One thing I love it how other magicians have their props onstage. Not what the audience sees, but the magician’s view. A couple of weeks ago when I was doing my Incredible Idiom show, this is what the inside of my prop case looks like.
All of my props are easily grabbed and put away. There’s no fumbling, I’ve cut out all the dead time of bringing props into view.
I’m still amazed at how many magic shows I see where the performer ducks out of view behind their case looking for a prop. This is usually done by magicians who don’t have a firm set list, and simply chose the next trick on the fly and their show’s flow is different every time.
Having a set list will make your show better! You can see mine on the inside of the case!
Something that always surprises me is that part of marketing a magic trick for most magicians isn’t registering a copyright for their pics, art, trailer and ad copy. Especially for the larger magic companies, where when you search for major releases on sites like AliExpress there are soo many knock offs or pirated copies.
For me part of the process once I get the final version of the art, instructions and ad copy is to register the copyright. This cost $65, so it’s inexpensive, and you don’t need an attorney to do it. Once you get that copyright registration number, it gives you a tool to stop pirated or knock off versions from being sold.
I just got my certificate for my Take Out Box trick in the mail the other day.
You can read about how I enforce my copyrights and trademark here: http://www.magicshow.tips/evaporation/an-intellectual-property-case-study/
If you’re thinking about releasing a magic trick, make this part of your process.
I haven’t put it on my phone yet, however I like the idea of using it to force the fractions of a second. I have an idea for it…I want to have a breath holding contest with person from the audience and ultimately the game tied down to the fraction of seconds. This would be revealed by a prediction that is revealed in stages.
I haven’t gotten to play with the app yet, so my opinion may change once I actually use it.
A couple of months ago I wrote a blog post about a gig that I did that had a PA with only one input, where my show ideally would use three channels. Shortly after that gig I bought a small Maker Hart audio mixer that is designed for people to use on computers. I finally got a chance to try it out at a gig where they had a PA, but had a hand held mic and only one input.
The little mixer worked fine, it had a little bit of hiss, but I suspect I was probably the only one that noticed it. Given the choice of using my normal audio set up with a little hiss or using one (or two) less channels, I’ll take the hiss every time.
Sure I could get a better mixer, however this is an emergency mixer for me, as a mixer isn’t something that I normally provide for the venue. If they read my tech sheet, they’d know that I need three channels.
I’m going to give the Maker Hart Audio Mixer a solid rating as it does what I need it to do and doesn’t take up much space for something I hope I never need to use again…but know I will need in the future.
Sometimes a prop just looks cool and I want to figure out a way to use it. One of those props is the brass plates for the trick Collectors Workshop’s Jaks or Better. The prop consists of two brass plates that are screwed together and dangle from a chain.
Personally I’m not a fan of the trick that the brass plates come with. The Jaks or Better effect is basically a drawing duplication. Someone picks a card and puts it between the two plates. You then draw the picture that they put in between the two brass plates. The effect is fine, I’m not a fan of the method.
The original props looked like this:
About a year ago I bought a set and unfortunately they had changed the brass plates to a powder coated set of red plates. The red plates lack the character that the brass plates have. According to the Viking Magic (who owns Collector’s Workshop) website they switched to the powder coated plates because the brass tarnished.
Personally I think that the tarnished brass is what makes it look cool and interesting.
I’ve had the red set of plates kicking around on my desk for a while and I hadn’t come up with something to do with it. Then as I was heading out to a week or so ago to do a roving magic gig, I had an idea. What if a signed card came out from between the plates?
The method would simply be a double backed card. All I had was a red/blue double backed card, but I grabbed it anyway and put it between the plates.
After arriving early to the gig, I was playing around with the plates in my dressing room and realized I really didn’t need the chain, so I took that off. I also noticed the ring that served as the hinge was too big for what I wanted and didn’t hold the plates tight enough. Luckily I had a small key ring that I could put on it.
Here’s the altered plates:
It really doesn’t look like much difference, but the small ring for the hinge makes a huge difference!
I use blue decks, so the card coming out of the plates out have to be red.
The routine was simple. During my close up set I took the plates out and set them on the table. Then later during my ambitious card routine, after the card has some out of my wallet, I say, “You can keep the card or trade it for what’s in between the metal plates“. 100% of people took the metal plates. What’s fun, is someone every time also said they bet it was the card.
When the plates were unscrewed and a red card came out, it was a great moment to release tension as it clearly wasn’t there card. Then the card is turned over and it is the signed card, and the reveal had a huge impact.
initially my plan was to simply put the card back in between the plates and move on. On the second group I tried it on I handed them the card face up, and was surprised I got a bonus trick when they turned the card over and noticed it now had a blue back!
I thought the color changing back would signal that something fishy was going on, but to my surprise it was interpreted as a trick and it had a great impact!
I don’t know if I’m going to keep using the red powder coated plates, or try to find a brass set, but I do know I’m going to keep doing this bit!
Last week my wife and I had a tourist day in Seattle and part of it we went to see Ira Glass‘s talk called Seven Things I’ve Learned.
At the beginning of it he talks about the title and it’s really just a frame to write a talk around. That was interesting to hear him say that, because essentially that’s what every school assembly magician is doing when they put together a themed show.
At one point during the show, there was an interruption. Someone got up and started yelling that we shouldn’t be laughing when there were people dying in Sudan. I’m not going to call this person a heckler, because it wasn’t really related to what was happening onstage or the performer, it was someone shouting their message. It was unclear whether the person bought a ticket or somehow snuck in.
Ira handled this interruption in an amazing manner! The whole thing felt like it took 5 minutes, but in reality it was probably closer to 90 – 120 seconds. What Ira did was say that the guy is right, that people dying in Sudan was important and that it doesn’t get as much news coverage as it should. He was diffusing the situation. At one point people in the the audiences started booing the guy that interrupted, however Ira kinda shut that down. That’s the right tact, by encouraging the audience to boo, the guy would have gotten louder and louder. Towards the end of the interaction Ira said something like, “I agree with you, the media needs to do better…” and eventually the guy was escorted out.
Then to get the audience back, he did said “I’ve done stories about that…but didn’t feel it was appropriate for a saturday night crowd” and that got a laugh and tension started to leave the room. Then someone in the crowd yelled, “Welcome to Seattle” and Ira replied, “Thanks, so all of your shows have a guy yelling about Sudan…” this got a HUGE laugh and really got the rest of the tension out of the room.
That’s the thing with someone who is interrupting the show with an unrelated matter, no amount of heckler stoppers will do anything. Ira was right by diffusing the situation and not escalating it. Magicians are really bad about escalating their interactions with hecklers or interactions instead of deescalating it. It’s really the better choice in most scenarios, give it a try!
Last week I did a run of school assemblies that were sponsored by a library system to promote their summer reading programs. The show I was doing my my Incredible Idioms school assembly show, which I wrote for a 6 week school assembly tour in January/February of this year.
The challenge remembering the show as the last time I did the show was mid February, so about 3 months ago. What works for me to relearn a show is to listen to audio recordings of the show. This is also why it’s important to record your shows. It’s not hard to do, simply use the voice recorder on your phone.
The week before I had these shows I listened to the audio of the show while I drove in the car or on headphones as I worked around the house. For me passively listening really helps my brain bring back the “mental muscle memory” of the show. This is something that also helps for learning a new show or routine. I record myself doing the script and listen to it over and over while doing other things.
Hope you remember this tip when you need to relearn a show!
Many, many years ago when I was a teenager, I remember a trick if Tarbell that used a wine glass and a deck of cards. The deck was in the wine glass and the card at the front of the deck changed. Then a few years later Lance Burton did it on TV and the version he did was basically Alan Wakeling’s Aces Front.
I’ve liked this idea and for a long time wanted to do a version with three selected cards. The first two appear at the front of the deck and the third one rises out of the top of the pack. I’ve had all the stuff I need to try to figure out the trick, however just lacked time/motivation to start playing with it.
I’m coming up with a lot of challenges for the trick. The main one is that with only a couple of cards, the deck will be in a crazy face up and face down condition for what I’m envisioning. Then it hit me, what if I revealed the a card this way:
This was a situation where playing with the cards ended up coming up with a solution for changing a card inside of a wine glass, and one that I don’t think has really been done before.
When I was a teenager I saw a magic lecture (Michael Close?) where they did a trick that left the audience with a little prop. I think it was an origami bunny from a dollar bill. The lecturer said that clients could see that the magician was actually working by how many people had the origami bunny.
The idea of having something visual that people walked around with after you performed for them has stuck with me. I’ve had versions of things over the years. Currently the end of my ambitious card has the face of the card peeled off and stuck to the person who drew on the card’s shirt.
Recently I was performing at a large event and afterwards the booker commented on how many people had my cards on their shirts. Having visual reminders for bookers that you’re there and working is smart! While not 100% necessary, it is helpful at large events where the booker may never see you.
The new version of Applause Please is now available at Hocus-Pocus.com! Right now there are only five units available and they have them all, so if you want one, be sure to order one now!
I don’t know when I’ll be able to get more of these made. I probably won’t have time to make any more until after the summer.
Applause Please 2: The Encore Applause Please has been a hit of Louie Foxx’s show for about a decade! After releasing it to the magic community 8 years ago, the prop has gone through many changes based on feedback from magicians who use the trick and Louie’s pleased offer Applause Please 2: The Encore!
Louie has performed it for kids, adults and everything in between at libraries, school assemblies, comedy clubs, theaters, and on cruise ships! The basic effect is you use an applause sign that lights up when you step on the foot switch throughout your show. During your show something disappears and reappears inside the lightbulb inside of the applause sign!
The Applause Sign and base have been redesigned by MagicCrafter and built in high quality wood. The remote control units have been upgrade to be completely battery powered, so you don’t need to plug it into a wall, this makes it much more versatile than the original version!
Warm Up: You show an applause sign and light it up by stepping on a switch and the audience claps. When you look away the sign lights up on its own and the audience applauds. The applause surprises you and you look back at the sign just as it turns itself off. This comedy “look don’t see” bit is repeated until the audience is warmed up and ready for the show!
Routine 1: An applause sign is utilized throughout your show. During your show, you pour a bottle of juice into a folded up newspaper and the liquid vanishes! You step on the foot switch to turn on the applause sign and it DOESN’T light up. When you open it up the light bulb inside is FULL of the juice that just disappeared! You twist the end off the light bulb and pour the juice out!
Routine 2: An applause sign is utilized throughout your show. You show a handkerchief, and it changes color from Red to Yellow. You then teach the audience how the trick works and reveal that there are two handkerchiefs. You demonstrate the trick again, while “teaching” how the trick works and at the end the red handkerchief has vanished! You step on the foot switch to turn on the applause sign and it DOESN’T light up. When you open it up the light bulb inside is the missing red handkerchief!
Bonus effect 1: An applause sign is utilized throughout your show. At some point during your show, you make a red handkerchief disappear! You step on the foot switch to turn on the applause sign and it DOESN’T light up. When you open it up the light bulb inside is the missing red handkerchief!
Bonus effect 2: You borrow a dollar bill and have it signed, it ends up inside the lightbulb of the applause sign! You get video of a routine that Louie did for a library tour almost a decade ago. The method isn’t taught, but if you own a thumb tip, you can figure it out and is included as another example of a routine you can do where an object reappears in a lightbulb.
– Remote controlled applause sign! – Plastic lightbulb with 2 bases (one for liquid and one for the silk routines) – Flash drive with instructional video – 9v battery – Evaporation liquid vanishing trick (sports drink style bottle) – Dye tube – Yellow and red silks
You get everything you need to put Applause Please 2: The Encore into your show right away!