Over the last few years I’ve started to really prefer the Sanada Gimmick over a thumb tip for stage use. I primarily use it for a bill switch and it allows me to not fold up the bill as small as with the a thumb tip. This makes it play a little bit bigger, but also I think looks more fair.
When I use something like a thumb tip or Sanada Gimmick, I try to stock up on them so that I always have them. I just had 10 arrive in the mail.
These are just for general use whenever I need them. Having access to a lot of them allows me to make some custom gimmicks with them like my tennis ball to confetti gimmick.
If there’s something you use, stock up on it, you never know when they’ll be temporarily or permanently unavailable.
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 challenges of the sponge tennis ball routine I’m working on is to make it more “magically sound”. I’ve gotten a lot things figured out. Yesterday I posted about the steal of the FS2 gimmick and the ditch of the final palmed sponge ball. Something I didn’t like was that a lot happens between the false transfer and the reveal that the sponge balls is gone.
The sequence is: 1: False transfer 2: Hand palming the ball takes the book that I’m holding under my arm, gestures and says a line. 3: Put the book away in my case and ditch the palmed ball. 4: Reveal the ball is gone
There’s a lot of motion, and I think it would be easy for someone to doubt they actually saw the tennis ball in my hand. I wanted to show it after the ditch and I remembered recently reading in a set of Tommy Wonder’s lecture notes about appearing to show the item after the ditch. I also remember seeing this in action the time I was lucky enough to see his act live.
Here’s Tommy Wonder’s act:
For the vanish of the lemon, he’s able to show its there after it’s been ditched. That’s the part that inspired my path to show the tennis ball after the ditch.
This is a simple addition to the back of the FS2 gimmick. Now the tennis ball can be seen after it’s been ditched in my case. It’s been a long road to get to to this point with my sponge tennis ball routine. I’ve always said that creating magic is solving a series of problems and this sponge tennis ball routine is a good example of that!
Sometimes I have ideas and they are works in progress that make slow steps. The Stand Up Cup and Ball routine that I’m working on is still making baby steps towards what will hopefully be a cool routine.
Here’s an early version of the Stand Up Cup and Ball Routine:
What I don’t like about is that I go to the pocket, so that needed to be eliminated. There are also some rules for this routine. It needs to be done solo onstage, done without a table, and my hands don’t openly go into my pockets. I can do steals, use sleeving or things like a topit or holdout.
Here’s the current routine idea I’m playing with:
I’ve eliminated the ball going to the pocket, but I also had to eliminate a phase that I really liked. Where I toss the ball out of the cup, the ball is put in the pocket and it’s immediately reproduced by tossing it out of the cup. If I could come up with a way to vanish the ball without going to the pocket, I could add that phase back in. I haven’t given up on that phase, but it’s not looking good to keep it in.
This trick is a good example of a trick that will probably never be finished. The first version was alright and passible, but not what my vision for the trick is. There’s always things to discover and improve.
A few weeks ago I was hanging out with my buddy Clive Hayward and he showed me Jay Scott Berry’s Lightning Bill Switch. Honestly I think it’s better than the hundred dollar bill switch…in most situations. Essentially it’s the Hundred Dollar Bill Switch, but using a modified Sanada Gimmick called the Cloaking Device instead of a thumb tip.
I bought two videos from Jay, the one on how to make the Cloaking Device and the other on the Lightning Bill Switch. I will say that I feel the Cloaking Device video was incomplete. I think it’s a chopped version of a DVD that he used to sell. Mine starts with him constructing the gimmick, but he doesn’t go into the materials used. I think there’s another video where he talks about the materials, but I’m not going to drop another $10-20 to figure out how to get the name of the type of tape he uses. Personally, I think if I were to buy the videos again, I’d look for a used DVD and you’d get all the info. While I’m all for supporting the creator, I feel like he sold me an incomplete product, so I have no problem paying $5-10 for a used DVD and getting all the information.
With the above concern noted, I still think this is an amazing bill switch. What makes it great is that the bill is only folded into eighths, not sixteenths like with the Hundred Dollar Bill Switch using a thumb tip. That keeps the bill a lot more visible, which is great when doing it onstage and it feels a lot less cramped.