Sometimes I have ideas that I know I’ll never do and just aren’t practical, but I want to try them to see how they actually play out. What I wanted to do was add a FISM Flash to the vanishing birdcage. I recently acquired a FISM Flash in a box of used magic, so I was able to give it a try!
I think it does add something to the effect, however I don’t think what it adds makes it worth all of the extra wiring that’s around your body. It would be good for a short act, or a TV spot, but not as something I’d do in a full show.
I’m probably not the first person to try combining the FISM Flash and the Vanishing Birdcage, and I’m sure most people who have tried it came to the same conclusion, which is it’s just not that practical. -Louie
Last week in the green room when Jeremy Schafer, who is a juggler and also an origami master asked me if I wanted to learn how to make an origami model. Of course I said yes, and I was already learning, I didn’t know that the origami you make is called “models”.
I was his test folder for an original origami model of his. Here’s his tutorial for how to make the Heptagonal Box with Lid and I make an appearance at the end
Whenever you have the opportunity to learn from someone who is an expert, do it!
One of the things I hate is when people tell me they “have a joke that I can use in my act“, then proceed to tell the me the lamest, street joke. I always let them tell it to me, and laugh to be polite, but it’s never a good or original joke.
I recently had a musician working the same event as I was “give” me this joke: You show a beer and say, “I’m going to make this beer disappear” then you drink the beer. It’s a stupid joke because everyone gets to the punchline before you can deliver, that and the payoff isn’t that good. I’m sure some hack comedy magicians will tell me they kill with that gag, and if they actually do, good for them.
One of the reasons I always let the person tell me the joke is you never know what it will spark in your brain. The joke made me think of the old Ever Filling Glass. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s a glass that you drink from and then it’s full again.
Here’s a demo video of it I found:
If you pared that trick with joke, you might have something that has a magical pay out.
You show the glass and a handkerchief. Say “the beer will disappear” and cover it with the handkerchief. Pretend to drink the beer from under the handkerchief and then show the cup almost empty. You then recover the glass, say, “it’s going to reappear…now!” and whisk the handkerchief away to show it’s now full again!
I think this would also work with Mago Murphy’s Appearing Beer Trick, you’d just have to work it slightly differently, starting with the full beer and stealing the gimmick while you pretend to drink it.
I don’t think I’ll ever do this, but it’s an idea…
In a facebook magic group someone asked this question:
The problem the person has is really a non-issue. Who really cares if a video editor knows how a trick works? They are someone you have hired to help you. It’s like having a topit sewn into your jacket, if the person doing the sewing knows you have a secret pocket, does it matter?
No it doesn’t.
Another when hiring someone to work on a video for you or for when you work on TV, let them know what to not record or what to be aware of. I was lucky my first local TV show that I was on, the director worked on one of Siegfried and Roy‘s videos and he asked me if there were any bad angles or things he should be aware of to not show. That taught me it’s better to be proactive and tell them what not to show than try to figure it out in the moment when you know the camera is in the wrong spot.
A couple of weeks ago someone asked me what shell game set I used and why I preferred that set. My working set is Leo Smetser’s Three Shell Game Set.
There’s a lot that I like about his set, but the number on thing is that it’s so easy to carry in my pocket. The trick all fits into it’s metal case which doubles as the “shotglass” that’s used in most routines to double cover the pea.
Here’s a little video I made to tell you why I like this set:
For the pea, I don’t use Leo’s sponge peas. I use the Perfect Pea from School For Scoundrels. That’s by far my preferred pea to use with every set of shells.
The trick I’m currently working on is more of a gag. It’s for the end of my ambitious card routine. After the trick is done, I peel off the signed face of the card, leaving a blank card.
Here’s a video of one of the trials of it:
I quickly realized I need to do it backwards, giving them the sticker and leaving me with the blank card!
The full face sticker plays as fun, not strange. Almost like it’s something that you could do with any playing card, but never knew you could. The other version of the trick that I’m doing that leaves the pips behind plays more like a strange thing.
I think either version would be elevated from a bit or gag to an pretty good trick if you did it with a borrowed deck or a deck at the bar. If you added in the sticker card and stole out the duplicate, you’ve got a very memorable moment!
I got to try out the trick I wrote about yesterday that used Index Only playing cards and Card Stickers where I peel off a piece of the card and give it away. It’s not really a trick, but I think it’s more like what Paul Harris calls a piece of strange. It really wouldn’t fly as a stand alone trick and honestly it is what it is, a sticker on a card. However it has more going for it in a situational context, like none of the other cards peel off, which is what every group I tried it on did…try to peel off another card.
Here’s a video of the first couple of times I tried it:
The thing that I would change is that I should be giving away the sticker and keeping the card. The card is the harder part to replace.
I’m happy with the reactions it’s getting and a great, fun, strange ending to the Ambitious Card!
It’s a great shop, it’s mostly geared as a “pitch” shop, which makes sense as there’s not really a magic population. That said, he still has things of interest to a more experienced magician and Seth is very knowledgeable. He and also order things in for you to pick up if you know you’ll be in town.
It turns out I was familiar with Seth’s trick Howard’s Hustle and was recently thinking about it, so it was good to chat with him about it. Howard’s Hustle is a two card monte routine that has an ending and begins and ends with showing both sides of the cards. It’s really clever and I have an idea for using the general idea for what Seth’s doing in the trick for a very different routine.
If you’re passing through Astoria, OR you should swing by and say hi. His shop is in the tourist area, so you’ll probably walk by anyway.
Here’s the sizzle from my show at the theater the other day:
I was messing around with more “epic” music. I’m not sure I like it, but it sure gives the video a different tone from what I normally use. It’s crazy how much the music can change the feel of the video!
Think about that when using music in your show, song selection can dramatically change the feel of the trick you’re doing.
I now have the three phases worked out and cleaned up the handling a bit. It’s a much tighter routine than before. Here’s the version I’m currently doing:
One of the things I’ve recently added was anticipating that in the second phase that the spectator would almost immediately point to the top card. Being able to foresee that and being able to show that card as not being their card is a great moment.
I’m really enjoying performing this version of the Ambitious Card, and like it much more than doing it entirely in my hands.