Interactive Coin Force…

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 – PennyNickel

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.

Physical Impuzzibilites…

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.

Finally Impuzziblities…

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.

Impuzzibilities jim steinmeyer

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.

Finally Trying a Trick…

One of the best books on stand up magic as far as tricks go is Jim Steinmeyer’s The Conjuring Anthology. It’s full of mostly stand up style magic, there are other things in there as well, like stage illusions. This book is a tremendous resource.

The Conjuring Anthology by Jim Steinmeyer

Recently I was making a bunch of videos for a client and needed some inspiration. I was flipping through this book and there’a trick that uses confetti in it that’s caught my eye in the past. Essentially loose confetti turns into a full sheet of tissue paper.

I went out, got the stuff to build the prop and got two work on it.

The first thing that I noticed was that this trick is a great lead in to the torn and restored tissue. If you put the two tricks together you’ve got a 3-4 minute routine that takes up virtually no space in your case, or could easily be made in a hotel room.

I’m glad that the project I was working on had me go back and flip though that book. I also think that if I had played with that trick at another point in my life I may not have had the same results as I did.

Interactive Virtual Magic

Right now there’s a lot of interest in interactive magic tricks, where someone can follow along from their home, and the magic happens to them. There a principle that I was first introduced to in the trick Fingertip Mentalism from the book Nothing But Mystery by Jim Steinmeyer. Then I found the book Body Mentalism by Juan Pablo explains and explores the principle much more in depth.

Here’s a video I recently made using the principle:

Personally I like the idea of having people post a pic in the comments much more interactive than simply revealing where they are. Also I find a lot of humor in them posting their middle finger, but in my soul, I’m still a 12 year old boy.

Once you know how to do the math, it’s something that you can do anytime. What I like about it is the principle isn’t limited to “do as I do” type tricks. It’s handy to know things like this, it allows you to do some impromptu magic when you have nothing!

Easy Way To Be Creative…

One of the easiest ways to be creative is to make tricks based on an upcoming holiday. If there’s not a big holiday like Thanksgiving on the horizon, look up the different “national days”. These are things like, National Hotdog Day. Once you have a theme, it’s much easier to come up with tricks. Here’s … Continue reading “Easy Way To Be Creative…”

One of the easiest ways to be creative is to make tricks based on an upcoming holiday. If there’s not a big holiday like Thanksgiving on the horizon, look up the different “national days”. These are things like, National Hotdog Day. Once you have a theme, it’s much easier to come up with tricks.


Here’s a trick I did for Thanksgiving a few years ago:

This is a trick I read in a Jim Steinmeyer book that used your hand. I found it lent itself to using a turkey hand really well. This makes it a great themed trick for Thanksgiving.

Here’s one that I did for for National Light Bulb Day a long time ago:

Putting a box around creating makes it so much easier to come up with ideas. Trying to come up with ideas without any parameters is incredibly difficult!

Magic Clubs and Newer Magicians…

I love magic, and I love supporting magic.  I support magic wherever I go, by going to see shows, visiting magic clubs, visiting with magicians, and doing good magic.  One thing that gets me about magic clubs is a lot of the “old guard” are so set in their ways they can’t see past their … Continue reading “Magic Clubs and Newer Magicians…”

I love magic, and I love supporting magic.  I support magic wherever I go, by going to see shows, visiting magic clubs, visiting with magicians, and doing good magic. 

One thing that gets me about magic clubs is a lot of the “old guard” are so set in their ways they can’t see past their own biases.  This isn’t good for people newer into magic.  Frequently at one of the magic clubs in my area (there are three) when someone does a card trick an older magician will say “oh god, another card trick…” outloud for every one to hear. 


This isn’t good for magic.  People get into magic for a lot of reasons, and to tell them their reason is wrong hurts magic. It makes it less welcoming for new people.  

Also, the advice that is given to newer magicians is horrible.  One of the worst pieces of advice when someone tries something new is, “stick to the classics, they are classics for a reason…”   Whenever I hear that I want to ask them to take out their phone and tell me what kind of music is on it…is it classical?  Do they use a Acomputer…or stone a chisel (the classic method)?   

Jim Steinmeyer wrote an awesome book called, Allow Me To Give You Some Really Awful Advice.  


 This book should be required reading for all leadership and pretty much anyone giving advice about magic at a magic club.  They should also read Joshua Jay’s article from Magic Magazine called What Do Audiences Really Think.    

Jim and Joshua’s writings confirm and back up with data why 90% of advice given at most magic clubs is wrong.  Magicians need to be out there doing what they love, and innovating, not living in the 1970’s.  We also need to be positive to newer magicians and tell them what they are doing right, not what we like or don’t like.  

Bad Advice…

On the internet I see magicians giving other magicians some of the worst advice ever.  It’s also interesting when you look at the websites/promo of the people giving the advice, they really aren’t performers you should be taking advice from.   One of my favorite pieces of bad advice to beginners is “learn 7 tricks”.  The … Continue reading “Bad Advice…”

On the internet I see magicians giving other magicians some of the worst advice ever.  It’s also interesting when you look at the websites/promo of the people giving the advice, they really aren’t performers you should be taking advice from.

 

One of my favorite pieces of bad advice to beginners is “learn 7 tricks”.  The idea behind the advice is good, and that’s to spend time to understand the tricks that you do.  However the messenger in the form of only learning 7 tricks is very misleading.  How do you pick the 7 tricks, if that’s all you can learn?  If we all picked 7 tricks when we got started we’d all be doing pretty much the same shows and there would be no innovation.

 

The saying about learning 7 tricks came out of vaudeville, the story goes:  A kid meets the magician after the show and tells him he knows 150 different tricks.  The magician tells the kid he knows 7 tricks, but knows them inside and out.

 

The main problem with the story to be advice for a modern magician is that it came out of vaudeville.  Most of the magicians were doing an act, not a show.  Their were doing 5-15 minutes, not a modernn 45-60 minutes.  In 15 minutes you could do less than 7 tricks and you didn’t have things like TV or the internet burning your material.   Look at any modern show and just within that show count the number of tricks…it’s going to be more than seven.

 

The other thing is that if you only learn 7 tricks and that’s all you spend your time on, then you aren’t a student of magic.  Personally I learn all I can about magic, I love it and if I could only spend my time on 7 tricks I’d quit and do something else.

 

The moral of this post is 99% of advice you are given by other magicians sucks.

 

Recommended reading:  Allow Me To Give You Some Really Awful Advice by Jim Steinmeyer