Recharging Your Battery…

Last summer I started using rechargeable batteries in my show. I fought using them for a long time because in the past they weren’t very good. I finally listened to Steve Trash and Eric Haines about getting them. While I’m not performing a lot this summer (due to COVID restrictions) they are still getting used.

I bought double the batteries to run my show. When I’m out performing, I have another set in the charger and switch the batteries when I get home. Initially it took a little while to get into the rhythm of using them, but now it’s second nature. I also keep a full set of regular batteries for my show in the trunk of my car as a back up.

The rechargeable batteries paid for themselves within a month or two last summer. Having them this summer is nice because not having a battery bill is adding to my profits, which is really helpful this year. If you’re not using rechargeable batteries, it’s totally worth investing in, I wish I did a few year earlier!

Taking a Pea…

three shell game peas

One of the silver linings about having the entertainment industry shut down during the COVID pandemic is that I’m getting play around with making a lot more props. One thing that I’ve wanted to make for a while are peas for the three shell game.

I had some time some the other day and made some molds for the peas. Then I picked up some urethane and made them. The urethane I used was a 40A on the Shore Hardness Scale.

three shell game pea hardness

They have a little bit of give, but are pretty firm. I like them so far!

Still Working On It…

Months ago I started working on my version of Goshman’s Cards Thru Newspaper trick. My version ended up taking out everything I didn’t like about the trick, which are the cards and the newspaper. I ended up replacing them with Polaroid pictures and an envelope. It’s still a work in progress.

A couple weeks ago I was invited to be a guest at a magic club meeting that took place over zoom. One thing they did was allow people to perform and get critique from Patrick Martin, who also did a presentation during the meeting.

Only a handful of people took the club up. I volunteered to do something if they had space and wouldn’t get in the way of club member’s having the chance to be critiqued. They had plenty of space, so I did my trick with Polaroid pictures.

There was some great feedback, mostly with how bad my pictures were and how they showed up on the screen. They are 100% correct, here’s a screenshot:

magic trick

The reflection from my ring light made the picture hard to see. There are a couple of solutions for this:

  • Spray them with matte spray to dull the gloss
  • Have the camera behind the ring light and bring the pics past the ring light
  • Have more contrast between the animal and background in the actual picture
  • Remake the picture so that it’s not glossy (i.e. fake Polaroid)

I think the final solution will be a combination of all of the above.

a bit of praise…

Yesterday’s post was a bit harsh on Goswick. I’m going to give him some praise today. Here’s a trick I think is an interesting idea:

Now, it’s a interesting routine, I’m not sure it calls for the giant props that he’s using, but it’s a good idea. If there was a way to have a flat board, without the strange triangle, it’d be a much better trick. I think the triangle points at the method.

I do like the idea of watching the elbow, that’s good. I wonder if there’s a better prop for this trick. Maybe a cloth that’s held up, you’d need a little bit of engineering, but using a cloth or something not rigid would add another layer to this effect.

Catalog vs Reality…

When I was a kid there used to be an ad in magic magazines for a catalog of illusion plans. They were by Goswick’s Illusions. I remember writing him to get the catalog and based on the one picture of the illusion and the catalog description it was amazing. Somehow 20+ years l stumbled upon his website and he’s still selling his illusion plans.

It was a very interesting watching his demo videos, he has a lot of creative ideas…unfortunately they are poorly executed ideas.

Here’s one of them:

I 100% give him credit for creating his own method and ideas. However magically most of them fall very short of being good ideas. It’s one thing to have an original effect or method, but you need to understand what makes a trick good. Not everything should be sold, have a free plans workbook that’s the bad ideas, or contribute them to a magazine…charging people for them is something that I personally don’t agree with.

Test it !

One of my favorite creation is my take up reel. It’s something that I’ve wanted to use forever and went out and created a way to make it happen. Normally when I put out magic props, I put out what I use. When developing this, I got it to work great for me and thought I had a final product. I then sent it out to some people and they didn’t use it like I did. That led to me improving it and ended up with a better final product!

It’s always great when I get emails from people who have one:

“Louie’s Take-Up Pull is incredible. If you want to perform the Vanishing Birdcage in the “real world” you need one of these, but you can do much more with it. I have several Take-Up Pulls made by Hammerton and Martin but this high quality modern recreation is every bit as good and at a fraction of the price of any of the others. I highly recommend Louie Foxx’s Take-Up Pull!”

Marc DeSouza

Getting emails like this makes all the work in testing it worth it!

Shell Sequence…

Yesterday I wrote a post about what playing with gimmicked shells, pea and table for the three shell game. Here’s a simple sequence I put together with them to highlight what you can do with the combination:

My end goal is going to be having “zones” on my table that make the balls appear under that specific shell. I think will have some interesting possibilities…

Shell Game Embellishments…

When I was a teenager I ended up with a set magnetic set of shells for the Three Shell Game. If I recall they were Martin Swindle Shells. This set of shells had a magnet in them and a magnetic pea. I never really used the magnet as I couldn’t really figure out a way to get the pea off the magnet. That function seemed to be simply for a vanish of the pea, and that’s it.

Over the weekend I was playing with the idea of getting the pea off of the magnet while in the shell. The second phase of the video has what I’ve come up with:

My solution to getting the pea off of the magnet in the shell was to use a stronger magnet in the table. When the shell goes over that spot, it pulls the pea off the shell and onto the table. The larger idea is to have multiple magnets in the table, so it can be a larger routine with more phases.

Three Ball Routine Props…

A long time ago I wrote a blog post about the three ball routine that I do called Sankey’s Balls. This is a three ball routine that uses two balls, and a third one for the finale. This is the opener for my family shows.

The hard thing about doing a three ball routine is finding suitable small balls. I have a set that I like, but they aren’t made anymore. I needed one more set for one of my cases. I’m trying to have each case have all the props needed for the show in it. So no props move from case to case.

To get another set of balls, I had to make some. This set is fresh out of the mold, I need to trim the fill spots and then they’re good to go.

Three ball routine

I made these out of polyurethane and they handle really well.

Being A Good Guest…

A while ago I was doing a video hangout with some friends and somehow the idea of having my daughter as a guest on one of their livestream shows. Well, we made it happen a bit ago and it was a lot of fun.

Here’s the thing, it wasn’t easy and that’s the problem, so many people think they are interesting and that’s enough. Here’s the truth, you aren’t interesting, you need to make yourself interesting.

How do you do that?

Simple, write out a few stories and have them ready to tell. Watch some of the previous shows and try to anticipate what the host will ask you and then write some jokes or stories as answers. You may never need them, but the act of preparing puts you a step ahead.

Then something unplanned happens, like on the show last week, there was no audio for the first 10 minutes. The first thing we did was look at what we had prepared that was visual that we could do. We had a few things, and we also played with it.

Having the mindset of having to work to be interesting and fun, instead of thinking we were interesting definitely gave us an advantage!

Here’s the whole interview (keep in mind there’s no audio for the first about 10 minutes):