One thing I learned a long time ago is that an idea or routine is never finished. There’s always room to add or cut from it. For example there’s a prop that I use that uses batteries and it works just fine. There is one thing that I don’t like about it, it doesn’t have an off/on switch, you have to pull one of the batteries.
This isn’t a huge deal, but it is kinda annoying. The reason it doesn’t have a switch is there is physically not enough room inside the prop for it. I’m working on a redesign to make room for a switch. I just did the 3d model for the parts, now I just need to print them out and assemble it!
Right now I’m on a cruise ship and it’s pretty bumpy out, and I noticed that all of the floors at the stairwells have “sick bags”. These look like paper lunch sacks, but are made of plastic and have a tab at the top to seal them.
I grabbed one and took it back to my state room to see if I could figure out something to do with it. Here’s my brainstorming from this morning:
Chew up some food, spit it in…then blow up the bag and pop it and it’s confetti
Someone reaches into the bag and pulls out a single cookie (it’s the only thing in the bag). You take a few bites and spit them back into the bag. Shake the bag and dump out a whole cookie
You have the bag sealed. You tell the audience you breathed into the bag after breakfast and have someone try to guess what you ate. You have a note that confirms they are right!
Someone from the audience breathes into the bag, and you tell them what they had for breakfast
you have a line of people onstage. With your back turned, someone breathes into the bag and seals it. It’s handed to you and smell the bag and tell whose breath it is
You put food into the bag and it turns to rubber vomit
You say you opened the bag on the plane and captured the air at your seat. Someone smells the air and guesses your row and seat number.
What I like about this is the specific property of the bag, it being plastic and sealable ended up taking me away from tradition paper bag tricks. I really like the idea of trapping air in the bag. I think that the row and seat number might be the winner as it doesn’t involve anyone’s breath, so it’s not cringy.
I don’t know if I’ll ever do this stuff, but it’s a fun creativity exercise. -Louie
One of the things I’ve always said about creating magic is that it’s about problem solving. One trick where this is especially true is the spoon and fork transposition that I do. This particular trick has been an engineer nightmare the whole time I’ve really been working on it. It’s a series of challenges to get me to the next step.
One of the recent challenges I’ve had with this trick is that at the end there’s a good chance the spoon and fork will clink in my pocket. While it’s not loud and it only happens once during the routine, I want to eliminate it.
The first attempt was putting a felt covered magnet on my pocket and all that did was change the “clink” to a “clunk”. That took me to the next and final solution, I simply put a piece of felt in my pocket to act as a divider. That solved the problem and it was an easy simply solution! Also if I try to avoid having magnets on my body, as it’s amazing how often you’ll get stuck to things. I’m not against using magnets, I just try to not have them attached to me.
One of the easiest ways to create things is to put conditions onto what you want to do. For example, I’ve always loved the Three Ball Routine or Balls in Net. What I didn’t like is having to bring two people onto the stage to hold the net. I felt it added blocking issues and … Continue reading “Simple Step To Creativity”
One of the easiest ways to create things is to put conditions onto what you want to do. For example, I’ve always loved the Three Ball Routine or Balls in Net. What I didn’t like is having to bring two people onto the stage to hold the net. I felt it added blocking issues and a lot of wasted time bringing the people onto the stage.
The condition I added to the Three Ball Routine was that it needed to be done with just me onstage. With that condition in place, it created a lot of challenges, like where to put the balls. John Rogers has an interesting solution to this in his The Walrus Three Ball Routine, however that wasn’t what I was going for. Some options were having the net hung between two mic stands like a hammock or simply setting them halfway into your top jacket pocket.
I wanted the whole routine being done in the hand as the cleanest way to do it. It got me thinking of Coins Across routines that are done entirely in the hands, specifically Jay Sankey’s Mexican Jumping Coins. With Jay’s routine in mind, I got to work on putting together my routine with balls.
Here’s what I came up with:
By putting in the condition of having no one from the audience onstage, it made the routine much easier to build. I think if I had initially added a “no net” condition I may have gotten to the solution much faster. Honestly I want the net from the beginning, but figured I may need it to hold the balls.
Look at the tricks that you do, and figure out what you don’t like about them. Add removing that as a condition and you’ll be on your way to creating something new!
One thing with magic gimmicks is that one size usually doesn’t “fit all”. There are tons and tons of cheap and expensive gimmicks that I’ve owned that I’ve had to put a lot of work into to get them to work for me. The main reason for this is that how the gimmick’s creator used … Continue reading “Alterations Necessary…”
One thing with magic gimmicks is that one size usually doesn’t “fit all”. There are tons and tons of cheap and expensive gimmicks that I’ve owned that I’ve had to put a lot of work into to get them to work for me. The main reason for this is that how the gimmick’s creator used the trick may not be how I intend to use it.
Sometimes my handling will be different because I don’t move how the gimmick was designed to be moved. Other times the gimmick won’t be made to withstand the stress I’m going to put it through. I really don’t fault the creator for this and as a magic creator I totally understand this.
A few minutes ago I finished rebuilding a gimmick I paid a lot money for simply because I’m using it for an off label type use. I’m still using the creator’s gimmick, it’s just now works in a slightly different way. Don’t be afraid to settle, be willing to alter it!
A while ago I posted a picture of some newly acquired three shell games sets for my collection of them. Michael of Wack-O-Magic offered me a set of clear walnut shells he had made, but never figured out a use for. He sent me the only two sets he had made. This isn’t the first … Continue reading “Another Day, Another Shell Game Move”
A while ago I posted a picture of some newly acquired three shell games sets for my collection of them. Michael of Wack-O-Magic offered me a set of clear walnut shells he had made, but never figured out a use for. He sent me the only two sets he had made.
This isn’t the first set of clear shells, I also have a set of La Maggiore Cristallina shells, which are beautiful! I never really used them much as they don’t fit into the routine that I do.
With Michael sending me two sets, one set went into the collection and the other set sat on my desk for me to play with. Here’s what I came up with:
Staring at the shells led me to some out of the box thinking that gave me another unique shell game move! I think Terry Seabrooke mentioned how he creates with a prop on an old VHS tape. He said, he puts the prop somewhere where he’ll see it all the time, a place where he’ll basically trip over it every day. That makes him think about the prop in short chunks all day.
I think Terry’s method is a good one, it makes you think about the prop, but you aren’t sitting at a desk having a staring contest with it. I know I’ve come up with many tricks simply using stuff that’s within eyesight of my desk.