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RayJ

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Hopefully the title served as "click-bait".  But what this post is really about is what percentage of your repertoire is made up of tricks performed exactly as written versus those you've tweaked or modified for whatever reason.

And, if you do have a lot of effects that you've altered, why did you do so?

If you've been performing for a good while, are you finding yourself more or less likely to make changes?

What got me to thinking about this was the recent thread about "Vernon effects".  Many tend to perform his effects as-written, for a variety of reasons.
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Bill Guinee

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Ray, I'm not sure what you mean. Are you saying perform exactly as written - patter, presentation, and all?  If so, I don't do any tricks as written. I may be largely a cover band, but I am not a tribute band.
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arthur stead

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Good topic, Ray!

Almost every effect I do has been modified to fit my onstage character, or to match a certain theme.

I can think of only only two effects I do almost exactly according to the original instructions.  

1.  Twisting The Aces.  I do Dai Vernon’s version straight out of the Lewis Ganson Book, but changed the patter slightly to suit my own personality. 

2.  Jumbo B’Wave.  Because I could not improve on Max Maven’s concise and to the point patter.  However, I did write an original piece of background music which enhances the B’Wave plot in just the right places, and makes the ending a lot more dramatic.

As regards presentations changing over time:  Some of mine are always evolving, and that can be caused by several factors.  It could be something someone says or does during a performance.  It could be something that goes wrong, or that just feels awkward.  It could be a lightbulb moment, where you unexpectedly discover something that fits perfectly.  Whatever it is, if it makes the trick or routine better, I’ll write it in and keep it!  If it doesn’t benefit the trick, obviously I’ll change something to prevent that from happening again.  

Making changes become essential when you’re creating themed shows.  For example, I have my own original version of Skeleton in the Closet.  For birthday parties, he’s a funny character called Mr. Bones.  But for my Magic Explorer show, he becomes the remains of an explorer killed by Inca headhunters.  And for my Magic of Ancient Egypt show, he’s a mummy who came to life after King Tut’s tomb was disturbed.

Of course, when you eventually get to a point where the presentation just feels right, you tend to leave it the way it is.  But we’re all always learning, aren’t we?  And new magical inventions and methods keep popping up.  So for me, future changes appear to be inevitable.

 


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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Guinee
Ray, I'm not sure what you mean. Are you saying perform exactly as written - patter, presentation, and all?  If so, I don't do any tricks as written. I may be largely a cover band, but I am not a tribute band.


For clarification, I meant the mechanics of the effect.  Patter and presentation are assumed to be personal.  At least I hope so.  Although I have seen more than one magician on youtube asking a spectator to "shuffle!, Shuffle!, shuffle!.  How sad.
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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by arthur stead

Good topic, Ray!

Almost every effect I do has been modified to fit my onstage character, or to match a certain theme.

I can think of only only two effects I do almost exactly according to the original instructions.  

1.  Twisting The Aces.  I do Dai Vernon’s version straight out of the Lewis Ganson Book, but changed the patter slightly to suit my own personality. 

2.  Jumbo B’Wave.  Because I could not improve on Max Maven’s concise and to the point patter.  However, I did write an original piece of background music which enhances the B’Wave plot in just the right places, and makes the ending a lot more dramatic.

As regards presentations changing over time:  Some of mine are always evolving, and that can be caused by several factors.  It could be something someone says or does during a performance.  It could be something that goes wrong, or that just feels awkward.  It could be a lightbulb moment, where you unexpectedly discover something that fits perfectly.  Whatever it is, if it makes the trick or routine better, I’ll write it in and keep it!  If it doesn’t benefit the trick, obviously I’ll change something to prevent that from happening again.  

Making changes become essential when you’re creating themed shows.  For example, I have my own original version of Skeleton in the Closet.  For birthday parties, he’s a funny character called Mr. Bones.  But for my Magic Explorer show, he becomes the remains of an explorer killed by Inca headhunters.  And for my Magic of Ancient Egypt show, he’s a mummy who came to life after King Tut’s tomb was disturbed.

Of course, when you eventually get to a point where the presentation just feels right, you tend to leave it the way it is.  But we’re all always learning, aren’t we?  And new magical inventions and methods keep popping up.  So for me, future changes appear to be inevitable.

 



Great response!  You hit on a bunch of topics.  We all should be looking at our magic and "dusting it off" as it were.  We might find that there are moves we use that can take the place of others that perhaps we never cared for.  One example is the Braue Add-On.  Some don't care for it.  So if a trick requires it, look for a substitute that better suits you.

Taking advantage of "organic" developments is another.  When we practice in our chambers, a lot of the variables are controlled and/or eliminated, such as audience reaction.  Doing a trick "live" will sometimes present unique and welcome developments that enhance the entertainment.  So long as we think on our feet.

Good stuff, Arthur.

Edit:  Forgot to say something else.  I feel there are certain tricks that are good to perform exactly as written if for no other reason than as an homage to the creator.  Vernon's Symphony of the Rings, Twisting the Aces and his cups routine might qualify for me.
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