Impromptu tricks?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by PeterJackson, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Hey,

    I know there are many magicians out there who just hate to bring gimmicks around just to perform an effect. Well, I am pretty sure I am one of the many.

    I love impromptu tricks such as Biddle trick, Triumph and ACRs as all I need to have are 2 hands and a deck of cards and I am ready to perform. However, I am starting to get bored of performing these same impromptu card effects over and over again and I wish to get fresher ideas =)

    Anybody can recommend me with names of effects that rival the prowess of the above mentioned effects?

  2. Buy "Close-Up Card Magic" by Harry Lorayne

    The whole book can be done with a borrowed deck of cards.
  3. Jay Sankey has a DVD out called "Anytime Anywhere" full of impromptu magic. Aaron Fishers "Search and Destroy" is also one of my favorite impromptu effects
  4. My favorite impromptu effect at the moment is Heritage by Daniel Madison. You can find it on Dangerous Volume 1.
  5. Buy FASDIU by Paul Cummins, which stands for 'From a Shuffled Deck in Use". This is Paul Cummins lecture notes about impromtu and stong magic with cards, and all material in the notes are fantasitic! And, you have a few coin tricks in there for variety. And yes, all impromtu!! No setups of any kind throughout the notes. Here's a performance of one of the tricks called 'The Trick That Never Happened':
    If you google it, you can find it for approximately $20-$25 or so. Hope this has helped!
  6. If you haven't had the chance to check out my magic series then here it gimmicks all from my walk around set. Enjoy!

    2011 Magic Series 3 DVD

  7. From my experience almost 1/2 of all published card magic is impromptu. A good chunk of the rest requires placing a few cards in strategic locations. Learn to cull and much of that becomes impromptu as well. Pick up a card book and read it. You should find more impromptu effects and plots than you could ever learn master and perform.
  8. though pretty advanced, The trilogy "tricks" section is full of impromptu magic
  9. Anything from Paul Vigil is strong, but since we're talking impromptu...Diplopia is REALLY strong. A little hard to do at first, but after a while and a few hours of practice, you should be smooth as butter.
  10. I wouldn't really classify Heritage as impromptu considering there is a set up although you can walk around with the set up separate from the deck. You could work out an impromptu way of doing it with two decks I suppose but it's not taught that way. That said, it is a pretty awesome effect. I'm a huge fan Daniel Madison's effect Lapse which is impromptu. I've mentioned it in like 30 different posts now. Kind of a big fan of his work. You have good taste.

    Delusional-Search and Destroy is HUGE. I love how pure it looks. It's handled in such a way that it seems you couldn't possibly do a thing, especially at the end.

    Peter-Basically what eotresh said. There is a lot of impromptu stuff out there. If you really like a particular effect that isn't impromptu you can usually get around that relatively easily by starting with your set up cards in your pocket or some kind of hold out. Offer the deck to be shuffled as you cop or palm your set up and then add them to the deck when it's returned to you. If that doesn't suit you, learn a deck switch.
  11. Impromptu doesn't necessarily mean no setup. There are ways to setup the deck even as you perform another effect.

    Michael Vincent shows a great example of this on his DVD Set; utilising culling to set the deck up for a great effect while performing another one.

    This is something to consider looking into, as it expands the amount of effects available to you greatly.
  12. I so hate this lie. . .

    IMPROVISATION/IMPROMPTU means you must work with what's on hand. . . unless someone has not told the folks at Websters they've made a mistake on their definitions.

    Walking around with pockets bulging is NOT impromptu but at the same time, a mage needs to apply a bit of Boy Scout thinking and "be prepared". . . not necessarily with a pocket full of junk though a Thumb Tip or Swami might prove practical along with any kind of innocent device such as a John Rigg's Butterfly imp pad. You shouldn't be walking around with a deck of cards, sponge balls or even a pocket full of half-dollars/antique English Penny's or Palming Coins/Poker Chips or other such "coinage" though having some quarters would prove "the norm" and less trite.

    The primary illusion you are trying to create here is the idea that you ARE NOT PREPARED and yet, able to present some mind blowing bits of business. As a Mentalist I'm always ready because I learned my Muscle Reading, Billet Work and other BASICS allied with the craft. The Magician should know their basics as well starting with Slight of Hand related manipulation, which empowers them to easily do 15+ minutes worth of FREE work at the drop of a hate without a deck of cards to be found; everything from rubber-band tricks to routines with borrowed items. Yet, so few (even with a couple or more years invested into the art) strive to empower themselves on this level now days. . . though they admire the guys who did, starting with an old acquaintance of mine named Bill Malone. . . in the 70's Billy could do uncanny magic with anything you handed him. I think he was better back then than he is today, but that's just "childhood memories" of sorts. . . when we were in our late teens.

    There are numerous DVDs & VHS videos out there that teach improvisational magic as well as bar magic. The Darwin Thumb Tip books are just one example when it comes to a resource few tap now days and yet those books are filled with HUNDREDS of routines that you can do with the lowly TT.

    I'd seriously encourage you to RUN from the card tricks and stop being so codependent (addicted) to them and learn how to apply as much energy as you pour into that particular tool into other types of vehicles. Challenge yourself to learn 10 different ways of pulling of 10 different effects using 10 different items and you will be well on your way. Force yourself to think on your feet and prop free, then you'll understand what Improvisation really is and the fact that the preparedness side of it stems from your ability to know how to do certain things and IMPROVISE based on skill and knowledge rather than gadgets and gimmicks.
    Ned Devine likes this.
  13. Three card monte is probably my all time favorite impromptu effect, but as I'm sure you know it does take a very minuscule set up which is about 3 seconds haha, but it always goes well with me.
  14. Stigmata by Wayne Houchin is one of my top go to effects when someone hands me a deck of cards and tells me to do something. It's quick and a good way to freak people out. If you are into mentalist type effects there is a bonus effect along with it. Where the same thing happens but with a persons thought of name. So there are a lot of possibilities there. If you don't mind carrying some matches around Daniel Garcia has an effect called Warning. It's like smoke and you only need a match to do it. You could also look into some geek stuff. Like learning how to light a lighter and run the flame around your fingers without burning them. Or you might check out Sinful by Wayne Houchin. They are great on the spot stuff. I mean you can do all of these with a deck of cards, a can of soda, a quarter, and a match. Plus they are fun to perform. Hope that helps.
  15. Homage to Homing by John Guastaferro. Also, his Behind the Back Triumph, and his trans-pocket switch concept.
  16. Having a bias against cards(or even coins) within the confines of your specialty is an argument that I can certainly respect because their are very solid arguments against doing so in mentalism. On the other hand, trying to posit that a restaurant or walk around magician should leave those props at home is a little short sighted and does not hold up to historical scrutiny. Hundreds (maybe more like thousands) of magicians built their careers on cards including some of the names we revere above all others(Dai Vernon starting out as a New York club magician whose act was primarily cards.) Cards also continue to fascinate and enthrall the lay audience. The fact that the majority of lay people who decide to step across the line and learn some magic often start with learning card magic is a testament to the lure of the playing card. So I think it is fair to throw a deck of cards in a pocket and call it impromptu if you like. Furthermore, you are not only demonstrating an artistic bias, you are also demonstrating an urban bias. In rural areas people still play cards quite regularly. (I know...I'm from Wyoming!) A deck of cards is never far away in these areas, perhaps not in the pocket but close at hand nonetheless.

    Now if you were to soften your tone a bit the rest of your advice is actually quite sound. Any magician would be well served to learn some completely impromptu magic. Things that can be done with coins, napkins, pens etc. And setting a goal of having 15mn. of good material at hand with completely random objects is achievable and recommended. To add to some of your suggestions I would mention Greg Wilson's "On The Spot." Also look into ring magic. Ring and string stuff is great(Greg Wilson's "Ring Leader," is a good resource for that) as well as ring manipulation in general. (Garret Thomas has some material on that and David Jay just released a DVD on it as well. I think even Devo might have done some ring manipulation a while back???) Also, just thinking outside the box will help. I know that Greg Wilson explores the idea of doing sponge magic with ordinary table napkins. For a good sponge magician that idea could be expanded on.

    Finally, gimmicks that appear impromptu. Think of the kind of items you carry around with you on a day to day basis. You work in an office and use USB thumb drives? Check out Chad Longs "Flash." You live in an area where people still carry pocket knives? Color changing knives. Heck Ascanio wrote a whole book on that subject! Pens! My god any gimmick under the sun has been added to pens and sharpies! Pen through dollars, swami gimmicks, magnetic detectors, coin and key bends, you name it. If you can think of a nifty way to gimmick a pen don't bother trying to release it because it has probably already been done!

    All in all I never really worry about whether an effect is impromptu or not. As long as it appears impromptu that is all I care about. The key is that I am prepared. If someone walks up to me on the street and says "show me a trick!" I always can....not that I always do. I'm not a trained monkey!....unless we are talking on a Darwinian level.;)
    Ned Devine likes this.
  17. I argue against this, from my magical paradigm. I believe that a magician should be a presenter of magic, and that magic should be able to be done anywhere, and expressed through any medium.
  18. eostrich... I believe if you look at what I actually stated we're a bit more in agreement than not. . . though I do believe your perspective on card tricks & the laity is a bit askew given the number of major names in magic point out how boorish the things can be in their own acts. Context and perspective are the key with Cards or any other medium in ENTERTAINMENT and the fact is, there are more more poorly done card tricks out there than most any other aspect of magic. The reason being that the majority of magic lovers become addicted to the pasteboards but refuse to focus; always after the holy grail so to speak rather than finding it within their own hands using what they've already been given when it comes to rudimentary knowledge . . . an do understand that Vernon's fame stems from alternative circumstances far more than his own "grace" as it were. He was famous, infamous and even honored but the "fortune" side of the coin proved, shall we say, "Aloof". which is true when it comes to the majority of the card shark types of old as well as the general hustlers, which the Professor certainly was. . . he was a pitchman & barker after all.

    By all means, a person could gain a solid reputation as a cardician and as you've pointed out, many have. What you (and most) fail to consider however, are the thousands of chumps that aren't the exception people like Dingle, Ricky Jay, Nash, etc. were. Our industry is filled with exceptions that everyone dwells and even leans upon when it comes to defending their actions. . . such as studying nothing but cards or coins, or whatever else. But we find little in print that addresses the multitude of deaf/dumb & blind fans of magic who deliberately ignored the other facets of the craft, feeling they needed nothing more. Those that ignore the subtleties and psychology that transfixes trickery, allowing the performer to demonstrate the miraculous. . . producing that mythical sandwich under the optimum conditions and points in time.

    I know international stars of magic -- illusionists -- who don't know beans about Mentalism, Escapology, or close-up styled magic for that matter; they are experts at the grand and theatrical but ignorant when it comes to pulling bunnies from hats or birds from scarves. To my mind this is criminal and yet, it is quite an abundant thing; poor little rich kids with their $500,000.00 Johnny Gaughan or Bill Smith Magic Kit along with mommy & daddy social connections and financial backing that allows them to explode onto the scene without knowing the proper way of doing a French Drop let alone a reasonable sense of skill when it comes to the Cups & Balls, Coins Across, or the Billiard Balls. The more unfortunate side of this grossness, is that far too many forums as well as physical clubs, have become more focused on whatever the individuals wants to do vs. what needs to be in place first and why.

    It's a sad thing, when magic clubs return to rebook someone like Eugene Burger because he didn't teach them a new Card Trick in his most recent talk. Yet it happens and it happens too often, simply because we'd rather learn how to do card tricks than Magic.

    This is what I challenge people on, encourage them to consider and all going well, a handful of them will actually elect to be the latter rather than being another bum addicted to card mechanics that knows little to nothing about being an entertainer let alone magic itself.
  19. @ Craig Browning
    I think you are absolutely right. We do agree on quite a bit more than we disagree on. I do think, however, that if your first love is cards then there is nothing wrong with using them as an "Impromptu" effect because for 1. If you are nuts about cards you will probably always have a deck on you, and 2. If you really love card magic your "best stuff" will probably be with cards. I definitely think you should have some stuff you can do on a moments notice without resorting to cards but at the same time don't handicap yourself by avoiding them. That would be like expecting David Copperfield to go out on the streets without his buzz saw illusion......oh wait.....bad example.

    If I'm reading you right, the bigger issue is of card guys is that they get so obsessed with the moves that they forget about the presentation. Now in that I think you are dead on, though you can level the same charge against most coin guys and even many mentalists(ie. how many mentalists spend 1,000s of dollars on fancy electronics versus actually learning to muscle read?) Never the less, the charge of poor presentation in lieu of fancy gimmicks and sleights is admittedly most often leveled against card guys. I believe their is some truth to that. I myself have been through the "move monkey phase." Also, many of our "heroes" rise to cult status on the basis of their moves and not their moves+presentation.

    What I am about to say is totally my opinion so you are all welcome to da*n me for it. Watch a Darwin Ortiz, Steve Forte, Martin Nash, and Ricky Jay performance and do so without paying attention to the effect or the pretty moves. Just watch the performance. Then consider that Forte and Ortiz make a good chunk of their living(perhaps the bulk?) as gambling consultants while Ricky Jay and Martin Nash made their careers as entertainers. I'm also told from guys who were still around in "the day" that the same was true of John Scarne.

    One thing that would really be good for young card magicians, and young magicians in general, is to keep in mind that the guys you see on the DVDs you buy are usually "creators" more than "performers." It is a distinction that has existed in stage magic for over a hundred years. Their is no stigma one way or the other. Some guys work back stage and some guys work on the stage. To each lies their own talent. But as close-up magicians you really have to hunt out the good performers. YouTube is hit and miss and TV magic is usually heavily skewed towards stage. Thus, it is hard to find truly great closeup performers. I think magic companies would do us all a service if they sought out the best restaurant performers, the best walk-around guys, and the best parlor acts and started putting together good performance DVDs with maybe some commentary on the performance and not just explanation of the effect.

    Anyways I'm rambling on. In a nut shell, I do think that cards can be presented well in "impromptu" settings but they do become a crutch for some because many magicians become more connected to their deck than their audience.

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