Yesterday I wrote about working on an interactive coin trick (read it here). This is the style of trick where the person (or group) follows your instructions and you predict where they end. My version has a physical trick kicker that ends with a vanish of all the coins that the audience isn’t holding.
Today I’m going to talk about the procedure that I’m using to force the coins. I came up with my own force sequence for this routine. If you’ve just read Jim Steinmeyer’s Impuzziblities books, they don’t really teach you how to create your own sequence. That’s OK as that’s not the purpose of those books.
The book Body Mentalism by Juan Pablo Ibanez really does a good job of laying out principle that will allow you to create your own sequences. Right now with these “do as I do” interactive style tricks being very popular, I really recommend you get the book to understand the principle. I think knowing why the forces work is good knowledge to have in your head…even if you don’t intend on creating your own sequences.
Okay, let’s get to the sequence I came up with for the trick. You lay out four coins in a row, two pennies and two nickels. They are in this order:
Penny – Nickel – Penny – Nickel
You have them touch any coin, then explain the “rules”. These are you will give them two things to spell, and they move one coin per letter. The first thing they spell is the name of the coin they are not touching. If they are touching a penny, they will spell N-I-C-K-E-L and if they are touching a nickel they will spell P-E-N-N-Y.
Now you have them spell the name of the coin that they are now touching. For example, if they are now touching the penny, they spell P-E-N-N-Y. The coin they are touching is now their new selected coin.
If they followed your instructions they will now be touching a nickel.
This sequence by itself isn’t very strong, but when you add the vanish of all the other coins, it becomes a pretty decent trick.
The Impuzziblities books are great, I’m into my second one and recognize some of the stuff from Jim Steinmeyer‘s other books that I have. It hit me last night why I wouldn’t do most of the material in the books. It’s pretty simple, they are too procedure heavy. Most of the tricks like if you just did the formula you’d get the same results. Jim in beginning of one of the books mentions they are puzzles, so I’m not knocking him or the books for that.
What they tricks in the books need is a physical effect to stick the trick. That takes it out of being a puzzle. Yes, it’s cool when the whole audience has the same card, or is holding up the same hand, but it isn’t an amazing magic trick.
Here’s an example I thought of last night:
There’s a coin trick in one of the Impuzziblities books where you have a row of four coins (dime, penny, nickel and quarter) on the table. Through a bit of procedure a coin is picked. You eliminate one (the quarter) by putting it into your right fist, leaving three coins on the table, one of which is the coin they are thinking of. Then a little bit more procedure and they are thinking of a new coin. You put the remaining coins into your fist with the quarter. You then open your hand and all the coins had disappeared except for the coin they are thinking of, which is the nickel. Your hands are complete empty aside from the nickel.
As far as method for the coins is pretty simple. Use a 21 cent trick coin set and you’ll need to switch the quarter with one of the nickel shells with a Bobo Switch from Modern Coin Magic. You do the switch very early on in the trick , you have a ton of time to ditch the quarter. You will need to tweak the trick a little bit from how Steinmeyer wrote it to force the nickel instead of the penny. Or you could do it as written and end with a dime and penny set, using a click pass get rid of the nickel and quarter.
I think adding the physical trick to the verbal instructions moves the trick a bit more from the puzzle side to the magic side.
For years I’ve been a huge fan of Jim Steinmeyer, I love his books. I remember reading his Afghan Bands routine in the first Magic Magazine that I ever bought, and have been a fan ever since.
For some reason, I’ve never bought or read his Impuzzibilites books. They’ve been out forever.
I just picked up a full set of the nine books and I’m having a good time reading them. One of the things I love about Jim’s books is that the routines are fleshed out, it’s not just how to do the trick.
What’s cool about Jim’s books is that 99% of the material I will never do. A lot of his stuff is too procedure heavy for my style, however it all inspires me. I makes me want to be better.