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Magician Terms Laypeople Don't Understand

Sep 6, 2010
183
1
I have noticed that thee are a few things that magicians say that some laypeople do not understand.

For example:

The "face" of a card
Dribbling cards
Riffling cards


As magicians, we need to have terms that any spectator can understand. Like instead of saying "dribbling the cards", say "letting the cards fall from hand to hand". Or instead of saying "turn the card face-up", say "turn the card over". It is a simple adjustment to your patter, yet it helps make routine flow smoother. Thanks for reading!

- BenTCM :D
 
Aug 10, 2008
2,023
2
31
In a rock concert
I have noticed that thee are a few things that magicians say that some laypeople do not understand.

For example:

The "face" of a card
Dribbling cards
Riffling cards


As magicians, we need to have terms that any spectator can understand. Like instead of saying "dribbling the cards", say "letting the cards fall from hand to hand". Or instead of saying "turn the card face-up", say "turn the card over". It is a simple adjustment to your patter, yet it helps make routine flow smoother. Thanks for reading!

- BenTCM :D

Thank god I don't have that problem in spanish. :3

Returning to the topic in question, I don't know why we feel the urge to tell the spectator every thing that we are doing.

On the other hand if you are talking about making a spectator choose a card by saying "stop' while you dribble the cards, that's different.

You can still say "dribble" the cards, but help them understand it, it's easy, when you say "I'm going to dribble the cards LIKE THIS, and just say stop anywhere you want", just do a dribble when you say "Like this" and they will easily associate "dribbiling" with the action you just performed.
 
Jul 13, 2009
424
0
Edmonton, Canada
But doesn't it also expand their vocabulary a bit without you explaining it ... When i say "Say stop while i dribble the card" and sometimes they do have that sense of confusion, but once i "let the call fall", they quickly catch up and call stop ...
 
Jun 10, 2010
1,360
1
I have noticed that thee are a few things that magicians say that some laypeople do not understand.

For example:

The "face" of a card
Dribbling cards
Riffling cards


As magicians, we need to have terms that any spectator can understand. Like instead of saying "dribbling the cards", say "letting the cards fall from hand to hand". Or instead of saying "turn the card face-up", say "turn the card over". It is a simple adjustment to your patter, yet it helps make routine flow smoother. Thanks for reading!

- BenTCM :D

You and every famous magician everyone idolizes. Thanks for pointing it out to some of the guys here who might not've encountered the problem... Perhaps due to lack of performing? If one performs with decent patter that isn't narrating everything you do, it shouldn't be too big of a problem. However, the term "riffling" is a common one, I don't see how someone doesn't understand that. I've never had miscommunication because of these, however, as I don't narrate my patter.

At any rate, if you're the type of person that does narrate your script/patter, then this is a common tendency. Thanks for pointing it out.
 

Luis Vega

Elite Member
Mar 19, 2008
1,809
227
36
Leon, Guanajuato Mexico
luisvega.com.mx
Thank god I don't have that problem in spanish. :3

Returning to the topic in question, I don't know why we feel the urge to tell the spectator every thing that we are doing.

On the other hand if you are talking about making a spectator choose a card by saying "stop' while you dribble the cards, that's different.

You can still say "dribble" the cards, but help them understand it, it's easy, when you say "I'm going to dribble the cards LIKE THIS, and just say stop anywhere you want", just do a dribble when you say "Like this" and they will easily associate "dribbiling" with the action you just performed.

Tengo que saber que dices...yo todavia digo "mira...le voy a hacer asi...y tu di basta cuando quieras"
 
Dec 26, 2009
242
0
Well, it goes a bit farther than confusing the specs with the words we use. Of course you don't want to confuse the spec but you also don't want to give away too much with the words you use in your patter.

If you perform a sandwich effect for a spec and say, "I am going to use these 2 cards to find your card" and then after their chosen card is found between the 2 jokers you say, "your card is now sandwiched between the jokers" all they have to do is get on google and search "magic trick where chosen card is sandwiched" and it comes back with a million results for sandwich routines.

Another one that gets me is the Oil and Water routine. While you are performing, if you refer to the red cards mixing with the black cards and then separating like oil and water, all the spec has to do is go home and google "magic trick where red cards separate from black cards" and the 7th and 8th search result says in all caps, "OIL AND WATER Magic | Magic Trick Online" and "OIL AND WATER Magic | Free Magic tricks revealed | Download Magic ..."

Granted 99% of spec probably won't get on google and try to find out how you did your magic, but there is always that chance. So why take it?
 
Then what are they to us? And isn't the point to make them think they are more than just tricks?

well i guess its not for performance. but i was telling someone i was working on a new effect and he was like what? im like oh a new magic trick and hes like oh yea. its not a good example of it, but laymen dont understand the fancy term effect haha. i just like to say effect, sounds classier. kind of like how you dont tell people that you table hop. just sounds not as nice
 
Sep 6, 2010
183
1
The sandwich and oil and water examples are perfect examples as well. I guess the point that I am trying to point out is that magicians need to come up with more easy to understand and universal terms to say when performing so there is no confusion.
 
Aug 17, 2010
411
4
Every field has jargon that defines terms to avoid confusion and provide shorthand. We say false transfer instead of having to say 'pretend to put the coin in your left hand, but secretly keep it in the right.'

How many people outside of printing would know what it means to have a four over six job, bleeds on three sides, with a spot varnish and a die cut?

Best to keep the jargon for your magic buddies, and patter for spectators familiar to them.
 
Nov 2, 2007
246
0
Norway
in norwegian i don't even know how im supposed to say the different stuff. if you were to directly translate from norwegian to english what i call the face of the card it would be "front side". i dont know what the norwegian word is for dribble or riffle. i usually just go with "i'm gonna do this" then i show what im gonna do. then i just tell em to say stop while i do it again.
 
Jun 10, 2010
1,360
1
The sandwich and oil and water examples are perfect examples as well. I guess the point that I am trying to point out is that magicians need to come up with more easy to understand and universal terms to say when performing so there is no confusion.

I think your problem is you need to honestly start performing more for people and stop basing your patter off what you hear. 99% of the patter magicians hear is from other magicians performing for them - so they use magicians' jargon (or magicianspeak - 1984 reference). That, and when you perform on a video camera to practice, actually speak your patter then show it to somebody else without interfering once in their view of the video. If they say they thought something went like x, and you argue it was supposed to be y - it's x. Don't try and convince them otherwise.

This is hardly a problem for people that perform on a regular basis, because these are things they pick up fast. So, once again - out of the bedroom, into the real world. It'll change your perspective on a LOT of things magicians say. Trust me.

Other than that, I can only recommend reading Sam Hindrichs' post again. He hits the nail right on the head for what he's referring to.
 
Sep 6, 2010
183
1
I think your problem is you need to honestly start performing more for people and stop basing your patter off what you hear. 99% of the patter magicians hear is from other magicians performing for them - so they use magicians' jargon (or magicianspeak - 1984 reference). That, and when you perform on a video camera to practice, actually speak your patter then show it to somebody else without interfering once in their view of the video. If they say they thought something went like x, and you argue it was supposed to be y - it's x. Don't try and convince them otherwise.

This is hardly a problem for people that perform on a regular basis, because these are things they pick up fast. So, once again - out of the bedroom, into the real world. It'll change your perspective on a LOT of things magicians say. Trust me.

Other than that, I can only recommend reading Sam Hindrichs' post again. He hits the nail right on the head for what he's referring to.

I perform all of the time. I am just saying that over time, after performing for a lot of people, some spectators do not understand our lingo. It is better to use those terms with magician friends, not for spectators.
 
Dec 26, 2009
242
0
I think confusing things can get even more simple than "magic terms". Instructions given to a spec can be confusing if they aren't given properly. If you are giving unclear instructions to a spec they will do the first thing that makes sense to them.

I am currently studying The Restaurant Workers Handbook by Jim Pace and Jerry MacGregor. In the book it hits on on a few things that should be discussed in this thread.

In the book the authors say, "Remember that any instructions you give to a spectator must be short and very clear. When you get a chance to practice a routine with someone, test any instructions to see if they make sense. Years ago I used to say, 'Place it back in the deck,' and people would start shoving their card into the middle of the pile of cards in my hand. I've learned to say, 'Place your card on top of the pile," and they always get it right."
 
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