One of the tricks I’m adding to my virtual magic shows is Cee-Lo which is my cups and dice routine. One of problems going from an in person show a virtual show is that you can’t move the audience’s focus around as easily. At one point in the routine I need to load the cup and doing it in the room with people there is super easy, however it’s much harder with the focused eye of the camera.
Normally I would load this from my pocket, however that won’t work for the reason above. What I’m going to do is load from the table. I designed a holder for the dice and they will slide up into the cup from behind the table’s edge.
This holder is currently printing out and I’ll try it out later today. This is something that I normally couldn’t use in my live shows because I perform in conditions where people can frequently see behind my table. This is one of the interesting things about working on a virtual show, I can use techniques that don’t work for my in person show.
Yesterday I wrote about using “fishing techniques” on streaming magic shows, you can read the post here. Today I’m going to deal with a specific trick. Let’s not forget that I think that if you are doing a trick where you are asking questions to figure out what someone is thinking of, you need to have something physical as your prediction. That makes it harder to back track and figure out the method of the trick.
If you aren’t familiar with this deck, you can show it to be normal, have someone memorize a card and with asking just a few questions you can tell them the card they are thinking of. It’s great! The trick has a built in cheat sheet, but I simply printed out a flow chart and taped it to the wall behind my webcam. This is easier to read that the hidden in plain sight cheat sheet he gives you.
How I add a physical prediction to the trick is I have an envelope that I’m holding in my hand before the trick. The envelope ends up having the card they are thinking of in it. Having the card in the envelope makes it so that someone can’t say, “the magician just asked questions until he figured out the card“. Unfortunately that’s the logical solution that a non-magician would come up with and the correct one. Always add a physical prediction!
One of the methods that I still think is a great method for live stream magic shows are progressive anagrams, or tricks that use “fishing“. I’ve written a lot about progressive anagrams in the past, so today I’m going to talk about using “fishing” techniques over streaming video.
When you are “fishing” you are asking a series of questions to determine what a person is thinking of. This isn’t always a linear thing where you ask question A, then question B, etc. The answer to the question or statement will lead you to the next question. Sometimes these are general statements, like “I’m sensing water…” that would cover a range of things like a boat, a fish, or a cup. With something like a progressive anagram you are naming specific letters.
This is a technique used in a lot of book tests. You’d use statements like “your word is a long word…” which narrows down the list. Tomorrow I’m going to write about a specific trick that uses this technique that is perfectly suited for streaming shows!
Not too long ago someone sent me a video of a magician doing a visual bill change. The trick in the video wasn’t very good as you only saw a small portion of the bill and didn’t see the whole bill until after the change. I sent a quick video back of how I would improve the trick, however personally I wouldn’t do the trick as I don’t think it’s a bill switch is good if you can’t show the most of the bill before it changes. If you only show me fraction of it, it’s not as impressive.
Later that night I was playing around with the gimmick I had made and added some lighter fluid to add some razzle dazzle to the bill change. I was kinda amazed that it worked, and made a new gimmicked bill where I could show the whole face of the bill. Here’s what I came up with:
The fire justified the shaking of the action for the bill, which is necessary for this gimmick to work. It adds a “magic moment” to the trick. It’s not just a visual change that happens with a shake. It also makes the trick longer than a 2 second trick, which is nice.
There are some amazing tricks in magic, one of them is the lottery prediction. It’s the answer to the question everyone gets (even if you aren’t a mentalist), which is “can you tell me the winning lottery numbers“.
There are a lot of solutions, and the best I think is Cesaral’s CUPP. The cool thing about that is at the end the audience is left with a physical lottery ticket they can keep. Right now I think there are several that use a picture of you holding the lottery ticket. Honestly I don’t think this has the impact of a physical ticket, because the easiest way for an audience to guess how it works is actually how it works.
This picture came across my facebook feed of someone doing a digital lottery prediction:
Here’s the problem with it. He’s using a prop (lottery ticket) that everyone is familiar with, but he’s using it wrong. Tons of people play the lottery, it’s a very popular game and because of that people know the rules. In Powerball you can only play numbers up to 69 for the first five numbers. That means that the 85 on that ticket would be impossible to play. Then the last number, the 99 is in the power ball position, which you can only play up to the number 26.
There have to be people who notice that. It’s a simple thing to fix by giving people a number range. I did the lottery prediction in my show for a couple of years, it’s not hard. That little bit of realism makes the trick soo much stronger.
That’s something that drives me nuts, when someone uses a prop to customize their show, but they know nothing of the prop. Look at how most people do the mismade flag…it’s very disrespectful to the flag.
If you use a prop that is something in real life, learn about it!
Sometimes things pop up on my Facebook Memories and I forget how long ago they happened. I just had this picture show up:
This was from the debut of a new trick. Essentially it’s a card sword, but instead of using a sword, it uses an inflatable dinosaur costume! This picture was taken 3 years ago, it doesn’t feel like I started doing it that long ago. I created this trick for a library tour and did it over a hundred times that summer. Then the trick made it into my school assembly show, and I’ve even done it on TV!
This particular trick is a great example of taking an existing trick and altering it soo much that it’s no longer recognizable. I could do this trick in the same show that someone does a tradition card sword in without a feeling of duplication.
That’s my end goal, to be able to be in any show with other magicians and not have to worry about duplication. Sure a vanish is a vanish, but they don’t have to be done the same way.
Every summer I try to add a trick to my show that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Usually whatever that trick is doesn’t make it into the show long term. It does scratch the itch for doing that trick and usually there’s a reason I hadn’t done it in my show.
One of the tricks I’ve always wanted to do is the dancing handkerchief. When I was a kid I did a Sid Fleishman‘s version when I street performed. Today while driving it hit me that a virtual show is the perfect venue for the dancing handkerchief. You can easily control the lighting and the audience’s viewpoint of the trick.
I bought John Calvert’s Casper The Friendly Ghost set a couple years ago when it popped up on a used magic website. I’ve always thought this was a great routine. I remember seeing him do it, if you haven’t seen it, here it is:
I think I’m going two play around with a version of this for virtual shows this summer!
A couple of days ago I wrote about doing the vanishing birdcage for virtual shows. You can read the post here. The thought I had was that a virtual show is the ideal venue for doing the vanishing birdcage. The nature of the venue will allow you to ditch the cage in a manner that isn’t really possible in a live, in-person show.
I was just watching a streaming magic show and someone did the birdcage and used shifting of cameras to unhook and ditch the cage. It’s a great logical moment to get rid of the cage. I’m glad to see someone thinking along the same lines as me.
Personally I think a title card is a great way ditch the card over a camera shift, but both work great.
If you have seen a photo from the moisture festival, you have seen John Cornicello’s work. He is one of two official photographers of the Moisture Festival and the guys were excited to have him in Studio.
They chat about his early career in advertising, what brought him to the Northwest and his time playing in a band that introduced him to the Moisture Festival. A fun interview and great to hear the stories from the guy behind the iconic photos of the festival.