In a few months I’ll be doing some bits for the Kids Entertainer Fest which is a virtual online convention for family performers
I was asked to create some “filler” material and will be popping on throughout the convention to show and teach some quick tricks and stunts. I didn’t want to rehash old things that already exist. My goal is to create new things or some interesting twists on old tricks.
One of the things I started playing with making a troublewit out of a dollar bill:
If you don’t know, a troublewit is traditionally a giant sheet of paper that’s folded up to and twisted to make different shapes. Here’s Jay Marshall doing it:
The challenge from scaling down something that big to something very tiny is that it limits what you can do with it. The advantage of it being soo small is that it will allow me to do the magical kicker that I’m planning on doing with it, which is at the end revealing the one dollar bill has changed to a one hundred dollar bill!
Probably the most magical trick you can do is turn a one dollar bill into a one hundred dollar bill and give it to someone to keep. That will have more impact that almost anything else you can do. That’s why bill change tricks are popular, everyone has an emotional investment in them.
The nice thing about the standard Hundred Dollar Bill Switch is in a live show the folding process takes time which is good. Now let’s move the trick to Instagram where you have up to 60 seconds…and the attention span of the audience is even less. By the time you set up the premise and start folding the bill, you’re losing people. That’s why visual magic is HUGE on social media.
Another factor to consider in social media videos is that the bill isn’t borrowed, so some of the impact is lost. It’s always more amazing if the magician took MY dollar and turned it into a hundred, than used HIS dollar and turned it into a hundred.
Personally I think setting up a premise is important for a quick trick. There are a couple of ways to do that. You can do it in the video, or you can do it in the text of the post.
Here’s a video of a quick bill change for social media:
In the video I set up the premise, which is that it’s a “challenge” a friend gave me. I take up the problem, and solve it. I also solve it in an unexpected way. There’s a story there, I’ll admit, it’s a weak story, but it tells a story in about 12 seconds.
Personally I think it’s important to tell that story. Based on the analytics of my videos, the ones that are just quick tricks without the storyline never get the same amount of views as the ones that do. Of course this is my own experience, and I’m sure there are people churning out eye candy and racking up some big numbers in views.