Small Changes

In my Drawing in Ball of Yarn routine, there’s a middle phase that’s a mismade bill. I’ve been having trouble with the the mismade bill part. The bill part was essentially my 13 sided bill routine that I do close up. Here’s what that looks like:

The mismade bill phase was too long for it’s spot in the show and I dropped it for a few weeks. Then I added it back in with a little change, I’m using a Quadraflex style mismade will that has the four quarters.

The routine for the mismade bill part of the routine is simple. I say, “I’ll fold your dollar four times.” then I do that and ask the kid, “do you know what that does…it turns it into four…” as I’m slowly unfolding it. For the last 30+ shows the kid has always replied, “dollars”. Then I say, “four dollars?! Have you seen the budget for this show? It turns it into four quarters!” Then I reveal the mismade bill.

I think this works a lot better because I keep dealing with the number four and it foreshadows what the audience is about to see and then at the reveal, it tells them what they are seeing.

I’m glad I put the mismade bill phase back into the routine and tried a different approach!


Sanada Gimmicks!

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.

Sanada Gimmick

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.


Magic 3D Printing Tutorial

One thing that’s been life changing for my show is learning to use a 3D printer. Recently I was part of a panel that was talking about 3D printing for performers and I made a quick video tutorial that took you through the entire design process of making a holder for a thumb tip and dollar bill holder.

Here it is:

Hopefully this took some of the mystery out of 3D printing. Honestly I thought it would be much harder, until I got one and learned to do it!

Even More Table Work…

I feel like I’ve put a lot of work into the table I’m using for virtual shows. I think it’s really made a difference in the flow of the show. It’s soo much more efficient use of space than how I was previously doing it.

Here’s one view of the shelf:

And here’s the shelf rotated 180 degrees:

The nice thing with having holders is that I can look down and immediately know if something isn’t there as it’s holder will be empty. There are two wild cards as far as set up goes, the rest of the props can stay set up all the time. Those are the Gypsy Yarn and the silk in apple/peach. Both of those routines I set up on the day of the show.

You’ll also notice some redundancies, like each trick that uses a pen has it’s own pen. This is because I don’t want to be searching around for a pen, and it makes sure I have a back up pen if one dries out.

Adding Some Heat to a Bill Change

Not too long ago someone sent me a video of a magician doing a visual bill change. The trick in the video wasn’t very good as you only saw a small portion of the bill and didn’t see the whole bill until after the change. I sent a quick video back of how I would improve the trick, however personally I wouldn’t do the trick as I don’t think it’s a bill switch is good if you can’t show the most of the bill before it changes. If you only show me fraction of it, it’s not as impressive.

Later that night I was playing around with the gimmick I had made and added some lighter fluid to add some razzle dazzle to the bill change. I was kinda amazed that it worked, and made a new gimmicked bill where I could show the whole face of the bill. Here’s what I came up with:

The fire justified the shaking of the action for the bill, which is necessary for this gimmick to work. It adds a “magic moment” to the trick. It’s not just a visual change that happens with a shake. It also makes the trick longer than a 2 second trick, which is nice.

Well, That Worked…

One of the great things about performing at fairs is that you have a lot chances to work on new material. A couple of days ago I mentioned an idea for quickly getting a borrowed dollar bill (you can read it here). I tried it at two of my three shows yesterday and it played … Continue reading “Well, That Worked…”

One of the great things about performing at fairs is that you have a lot chances to work on new material. A couple of days ago I mentioned an idea for quickly getting a borrowed dollar bill (you can read it here). I tried it at two of my three shows yesterday and it played a lot better than I thought it would.

Basically a kid draws a picture and it turns into a dollar bill, and I will borrow that dollar bill in the next trick of the show. Later the picture reappears in an impossible location.

Here’s what I learned yesterday. The first show I asked a kid to draw a picture and the girl drew a heart. As far as giving me material to work with, the heart didn’t give me much. The second show the kid drew a picture of me and this gave me a lot to work with! Today when doing the trick I’m going to ask the kid to draw a picture of me and I’ll make jokes about it.

With a drawing of ME it’s easier for me to make fun of the drawing without it feeling like I’m crapping on the kid, because I’ll be making fun of me. This is a huge distinction in how the audience could possibly form impressions of me.