What to learn first from Bobo?

Struggling with an effect? Any tips (without giving too much away!) you'd like to share?

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Postby Michael Jay » Jun 15th, '07, 20:20



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Postby Caligari » Jun 16th, '07, 13:53

Thanks so much Mike. This is truly superb! Now to get practising!

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Postby Michael Jay » Jun 16th, '07, 20:44

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Postby Michael Jay » Jun 17th, '07, 16:46

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Postby kitaristi0 » Jun 17th, '07, 18:55

Thanks a million Mike for everything you're doing here.

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Postby Adam Boyes » Jun 18th, '07, 11:51

Wow!! AMAZING! Hey Mike, you are a legend! :P

Have you thought about writing a book before?

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Postby Schwen » Jun 18th, '07, 12:59

Yeah excellent stuff, really appreciated

Only started with the coin stuff the past week or so, this has been invaluable to me so far and is something I am going to keep referring back to over the coming weeks and months

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Postby Adam Boyes » Jun 18th, '07, 14:19

Ok just to show my apprication Mike I thought I'd let you all know how I'm getting on using your great tips and deconstructed your post...

Michael Jay wrote:Understand, this doesn't mean that you must learn each and every one of them. Only that you know that they are there for your use, should such a need ever arise.

Take the time to read this entire chapter. It comprises 9 concealments/sleights. Whilst you read each and every one of these concealments, have a coin at the ready. When you see one that you like, pay particular attention to it. Pick up your coin and learn the sleight - or at least begin working on it. Play with it. Keeping in mind that "play" is something that we did as children, this "play" brought us to certain realities in our adulthood - play is as much a part of learning as work is and, oftentimes, more affective than work.


I like the idea of "playing" with a coin. This rings true with how I have been practicing with my 50p. People think I'm playing with it for the sake of it, but I have other motives :)

Michael Jay wrote:Picture, in your mind's eye, where you might be able to make use of such a sleight. Try to consider when such a concealment may be necessary to you. Consider the angle issues that come with it, while you are practicing this sleight. Take your time with this chapter.


The angle issue is definitely one that has me slightly worried to be honest. I can imagine people stood around me and someone's bound to spot the coin from an angle I wouldn't have considered, I think this will be difficult. I'll have to see....

Michael Jay wrote:Both of those sleights out of the way, the next two most useful sleights are the thumb palm and the Downs palm. After you've become very comfortable with the finger palm and you are getting in shape with the classic, start working on the thumb palm. The thumb palm will help to get you in shape for using a convincing Downs palm.

Being a pedantic sort of chap, I suggest that you remember that the Downs palm is always capitalized in writing. This is because it was "invented" (or at least given its first treatise) by T. Nelson Downs. Never forget that the history of our art is equally as important as the performance of magic itself.

Once you've started working on the thumb palm, you'll realize just how difficult it is to get into position without motion or movement from your thumb as the coin is deposited. That's okay. Just get used to the mechanics of getting the coin where it needs to be. Once you have that down and are capable of doing it slowly and smoothly, begin training your hand to get the coin into position with no movement or motion from the thumb.

Most magicians will tell you that putting a coin into thumb palm without motion of the thumb is unnecessary. I'm telling you that proper training of the hand is, in fact, necessary and you must be able to do this with no thumb movement. This comes down to commitment. We magicians really are a lazy lot, aren't we? Do what I tell you and how I tell you to do it and you will evolve into a slick coin magician...Sorry, I don't allow for lazy students.


I've been concentrating on the classic and finger palm and feel fairly comfortable with them after the 3 or 4 weeks I've been practicing. My hands still look stiff and spasticated though. Although I've found that I can keep the coin in my hand a lot better when typing, making tea etc..

I've moved onto the Thumb and Downs palm for something a little different. I'm not sure if its me but I've been finding The Thumb Palm extremely difficult?! It may be how I'm reading Bobo but I cant for the life of me get it into the position....it just wont go!! I keep dropping the damn thing. I think its more than likely me not understanding correctly??

I put the coin between my index and middle finger bring the coin around to the thumb and try to conceal it between the bottom of the thumb and top of the index finger? But the coin goes nowhere near this, it ends up near the base of my thumb? I can't understand it to be honest. lol

Again I think it will boil down to some hard practice.

Michael Jay wrote:As you begin to master the thumb palm, begin working on your Downs palm. You will note that after mastery of the thumb palm, the Downs only seems to be a natural evolution. The motion is much the same, just a very slight alteration of finger movement and muscle control.

Next, train your hand to go from thumb to Downs with as little motion as is necessary to get the coin into position. Put it back with as little motion as possible. Get comfortable with moving it from one to the other, quickly and subtley.


As I said above I took a look at the downs and this seems easier to me? Well getting it into the position was anyway. I can't envisage transferring from Thumb to Downs? IMO this isn't clearly explained/illustrated in Bobo. I think I need to find a video of it in action to appricate the text?

Michael Jay wrote:Of important note, this is work that is going to take you weeks to months in the mastery. This will not come overnight, so don't expect it to. Persistance and practice are the key, here. And, again, work at your own pace. Don't feel that you must learn this in a particular time frame. You'll find that your muscles will become cramped if you overwork your hand - avoid this. Once the cramping starts, it is time to stop. Massage your hand. Give yourself a break and come back later in the day, or tomorrow. It's alright, you know. There is a difference between careful commitment and laziness.

Now, here comes the hard part...The really hard part:

After you've become smooth with these sleights, teach your other hand to do them just as well. You should be competant with all of your sleight in both your left and right hand.


YES. I totally agree with your paragraph on months of practice and mastery! I was hoping that I would pick it up quicker but that was in my little dream world :) I still haven't moved onto anything else yet apart from the above as it is indeed very difficult. Who's have thought eh?

I am however going to take a look at Chapter 3 and the simple vanish you suggested in your post titled Step 2: The quick fix, it looks rather interesting to say the least!

Oh and try all of this with my left hand as well?!! Christ that's added another year onto my practice ;)

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Postby Michael Jay » Jun 18th, '07, 15:29

(In this and all following quotes) jbauerctu wrote:I've been concentrating on the classic and finger palm and feel fairly comfortable with them after the 3 or 4 weeks I've been practicing. My hands still look stiff and spasticated though.


You must get rid of the cramped look. One of the many important ingrediants of coin magic is that the hands retain a natural and comfortable look at all times. Keep working on it and you'll get there.

I'm not sure if its me but I've been finding The Thumb Palm extremely difficult?!


It's you. This is why I suggest books over DVDs. On a DVD, they teach you the way that they, themselves, do it. Using a book, you are forced to teach yourself the proper way to do it. The proper way to do it is the way that works for you. All of our hands are set up differently and things that come easily to you will be hard for me and vice versa.

It may be how I'm reading Bobo but I cant for the life of me get it into the position....it just wont go!! I keep dropping the damn thing. I think its more than likely me not understanding correctly??

I put the coin between my index and middle finger bring the coin around to the thumb and try to conceal it between the bottom of the thumb and top of the index finger? But the coin goes nowhere near this, it ends up near the base of my thumb?


The coin belongs at the base of the thumb. In this way, the index finger will still retain its movement as natural. If you are clipping that coin up too high, it will stop your index finger from a great deal of its movement - this is to be avoided.

The problem with the thumb palm is that it forces you to hold your hand in an unnatural position - the thumb held flush against the hand. Look at people on the bus, in the classroom, at the store. How many of them hold their thumb against their hand in the way that you must in a thumb palm? None of them. This is the natural downfall of the thumb palm.

In any case, the coin should be clipped right against the thumb's base of the hand and the hand itself. As you bring the coin back between the first and middle fingers, the middle finger should move ever so slightly forward of the index finger. This will give the coin a very slight tilt upwards and the coin will deposit into its position a bit easier. Slowly, do this...Give it a try. The middle finger and first finger curl in, to deposit the coin, the middle finger moves ever so slightly ahead of the index, the coin slightly tilts up and you deposit it.

Do it slowly. Speed will come with time, but, for now, do it slow. Study it. Study the motion of the index and middle finger. Experiment with it. The coin goes back, deep into the crotch of the thumb and is deposited.

I can't envisage transferring from Thumb to Downs? IMO this isn't clearly explained/illustrated in Bobo.


It's not explained in Bobo. It's not even suggested in Bobo. But, with coin magic, an important part of what you do is to move the coin from one position to another quickly and efficiently. If you have to take the coin from thumb palm, swing it completely out and then swing back in for Downs palm, this is too much movement. So, teach yourself to simply grasp the coin with middle and index fingers and move it from thumb palm into Downs palm and then back, in as streamlined a way as you possibly can, with as little motion as is absolutely necessary.

Play with your coins. You play with your cards, right? You hold the deck and shuffle them and become comfortable with them and how they feel, how the palm off feels - you play and you experiment. You must do the same with your coins. They must feel good and natural in your hand. They must become an extension of your hand...

Oh and try all of this with my left hand as well?!! Christ that's added another year onto my practice


It is sufficient to learn with just the one hand. I recommend that you train both hands. You don't have to do this all at once...It is something to strive for, though. While you are classic palming with your left hand, you can certainly give your right hand something to do, can't you? I mean, does it have to sit there and be lonely? You wouldn't want to give your other hand a complex, would you? :wink:

Have I fielded all of your questions, or are you still unsure (before we begin step 4, let's get these things out of the way now, shall we)?

Mike.

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Postby Michael Jay » Jun 18th, '07, 16:07

    Before we go any further, let's take a moment out for our guest lecturer Drew Heyen, who will discuss the importance of scripting and rehearsal:


Scripting and Rehearsal

I personally feel like what I am about to say is fairly obvious, however only a fool neglects to teach something for that reason. On the subject of script writing and rehearsal, I feel that a lot of what you are doing is going to be the product of your imagination, and as such rules and instructions are not appropriate. However, there are certain guidelines which may help the process.

Scripting is perhaps the single most difficult portion of the entertainment process. It requires that you come up with what you are going to say in front of strangers, a difficult thing in and of itself. The first thing you need to do when writing a script for a performance is come up with a rough concept of what you want to present. If your presentation is to be something rudimentary, then so be it, though more complicated plots will give your audience more to concentrate on and enjoy. The idea is to write your performance in such a way that it evokes certain emotions, appropriate to your show, however you don't want to evoke those emotions randomly. An example would be a comedy routine.

Making people laugh is an art and I can not create an all inclusive education on the subject in this brief article. However I can tell you that your comedic performance should lead your audience through a series of ups and downs. Jokes and comedic moments most often begin with something serious, then changing directions into a joke at the last moment. This is an excellent performance tool for any venue. I am writing this article for magicians so I shall use a magic example. Using the cut and restored turban from the Tarbell series, I show the turban, then cut it in the center, I tell the audience I am going to restore it, and tie the cut ends back together in a knot. They are expecting magic and I did something common, that almost anyone can do. This unexpected direction I have taken makes the audience laugh. For the purposes of magic, I then change directions again by sliding the knot holding the two cut ends together off the end of the turban, revealing that I have, in fact, restored the turban to its undamaged, uncut state. These changes in plot direction are excellent for eliciting surprise, humor, and even terror in an audience.

The story is an age old, tried and true method of pleasing your audience, but doubly so for magic. Taking an effect and wrapping it with a tale lends a wonderful justification for your being in front of an audience in the first place. Eugene Burger does a great “card warp” routine where he talks about the Spanish Inquisition. The card warp then becomes a graphic representation of the tortures used in the inquest. The effect does not have to be a perfect match to the story. Evoking ones imagination you can take the most distant of similarities and apply them to your effect. Likewise, keeping an eye out for effect which lend themselves to a story is also a good idea. Color Monte is an effect where you pass through a series of effects during the course of its performance. The effect comes with a story about a person performing 3 card Monte and the reactions of that persons audience, but of course that story is a pretty obvious choice, as why else would you show someone a game, yet not let them play?

Once you have come up with a theme/plot for your routine WRITE IT DOWN!!! Do not think for a moment that having the idea is enough. Do not allow that concept that since you developed the idea, that it is sufficiently in your head, and there is not need for actual pen to paper or hand to keyboard. Actual writing has a number of required effects. Writing a script concept down makes it solid, tangeable. Only by putting your ideas into a solid form can you leave them behind, get your mind on something else, then come back to the fresh. When you come back to your writing, be prepared to cut it to pieces. At no point in the scripting, or even the entire performance process should you become emotionally attached to your work. It is all disposable and should be treated as such. Becoming emotionally attached to ones work leads to stagnation and a distinct lack of improvement. You do not want that. Good performances evolve, constantly. Never ever ever hesitate to remove something that seemed like a great idea at the time, but simply fails to produce the reactions it should.

Now that you have an idea, start acting it out. Use a mirror, form an audience from your associates, or just stand in the middle of your room, but do it, and commit to it. When you rehearse a performance, you must have in your mind that it is real. I am not discounting stopping and editing, but it should be like a light switch. You are “on” or “off”, at no time should you be acting out your script half heartedly.

Now I know I make this sound extreme, but what you do in rehearsal translates into performance, and focus is required. A most important part of the rehearsal process is “blocking”. It is during your rehearsal, the initial one in particular, that you will begin to discover some very important placement issues. Where is your audience? Where are you? Where are the other actors in your performance? Where are your props? How does the entire performance look to your audience and how can you reposition everything to present a better overall picture for your audience to view. Some of the things to consider in the picture are depth, action, and natural feel.

You need to keep all of your performance directed at your audience whenever possible. In the round performances can be a bit difficult with this, and often you won't actually be in the round, rather performing to an audience in a circle, of which you are a part, there is a difference. You want everyone who is speaking to be at the very least speaking between perpendicular to and directly every audience members line of sight. Never have a line spoken away from your audience at all. Backs are not entertaining and sound is directional.

As magicians, often time we have audience members on stage. This presents some challenges, but wonderful ones. Some things to keep in mind about audience members is that you have to script and block for them as well. Now I know what you are thinking. How do I write a script for someone who will not have the chance to read or memorize it? Easy, you ask questions, there will be certain obvious responses, so you want the questions you ask and the statements you make to elicit certain responses. Often times a question can have multiple responses, avoid those questions, Ask only yes or no questions or questions which will have mostly similar answers. In other words, “What is your name?”. The response to this question will always be different, but the various replies can easily be scripted for using plug in scripts. “What is your name?”, “I'm -------.”, Very well ------- step over here stand still, face the audience and smile real pretty for them, they like that.” Namers aren't the only possibilities and even yes and no questions should have scripts which can be alternated depending on which answer is given.

Do not neglect this process, it is important and must be rehearsed until it comes naturally. Likewise make certain to work your positioning directions to you audience participant into your script. This will help your show to flow smoothly and not give it a broken and disjointed feel. Never speak to a participant in a way that the audience can not hear you. They want to know what is going on, and those private moments will send them in a stampede for the door

Finally we have repetition. No amount of practice is too much. Rehearse your show till you utter your lines in your sleep. Only when it is second nature to perform your show is it ready for a live audience. All the time you are rehearsing, remember to cut lines that break up the flow of the show, and lines that simply don't seem to work the way you thought they would. Never be emotionally attached to your work. Things you keep, just because you like them will drag you down to a second or third rate performance which is unprofessional and not entertaining.

So now you are done, right? NEIN!!!!! You are never done. This process is a living one. Every time you perform watch for new ideas to add. Watch for things that just are not eliciting the reaction they should from your audience. Not every audience will laugh in the right places or emit that wonderful gasp when they are surprised, but there will be trends. Watch for those trends and edit as fits. Also, if you have learned your script as thoroughly as I have described you will have the freedom and flexibility to respond to a particular audiences needs at a moments notice. Improvisation is a myth. Even the people you see who seem to be able to make up the most wonderful performances on the fly have undergone the process described above. They have done it so many times, and in so many ways, that they now have a nigh unlimited series of scripts at their disposal.

I hope this lesson is helpful, and that you are able to gain from my experiences. Given time and dedication, there is no reason that anyone can reach the stage of seasoned performer, but you need to understand that this is how it is done. This is the process that all of the greats have undergone.

copyright © Drew Heyen 2006 Reprinted with permission

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Postby RobMagic » Jun 18th, '07, 18:03

This thread is amazing and just the tonic for me to pick up the Bobo book I bought from davenports a couple of months back.

Great work Michael, I may, for the first time ever actually print out a thread

Thanks

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Postby JonWhite » Jun 18th, '07, 20:48

Superb!

I've been far too used to packet tricks and self-working stuff, but have finally decided to do the decent thing and learn the skills and sleights I should.

This thread really, really helps.

Thanks very much indeed. :D

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Postby Adam Boyes » Jun 18th, '07, 22:38

Michael Jay wrote:Have I fielded all of your questions, or are you still unsure (before we begin step 4, let's get these things out of the way now, shall we)?

Mike.


Yeah that's helped a lot Mike...I have this thread printed out an placed within Bobo for reference!!

Threads like this make this forum Special 8)

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Postby Michael Jay » Jun 19th, '07, 12:39

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Postby bananafish » Jun 19th, '07, 13:59

This is indeed an incredible thread. I am sure it will soon become a sticky.

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