The Darkest Corner…

A few months ago Master Payne turned me onto a book called The Darkest Corner by Ben Hart. I wasn’t familiar with Ben, but Payne told me the book has some unusual magic trick and some unusual methods in it.

I ordered the book right way and have been doing one trick in it at my shows (virtual and in person) this summer. That trick is his Silk in Peach, where the effect is a signed silk reappears inside of a peach. It took some playing to come up with a fun routine, and I think it’s a perfect trick for in-person, no contact, socially distant magic shows.

My solution to having something signed when you can’t get 6 feet from someone and they can’t touch any props is that I ask them to name an animal. I then draw the animal on the silk and write their name. Pretty simple. The production from the peach is visually amazing and that quickly made this trick the “meat” of my summer show.

Look into the book, it’s great!

Scripting Magic…

A few days ago I finally finished volume one of the book Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe. I’ll admit it took me a lot longer to read it that a book normally takes, that’s because I had a lot of projects I was working on, not because it was a hard read. I was really glad I read this book and it’s something that I think more magicians should read.

For me the main take away was the importance of writing what you say down. You can learn a lot from writing it, but it also makes you review it. You can more easily spot places for jokes and just looking at the words makes it easier to write jokes.

I really liked the interviews and while the book goes a bit into the author’s process for writing scripts, I really wish it had more activities to do, more like a workbook. I get that that’s a hard thing to do because everyone has a different process and style. I would have liked a bit more “hands on” type activities.

Scripting Magic Book…

My current book that I’m reading is Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe. This book is interesting and I’m only about 145 pages into volume one and it’s pretty good. When I was younger I used to have a loose script, but nothing formally written down. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized the huge advantages to writing down what you say in your show.

For me writing out a script makes it a lot easier to see where jokes should be. It also makes it easier to work on them. One thing I don’t like very much is the script format that this book uses when it’s showing scripts. I find them hard to read, however I’m 99% sure it’s simply because I’m not used to that format. I think the more I use it the easier it will get to read.

I’m working on my Polaroids to Envelope trick that I wrote about a week or so ago. I decided to write out the script using the format in Scripting Magic. What I did was simply use a practice video and wrote down what I said and added the actions.

In the version in the document above it’s pretty basic and narrative. It’s got a rough presentation hook, and a chuckle in it, but it needs more work.

Creative Funk…

Creativity isn’t something you can force, but there are things you can do to stimulate it. Lately I’ve felt pretty uncreative, however I’ve had a tough performing schedule which didn’t leave a lot of time to play with ideas. Then somehow like magic, the last couple of days I’ve had some great ideas. The main … Continue reading “Creative Funk…”

Creativity isn’t something you can force, but there are things you can do to stimulate it. Lately I’ve felt pretty uncreative, however I’ve had a tough performing schedule which didn’t leave a lot of time to play with ideas. Then somehow like magic, the last couple of days I’ve had some great ideas.


The main thing that changed in the last few days was that I opened myself up to new ideas. I starting looking for them, not waiting for them to pop into my head. Taking control of creativity is the first step to being creative.


Another big change was that I was playing with things a bit more. I’m back to working through card tricks at night while sitting on the couch while my wife watches TV. Sure going through a book on card tricks isn’t exactly creative, but it’s making my brain learn new things, and that opens up my brain to forming new ideas.

Work It Out…

One of the things I do when I buy a magic book, is that I try to work through everything that’s reasonable to work through.  What I mean by that is that I I’m not going to build an illusion if it’s in the book, but I will build simpler project. I try work through … Continue reading “Work It Out…”

One of the things I do when I buy a magic book, is that I try to work through everything that’s reasonable to work through.  What I mean by that is that I I’m not going to build an illusion if it’s in the book, but I will build simpler project. I try work through every trick that doesn’t require a crazy gimmick I don’t have.


I think this makes me a better magic creator and performer.  It allows me to improvise much better as I’ve already done something a few times, it makes it easier to recreate when the moment occurs.  It also makes you look at props differently.

When I travel, I try to make little videos of magic tricks with things found in my hotel room, or in today’s case my state room as I’m performing on a cruise ship this week.  This morning when I was brushing my teeth, I noticed the cups in the bathroom were big enough to hold a deck of cards.  That then led me to thinking about the trick Everywhere and Nowhere by Hofzinser that uses a glass to isolate a deck of cards.  That led me to wondering if a “flap card” would work in a glass.  Turns out a flap card works great in a glass, and I like the isolation that the glass adds to the change of the card. 




Now it’s got me thinking about how I can use this in a show. In a cabaret show, or a stage show where you have video projection, it would be a great reveal for a tossed out deck.  You start with one card in glass as your prediction.   The three cards are selected and the prediction changes to three different cards.  If they saw their card they sit down.  This moves the flap card from essentially a close up trick to something bigger. 

Maybe I’ll start to write a tossed out deck routine using the flap card as the premise/ending.

S. H. Sharpe…

Recently while travelling I started rereading the book Neo Magic Artistry written by S.H. Sharpe. This book is primarily about magic theory, however it does have a few tricks in the back. This book, which is several books reprinted as one makes a great point: “The greatest magicians have always been those whose work appealed … Continue reading “S. H. Sharpe…”

Recently while travelling I started rereading the book Neo Magic Artistry written by S.H. Sharpe. This book is primarily about magic theory, however it does have a few tricks in the back.

This book, which is several books reprinted as one makes a great point:


“The greatest magicians have always been those whose work appealed to their colleagues as well as the general public”


This is something I totally agree with. If you are an artist, you work should have something noteworthy to other magicians or magic enthusiasts. With all of the magic on TV and the internet, even non-magician audience members have become pretty educated about standard magic tricks.


TLDR: Your magic should appeal to magicians as well as non-magicians.

Recommended Reading

Right now I’m reading John Carney’s book Magic By Design. It’s a book on theory of how to become a better magical performer.  One of the things he mentioned was writing down your “ideals” for your magic. Some guidelines as an artist of what you want for your magic / show.   Here’s some of … Continue reading “Recommended Reading”

Right now I’m reading John Carney’s book Magic By Design.

Magic by Design by John CarneyIt’s a book on theory of how to become a better magical performer.  One of the things he mentioned was writing down your “ideals” for your magic. Some guidelines as an artist of what you want for your magic / show.

 

Here’s some of mine:

  • The magic has to be good.  By that there can be no easy explanations of how things work.  
  • Every trick has to have a unique visual.  
  • I have to sweat.  I need to work on stage.
  • The audience has to feel like this “isn’t just another magic show”
  • The audience gets to know me during the show
  • The material has to “move the show forward”

 

I’m sure that I’ll come up with more, but this is just the quick list I’ve come up with.  There’s not much to it, however I’ve always said that creating with rules is so much easier than creating without rules!

 

I’m only a few pages into the book, but I highly recommend it!

 

Louie