Repairing Props…

One of the things that a lot of magicians use are magic tricks that use electronics. They are fun and you can do a lot of really impossible things with them, but the hard part is finding an “out” if the electronics fail. And they will fail at some point if you are out there working.

color vision box magic mentalism trick

In my show I use a Rubik’s Cube that a special something inside and if that ever fails, in most routines you’re really screwed. Awhile ago I 3D printed a box for it, so if it does fail, I can use the box like the old color vision box. The color vision trick is a pretty good trick on it’s own, so having that as my back up method isn’t the worst out in the world.

I’ve been using the 3d printed box for a little over a year and wore it out!

I think a combination of me working outside a lot in the heat and it just getting banged around during travel shortened the box’s life. Luckily with 3d printing, it’s a very quick and easy fix. I just hit a couple of buttons and I had a new one with virtually no effort on my part!

Show Them How…

In mentalism one of the things you can do for the presentation is show them the process. What I mean by that is you show them what you are doing to know what they are thinking. That’s why things like NLP are popular presentation angles in mentalism.

I was at Disneyland a couple of days ago and I’m pretty sure they are using this idea with the lines at the theme parks. You will have someone who works there waving people through a line, then they will suddenly start asking how many people in a group. From my watching, it was usually after asking three groups they would hold the line at that point. I honestly don’t think that person was counting people, because usually the next place the people were moving to didn’t have any capacity issues. There’s a psychological reason they hold and move people and they justify that by showing some sort of process. By asking how many people there are in a group, they are implying that there’s a capacity issue ahead. If they simply said, “Hold here for 5 minutes” that would annoy people, but by showing the people process, we accept it.

Seeing this done in a non magic context really reinforces it’s effectiveness to me. If you do mentalism and aren’t showing process, you are missing out on a great presentation.
-Louie

Carry On Magic Show…final?

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!

-Louie

Large Scale Projection…

In Seattle we recently got our first NHL team, which is exciting. I finally made it out to a hockey game at our team’s first season. At the game for the preshow and the filler during the intermissions, they used the ice as a projector screen

This got me thinking about how to use space like that in a magic show. The rough thing is that in most venues that I would perform in the entire audience wouldn’t be able to see the floor.

They did a bit where they played bingo with specific sections, it was produced well, they lit the four sections that were playing and the bingo cards were projected on the floor.

It was a great use of the ice as a screen and the way they lit the audience made it play well.

I wonder if for a magic trick you could have essentially a bingo card that was projected onto the stage and people stand on numbers. You then have some process to eliminate people and end up predicting the final person standing.
-Louie

Adding a Measure

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.

tape measure prediction

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

Printing Memory…

The idea of using SD cards for magic tricks is interesting to me. I’m not sure why, it’s basically a coin trick, but there’s something about the prop that I find interesting. I think that it’s potentially fragile and has value. The value can be either monetary or sentimental, and usually both.

Designed a SD card for my 3D printer

and printed them out:

There are a few different ones. Regular SD card shaped and then the ones with the holes could hold micro SD cards in the slots. I’m not sure what I want to do with the ones that will hold micro SD cards, I’m thinking a 16gb card turns into two micro 8gb cards.

I’ve got another fun idea, that’s sort of like an “omni” SD card. You mention that memories are contained on them. Someone from the audience mentions a topic that someone would take pics of. Let’s say they choose “Pets”. The SD card turns clear, but inside there’s a the image of a cat.

Now the fun part, playing until I find an idea I like!
-Louie

Area to Improve…

This morning I’m reflecting on the two senior shows I did over the last two days. Normally I wouldn’t put too much thought into them, however it’s been a while since I’ve done a full, in person show. I’ve been doing a lot of shorter bits lately, and that’s a different skill than 45-50 mins.

I think the areas I could improve would be to have a few more “non contact” tricks in this show. What I mean is have non contact options. There are a few spots where I needed to go into the audience, as I wasn’t allowed to bring people on stage. For procedural things, it’s not a huge deal. I’ve already added non contact options for things like “pick a card” an instead I have them name a card. It makes for some more interesting methods and makes me not be lazy.

There are some magic tricks that the person has do for the effect to really work. A good example is a I a Key R Rect / Seven Keys to Baldplate sort of trick and the impact is very much lessened when I turn the keys, versus having someone from the audience do that. The bigger problem is that the action happens in the audience, so it’s harder for people to see. The nice thing is that when it opens there’s a CLICK noise.

One solution I have though of for the Key R Rect trick is to have 3 people pick numbers from 1-4 and whoever picks the number I wrote down wins. I think it works, but in my head I feel it’s lacking something. It could just be that guessing a number doesn’t feel like a game to me. I do need to just go out and try it and see how it plays…

-Louie

Take Out Ideas…

With the Chinese Take Out Production Box, I probably should explore some ideas beyond my initial idea for a routine. While the original idea is good, maybe there’s a better idea.

  • Vanish: Item goes into the box and you open the box flat for the vanish.
  • Mentalism Reveal: Someone thinks of a object and then you make it appear from the box.
  • Multiple Mentalism Reveal: Produce first thought of item from the box, then show the box empty and then produce the second item.
  • Item and Price Reveal: Something thinks of a menu item and price. You open the box to reveal the price inside (also showing the box empty). You close the box and then produce the item.
  • Time Travel: You remove something from the box, and open the box flat to show it empty. It vanishes and reappears in the box.
  • Transformation: Something goes into the box (like hard dry noodles) and they come out as cooked noodles

There’s some ideas, I kinda like the idea of a transformation, maybe ingredients go in and out comes a finished food? Anyway, I’m glad I dug a little bit deeper than just my initial idea.

-Louie

Working on a Briefcase Show…

A while ago I started thinking about putting together a “briefcase magic show”. This would be a show that would fit in a briefcase and have minimal set up and take down. Ideally there wouldn’t be much more set up than simply opening the case.

You can read my previous post about it here.

The end goal would have this show as a totally different show from my normal show, so there is no duplication between the two shows. Right now the set list I’ve written for it is:

  • Ruler prediction
  • Choices Card Trick*
  • Ball of Yarn*
  • Lotto Prediction
  • Spoon/Fork/Knife*
  • Game Show
  • Birdcage

The things with the asterisk after them are tricks that are also in my current main show. That means I need to figure out how to either move them out of the main show, or out of the briefcase show. It’s a fairly mentalism heavy show, with 4 predictions (if you count the card trick as a prediction).

I think I might need to add another magic trick to it…not sure what. I guess that means it’s time to get to work on that.

-Louie

Interactive…

The other day I picked up Interactive by Danny Orleans and Mike O’Donnell as it’s on Sale for 25% off right now. Interactive is a “touch the screen” type trick, however it gets it right. There’s no counting or spelling, which ups the odds of you getting everyone to end up on the right place at the end of the trick.

I got the pro version as it comes with the some tutorials and templates to make you own custom versions. I think the pro version is the way to go, it saved me a ton of time making a custom version. Sure, I could have figured out how to make my own custom version from the basic version, but in time saved, it saved me money.

I’m doing a few library shows in 2022 that are cryptid themed, so I made a custom version of the trick using bigfoot. I’m hoping with the talk up, the trick and the extro that I can get about 3 minutes out of it. I see this as something that I can fairly easily customize for themed virtual events and live ones if they have projection. If you know me, you know I dislike doing tricks that are themed to events…however this is relatively painless and I’m not compromising (much) what I’m willing to do.

-Louie