You aré not overdoing the issue if you pay attention to the thumbnail or fingernail that is to be used to hold the gimmick. It is easy to forget that the fingernail grows and that it varies in size in doing so. The best length for the nail for most Swami Gimmicks is one-eighth of an inch long. Moreover, you should keep the important nail at that length—do not cut it shorter and do not let it grow longer. A slightly square tip to the nail helps to hold.
(g) Alternative Methods of Holding the Card
We have explored one method of holding the card—and the chosen one has been that which we found best after considerable experiment. You shows a typical layout of the wording.
may discover the technique unsuitable and prefer another :—
1. You can write on the card with your arms crossed.
2. You can write on the card when it is held behind your back.
3. You can write with it in the hand hanging at the side.
4. You can write whilst holding it in two hands.
The method we have given, that is, one handed writing whilst the card is held in view at chest height—is THE BEST. It is also the hardest to do. If you want more information about the techniques No's. 1 to 5, you may refer to a very good publication called 14 20 Stunners with a Nailwriter by Chapman. I .am critical of the alternative methods because :—
1. Crossed arms is a natural but still ungainly pose for a performer on stage.
2. Card behind the back. It is not good to have it from view unless sealed in an envelope. Theoretically you could be using an index, exchanging and so forth. The card in view is to my mind, an essential of presentation.
3. Hand at the side is not angle proof.
4. Two hands used to hold one small card—WHY ?
5. Pocket writing has nothing wrong with it. But a pencil stub is as good as a swami and even then it's not on view.
For the reasons given I would advise you to work on the single handed method and do it properly. If you are not prepared to work hard and practise you may as well forget all about Swami Gimmicks because they involve hard work.
(h) The Visible Pencil
Quite frequently you will want to pretend that you are writing a prediction whilst the audience wait. You take out a pencil and appear to write on the card. Sometimes you may actually write, sometimes you only pretend to write. The important thing is to make clear to the audience that the pencil is not in your hands WHEN the chosen number is revealed. To do this, you make a lot of fuss and bother over the visible pencil.
First, make it a conspicuous pencil—a long white painted one. Then have some trouble finding it—searching through the pockets for a moment. This is good psychology; it convinces the audience you have written the full prediction in full view—and then it remains only to put the pencil away —with great deliberation. Never use a short pencil which could suggest you have it in the hand out of sight. A good move once the pencil has been used is to throw it on a table nearby—do it with a 44 don't want that any more " attitude.
Some performers make a point of borrowing a pencil—in theory proving that they have arrived without any means of writing. I am of the opinion that this is being too clever. You are liable to be handed a purple copy pencil, a red one, a pen or anything other than a matching pencil to your gimmick. You must then get yourself out of that fix—when it is all unnecessary trouble. Stick to your own pencil.
Another tip with regard to pretending to write. To do this in a convincing manner is not as easy as it would appear. One concrete solution to the trouble is to stick a wee bit of selotape over the pencil lead—which prevents it from marking and cannot be seen. You may then write properly, and if that's not natural—what is ? Finally, if you are supposed to be writing numbers only in pencil on a card—do not give them the chance to 44 Pencil Read "—other people than magicians, know of this principle.
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