Yesterday I wrote about working on a trick by removing what you don’t like about it. The specific trick I was writing about is Wild Card. I came up with three things I didn’t like, and there were easy fixed for the first two, but he third was more or a challenge.
For the routine, I was thinking you’d take six cards out of a deck. Then a card would be selected and when rubbed on the six cards they change into the selected card. For the finale, you rub the selected card on the rest of the deck and all of the cards change into the selected card.
I’m not sure if that’s been done before, but it’s a decent flow of the routine. It changes it from a packet trick and into a full deck card trick.
The pain will be to build a deck that’s all the same card and to make the needed gaffed cards.
I just had my first full in person show in over six months! I’ve done shorter shows, but this was the first full one. It’s the most nervous I’ve been in a long time, I knew it was nerves, and I didn’t let them get the best of me.
The shorter show’s I’ve been doing were designed specifically for a 20 min set and didn’t have any of my normal full show material in it. I did a couple of run through’s of the show, it was amazing how much of the show came back immediately.
I was also surprised at what I forgot to do once the show started. I do a nest of boxes, and what comes out of it is something from the beginning of the show. I forgot to do the bit that allows me to get the item. At the end of the show, when I started to do the boxes, I realized I didn’t have anything to come out of them. I took the did a quick card trick and the signed card came out of the nest of boxes.
One of the effects in magic that I don’t do in my show is a levitation. It doesn’t fit with my character, or at least I haven’t found a way to make it fit. I’ve create a couple different levitation tricks, but they aren’t things that I would do. However this one is my favorite:
Method wise it’s pretty solid, it’s self contained and there’s a redundant system in case the gimmick breaks during the trick. It’s also casually examinable before and after the trick. It solves a lot of the reasons why I don’t from a technical standpoint do any tricks that use this method and that’s that they are fragile.
My method is loosely based on a Ben Harris card trick. The gimmick is very different from Ben’s, if you took his card and swapped it for a bill, the trick wouldn’t work. For me, this floating bill trick is a good example of creating some sort of art that’s pretty much for the sake of creating.
A while ago I picked up a used copy of Howard Hamburg’s D Lecture notes. One of the things the mentions in it was that Dai Vernon didn’t like was kicker endings. Vernon’s thinking was here’s the trick I’m showing you, and now here’s something completely different that doesn’t make sense…ta-dah!
Now let’s fast forward to a magic video that was posted in a facebook magic group recently. Watch this:
Did he get your card?
He didn’t find mine.
Now let me tell you what’s wrong with the video of the trick:
First of all, he didn’t find my card! If you tell me to pick a card and don’t find it, I don’t care what else happens, it’s going feel unresolved.
Next, the switch out of the pocket is sloppy. It may work in a in-person context where you are talking to people, but not in a video with zero presentation.
Finally the reveal of the fan of cards changing is just bad magic. When the hand holding 4 cards drops out of frame multiple times and for an extended period of time right before you reveal the change, it’s just not good magic.
Add these up and it’s a bad presentation of a trick.
This trick needs a presentation that’s not a promise that will be unfulfilled (unless you get lucky). Also, t he performer needs to be aware that their need to keep their props in frame. It doesn’t matter if you don’t need to drop out of frame or not, it detracts from the magic. Or if you do need to move out of frame, try to hide it and don’t to it immediately before the reveal.
In the past on this blog I’ve written about progressive anagrams and fishing as a great methods for virtual shows. Here’s another video of me using the Mind Power Deck by John Kennedy.
The small change that I have made in this trick from the video I posted a few weeks ago is that I’m revealing the card before I ask them what card they are thinking of. I think it’s a way stronger trick because I’ve committed to the prediction before they reveal what they are thinking of.
Yes, there are risks doing it this way, but I think the benefits outweigh the risks.
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.
The other night while watching TV with the family I was fiddling with a deck fo cards and came up with a strange color change. There’s a lot wrong with it, and in its current state it’s not a good color change.
The main problem with it is that it’s not good for video. I can see the flash that happens when you palm the card being hidden in a live show, but not on video. Also there are better ways to do a color change.
The other day I posted about a virtual gig I did. I was an act in a cabaret show and my bit was prerecorded, so I didn’t perform live. Honestly that was sort of a mistake. We should have found a way to do it live from different locations, and not prerecorded.
All of these things like Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Zoom, etc all have chat functions. When my prerecorded segment was on the show, I didn’t know if I wanted to watch because I was scared of what people would say in the comments. I forced my self to watch it and read the comments as my segment was playing. I decided what I could learn from negative comments would have HUGE value. I got positive comments, so my ego was unscathed.
One thing about doing a virtual gig is that you can use the comments to your advantage. You can use them for people to pick a card, name a number, say their favorite movie, etc. Now you can add some interactive elements to the show.
The takeaway is you should embrace the comments feature and use them to your advantage!
About six months ago I had an idea for a trick, essentially it was a signed card changed from a five of spade to a four of spade. You can read my idea for method for this trick here. This is basically the trick “Picking Off The Pips” that I think I read a version of in the Amateur Magician’s Handbook by Henry Hay when I was a kid. The difference is that it’s a signed card.
I was going to make up a card, but time wise never did. Then due to the cancellations of shows due to COVID-19 I was cleaning up my office and found a set of Dry Transfer Decal Card Pips.
This was probably the greatest thing that’s come out of cleaning out the office! Thanks to these I was able to easily make the gimmick for my idea.
The pip I added to the card was a bit smaller than the pips currently on a poker size deck, but I don’t think that will change how the trick works.
The trick hinges on people not being as familiar with a deck of cards as magicians are. I remember as a kid my mom coming home from work and they had a corporate trainer do a thing with a deck of cards. It wasn’t a card trick, but at the end the trainer asked if anyone had noticed anything strange with the cards. My mom was the only one who noticed that the red cards were black and the black card were red. The only reason she caught that is at that time she’d probably picked a hundred cards a week for me while I was practicing tricks. Normal audiences won’t notice.
I’m glad to have the gimmick, unfortunately I there are no audiences to do the trick for right now. I wish I could try it out.