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Mind Phantom

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Reply with quote  #1 
Yeah, have you ever improved on someone else's routine..
I have on a couple of occasions, but I have put more time into Docc Hilford's Perfect Mental Club Act and I have an interesting little story to tell that goes with it.
I was going to use it to close with at the local B&N bookclub meeting, so I go thru my set, and I realize that I have just a regular set of bicycle cards, not the gaffed one's that's in his routine, so what did I do, I used the regular deck of Bikes to close with.
So, I need to be careful I don't tip his routine here but, he does use a gaff deck. The use of a regular deck at B&N along with a little cold reading and I got the same reaction as with Docc's gaffed deck. Then some time went by I thought to myself..."why not use a tarot deck", in each tarot card there are many images that one can key on.
So, I tried different ways to f***e a tarot card and I settled on the H***u  Shuffle in which the target cards were at the bottom of the deck. But I was very afraid that one day I would get "busted" with such a common way of f*****g a card known among magicians.
A long time went by, then I got a dvd from Sal Piacente in which he used regular riffle shuffles ( not f***e shuffles ) to cut to the Aces. I saw that and why couldn't I do that for a tarot deck? It could be done with 10  target cards,(  I've now cut it down to  6 cards ) and shuffled as much as you wan't. You cut to a target card, put your hand over the card and give them your impressions, or, give them the card and give them your impressions.  It works either way.
The only  drawback is that you need a table to do the shuffles on. i think it's  an improvement  anyways.
How about you? What have you improved on? You don't have to go into detail on what you did..but it is ok to toot your horn just a little bit.
Thanks
Rick-

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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #2 
Not sure I have improved on a routine, but I have been inspired by the work of others. It is interesting to see how they put things together, makes you think about the creative process and consider how to routine your own work.
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Andrew

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hi, Mind Phantom.

I've never improved anyone's effect, but I have changed things here and there to make an effect better for me. Obviously not the same thing, but it's the closet I've gotten.

Andrew
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew
Hi, Mind Phantom.

I've never improved anyone's effect, but I have changed things here and there to make an effect better for me. Obviously not the same thing, but it's the closet I've gotten.

Andrew


This is pretty much in line with what I was going to post.  I do think I've improved some effects, but those same improvements could be construed as a step back by the creator or by others.  It often is in the eye of the beholder.
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GregB

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Reply with quote  #5 
Yeah I've improved some effects that I learned from others to make them better for myself, I couldn't say if they are objectively better though, but they are better for my needs. That mostly comes from performing often and analyzing where things aren't as strong as you want them to be, or if you get called out by a spectator (that'll really make you analyze your routine! haha).

For instance, and I'll try to keep things vague enough to not tip the method, but I was performing Stigmata by Wayne Houchin once and got called out on something. I handed back the deck after the opening moves and told them to shuffle while I turned my back, after all the dirty work was done I turned back around and went about revealing the card. Well after I had revealed the card, one of the people watching sat there and asked why I bothered to have them shuffle the cards if I never did anything with them again, so clearly it was just a distraction so I could turn away from everyone. Well, he definitely caught me! So what I do now is after having done an Ambitious Card Routine, I'll do another trick or two, and then do Stigmata as a call back to the ACR. Now to introduce Stigmata, I tell them that we are going to get them to bring the card to the top instead of me. Now having them shuffle while my back is turned is justified because neither one of us is going to know where the card is in the deck. And right before I reveal their card selection, I turn over the top card, its not there, turn over the next card, still not there. Oh well, not everyone gets it every time, then I notice my arm, and reveal their card where they were holding on. 
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Paco Nagata

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Reply with quote  #6 
I showed a card trick to a friend.
The next day he showed to my some ideas about it.
I told him:
"great, you improved my trick!"

However he replied something very interesting:

"Improve? No! I just did something different with it!"

So I thought about that little experience and asked myself:

what does exactly "improve" mean?
Improve the method, the effect, the performance, the showmanship, the story (if any)...?

Well, I think that if a trick works, it's already a good trick.
Next, you can create different outcomes from it.

Another very different thing would be a trick that DOESN'T work; what is to say, unconvincing, too unnatural, not very impressive, so It would need an improvement.

Is a "Named Triumph" better than the Professor's original?
Just two very similar card magic tricks, but not necessarily that one improves the other.

Just a thought.

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Bill Guinee

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Reply with quote  #7 
I always try to improve on tricks that I will actually perform, but I try to improve them for me. Mostly, I doubt that I can claim improvement according to any kind of absolute standard, but I can certainly improve them for my personality, performance style, degree and kind of manual dexterity, body type, and so forth. I can even improve Dai Vernon routines; I can almost certainly not improve them in the sense that Vernon should shift to my version, but I need to make them better routines for Bill Guinee. I think that this is part of what Vernon meant by being natural.
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Gracie Morgan

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Guinee
I always try to improve on tricks that I will actually perform, but I try to improve them for me. Mostly, I doubt that I can claim improvement according to any kind of absolute standard, but I can certainly improve them for my personality, performance style, degree and kind of manual dexterity, body type, and so forth. I can even improve Dai Vernon routines; I can almost certainly not improve them in the sense that Vernon should shift to my version, but I need to make them better routines for Bill Guinee. I think that this is part of what Vernon meant by being natural.


I'm quoting the above because it is the perfect answer.

Gracie
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Paco Nagata

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gracie Morgan


I'm quoting the above because it is the perfect answer.

Gracie


I agree!

It was a splendid post as it is the perfect answer.

Great thought, Bill Guinee!

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Marco Batista

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Reply with quote  #10 
Hi guys,

I think I have improved a few effects in the sense that the changes applied made those effects more mine. For me that is improvement.


Marco
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jim ferguson

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Reply with quote  #11 
I don't think I do any piece exactly as it was written, and certainly not someone elses patter. Like others have mentioned, whether they are an improvement on the original or not, is entirely subjective.

I think we absolutely should change/adapt the tricks we use to suit our individual performance style/character - patter especially.

What we must remember, is that any given routine in print, will usually reflect the authors skill set at the time of writing, and perhaps their bias towards certain sleights and thoughts. For example, an author may include some procedure to get a selection from a certain position, to the top of the deck, and justify that procedure with his patter.
But what you may not realise is that, at the time of writing, the author may not be very good at the Side Steal, which is why he uses the procedure described. Yet the side steal may actually be the better, more streamlined option.

When learning any trick, it is important to understand the core effect. When the core effect is understood, we can then tailor everything else to suit or own style and vision, of how we want our magic to be.

The alternative, is us all doing the same tricks, in the same way, and even saying the same things.



Jim


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Gracie Morgan

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Reply with quote  #12 
Two Thoughts:

In my experience, it is best to understand the originator's thinking behind the way he/she designed the trick before you change it.

Additionally, there are some effects in which the original patter is essential to the effect, so by changing the patter you can literally lose the effect.

Gracie
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jim ferguson

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gracie Morgan
Additionally, there are some effects in which the original patter is essential to the effect, so by changing the patter you can literally lose the effect.

Gracie



I see what you're saying here, and I kind of agree with you, Gracie. This is why I mentioned the importance of understanding the core effect.
Even in those pieces where it would seem the provided patter is a necessary component of the piece, on closer examination, it is usually only certain key lines which are actually important.
While there may be a few exceptions, it is rare for an entire script to have to be used ad verbatim.



Jim





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jim ferguson

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Reply with quote  #14 
Just to add -

Some of the things mentioned in my posts in this thread, are not really for those who are at the start of their magical journey.
The advice I would give to beginners in the craft, is to learn and perform any routines exactly as written.

Changing anything in a routine requires a lot of thought and understanding of the piece and core effect.
Too many times I've seen so called improvements on tricks, with the resultant effort turning out to be a totally different trick altogether. This brings me back to my point about understanding the core effect.
Only by understanding the core effect, can we understand which individual parts can or can't be changed, or substituted.



Jim



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Gracie Morgan

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim ferguson
I see what you're saying here, and I kind of agree with you, Gracie. This is why I mentioned the importance of understanding the core effect.


Oh gosh, Jim that comment wasn't directed at you. I was just blathering on about stuff. I have several effects I've developed where the effect is dependent on the script. I've seen people change them and POOF! The effect has been killed. That's all!

Gracie
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