Clearing the misconception on the Pass

Discussion in 'Magic Forum' started by Medifro, May 29, 2008.

  1. #1 Medifro, May 29, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2008
    I had the pleasure of studying this move for quite sometime. Unfortunately as I was browsing online forums, I saw alot of users putting false information on the move. This might be due learning from improper sources (say, youtube videos ), or just giving away opinions with no real experience behind it, or for any other reason. Anyway, I hope this clarifies some issues. Do keep in mind that I didn’t make up any of the misconceptions here, every misconception here was taken from online magic boards.

    Now, I’m obviously in no way an authority on the move or something like that, but I do think I studied the move enough to give an educated, well written info on it. I look forward to discuss the following with anyone interested.

    Misconception 1: The Pass can be replaced with other sleights like the side steal.

    Correction: No it cannot, as the pass is an invisible cut which is a totally different action that a single card steal ( side steals for example )

    Misconception 2: The Pass is the best control.

    Not true.

    Its an established rule that there is no control better than other, it all depending on the trick you are performing, the construction of that particular trick. What the performer has to do is picking the control that fit the trick and make it “flow”.

    To illustrate, 4 aces on top of the deck, and a break above the selection. How can you bring the selection on top of the aces? Side steal is better than the pass for this.

    4 aces in middle of the deck, you have a break above them. How can you bring them to the top? The pass is the best option for this.

    In many effects it doesn’t matter what the control you are using. In many cases I do the pass and follow it by a jog shuffle, this is just to practice doing the pass before a live audiance, like when you classic force every time you have a card selected.

    Misconception 3: There is no need to perfect the pass, it can be done with misdirection.

    Correction: Read below.
    A good pass is a beautiful thing to see and a joy to watch. In Many effects that uses it, you just have to do it without misdirection. Example? New Cavorting Aces ( Kaufman’s DVD ), you color change with the darn thing.

    Also, many magicians prefer to master the sleights they love and get them down cold, this includes doing the pass with no misdirection needed.

    What some people don’t get is that simply saying “with misdirection”, they need to come up with natural misdirection that is so good that ALL spectators would take their eyes of the deck, you cannot accept that a single spectator is looking down on the deck because then she/he will see the pass. This remind us of the top change.

    A top change is much simpler to do than the pass with misdirection, because you are holding the card in one hand, and deck in another, they both come on the deck in a split second, plus its easy to put in a natural action. In the pass, BOTH hands come to the deck and HOLD it, making it more tricky than mere top change. Simply executing the pass invisibly will make your life way easier, and make everything flow better.

    If you find a top change that can be done without the need for misdirection, would you use it? ( there is such thing, Harry Lorayne’s Ultra move, or Max Milton’s One Handed top Change, whatever you want to call it! ).

    Keep in mind that you still need to get the trick to flow. You don’t want to FOCUS all the attention on the deck, something like “as you can see the card is somewhere in the deck“ and do the pass. The idea is “so your card is lost” as you look to their eyes, and do the pass. If someone is looking down, everything still looks good.

    Misconception 4: For me, the Pass is just a showoff move at magic conventions.
    Correction: Depending on the one using it. Why do you care if others use it for show off? Is just because the pass can be “showed off”, you dismiss it? I honestly don’t know how people arrive at such conclusions.

    Misconception 5: There are no effects that are “pass-Dependant”.
    Correction: Wrong. Many effects can only be done with the pass. Look into Kaufman’s DVD, all the effects need the pass as a cut. Roy Wolten and Jim Swain have alot of work on the subject as well.

    Misconception 6: The pass is just a “magical masturbation”
    Correction: I’m assuming that the one who said this meant that many enjoy practicing it, but never do it.
    the pass is a nice thing to do in the hands making it something very fun practicing it. No one can see anything wrong with that.

    The concepts of the pass are extremely interesting to some magicians, so they study it. Some are interested with false deals, so they study their concepts too. Many others are interested in the S.W.E shift, so they study it. No one can argue that this is a wrong thing to do. The cardman is interested in something, he works on it.

    Should we work on something knowing that we will never perform it? Of course, but only after we developed a solid base of sleights and routines, a good understanding of basic theory and a decent performing ability, to be able to perform well obviously. At any rate, some things you study only for “acadimic reasons” will serve you wel later onl one way or another.

    Misconception 7: The Pass take years to practice.
    Correction: It can take years to do well ( for me its 3 years, I’m no way near an expert either ), but a mentor will decrease the learning curve quite a bit. Anyway, don’t even think of it. Just practice, and time will fly by way faster than you think. For me, its like I learned the pass yesterday!
    Hope this helps.
  2. Thanks for taking the time to post this

    there are some interesting thoughts in here and im glad you voiced your opinion

    Question: Are these your opinions or have you studied other peoples opinions and put them together?

    Well formated as well

    as for me i love the pass and use it accordingly (specially for Dr. Jacob Daley's Cavorting Aces!)

    the pass can be used for many applications ill just say that i believe that it should be studied and practice, but not the only control in a magicians line of moves (sides steals and such are important too!)

    thanks for reading (respectfully)
    and what do you guys think about the pass (different opinions?)
  3. If you have four aces on top, selection in the middle and you want the selection beneath the aces, why not do a cover pass?
  4. I wanted it ABOVE the aces. If you wanted it below them, a cover pass or Tilt are good, depending on what you're doing.

    JCwebs09, I studied different opinions, "used my head", put some of mine and put them together here.

  5. If you have four aces on top, why don't you just get them in the middle and put the selection on top of the four aces, then pass it to the top.
    I know a lot of magicians and I haven't found one that does not like the pass or looks down on it.
  6. #6 Medifro, May 29, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2008
    When did I look down on the pass! I'm a pass freak! I just know when to use it!

    What you said above, you want to invisibly make the card go to the top of the aces. What you said above can be done 2 ways.

    You either do a pass, the aces go to the middle. Now you have to keep a break after the pass, take their selection, put it on top of aces, then do the pass again.

    OR, cut the deck, take the selection and put it in the break, then do the pass.

    The first one is impractical ( for me at least, even though I do the pass ), the second one is inferior because A) you are putting the selection behind the deck, not to mention that you are putting it where you want it.

    Wouldn't be better if they place it somewhere in the deck in the front, and you just do a side steal, with no keeping breaks or anything?

    See? It depends on what you are doing. If you have the selection inserted in the middle of the deck, and you want it to the top, I personally do the pass, some people do a side steal, to each his personal preference.

    If you have something like the above scenario, I'd do a side steal ( did I mention I'm a side steal freak as well :p )?

  7. God man, thanks for sharing your wisdom. I can tell you have read many magic books. I mean give it up.. you have taken the pass discussion to a philosophers level. You cant seem to get over the fact that I called the pass “ultimate card control”. There is a reason why pass has survived the test of time and not been replaced by some other fancier or more modern slight. I would like to meet you and have a nice demonstration of your wisdom translated to your hands....
    And thanks for clearing all misconceptions about the pass. I´m not sure how many times I have read similar descriptions..
  8. #8 Medifro, May 29, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2008
    Give up what excatly?!

    Where is the philosophy above? I really want to know where man.

    Sorry about the Ultimate Control thingy, I didn't mean pointing fingers to you, I just think its the proper ... term, to deliver my point.

    I would love to meet any magician to show him ( and he showing me ) stuff, anywho, here's a clip on my pass, its not the best, but I'm practicing :)

  9. Once again Medifro, you've taken the time to write out something very detailed. I both thank and commend you for doing something like that for the community.

    You need to get a webcam so everybody can have a "Pass" jam.
  10. Why do you need an invisible cut to control a card
    when you can just do a simple pivot cut or double under cut?
  11. So that you can do it invisibly...
  12. #12 Medifro, May 29, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2008
    RichmanMatthew, thats for the words man. I'm still having problems with the webcam issue, you know, being broke at the moment .. >__<'

    I updated the thread to provide a better write up. I added alot of stuff that will make the thread waaay bigger ( misconception 5. Also added a new misconception ). To avoid doing that here, anyone interested can check out the gigantic writing in my blog ( yay! I was looking to add something ), shamless ad.

  13. haha did you have an epiphany or something? kidding :). I thought that was well written, but i think you were too "into it":p.

    Anyways, in general, I do agree with what you wrote. However, i think that making the pass natural is more important than making it invisible. When i was watching your video, your pass was fast and smooth but it looked awkward and i cannot imagine a spectator NOT being suspicious (i dont mean to offend, but the last pass made my eyes bleed). I've been practicing the pass for a while now, and i cannot do it as fast as you, but my hands are always relaxed. Even though my pass isn't completely invisible, I have never been caught by laymen even in tricks that require a pass for a colour change. My point is..natural > invisible. Your pass is sexy regardless LOL.

    Well, thats my two cents worth :p
  14. Dunno about you, but I like to study sleight of hand deeply, this seems to be fun and rewarding at the same time. Anyway,

    The passes you saw ( riffle and jiggle ) are not meant ( for me ) to be controls as much as color changes. Especially the last one. I repeat, the jiggle is not a control, its a color change.

    The jiggle itself ( and the riffle sometimes ) serve as a magical gesture. Maybe that magical gesture "looked awkward" to you, but trust me, it works wonders.

    Lennart Green calls such moves unnatural, this includes his top shot. They are magical production moves, meant do to an effect.

    For controls, I do either a dribble, silent ( Derek Dingle ) or half a jiggle.
  15. opinions

    All right... I mentioned this being philosophical because the whole discussion (correct me if I am wrong) was born from another thread where a guy wanted to know what he was doing wrong with his pass. I feel that often a simple question is turned into academic disscussion. Nothing wrong with that but I am really tired of all the scholars of magic who are pointing fingers and sharing theories that I don´t believe are born from their own observations.
    More then often a person who talks details about pass execution cant really do it in real life. That, kind of annoys me....
  16. I do it in real life, so I'll ask for your trust.

    You are tired from " the scholars of magic who are pointing fingers and sharing theories that I don´t believe are born from their own observations" ... I said in a previous post in this thread ", I studied different opinions, "used my head", put some of mine and put them together here".

    I made this thread because I ( maybe like you ) saw alot of wrong things being said on the move, for like 5 threads and many posts in different threads, not only on T11 but in many sites.

    Anyway, if you're not used to read magic as its written above, then go get Card College. Quality teaching that inspires you to think.
  17. salamat.... thanks in philipines

    nice man... we need more of those kind of post here... every informative... thanks man...
  18. Woohoo... go Medifro!

    Excellent thread. I think the first point is the one I can relate to most.

    I NEVER use a pass to simply control a card to the top of the deck, and yet, I possibly do more passes in my performances than I do double lifts.

    It's so much more than many people seem to think it is, and while I'm not a huge fan of the classic pass (I did go through a stage), there are so many different variations of the pass, one of which is so versatile it's become my latest obsession. As Medifro says, it is not just a single card control.


  19. I might post a video demonstrating a few things Medifro talked about.
  20. And this is what confuses me the most about this whole endless "the pass is great/sucks"..."this or that DL is best" type of discussion:

    Sleights by themselves are means to an end. The sleights are only meaningful when put into a trick to create a magical effect. Discussing the relative merits of the pass as a technique compared to others is missing the point - place the discussion into a meaningful context, into a specific trick, and THEN we can have a discussion!

    To give an example of this, a common use of the pass is in the ambitious card. I steer well clear of this as I feel that the method is waaay too close to the effect in this instance, although many seem to feel that the "invisible" nature of the move makes it an ideal candidate. One thing i have learned through years of experience is that a complicated technique is rarely the best one for the job. You feel very impressed with yourself, but for the audience nothing different or special has happened. You can show the card being placed cleanly in the middle of the deck using the Wesley James Load Up Move; you can do it face up by doing tilt plus the colour change of your choice.

    Whenever you perform a trick, there are going to be several categories of audience reaction; total amazement, entertainment or the inevitable "how's he doing that?" (or of course boredom, disinterest, or dismissal!). When I put myself in the head of an analytical spectator watching the ambitious card, I consider one of three possibilities:

    1. He's not REALLY putting the card into the centre
    2. He's actually putting it in then MOVING it to the top
    3. Something more complicated

    Solution one needs to be dealt with via good technique and your own conviction in your actions. Solution two is easy to deal with by using a strong illusion like the load up move or tilt where the card is clearly seen "in the centre of the deck" and you clearly do NOTHING afterwards. The issue with actually putting the card, honest to goodness in the actual centre of the deck is that then a shrewd spectator will look for anything at all that indicates that you might have done something - even if they don't see your pass there's an indisguisable moment that says SOMETHING happened. If you cause them to look away from the deck they'll assume you moved it then. So for me, the one place where the pass is useful is also the most dangerous point in the trick to use it. Magic is illusion - creating the illusion of the card moving to the top of the deck is more potent than actually moving it to the top of the deck.

    Problem three leads to one of two major reactions - impressed or indifferent. Just a couple of nights ago I was working a party on a sailing ship and I opened a set with my colour changing deck - a very nice combo of the Giobbi routine, Dave Forrest Colour Burn and Paul Harris' Bizarre Twist. One lady in the audience looked very underwhelmed and commented to her friend that it was all very nice, but the only real skill involved was in the presentation - they were obviously just "trick cards". This is someone who has decided that there is a "complicated" explanation to the trick, that explanation being trick cards and so therefore was unimpressed with me for being able to do it. I was mildly amused at this as although yes there is a gaff involved, the manipulation is far from easy. In any case, I turned the situation around in two ways - I pushed the deck (clean by now) towards her and said very simply "I'll let you keep those as a little present". That really upset her. The final nail in the coffin was a wonderful self working trick which is easily the most powerful effect in my repertoire: the spectator shuffles, selects and loses a card in the deck then spells the name of it, dealing a card for each letter. The last card dealt is theirs. The beauty is that it all takes place in the spectator's hands - it truely does seem impossible.

    Why is any of that relevant? Because it illustrates my point about distancing method and effect, except on a much larger scale. Once the trick was concluded, the lady became convinced that her inital impression was incorrect, that in fact I was a skilled magician and not merely a "presenter of little tricks". I achieved this by doing the exact opposite of showing my skill - to create the effect of incredible skill I performed a piece of strong magic which I could teach to anyone in ten minutes flat. Had I pulled out a super sleight heavy trick I can guarantee that her change in opinion would not have been so significant, because there is always a discernable difference between effort and effortlessness. This point may attract argument, as the truely skilled do make sleight of hand look effortless, but the very presence of sleights leads to certain aspects such as the performer handling the deck, to moments of misdirection etc. etc. which simply aren't present if the spectator is holding onto the cards all the damn time. As such to create the EFFECT of being a skilled magician I used a method as far away as possible.

    The pass is neither good nor bad, but merely an option to consider within the overall construction of a trick. I have argued against its inclusion in an ambitious card based on my ideals of separating method and effect as much as possible. As such, it would make sense to include it in routines where there is no emphasis on where the selected card ends up. If the effect is that the card appears magically in your pocket then why not use a pass to control it for a palm or a switch? A place for everything, and everything in its place. When I make a trick, I try for three things: elegance of construction, seperation of method and effect and last but most important: just because you can, doesn't mean that you should.


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