Card Tricks Are BORING!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by William Draven, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. If you think about it, every single card trick we know as a collective follows the same plot. Select a card, remember the card, lose the card, find the card, rinse and repeat. Sure you argue we have things like XCM, but those aren't really card tricks are they? Thats more like card juggling.

    Same thing can be said about literature. In essence there is no new story plots out there. Everything that is in publication today is some version or retelling of classic tried and true story archetypes. So how can some works from authors like Shakespeare, Dante, Homer, survive literally centuries while others get the trash can within months? Well timing is in part to credit. Stories like Harry Potter came out at JUST the right time to capture and reinvigorate the imagination, but it is in no way a new concept. It's a hero's journey. We see it in just about every classical myth, and legend. But timing alone can't do it all alone. Relevance to culture, good writing, and connecting with the audience on an emotional level are also all key. That is something classic literature shares with magic: Structure. Our card plots can be well written or scripted. It can be relevant to our culture, our times, and if we want to have a successful show we had better make sure we connect with our audience at the very least on an emotional level!

    So if structure is important, and all plots already painfully explored, what can you do to help insure that your tricks connect with your audience better than the next guy? Well a little structure in your act can help that along nicely. Instead of running a never ending barrage of pick a card tricks followed by a now I'm going to find your card, I'll do it again, but this time just a bit different, over and over try varying the themes you explore in your act. For example, an ACR, Triumph, Cards Across, and a ACAAN are four examples of a selected card being revealed, but the plots in how they are revealed are different. If you know that two of your tricks are a little too close in theme, pick one, and don't do the other. Further if you can connect all of your effects together under a common theme you can bring further meaning into your act. What if you had a card selected, and after the deck has been shuffled all mixed up, the card is the only card reversed in the deck (Triumph)? Why? What if the cards are all trained, much like an animal? You can demonstrate this (reinforcing your point) by showing how the selected card ambitiously comes back to the top of the deck on command. (Ambitious Card Routine) It's not just the selected card thats well trained, you can cause cards to jump through invisible hoops across the table (Cards Across) at your command. To bring the entire theme of a trained deck to climax, you ask the spectator to name a number, and at your command their selected card from earlier appears in the deck at that number! (ACAAN).

    These are just a few thoughts I had this morning while I was thinking on the way to work. I guess my question to you now is what are you going to do to make sure your card tricks aren't boring?
  2. I just thought I'd add that this video has very nice patter for an ACR, with some added stuff. (It's not mine, but here's the link:
  3. By being an entertaining person?

    Card tricks in and of themselves are boring. Even the visual ones are only impressive for a flicker of time and then the effect wears off. The person performing the trick will determine how entertaining it really is.

    Watching some random person on the internet perform a trick from, say, Daniel Garcia isn't (usually) half as entertaining as watching Danny perform it. It's not that they do it horribly wrong and fumble the technique (well, sometimes it is) but they're just not as entertaining and engaging when they are performing.

    I can have someone pick a card and lose it and find it in various ways, but if all I'm doing is 'and now it's in my pocket...let's lose it again...oh look in my shoe!' then I'll look like some guy doing tricks. If I take time and build up a routine (like you mentioned) and have a reason for everything happening, a little better scripting and character development (over the average performer) then I'll blow my audience away and they'll beg to see the same trick again.
  4. by being an entertaining person... i've been thinking a lot about magic lately, i have kind of drifted away from it over the past few months, and i'm not sure why.

    i consider myself entertaining, when i joke people laugh, even when the joke sucks, i say something like "wow, that had to have been the worst joke ever" and i still get a laugh.

    i get serious about something, and people listen, i mix humor and a serious message together and people laugh while they listen.

    now in my first two years of high school that wasn't me, i found magic and i began to blossom in to who i am now.

    its been a while since i've been on theory11 and i remember somebody (might even have been you Rik) who always talked about magic being a social crutch.

    i'm beginnning to think that was me. but you see i still enjoy magic, i still like playing around with a deck, i still enjoy learning new effects, i still enjoy browsing the shops, i still enjoy the prospect of the magic i may recieve for christmas this year because my mom asked for my wishlist.

    but i don't enjoy performing. and i think its because i suck at it. theres something about me and magic that when i try to combine the two, its like they cancel each other out and its not as entertaining as if the two were seperate.

    i've read strong magic. and i've tried to apply it
    I've read the posts from Steerpike, Morgician, and Draven. and i've tried to apply them.
    I've spent hours pondering and planning to take my magic to the streets, restaurants, kids birthday parties, and flea markets of my area. Ok not streets, cause there isn't anybody walking them. but the rest holds true. and i've taken steps to make it happen.

    but yet, nothing happens, i still remain this poor showman who is more fun without the cards. or the coins, or the spongballs. or the thimbles. (OK the thimbles were a one time thing! :p)

    and i can't figure out why.

    i think my card tricks are boring. and i have no clue how to fix that.

    (thanks for that post Rik, i doubt you meant for it to spawn this, but it did anyway, so thanks!)
  5. I only have one trick in my repertoire that deals with selecting a card, lose it in the deck and the TATA!!! find it...that`s how I avoid it...the other tricks with cards are a transposition, card to wallet and other plots..that I created
  6. #6 MalibuARMY, Dec 1, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2010
    Thank you very much for posting this Mr. Draven. I actually just saw a documentary on the Hero's Journey with Star Wars because it is epick. I am even going back to some of my writings on the Hero's Journey. Just like there are very many roads to take on the Hero's Journey path there are also many different roads to take on a pick a card path. I have been thinking about this topic very much lately.

    If there are so many tricks that involve cards and some of the best ones involve something different. The BEST ones a lot of times don't involve the pick a card theme, so why are we still performing them. I have been thinking about how I view magic and what I choose to perform as a whole. I have been very stubborn in what I perform and why I perform them. Then I realized that if I have a trick that is so amazing, why don't I perform it. Now I do.

    As the art of magic is progressing we should go with it. Not hang back and not challenge ourselves. Like a very wise magician told me. "You want to be a GREAT magician, because if you are a GOOD magician…YOU SUCK."

    With this advice I have changed my card plots to be better. I am reconstructing my close up show AGAIN (5th time) to now not only have the best tricks but the best patter and plot. The most simple magic effect can become the best when it has a good script and plot.
  7. yes that is true card effects can be a bit boring at times (for us practitioners maybe) but in the layman's eye's magic is magic.. i strongly believe in the saying "it's not what you do, its how you do it" there are thousands of us out there performing the art a few create their own stuff, some struggles to create while most are just copy cat's of the instructional videos which they learned the effect from...

    its how you sell your self thats important its how you manage the spectators its how you build every single effect climaxing to an astonishing experience for your audience then finally getting your ultimate reward the state of astonishment you work so hard to share to your spectator.

    structure is very important indeed very well said William Draven
  8. Card tricks is not just choosing a card and looking for it if that is so how do u explain colorblind u call that a color trick? and how about color change those are all color trick? LOL
  9. I Must Concur With Neco on some points

    It's Ignorant to say that "everyone finds card tricks boring" Just like it's quite ignorant to say "No one believes in real magic", of course they can get boring, coin magic can get boring, mentalism can get boring, geek magic can get boring..

    just like any kind of entertainment has the potential of getting boring.

    What makes you watch a movie for 3 hours? what makes you sit at a concert for 2 hours? because each song is "different' but it still follows the same 'foundation' does that make it boring?

    everything has the potential to be boring, i don't think you can take the piss of out of card effects just 'because'
  10. A color change on it's own is just that. A color change. However that's not impressive. Most of the time you'll see a Color Change incorporated into the body of a larger act. To which case an indifferent card is usually changed into the desired card. Thus hence to do so returns us to the classic pick a card, lose the card, find the card, reveal the card plot, as outlined in my first post.
  11. I'll do fewer card tricks.

    It's a challenge, to be sure. Card tricks seem to be the staple of magic, and seem like they always have been. Even digging through old books at TAOM revealed decades upon decades of books offering endless material for card tricks. I'm very sure that it's possible to do, however. I really need to put some time into the new rope effect I've been learning, to be honest...
  12. Wait... Did you say that card tricks were boring from a magician point of view ? You're probably right.
    But who's doing magic for magicians here ?
    I don't care if a thousand magicians find my trick boring, but one laymen will find it magical.

    Anyway, I see what you wanted to say : focusing on the presentation and how to put logic in what the magician is doing.
    It was a point to highlight, and you did well.

  13. WHAATT! THATS THE SAME PATTER I USE! Although the roll-over bit was really neat, i chuckled at that.

    Good job to you guy who posted that video (if you're on the forums and are reading this)

    @WilliamDraven (Yes, Ive got the twitter bug) Im sorry but I didn't quite understand the last bit of the post. Are you suggesting the same storyline for the entire show? Or just a 'card sequence'?

    To be more specific, if the magician is talking about Black holes or 'Portals' for example , are you suggesting performing something like a coins across where the coins travel through a portal and then going into a card sequence with the same story-line i.e how cards go across through the portals?
  14. I was suggesting a unified theme for the sequence.

  15. Oh, Alright I get what you mean now.


    - Jenai
  16. well that just shows how uncreative u are, u cant think of other tricks? And u said color change are not impressive but can u do any good color change? Do revolver by kelvin chow
  17. I think Draven is speaking beyond the fact that you can make someone go ''. Jugglers can mesmerize their audience tossing flaming torches and playing hackey sack at the same time...but it's not magic. Color changes are neat, and can greatly enhance a performance, but they're not tricks in and of themselves and they have no substance on their own. "Look what I can do!" isn't substance, it's ego.

    Draven is saying that most (if not all) tricks involving cards have a few common themes: Pick a card...lose the card...find the card.

    That's not very interesting, in and of itself, but with a little thought you can very easily make the trick meaningful and entertaining.

    He wasn't bashing color changes, he was showing that a color change is only one part of the same trend he sees in card tricks (oops! wrong one? here, watch!) which is the reveal.

    Hope that clears things up
  18. And that just shows how uneducated you are in the art of magic. -See I can lob unwarranted, ill informed insults too. But that doesn't help either of us advance ourselves in magic.

    A color change by itself isn't impressive. There's no presentation, no theater, no reason for me to emotionally invest into what you are doing. A color change, even Revolver, by itself equates to nothing more than you the magician showing off. It's magical masturbation, done because it makes you feel good, and nothing else. To make it mean something you would need to incorporate it into the body of a larger performance. And by the very nature of card magic itself, that would require a card to be selected, lost in the deck, found again, and revealed (through the color change), and oh noes... Guess what kids... we're back at where I started at my first post.

    My post was a little deeper than simple color changes. Please take the full post into account before you attempt to attack my creativity again.

    Thanks Rik, You're absolutely right. I was not bashing a color change, but trying to say how it alone isn't impressive.
  19. He never said that ALL card tricks are boring. Card tricks CAN be made extremely entertaining. You mentioned color changes, thats one of the many things that can be presented in the classic "pick a card, lose it, find it" manner as Will stated or in a completely different way. So its a two sided coin (is that a phrase? I think i just made that up haha)

    Anyway, I think this thread is a great read for people who DO present most if not all of their card tricks in that way. If you don't well then, thats good for you :)

    Hope this post prevents what I think is an argument building up.

    - Jenai
  20. I like pick a card tricks. There are some really amazing ones that can be super entertaining HOWEVER, a show full of those would be kind of redundant. Then again the same could be said for a show with nothing but cards. I think variety is important. Also, you could have cards chosen without it being pick a card, remember it, I find it. 4-for-4 switch is something I use all the time. Have 4 people each touch a card, and they're all the aces. That is a perfect lead in to an absolute favorite of mine, Doc Daley's Last Trick. They are still picking cards, and participating, but it doesn't have the whole "pick a card and find it" aspect.

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