Developing Your Sets - Essay #6 from JDG

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jamie D. Grant, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. #1 Jamie D. Grant, Sep 25, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 18, 2011
    Hiya Gang!

    I'm going to be off the grid for almost a month so I though I'd leave you with these thoughts. If you want catch up on what I've been talking about already, feel free to check out these threads:

    A) Rates FAQ 2.0 (how much to charge) by Jamie D. Grant Essay #1

    B) The single most important thing you can do... Essay #2

    C) How many tricks should you learn? Essay #3

    D) Tips or Wage? ~more thoughts from JDG /Essay #4

    E) How to design a business card~ Essay #5 by JDG

    F) Who I am~ Magic Friday ~ by Jamie D. Grant

    Okay, so if you've checked out Essay #3, you'll see that I'm a big believer in developing three separate sets for working Walk-Around cocktail party type events. Typically, this will be the hour or two before dinner that takes place at almost all corporate functions, weddings, and VIP functions.

    So, what goes into a set?

    Well, this is where you, as a magician, get a chance to decide on how you want to be perceived. Are you an expert card handler? Or a funny, extroverted, rubber-band illusionist? Perhaps an elegant coin manipulator? Or a serious mentalist? This is where you need to decide on what you want people to say about you when you leave. On that note, this is how I do it:

    Set One

    #1) The first trick in Set #1 needs to be fast. You need to establish yourself as a paid entertainer immediately. This is not the time to be a ten minute story effect. You can also start small here, because odds are that not everyone in the group will be paying attention. It's almost like fishing- you're going to catch a few small fish here to get the big one in a minute. Think: Flourish. Example: 1 coin routine.

    #2) If you're good, other people in the group will have noticed you and will now be watching like hawks. You'll hear, "Do that again!" a lot here- not because you were blowing minds, but because they just caught the end of that first effect, and now want to see what's going on. So this second trick should encompass more people, and needs to be a bit higher up with regards to visibility. Think: Card trick. Example: Be Honest, What Is It?

    #3) By this time, everyone in the group should be having a great time and you should be a welcome addition. You should have learned some names by now and everyone should be praying that you stay with them, as they're so lucky to have the coolest guy in the room as a part of their gang. This third trick should be high and mighty. You also want to leave them begging for more. Literally. The "I've got to entertain others," (said loudly) "but I'll be back!" are the words of the day. Think: Rope effect. Example: Cut and Restored.

    Set Two

    #4) With any luck, there's more than five people at the party and it's wall-to-wall people. If that's the case, the next group you hit will already have figured out that you're a a magician and are anticipating your arrival. This is where you can start opening your doors a bit. Do you love cards? Bust out some moves here. Mentalism? Hit them with, "Can I try something different with you guys?" Think: Mind reading. Example: Positive/Negative.

    #5) Odds are that this second group will have more people in it than the first. It's time to start bringing the party on and including everyone. Cards are always perfect for this. Think: Multiple Selection. Example: Four people pick cards, and they all find each other's.

    #6) By this point, you should have everyone in the room waiting for you to join them. Just like the first set, leave this group wanting more. Bring your trick up in height and get ready to leave on a high note. Think: Bill Switch. Example: Four Quarters.

    Set Three

    #7) Hopefully that anticipation will now be crazy high, so bring your heavy artillery to this set! Even though this same group will be seeing sets 1 and 2 as the night goes on, don't let that dissuade you from frying them right now with your A material. This is where you are shining, and you should be physically nearer to the center of the room (and, as a result, more people will be watching). Think: Something they can all see. Example: Arm Twist.

    #8) If you're rocking it (and you will be!), keep it going. Pull out your best stuff and take no prisoners. Keep it high and mighty all the way through Set 3. Think: Visual Cards. Example: The Restoration.

    #9) Have you ever had eight people chanting, "Ja-mie, Ja-mie, Ja-mie!" in unison? If not, here's where it will happen (especially if your name is, in fact, Jamie). Think: Closer. Example: Bill in Lemon.

    There you have it. Of course, those tricks are just examples and guidelines. There's better, and worse, tricks out there~ but this choices will depend entirely on you. Don't forget, anyone can do a French-Drop. But they're paying you to do it. With good reason. Be yourself and be fantastic!

    In conclusion- my sets are organized, as I walk though the room:

    small, medium, high
    medium, medium, high
    high, high, high

    and then repeating, but changing the sets for the groups obviously.

    To find out what a lot of these effects actually look like, please visit : Magic Friday (and be sure to leave a positive comment!)

    I hope that helps. I'm in the middle of writing a couple of books, and one of them is called, "The Approach". It will cover basically all of this stuff that I've been talking about along with a bunch of other ideas, essays, and advice. Keep an eye out for it!~ Plus it will have how I approach groups and my key ways of making myself instantly accepted. But that's for another time.

    Before I go hop on a plane in a couple of days, let me leave you with the best piece of advice I ever received (from my awesome friend Dave Moses):

    "You want to know how to get discovered? ... Be awesome."

    Have fun with it,

    Jamie D. Grant

    Further Reading~The Essays:

    Rates FAQ 2.0 (how much to charge) by Jamie D. Grant Essay #1
    The single most important thing you can do... Essay #2
    How many tricks should you learn? Essay #3
    Tips or Wage? ~more thoughts from JDG /Essay #4
    How to design a business card~ Essay #5 by JDG
    Who I am~ Magic Friday ~ by Jamie D. Grant
    Developing Your Sets - Essay #6 from JDG
    Do you need a stage show? Essay #7 by JDG
    Crushing the Haters! Essay #8 by Jamie D. Grant
    Shaky Hands & Falling Cards. Beating Anxiety. Essay #9
    Deflecting Thoughts, and False memories. Essay #10
    Stage Show Thoughts. Essay #11
    How To Promote Yourself. Essay #12
  2. haha wow man dont you sleep? well either way i appreciate the dedication and time your putting into these posts. Whether you know it or not, they do make a difference and are a big help
  3. Great posts Jamie!

    All of these posts would be top-notch Blog material. I can see a new blog, "Magicians making new magicians" or something like that. Haha.

    Right now, I have three 3 sets. 2 of them are listed below:
    Set 1:
    Sponge Balls
    ACR -> Wallet
    Pressure or Smoke (depending on group)

    Set 2:
    1 coin routine to jumbo Coin
    Red Hot Momma!
    Fusilade (for big tables) or Force routine w/ jumbo card for smaller tables.

    Set 3:
    Hard hitting and No cards =) My favorite set!
  4. Lol, that's what I was going to say!

    Thanks for the advice Jamie! I'll be sure to use it at my next gig.
  5. wow....Awesome thread!! I must admit I love you way to writethis essays...very friendly and funny!!
  6. #6 Jamie D. Grant, Oct 2, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2010
    Ha! I don't! (Even now - In a Paris hotel room - I'm writing, lol) ~ and checking Theory 11 forums :p
  7. Jamie these threads are awesome!! If you don't mind, could I PM you? I need some help with something!
  8. ..........i love you..........very, very, very..............very........much!!! thank you so much for this essay, this is exactly what i needed.
  10. Between promoting Subway and not being funny in movies he's also pushing the magic envelope.

    As is John Lovick. ;)
  11. My pa always told me, "son if you ever find someone that makes you happier than you ever thought you could feel... marry them"

    mat..... that was epic....will you be my bride?
  12. Just checking in, while I'm on the road, and thought I'd toss out this question as something to think about:

    Do you have alternative methods for all your effects, in case someone asks you to show them something again? Is this necessary?
  13. its a good idea. For as many of my effects as possible i have alternate methods.

    for example when presenting a triumph effect, when they ask to see it again i love doing Sybil triumph because it offers a seemingly plausible explanation and the flourish distracts from the method and people move on. Again, similarity in effect is what i use, not necessary the same effect. Such as Doc Dayley's last trick and 2CM.

    some effects however are hard to have a second method, i.e. Pressure, Coin Bends, Torn and Restored.
  14. I have a few tricks where I can change around because I know enough sleight of hand. I personally believe that it's really important to be able to do a trick a # of ways. Maybe one way won't work again because they are burning your cards and you can't misdirect so you need to do a double undercut instead of a pass etc.
  15. Yah- I try and have as many different methods as possible. If it's a trick that only has one method, however, I'll flat out refuse to do it again, lol.

    "Hey, can you show my friend that one with the rope?"

    "Absolutely not, lol. But I'll show you something else!"

    and if they insist, I have a great line of:

    "That trick was just for you, and you only. It was a special moment in time. Let me show your friend this other thing..."
  16. Man I don't know how I missed this essay, but I'm sure glad I found it... It's absolutely awesome!
  17. So my goal for the summer is to do at least 1 more gig while I'm on my break from College.

    My sets so far...
    Set 1
    1. Tokyo Penetration
    2. ACR
    3. Digital Dissolve

    Set 2
    1. Spongeballs
    2. Spectator cuts to the Aces/Twisting the Aces/Dr. Daley’s
    3. Haunted Pack

    Set 3
    1. CMH
    2. Mismade Bill or Sloppy Triumph*
    3. Smoke or Mismade Bill*

    Great effects to add to the mix when it feels right.
    Third Degree
    Card under box
    Gypsy Thread
    Sloppy Triumph
    Mr. E Takes a Stroll
    Torn and Restored
    2 Card Monte
    Reds and Blacks (Hector Chadwick)
    A Card Behind (Hector Chadwick)
    Kick Back Kings
    Walkaround 2 cards to pocket
    Thought of card to pocket
  18. That's a great list!

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