culling - the frustration mounts!

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby a7n6 » 08/26/08 02:13 PM

i have gone through many resources both written and visual, but i still cannot grasp the cull. i find it impossible not to stop spreading the cards when i come upon the card to cull. i've avoided this move for many years. i guess you could say i've feared it for many years. please help. thank you.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 08/26/08 02:34 PM

Maybe one of your local cardguys can help. Or perhaps Kostya's videos he's out of reach for a lecture?
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Postby Kevin Wiese » 08/26/08 02:44 PM

Paul Cummins has culling tips posted on other boards. Maybe he can point you in the right direction if you send him a message.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/26/08 10:36 PM

Culling is a very difficult move to master. Even culling a single card invisibly is tough. It really is something that should best be taught one on one. So much of it is based on the feeling of the cards in your hands--it's hellish to describe.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 08/26/08 11:09 PM

Darwin Ortiz does a good job of explaining the cull in his book Scams and Fantasies. I'm believe he also teaches it on one of the dvd's from the book.
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Postby Magic Newswire » 08/26/08 11:54 PM

Darwin always does a good job of explaining and makes it all look so very easy to master. If only! ;-)
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Postby Scott M. » 08/27/08 12:16 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Culling is a very difficult move to master. Even culling a single card invisibly is tough. It really is something that should best be taught one on one. So much of it is based on the feeling of the cards in your hands--it's hellish to describe.


Thanks for posting that. I've also read the various descriptions of culling in "Card College" and other places but can't seem to shake an awkward, jerky handling. Nice to read here a confirmation that it is hard.

I think Giobbi talks about a kind of "accordion-player" opening and closing the spread as one spreads the cards and says that applying one's one natural sense of timing to the cull is what's important. Maybe, but I'd still like mine to be smoother and more invisible.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/27/08 01:26 AM

You must hold the cards very loosely, and get used to the feeling that they are just sort of floating in your hands.
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Postby Mats Kjellstrom » 08/27/08 01:44 AM

One thing is sure, yo can do incredible card magic if yo can execute a flawless cull. I took me many years to master culling.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 08/27/08 03:17 AM

Culling is my favorite control. I don't think it's that hard -- it takes time but the results are worth it.

I recommend starting with the convincing control, which I think is the easiest way to begin using the cull-type move and getting familiar with the basic culling action.

The next step is controlling two selections -- breaking the spread for a selection makes the cull much easier to achieve in a natural and transparent manner.

Finally you can try to spread through a face up deck and cull the four aces without any hesitation. But, even if you never get to that pinnacle of ability, the ability to cull two or three selections is extremely powerful.
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Postby Irving Quant » 08/27/08 07:31 AM

Try to locate the cards not in the center of the spread but to the left of it. This will give you that fraction of a second for your brain to get the image, process that its the card you need,and tell your fingers to cull.

Try spreading in waves of cards. I think Marlo was the one to propose that?

Now I don't know if this is standard or not, but as far as I know it isn't in the texts. I personally prefer to cull a random card, like the second from the the face, in order to help me not "hiccup" on that first card to cull.

Like Richard said, its kind of weird to explain "the feel". I think its like letting the cards flow (water in the hands culling).

I haven't seen the Road Runner Cull DVD Kostya's yet, but I bet that it is full of very useful information about this. I think that it was previously released in text form. But if it was, I'd still get the DVD since this is one of those things you should see instead of imagine (even though I prefer books over DVDs...)



Hope that helps...I know it helped me wake up right now :)
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Postby Ian Kendall » 08/27/08 08:15 AM

You also might want to have a look at the Cullfather from Big Blind Media. Iain Moran goes into a lot of detail about the move.

I was lucky to be taught by Chris Power.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 08/27/08 09:27 AM

How specifically do you know (feel, see) when the card you wish to cull is over the place on your finger(s) where you move it?
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Postby Darryl Harris » 08/27/08 11:43 AM

If I may add one more thing to all of the wonderful advice you have received so far... Don't worry about speed. Start working in slow motion, and concentrate on the technical aspects only. Work on making the culling action soft, smooth and deceptive. As you start to develop the muscle memory, and a degree of comfort, you will find that it's much easier to add speed to the equation.
Initially, form and proper technique are more important than doing it fast.

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Postby Joneseymagic » 08/27/08 02:52 PM

I'll add my voice to Ian's.

Iain Moran's 'Cullfather' dvd is excellent!

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Postby Lemniscate » 08/27/08 03:42 PM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:How specifically do you know (feel, see) when the card you wish to cull is over the place on your finger(s) where you move it?


Not sure I follow the question, so I'll answer (for me, of course) all the ways I read that.

I handle the cards very loosely with all the cards to the left slightly spread. When I see the card I want coming, I can feel when the edge of it passes over my right middle finger (other fingers too, but that is my antenna, for lack of a better term). At which point I perform the actions to set-up the cull. When I used to hold the cards a bit tighter (lack of confidence maybe?), there would be a slightly audible click when the card came free from the rest of the pack. These days, I can feel the click but, due to holding the cards more lightly, it is not audible.

The follow-up depends on if I am culling multiple cards or just the single card. For multiple cards, I leave the first card in its position and it acts as a guide for all the following cards. If I am culling a single card (a little bit like using a gun to swat a fly; a bit excessive, esp. in terms of handling and looking through the whole deck for a single card control, but that is just IMO), I will slide the card all the way over (again, unless I want it to be 2nd, 3rd, etc, from the top, which is the same as culling multiple cards).

It occurs to me that I may not have answered your question, if not, sorry, I don't quite understanding exactly what you are asking. Also, there are lots of little subtleties in terms of handling that I just can't verbalize or find are quite personal. I got lucky and was able to talk to Daryl a few (many even, gosh I am getting old) years ago when he was lecturing in San Francisco and I was working on the cull and asked him for some tips.

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Postby castawaydave » 08/27/08 03:54 PM

Originally posted by Irving Quant: "This will give you that fraction of a second for your brain to get the image, process that it's the card you need, and tell your fingers to cull."

Well put.

--Also remember not to stare at your hands when you do the move.

Glimpse desired card in spread, then look up and make a comment or ask a question; when spectators meet your gaze to respond, do the cull; then look back down at the spread and continue.

--Much less pressure if they aren't burning your hands...Less pressure, less tension: smoother moves. (See "The Paper Engine" by Aaron Fischer.)

P.S. Like Lemniscate, I'm very lucky to have learned culling from Daryl years ago...THAT guy's Good... :^D
(See "The Boomeranging Card of Mystery" in "Secrets of a Puerto Rican Gambler"...)
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Postby Irving Quant » 08/27/08 05:14 PM

castawaydave:

I should have mentioned that the tip was given to me by Paul Cummins years back (along with other tips).

I will also add that if you look at the card you need at the far left of the deck, you will be able to pull the card under the spread with a lot more space to the right (and more ease). Also, you can close in the spread (spreading waves) a lot easier, thus shading the cull a little better.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 08/27/08 05:15 PM

Lemniscate wrote:...I can feel when the edge of it passes over my right middle finger (other fingers too, but that is my antenna, for lack of a better term). At which point I perform the actions to set-up the cull...


Thanks, coordinating that glimpse of the card with a touch has eluded me - and likewise a sense of when to cull during a moment or action too early or late - as too early seems to telltale and too late leaves no room to cull.

Also agreed about using some attention management to move audience focus from the cards to something else - they've seen cards before ;) - even if it's only to shift their processing to check for extra aces as you pull move for the kings.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/27/08 06:04 PM

I find the more I worry about the technical details, the more difficult the cull becomes. Of course you have to learn the technical details, but then you have to put them from your mind and just do it. 1,000 times.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 08/27/08 07:36 PM

I'm not a fan of the terms "knack" and "feel" in modern technical or teaching texts though they are useful when offering just the kernel of a method - so the motivated student will find what works for themselves using the basic mechanics.

I guess the critical questions are - How do you know when you've got the card and how do you know when to pull the card? Since all we have here is text maybe these would be better questions:

How would you know if you got the wrong card?

How would you know if you were culling too early/too late/in a way they might notice?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/27/08 07:56 PM

One of the culls that has been overlooked in the literature is Jennings' Wedge Cull in The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings. I can't remember if the description is problematic, but the essence of it is that instead of spreading through the deck in a continuous wave, you are casually putting the cards from left hand to right while you talk. This sounds like it would be cumbersome and time consuming, however with good presentation it becomes invisible and unnoticed. It's also easy as hell to do.
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Postby Bob Gerdes » 08/27/08 08:53 PM

Kevin Wiese wrote:Paul Cummins has culling tips posted on other boards. Maybe he can point you in the right direction if you send him a message.


I think Paul posted some tips here as well.

Here's a link to an old thread... I'm fairly certain the long post toward the bottom of that thread is from Mr. Cummins.

http://www.geniimagazine.com/forums/ubb ... #Post44816
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Postby Kevin Wiese » 08/27/08 09:21 PM

Bob Gerdes wrote:I think Paul posted some tips here as well.

Here's a link to an old thread... I'm fairly certain the long post toward the bottom of that thread is from Mr. Cummins.

http://www.geniimagazine.com/forums/ubb ... #Post44816


That's exactly what I was referring to, Bob. Thanks for digging that up. I didn't realize it had been posted here.
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Postby castawaydave » 08/27/08 11:21 PM

Thank you for the link Mr. Gerdes; and thank you Mr. Cummins. Now THAT is an informative post.
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Postby Cugel » 08/28/08 04:22 AM

I think Mike Close explained the cull in one of his workers books. He also mentioned a loose feel, I think.

Some guy culling.
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Postby Marc Rehula » 08/28/08 03:54 PM

Cummins is awesome. His work is very clear AND entertaining.

Cullfather, Roadrunner Cull, Cummins's notes . . . and I still can't cull yet. Maybe with another couple years of practice.
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Postby The Magic Apple » 08/29/08 12:34 AM

ever heard of one called the Cheetah Cull?

could be the best one ever...
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Postby Ian Kendall » 08/29/08 10:52 AM

Marc - all the information is here, it seems you need to break things down a bit.

First off, make sure you have the left hand action learned. To do this, take half the deck in a loose grip and push off two cards so that there is about a 1cm (half an inch for the Imperials) spread. Your index and middle fingers should be touching the face of the second card (the one that eventually will be culled) and the thumb is resting on the left long edge of the top card. Now slightly extend the two fingers touching the second card, and it will slide underneath the top card. Bring your fingers back, and it will return to the left of the top card. Do this a hundred times or so, and then start to draw your left thumb back as you extend your fingers. As the top card comes flush with the pack, the second (culled) card will be almost clear of the top, with only 1cm or so of its left edge under the card. Do this, back and forth, a hundred times or so.

Now it's time to get this action from the middle of the deck. Take the deck in the left hand, and push over twenty cards or so onto the extended fingers of your right hand (in a standard 'spreading' motion). Stop at this point, and lift your right hand clear. You'll see that your left hand is in the same position as the earlier exercise. Lower your right hand until the left edge of the bottom card is just to the _right_ of your _left_ thumb. This is the basic 'culling' position. Without moving your right hand or cards, do exercise one again so that the second card in your left hand rides under the top card in that packet, and is taken with your right fingers (in order to free up the right fingers to take the card, at this point the right spread is held just by the index finger. You will notice that a 'break' appears in the spread when the top card of the left hand is drawn back. Don't worry about that just now, it will be covered later. At the moment, go through this exercise a couple of hundred times to get the feel of the card arriving in your right hand.

Now you are going to start on the hand motion on the right side. Start by getting into position for exercise two. This time, as you do the first action with the left fingers and thumb, move your right hand towards your left hand, closing the spread a wee bit. Don't go too far, just until the tips of your left fingers touch the bottom of your right fingers. Eventually you will be moving both hands, but for now, just the right hand. Do this a couple of hundred times.

Now it's time to get the opening action. This is basically the same as we did at the start of exercise two; hold the deck in your left hand and push off six or seven cards onto your right fingers. Keeping your thumb on the left edge of the last card you pushed off, move your right hand in (as in the last exercise) and close the cards that have been spread. Now, push off another batch of cards from the left packet, moving your right hand out to accomodate them on your fingers. Close the spread again, and repeat. Don't think about culling during this exercise, you are just getting the feel of spreading the cards in groups, and how the cards feel in the hands. Spread through the deck a hundred times or so.

Now we are going to cull a card, but one at random. Take the deck, and begin to spread through the cards. Spread three times (as in the last exercise) and then cull whatever card is in position at that point. It doesn't matter which one it is, but we need to get used to the feel. As soon as the left fingers have done their thing and the right hand has closed the spread, push off another block. Again, don't worry about the culled card, we'll clean it up in a later exercise. For now, remember that it is - spread, close, spread, close, spread, cull and close, spread, close. Do that a hundred times or so.

Right, now that you can cull a single card, we need to make sure that it is under control while on the right fingers. Much has been posted about this already, but on a personal note I tend to take the card into a loose 'cop' on the right fingers, with the index finger lying along the front short edge.

Now it's time to cull a specific card. Take an easy card to remember - Ace of Spades or similar (or even a face up card in a face down deck - or vice versa) and cut it into the centre of the pack. Begin to spread the cards, but you are looking for your card in the crook of your left thumb as they are pushed off. When you spot it, simply stop spreading when it is in position, and execute the cull. Since you are only spreading small groups of cards and the rhythm of the hands coming in and out is constant, the cull should go unnoticed. Do this until you can cull the card smoothly (and remember, in all this go for smooth over speed).

The last part is the easy one. Decide on your card, shuffle the deck and go through and cull it. By now, if you have gone through the steps in order, this will be a heck of a lot easier for you than before. I'll leave multiple culls and the like for another day.

This may seem lengthy, but with any complex sleight (and by that I mean anything where more than one thing is happening at the same time) it is imperitive to break it down into stages if you plan to learn it properly. I made a fairly long lesson for the Virtual Sessions, but hopefully this will help to get you on the way to culling.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Yves Tourigny » 08/29/08 10:52 AM

I don't think that Tony Picasso is willing to explain his Cheetah Cull yet. But I'm looking forward for the day he'll do it.
LJ Wedge Cull is fun to do. It has the great benefit of not leaking from the front.

Kostya DVD on the cull is a must in my opinion. He does a great job imparting the necessary technical details and he is a great exponent at it.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 08/29/08 10:57 AM

The Magic Apple wrote:ever heard of one called the Cheetah Cull?

could be the best one ever...


In print - where?
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Postby Danny Archer » 08/30/08 01:19 PM

I could cull a single card, but more than that escaped me until I watched Kostya's DVD... I can now cull multiple cards and even do a red/black cull...

The only tip I can offer is practice it over and over and you will get it...
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Postby Harvey Rosenthal » 08/30/08 11:06 PM

Gentlemen,

A number of posters offered some good advice on culling. As a person who uses a fair amount of culling in his card magic, I thought it would be useful to provide a link to a movie I made some time ago of one of my favorite tricks that is dependent on culling and an original sleight. The effect is called SUPER CHOPS.

SUPER CHOPS is on of my oldest session tricks. I have taught it to some close friends over the years including Steve Freeman in 1971. It uses two sleights as mentioned above: a spread cull to get the four-of-a-kind named to the bottom of the pack and my Mechanical Reverse Transfer which Dr. Ken Krenzel describes and explains with my permission on one of his L&L VHS tapes to get them reversed in the center of the deck. Now you are all set to duplicate the trick performed in my movie.

The link to the movie is shown below.


http://www.stevedraun.org/harvey/superchops.rm

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Postby DrDanny » 08/30/08 11:16 PM

I'd love to see it, but refuse to install realmedia player. anyone have it in another format?
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Postby Harvey Rosenthal » 08/30/08 11:44 PM

I use an iMac and make my computer movies in the highest QuickTime quality using iMovie. The problem is the QuickTime file size is huge so I always convert the QuickTime movies to Real Player format. I share my movies on a regular basis with among others, Steve Draun, Allan Ackerman and Peter Duffie all who have PCs and have Real Player installed and it has not caused them any problems as far as I know.
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Postby Jim Schuyler » 08/31/08 05:52 AM

Practice culling on non-magicians. Just do it and keep up a good line of patter as it happens. If you don't look nervous and appear to be having fun, you can get away with a whole lot.
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Postby Bob Cunningham » 08/31/08 09:12 AM

Although Real Player has rid itself of most of the intrusive "ad ware" it was famous for in the past, many people still do not trust it.

Try using the Real Alternative player instead. It is light, open source and free of intrusive ads.

http://www.free-codecs.com/download/rea ... native.htm
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Postby Tony Tuccillo » 08/31/08 10:55 AM

This has been a great post as I encountered difficulty with the cull earlier this summer. Below is a post I submitted to Richard James' board http://www.cc-magic.co.uk several weeks ago.

Some of the comments posted there mirror the responses here

==================================== (posted 6/21/08)
Since it's a little after 3am here in Florida I think I need a 'sanity check' regarding my studies with the Spread Cull.

I began with with Giobbi's teaching of the technique in CCv1 (CCv2 on CD-ROM) I found myself making progress each day following his instructions (pull with RH fingers).

At first I was not satisfied with how I was holding the packet of cards in the RH once the object card has been culled. At times the culled card flashed and often embedded itself in the 'v' between my thumb and index finger while the packet of cards on top slid around the RH.

For some reason I just wasn't 'getting it' and I think buying and studying Iain Moran's The Cullfather helped.

Moran has a slightly different take on pushing / pulling than Giobbi and I'm still pursuing Giobbi's method but did pick up a subtle detail from Moran that works with both methods and has helped me.

Finally after looking at the 'view from below' video clip on the CCv2 CD-ROM, I realized I was holding the culled card/packet of cards too deep in the RH. I was literally jamming it into the 'v' between the thumb and index finger.

And I was clamping down on the cards like I was trying to break a walnut.

Once corrected with the cards now resting more on the fingers vs. deep into the V of the RH the move looked much better with no flashing of the culled card. Also I relaxed the grip so my fingertips weren't turning white anymore.

My current challenge is now culling multiple cards.

I started studying the spread cull since finding what I think is a very strong card effect in an '05 issue of Genii. The original presentation comes from Vernon with enhancements by Giobbi & Johnny Thompson.

The effect calls for culling two cards that match the top card of a face down deck. This is done under the cover of searching through a face up deck and taking out 4 of a kind that contrasts with the top & culled cards.

What I need to overcome is I have small hands. Now that's not an excuse but the reason I believe I'm having difficulty with culling the second card.

In order to keep the first culled card in place in the RH and the packet cards that's associated with it, I have very little finger length left on the RH to pull the second culled card. Since my RH pinky is at the bottom of the cards for support, I only have the middle three fingers to work with (index, middle & ring) as the thumb is not an option.

What I'm finding is as I wriggle my RH to try and get some finger length to pull the next culled card, the packet stays on the RH fingers but the first culled card ends up either moving back into the 'v', up jogging so now half an inch or more is flashing or it begins to buckle in the hand which also lends itself to flashing.

So has anyone else experienced anything like this before? Or does this simply sound like a typical issue that will eventually get resolved with more practice?

=======================================

I haven't given up as the cull is necessary of a Giobbi routine described in a Genii issue from a few years ago (Roberto's version of Vernon's 'Matching the Cards').

Some of the additional tips given here are in my 'queue' to follow up this weekend which is my idea of how to spend a holiday.......with a pack of cards and some new material to study.

Thanks all for a very helpful post!
Tony Tuccillo
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Postby DrDanny » 08/31/08 12:17 PM

Thanks for that realalt link. D
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Postby Harvey Rosenthal » 09/02/08 01:33 AM

[font:Georgia]On August 30th I posted a link to a movie of one of my tricks that uses a spread cull a number of times during the course of the effect. My reason for posting that video was to give anyone trying to learn a cull from the written page a visual image how a spread cull done well looks in actual performance. Since nobody commented on the movie I was curious if anyone who watched it found it helpful.

While there were a number of posts that offered some useful information on culling, until one actually sees a cull being performed, the written word alone usually is insufficient to really learn how to cull. You really have to see it being done.

Some posters offered well meaning but to my mind less than useful comments like keep practicing and you will get it. Again, you really have to watch someone who has mastered a spread cull do [/font]it.
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