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Hi there! This is the second half of our megapost How to Do Easy Card Tricks: The Ultimate Guide. In the first installment, I talked about 5 great Easy Card Trick Video Tutorials to make sure you get off to a successful start in card magic and 9 Pro Performance Tips to arm you with ancient knowledge the best magicians have used for a centuries. If you missed those powerful video tutorials and tips, you can find them here.
In this action packed post, I’ll share 5 Powerful Video Tutorials that show you unique approaches to some of the most important secret moves, often called sleights, in magic. You’ll also learn 8 Pro Practice Tips that will make it easier than ever to get great results from even a little practice.
Simple Secret Moves Video Tutorials
Fundamental Sleights: A Small List of Necessary Tools
Before starting with the 5 sleight videos, here are a list of the first sleights I teach my students during their online magic lessons. These simple moves are like 3 or 4 chord rock and roll – they constitute every essential function in card magic – forces, switches, reverses and controls. Once you can handle a simple version of each of these – and string them together to create a powerful effects – you’re doing real magic. And that’s the key to success, great reactions and growing your confidence in your magic.
You can find various descriptions of these sleights in classic card books like Card College and Royal Road to Card Magic.
Basic Video Tutorials of the Crossing the Cut Force and the Two Handed Glide appear in the videos below, so you can get started right away.
- Overhand Shuffle & Overhand Shuffle Control
- Crossing the Cut Force
- Braue Reversal
- Two Hand Glide
Simple Sleight Video Tutorial #1: How to Hold a Deck of Cards
Like tennis or golf, if you want to go far – it all starts with finding and taking the right grip. How you hold the deck of cards has a lot to do with how successfully you can perform any card trick. If you watch the following video tutorial with cards in hand, you’re guaranteed to get off to a superior start.
Simple Sleight Video Tutorial #2: Misdirection and the Foundations of the Card Force
The following Card Force will allow you to create miracles with no sleight of hand. You’ll also be introduced to the all important element of misdirection and how it works in an actual magic trick performance.
Misdirection is often thought of as the art of diverting the spectators from the secret moves and moments in a trick. The misdirection master Tommy Wonder suggested that the word ‘misdirection’ itself is unhelpful because it encourages us to think in terms of distracting the audience or making them ‘look away’ from something.
Rather, Wonder suggested we adopt the term ‘direction’ instead – as this term encourages us to think of directing the audience’s attention at all times – always toward the effect of the trick itself. This is how great magicians misdirect without ever leaving the audience with the feeling they’ve been distracted or made to ‘look away’ during a trick.
The following tutorial will show you exactly how this works in real life. It’s one of the easiest applications I know to show students who really want to start using misdirection to perform miracles.
Simple Sleight Video Tutorial #4: An Ancient Glimpse
Once you get a spectator’s card under control – either to the top or bottom of the deck – you can use a secret move called the Glimpse to get a peek at the freely selected card without anyone suspecting a thing. While there are dozens of simple glimpses in magic, and dozens more advanced ones that require months or years of practice, this one is a long time personal favorite. It’s easy to do, and will give you a powerful training exercise to develop your misdirection skills very quickly.
You can see a discussion and demonstration in the video below.
Pro Practice Tips
Pro Practice Tip: Simple Moves Can Make Miracles
When we’re just starting out to do magic, a simple web search can stress you out! We see literally thousands of card tricks, moves and techniques. Often, experts seem to imply that without the advanced methods in which they specialize, our magic tricks will be less magical.
As a practical matter, turning any trick into a real magical experience for the audience takes more than doing the secret moves. No matter how advanced or difficult the method of your trick is, when you perform you’ll need to have most of your mind free to have fun with the audience.
If your sleights and methods are eating up to much of your attention, you won’t have any left to give to the audience. Your Pass, Palm or Force may be invisible and perfect – but what does that matter if the trick itself doesn’t connect?
The Powerful Sleight Video Tutorials on this page were designed to show you how easy, effective tools can be used to create really great tricks. Each move I’ll show you is simple, takes place in a single moment, and has been designed to fit perfectly into great tricks that provide their own misdirection. These sleights free up your mind so you can focus on performing magic.
Pro Practice Tip: Choose Your Words In Advance
This simple advice is often the most difficult for my students to start using. Most of us simply practice a trick and then try and perform it, without giving any real thought to what we’re going to say during the performance. Trouble ensues, and often, the problems could have been avoided if the magician chosen his words, often called patter or presentation, in advance.
The reason for this is really very simple. If you don’t know what you’re going to say – you have to think about it during the show. That automatically takes your attention off of the fun you should be having with the audience. Just like a difficult secret move can take your focus out of the game and spoil the trick, deciding what to say in real time makes it impossible to be ‘in the moment’ as you perform.
Even more important, the words you choose matter. They describe the effect of the trick to the audience. You may think a trick is self explanatory – but that’s hardly ever acutally so. If you don’t clearly communicate what you want the audience to perceive, it’s likely no one will have a clue what the trick was supposed to be. If you’d done a few tricks for your friends already, you’ve probably already experienced this reaction yourself.
The exact words you choose can either make the trick seem more magical or less. Fair – or suspicious. You need only perform a few simple tricks before you’ll be surprised to hear words come out of your mouth which compromise the secret of the trick to some extent. Every experienced magician has made this mistake more times than he or she can count. And choosing your words carefully in advance is the only surefire way to avoid the problem.
Take special note: When you first start to write down your presentation and use it in performance, you’ll likely be discouraged. Many of my students complain at first because they feel their performances get ‘stiff’ and feel rehearsed.
This is also quite normal. As you show your trick many times to different people, your words will become second nature. You’ll feel more and more relaxed as you perform, and you may even start making small changes to the script as you perform in real time. You’ll be able to do this safely, because by then, you’ll know the effect so well, you’ll be able to speak ‘on the fly’ without any fear of damaging the magic. You’ll begin sounding like your real self having fun – and that’s the whole point!
Pro Practice Tip: Every Sleight Needs Misdirection
When we see a great looking trick on screen, we make an unconscious assumption that the trick works in real life the same way it does on video. But most of the time, making tricks look and feel like real magic in front of a live audience requires a different approach. If you want to do magic tricks for real people, you’ll need to to use misdirection.
People watching a magic trick are never supposed to see you do a secret move. Actually, they’re never supposed to even suspect you of using sleight of hand. If the audience ever gets the idea you’re doing anything sneaky, they’ll dismiss your tricks as the work of ‘quick hands’. Then, it’s over. There’s no chance for a magical experience. As far as the audience is concerned – you’re just a trickster.
So to make sure you never experience this painful fate, it’s important to apply misdirection to every sleight – and every aspect of a given method.
Pro Practice Tip: Short Sessions and Small Goals Win Every Time
To get in physical shape, we all know it’s better to exercise for a short time every day than to work out for 8 hours once a week. Practicing magic works the same way. And the good news is – when you have a plan and go about it with the right attitude, it’s actually quite easier than most people think.
I have many online students who have businesses, families and very busy lives. In fact, many of them can barely find 10 minutes at a time to practice. And yet, they make consistent, steady progress. Day by day, they master one simple action, then week by week, we put those actions to together and before either of us know it – they’ve got real magic that not only looks great, but will truly amaze and astound anyone who sees it.
Dai Vernon, perhaps the most celebrated close-up magician of the last 100 years, used to suggest that students sit down to practice with the goal of making one real, lasting improvement during a practice session. That was, and still is, very good advice.
However, I’ve consistently found that the most direct path to mastering a move is to break it down into as many small pieces as you possibly can. By doing that, you set yourself up for success by generating a number of very small, easily attainable goals. Now even if you only have ten minutes to practice, you can use them to achieve something – rather than sit there trying to decide what to practice.
Making steady progress makes practice fun, and makes you want to practice more, not less. And that’s the best way to get great results from practice.
Pro Practice Tip: Break-Up Tricks and Sleights
No aspect of a trick, or secret sleight, is too small to examine and practice. Most of us start out with the feeling that only the ‘scary parts’ of a require practice. But quite often, it’s the way we handle the smallest details of a trick which can make or break the deception.
I filled the video tutorials in this handbook with more information than anyone can reasonably digest in a single viewing or even two. That’s because I want to make sure you have every detail you’ll need to succeed. And even with an easy, simple trick like the ones in this post, that’s a lot of details! For best results, on your first viewing of a trick tutorial, just get the basic method in your hands and head. You want to be able to clearly present the trick in it’s simplest form – with no embellishments.
Now take that trick and show it to a few different groups of two, or even three people. You can show the trick to bigger groups if you’d like, but at this point, there’s no hurry. Take care not to get frustrated if the results of your performances are disappointing. That’s totally normal – and to be expected. You’ve just completed a major step toward the goal of making great magic.
Then go back and watch the tutorial again. You’ll see details, touches and instructions you missed the first time. Investigate each moment of the trick individually. As you become aware, then address, each one of the details covered in the tutorial, the trick will get noticeably stronger. Your audience will feel it. You’ll feel it too.
This is the real practice process – the one that leads to great results and amazed people. As you add detail to a good trick, bit by bit, it becomes real magic.
Pro Practice Tip: Avoid Complicated Tricks
If you want the audience to be truly amazed, keep your tricks simple, clear and direct. No matter how easy a trick is technically, or how few moves you have to practice to do it, the more phases in a trick, the more or separate effects within the larger routine, the more difficult it becomes to maintain the clear thread that holds it together clear in actual performance.
Most of my beginning students first master a few simple tricks and string them together into a set. This is a great way to begin and you can use the tricks on this page to do it. Try putting three tricks together and using them to create your first simple set – a sort of mini-show that starts strong and builds up to a climax. Start performing your set for different groups of people. As your confidence and experience grow, you’ll be able to carry off longer tricks, or longer sets, with ease.
Pro Practice Tip: Watch the Greats to See What’s Possible
The best way for you develop an appreciation for how strong and amazing magic can be is to see it done by the best. Below are clips of two modern masters. Watch them work and you’ll see proof that miracles are possible.
Bill Malone is not only one of the greatest card magicians in the world – he’s also one of the funniest. I first met him when I was 15 years old – and seeing him perform magic was a key moment of my life. That’s when I decided to become a magician.
David Williamson is one of the funniest, most talented magicians alive today. Sometimes his tricks directly engage and involve the spectator – and sometimes, the trick itself doesn’t. But even then, Williamson involves his spectators at every turn.
Pro Practice Tip: Give Clear Directions At All Times
We’ve discussed how some of the strongest magic directly engages the audience. There are many easy to perform classics that engage the audience, like Scotch & Soda, the great coin trick. Or the hard-to-beat classic Sponge Balls. These tricks don’t have difficult moves or sleights you need to master. But in each of these tricks, it’s crucially important to give the spectators clear directions at specific moments. So as you write your presentations down – make sure to pay special attention to the instructions you give your audience. What you say, as well as how and when you say it, will have a great impact on how well your performance connects with the audience.
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