One of the routines that I really liked that I was doing on the school assembly tour was my tennis ball routine. It opens with a production of a single tennis ball from my Take Out Production Box, then it goes into mulitplying balls style routine and ends with a tennis ball turning into confetti.
Here’s the routine:
At about the 1:50 mark you’ll notice one of the kids in the middle showing the kid next to her that she thinks the balls are coming out of my sleeve. When I reviewed video of the show I noticed that, I added a bit where I show my sleeves empty. It’s a little thing, but it makes the routine stronger.
I really like this routine and would like to use it elsewhere, however the challenge is that I need the book to ditch the final tennis ball. I’ll need to figure out another way to ditch the final palmed ball.
In the school assembly show that I’m working on, I have a need to steal a FS2 gimmick (modified Sanada Gimmick). The challenge is that it’s going to be loaded, so it can’t open. The solution that I came up with is to put magnets on the bottom of it, and have it stick to other magnets inside of the opened lid of my case.
The magnets in the gimmick and the magnets in the case will hold the gimmick closed so that nothing will fall out of it.
I marked my case so that I know exactly where to put the gimmick when setting up the show. This is more to make setting up easier, as I can visually see the gimmick sticking out of the case when I need to steal it.
In the actual routine the gimmick will be stolen when I pick up a book that I had previously set on top of the case.
The book serves a double purpose. It facilitates the steal of the FS2 gimmick and when it put the book back, it allows me to ditch a palmed ball.
One thing that a lot of children’s performers neglect is making the magic technique solid. Sure I could ditch the palmed ball in my pocket, but it’s really not deceptive to do it that way. With kids performers there’s a myth that “it’s about the journey, not the destination” and I totally disagree with that. If you have an awesome trip to disneyland, but turn around when you get to the gate and go home, there’s some disappointment. With magic, you need the journey and destination to be great!
One of the routines I’m working on for my school assembly tour next month is a ball manipulation sequence. It’s going to use sponge tennis balls. I’m choosing these because them fit the theme I’m going for AND they play very big. For the routine I need to steal two balls, one at a time. I don’t want to do pocket steals, and they look bad on stage, the work better close up.
Years ago when I used to do a multiplying balls, my routine had a body steal and I used this holder:
This one is great and it lays flat after you steal the ball. However stealing a sponge ball is a little different that stealing a ball that is solid. So to experiment, I bought several different styles of ball droppers to play with:
After trying them, I think the winner is the Sponge Ball Dropper!
This has a couple advantages over the other ball droppers, mainly that it’s designed to hold sponge, and not a solid ball. I like the release action being a squeeze and not a pulling motion. Also it completely hides the sponge ball when it’s in my coat, so if my coat opens, you don’t see a bunch of colorful balls pinned to the inside.
My worry about things that have moving parts is that if it breaks and needs repair while I’m on the road, it might not be easy to fix or get another one. I’ll probably travel with a couple of normal billiard ball droppers as back ups and hope I won’t need them.
In my show I primarily work out of the little bin on the top of my table. It allows me access to my props without having to reach squat to reach down into a case that’s on the floor. It also lets me look into the case and see everything quickly and easily. This is what my table top looks like at the beginning of the show:
As some of the larger props get used they get moved to the trunk on the floor. This is a fairly efficient way for me, as a one man act to manage my props.
Many years ago, I used to work out of my show case that was on the floor. When I was younger I didn’t mind squatting down and grabbing props. As I’ve gotten older, I don’t like to do that, also, ducking behind a case visually doesn’t look good onstage.
I feel like I’ve put a lot of work into the table I’m using for virtual shows. I think it’s really made a difference in the flow of the show. It’s soo much more efficient use of space than how I was previously doing it.
Here’s one view of the shelf:
And here’s the shelf rotated 180 degrees:
The nice thing with having holders is that I can look down and immediately know if something isn’t there as it’s holder will be empty. There are two wild cards as far as set up goes, the rest of the props can stay set up all the time. Those are the Gypsy Yarn and the silk in apple/peach. Both of those routines I set up on the day of the show.
You’ll also notice some redundancies, like each trick that uses a pen has it’s own pen. This is because I don’t want to be searching around for a pen, and it makes sure I have a back up pen if one dries out.
Are there any magic tricks that you’ve always wanted to perform? I’m not talking about the flavor of the month, new trick that just came out. A trick that you read about or saw as a kid, and you still think about decades later? I’ve had many, and luckily for me I’ve gotten to do … Continue reading “Magic Trick Bucket List…”
Are there any magic tricks that you’ve always wanted to perform? I’m not talking about the flavor of the month, new trick that just came out. A trick that you read about or saw as a kid, and you still think about decades later?
I’ve had many, and luckily for me I’ve gotten to do many of them. In the summer I do some library shows and those have allowed me to work on new tricks for my show and do them a lot in a short amount of time. What’s great about that is I quickly figure out if I like the trick or not. If I like the trick and so do audiences, then I can move that trick up to my main show.
Usually the tricks I’ve always wanted to do don’t make it into the main show. However it’s nice to have done them and scratched the itch and no longer feel the need to do them. There is one trick that I keep coming back to, and that’s the Multiplying Billiard Balls.
I did a version of Alan Wakeling’s routine on a tour of 90-ish shows. The routine got really tight and while I liked it, I think it didn’t connect with the audience as much as I thought it should. I did a routine one summer that produced 4 balls with no shell! I really enjoying doing that routine, as it had some creative moves in it.
I frequently do a ball manipulation sequence in my show, and that for the most part keeps me satisfied and I don’t feel I need to work on the multiplying balls. That is until recently. I had an idea for a non traditional version of the trick. This version only uses one ball that the audience is aware of. I’m excited about working on this trick because it’s so unusual!
That brings me back to John Carney’s book Magic by Design. In this book he talks about how there are tricks you will constantly come back to. It’s because they may not be right for you now, but they may be right for you in a year. I totally agree with him, I find ideas in notebooks that I didn’t expand at the time, but that’s probably because I couldn’t. I lacked the knowledge, or hadn’t thought of a second part to it that would make the trick possible.
How I’m using the Evaporation trick in my show right now is pretty simple. I take pour red liquid into a cup and when I turn the cup over a red ball falls out. Not much to it. There is one little thing that I sometimes have to do to the liquid. Sometimes the … Continue reading “Red Evaporation Trick”
How I’m using the Evaporation trick in my show right now is pretty simple. I take pour red liquid into a cup and when I turn the cup over a red ball falls out. Not much to it.
There is one little thing that I sometimes have to do to the liquid. Sometimes the liquid it too clear, so I have to make it a little more opaque. How I do that is simple add a few drops of non-dairy creamer to it and that makes it cloudy.
Using non-dairy creamer makes cleaning up the bottle little bit easier. Something in the dairy that makes the bottle get a little gross over time. There’s no reason why you can’t use milk, or half and half as long as you clean the bottle well after each use.