I got home late last night from spending a week in New Orleans at the Sideshow Hootenanny. It was four days of watching incredible acts doing some crazy things! For me the value of these festivals is to run into old friends and make new ones within the industry. These are people I’ll work with in the future or hang out with when I’m in their town, or their in mine.
A great way to do this is with shared housing (aka Air BnB). By putting you all in the same spot, there’s coffees in the morning, or whatever and you get a chance to really bond with a group.
These people you meet understand what it’s like to be a performer and are a great support system and great people!
I highly recommend making friends with people in your industry, and not looking at your peers as “competition”, it will make you a happier person and will open a lot more doors for you!
One thing I learned a long time ago is that an idea or routine is never finished. There’s always room to add or cut from it. For example there’s a prop that I use that uses batteries and it works just fine. There is one thing that I don’t like about it, it doesn’t have an off/on switch, you have to pull one of the batteries.
This isn’t a huge deal, but it is kinda annoying. The reason it doesn’t have a switch is there is physically not enough room inside the prop for it. I’m working on a redesign to make room for a switch. I just did the 3d model for the parts, now I just need to print them out and assemble it!
When I’m on the road, I try to find projects to work on. Things that free up my time when I’m back home. A couple of weeks ago while I was on the road I was working on making my Evaporation Trick.
I found 60 of the the bottles at a store:
In my hotel room I did all of the bottle prep:
When I’m home I’ll put the gimmicks into the bottles and they’ll be ready to ship out to Murphy’s Magic Supply, then to magic dealers around the world!
Doing the bottle prep saves me a lot of time when I’m home, time I could be spending with my family. Look for ways you can use your time on the road wisely, like working on promo or whatever to free up your time when you’re home.
I’m a huge fan of Richard Himber’s magic. He’s put out some really interesting stuff and generally did a really good job of branding it. That’s why we have the Himber Ring the Himber Wallet and my personal favorite the Himber Pail.
At a recent auction a Himber Silver Rocket box was for sale and I managed to get it at a reasonable price. This is a box that’s about 6 x 4 x 4 inches that is show empty by opening all of the sides. The sides are then closed and you produce a lot of silks from it.
I really like the way the load chamber moves around for the production. It’s a great example of economy of motion in apparatus.
I’m getting ready to offer my Take Out Box to magicians. This is a Chinese style take out box that you can use to produce, vanish or change items. There’s a lot that goes into making thing for sale, and one of them is shipping. I made a batch in a slightly larger size but decided to go with the smaller size for the main marketed version. This was mostly due to packing/shipping concerns.
Here’s the Take Out Box in action:
I had 3d printed about a dozen gimmicks in the slightly larger size and instead of throwing them away, I’m offering them at a discount.
With the Take Out Box you’ll get a fully assembled box with 3d printed gimmick installed, a template to use when moving the gimmick to a new box, video instructions and two ungimmicked take out boxes.
These will be available through Hocus-Pocus.com and and here on my daily magic blog at www.magicshow.tips in a few weeks and will be $40.
Save $10 and get FREE USA SHIPPING!
I was playing around with making them in a slightly larger size, but decided to keep the size that I use. This choice was based on packaging them for retail sale. I made about a dozen of the larger size and if you want one of the larger ones you can get them for $30 with free shipping in the USA!
International shipping is a flat rate of just $10!
Yesterday I wrote about doing magic trick where a picture of famous art starts blurry, the magically becomes in focus. In the example I used yesterday it was the Mona Lisa, however it just hit me this morning and I’m getting ready to pack for a trip to New Orleans for the Sideshow Hootenanny was that I should make the trick themed to New Orleans.
I remembered that on my first trip to New Orleans that I randomly came across Banksy’s Nola (Rain or Umbrella Girl) on a street corner. Using Nola for the trick makes more sense as it’s local to where I’ll be.
There’s not much to the trick, it’ll simply be a flap card that changes from a blurred image to an in focus image.
A quick Google search shows that the art has been moved to a hotel, so no longer on a street corner. I could do the trick from where the art was…
This is a good example of trying to give a trick some context, more than just check out this ace of hearts that changes to a two of club. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with just having eye candy, but some sort of context is always nice!
As I get older, my up close vision has started to go. Reading had gotten difficult and when I realized that during my morning writing, I couldn’t read what I had just written I knew it was time to go to the eye doctor. He prescribed me glasses for reading and what a difference it makes!
Having a new view on the world…as long as it’s about 12 inches from my face got me thinking about a trick that has to do with vision. My first idea was to have blurry writing on a notecard that then changed to in focus writing that was readable. The problem with that idea is that it’s small, it wouldn’t really play for many people, unless it was a social media video.
The next idea is better, it’d be a picture of the Mona Lisa, or whatever, but blurry. Then it changes to in focus.
This could easily be accomplished by making it like a flap card.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever do this, but I think it is a good idea!
It’s been an exciting couple of days for books! A couple of weeks ago I won a stack of Will Goldstonbooks from an auction house in Florida.
Will’s books are interesting as I’m not sure who they are written for. The descriptions of how things work are very brief almost like they’re written for a general non magician audience, however the tricks aren’t things that an amateur magician could really make without a well equipped wood and metal workshop. Also without knowledge of the props and magic in general, you really couldn’t make them based on the descriptions in the books.
I did find a little surprise inside one of the books:
The Sensational Tales of Mystery Men is signed by Peter Kane! Peter is essentially the person that created Wild Card and the card trick The Elongated Lady. I’ve got a couple emails out to some people who may know if that signature belongs to that Peter Kane or a different person with the same name.
Over the long President’s Day weekend my family went on a trip to Oregon. One of the places we stopped was Powell’s Books in Portland. Powell’s is one of the largest independent bookstores in the USA and has a nice mix of new and used books.
It took a bit of hunting to find their magic trick section!
They had a bunch of magic books, lots of newer ones and some older ones. I found the Thurston Scrapbook that Phil Temple put out in the 1980’s.