Looking for Tips to Improve

Discussion in 'Magic Forum' started by _Gambit_, Jan 20, 2018.

  1. Hey everyone, I'm Gambit, a magician who specializes in cards.

    I've been doing magic off and on for the past 8 years and am looking for any tips to improve my skills. Keep in mind I'm still on the young side, so saying stuff like "Try Doing Bar Tricks" doesn't help me very much.

    One of my main problems is that being still a teenager I have problems getting good reactions from adults. I tend to get the vibe that they view my skills as childish, regardless of the level of effort or sophistication I add to my performances. My goal with magic is to entertain, and I'm starting to get annoyed that the only audience that takes me seriously are 5-12 year olds (fellow teenagers aren't interested.)

    Any tips are welcome, thanks in advance!

  2. Well how do you present your tricks exactly? Sometimes all it takes is a reworking of your presentation.
    Al e Cat Dabra and Maaz Hasan like this.
  3. I tend to walk up to people, ask if they'd like to see a quick card trick, and perform.
  4. But what is your presentation like? Walk us through what you would say for a trick or a routine.

    Also, I'm liking the X-Men pic :)
  5. Option 1: "Do you want to see a quick card trick?"

    Option 2: "May I show you something truly amazing?"
  6. The X-Men pic is intentional, glad you like it. :D

    Example presentation for my favorite trick that involves showing two cards, placing those card in their hands and teleporting them into my hands:

    "Hi there, would you care to see a quick card trick?"

    "Now, watch very carefully." (I mix four cards in my hands, then flip a card over.)

    "Queen of Spades, right? Hold out your hand, please." (I then give them the card face down in their hand. Next I mix the remaining three cards and flip another card over.)

    "Queen of Clubs, right? Other hand, if you don't mind." (I then give them the card face down in their hand. Then I give a quick wave of my fingers and hold the other two cards face down in my hands.)

    "Where are the queens?" (The volunteer then replies with "in my hands", to which I reply by flipping over the queens in MY hands, and showing that I gave them two threes.)
  7. Here's the problem: That presentation was pretty bland. I mean, for a one time card trick, I guess it's ok, but the presentation really is something you would see a layman doing, or a kid. You need to develop a patter and a story to the effect, or else it's not really a performance, but rather you just showing something to someone.

    Also, as a side note, where are you learning this from? If I were to take a wild guess, I would assume this was from YouTube called "David Blaine's 2 Card Monte"?
    Karo-K54 and Antonio Diavolo like this.
  8. As Maaz said, your presentation is rather lacking it seems. Not trying to be mean. Just constructive criticism. I'd ask @RealityOne for some performance tips. He and @ChristopherT are very experienced and often have some of the best advice on the forums.
    Maaz Hasan likes this.
  9. Sounds like you could work on your presentation. Think of it this way, if you are simply narrating what you are doing (ok I’m going to take two cards and put them into your hand, then watch closely as I wave my hand over them. Notice how they change places?) you see how it is sort of redundant? They can see what you are doing. No reason to repeat it or narrate it.

    Here is an example of a better latter idea. “Have you ever heard the story of sticky Pete and the worlds fastest hands? They say that not only was he the best thief in the world, but he could steal a your wallet right out from underneath your nose faster than you could blink. But what made him truly the best their is you would not even know he stole it because he would replace it with a decoy wallet to make you think it never left. You see?” Then they turn over their card to reveal they changed. This is an example of using the cards to help you tell a story rather than just doing something cool with cards. It will get your audience more invested and they will not see it as a “trick” but rather as a performance piece which is what you want I assume?
  10. I feel bad for not mentioning you in my reply. You always have great advice as well!
    Karo-K54 and obrienmagic like this.
  11. I learned this trick from the Youtube channel Scam School, that's a place where I tend to find a lot of good material.

    And thanks @obrienmagic that helps a lot.
  12. Can't add much else here but I will say It's always great to introduce yourself and ask how they are doing. It's polite, for one, but you also begin to connect and build a rapport with them. It can also help you gauge them for a moment and see if they're going to enjoy what you're about to do.

    What's awesome about being young in magic is that people have low expectations. So it's incredibly amazing for them when you SHATTER those expectations!

    Have fun and welcome to the forums!
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  13. Teenagers come in a GREAT variety! What is ur age (if u don't mind me asking that). Because 16-17 year olds come off as pretty 'grown-up'. 13 yo..not so much.
    Improve your presentation style. Don't follow Brian too much when it comes to performance. His style looks good on ONLY him and a very few other performers. Others come off as childish, insufferable and corny. Now if you have your hair all gelled up as spikes...that's different.
    The thing is prolly not your tricks so much as your presentation. As everyone else said, improve your presentation-skills. And also, be more you.
    It seems obvious and maybe you think you already are 'you'...but being 'you' is the most difficult.
    If you are not serious, don't be. If you are not funny, don't be. If you are not a sweet-smart-aleck, don't be. If you are not loud, don't be. If you are not spft, don't be. Don't pretend.
    Be yourself, that should drastically help your reactions. Other than that,see some videos of Free Magic Live and Chris Ramsay and Jay Sankey on improving reactions.
    Also, maybe, try to improve on your aesthetics and see what Vinh Giang has to say...that guy gives good tips.
    Karo-K54, Theris and Antonio Diavolo like this.
  14. That's one of the great things about being a member of this Forum. People who are willing the share and help one another out. And these types of topics really stimulate thought and help even experienced performers to analyze their presentations and improve. I wish I had the benefit of something like that to help me years ago when I started out.

    Now I don't do this particular trick, but I think Michael O'Brien gave a wonderful example of how to really spice up a presentation, engage peoples' interest, and draw them in. One of the problems to be encountered with this type of effect is the possible lack of conviction of the spectators that the cards you are saying you put in their hands really are those cards, especially when you ask them the question, "Right?".

    Reading this thread, I challenged myself to come up with a unique presentation for this effect:

    Of course, you've heard of the renowned physicist and mathematician, Albert Einstein. I don't know if it's true, but they say Einstein actually flunked basic math. Anyway, I heard a story of a young magician staying with his family at the same hotel as Einstein years ago in New York City. In the dining room, one evening, his parents excitedly pointed out that old Albert was sitting at the table next to them - I mean you couldn't miss that hair. Einstein was was with some other scientists scribbling equations on a piece of paper as his colleagues looked on - spellbound. The young magician got up and approached Einstein's table, and respectfully asked if he could show a mathematical trick for their entertainment. Well, this got their interest and they said they would love to see the trick. The magician had Einstein hold out both hands face up. He placed a black queen, the Queen of Clubs, in one hand, like this, saying, "That's one card, then he shuffled the cards and placed the other black queen, the Queen of Spades, in Einstein's other hand, and said, "That's one plus one, equals two cards." Everyone nodded in agreement. Then the young magician asked Einstein, "What is the number of cards you are holding?" Einstein looked at the magician with amusement, and said, "Vell, TWO, of course. The magician looked at him with a smile of his own, and said, "You were close." (turning over the cards) "The number is THREE."
  15. Scam school is actually a decent place to learn the mechanics of a trick - but they purposely do not teach much in the way of presentations. Brushwood's whole thing is that he knows people will watch the video, practice it once or twice, and then go to the bar and try it out. Presentation has no place in that model.

    The problem with the presentation you gave is that it doesn't actually give anything for the audience to hook into. The best presentation will entirely depend on your persona and style when you perform.
  16. @_Gambit_
    This is perfect^

    The best part of Scam School is to make up your own presentation. That's the only way to make it look decent.

    I highly suggest taking these guys' advice and creating a story. There isn't much more I can add besides what these guys have said. Don't worry too much about how perfect it is, just make it fun and entertaining. :)

    Good luck!
  17. When I first learned Triumph, Michael Ammar echoed the words of Dai Vernon: "You must have an emotional hook!" Something the spectators can get interested in. For that example the story of performing a trick while someone who is trying to mess you up by shuffling the cards face up into face down is a great hook.

    Another good example is also Vernon's Ace Cutting trick, from Stars of Magic, where he is telling the story of a one armed card cheat. The drama and shock from the knife being pulled out and slammed into the final ace is about a startling a climax you can ask for.
  18. Thanks everyone for the advice, I'm already seeing significant improvement just by telling a story with my tricks.
  19. Scam school is a great place to learn some fun material. I have an effect featured on scam school that I released myself :) haha but the true value is in coming up with your own ways to perform the effect. Unfortunately Brian does not gp into a ton of performance detail as he is catering to beginners typically in his videos. I would suggest learning the technique and what not and practicing it. THEN coming up with your own story. This way you have something original that you perform your own fun way!
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  20. Best way to tackle Scam School tutorials I know of.

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