In working on the trick with pictures of my cat, that is really just a clock prediction using UTP/Time Hacker this week, I feel like I’m learning a lot.
First of all, I was going to have the cat pictures like a list joke, where there are three pictures and I end up the final one of my cat. It think I only need one picture and that’s of my cat. Initially I was hoping to get 5 mins from the routine, but it’s looking like it’ll be more of a 3 min routine and that’s fine if that’s where the trick naturally wants to land. There no reason to make a trick longer than it needs to be.
The second thing I learned was if you ask someone to give you a random time, they give things like six o’clock, which is fine, but not very interesting. The reveal is better if they are thinking of 6:17 as it feels more impossible.
The final thing I’m coming up with is that this trick needs an out. The first day I did it, it worked great…but the second day it failed both times. I think the fails were user error, so I’ll try to figure it out…
One of the symptoms of getting older is that my vision is going. One of the tricks I’m working on this week is Time Hacker by Pitata Magic. The device has switches and the functions are molded into the plastic. Unfortunately I can’t easily read this stuff anymore, so I had to add labels the unit and a cheat sheet to the board that the remote is mounted on.
It’s little things like this that make setting up the show much easier and will reduce the chance of mistakes. For example the remote has two modes and two switches, and it’d be easy to forget which is which. Now I really have no excuse to flip the wrong switch.
Look at your show and try to find spots where you can dummy proof or at least reduce the odds you’ll make a dumb mistake.
About a month ago I picked up two Richard Osterlind books. I got The Principles of Magic and The Principles of Mentalism. These books look like they’ve been out for a while, I think the magic one had a copyright date of 2005 and the mentalism one a few years newer.
These books are filled with short thoughts on different aspects of performing. Usually these little essays about about a page and a half to two pages. Richard gets the information across, but it’s a pretty much just the facts. He doesn’t go too deep into much of it, but it’s a starting point to get you thinking about different aspects of how you perform.
I’d say these books are targeted towards someone who is going from performing for family and friends to maybe trying to do a show, or just starting doing formal shows. If that’s you, pick up a copy of the one that’s appropriate to what you do.
Well, I’m back to my ProMystic Color Match set. This one is honestly the best solution for the trick in my opinion.
I like that I can simply switch on the receiver and it’s ready to go. I can quickly test that the receiver is one and working during my routine by lifting one of the pens while I talk and replacing it into the cup. Also I think the cup is a better display for the pens onstage than them sitting on a flat surface.
The other thing that I like is that I don’t need to use a reset button like on the Murphy’s Magic Anverdi Color Match set. I think that button and the pens timing out is a solution to a problem (for me) that doesn’t need solving. If someone changes their mind, you simply get a new signal. Getting the signal if someone uses a pen a second time is very helpful. It lets you know something is wrong and instead of giving you no signal, it gives you some information to work with. Personally, I’d rather have a little bit of info, than none.
So my conclusion is that the Murphy’s Magic Anverdi Color Match set works fine, just not for how I do my show, and I’m sticking to the ProMystic set.
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
One of the tricks I’ve been working on, sort of on and off all summer is based on Alan Wong and Luca Volpe‘s The Key of Fate. I’m using their basic framework for the trick, but have changed the props a lot. I’m using totally different forces for the prizes and the method for forcing the winner. The basic effect is you predict the outcome of game and what prize the winner gets.
When I first started doing this I was using a larger piece of paper, but the paper got damaged and all I could find was a smaller piece of paper. The small piece was about 15×10 inches, so still fairly large. The trick wasn’t hitting, but due to my schedule I was having trouble finding time to hunt for bigger paper. The effect was playing just OK with the smaller paper and I was thinking of giving up on it. I was attributing the OK response to my performance. Then I had time to hunt down some giant paper, that’s 30×20 and rewrote the prediction.
Here’s the size comparison:
The new prediction is soo much bigger than the previous one. Much to my surprise, the trick is hitting soo much harder with the bigger paper than with the smaller paper. Sometimes it’s small changes that can make a huge impact to a routine.
Now I’m wishing I had done thing a long time ago, I would have gotten a lot more work on this routine done this summer.
Yesterday I wrote about some changes to the Luca Volpe’s Key of Fate routine that I’m making. I figured I should write out the effect:
I show lock that’s locked to a little case and four keys in a cup and only one will open the lock. There are also three colored notebooks and three matching colored spots on the floor.
Three people from the audience are invited onstage to play a game. Whoever’s key opens the lock will win one of the prizes written on one of the pages of one of the notebooks. Each person grabs one key and one notebook, leaving a single key on the table for me. They are to stand on the spot on the floor that matches their notebook’s color.
You flip the pages of the notebook for the first person to see what prize they are playing for. They end up picking 500 Pesos, but unfortunately their key doesn’t open the lock. The first person returns to their seat.
The second person selects the ice cream sundae from their notebook as a prize, but their key doesn’t open the lock. The second person returns to their seat.
The final person, who is standing on the blue spot selects a prize, which is a banana. When they try to open the lock, it opens! Inside the case is their prize, a banana!!! They can keep the banana and return to their seat in the audience.
For the kicker, you show underside of the two spots from the people that didn’t win and there’s nothing under them. The spot of the person that won, has some paper taped to the bottom of their spot. It says, “Congratulations on winning the banana, sorry the other two people didn’t wind the ice cream sundae and the 500 Pesos!”
Ok, so that’s how the routine plays. I’m a huge fan of being able to describe what happens in the trick in a sentence. If I take those six paragraphs of how the routine plays and condense it into one sentence it would be:
The magician predicts the outcome of a game played with the audience.
That’s the effect, it’s a prediction of the outcome of a game.
A trick that I love and that has been in my roving magic show forever is ProMystic’s MD Mini. I don’t use the trick how it comes when you order it from them, I use it inside a different shell, and recently moved it up into a Rubik’s Cube. You can read about in this blog post from a few weeks ago.
Last week I was performing in person shows at a school doing one show a day for four days for a middle school age audience. These were my first shows doing this trick in the Rubik’s Cube shell and it played great! In these shows I’m going the trick in a platform show, not close up. There was a huge surprise that happened, it got twice the response that I thought it was going to get!
I got two reactions out of the revelation. The first is when I tell the person the color they picked, they react and the audience reacts to that. THEN the person takes the lid off the box and shows the color they picked and that confirmation of the color got a response. That second response really shouldn’t have surprised me because the whole point of the box was to have that moment of showing the audience the selected color clearly.
I’m glad the Rubik’s Cube shell and box is working out, it’s really they way to do the trick for a larger audience. In the past I sold the trick (and it played well) based on the spectator from the audience’s reaction. The nice thing about doing it with the larger cube is I can do this on stage with no contact and socially distant from the person from the audience who could stand on the opposite side of the stage!
Mentalism is huge right now, unfortunately most mentalism isn’t huge. That’s the biggest challenge with mentalism, isn’t making it interesting. The biggest challenge is making it play big! I think that’s why there are certain plots that are popular, like a chair test. A chair test uses 4 people, large props and can easily be … Continue reading “Mentalism’s Biggest Challenge…”
Mentalism is huge right now, unfortunately most mentalism isn’t huge. That’s the biggest challenge with mentalism, isn’t making it interesting. The biggest challenge is making it play big!
I think that’s why there are certain plots that are popular, like a chair test. A chair test uses 4 people, large props and can easily be seen from a distance. Where something like a lottery prediction is good if you have video projection, it won’t play nearly as well without projection.
Doing things like having someone roll a die is very small, and even if you use a two foot die, most of the audience cannot see the top side. Having something like a word picked from a magazine is small. This is why I think most mentalism is basically a close up trick that is performed for one person while a group watches. Where with a magic trick like the egg bag, we still see it happen, the part that the person does on stage is fairly “mechanical”. Even a card trick, we all know the card if they show it to the audience. But remembering a word, that’s something only one person knows.
I’ve been working on a trick that’s normally a close up trick, but trying to make it play big. I think I’m onto something….more later…