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GregMcMahan

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Reply with quote  #1 
Here's an article I wrote a few years ago that many have found helpful for developing a routine.

Developing a routine

Break any routine down into it's most detailed parts, ie... A card is chosen from the deck, card put back, chosen card revealed by rising out of the deck. This is the basic plot. Now breaking it down into it's detailed steps reveals a LOT more going on, and a lot of potential for bits of business.

    1. Bringing out the deck
    2. opening the deck.
    3. pulling out the cards
    4. putting the box down
    5. displaying the cards
    6. shuffling the cards
    7. spreading deck for card selection
    8. asking for card to be chosen
    9. card is selected
    10. card shown around
    11. card replaced in deck
    12. etc, etc, etc

You get the idea. Now under each item, list all the ideas and patter lines that come to mind about that. Write every idea, no matter how silly or unworkable. No judgments at this point, that comes later. For instance:

4. Putting box down
    - drop on table
    - throw over shoulder
    - hand to spectator
    - toss into recycling bin
    - drop in pocket
    - "I'm feeling boxed in"
    - set it on fire
    - kick over head
    - rip apart
    - "It's all in the packaging"
    - place upright on table
    - vanish
    - place in ornamental box
    - levitate
    - pull second or third deck from box
    - etc, etc, etc.

If an idea for a new effect comes from this, by all means write it down and explore it later. For instance, the idea of levitating the card box could be a whole new effect.

Now at this point go through the list, and judge the ideas according to a set of criteria. For example, filter them through the walk-around conditions... surrounded, no table, instant reset, fit in pocket or pouch, etc. Stick with the criteria you choose. That will keep you focused on your goal.

From here you will begin to get an idea of how the routine could develop. Also keep in mind where the audiences thoughts and feelings will come into play. Burning the card box will put the audience into an entirely different frame of mind than if you had merely placed it into your pocket. Try to keep the audiences frame of mind logically progressing and consistent with where you want them to be by the climax of the routine.
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #2 
This reminds me of an exercise my wife has her kids do - Tell me how to make a peanut butter sandwich. 
She has a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and a knife on a table. Now what do I do. 

1. put the peanut butter on the bread. 
She takes the jar of peanut butter and puts it on the loaf of bread. Kids yell, "Nooooo."
2. take the bread out of the wrapper first. 
She takes out some bread and puts the jar on it. 

more steps down the road. 
6. Open the jar or peanut butter and then put the peanut butter on the bread. 
She opend the jar of peanut butter, dips her hand into it and smears it on the bread. Kids yell "NOOOOOO!!!!" 

So then they tell her to pick up the knife, dip it into the jar, get some peanut butter on it and spread it on the bread. 

It just goes to show that something as simple as making a peanut butter sandwich has a lot more steps and is more involved than you think. 

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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN
This reminds me of an exercise my wife has her kids do - Tell me how to make a peanut butter sandwich. 
She has a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and a knife on a table. Now what do I do. 

1. put the peanut butter on the bread. 
She takes the jar of peanut butter and puts it on the loaf of bread. Kids yell, "Nooooo."
2. take the bread out of the wrapper first. 
She takes out some bread and puts the jar on it. 

more steps down the road. 
6. Open the jar or peanut butter and then put the peanut butter on the bread. 
She opend the jar of peanut butter, dips her hand into it and smears it on the bread. Kids yell "NOOOOOO!!!!" 

So then they tell her to pick up the knife, dip it into the jar, get some peanut butter on it and spread it on the bread. 

It just goes to show that something as simple as making a peanut butter sandwich has a lot more steps and is more involved than you think. 



Your wife sounds like she's a great mom with a fun personality!

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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #4 
Greg, that is a great article with valuable information that I will begin to apply to my own efforts in trying to create an engaging routine as I move forward.

Thank you for sharing this with the rest of us!

Rudy

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #5 
Correction. My wife, Colleen is not a mom. 
By her kids, I meant her kids at school. She's a teacher and teaches "at risk" kids. 
But she is a lot of fun. 
How many teachers can teach a class while juggling clubs? 

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Gerald Deutsch

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Reply with quote  #6 

The Importance of Routining

 

For an extended period of magic (as opposed to just doing a quick simple effect),  I believe routining is very important and what effects follow each other must be carefully considered. Even for card tricks. Especially for card tricks.

 

Most magicians don’t realize that it’s a tough task for spectators to have to remember a selected card. If they don’t they may feel (i) they will look foolish and (ii) they will ruin the trick and (iii) the magician will be mad at them and (iv) everyone will hate them. What pressure!

 

That’s why the Ambitious Card is such a good effect – or series of effects with only one card that has to be remembered.

 

When I do walk around and I do a series of card tricks (not more than 4 and they’re quick) I usually use the same selected card.

 

Sometimes the situation calls for something quick and unexpected and a single effect is usually best for this.

 

I do much of my magic at dinner – with friends or a client  - or whomever and only if it’s appropriate would I do magic and in such a case it is usually one effect.

 

I’m not being paid to do magic  I can do – or not do magic but if I do I want the spectators to remember what I did. Usually one good effect will be appropriate – and at the appropriate time.

 

 Those magicians that are being paid and must perform more than one effect must routine those effects so that one will logically follow another and, most important, the audience will remember and not be confused with what was done.

 

For example, when I do “walk around magic” for a charitable event I have a series of card routines and one such routine consists of two effects – using the same card as follows (and I do this as Perverse Magic):

 

1          A card is selected and shuffled back into the deck and a different card is given to the spectator to stab into the deck next to the selected card. She does this but the card she is holding does not find the selected card but it turns out that the card she is holding is the selected card. I seem confused.

 

2          The deck is given to a spectator to shuffle. I take back the deck and say that I will make the card that was selected before go into my pocket. It does.

 

I say I will do it again. And I do.

 

I say I will try it a third time. I have a spectator reach into my pocket. The spectator does but comes out with an indifferent card. I am confused.

 

I reach into my pocket with my right hand and come out with another card. This too isn’t the selected card. I keep pulling cards out of my pocket until – the entire deck is there – except – except the chosen card which is alone in my left hand. Now I’m really confused and the routine is over.

 

The audience (i) isn’t bored, (ii) is entertained and (iii) will remember what was

 done.

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #7 
I perform a reversed card effect. 
The person selects a card. They show it to everyone. 
I give them a marker and they sign the face of the card. 
I take the marker back. 
I have the card returned to the deck. 

"Now here's the big question; do you remember what card you picked?" 
Uhhh..........
"Exactly. That's why I have you sign the card. So we think it's a red ten and we know that it has your signature on it." 

That's why I have people sign cards. It also keeps me in fresh cards. 
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GregMcMahan

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN

... I give them a marker and they sign the face of the card...
... "Now here's the big question; do you remember what card you picked?" 
Uhhh..........
..."Exactly. That's why I have you sign the card...


I rarely perform card routines since I work mainly kids audiences. However, when I do I usually have them sign the card. It makes a huge difference. There are a couple of stage card routines I sometimes do using jumbo cards, so I don't have them signed. I use an easy to identify and remember card, usually a 2 or 4 of hearts. As I'm showing the card, I tell them what it is. My puppet finds it, so it doesn't matter if I know it. That way I make sure they remember the card. And just before the card is revealed, I repeat it again to remind them.

I use a funny running gag during my shows where I call every kid Bob. When I ask them to sign the card I hand them the sharpie marker and say "Be careful it's real ink. Please write your name, scribble, draw a picture, do your homework, whatever you want." Most of the time they'll write "Bob" or write "2+2=4" (their homework). They get a laugh from the crowd and feel like part of the show.
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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN
Correction. My wife, Colleen is not a mom. 
By her kids, I meant her kids at school. She's a teacher and teaches "at risk" kids. 
But she is a lot of fun. 
How many teachers can teach a class while juggling clubs? 

Oh, ok. Well, I imagine that she must be their favorite teacher [smile]

Rudy

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MatthewOlsen

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Reply with quote  #10 
It's an interesting approach to getting more ideas out.  I see this a bit more of a creativity exercise than a method of creating routines.  It's like the exercise where you try to come up with as many uses for a paper clip as you can and when you get creative you can come up with hundreds.
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #11 

Don't discount the idea thing. I knew two people that made it a constant to write something down in a magical diary every day. 
Sometimes it was a word, sometimes a sentence, sometimes a full fleshed routine. 
Something it was an expansion of the word, or the sentence or a tweaking of a full fledged routine. 

And one is a full time pro. 

The other is a part time pro, waiting to get a certain amount of bookings/income before jumping to full time. 

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MatthewOlsen

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Reply with quote  #12 
I'm not discounting it, merely pointing out that it is a creativity exercise, one specifically tailored to magic.  I have a different creative process but I see the value in this one.
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #13 

Here's something interesting that I posted elsewhere but can't remember where. 

I used to run this through my head back in my early years of magic. If I had someone pick a card and I KNEW what that card was before they put it in the deck, what would I do to reveal it in a magical way. At the time, I couldn't think of a single thing. Well, maybe a few but nothing original. 

My problem was that I had too much leeway and didn't have a problem to solve. 

This is where it stems from. I attended a fines arts school and we had final projects and mini projects to create. If we had total freedom on what to create, it took a long time getting there. But, if there was a subject or a theme, then it presented a problem to solve. How do I create a sculpture that will project the theme of PAIN, or LOSS or CONFLICT? Now you had all these ideas and were able to narrow them down to what fit the theme. 

So let's go back. I had a person select a card and I already know what it is. How am i going to reveal it? 
Reveal a card with the following limitations: 
The selected card is no longer in the deck. 
The selected card is found in another object. 
The card is revealed without you ever touching the deck again. 

By giving yourself restrictions you actually open your mind to come up with a list of solutions to that problem. 

There is a lesson taught by the tarot card, The Emporer - "The human mind once given direction will draw upon all its resources until the desired result is achieved." 

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