One of the fun things about magic, is while social media magic is pretty much the same around the world, in person magic has very different trends in different places. Recently I found a couple of DVD’s of a magic convention in Taiwan.
I already had the 2010 DVD, and now have 2014 and 2016. What I love is the difference in how routines are put together, what the emphasis is on. I really enjoy watching them. If you get the chance to watch convention DVD’s from other countries, I highly recommend it!
Last week I did two virtual open mics, I did Tricks of the Trade on Tuesday and The Mostly Magicians Virtual Open Mic on Wednesday. I’m trying to hash out my torn and restored postcard. It’s been hit and miss and I’m trying to figure out why. Here’s a compilation video of the two tear and restore sequences from both shows back to back:
In the first clip I’m going a little bit faster than in the second clip. In both clips I’m in a hurry to ditch the pieces. At the Mostly Magicians open mic that was a piece of feedback I got was that the ditch that time was obvious. That’s great feedback! There’s no reason that I can’t hold out the pieces longer. In fact I can hold them out the whole time, either palming them or holding them behind the postcard.
I also still think it lacks a “tah dah” moment. I think by that I mean a magic moment. I think the unfolding of the card visually isn’t very triumphant. When I was a teenager I put together a jumbo torn and restored playing card for a friends act. The tearing sequence was JC Wangner’s, but the restoration was something I thought of. The four pieces just popped open quickly into a restored card. I had forgotten about that flash restoration until now. I’ll have to give it a try!
A few weeks ago I posted about a Quad-Triumph routine. It’s a triumph style effect that used four shuffles. Then about a week later, I came up with a kicker where the deck starts and ends in red/black order. I liked the idea of this kicker, but didn’t like that to accomplish it I had to do a straight cut. My Goal was to only have shuffles.
After a bit more work, I “cracked the code” by adding a fifth shuffle. The fifth shuffle was the key to making this work without a cut. Here’s a quick practice video of the sequence.
I think I should restate that this isn’t as good as the standard triumph routine with one shuffle, cutting at the natural break and flipping that half over. That standard way is much more direct. This initially was a fun challenge as I was trying to get the deck into a specific order. I wanted the deck to go face down card, rest of deck face up with the selection face down within the face up deck. That was for a reveal that I wanted to do, but then this kinda grew out of that.
It was fun to figure out, but I’ll probably never do it in a performance.
I made a cleaner video of the coin to cork trick, which I’m giving the title Corkage Fee. This is the title that was stuck in my head.
I cleaned up the handling’s timing a little bit and added some context to the switch of the cork. For a quick social media video, having the balance on the nose at the beginning is a better switch than a shuttle pass. An even better way would have been to start with a bottle of wine that I took the cork out of. I don’t really drink wine, so that’s not something I have kicking around.
Yesterday I wrote about a Cork To Coin effect (read it here) and I’ve taken it a bit further than a simple 2 second trick. It’s not gone much further, but here’s where it’s at:
I like the idea of a transposition between the cork and the coin. It adds a layer of less obviousness to how the trick works. I think I may flesh it out a bit more and rerecord it with better lighting and put it out as a social media video.
Sometimes you get an idea stuck in your head. For me it’s the title of a magic trick, and it’s not a good title either. The title is “Corkage Fee“. For me that just leads to something involving money and a cork. My original idea was a cork turning into dollar bills. The second idea was a cork that disappeared when rolled into a dollar bill. I came up with a barely working version of the second idea.
I started playing with a third idea for a trick using a cork and a coin:
While not the best idea, I think it may have some uses for Instagram type videos.
Yesterday in a Facebook group Ray Franklyn posted this trick, which I find the whole presentation hook of the name Fu Ling Yu to be demeaning to Asians (full disclosure, I’m asian). It’s a joke that may have worked in 1945, but not now.
The BIG issue I have is that it’s not an original joke and doesn’t have a point of view. He’s making fun of a group of people for the sole purpose of making fun of them. And he’s put zero thought into why he does it. The Fu Ling Yu joke is older than me. He’s doing it because he saw someone else do it. That’s not art, that’s being lazy. Just because it was socially acceptable to do it 60 years ago doesn’t make it OK now. If he used the Fu Ling Yu joke to illustrate some larger point of view, I probably wouldn’t have an issue with it.
Do I think Ray Franklyn is racist? No, I don’t think that was his intention. Do I think the trick that he choose to do was? Yes
As a creative exercise, I took the same routine and just changed the ethnicity of the magician.
Exact same routine. The only difference is that mine has a point of view and I had to delete my browser history after searching for those images.
Of the two videos on this post: -One is art and has a point of view -One is lazy, demeaning garbage
Please think about what you put out into the world, and if someone calls you on it, don’t just say, “I’ve been doing it that way for years…” Do a little soul searching and think about if what you’re doing hasn’t aged out.
Last night Matt Disero posted a video of him performing on a TV show in the early 1990’s. His comments on his set about 25 years later are great and very insightful. Basically he says it’s horrible.
Here it is, you be the judge:
What I like the is commitment to the atomic lightbulb. It’s a lot of props to lug around to light up a lightbulb, but it’s way better than just rubbing it on your sleeve and lighting it up!
I think most performers who create their own material and look back on what they were doing when they were young will have a similar impression to their show as Matt did. It’s because we’re growing and evolving and the person performing isn’t the person you are now. That’s a good thing.
Yesterday I wrote about an idea of doing a matrix with pickles on the bun of a hamburger. I made some mock up bun shapes out of cardboard and gimmicked some pickles and worked out the trick.
Here’s it in its proof concept video:
Obviously it’s still got a long way to go. Figuring out a way to make the bun rigid will be my next challenge. I also need to buy or make some fake pickles that are all uniform in shape. Those are the next two challenges (that I’m aware of).
Normally I don’t watch a lot of TV, especially live TV, so I don’t see a lot of commercials. I just saw a Therabreath commercial that came out in June that has a magicians in it. Here’s the commercial:
What I like about this and the current trend with magicians in commercials or TV shows is that they are using actual magic tricks. It’s way better than doing a quick cut and then showing someone pull out bunny out of a hat. I think most people can tell the difference between CGI or a camera trick and someone actually doing it.
Also I think it’s worth looking at how that 15 second commercial frames the magic. It’s just the “punchline” not the “set up“, we really don’t see the whole trick. We don’t need to see the guy show the card on both sides before it floats, we just need to see it float. Now think of how you can apply that to your promo video.