Just Give Them the Damn Card!

So, the things I’ve learned are not new…just sharing my experiences. However those new to this type of entertainment may find something “new” to them.

Anyone performing for the audiences that count, (lay people) more than likely have an Ambitious Card Routine in their repertoire. Why wouldn’t you? So much magic in a short period of time. Yes, a short period of time, use discretion.
It didn’t take a lot of performing experience to realize my deck would rapidly shrink during performances. Often when performing for couples the AC routine would be followed with a Signature Fusion Effect. (The husband’s/boyfriend’s signature would be on the back of the AC.) The couples always enjoyed a cheap souvenir, and no…I am not under the impression that they keep the card for eternity.
The answer to this minor dilemma was to carry extra cards, this way your deck stays more or less intact. (Advice given by Pros since the beginning of time.)
But, and it’s a big but…saving the integrity of the deck is a bonus. My first concern is to keep my routines moving, maintaining interest for peripheral observers. There are times when the absolute free choice of a card is paramount, and at these times you may be at the mercy of the card “picker”. Certain individuals have a hard time choosing a card among 52…boring.

Solution: I carry a bunch of red number cards in a pocket…signatures show up well on a red number card. I just give them the damn card… ”Here’s a card I brought for you, it was sitting in a drawer, collecting dust. Do me a favor, sign your name as big as you can on the face of the card…now I think it’s kind of special…don’t you? (addressing the boy friend, they always agree.) Now we’re off to the races…the selection is not important to the effect/impact.

Just give them the damn card.

Rhythm Off/Out of Sync

Rhythm Off/Out of Sync

Greater Boston area Magician

Joe Ferranti www.ferrantimagic.com 339-927-4710

It is easy to relay stories of our successful, over the top “shows” …everything goes right, the reactions, applause, shouts of NFW pretty much tell the story. But…every now and then, for some reason, I don’t quite get my footing. I never quite reach my comfort zone.

Please understand, I am not talking about a “failed” performance. In fact, my audience was not aware that I was not on my “A game”. (See review at the end.)

What went wrong? Well, I will go over the evening in my head, over and over… it’s not what went wrong. Maybe it comes down to the personal connection or in this case the slightly off target personal connection. I feel I missed the Bull’s eye. Everything is a maybe?

So, I reflect, what’s going on in my personal life…hmmm? I am working on some family matters that require a lot of my attention. (Don’t worry, my marriage is fine…I’m on a solid foundation.) Maybe, just maybe this is a small part. There are so many pieces that make up a puzzle, I might never quite figure this out. However, I owe it to myself, and future audiences… to analyze everything to insure I give my very best every time I entertain.

Always working and analyzing to bring The Very Best in Strolling/Walk Around Magic to all my clients.

Here’s the review…

“Joe entertained at our company party and was wonderful! He arrived early, left late, and our guests really enjoyed his magic! The CEO of our company actually just came into my office, saying how great Joe was. He was professional and fun – he worked the room like a champ. I definitely recommend Joe for your gathering.”

Joe Ferranti “Boston’s Best Strolling Magician”

Some Magicians…

Some magicians worry about how much “time” they get out of a routine. I suggest you
only worry about the impact on your audience.

Everybody gets lazy now and then…not you of course, the rest of us. However, it’s
better to take a break, or rest if you are feeling tired, or less than inspired.
I’ve learned a few things thinking back at my time in school. Certainly not my glory days,
and not directly pertinent to this topic. What does apply was my attitude. Never
enjoying the journey, and too much focus on “being done.” As a child, being done meant
reclaiming time to do what I wanted…playing with friends, watching TV…all important,
but not at the cost of other things of equal importance.

I won’t name the “tricks”, but I am talking about the ones which are promoted as “time
consumers”. Time is important when putting together an act, even more important in
most competitions. Time is not important, in fact detrimental when viewed from a
perspective as “filler”.

(Caveat: Tricks advertised as time consumption may be, beginning to end, non stop laughs, magic…in
fact, top notch material. I merely suggest we keep our focus on our audience.Win/Win!)
The length of a routine is important information, inasmuch as we have timelines which
affect our clients needs, Not to fill a program with fluff! There’s just no room for
filler…you are making entertainment, not pillows.

Two, Three minutes…Maybe five!

I have a very short time to entertain a small group of people before I must move on to the next group. No time to spare, right? Right!

while others debate whether “Magic” is an art…or they want to make their audience feel the “awe” and experience wonder as if they were a child again. All lofty and worthy goals, but at my age and the type of Magic I perform, I have cut corners to simplify my work.

I have seen the magician who’s work is art. (Names are not important.) But my name will never be considered for the title “artist” and that’s O.K. because I will never deserve such a title. I will never strive to bring you the feeling of child like wonder, as that’s a tall order. I will also not try to take you away from the problems of your day. There are better methods than that of a brief encounter with a Close Up Magician. If you want to send someone back to another time, the quickest way to arouse that feeling is with music. We’ve all had that moment when we here an old song and we recall the joy or pain that is triggered, and attached to an emotion we weren’t having a moment before. If you need to get away from the daily grind, perhaps meditation, or Yoga, and you can afford it, a vacation to the ocean.

I will tell you, there are magicians who achieve all these things, but my experience tells me you will see this on a stage, where they have all your attention and the time to create their personal fantasy to take you…to who knows where.

I’m just saying, I can’t do that in three minutes. My goal is simple, insure you have fun and are treated with respect. I want you to smile, perhaps laugh or scream. And finally, if I can get you to remember me, perhaps my name as well, but maybe I’m asking too much.

Ahhh, the life of the strolling magician, the court jester perhaps…in it as a choice. The rewards…try it out, I’m sure you’ll be pleased.

Joe Ferranti
Walk Around/Strolling Magician in Massachusetts

Update 2018…the Evolution

                                                                             339-927-4710

                                                                    Boston, MA – Magician

                                                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxKd6PIB8FQ

 

I’ve only been at this game for a little over seven years, but early on I realized that there would be a constant evolution in performing and a slow one with material.


When working for the only people that count, the search for the latest and the greatest gets placed on the back burner. If you don’t already have at least a handful of “Killer Material”, you won’t be working very long.


Two [tricks/effects] which have been with me, pretty much from the beginning are “51 Cards to Pocket” (David Williamson) and, “A Familiar Ring. (Paul Gertner) These two pieces are the focus in this blog.


First, there are many variations on 51 cards to pocket. I learned one from Matthew Dowden’s DVDs,”Party Animal” This has served me well, and I only adjusted it within the last three months. You see, I ended the routine with a production of the card from my wallet. It always got great reactions, but I already have a few routines in my repertoire where a card is produced from my wallet. Suffice to say, it’s not wise to use them all with the same crowd. So, I’ve owned the Omni Deck for a long time, and I never found the routine that seemed right for me, even though there are many to choose from. You know where this is going, of course. Instead of producing the deck, little by little from my pocket, I remove the Omni deck, with the selection on top. I have the spectator cover the “deck” and the cover card, which is the selection, and to my surprise, when I fished around inside the spectators hands and removed the selection, this got a big reaction, seriously…lots of applause. (I didn’t see this coming, as to me, it appeared obvious the selection was on the top of the “deck”. Not so! But wait! There’s still more…and of course the spectator is unknowingly holding the “Omni Deck.” See the reactions in the video.


The other piece is Paul Gertner’s brilliant routine. What can I say; it plays so well, you’ve got the emotional hook of a borrowed ring. (Usually a man’s wedding ring.) There’s so much built in humor, and as most of us know, we are not comedians, but magic brings out a lot of laughter.


So what’s the problem? Finding a ring to borrow…there is not always one available. I never use a woman’s ring with any type of stone or diamond. I’ve heard the nightmare stories, and I won’t be adding a story of my own.


So here’s the thing with men and their rings…some men have put on a few pounds since their wedding, and that ring is not going to come off without a saw. Other men will Never! Take their ring off…that’s O.K. I get it; they see it as a minor betrayal to their wife. So as you can see, sometimes I had to leave the coins to the spectator’s hands out of my repertoire, but I wanted to have one available.


One day, I was watching Craig Petty on YouTube, and he was performing a Three coin version for a crowd of people, and not only did the three coins “fly invisibly” to the spectator’s hand(s) they proceeded to vanish one at a time with a finale of “The Flurry” (David Roth) with the production of a Jumbo Coin. (Craig produces a second Jumbo Coin, even larger than the first).


Now, certain parts of this routine could be problematic, but Craig’s brilliant structuring solves any problems that could arise…see the results in the video. I’ve been using this lot…and every now and then, I perform something special for a couple who are willing to loan me a ring.

Listening to lay people…one at a time.

I was out for a couple drinks with Lisa, at our local bar…the one where everybody knows your name.

Steve, the bartender has seen me perform a couple tricks. (something I rarely do when out for pleasure) So, Steve asks me if I know a chinese magician who was on P&T FU…incredibly good he tells me. “Must be Shin Lim”…”Yes!” he tells me how incredible he is, I totally agree, “That kid operates on a  totally different level…” Of course Steve asks if I know how he does it.

“I haven’t got a clue, like I said he’s operating on a level beyond me.”

Steve tells me about another magician he saw on AGT who did a trick with coins and rose petals. “Oh yeah, that’s Will Tsai.”

Steve tells me he didn’t particularly care for the trick…this is the trick that blew away the judges, one of them responded that this was real magic…something like that.

I think most lay people would agree with the judges, but Steve sensed there was something more to Will’s presentation…something that assisted him with this “miracle.” I nodded my head…but didn’t get into it as I make every effort to not say anything negative about other magicians.

Our discussion got me to thinking about the judges on AGT. If you watch the show, you know there are many magicians who perform close up magic. Each and every one perform at the judges table. Not on the stage. Hmmm, this never crossed their minds, and it obviously didn’t impact their reaction. I do wonder why they didn’t question the distance issue.

Which is why I listen to lay people, one at a time.

BTW…I am aware that Eric Jones made his last performance on the stage, however all the judges were on stage with him, still qualifies for real close up.

www.ferrantimagic.com  The Very Best in Close Up Magic    Mass. / New Hampshire

Don’t Try This at Home…or Worse, Don’t Try this With Paying Clients!

Think of the Jazz musician…now think of the Jazz Magician, hmmm? That’s what I’d like to do! …maybe not?

I have many magic friends in social media. They kindly share their experiences in the performance arena. Just recently a more than capable performer (Top Professional) told how he had improvised a performance with a borrowed deck of cards. He was not bragging, just telling what resulted in a non-prepped performance. Another well respected pro commented that this is the only way he performs. The success of some of the best of the best, when they borrow a pack of cards, they don’t know what they are going to do, so they improvise, jazz it, make it up on the spot. And, they kill their audience. I believe them, I have seen a few. But they didn’t just fall off the turnip truck!

Why does this bother me? Because I’ve seen the results of “Magicians” who fancy themselves capable of “Jazzing”, when they are clearly not. I wish those capable of Jazzing would give a warning, “this performance is by a trained professional, this is very dangerous…do not attempt this in your performances.”

My caution will fall upon deaf ears. The cocky magician does not want to put in the work; he just goes out and “astounds the masses”. (Yeah…right!) Not the ones I’ve seen! They stumble on their words; they have no idea when the time is right to do the “Move/Sleight”.

Our routines/tricks need structure. It’s your choice if you remember each and every word, despite what the Lazy ones say, this can sound fresh and new during each and every performance. It damn well sounds better than not having a clue. At the very least, have a basic frame work.

As I said, I have heard the success of Magicians I respect, who can succeed in this type of performance, but here’s what you should know before you go out on the High Wire.

These pros have spent uncountable hours in practice, uncountable hours in performance situations; they have encountered things you cannot even imagine.

I’m sure some will accuse me of being a robotic performer, no not at all. I do consider myself well-rehearsed and even so there are times we I have to go off script, it’s just a reality of Strolling Magic. Sometimes performing a “Think of a Card” trick, a suitable ending may vary…it just happens. So, maybe Mercury Fold??? Card under watch???…card in Altoid tin???… (Jonathan Kamm)

“Damn, I only thought of that card!”

Truth be told, the card under watch, etc. are also well rehearsed, just not part of the original plan.

Please, just don’t be lazy.

Boston Walk around /Strolling Magician www.ferrantimagic.com 339-927-4710

Fooling Kids…Fooling Adults…?

Fooling Kids…Fooling Adults… Who cares?

Boston Massachusetts Magician www.ferrantimagic.com 339-927-4710

OMG…I’ve actually been pulled into this conversation. What a waste of my time, Yet…Magicians continue to discuss/debate/argue, whether it is easier to fool adults or children. (BTW, the overwhelming consensus is that children are harder to fool.)

Why is this important? It is not! What is important is the understanding of the basics of critical thinking in children and adults.

Now let’s get this out of the way…Being fooled is not about being made to seem foolish. Every Magician should know this, those who don’t…not my problem or my intent here.

Alright, so…. we are not going to make anyone feel foolish. Can we agree temporarily that to “fool” will mean to give an audience a positive experience in which they will experience degrees of belief, disbelief, shock and awe? Good! So for the moment we will agree that “being fooled” is about being entertained by tricks and illusions which should be presented in an entertaining fashion.

Children Fooler # 1

If I were to tell a five year old that there is a creature that eats children living under their bed…well, suffice it to say, this poor kid won’t be sleeping well for at least the near future. (BTW, this is the bad “fool.”) The reason is simple, children have little choice but to believe what an authoritative adult tells them. Personally I’d prefer telling them there is a Santa Claus, but that’s just me.

Adult Fooler # 1

On the other hand, If a so called “medium to the Stars” tells people he/she can talk to their dead relatives…sadly, an amazing amount of adults will buy in. (Bad Fool) Sometimes the belief can be quite costly to one’s pocketbook. Why does this work? This may be an over simplification, but…who wouldn’t feel some comfort knowing their Mom is doing great, and further than that, she is eager to help you overcome a current obstacle in your life. (Feels good, huh?”)

This fooling stuff is easy…especially when used in a negative way.

More on Fooling Kids!

Let’s return to some entertainment. It’s hard to count the number of times I have “sawed a sponge ball into two” for five and six year olds. If you’ve done it, you know they will take a single sponge ball and attempt to saw it into two, for what seems to be an eternity. This is an easy “good fool”. Not so hard, right?

How about the “See, don’t see” premise. Those less than critical thinkers will scream and scream louder each time you turn around and don’t see the spider on your back. Meanwhile, the adults are amused and happy seeing the fun their kids are having. (Remember, the Adults are not “fooled” here.)

BTW, this may border on making one look “foolish” but it won’t occur to any of them for at least ten years, and you’ll be long gone by then.

Additional note: I heard one “magician’s” explanation why kids are harder to fool…He explains that they have good eye sight and also view card tricks from a lower level, therefore they can easily spot a Double lift. “O.K., I’ll give you a pass on this for one time, if it happens again, shame on you! Make an adjustment.”

More on Adult Foolers

Back to the adults, I love the “think of a card” effect. The adult thinks of any card they see in a widely spread (fanned) deck of cards…the Magician removes one card and places it in his pocket. That’s right, the card in the pocket is the very one the spectator is only thinking of. (“Good fool”) Yup, good fool, because no one has ever asked how I did that, or even ventured a guess as to how it is accomplished.

In fact, the only group who might “know” how this is done is an alien from who knows where, known as the teen ager. OMG, these are the hardest people to “fool”. Just kidding!

For the best sources to learn to fool with integrity, I suggest Reading Darwin Ortiz’s works,

Strong Magic and Designing Miracles

Joe Ferranti  Close up Strolling Magician Boston ma.

Some thoughts on the card to wallet:

For several years I have performed, Jim Swain’s Air Mail Card for all my adult Birthdays. Since I needed a no table method, I was fortunate to find a handling by Shaun Robison. (Done Crediting)

I am sharing the different reactions I got, compared to my present reaction. Now, I have always got good reactions, that’s not what I am addressing…just the difference.

I used to prepare the effect by writing Happy Birthday, with their name on the back of the card. In case you don’t know the routine, the selection is made, and the spectator signs their name on the face of their card. The effect proceeds into a “triumph” routine with their signed selection being the only face up card in a face down deck. I then explain that I have brought them a card for their Birthday, and as you would expect in the zipped compartment of the wallet is a card with Happy Birthday [name] on the back. At this moment the card is handed to the spectator…and more often than not, they anticipate that this will be their signed selection. This is a shocking moment, but still it is anticipated. You may even get the reaction of “No #^*N Way!” This is fine, I never had any complaints.

As years go on, I started printing Happy Birthday Balloons on a blank backed card. Resulting in a “more unique Memento.” I also feel this is slightly more “professional” (IMHO)

The next progression was to have the signed card in a sealed envelope. Years earlier I remember Jean Jacques Sanvert, on his L&L DVD set…saying that the sealed envelope was a stronger effect. So I decided to give it a shot. Of course, Mr. Sanvert knows of what he speaks…reactions up a couple of notches.

This brings me to the last year of performing the effect. Since I was taking the small amount of time to prep the envelope, I decided to add staples on all four side of the envelope. Why not, it requires no extra effort, maybe 45 seconds of my time.

I had no particular expectation…the reactions were already over the top, but I got a surprise. Now I’m not saying the reaction is “better”, what I am saying is this has changed “the moment” in a big way. As usual, I tell the spectator I have a birthday card for them. They undo the Zip…I remove the sealed and stapled envelope, tear it open and hand them their Birthday card. This gets a moment of silence…I believe they are thinking, “this is nice…some Happy B’day Balloons”. So far, no one has turned the card over in expectation of seeing their signature. I have to give a little prompt, and when they do…”Boom!” Personally, I enjoy this a little more. Either way I am sure the client is happy. See for yourself, here is a clip showing the reaction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxKRTzd7TXw&list=PLP-lNE1geXU2lxfuT6klTfgn5TJEtMtlm

Thanks for reading.

This is your day…A day with memories that will last a lifetime.

No matter your budget, you have likely spent more money than you anticipated. It is difficult to compromise on a celebration as important as “your Wedding Day.”

Why do I suggest hiring a Close up/Strolling Magician for your special day, and why you won’t regret it.

First, this is a gift to your guests…yes; you will hear from your guests how much they enjoyed the entertainment. In fact, I sometimes tell this to your guests. Magic entertainers are “new” to most people…in their enthusiasm; some feel the need to tip the Magician. Although this is a kind and generous offer, I am always aware that other groups are always watching you, due to the excitement of professional level Magic. (Most Lay people have never seen a professional magician before.)Back to my point, if other people see you taking money from guests, they may mistakenly think that you are working for tips. I certainly do not want anyone to feel an obligation of feel I am soliciting donations. Of course, I know that I am well compensated for my services. Here is how I handle this situation: “Thank you very much, however, the entertainment is a gift from “Dick and Jane” to their guests…blah, blah…In this manner, they understand that you are compensated for your work…and they also understand the Bride and Groom were thinking of them at the cocktail hour…and they graciously accept the gift.

Speaking of the cocktail hour, it is often a little awkward with many people who have not met…the Close Up Magician introduces many new friends to each other, and the new bond is shared through their enthusiasm.

Your Wedding is not a cookie cutter wedding. Most weddings follow a formula, if you’ve been to several, many will seem much alike, and they blend in as a monotone memory.
Your Wedding will stand out…I borrow a phrase or two, “Your Event will be taken to a new level.”
I certainly think that is enough reason to invite me to your wedding. I will not disappoint you…that is a promise.

If you need more convincing, consider this blog from Magician Craig Petty (click here)

Joe Ferranti Magician