The 10 Count

About a month ago I went to Disneyland with a bunch of entertainers after an event we were all at. While not everyone was specifically a magician, everyone there had a magic component in their show. Somehow the “10 Count” with sponge balls came up.

The 10 Count is a little thing where a sponge ball travels from one hand to the other while you count to ten. Each number has a physical action associated with it. It’s a great framing for a quick trick and isn’t limited to sponge balls. I first learned the 10 Count from a sponge ball book when I was a teenager, however it looks like it was probably created by Martin Gardner using matchsticks.

If you don’t know it, it’s worth looking up!


Golden Horseshoe at Disneyland

A couple of weeks ago I went to Disneyland with a bunch of variety entertainers after an event in Anaheim.

variety entertainers at disneyland

One of the things we saw was the piano player at the Golden Horseshow Review.

The format in the show (20ish mins) show was song, jokes, song, joke and that repeated. This is a solid formula for a show and format that’s great for a magician, just substitute tricks for the songs.

Why does it work? It changes him from an ambient act to an engaging show. The jokes also make you connect to him, he’s not just a piano player, he’s a person. That’s the goal with a magic show, to be a human. If you want to learn more about being a person on stage and not just tricks, check out Jon Armstrong’s Masterclass on Vanishing Inc. That master class is really great!


The Magic App Flaw…

When I was at Disneyland a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that they are trying to get me to use my smartphone more and more. For example the old paper Fast Pass that would allow you to access a shorter line is now Genie Plus which is entirely on your smart phone. There were many food stands where you had to order and pay through your phone. I’m not a dinosaur when it comes to using technology, but here’s why I think this is not a good idea. If I’m at the park all day, will my phone still have power 12 hours later?

The bigger issue is what happens when I can’t get my phone to connect to the internet? I ran into this problem, I couldn’t access my Genie Plus while at the park due to a spot where there was no internet. I had to walk across the park to get it to connect.

OK, so how does this relate to magic?

Simple, do you use an magic app that’s based on the internet like Inject 2? Guess what, it wouldn’t work there and you may not know it until it fails and it’s not the apps fault.

Now let’s fast forward to my gig last weekend, the venue was soo packed that the internet was going at a snails pace. Any internet based magic app wouldn’t work. If you use internet based apps, what’s your out, if it looks like you have internet, but it fails? The rough things with those apps is that it’s hard to run a second method at the same time as a backup to seamlessly switch to. I’ve found that while I own a lot of magic apps, I only use ones that aren’t internet based. I’m at too many large events where internet isn’t reliable.


Show Them How…

In mentalism one of the things you can do for the presentation is show them the process. What I mean by that is you show them what you are doing to know what they are thinking. That’s why things like NLP are popular presentation angles in mentalism.

I was at Disneyland a couple of days ago and I’m pretty sure they are using this idea with the lines at the theme parks. You will have someone who works there waving people through a line, then they will suddenly start asking how many people in a group. From my watching, it was usually after asking three groups they would hold the line at that point. I honestly don’t think that person was counting people, because usually the next place the people were moving to didn’t have any capacity issues. There’s a psychological reason they hold and move people and they justify that by showing some sort of process. By asking how many people there are in a group, they are implying that there’s a capacity issue ahead. If they simply said, “Hold here for 5 minutes” that would annoy people, but by showing the people process, we accept it.

Seeing this done in a non magic context really reinforces it’s effectiveness to me. If you do mentalism and aren’t showing process, you are missing out on a great presentation.