Sometimes a prop just looks cool and I want to figure out a way to use it. One of those props is the brass plates for the trick Collectors Workshop’s Jaks or Better. The prop consists of two brass plates that are screwed together and dangle from a chain.
Personally I’m not a fan of the trick that the brass plates come with. The Jaks or Better effect is basically a drawing duplication. Someone picks a card and puts it between the two plates. You then draw the picture that they put in between the two brass plates. The effect is fine, I’m not a fan of the method.
The original props looked like this:
About a year ago I bought a set and unfortunately they had changed the brass plates to a powder coated set of red plates. The red plates lack the character that the brass plates have. According to the Viking Magic (who owns Collector’s Workshop) website they switched to the powder coated plates because the brass tarnished.
Personally I think that the tarnished brass is what makes it look cool and interesting.
I’ve had the red set of plates kicking around on my desk for a while and I hadn’t come up with something to do with it. Then as I was heading out to a week or so ago to do a roving magic gig, I had an idea. What if a signed card came out from between the plates?
The method would simply be a double backed card. All I had was a red/blue double backed card, but I grabbed it anyway and put it between the plates.
After arriving early to the gig, I was playing around with the plates in my dressing room and realized I really didn’t need the chain, so I took that off. I also noticed the ring that served as the hinge was too big for what I wanted and didn’t hold the plates tight enough. Luckily I had a small key ring that I could put on it.
Here’s the altered plates:
It really doesn’t look like much difference, but the small ring for the hinge makes a huge difference!
I use blue decks, so the card coming out of the plates out have to be red.
The routine was simple. During my close up set I took the plates out and set them on the table. Then later during my ambitious card routine, after the card has some out of my wallet, I say, “You can keep the card or trade it for what’s in between the metal plates“. 100% of people took the metal plates. What’s fun, is someone every time also said they bet it was the card.
When the plates were unscrewed and a red card came out, it was a great moment to release tension as it clearly wasn’t there card. Then the card is turned over and it is the signed card, and the reveal had a huge impact.
initially my plan was to simply put the card back in between the plates and move on. On the second group I tried it on I handed them the card face up, and was surprised I got a bonus trick when they turned the card over and noticed it now had a blue back!
I thought the color changing back would signal that something fishy was going on, but to my surprise it was interpreted as a trick and it had a great impact!
I don’t know if I’m going to keep using the red powder coated plates, or try to find a brass set, but I do know I’m going to keep doing this bit!
In my interview on The Variety Artist podcast I talk about working on a drawing duplication trick. It hit me yesterday that this could be the solution to the hurdle of borrowing money from the audience. The challenge of borrowing money is the time it takes people to get out money, or whether anyone will … Continue reading “Borrowed Dollar Problems…”
In my interview on The Variety Artist podcast I talk about working on a drawing duplication trick. It hit me yesterday that this could be the solution to the hurdle of borrowing money from the audience. The challenge of borrowing money is the time it takes people to get out money, or whether anyone will have money to offer.
How do you get from a drawing duplication to borrowing a dollar bill?
Simple, they draw the picture, I fold it up and it turns into a dollar bill. I give them the dollar bill. Then a bit later I need to borrow a dollar bill and of course the person who I just gave the dollar to has one ready for me to use.
Then later, I have the picture that they drew that I can load as a prediction, or as a production of their drawing. I think this solves the problem of time and uncertainty of borrowing money from the audience.
One trick I’ve always liked is the drawing duplication trick. Basically the trick is that someone draws a picture that you don’t see, then you draw a picture and they match. The main problem with a drawing duplication is that if the audience thinks you see the picture, then you’re done. The problem with the … Continue reading “Drawing Duplication…”
One trick I’ve always liked is the drawing duplication trick. Basically the trick is that someone draws a picture that you don’t see, then you draw a picture and they match. The main problem with a drawing duplication is that if the audience thinks you see the picture, then you’re done. The problem with the method is that you have to see the picture.
I was driving the other day and came up with an idea for doing a drawing duplication. This version would not require me to see the drawing. In fact the drawing would be a prediction, so whether or not I see the drawing doesn’t really matter. I think the trick is stronger if I never see the drawing.
Basically what I’m doing is using a method for the classic magic plot “object in impossible location” to load a prediction. I made quick version last night and showed it to another performer and they liked it. It’s still got a little ways to go, and I’ll write more about it once I do it a couple of times.
Recently I worked with an act and the airline lost his luggage, and he had to perform for two days without gear. He’s a pro, and was really flustered, I think more at how the airline handled the situation than specifically about his missing gear. His shows were great, but it got me thinking about … Continue reading “What’s Your Plan B?”
Recently I worked with an act and the airline lost his luggage, and he had to perform for two days without gear. He’s a pro, and was really flustered, I think more at how the airline handled the situation than specifically about his missing gear. His shows were great, but it got me thinking about what my backup plan is.
Sure we all can go to the Walmart and put together a show, and I hear performers say that’s their back up plan all time. That’s all good, but whatever is in your “Walmart Show” is material you really need to practice. It should be your “B” show, meaning you do it every now and then. You have jokes and bits, not just do tricks.
This made me think of what I can carry onto a plane, that’s will play big. I’m putting together a list of things so I’m prepared for when this does happen. I also want to do it on my terms, meaning, I have a plan and I’m not scrounging.
The easy starting point is to figure out what card tricks would play big on stage.
1: ACAAN 2: Card to Pocket 3: Card Memorization
These are tricks that have already been in my stage show in the past, so I have good routines for them. These also are very different in texture, they don’t feel like the same trick. Those three tricks are about 12-15 mins. Right away I’m 1/3 of the way to a 45 mins show.
Now to build upon the card tricks to fill in the show. I could add some mentalism:
1: Blindfold drawing duplication 2: Impromptu Book Test 3: Cue Card Confabulation
These three tricks also have different textures and will bring the show to about 30 mins. I can make the the cue cards with the pad of paper from the drawing duplication and I will have the coins from the blindfold, I can use them for a coin trick:
1: Coin Under Watch
I’m going to have to be careful to space out coin under watch and card to pocket as they are both “transportation” tricks. This is not a big deal, I just need to be aware of it. This is going to bring the show to about 33 mins.
There will be room for some small gimmicks, so I can add these tricks:
1: Thumb Tip with mismade bill 2: Dye Tube
Now that I’ve added these two tricks, that puts my show length at about 39 mins. That’s almost a show. Let’s add a couple of small props to the carry on bag:
1: Rubik’s Cube trick 2: Torn and Restored Newspaper
That’s going to bring the whole show to 45 mins.
This show’s carry on list would be: 1: Jumbo deck of cards 2: Regular deck of cards 3: 2 pads of paper 4: Roll of duct tape 5: 2 Coins 6: Book 7: Thumb Tip 8: Mismade bill 9: Dye Tube 10: 2 handkerchiefs 11: Newspaper 12: 2 Rubik’s Cubes
The pack list isn’t very long, and all the props when put together don’t take up much space, and would play well on a stage. All of these are things that have been in my show in the past, so I know the material and have routines for them.
Is this my dream show to do? Nope, but it’ll work in a pinch, and I think it’s a better option than buying some junk at the hardware store and trying to figure out what to do with it!