Many years ago I remember watching a VHS tape with Dan Fleshman who did his Fleshman Flash as part of his cups and balls routine. This is a cool loading move for cups and balls that is a virtually invisible way to load two balls into the cups.
It looks like he teaches the Fleshman Flash on The Restaurant Magic of Dan Fleshman DVD vol. 3.
I remember rewinding that VHS tape over and over, the move was virtually invisible. Early on, that got me thinking about loading sequences and how you need to do more than simply put something into your pocket and steal it out the load.
Here’s and early version of my Cee-Lo Trick and at the end you can see the how the load of the second jumbo dice isn’t from my pocket.
And here’s another loading sequence that I’ve put together:
I think that varying your loading procedure is important. If they all come from the pocket at you put things away, it’s still surprising to an audience, but not as amazing. The more you go to your pockets the easier it is to backtrack. Start to think of clever ways to sneak the large production items in that aren’t all from the pocket.
Many years ago I made up some force dice for a couple of magic lectures. These dice force two numbers on command. I’ve had a few of unsold sets kicking around my office for a few years. About a week ago I was jamming with some magicians over Skype and we were talking about forcing items online. I remembered these dice and how they’d make a great way to for an object in a virtual show.
Here’s a video that I made that explains how to use them in a virtual show:
The cool thing about these dice and gimmick is that you can let the person change their mind after the first roll and reroll. That makes it seem super fair, however it doesn’t change how the force works.
The leftover batch of dice sold out immediately after listing them for sale. The demand was there and I made a second batch and those also immediately sold out. I may make another batch of the dice and gimmicks in the future. If you’re interested in a set of the force dice, contact me and I’ll put you on the list.
The last couple of months I’ve watched a lot of online magic shows and I’ve come to the conclusion that the one thing they all need is a producer. Someone to make the show run smooth, whether is changing cameras, reading comments or just someone to troubleshoot any problems that may come up.
My buddy and I have been working together to produce each other’s virtual shows.
It’s amazing what a little bit of production value adds to the show. Also it’s helping me develop some stuff for stage shows that will use video projection!
If you’re doing a virtual show, find someone to run the production, it helps a lot!
The last week I’ve been working on a trick where four Polaroid pictures disappear and reappear under an envelope. Something the trick will need is a name. Giving magic tricks a name is something that I really hate doing. If I just write “Polaroid” on a set list I know what trick that is.
Where the name becomes relevant is if I decide to release the trick or to publish it. When I publish a trick in my monthly column in Vanish Magazine I don’t put a lot of thought into the name. I pretty much just put something at the top of the page. For product I put a bit more thought, but still no where near as much thought as I probably should put into it.
This week I realized another reason to name a trick. I’m on an episode of Masters of Illusion and in the show description of the trick I’m doing it says what I emailed to the producer. The title I gave them was a pretty horrible title. I’ve learned my lesson and in the future I’ll put a bit more thought into the name of the trick!
One thing you’ll notice that I answer every question with story. I don’t give simple answers, and my stories (usually) go somewhere. You’ll also notice that when I need to think, I repeat the question they just asked me.
A final thing you’ll notice is how I put context on my answers. Right now (May 2020) is a very strange time and hopefully a unique time. When the host asks me what events I have lined up, I have to put a verbal asterisk on the questions. I do that a couple of times in the interview and explain when this was recorded so that someone listening when things are back to normal understands why I answered how I did.
One of the challenges we’re all having moving shows from physical shows to virtual shows are things like card forces. There are ways to do them, however you’ve got to get over things like “lag” in video and comments. There are plenty of people doing the visual riffle card force, but there’s some risk with that.
Here’s a force that I’ve been doing a long time that’s 100% sure fire:
How the force works is you fan a deck and run the joker along it, someone from the audience says stop and remembers the card next to the joker. That’s your force card. The advantage this force has is that it allows people to change their mind. That overcomes any lag issue. They can say stop, then have you move the joker if it’s not exactly where they wanted you to stop.
One of the things I like about this force is how direct it is. There’s really no procedure. They say stop, and that’s where you put the joker. Look into if you need a “virtual card force“.
In my magic lecture I talk about how you should be taking your magic one step further than what’s already out there. This is especially true if you are doing stock magic tricks. One of the twists I’ve put onto a standard magic trick is my finish to the Midmade Bill trick. It’s a trick I call Splitting Image, it was just reviewed by a magic reviewer:
With everything I do, I try to move it a step beyond where the store bought version is. This is advancing the act, simply doing sponge balls doesn’t.
For the Polaroids to Envelope magic trick I’m working on, the last technical step is to clean up the handling. The initial handling had three Tenkai Vanishes, which is fine, but redundant. I also think that if you do the same false transfer over and over, you need a convincer to show both hands empty.
Here’s the tweaked handling:
One thing that I decided with showing both hands empty was that I didn’t want to make both hands being empty part of the vanish. I wanted to show both hands, just not show the dirty hand as a “moment” of the trick. In the video you’ll notice that I show both hands as I turn the envelope over.
The technical end is finished for now. The technical part is something that may evolve over time, and something that’s never completely done.