Pick a Card, and any other patter you avoid

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by PredicatedCard, Jul 2, 2019.

  1. I know lots of us try and avoid proffering a fanned deck and asking someone to pick a card.

    What other stock lines do you try and avoid and why?

    My personal bugbear is "let's take it a step further". It might just be me - but referring to the next phase of an effect you are doing as "a step further" psychologically takes away a little of the spontaneity and magic for whomever is watching, it puts in mind a rote series of actions that have been memorised and that things are just going through motions.
  2. Are you sure?
    Was that fair?
    Let's recap.
    You could have picked any....
    That was a free choice...
    Pretend you are that card...
    Verify its not a trick deck (coin, rope, etc.)
    I have an ordinary deck (coin, coffee mug, set of linking rings)
    It's completely lost in the deck.
    There is no way (I can do what I'm about to do)

    A good magician shows instead of tells.
  3. I agree with all of these, I cringe if I ever catch myself uttering them, or here them being used with the solemnity and seriousness that accompanies them so often.

    Particularly "I have an ordinary..." if it was ordinary, why announce it?
    MADuke likes this.
  4. I completely agree.
    I don't really have a list, I just try not to sound stupid, and to me, all that RealityOne mentioned seem to fit in that category.

    My biggest pet peeve, is when the spectator DEMANDS to examine the cards, or they wont see the trick. Then they proceed to flip, bend, shuffle terribly, look them up online, hold them up to the light, and in general just be a snob about checking the cards. Its like, "I'm just trying to have some fun, and give you a little enjoyment, but you sir, are ruining this or EVERYONE. The trick hasn't even happened yet!"
    Mr_ARPY likes this.
  5. I tend to talk a lot. And therefore, as much as I can, I try to avoid talking too much in the first place, while performing XD

    Otherwise, yes, I am trying to avoid the statement pick a card.
    And an overused statement I don't need to avoid, because (thankfully) I never did say it frequently, is,

    "This is an ordinary deck of cards/an ordinary coin/an ordinary piece of paper/ordinary fingers" and that sort.

    I am absolutely ordinary and as un-unique as I possibly could be. My magic patter doesn't need to highlight that. :D

    Oh yeah...the pseudo-dramatic lines!

    This hasn't exactly happened with me yet, but similar situations have risen.

    And the absolute fury I experience at those moments, I swear... if thoughts could kill, my thoughts then would--

    Forget it. No violence in the forums...
    JakeTay10r and Mr_ARPY like this.
  6. I kinda hate directly lying to the spectators.

    I also hate saying things and pointing out stuff that obviously happened, because it just makes it seems suspicious, slieght or not. "Let's put the card in the center of the deck.", and after following to do so "TRUE OR FALSE?" THE CARD WHICH YOU HAVE PUT IN THE CENTER OF THE DECK IS NOW IN THE CENTER OF THE DECK." It just makes everything look suspicious.
    CWhite likes this.
  7. This is what I love about Teller's performance style: He once said (I think in a Google Talk) that one reason he doesn't speak on-stage is so the spectator pieces together his own story. This is actually the exact example he uses: If you say "I have an ordinary ..." the spectator gets suspicious immediately.
    However, if he lets the spectators piece together their own story of what's happening, based on what (they think) they see and not on what the magician tells them ... Well, the most convincing lie is the one you tell yourself.
    PredicatedCard likes this.
  8. This is the difference between telling and showing. Telling raises doubt, showing encourages belief. Part of this is developing an internal script - which is really a magician lying to themselves. If you tell yourself, "it doesn't matter which card they pick" when you are doing a force, the force seems natural. I you tell yourself, "I'm putting the sponge ball into my left hand" when you are actually doing a false put, it will look realistic. If you have a 50/50 force deck and spread the bottom half of the cards face up and think "they look pretty well shuffled" the audience will get the impression that the whole deck is shuffled. Part of it is not running when you are being chased. Most of the time people say "this is an ordinary..." it actually is an ordinary whatever you are holding. The last part is structuring the effect so that through the performance you demonstrate what you want the audience to see. If the structure of the routine shows that the props are ordinary and you satisfy the audience's curiosity and dispel common methods, they won't want to see it at the end because you've already shown it to them.
    Anonymous user and Maaz Hasan like this.
  9. I don't think any of those things are wrong. The context in which you use them may be the ONLY problem. There's plenty of reasons to say choose a card. Here's a way to get into that.

    "These cards here represents 52 options. Each option is unique to its own. And depending on your choice, the outcome will vary. So in order for this to work in my favor, as I hope, I will need your help in determining which route this trick goes. If you will, could you please choose any card."

    Framing is important.

    Walking up to someone and saying give me 20 bucks sounds stupid too, but if you are really really in need of money, you could say:

    "Excuse me Ma'am/Sir. I am having a terrible day, and instead of bumming something off of people, I would be willing to work for it whether its doing chores around your house, mowing the lawn, whatever it takes, I'm hungry and I really could use some money so I can eat."

    You still have to get a yes or a no. But framing with anything is important. Its all dependant on presentation.
  10. If you hate lying, you are in the wrong business. Magicians practice deception as performance.

    It goes back to framing. You can say:

    Thanks for helping me out. Because you've placed this card in the center, now my goal is to.....(whatever you plan to do)

    You see, you should talk to them not talk down to them. What I mean by that is do the trick in the midst of a conversation. Learn to talk to people and your patter will be better.

    The word "Because" signals that because they did X, Y is going to happen.
  11. I think I phrased that wrong. What I meant was obviously stating something as if it happened when it didn't. I don't see a point to it. If I wanna make it look like the card's in the center of the deck with a tilt, the audience can see that, I don't need to restate it with a straight up lie for no reason. They're spectators, not children (unless they are children, in which case I wouldn't be doing card tricks probably).
  12. I always try to avoid putting the card into the deck, for me it's to let the spectator do it and later I do double undercut or whatever I need. With the "pick a card" I don't have any problem and never had, however I tend also to avoid saying I have an ordinary deck or that kind of things, some card tricks I perform don't require setup so I just let the spectator have the cards. In general I don't talk too much because in real life I don't do it that much.

    If it's a trick where the magician can see the selected card I give the deck to the spectator and demand to choose a card that is special to him/her or instead of signing the card maybe writing something that is special for the person like a date, girlfriend/boyfriend, mother, etc. It's a small but nice detail from Chris Ramsay.
  13. This really is an attempt to add meaning or significance where there is none. Most normal people (i.e. non magicians) don't have a playing card that is special to them. Writing something special on a playing card will not make a card trick more meaningful -- it still will be just a card trick. Most effects don't really need a card to be signed -- magicians just do it to disprove that there is a duplicate (which is really only something another magician would think of).
    DavidL11229 likes this.
  14. I feel the same way, mainly because I'm cheap and don't want to ruin cards all the time lol. There are a couple effects I do where I absolutely want the card signed though.
    RealityOne likes this.
  15. I think the only benefit from it besides removing possibilities of a duplicate (and giving yourself the opportunity to do some sleights or something) is the fact that they have something physical they can take with them. Though even then it isn't a crazy thing like some magicians make it out to be. Some guys say that they want to give the audience an experience that lingers in their head for years (which in itself is a crazy idea, because no one actively thinks about a performance they saw regularly), and while a physical object might certainly help jog their memory, normally you just want the trick itself to be as good as possible. It really is hit or miss. Sometimes you can't miss an object like that, like if you did Card to Ceiling and they chose to leave it there, but a signed card off a random trick that isn't that powerful is probably not gonna do anything for the memory of the show.

    I don't think having a card signed is always a better option. Sometimes, you might in fact harm your act by having the card signed. For example, lets say you were doing Card to Envelope and you had a patter performing it like a prediction. If, for example you used the same card they selected as the final reveal, you could absolutely make it seem like a prediction. But if you had it signed, it becomes a transposition effect. Depending on your performance), it may seem like a broken trick, because you obviously moved their card from the selection to the reveal process, where as a prediction from an envelope in plain sight the whole time makes it seem much more fair. In the end, it comes down to your presentation.
    RealityOne likes this.
  16. Agreed. A lot of magicians talk about taking a trick one step to far where they try to make it more impossible but ultimately end up ruining the illusion of magic.
    Maaz Hasan and Antonio Diavolo like this.

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