A few days ago The Amazing Randi passed. I remember as a teenager reading his books. I never expected to run into him. I was probably 20-ish years old and ran into him at a magic shops. We chatted a bit and ended up hanging out while he was in Seattle doing a TV show.
From the stories he told, he’s a guy that’s lived the life of twenty people. He’s pretty much seen and done it all. From touring with Alice Cooper to speaking at huge scientific conferences and he had great stories about them all!
He’s the first person that really turned me onto altering money for magic. Mentioned I should play with putting Scotch Guard on bills. I think I published the trick I came up with using Scotch Guard in a Linking Ring magazine.
From my limited experience hanging out with Randi, he was a cool guy who knew how live life!
One of the things that’s always in the trunk of my cars is a sound system. Travelling with my own has saved soo many gigs. If the venue has one, I always prefer to use theirs, however there have been many times when I couldn’t plug my mic into theirs, or just needed mine to run music.
Recently I did a “socially distant” magic show and there were supposed to have a PA for me to use. When I got there and asked, they said they didn’t. This is a situation where having my own came in handy. I did have to laugh when they propped the door open with a PA system!
Get a small PA, it doesn’t need to be much. For years I travelled with a Kustom PA 50 in the trunk of my car. It’s got 3 channels and doesn’t take up much space.
I still have this speaker, however I switched to the Roland Street Cube EX, as it can run off batteries, as sometimes finding a plug can difficult. The bonus is the Roland Street Cube EX fits in the overhead compartment on an airplane!
In a few days on 10/23/20 at 8pm I’ll be performing on The CW’s Masters of Illusion television show. When I had the opportunity to pitch them some routines, I chose things that had some unique visuals. Tricks that weren’t just a card or coin trick, but offered something more.
One of the tricks that I pitched to the producers of the show was the card trick that I do with a dinosaur costume! It’s a very unique trick visually, and it’s just a fun routine.
Look at the picture above, look at my face inside the costume. I’m having a blast! That’s something that I think is important, even though no one can really see me, I’m performing as if they can see me. More importantly, I’m having fun! That fun is project to the audience, even though they can’t see me!
Whatever you do, have fun. Fun is the secret sauce that makes or breaks most performers.
The problem with this is that the magician kinda thought about his background, but not enough. He’s got one curtain hung, but for $18 more, he could have bought a second one and had a full background.
The other fix is to crop your picture down. An example below is a screenshot of me at a zoom hangout:
The wider shot shows my office around the edges of my screen. I cropped it out of the outgoing video feed. Little things like that make what you’re doing look a lot more professional…or at least not unprofessional.
It’s kinda nice that my material was spread out during the season, I was on episode #2 and now episode #18. That’s about four months apart, which is better than two back to back episodes, then nothing for the the rest of the season.
I’ll post more about this appearance this when I have more info.
For years I’ve been a huge fan of Jim Steinmeyer, I love his books. I remember reading his Afghan Bands routine in the first Magic Magazine that I ever bought, and have been a fan ever since.
For some reason, I’ve never bought or read his Impuzzibilites books. They’ve been out forever.
I just picked up a full set of the nine books and I’m having a good time reading them. One of the things I love about Jim’s books is that the routines are fleshed out, it’s not just how to do the trick.
What’s cool about Jim’s books is that 99% of the material I will never do. A lot of his stuff is too procedure heavy for my style, however it all inspires me. I makes me want to be better.
In May I started worked on a trick that was my version of Albert Goshman’s Cards Thru Newspaper. You can search for those blog posts, but it shows how the trick progressed from the original Goshman trick to what I’d now consider an original magic trick/routine.
Essentially the original trick is that four cards appear one at a time and reappear under a folded up piece of newspaper. I took out what I didn’t like, the cards and newspaper and ended up using an envelope and four polaroid pictures. The pictures disappear and reappear under the newspaper.
It’s been five months since I started working on it, and really, it should have progressed further, it’s been slow going, mostly because of laziness on my part and not putting in as much work on it as I should be. I’ve been doing it as “preshow” for some virtual shows, but really I should be out at virtual open mics doing it and working it in.
I did recently make a change. I’ve been using this trick in pre-recorded virtual shows lately and a problem the trick had was the problems is that the Polaroid pictures are soo glossy, that they are hard to see on camera. They reflect too much light, and you can’t see them clearly. I took some brochure paper and printed the Polaroid pictures onto that paper. It’s a semi-gloss paper, so while it’s shiny, it doesn’t reflect nearly as much as the actual Polaroid picture.
The row on the left are the real Polaroids and the right are the copies. When they are side by side you can see the copies are a little less vibrant than the originals. However without a side by side comparison, you really can’t tell.
Keep working on your magic, even if you’ve been doing a trick for years and it’s a polished routine. There’s usually still improvements that can be made. Sometimes these are small improvements that no one will really notice, but these little things add up!
When I started out performing magic as a kid, I never thought I would really become a magic creator. I loved performing and loved performing new things I’d read in books. As time progressed I went from creating original patter to then going for original routines and methods.
While I currently write for Vanish Magazine, recently I’ve been in Genii’s Magicana column twice. The first time was for a trick I created and now as part of a trick that I helped work on.
It’s a fun trick called Vampire Cat that uses a deck of cards. There’s a group of us that get together and have little magic jams where we work ideas and brainstorm. This came out of that.