I now have the three phases worked out and cleaned up the handling a bit. It’s a much tighter routine than before. Here’s the version I’m currently doing:
One of the things I’ve recently added was anticipating that in the second phase that the spectator would almost immediately point to the top card. Being able to foresee that and being able to show that card as not being their card is a great moment.
I’m really enjoying performing this version of the Ambitious Card, and like it much more than doing it entirely in my hands.
When I was at FISM, I didn’t buy much at the dealer room (compared to some people I know). One of the things I picked up from the FISM booth was Sticker Kicker by Jamie Williams.
This is a fun little trick where a sticker stuck to the back of a card becomes the card, and the back of the card becomes a sticker.
Here’s the promo video for it:
I have a slightly different idea for how I want to use it. It will be a later phase in a card routine. However this led me to another idea. I have a pack of Card Stickers. These are simply stickers that are the face of playing cards that are poker size. In theory I can put them onto the face of a blank face card. Then at the end of the routine, I could peel the face off the card and put it into a notebook full of other people’s card stickers.
I think that’d be a fun and strange ending to a routine with a signed card. Also as a bonus, I’m going to imagine it will act like a thick card as well.
I’m a huge fan of letting people show me tricks. I’ve written about it many times on this blog. Not only does it let the spectator shine, it encourages them to keep doing magic tricks!
Every now and then I get surprised and this kid showed me a great trick! It was like a way better version of the 21 card trick. It used three reverse faro shuffles and only 8 cards, so it was very fast when compared to the 21 card trick.
The ending was nice, as it wasn’t just a “Here’s your card”, it was a three phase reveal.
Full disclosure, I’m not the biggest fan of this type of reveal for what I do in my work, but the kid did it well and got a good reaction. I can’t argue with that!
A long time ago I was chatting with Nick Lewin and we were talking about the Ambitious Card. He said it was the “greatest card trick ever” and I agree with him! With the base effect, you put a card in the middle and it’s instantly on top. Very easy to follow. I do think that most modern versions are really multiple revelations of a selected card, as it’s more than the card simply jumping to the top.
A couple of weeks ago I started doing the ambitious card from a spread. Here’s what it looks like:
When I do it there are two phases, the first I push the card in and in the second they do. That gives it a sense of build. I like getting to play a little bit with having them move their finger along the spread of cards.
I’m liking doing it this way when I have a table. It doesn’t play the same with the cards spread in my hand. I think it’s because with the cards in my hand, it feels less impossible.
Sometimes you find things you weren’t expecting when you are searching for other things on the internet. I ended up finding a video clip of me performing an early version of the final version of my “invisible deck routine“, which I call Choices
Here it is:
It’s not really an invisible deck, but that’s how I describe the routine to other magicians as that gives them an easy idea of what the effect is. Before I go further, yes I understand the trick would be stronger if I said, “Name a card” then it was reversed. HOWEVER, that’s not what I’m going for. First of all, I’m trying to get a little bit more time out of the routine.
The video above starts about 45 seconds into the routine, so that gives me a routine that’s about 4 minutes. It also allows me to involve more than a couple people from the audience. The trick also reveals some personal information about me (that’s at the beginning of the routine that’s not in the video). The routine is a lot more personal than, “I had a dream someone picked a card and when I work up I flipped it over“.
I’m happy with how this routine has progressed since that was recorded in October. -Louie
Last night I was playing with a deck of cards while I watched the final couple of episodes of Dexter New Blood and came up with a little pop out of a card from the deck. It’s pretty easy to do:
Hold the deck in your right hand in biddle grip.
Swing cut the top half into your left hand into mechanic’s grip
Your left thumb side jogs the top card about half an inch to the right
As your righthand approaches the left hand, the back of the right hand’s middle fingertip contacts the side jogged card. The right hand continues moving forward and slightly up. That will cause the side jogged card to flip face up. When that happens, your right hand moves down to put the two halves of the pack together.
That’s it. It’s not much, and it feels really familiar. I think it’s a mix of a lot of thing that I already know and that’s what makes it feel like it’s something I already know.
After playing with it with one card, I started thinking about producing a second card. That ended up being a four card production:
While not the greatest or flashiest four ace production, it was fun to come up with last night! -Louie
One of the challenges was figuring out how to do Daryl’s Triumph Display with the deck in the condition that the deck is in for my routine. It’s basically the same as Daryl’s except the final two blocks of cards are hand hand and you rotate your hands palm up to show the face up and face down blocks.
I’m glad I figured out how to do the final display, it just took sitting around and playing until I worked it out, and the solution was soo simple!
One thing I love is seeing people do unusual things. A couple days ago I got to see my friend Terry Godfrey do the Al Goshman’s Cards Thru Newspaper. It’s a great trick and it’s also a fun, special moment when he gets on the floor with the cards. It’s a break from what Terry normally does and when he does it, it feels like he’s showing you something special, and he is!
Seeing him do that trick in early 2020 is what inspired me to come up with this trick:
My trick is essentially Cards Thru Newspaper, however it’s changed a lot. Goshman’s trick used a simple gimmick, mine is a little more complex and of course I eliminated the big sheet of newspaper and changed all of the props!
Last week I was in New York City for Christmas. We went to check out some shows, one of them was Stomp NYC.
If you don’t know what Stomp is, it’s a show that’s percussion based and they use “everyday objects” for their instruments and there is no talking or singing.
There’s a lot to learn about performing from this show. For me the huge thing was relatability. The characters were relatable, but the bigger thing was all of the props were relatable. They were things we all see and touch almost every day in our lives. From things like a recycle bin, to a plastic chip bag, everyone has a point of reference for all of the props. This makes the show soo much more relatable than if it used some strange percussion instrument that was invented for and only exists in this show.
When you look at the props in your show, looking at relatability for your props is important. Keep in mind you don’t need to use things that exist in real life, that’s an artistic choice you are making. However when you do, I think they should be things that actually are when they look like, versus things that pretend to be something in real life. Once again this is an artistic choice An example of something pretending to be something real would be an illusion that’s painted to resemble a cardboard box. Everyone knows it’s not a cardboard box, they know it’s a stage prop.
If you look at my two appearances on Masters of Illusion last season, both use “everyday objects” that people have seen or interacted with before.
The first used a paper bag and some toy animals:
And the second used a inflatable dinosaur costume
The props in those two routines were much more relatable than had I used props that were created just for magic tricks. It gives them a simpler feeling than fancy props and that’s the vibe I’m going for. I’m an everyday guy, not someone solves problems with money. In the end it all boils down to your artistic choice for your show. I’ve made some very intentional choices, and while I don’t expect you to make the same choices, I do hope in my heart that whatever you choose to do, it’s intentional.
Frequently I’m asked to make little promo videos for events that I’m performing. Here’s one a made for a gig a few days ago:
They wanted me to thank the sponsors and to do a quick trick. One of my “go to tricks” for situations like that are flap cards for a quick color change. I do the first change in the glass (which as far as I know I’m the first to do) which I think adds to the impossibility of it changing. Then the second is just the toss change.
Having a quick and visual trick you can do for things like this helpful. Also essentially having a formula for doing videos for events, so you’re not reinventing the wheel every time. I just grab my glass and card and I’m good to go!