Self Working Effects as Closers

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RickEverhart, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. Many of you know that I went to a Duane Laflin convention this past weekend...which was outstanding.

    One of the ideas he shared is that if you are up on stage doing a paid performance, you always want to close with a self worker so that there should be no chance of failure and you can deliver your message successfully. This was the first I had heard of this. Obviously none of us want to end on an effect that flopped. Especially if it is your finale piece.

    If it were walk around or strolling or just performing for friends, that is different because you always probably have another effect that you can immediately pull out.

    What are your opinions? Go...
  2. Uhh, it makes complete sense! Never really thought about something like using a self working effect as a closer. Possibly because I haven't been on stage performing much. However, this is going to be taken into account now as I continue scripting my small act.

    My question is, what exactly is Self Working? Does self working mean minimal sleights/gimmicks or is just flat out no sleights at all?
  3. #3 RickEverhart, Sep 27, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2010
    In his example, it was NO SLEIGHTS at all, full proof, basically it was an appearing bouquet of flowers from a wand. You know the miniature version where the magnet from the flower ploom sticks to the magnetic bottom / vase and you lift up and, "Whalla!" It was that simple only on a much grander scale which appeared in a tall glass vase, but then when you lifted the clear vase, more bouquets of flowers appeared.
  4. That's a pretty interesting take on a closer...I've never thought of it that way, but I can see the value in that. I think most of us don't think of it because we feel that self working tricks are "too easy" or the audience will figure it out. I know I'm guilty of that. But some self working tricks are very effective so long as it's presented well - sometimes self working tricks can fool pretty good magicians.

    I think for a self working trick to be a strong closer depends less on the trick itself and more on how the audience feels about the magician during the majority of the show. It depends on how strong the "frame" is the magician sets for himself, his personality, and his material.

    For example: If I stood in the middle of Times Square and did Witness vs if David Blaine or Criss Angel doing it, the audience will automatically look at what they do as a bigger miracle. It doesn't matter if we did it equally as good because their frame is much stronger than mine through reputation, popularity, and higher social value as a magician.

    I'll be looking at closers differently now...thanks for the idea reverhart.
  5. Similarly to what everyone else has said, this is something that actually makes perfect sense but had never occurred to me. It also gives you a better chance of being able to put complete energy and commitment into the final effect, as well as giving you more scope to focus on presentation, both of which are doubly important in a closer, as it's...well, your closer. It's a very good idea, thanks for bringing it to my attention.
  6. ..................scarne.................ok you win rev, i will have to get this now....
  7. OH snap now I know where I have seen that name before. He is the feather flower guy right?

    Anyway, yeah it makes sense to have a self working effect as your closer. If everything has gone a lil wrong through your entire show and you have a strong full proof closer, it may in theory make all the previous blunders obsolete because the audience will remember your last trick of the night longer.
  8. I have subscribed to this belief in almost all of my work.

    In my current close I call back to two billet switches I did about an hour before nobody remembers anything about the effect however they remember the climax.
  9. Has Duane Laflin passed on this information to David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, Criss Angel, or Lance Burton yet?
  10. I had an idea as i was thinking about this more..

    Darwin Ortiz says something like if the sleight will make the effect better, learn the sleight no matter how difficult. or something like that.

    however i believe that having a self working trick as a closer is a good idea. it shouldn't be done if there is a sleight heavy trick that is better suited to the patter and stronger.
  11. I think that this is the wrong way to approach any type of magic. First off, we shouldnt be basing our magic off of how easy or hard it is. This should be a criterion for deciding if we are going to perform something, or when we are going to perform it. You need to remember that your job as a magician is to perform magic. EFFECT comes before methodology. So to limit yourself to self working effects for closers is really just limiting yourself as a performer. You need to pick the best EFFECT for the situation; depending how your show is routined, what its about, etc. Methodology shouldnt play a role in deciding this.

    Also, if you've got a show and youre routining it... you should be good enough that EVERYTHING YOU DO is foolproof. You shouldnt be making mistakes. The things in your show should be practiced to death and smooth. There shouldnt be this wishy-washy "I might mess up so I need to close with a self-worker"... Thats just sad.

    Effect comes before everything else. If a self worker is the best fit, so be it. But I wouldnt strive to make it one.

  12. I can hit a double lift 100%, so there's no chance of failure, so I'd be comfortable using a double lift in my closer. However, someone who has not been doing cards for long who still has a chance of messing it up probably shouldn't use it as a closer.

    I have 100% certainty in my misdirection and sleight for my card to wallet, so I use it as my closer for one of my card sets. There's no chance of failure for me to do it, so I do it. It didn't start out as my closer though. It started out as my opener when I wasn't as comfortable with the routine.
  13. Lots of great opinions on this topic. By no means am I saying one way is right and the other is wrong. I have yet to use a self worker as my closer, but then again I don't perform stage magic either.

    I would venture to say that a lot of the professionals do not follow this guideline either. I just wanted to throw the idea out there that was presented at the convention.
  14. One effect that is almost self-working is Cut 'em High N' Tie by Bill Malone.

    It pretty much works itself, and you can tell by the audience's reactions that it is a tremendous closer.
  15. I've been using a self-working trick as a closer for about 3 years now, and I must say it's suited me rather well. Going by audience feedback it's probably the strongest effect I do. I've done it both on stage and close up, although I prefer doing it closeup.

    As for the thoughts you offered themselves reverhart, I think it's an interesting and different way to think about doing closers. I'm not sure that it's necessarily legitimate in practice (one argument against would go along the lines of, if your chances of failing an effect are more than negligible, you probably need to practice more - and if you still fail due to some monstrosity of chance, then there's probably little you could have done). Certainly, I wouldn't advocate doing a closer based on a psychological force for example, but if your closer uses sleights, and you fail, it probably means you just need to practice more. Accidents happen of course - but accidents can happen in self-working tricks, too.

    That said, to counter that counter-argument - especially for beginners, it's good to have that extra layer of peace of mind, and many have written on the benefits of self-working tricks to help beginners, though I'm sure this could extend to professionals too.

    One other logical result of the thinking you've put down is this: Why not have an encore piece ready, if the situation allows it? Especially if you're performing close-up, or you have your own stage show, you could definitely do an encore piece if you needed to, and it could serve as backup. I recall reading about at least one professional mentalist who performed a multiple ending routine as his closer, and if it ended with one of the less impressive endings, he would then use that to perform an encore effect.
  16. That! Is exactly what I was planning for my next act. Not only the flowers appearing but the psychology behind it. The OP is a genius. I could show something very rudimentary and then all the sudden do a "self working trick." At the end. They all think it's complete magic, then the self working trick fools everybody. It's nearly like they might figure out or be bored of the self-worker after all of that bs. But they won't... cause it's at the end.
  17. I just now realized I am working on a very dangerous looking self working trick as my closer. Still got a metal hammer, crucible and forge working on it though. I like self workers because you can in fact play up the theatrics greatly!

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