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  1. #1
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    Classic Force Frustrations

    When you watch guys like David Blaine or Justin Miller, they can force a card any time anywhere, it seems, using the classic force. I want to reach that level of consistency, but I've got troubles. If the spectator picks a card "naturally" while I spread through them, I usually get it. But very very often I have spectators that resist my spread and go straight to fishing one out of a more remote part of the deck (if that makes sense).
    I'm sure it's something to do with my presentation but I really don't know where to go from here. Help?

    Also, I really tried not to reveal anything but it's surprisingly difficult to talk about this slight without saying anything...

  2. #2
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    JM's speil.

    Quote Originally Posted by kennethcmerrill View Post
    When you watch guys like David Blaine or Justin Miller, they can force a card any time anywhere, it seems, using the classic force. I want to reach that level of consistency, but I've got troubles. If the spectator picks a card "naturally" while I spread through them, I usually get it. But very very often I have spectators that resist my spread and go straight to fishing one out of a more remote part of the deck (if that makes sense).
    I'm sure it's something to do with my presentation but I really don't know where to go from here. Help?

    Also, I really tried not to reveal anything but it's surprisingly difficult to talk about this slight without saying anything...
    Did you ever happen to notice the little double take JM does with the force? he asks them to pick a card then pulls the cards away before they can, telling them not to hesitate or some other BS; the goal is to not give them a choice while convincing them they have a choice, quick and natural. unfortunately, some people will just go out of their way to mess up this whole action, for them use something simple like a riffle force if you need to. (I would never force a card, no need; personal opinion)

    this is technically a part of audience management, judging how much the audience will let you get away with and how to let them fool themselves. there are very few resources that actually give useful information on handling people on magic websites, I learned most of what I know from treatises of war. most books just say to "go get caught" and I think that is the worst advice and a good way to destroy your confidence.

    I've also heard allot of people saying to use the force when you don't need it, that way, you know you've forced a card but if you mess up it won't matter and you can continue clean into ACR, tnr, ex.

  3. #3
    RealityOne's Avatar :: Moderator
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    Make sure you technique is good and there is no tension in your handling. Your timing should be that you get to the force card right as they are about to select it. This is important, because if they see the deck spread out in front of them before you ask them to pick the card they have time to think "How can I be a pain in the neck? Maybe I can pick a card from the edge." The sequence goes like this: 1) you position yourself about 3 feet from the spectator and say "Take a card, it doesn't matter which one"; 2) you start spreading the cards with you arms at your side, elbows at a 90 degree angle; 3) their hand goes up to take a card; 4) you arrive at the force card; 5) you push the spread towards them by extending your arms -- essentially putting the force card a the tip of their finger; 6) look at them and not the cards as they take the force card. Try to keep talking as the selection process is going on (it makes it look less important, keeps attention focused on you and provides little attention on the spectator which makes them less likely to show off by picking the card second to the top.

    Your attitude should be that it doesn't matter which card they select (and it doesn't because if they don't take the force card you have another effect you can perform). "The effect hasn't begun yet. This is preliminary. It is inconsequential. There is 52 cards and any one of them will work fine." That is your internal silent script. If you don't care which card they take, the audience (and spectator) won't care either.

    ~ David
    Perception of reality is a selection of reality which results in a distortion of reality.

  4. #4
    Raymond Singson's Avatar :: Lead Forum Manager
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    I'm a fan of using a variant of the Hofzinser Spread Force whenever the Classic Force fails. If you're proficient in culling, you'll find that this is a good fail-safe, because when done properly-- even knowledgeable magicians won't be able to tell the difference between the forces. The end-state is the same: the cards are freely spread and the spectator selects a predetermined card. Aim to use the Classic Force; if it misses, your alternate back-up plan will look just as fair.

    I saw Danny Garcia use this technique at Magic-Con 2010, and I've adopted it into my repertoire ever since.

    RS.

  5. #5
    Shawn Mullins's Avatar :: Team Ellusionist
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    Practice the classic force ALWAYS. That's kind of how you get good at it.

    Also, a really good tip... Find the DVD "A Night At The Tom Foolery."

    The other thing, I honestly believe that Paul Daniel's and Whit Haydn are the two best at teaching the classic force as well. In fact. Whit's Chicago Surprise is HANDS DOWN the best routine to work on it. No matter what happens the routine works out great.
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  6. #6
    ChristopherThisse's Avatar :: Moderator
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    Shoot Ogawa has an amazing classic force. I think he did a DVD on it, but I also think that DVD is in Japanese and hasn't been translated? I'm not sure about that one. I know I've seen him do the classic force with the deck in someone else's hands.
    http://www.ellusionist.com/boffo-pdf-by-christopher-thisse.html

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Singson View Post
    I'm a fan of using a variant of the Hofzinser Spread Force whenever the Classic Force fails. If you're proficient in culling, you'll find that this is a good fail-safe, because when done properly-- even knowledgeable magicians won't be able to tell the difference between the forces. The end-state is the same: the cards are freely spread and the spectator selects a predetermined card.
    The Hofzinser Spread Cull Force even has a small advantage. The spectator can change his mind after he has chosen a card. Although the CF is more free in the process of handing the card out (the major advantage over the HSCF in my opinion), this is something you can`t do with the CF.


    It`s a good thing to use the CF in situations where you are not forced to force a card. Whit Haydn`s Chicago Surprise is an excellent performance piece to practice the CF. You are 100% confident and ask the spectator if he wants another card. Even in the worst case, you will not fail.
    EDIT: Ups, didn`t see Shawn already mentioned it. But it`s true. Pop`s DVDs and booklets are worth their weight in gold.
    Last edited by Zeddicus; 11-19-2014 at 06:05 PM.

  8. #8
    RealityOne's Avatar :: Moderator
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    A lot of what I know about the classic force (and what I typed above) I learned from Shoot and Dani D'Ortiz. I think it was Dani who spread the cards, saying "take a card, it doesn't matter which one", split the deck and extended the deck in his left hand so that the spectator could take the top card of that half of the deck. I've also seen where the magician does a spread and asks the spectator to "pick any card by just telling me where to stop" - it's beautiful because it is just like a riffle force but with a spread. I'm sure both of those are published somewhere but I'm too tired to research the concepts. If the classic force doesn't work for you, there are lots of alternatives that look very similar.
    ~ David
    Perception of reality is a selection of reality which results in a distortion of reality.

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    Dani is hands-down the best "forcer" I`ve ever seen.
    He discusses the psychology behind the force in "Utopia".
    His "I don`t care" behaviour is disarming and if you succeed in getting this in the mind of your spectator, they also don`t care and try to be careful which card they select. It`s your attitude and also a reason why many recommend doing the CF later in your performance, when you have connected with them and they (hopefully) like you.
    Don`t emphasize the importance of the selection process. They smell anxiety.
    This attitude helped me a lot.
    After I reconstructed everything so that I really don`t care what they select, even if it`s not the forced card, I don`t care and use my outs.
    Last edited by Zeddicus; 11-19-2014 at 06:23 PM.

  10. #10
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    Thank you so much for all of your responses and fantastic advice! I will look into all of these resources. I do have a couple follow-up questions, though.
    1. What is the best resource to learn the Hofzinser Spread Cull Force?
    2. Is the Utopia the best place to get Dani DaOrtiz's thoughts on the Classic Force?
    3. Has anyone seen the Hand-picked Astonishments installation on the Classic Force? I just stumbled on those and was considering a purchase.

    And my biggest question:

    In card magic, if your force fails, it's typically at the beginning of the trick, and you can simply divert to another effect that doesn't require a force. What happens if you are in the middle of an effect and a crucial force fails? For an example, look at a lot of David Blaine's effects. He does some extensive setup, begins the trick, asks a spectator for a name or number or something, or even to think of a card, and when they do, it's the "correct" one!
    What do you do in that kind of circumstance where your setup doesn't match the final choice by the spectator, but you're too deep in the mud to pull out without looking lame?

    Thanks again for all of your fantastic input?

    Kenneth

  11. #11
    Shawn Mullins's Avatar :: Team Ellusionist
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    Quote Originally Posted by kennethcmerrill View Post
    1. What is the best resource to learn the Hofzinser Spread Cull Force?
    2. Is the Utopia the best place to get Dani DaOrtiz's thoughts on the Classic Force?
    3. Has anyone seen the Hand-picked Astonishments installation on the Classic Force? I just stumbled on those and was considering a purchase.
    1. I personally think the best place to learn this is in Card College. It's a worthy investment because of how much is packed into each volume! He also discusses the classic force as well with some really nice tips.

    2. Yes Utopia is really where you can get the bulk of his ideas. He has an online lecture out there BUT it doesn't nearly scratch the surface of the DVDs he put out. It's all about attitude and he discusses this at length.

    3. I am a HUGE fan of Joshua Jay so yes I have seen this and own it. I think it's a great DVD and there are a lot of nice things to add to your sleight of hand tool box. However, as for the classic force itself, I don't think it goes into crazy detail.

    While all of these things are great to say... The truth is... You have to just go out there and try it hundreds of times. That's really the ONLY way to become good at the classic force. I wish there was a book or DVD out there that gives the clue to hitting 99% of the time after a day or working on it. I would buy that for $300 easy.

    You have to go out and try to put that card into someones hand, having them thing "this was a free choice." The best way to do that is during a trick where they have a free choice. This is why Pop Haydn's Chicago Surprise is easily one of the best routines out there to help someone learn the force.
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  12. #12
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    There is some advice I got from Max Maven in context of Equivoque that I think is relevant here. He says to "Hurry the spectator" with an attitude of "Well come on, go ahead." In equivoque it makes the spectator think that there is a deliberate selection procedure, and that he just doesn't understand it, but wants to get on with the effect. In a classic force, you can use words like this "Any card, it doesn't matter" as you start the spread and "Just grab one" as you literally push the force card into his or her hand.

    Lastly, be prepared to proceed without hesitation if they grab the wrong card. Don't have any attitude of "Well now what am I going to do?" Just go on as if you planned all along for them to pick a truly free card the entire time, and go on into an effect where it doesn't matter what card they pick, such as ambitious card.
    I am, therefore...

  13. #13
    RealityOne's Avatar :: Moderator
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    Another good resource is Roberto Giobbi's Confidences. He has a substantial discussion on the psychology of forcing cards.
    ~ David
    Perception of reality is a selection of reality which results in a distortion of reality.

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