Economy Of Motion

When I was at Tokyo Disneyland at the magic shop, one of the things that stood out to me was how the demonstrator moved his hands. There was no wasted motion, it was very efficient.

Tokyo Disneyland magic shop

One of the things with sleight of hand is Economy of Motion. You don’t want more motion than is necessary to do the sleight of hand, or you want to try to reduce motion. However that is with hidden motion, and it doesn’t necessarily apply to the visible motions that are made openly. Sometimes doing something like taking a card and putting it into the deck doesn’t need to look efficient or slick. It can look sloppy and that sloppiness can hide the sleight of hand, or enhance the effect.

A good example of where I try to be less efficient is when I do card to wallet. I used to be soo efficient with removing the card from the wallet that some of the effect was lost. Now I take my time opening the wallet and fumble while pulling out the card. That reinforces that the card doesn’t fit easily into the wallet, so I couldn’t have easily snuck it into it!

Take a peek at what you do and figure out when to have as few motions as possible and when you need more!


News Spot

Here’s a news spot I did earlier this week:

It’s an OK media spot, not the best. They wanted 90 seconds, and I ran the card trick for the camera guy and producer and they wanted the whole routine, just done in 90-120 seconds. That made the spot rushed, I should have let most of the effects linger longer for displays of the card.

Then the camera work during the card trick missed a lot of things because it was tightening up when it should have been wider. All in all, it wasn’t a bad TV spot, but it wasn’t great.


Practicing “think of a card” tricks

Recently I wrote a blog post about learning Marc Oberon’s Bang On which is a named card to wallet. I’m hoping it’s a solution to a trick so I can avoid using an invisible deck. The effect is that someone names a card and it’s in your wallet. It’s a pretty direct way of accomplishing the effect with no conditions, like limiting the selection.

One of the cool things about living now, is that tricks like this are easy to practice with Siri on your iPhone or with an Amazon Echo. You simply ask the smart assistant to name a playing card and they give you a random one. This allows you to react as if you’re actually doing the trick. It doesn’t give you a second of mental preparation while you think of a card.

It’s a much more “real world” way to practice tricks like this.

Choices Routine…

I’ve been working on a trick for my platform/stage show that’s essentially an invisible deck. Well, it started out as an invisible deck and has gone through a lot of changes and doesn’t really resemble a traditional invisible deck routine.

The effect is that the audience eliminates half of the cards over and over until there is one card left, and that card matches the prediction.

I’m working on a platform version of it for my carry on luggage magic show. This will end with the card in an envelope in my wallet. Here’s video of an early test of it:

This is essentially Mark Oberon’s Bang On, but modified so that I only need two wallets and can show the back of the card as it comes out of the wallet.

This routine is really no longer the invisible deck or the Bang On routine. It’s now a mix of methods and you couldn’t do the trick how I do it with the standard props that come with either of those tricks. To me this is what more magicians should be doing. Taking standard tricks and really making them their own, not just with adding a joke or “filtering it through your personality” but actually changing the trick to fit your artistic vision.

Got out there a make actual art, not paint by numbers art.


TCC Card to Wallet…

Recently I picked up the Card To Wallet from TCC’s Magic Wallet Universe. For my close up magic shows, I use the Real Man’s Wallet and love it. I’m not trying to replace it, but looking for something that’s more of an everyday wallet for me to have in my pocket when I’m not performing.

Here’s the video for the wallet:

Ok, so I watched the video before I bought and am aware that it’s a no palm method. Personally I prefer a palming for card to wallet as I think the physical separation of the deck and wallet makes the trick stronger. Also with something like the Real Man’s Wallet the card is in a sealed spot of the wallet, there’s no way you could slip it in there. The TCC wallet lacks both of those points, the strength for me is that it’s a minimalist wallet and something that I would have on me at all times (outside of a paid show where I would have the Real Man’s Wallet).

Just a note, the card can be loaded into the wallet from a palm, but it’s kinda clunky, but possible.

Overall for $20, it’s a decent Card to Wallet, and it’s nice that I’ll have that option on my all the time.

Any Card to Wallet

I’m trying to find a solution for a way to reveal a card that’s been selected by the audience. Essentially this is a free choice, so I need multiple outs. In the past I’ve used several ideas, like limiting the choice, or things like an invisible deck. I’m not sure I like the previous things that I’ve tried. I remembered that Marc Oberon put out a “Any Card in Wallet” trick called Bang On a while ago and found one.

bang on - marc oberon

I was aware of the method and I think this may work for me. The big problem is that it uses a poker size playing card, so it’s small. I think the trick needs projection to work on stage, and there’s really not a way to make it physically larger as the card needs to fit in a wallet.

I’m going to play with this a bit, as it may get me a bit closer to the solution that I’m looking for.


When Your Props Don’t Arrive…

I had a blast being a guest on Nick Lewin’s talk about what happens when you props don’t show up when you do when travelling. If you’re not on Nick’s mailing list where you can get notified of his talks, you need to be on his email list.

you can sign up on his website here:

Here’s my segment from the talk:

Hope you learn something from my experiences!


Mish Mash Wallet

A few weeks ago I ordered a custom designed wallet that had playing cards on it (you can read about my card wallet here). I had totally forgotten about it, until it arrived yesterday. It was a fun surprise!

Here’s the wallet:

This wallet is essentially Harry Anderson’s MishMash card design, but set up like John Kennedy’s Mind Power Deck! I’m happy with how it turned out, however if I was going to make another one, there are a few small changes. Right now it’s a way to force one of 8 cards, then a fishing procedure to know the card.

I’ve got an idea to then have the card appear in your wallet, with no sleight of hand! I’m going to play with this idea later this week!


MishMash Wallet…

For a while I’ve had an idea for a trick wallet…well for a wallet trick. The wallet w0uld be a Tyvek Wallet and you can have them custom printed with what ever you want on them. My idea is to have a bunch of card pieces put on it, and this is essentially Harry Anderson’s Mishmash Card, but printed on your wallet. The basic effect is someone thinks of a card they see and you reveal it.

In the sample above, there’s more force cards than in Harry’s trick. There’s 8 force cards above. I can now use a similar procedure as in John Kennedy’s Mind Power Deck to figure out the thought of card. I can verbally reveal it, or use a multiple out like in David Harkey’s Minds Eye Deck.

I think combining Kennedy and Harkey’s ideas may make it a stronger trick. I uses figure out what the card is without asking what it is and use that information to set up the reveal. I also like the idea of having your wallet be the trick, so you are good to go whenever!

I just ordered a wallet…I’m betting the design will need some tweaking and I’ll have to redesign it and order another one.


Too Much Economy of Motion

When I was a kid I remember someone telling me the secret to sleight of hand is “Economy of Motion“. Using the least amount of motion to get the job done. I agree with that…for the secret stuff. However moving efficiently isn’t always what you want the audience to see. A good example is in … Continue reading “Too Much Economy of Motion”

When I was a kid I remember someone telling me the secret to sleight of hand is “Economy of Motion“. Using the least amount of motion to get the job done. I agree with that…for the secret stuff. However moving efficiently isn’t always what you want the audience to see.

A good example is in my card to wallet routine. I can open and remove the wallet too easily and quickly. When I do the trick I have to remind my self to slow down and fumble a bit, like it’s the first time I’ve done this.

Slowing down also lets the audience catch up with you, or even get ahead of you. I want them to think, “no way that’s my card…wait, it’s going to be my card…” when I do card to wallet. If I want that, I need to give them time to think it!