One of the tricks that I’m trying to move out of my preshow and into the main body of my show is my version of Iain Bailey’s Measure For Measure trick. This is a tape measure prediction, you pull out the tape and someone says “stop” and there’s a giant arrow drawn on the back where they stopped. I totally reworked Iain’s gimmick so that it works way better for how I perform and the conditions that I perform in. You can read a little bit about it on this blog post.
The challenge I’ve had with it was getting the effect to really hit. It was getting an “meh” sort of reaction. What fixed it was that I added a phase to the beginning of the trick. This first phase I used a separate tape measure and the person from the audience says “stop”, but misses the prediction and it’s wrong. I tell them they will get it wrong the first time, but will get it right the second time. I think this really sets up what’s going to happen the second time and makes their brain processing the effect much faster.
I’ve managed to get a couple more laughs out of the routine as I’ve been working on it this summer. It’s slowly becoming a more fleshed out routine. I just need to do the work, which is writing, testing and editing.
Yesterday I had a full day of driving around town performing at senior living facilities doing my show. They love booking in magic shows for April Fools Day, and you can do shows pretty much from 10 am to about 7 pm if you want to. The main limit is your set up, take down and travel time.
Doing a lot of shows in a short amount of time is a great chance to work on things. I’m working on my Briefcase Magic Show, so not a single piece, but how to get the stuff to gel together as a show.
Everything pictured above (included the applause sign) fits into the case and sets up and packs away in less than 10 mins.
I was able to get 45 minutes out of those props at every show today! I’m working on adding a joke between each trick, that’s adding a time to the show without adding props. The goal is to have 2 minutes of jokes between each trick, that ends up being 12 minutes of the show.
Last week was the first outing of the Briefcase show and it went pretty well. The whole show including the stands fit inside of the Pelican Briefcase. Here’s the show set up at the fair I was performing at last week:
The show uses a lot of three dimensional props, which is intentional. I think that a lot briefcase shows select material based on the prop being flat. Obviously that is a concern. But things like the applause sign, which is hollow can have things packed inside of it.
The whole show was done with me solo on stage, except for the second to last effect, which is a game show routine that uses three kids. I have a method for that routine that I haven’t tried yet, but probably should try so I know if it works or not.
I’m happy with how it’s turned out, and hoping to somehow figure out how to expand it to a 40-45 minute show, which would be ideal.
It’s been a while, but I think I’ve finally got my carry on magic show finished. This is a 30 minute show that fits in a briefcase and could be carry on luggage on an airplane. The case on the stand will go to my right and the applause sign is to my left when onstage.
I think the applause sign is something that adds some physical dimension to the show, so everything in it isn’t a flat handheld prop. The nice thing is while the applause sign is a large prop, it’s hollow, so that I can put things inside of it for travel.
Inside of the case when it’s set up for the show has a lot of free space, so nothing is too cramped inside. I do think I need to find a better way to store the fork and spoon trick, as it takes up a lot of space on the ledge in my case. I think I may make some sort of holder that’s on the inside of the lid of the case.
When the case is packed up, there’s not a lot room to spare:
I’m thinking I’m going to eliminate the stand for the applause sign and put a mic stand mount under it. That way all I can ask the venue for a mic stand and use that. I guess worst case scenario is that if they didn’t have a mic stand, I could simply set the applause sign on a chair or stool.
I’m trying is show out this week at a five day gig that I’m driving to, so I have my normal show with me as well as a backup in case I need it!
A while ago I bought Measure for Measure by Iain Bailey which is a prediction using a tape measure. You pull out the tape and someone says stop and you’ve predicted where they say stop. Here’s the promo video for it:
I think it’s a great trick, but the method didn’t really work for me. There’s a move that needs to happen, and it’s not hard to do, but the move just didn’t work for me. I’m not saying it’s bad, because it’s not, it’s a great trick. The method didn’t work for me.
I ordered a few tape measures and got to playing around with altering Iain’s gimmick.
What I ended up with is a tape measure that starts legitimately closed, ends legitimately closed and is 100% self working, there’s no move. I also upped the width of the tape to the Stanley Fat Max tape measure, so it’ll play a little bit bigger. As a bonus, you can see the prediction retract with the tape as you close it.
Here’s a quick demo of what my solution looks like:
I want to be clear that I’m not knocking Iain’s release, it’s a great trick and I think it would work for most people out of the box. Also, the hard part of creating magic is the first 90%, from the initial idea to a finished product for how the creator wants it to work. The final 10% is easy, and my “improvement” was the easy part, since the idea and gimmick already existed.
Also when it comes to marketing magic, there are a lot of choices that have to be made. Sometimes a method won’t be the best, but more accessible to the majority of magicians, or something that may seem like a small, insignificant tweak will triple the cost per unit.
I’m heading out on the road in about a week, I’m excited to give my version of Measure for Measure a try in front of real audiences! -Louie
A few months ago I picked up the trick Measure for Measure by Iain Bailey on the used magic market. This is a tape measure prediction, where you pull the tape out and someone says stop and wherever they say stop, there’s a giant arrow on the back pointing to that spot.
What I like about the trick is there’s really no explanatory phase to it. You don’t need to set it up, you pull out the tape, they say stop, and the arrow is there. It’s really quick and direct.
Now what I don’t like is that the tape is really hard to manage once you get past a few feet. I think Iain in the video mentions he came up with the trick during the COVID shutdown, so I’m guessing he hasn’t really tried it outside of a virtual context before he released it. The big problem with the trick is that once you get past pulling out a few feet of the tape ruler, it gets very hard to manage. The tape gets floppy and makes the trick hard to present…especially from a technical angle, but also from a visual standpoint. It doesn’t look good with you struggling to hold a tape measure straight.
One solution is to have someone from the audience hold one end of the tape. That’s a decent solution, but it’s not always practical from a stage craft and technical end. My solution was to go to my trusty 3D printer and make a thing that will got onto the mic stand that I can put the tongue of the tape measure into. Here’s what it looks like on the computer:
And here’s what the initial print looks like:
I made it a little bit bigger than it needed to be, so to tighten the gaps, I put the furry side of velcro inside of the holes. I also noticed that the flat end where the tape measure will sit shouldn’t be flat on the top, but concave. I didn’t want print another one, so I hit it with a heat gun, then pressed the tape measure down on it to make it concave. Here’s what the final thing looks like:
That just slips onto a mic stand and I’m good to go.
It holds the end of the tape measure very securely and low, so the audience hopefully can’t really see the backside of it. As a bonus the action of putting it into the holder hides the secret move that needs to take place at the beginning of the trick.
I’ve always said that most of magic is problem solving. Making this little holder took me about 10 mins to design another 10 minutes to alter and solves the big problem with actually doing the trick!