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Tom Kracker

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Reply with quote  #1 
I felt left out with everyone sharing videos of performances.  I don't have too many videos of me performing in an actual setting.  This was while on a business trip last year.  I wasn't in charge of the camera, so some of it got cut off on the sides, but I think you can understand what's going on.  I like how the one guy even pointed to my arm, meaning, I accomplished that change and didn't even have sleeves. 

This is my standard go-to routine that I love to perform, but I didn't have my 4 silver dollars to do the coins across routine that I do.  I did leave out some of the patter.  They did speak English, but there is some stuff that it would take explaining for them to understand.  I have done much of this routine in a crowded, loud bar, where you couldn't really hear each other, so I used other hand gestures, like pointing to the card, then to my eyes, then to my head.  They understood it to mean look at the card and remember it.  It is just one of the ways I have used to improvise, even though I have a set script that I typically follow.

Let me know what you think.



Tom

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #2 
You did great! Nice, relaxed and unhurried. The guy to your right was awesome. I loved it when he had to check out the queens. Magic can cross language barriers but you found out that simple commands or questions are not understood so it helps to have an interpreter. Otherwise you have to mimic the actions and hope they play charades.

That was cool, thanks for sharing!
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Bill Guinee

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Reply with quote  #3 
Tom, that was great. I really enjoyed seeing your performance. Very nice work.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #4 
This is a great example of a strong opener. Then T.K. uses the blue-backed queen for the next effect since it is there, so why not? The jokers have been out of the pack, subliminally telling the onlookers they must be normal. Smart thinking all the way through.

The other thing to mention is the nice way that the second effect allows you to get the jokers and the odd-backed queen out of play.  
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Tom Kracker

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks guys!

The one thing you don't see at the very beginning is as I'm going through to find the jokers, they subliminally see the cards are not in any order.  I don't specifically say they are shuffled or not, and even if they want to shuffle, I say they can later and that I want to show them something first.  I was going slow, relaxed mostly for them to follow everything and not accuse me of going too fast, and the 8 beers during dinner helped me to slow down...  They paid for dinner and drinks, so my way of thanking them was to give a short show.

Ray, I'm glad you pointed out about setting the jokers out of the way subliminally telling them they are normal (the slit is covered by the first joker, but I even leave them casually, slightly separated for added effect).  And how I use the blue back queen, since it is there... (exactly my goal) and using The Submarine Card effect with these cards and allowing me to get them out of play.  I start dirty and end clean.  I put these 3 cards either in my shirt pocket like I did here (and he even asked where the blue card went!) or they go in the box. 

I had been doing these different effects for many years, but they never flowed, no segue or anything, often just random.  I didn't like it to be just random.  So one day, I just analyzed several effects that I knew and found that these flowed together.  It took effort to structure everything together.  I do the coin from cards wherever it fits, but usually I will use that to segue into the 4 coins across routine that I do, and a couple of other coin effects.  At Michigan Magic Day 2005, I had done much of this same routine, but I even loaded 4 coins under the cards and box as I was doing each part of the routine with the cards.  Then at the end of the cards, I slid the 4 piles to the side to reveal 4 coins.  Then I finished with the 4 coins across.  I ended up taking second place for close-up (Rick Merrill got first that year).

All of that just to say, I basically had to script and even did storyboards to piece together the right feel and sequence.  This is not a natural talent for me, and I applaud all of you that can do this.  I want to work on another set like this with all different effects, but I just haven't made time yet.

Tom

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TheAmazingStanley

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Reply with quote  #6 
I’m seeing everything I like about magic: low key delivery (#1 gripe by a mile, magicians who oversell the material, hyperactive, like a drunk cornering you at a party with a string of bad jokes, reminding you a hundred times what you just saw and that there is NO WAY what you are about to see can happen, on and on), attentive to the audience (some magicians practically ignore their spectators, they’re so self absorbed in their trick, leaving the audience to feel like they’re watching a lecture), good material (each trick was to the point, no wasted moves, with a strong ending), and nice chips (no dazzle, just had that deck completely under control).

I love the first one. A great ending, then a total surprise with an even greater ending. You probably had sunburn on the right side of your face from that guy burning those cards. Maybe it was just because he was close, but you used him a lot to assist. I’ve seen videos of top pros doing closeup and the guy burning the cards is often the one who gets asked to help out. Is that intentional?

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAmazingStanley
I’m seeing everything I like about magic: low key delivery (#1 gripe by a mile, magicians who oversell the material, hyperactive, like a drunk cornering you at a party with a string of bad jokes, reminding you a hundred times what you just saw and that there is NO WAY what you are about to see can happen, on and on), attentive to the audience (some magicians practically ignore their spectators, they’re so self absorbed in their trick, leaving the audience to feel like they’re watching a lecture), good material (each trick was to the point, no wasted moves, with a strong ending), and nice chips (no dazzle, just had that deck completely under control).

I love the first one. A great ending, then a total surprise with an even greater ending. You probably had sunburn on the right side of your face from that guy burning those cards. Maybe it was just because he was close, but you used him a lot to assist. I’ve seen videos of top pros doing closeup and the guy burning the cards is often the one who gets asked to help out. Is that intentional?


Stanley, your comment about the selection of participant is a good one.  Spectators vary of course and some are confrontational.  I haven't really had an issue with hecklers over the years, but I know they exist.  But people can be "confrontational" or overzealous at times.  For example, there are videos online that show spectator volunteers bending down with their face flat against the table trying to look under a cup or something.  So it happens.

I think that choosing the person that is burning the cards might be a way of distracting them and/or trying to engage them and win them over to your side.

I argue that most spectators want the magician to succeed, not fail.  And in most cases, showing them some respect and reaching out to them in a friendly manner will ensure they behave appropriately.
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TheAmazingStanley

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


Stanley, your comment about the selection of participant is a good one.  Spectators vary of course and some are confrontational.  I haven't really had an issue with hecklers over the years, but I know they exist.  But people can be "confrontational" or overzealous at times.  For example, there are videos online that show spectator volunteers bending down with their face flat against the table trying to look under a cup or something.  So it happens.

I think that choosing the person that is burning the cards might be a way of distracting them and/or trying to engage them and win them over to your side.

I argue that most spectators want the magician to succeed, not fail.  And in most cases, showing them some respect and reaching out to them in a friendly manner will ensure they behave appropriately.


Yes my thinking was that the guy burning the cards is one of the more engaged spectators and so makes a good assistant.

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Tom Kracker

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Reply with quote  #9 
Stanley,

Thanks for your kind words and astute observations.  As I've mentioned before, I'm not a seasoned professional even though I've been into magic since 1982.  I actually struggled with some of the things you mentioned.  I noticed most of them when I watched myself on video.  I didn't like what I had seen, so I put effort into improving things.

I also hate asking for for applause (I've tried it, and it just felt dumb).  I don't like telling them every step I'm doing, like I'm going to cut, and I'm going to shuffle, etc.  There are times, I do tell them some specific stuff that I'm going to do (as you see in this video), but it's for the purpose of keeping the simplicity of the effect.  I might go as far as saying something like, "later tonight, you are going to wonder what would have happened if you chose the Ace instead"  or something like that.

I had to put special effort into really engaging with the audience, rather than just showing them something.  Part of this was just becoming more and more comfortable with the patter and handling, and part of it was just paying attention to (studying) the audience reactions.  I also used to fumble around, partly from nerves, and partly just nerves.  I would even rock side to side a lot.  I broke myself of that habit.  It helped me to hone in and do the moves that were necessary.  The more you do, the more attention they pay... where you don't want them to.  Another thing I do to engage and interact throughout the performing is I will ask everyone's names at the table, then I call on them randomly.  However, the twist is I then purposely will call them by the wrong name, repeatedly, then later I say their correct name.  This depends on the setting of course.  It's a fun challenge to remember 16 names instead of just 8 names of 8 people, especially after a few drinks, in the right setting. 

Occasionally I purposely fumble cards as part of the routine, kind of like Lennart Green style, just for fun.  I especially do this when they start saying comments about "hand quicker than the eye" or "sleeves".  I purposely do stuff slower and in short sleeves, when possible, just so they can't accuse me of stuff like that.

As for the spectator selection, I agree, if I see one person just purposely being extra observant, I will do stuff directly to/for them, or just wait and do half-moves (thank you Roger Klause), then when they look up, I do the move.  I feel that when I perform like stuff isn't a challenge, they are less likely to look under my hands or want to just touch everything.  Most of the stuff I did here was angle-proof, and when I get particular spectators looking closer, I have ways of adjusting my handling, so they just can't see stuff.  Also, paper balls over the head is a great routine for these type of people.  I do know occasionally someone at some angle does see something.  When they react from seeing it, I just whisper, don't spoil it for the rest.

I chose the guy at my right specifically because he was the main guy that I had been working with via e-mails and video conferences.  The guy on my left was a co-worker, and the other guys were suppliers.  So, this was intentional to choose the guy on my right.  I also knew he would react the way he did, so it worked out very well.

Tom

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