more sophisticated methods, but this one is strong and simple

That last question is an interesting one, I haven't read that specific source but I'll do my best but am totally open to changing my opinion. The way that I've seen it, a trick as it's typically phrased, includes both a method and effect. Effect here meaning the outward appearance of the trick, what the script is and how it is framed to the audience; Method being the way that you make the effect possible. The word trick to me implies the presentation of it to an audience and the secret ways that makes the presentation possible. Neither word is wrong to use, but using the correct word in the right context is important to understanding each other when we discuss magic. I can totally clarify anything above if you have questions, thanks!
 

JoshL8

Elite Member
Aug 5, 2017
335
336
WA state USA
Welcome to T11, looks like you have a good place to start magic, can you tell us the effects you chose from that book?

The "how did you do that" and the "do that again" type stuff are kinda common. The "how" questions should be examined though...is it "how" as in "whaaaaaaat?!?!!?" or " how in does that work..." If its the thinking of the method... keep working on presentation a bit.

With the "do that again" question I think Adam has a good idea, treat the request as the spectator wanting more magic! But even if you could do the trick again...DONT! maybe say something in the vein of "lets do something better" and do a different trick.

On page 263 of Joshua jays book is a 15 minute card routine. You could see if some of your needs can be met thru the construction of your card set. I think that entry is worth looking at even if you don't do any of those tricks just to see how he gets into a situation. If you are wanting to get into card magic, sometime in your future you may want to look at the book set "Card College" by Giobbi .

Language matters, if I use the StarWars definition of the force I'm not doing much in a discussion about rocket science. Lots of magic books use the terms Joshua Jay is using and how he is using it. Effect is what happens from the audiences perspective, "the card changes color". Method is how its done. A trick can be one effect or several effects, "the card changed color, then the deck changed color to match!". Several tricks that are connected is a routine. Several tricks that are just together is usually just a mess.
 
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Apr 29, 2022
3
3
Hey! Welcome to magic, I'm glad you're enjoying yourself so far! Good on you for really exploring one book for an extended period, that is one of the best ways to study! I am only a few years into my journey, so my answers may not be fully informed, but I'll tell what I can.

First, it is great that you are getting questions; that means they are interested and engaged with your magic! Think of these questions as less of a request for explanations and repeats, and try to reframe them in your head as a way that your spectator is trying to continue the magic. They want to talk about it, and they want to see more if possible! Most people are not professional magic critics, so their repertoire of questions is limited, so they use what they can. I've always gotten around repeating a trick by reframing it from can't to won't. It's not that you can't show them the trick again, it's that you think it'd be boring to do again, but check out this other cool thing that explores the same ideas or concepts! Have confidence in your magic, they don't know that you can't do it again.

Additionally, if these are informal performances, don't shy away from fiddling with the deck a bit. If they are interested in your magic, talk to them and gauge their experiences. People love to talk about their own experiences and this gives a good window to set up the next effect, just try to do it casually, like this is just how you fiddle with cards when you aren't paying attention. Then, do some really simple false shuffle without even paying attention, and set the cards aside and keep up the conversation for a bit. When there is an opening, feel free to go into your next trick. This is how some of my performances go, and it really takes that scripted and stilted feeling that some performances have. If you want to circumvent these longer set ups, try routining some effects together so that they flow naturally. Some sources (The Approach by Jamie D Grant for example) suggest having three to four sets of two to three tricks that are practiced and good! This is definitely something to aspire to, and it will take time.

If these are full deck set ups, maybe keep two decks in different pockets of your coat or in different parts of your bag or desk, and then put the deck away after each trick. Then when you want to show another trick, pull out the duplicate deck and use it. There are more sophisticated methods, but this one is strong and simple

That last question is an interesting one, I haven't read that specific source but I'll do my best but am totally open to changing my opinion. The way that I've seen it, a trick as it's typically phrased, includes both a method and effect. Effect here meaning the outward appearance of the trick, what the script is and how it is framed to the audience; Method being the way that you make the effect possible. The word trick to me implies the presentation of it to an audience and the secret ways that makes the presentation possible. Neither word is wrong to use, but using the correct word in the right context is important to understanding each other when we discuss magic. I can totally clarify anything above if you have questions, thanks!

Thank you for the thoughts!
I love these answers! This is a bit of a new way of thinking for me so I am adjusting. I have not yet developed an actual routine. That might be a great place to start actually. I got so excited to learn new tricks and test them out that i havent put much time into the actual multi trick routine. as you kind of mentioned, i think that will also help combat the "do that again question" as I will be prepared for something else right away and dont have an awkward moment where they are just trying to figure out how I did it. Most of my family are very logical thinkers - great to fool but they want to get to the bottom of it!

(I am not sure if this next part is ok to say on here) You mentioned a trick that explores an idea or concept. I have had issues with this as well. I totally see the purpose in a story behind a trick "the other day i learned this... etc" However, since i perform for family mainly right now, i feel like they would just call bs on the story with the trick. Should i give it a shot anyways?
 
Apr 29, 2022
3
3
Welcome to T11, looks like you have a good place to start magic, can you tell us the effects you chose from that book?

The "how did you do that" and the "do that again" type stuff are kinda common. The "how" questions should be examined though...is it "how" as in "whaaaaaaat?!?!!?" or " how in does that work..." If its the thinking of the method... keep working on presentation a bit.

With the "do that again" question I think Adam has a good idea, treat the request as the spectator wanting more magic! But even if you could do the trick again...DONT! maybe say something in the vein of "lets do something better" and do a different trick.

On page 263 of Joshua jays book is a 15 minute card routine. You could see if some of your needs can be met thru the construction of your card set. I think that entry is worth looking at even if you don't do any of those tricks just to see how he gets into a situation. If you are wanting to get into card magic, sometime in your future you may want to look at the book set "Card College" by Giobbi .

Language matters, if I use the StarWars definition of the force I'm not doing much in a discussion about rocket science. Lots of magic books use the terms Joshua Jay is using and how he is using it. Effect is what happens from the audiences perspective, "the card changes color". Method is how its done. A trick can be one effect or several effects, "the card changed color, then the deck changed color to match!". Several tricks that are connected is a routine. Several tricks that are just together is usually just a mess.

I will go back to that 15 minute routine and see if that can help answer the question a bit as well! Great idea. I know i need to work on presentation a bit. I just got so excited to show off some new magic that i did sacrifice some presentation. I practiced each trick first though so that I wasnt just winging it, but they couldve been done better. I have slowed down now though and an practicing more before showing anyone. I have two people that can help critique me. They have helped me think though what I am doing well - i never tell them how i am doing it but they tell me how it looks.

Some of the effects i have chosen
participants instinctively deal reds in one pile and blacks in another pile without looking at the cards
A do as i do copycat routine where both myself and the participant pick the same card from a full deck
A couple variations of the pick a card or take the next card dealt and i can find it after it is shuffled back into the deck
i have leaned some match effects, but dont have matches and am very short on funds right now so i am saving those for the future.
I am currently learning how to rip a dollar bill and restore it. I am excited for this one! - i dont think this was in the book

If this below isnt allowed, let me know and i will take it off. I dont think i talked method at all so i thought it would be ok to include.
the one i came up with is this - i deal from a red deck cards, they call stop at any time and the next card is theirs. they bury it in the deck and i find it, put it at the bottom of the deck, put the deck in the box, and set the box on top of a black deck of cards. They put their hand on both decks, say their card out loud and it jumps from the red deck into the black deck. When we open the red deck it is gone (with another hidden reveal as well). We open the black deck in perfect new deck order except one card, theirs, replaces the matching card in the black deck. We know it is their card since the back of their card is red and the back of the new deck is black.
 
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Nov 6, 2017
11
8
(I am not sure if this next part is ok to say on here) You mentioned a trick that explores an idea or concept. I have had issues with this as well. I totally see the purpose in a story behind a trick "the other day i learned this... etc" However, since i perform for family mainly right now, i feel like they would just call bs on the story with the trick. Should i give it a shot anyways?

Thanks for the reply, I'm happy to clarify! By exploring an idea or concept, I don't mean anything so abstract as telling a story or the cards being characters. Regardless of any story we tell, each trick we perform tells some sort of story that is determined by its structure. You mention an effect above where the spectator separates the cards without looking, this is a great example of a trick where the spectator does the magic outside of the magician's apparent control; you aren't the driving force, they are. To continue to explore this idea, you might use the next trick to build on that or add a limitation. Maybe if they change their mind at any point, their ability ends, implying that this is a subconscious or gut feeling that makes the magic work. It would feel jarring to immediately transition to an effect where you are in full control again, and they are powerless. That's all I mean by continuing an idea, keeping some narrative consistency that turns discreet tricks into one flowing performance of magic.

What's really helped me is Nate Staniforth's podcast, "Everything but the Flame" on Spotify. The first episode lays out what might be a beneficial perspective towards magic, that of magic being a fiction. It's only fifteen to twenty minutes, but it was super informative and helped me to stop feeling a bit silly when presenting effects in a sort of structure.
 
Good Evening! And welcome to the community. You've got some pretty awesome questions so let me see if I can't offer my own insight. Seeing as I'm not the first one to respond, I'm sure I've probably echoed some other peoples advice but here goes.

"I have a couple questions that I need some advice on. For now, I generally perform these effects for family/coworkers right now. They often ask 2 questions - how do you do that? And can you do that trick again? I push off the question of how it is done pretty easily. But when they ask if I can do it again, I can't. Most of the tricks require setup and that would give the trick, or at least part of it away. How do I combat this question?"

These are pretty commonly occurring questions you'll get. And there's a never ending line of canned quips you can use in these situations. For example you've got the classic "How did I do that, you ask? Quite well!"

The issue I've always taken with such smarmy replies is that I often find it insults the intelligence of the person asking the question. Which only begs them to ask again. and again. and again. et nauseum. So instead I've taken to being very honest with them. "What you've just seen has been accomplished through years of study, hard work, and a mastery of sleight of hand skills." You're not being evasive, you are answering their question honestly, and usually MOST people get the hint that you're not going to reveal the secrets to them.

As for the other question: How do I deal with the issue of repeating tricks? Let me first give you a quote that I learned when I first started learning how to do magic. "Once is a show, twice is an education." Chances are, if someone is asking you to "do it again" then they want to try and catch you on your method. The second time through they'll be more scrutinizing and they're likely to burn your hands more. So it helps to understand why they would ask you to do something again. Now for the fun part. You learn how to do a trick or two that enables you to repeat the effect but use a different system of sleights so there is nothing for them to catch! I'd recommend you look into learning The Ambitious Card Routine. It's virtually a magicians swiss army knife of card tricks. You'll love it. Ellusionist teaches it fairly well in their Ninja DVD I believe. Ninja teaches the Pass specifically, but they cover Ambitious too. Royal Road may also teach it. I'm sure it's in Tarbell as well.

Alright then, onto your next question.
"Secondly, most of the tricks I know right now require some sort of deck setup. If I want to do 3 or 4 tricks in a row, I need to switch decks at some point. What is an effective way to do this? I don't like having several decks out as I feel like it cheapens the magic and rids it if the awe."

You do a deck switch. Easy as that. There are a lot of them out there. Some use a shell, others are just as bold as putting the deck into your pocket, and bringing out a different deck. You'll eventually learn enough material that you can flow from one trick into another. Also, and just fyi, it's bold and ballsy, but you can set the deck up in front of the spectator under the guise of "checking to see if all the cards are there", and then just do a couple false cuts, and false shuffles before you begin.

Your last question can start some fights if you bring it up in the wrong groups. Let's look at what you asked:
"Lastly, the Joshua Jay book mentioned language of effect vs trick being important to the community. Does that hold true?"

I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume Jay is talking about the frame of mind in regards to what you perform. Effects vs. Tricks. There are different classifications of magic. You've got puzzles on the low end and experiences on the higher end. Puzzles you don't know how it's done, but you know it is done with some kind of trickery. The magical experience, on the other hand, rewrites your concept of reality. Darwin Ortiz digs into this in his book Strong Magic. A trick can be seen as something puerile, where an effect is a truly magical experience. Then again I think Jay is also being rather pedantic about the subject matter. Right now you need to learn the basics, you can worry about showmanship and magical theory after you've spent some time learning the ropes.
 

RealityOne

Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
3,641
3,959
New Jersey
You've got a lot of great responses so far. Let me take a different approach.

The word "trick" is fraught with connotations. At its most simple, a "magic trick" or a "card trick" is the whole of what you perform for your audience. At its most subconscious, the use of the word "trick" is an overriding goal of your performance where the magician attempts to "trick" or "fool" the audience. I prefer to use a more clear nomenclature. The effect is what the audience sees. The method is how the effect is accomplished. The presentation is what magician says and does to accompany the performance of an effect.

The goal of a magician's presentation of an effect is to entertain. The goal is not to "trick" or "fool" the audience. Nobody likes to be tricked and nobody likes to be a fool. What do you think the audience's reaction is going to be to an effect presented with the goal of tricking or fooling them? Yep, they are going to try to figure out how the magician did that. The result is the performance becomes a contest between the spectator who's job is to guess the method so that they are not tricked or fooled and the magician to conceal the method. This is amplified when performing for family and friends that knew you before you started doing magic, because they know you don't possess any unique powers, so the only conclusion is that there must be a method.

Sometimes, the statement "how did you do that!" is an expression of astonishment, but usually the question "how did you do that?" is genuinely asking for the method. @William Draven's answer is good. I have a variation which is "that is something that has taken a long time to learn based on studying a lot of books on magic." If there is someone who is truly interested, I can steer them to Mark Wilson's Complete Course on Magic or Joshua Jay's Complete Course. However, that doesn't work for family or friends. In that case, you can be honest and say, "If I told you, it would ruin the illusion" or "you would only be disappointed if I told you." as @William Draven pointed out, repeating an effect is a giving them a magic lesson. As others pointed out, the best answer is "Let me show you something different."

The way to reduce the frequency of those questions and to avoid hecklers (people who interrupt you performance) is to move your focus from doing tricks to entertaining your audience. When we are first learning magic, we all do tricks. It is difficult enough to focus on remembering all the steps and performing all the sleights. We all use say-do-see presentations where we say what we are going to do, do it and tell the audience to see the effect. As we become more experienced, we develop better presentations. That is a lot easier when you perform the same effects for multiple audiences than performing multiple effects for the same audiences. A good start to that is to present your magic with a goal of having fun. Rather than "look at what I can do" maybe try "isn't this strange what happens?" Maybe do effects where the spectator does the magic. Just thinking about entertaining vs. tricking your audience will help. If you haven't seen Kayla Drescher on Fool Us, watch it. She knew she wouldn't fool Teller, but she wanted to entertain her audience. At the end, do you care about the method she used?
 
Apr 11, 2022
11
0
First off, welcome. I am new to the forum stuff, but an old timer in magic, originally mentored by Eddie Fechter & Karl Norman at Forks hotel in Buffalo
I start a table with an ordinary deck (pre-set) for some trick requiring ordinary cards and a setup. I than do a cpl of card tricks with the normal deck. Those couple do not require setup or gaffs.
If I need to transition to a gaff deck ( or preset deck ) I build it up. Case in point, I may go into an Ace McDonald ( requires pre-set with Gaff cards ).
I have the Ace Mcdonald in a separate box and have written on it, MARKED, MARKED MARKED. I explain as follows: Have you ever seen a marked deck ? Well I happen to have one, see it is marked, it is marked all over, blah blah blah.... I than show them how it is marked, i.e. 10 hearts, it is red with a 10 blah blah, BUT only marked on one side, LOL

So what I have done is created patter and a reason to transition to a Gaff deck...
Hope it helps.
terence
 
Apr 11, 2022
11
0
Opps, I forgot to address your other questions...
If asked how it is done... I say 'magic'.
If asked, can I do it again ? I say Yes, but I won't ... LOL
DON"T give them oxygen LOL
 
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