A long time ago I was chatting with Nick Lewin and we were talking about the Ambitious Card. He said it was the “greatest card trick ever” and I agree with him! With the base effect, you put a card in the middle and it’s instantly on top. Very easy to follow. I do think that most modern versions are really multiple revelations of a selected card, as it’s more than the card simply jumping to the top.
A couple of weeks ago I started doing the ambitious card from a spread. Here’s what it looks like:
When I do it there are two phases, the first I push the card in and in the second they do. That gives it a sense of build. I like getting to play a little bit with having them move their finger along the spread of cards.
I’m liking doing it this way when I have a table. It doesn’t play the same with the cards spread in my hand. I think it’s because with the cards in my hand, it feels less impossible.
When I’m doing close up magic, one thing that I don’t do is have people sign cards. There’s frequently a strange hesitancy when you ask people, like they aren’t sure exactly what you want them to do. Instead I have people draw a picture on the card.
I say, “Draw a picture on the card, it can be anything…Bigfoot fighting a ninja, so it’d just be a picture of a bigfoot. I won’t judge you…till later. I don’t care what you draw, I’m not your mom…wouldn’t be the first rocket ship I’ve seen today.” That has 2-3 laughs but it also gives them a moment to think about what to draw and I disarm them about worrying about the drawing being bad. It also takes away the incentive for a teenage boy (or drunk adult) to draw a penis as I’ve already gotten the laugh from that.
The other thing this does is gives me a real moment in the show that’s happening now that I can comment on. I can talk about the picture and everyone knows this is real and not preplanned.
Play around with using alternatives to signatures you might like it.
In yesterday’s blog post I mentioned the Stuart Gordon Double Turnover and that you should learn it, even if you never do it in a show. I think knowing different double lifts is handy so that when you do need one you can vary your technique or choose the right one for the situation. That goes with most sleight of hand, knowing different ways to accomplish the same action makes you a much better artist.
Recently I’ve been playing with the action of the Stuart Gordon Double Turnover, but not as a double turnover, but as a display of two cards. In the action of displaying and fanning the cards I’m able to hide a card. Technically it’s a three as two display in a fan.
The problem I had with it was besides it being very “knacky” it really didn’t provide an advantage over existing moves. I was jamming with Jonathan Friedman and Chris Beason and showed them the move. We really couldn’t come up with much besides using it to switch one or two cards. There are a lot of better ways to switch a card or two.
I kept playing with it and worked out a sequence for the move. Here’s a rough version of it, it’s pretty clunky and I’ve cleaned up the final get ready since I made this video.
Here’s the routine:
I’m not sure that a two card simultaneous ambitious card is better than with a single card, but it gives the move a purpose.
The Card To Wallet is a pretty standard effect for close up magicians. It’s also one that’s part of my “card set“, so I’m very familiar with it. Normally the card comes out of my wallet as a surprise, but the last few weeks I’ve been playing with different presentations for the trick. The results … Continue reading “Surprise for the WIN!!!”
The Card To Wallet is a pretty standard effect for close up magicians. It’s also one that’s part of my “card set“, so I’m very familiar with it. Normally the card comes out of my wallet as a surprise, but the last few weeks I’ve been playing with different presentations for the trick. The results really surprised me.
The first thing I’ve been playing with is mentioning that I have a lucky card and it’s the same one they picked…and I drew the same picture on my lucky card that’s in my wallet. I tell them I’m joking and it’d be amazing if it was in there. I then complete my card routine and the card comes out of my wallet. I’m foreshadowing the surprise ending. This gets about the same reaction as ending with the card coming out a surprise.
The second thing I”ve been trying starts out the same as the first one, however I’m showing them the back of the card in my wallet. Then later the card in the wallet is their card. In my head this is a better trick because their card is there the whole time…however this one falls flat and gets just an okay reaction.
The result of my testing is that the surprise element makes a huge difference in the appearance of the card. Showing them the back of the card and telling them it’s their card, then doing some amazing card magic, it’s not a huge leap when that card is theirs. The audience not expecting it in the wallet helps.
A year or so ago I published a trick in Vanish Magazine that used a Sharpie Marker as a prediction. How it went was someone picked a card and drew picture on it. I then told them to look a the pen they are holding and it said, “you will draw a smiley face” which … Continue reading “Bonus Tricks…”
A year or so ago I published a trick in Vanish Magazine that used a Sharpie Marker as a prediction. How it went was someone picked a card and drew picture on it. I then told them to look a the pen they are holding and it said, “you will draw a smiley face” which was exactly what they drew. This was playing the odds. I noticed that most people when asked to draw a pic on a card will draw a smiley face. If they don’t draw it I don’t tell them to look at the pen.
I call things like that bonus tricks. Tricks that when they happen are amazing, but don’t always happen.
In my close up card set I force the same card over and over again. Finally they get a different card. I top change it for a similar card. If the initial forced card was a 7 of Diamonds, the different card will be something like a 9 of Hearts. They remember the 9 of Hearts, and I top change it for the 7 of Diamonds and ask them to sign it. At this point one of two things will happen, they will either notice the card had changed or they won’t. If they don’t notice the change, then I get a bonus trick once they are done signing it!
The bonus trick is that I take the card back face down and top change it for the 9 of Hearts, which is what they think they signed and set it face down on the table. I do a pass to bring the signed 7 of Diamonds to the center of the deck. I ask them if they remember the card that they signed and they’ll say the 9 of Hearts. I then rub it on the table and show that their signature has disappeared. For the finale of the bonus trick I spread the deck and show that their signature is now on the 7 of Diamonds!
This is a really amazing trick and hits hard! Being on the lookout for bonus tricks in what you already do, you can do some real miracles!
A couple weeks I performed at Wonderground in Las Vegas. This is a monthly magic/variety show put on by Jeff McBride. It’s a very fun show and if you get the chance, I highly recommend doing it! The one thing that stresses me out about this show is the close up, I’m fine with … Continue reading “Ambitious Card…”
A couple weeks I performed at Wonderground in Las Vegas. This is a monthly magic/variety show put on by Jeff McBride. It’s a very fun show and if you get the chance, I highly recommend doing it!
The one thing that stresses me out about this show is the close up, I’m fine with the stage show. It stresses me out because there aren’t a lot of original plots in my close up set, sure I have my own twists on things, but at it’s core it’s Ambitious Card.
About a week before I performed at Wondgeround I was visiting with Nick Lewin and we chatted about the close up stressing me out.
My concern was that the Ambitious Card was too common of a trick for the audience there. Not all of the audience there are magicians, however they are magic fans, so they’ve seen it. Nick commented that it’s the “greatest card trick” and I agree…that’s why it’s so common. The plot is simple and when done right it’s impossible!
I ended up doing a trick where someone feeds me marshmallows. It played well!
Personally I think there is one trick when done correctly that might be better than the Ambitious Card, and that is Any Card at Any Number. It’s got a simple plot:
Name a card, name a number, count down to that number and the card is there.
The problem with ACAAN is that is gets mucked up when people try to make it easier. They limit selections or use convoluted processes to make the trick work. Also what I think most of people who do this for a non-magician audience misses is repeating it. You need to do it twice.
So that’s my thoughts on the best and close second for card tricks.