[flv width=”400″ height=”270″]http://www.lessonsinmagic.com/vids/20100317/JusttheTwist.flv[/flv]

This would need to be seen in person to fully understand the impact. I only learned this a couple of weeks ago, so this isn’t the best presentation of it, but I wanted to see ho well it looked on video when I did it. It’s a marketed effect, so I won’t likely be teaching it. Sorry.

When you tell people you’re a magician, you get a multitude of reactions, one of which is “I hate magic”. It usually shocks some magicians that some people out there dislike magic. But it’s not because these people don’t want to be entertained, it stems for a variety of reasons.

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[flv width=”400″ height=”270″]http://www.lessonsinmagic.com/vids/20100317/8-CardBrainwave.flv[/flv]

This doesn’t play as well as in real life. Jaws drop when people see this, because there’s this initial reaction of failure, and then this amazing change that is totally unexpected. It looks like real magic when all the cards change so dramatically. Worth learning for the reactions you’ll get from this.

I can’t recall the first trick or magician I had seen, but I do have vague memories of being a volunteer for a magic show performed by…the Burger King. Yup, the Burger King. I must have been about 11 or so and I had to pop balloons with my pointed fingers (in the shape of a gun), and then a dove appeared. Ooo.

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[flv width=”400″ height=”270″]http://www.lessonsinmagic.com/vids/20100317/CardWarp.flv[/flv]

This truly is my favorite trick. It was the first trick I learned, but it was so simple and amazing, it had to be learned. The secret is pretty genius, and you should be doing this shortly after learning it. Angles are somewhat important with this, but nothing too serious.

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    When I was in college, I watched an amazing short french film called La jetée,which is the basis for the film 12 Monkeys. The film was made in 1962, was in black and white, and was actually just a series of still photos put into a film. The amazing thing is that years later, I remembered it as being an actual motion picture film, not simply still images. When I watched it again recently, I was somewhat surprised by the stills – almost thinking it was the wrong film.

    And as I was thinking about writing this post, I again misremembered the movie as not just simple still images, but containing some motion, where the film pans around the still or zooms in. But I am wrong again.

    The amazing thing was that my mind seems to fill in the blanks, adds motion where there wasn’t any. Who is to blame for that? Is it the director who tells such a compelling tale? Was it the actual story, which is quite interesting to begin with, or was it just me, prompted with gaps (lack of motion) that needed to be filled in, and so I filled them in for myself. Really, it’s a combination of the above things – good story, excellent direction, and a fertile imagination.

    All of these things not only make a motion picture an excellent vehicle for entertainment, but for magic. You can’t simply do a trick and hope people like it. There are numerous tricks that are self working (for example, Neither Blind Nor Stupid, which I’ll be teaching later), but doing them as is does nothing to enhance the effect. But telling a story about the cards, or building up the suspense, or using the proper form of misdirection, and you can create miracles in the minds of spectators.Do you have real life example of the above?

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    [flv width=”400″ height=”270″]http://www.lessonsinmagic.com/vids/20100317/Daley’sLastTrick.flv[/flv]

    This is a great opener and I usually always use it when I get the “can you show me a trick” request. It’s simple, and uses a couple of nifty moves. Daley’s original version was basically the second half of this trick, but it’s great to do the essential bluff at the beginning.

    For those of you not in the know, I went to college for film production. I wanted to make movies, but while in the Hollywood environment, and while I started to (re)learn magic, I discovered what I really wanted to do was entertain people. But that’s not the purpose of this post, I wanted to note that I really love movies so there’s a point of reference. The thing is, lately I’ve found a certain level of dislike which stems from something akin to an inability to work with my willing suspension of disbelief, or something similar to that.

    A willing suspension of disbelief is where you go into watching a movie, or reading a book or playing a video game, and you know that what you see isn’t real, but you’re willing to suspend the disbelief and “go with it”. So, bottom line is that I am completely able to do that – I get into Sci-Fi, and Horror, and Fantasy. But lately while watching all this movie magic, I start seeing things that don’t make logical sense and that starts to ruin it for me. Of course, as I type this, no good example comes to mind. But say it’s something like someone goes left, when they have no reason to, and logically it would have made more sense to go right. To me, it shows a lack of attention from the writers and/or director.

    Anyway, sometimes I might be really picky (Oh, what about when people from foreign countries speak to each other in English with horrible accents – can’t they just speak their native tongue?), but it seems that all these little logical “errors” slowly erode my like for any particular movie. But the truth of the matter is that the less problems a movie (or TV show, or whatever) has, the more it is likable. At least if you notice all these “errors”.

    But how does this relate to magic, you might ask? Well I’ve been trying to be active in seeking out new tricks to learn and I realized that logical progression of a trick is something that makes me like or dislike it. It relates to those extra kicker endings that I complained about in a previous post. I remember reading a magician ask essentially “why do we go through the deck to find the Aces [not in a magical manner], then go through the process of losing them again, only to find them in a magical way”. What’s the point of “finding” them to begin with? It makes no sense. I saw a trick the other day where a guy showed a trick with 4 aces and 4 kings, and displayed the cards I think 3 times before going into the trick (the aces and kings were each of one suit, which I thought degraded the effect slightly, but that’s another issue), essentially over-proving, which is illogical in a performance.

    I also like it when a trick, performed with sleights, mimics what might happen if a “normal” person were handling the cards, and things were to actually happen magically (for real, yo). If a move doesn’t seem natural (or, logical) to me, then either I have to find a way to make it become natural, or find a different way to do it, or just chuck the whole thing. Admittedly, I will learn a trick if I find that it progresses smoothly and logically, and uses an interesting move. But only if it “makes sense”.

    So overall, I find I like less and less movies (but then, with the Hollywood drivel, it’s understandable), and I’m more and more picky about the magic I like.


    [flv width=”400″ height=”270″]http://www.lessonsinmagic.com/vids/20100317/JumpingGemini.flv[/flv]

    Another 4 card trick that actually uses 4 cards. I know it’s overstressed, but it’s always important to make the distinction first just to allay any suspicion. And although it can be done with a card other than the 4, it gives you a reason to show a 4 and emphasize without making it sound over the top. A lot of magic in this little trick, and a great crowd pleaser.

    I like 2 kinds of card decks: Bicycle and Aviator. Occasionally, I might use a Hoyle deck. Everything else looks odd to me. Now, I’ll work with a borrowed deck that isn’t these brands, but these brands are common and no one ever suspects there’s anything wrong with them should I choose to use a gaffed card (rare). More often than not, gaffs are made using Bicycle cards (if it’s a quality trick, otherwise, it’s some generic deck). Actually, nobody ever suspects the deck when I don’t use gaffed cards, either.

    Anyway, when searching the web for tricks, you may have seen a strange looking black deck with a tiger on it sold by a popular online magic site. I don’t know about you, but the deck just screams “there’s something wrong with me”. If you really think spectators look at the deck, and see you see something that seems impossible, don’t suspect the deck, you’re way off the mark. Maybe I just don’t understand the purpose of using cards like that (can someone enlighten me), but I’m in this business to show that I can create amazing bits of magic and not here so I can show off a really cool deck of cards that has special magical properties.

    On the flip side, when I was younger I sold Svengali decks to kids and adults all day long, and they were some generic deck, which was even bridge size! (Real magic dudes use poker size decks, because they’re man sized – bridge is for the ladies). No one ever claimed the wouldn’t buy a deck because it didn’t match their Bicycle deck at home. No, I’m not going to tell you what a Svengali deck is or how it works…

    So if you can shed some light on this as either a performer or a lay person, please do so, I’d love to hear from you.

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