When I had gotten my wisdom teeth pulled a while ago, I kept the teeth that were removed. For years they’ve sat on my shelf doing nothing. Well I did donate one of them to a friend’s oddity museum, but other than that they just sit there.
While not the greatest trick, here’s something I did yesterday:
I had some black paper on my desk, then saw the teeth and decided that would be a good trick to do. I think I may reshoot it and put it out on social media at some point.
One of the biggest challenges right now with all of the Social Distancing is breaking in new material. Personally I tend to try to work out things on stage. I try them, I ad lib, I tweak and adjust. Right now some in-person venues are starting to open up and this is great and will make working on new material much easier.
Here’s an early version of a trick that I wrote about a month ago on this blog. It’s using “fishing” along with a physical prediction for the trick.
The big change that I made was that I’m pulling the card out of the envelope before the card is named. I’m taking a risk that the person can totally screw my ending by lying about the card that they saw. However the questions leading into the reveal makes it hard to lie, they just can’t make up a card at the last moment as they’ve already confirmed things about it. That’s not going to stop an asshole from just saying a different card, but it does make it harder.
There’s one trick that I’ve been fascinated by for decades and it’s the Himber Pail. Here’s a video of Richard Himber doing it on Don Alan’s Magic Ranch:
I love this trick, the effect is good and it’s got a ton of suprises and hits all of the beats! The problem is that the are hard to find and when the pop up at auctions, somehow I always miss bidding on them.
Then a few years ago, I set out to make a version of the trick. Here’s what I came up with:
The technical end of how it works is completely different than Himber’s method, but the effect is the same. Himber’s method is way more practical than mine. Also my method wasn’t 100% where his is.
This is a trick I revisit very now and then, and still have yet to come up with a practical way to do it. Himber’s method doesn’t scale down to a cup size very well. Eventually I’ll come up with a way…
Frequently something cool will happen to me and my wife will say, “how do things like that always happen to you?” The answer is simple, I’m present in life. I look at things, I talk to people and an generally aware of what’s happening around me.
Here’s an example of being present, I was at a history museum in New Mexico and saw this medical display. Can you spot the juggler’s prop that was put in there?
Here’s a closer loot at it:
It’s a diabolo! It even says it on the edge of it. How did it end up there? I’m guessing it belonged to a doctor and whoever was putting the display together just assumed it was medical.
Noticing this wasn’t a huge life changing thing, but it’s being aware of the things around you. When you are creating magic, or performing being aware of the situations around you can lead to some great discoveries!
For the last twenty years or so, I’ve tried to have a show that people don’t call “cute”. I want what I do to have some edge or be amazing, and not simply cute. However recently a show producer called something I did cute and I was excited for that comment! I was doing my new routine to my Polaroids to Envelope trick that I’ve written about on this blog.
What makes the trick “cute” is the story, it’s a personal story about my family. It’s a real, honest and true story. It’s also something outside of my comfort zone. I do joke based magic tricks, and while I do reveal personal things about my life, this is the first thing I’ve written that was more about the story than the jokes.
The show producer commented that she had a kid and the story was really relatable. Maybe it’s me getting older, but that comment really warmed my heart. Performing is about connecting with people. Usually I do that through fart jokes, but I did it through parenting this time. This routine took me out of my comfort zone and it paid off.
Is my show going to have a huge shift because of this one success? Nope. This trick does add some texture to my show and I will continue to explore writing like this in the future.
When I posted the nut and bolt trick the other day I mentioned that what I posted wasn’t quite what I had envisioned the trick to look like. Ideally it would be a penetration type effect, with the nut penetrating through the thread of the bolt.
I just recorded a quick video of sort of what I’d like it to look like:
That video isn’t exactly what I’d like it to look like, but it’s pretty close. I think that makes for a more interesting effect than a visual animation of the nut unscrewing itself. Moving the nut while it’s covered by your fingers allows the spectators mind to fill in the whats happening may make it more magical.
The important thing is that if you have a gimmick, you should play with it. Figure out what else you can do with it besides simply what the instructions say.
Over the last few days I’ve been writing about social media magic videos and why to post them. Either the trick has to be good (amazing or entertaining) or the trick has to offer something interesting from method standpoint. Here’s a video I just posted:
What’s interesting from a method point of view is that I’ve take a trick and made it go backwards. Of the thousands of this trick that has sold, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the bolt tighten. Not that it’s a huge leap, but it’s something different.
The trick is typically done as an animation, where the nut moves on its own. My vision was for the trick to be done as a penetration. It didn’t quite work out that way for the video and I had limited time to record it, so that’s why it was put out the way it was. Ideally the trick will look like I grab the nut and slide it up the bolt, penetrating the threads of the bolt. Since the video was posted, I’ve gotten it to look like almost how I want it to, but it’ll still take some work.
The last couple of days I posted about a four ace production that someone posted on facebook, then posted one that’s better. It got me thinking about what are the reasons to post a magic trick on social media. For me, I usually do it because it’s interesting from a method standpoint, or something unique happens during it.
Here’s an example of a boring magic trick that’s interesting from a method point of view:
That video is a few years old, but what makes it interesting is the transposition of the pin and the ring. There are a couple of methods working at the same time to accomplish the trick. My reason for posting isn’t simply to have my friends tell me I did a cool trick, but to show something I’ve created.
Before you post a video, think about why you are doing it. What does posting it do to contribute to magic?
In yesterday’s blog post I wrote about a four ace production that I saw on social media and why it wasn’t good. This morning I’m going into my social media and found a four ace production from about a year ago. If I remember correctly this is from Principia by Harapan Ong.
Here’s why the is a better trick that the one that I shared yesterday:
I’m talking, it fills the dead space a bit better
No procedural shuffling
You get an ace production right away
The final ace production is magical and puts an punctuation on the trick
Is the ace trick that I did the best? No, however it’s way better than the one that I shared yesterday. Think about what you’re sharing before you put it out there.
After being in magic most of my life, I still love it. That’s not to say that I unconditionally love any trick, there are plenty of bad ones. For example I had this one come through my Facebook feed:
For a four ace production it’s pretty bad, and the payoff after all that procedure heavy shuffling doesn’t justify the time it took to get there. After all of that shuffling, at least give me a flash production of the four aces, don’t just take them off the top of the deck.
For a social media video, a better trick would be a couple of riffle shuffles and then a flash production, and you’d be at less than 30 seconds of video and it’d be a much stronger trick. For one minute to simply turn the top cards over, you’d need some novelty or cardistry type shuffling to make it interesting.