Levelling Up Magic…

This week is the final week of my “fair” season. I end my run on Saturday after performing 66 shows over 22 days at a State Fair. I really like performing at state and county fairs across the USA in the summer. One of the things that I really like about it is that in my preshow I get to work on tricks and jokes that aren’t ready for the main show.

In my show I have materials that’s A, B and C material. A is the stuff that’s finished and plays well. B are tricks that aren’t quite done yet, they’ll be things missing, like maybe the trick is there, but needs some jokes, or the routine is there, but the method or something isn’t quite right. Finally, there’s the C material, and that’s stuff that’s just ideas.

My goal for the summer is to move as much A material out of the show as I can. I do that by levelling up all the other stuff. I work hard at figuring out what’s missing from the B material, and try to move it up to the A level. Once that happens, I stop doing an A routine and put the former B trick in it’s place.

Then there’s the C material, I work on that during my preshow. The goal is to move it to B or drop it. Some ideas are just that…ideas. They may be great ideas, but they’re not for me or my show. It’s good to learn that fairly early on, so you don’t waste too much time with them. This is also why I’m a huge fan of getting material on stage as quickly as possible. That’s the easiest way to figure out if there’s something there or not.

It’s also crazy how quickly things can level up if you put in the time and effort and you have three shows a day for 22 days to work on them. For example the version of the Invisible Deck that I started doing this month (see an early version here) has moved from a C trick to B+ or A- routine in a few weeks. Once I got the technical side down and then found the presentational hook, it was just polishing it up. The routine works as is now, but there is on small technical thing I’d like to figure out…however if I never solve the problem, the routine works great in it’s current form.

I’m very fortunate to have a venue to actively work on new material!


Ugh…Still More Invisible Deck Work…

Phoenix large index cards
Regular card and a Phoenix Large Index card

Having a gig where I’m doing 66 shows at all month is a great opportunity to work on new material. I’m still working on my idea for the Invisible Deck. It’s coming along. I’m now using Phoenix Large Index Cards. The bigger index makes it play a row or two further back.

One thing I’m realizing is that this trick is going to be limited to the size of room it can play. I’m going to need to figure out a way to scale the trick back up to either a Phoenix Parlour sized deck or a jumbo deck. It’s interesting how the process works, I had to shrink the trick to figure out why I need to enlarge it!

So why not just go back to using the Vernet 52 B’Wave?

The main reason is the routine I was doing required 3 jumbo decks and didn’t really have a routine for it. By changing the method, I ended up finding a presentational hook for the trick, which ultimately helps the routine. Yes, I could do my routine with the 52 B’Wave, but now that’d bump it up to travelling with four jumbo decks, and that’s a lot of weight in case for a card trick!

I think the method may end up being some sort of hybrid method, where the reveal deck is similar to the 52 B’Wave deck, but with different reveal cards, and reveal cards that aren’t gimmicked, so they can be shown more freely.

Another reason I’m playing with a different method is that there’s a sense of pride I have when I perform with original methods.

Still Working on the Invisible Deck…

It hit me yesterday while I was doing my version of the invisible deck was that my version is not about the card, it’s about the two cards matching. That’s a huge distinction when it comes to making it play big. If you’re performing on stage with the invisible deck, the audience needs to know it’s the card that was named. In my routine since it’s a prediction, they only need to know that the two cards match. That means they only need to be able to tell the cards look the same from the back of the audience.

To make it play bigger, but still use a normal size deck, I have a few options. I could use a jumbo index card, which I personally don’t like. I think they look funny. In the past for stage work, I’ve used GIANT INDEX cards. These are cards that don’t have the pips in the middle, they are more like flash cards. These also look funny, but I like they way the look more than Jumbo index cards. The final option is to use the Phoenix Large Index Cards. These are normal looking cards, but the pips and indexes are 50% larger.

I just ordered some of the large index cards. I’m going to make a gimmicked deck and give it a try when I’m back at the fair on Wednesday. I’m guessing it will play slightly better, I don’t think the difference will be huge, but better than how it’s been.

I also figured out the optimum number of cards to do the trick with. I need to do the trick with 16 pairs (32 total). That’s going to eliminate evenly from 32 to 16 to 8 to 4 to 2 to the final card. I’m hoping that 32 cards will still play like a full deck from the stage. We’ll find out…


Writing For the Invisible Deck…

As I still keep working on my version of the Invisible Deck, I think I have the technical end worked out. The biggest challenge is the elimination process. I needed to figure out how to remove any confusion as to what side people are selecting. What I have settled on is having people point to a side of the room. If they point to my hands, I can’t tell which side they are pointing at. So having them point at the left or right wall clears that up.

Next up is figuring out the presentation. As I’ve been doing it, as the elimination process happens I’ve organically been saying, “that’s what I would have done”. I’m kinda using that as the base for the routine. Here’s what I wrote last night:
“Whenever I leave the house, my wife tells me to make good choices. I’m gonna tell you, I only make the best choices! Like the time I made my own penicillin from sour cream…or when I knitted my own seatbelt…or the time I went to Wyoming.”

It’s a starting point. Maybe I could say say their “choices are better than the time I…” and then say something funny. I think I’m not at a point where I just need to write and try out the jokes.

More Invisible Deck Work…

One of the tricks I’m working on right now at the fair is my version of the Invisible Deck…Well my version of Vernet’s 52 B’wave. The effect is a selected card is in a second deck face up, has a different colored back and the rest of the deck is blank.

Because of my method for the trick, I know what the selected card it without looking at the face. Yesterday I said the name of the card without looking at it and someone in the audience called me on it. I played it off as saying I did look, and they must not have noticed. I need to do an exaggerated look at the front of the card. I also need to do a streamlined elimination of the cards. Right now I’m splitting the cards in half and eliminating half at each split. I need to figure out the least number of splits. Like maybe doing it with a 45 or 48 card deck instead of a 52 card deck make it go a little bit faster?

I’m figuring out the beats and how to make it play better with the audience. After the first reveal of the card upside down, I’m flipping the card they chose over, saying they aren’t an exact match, as that’s from a blue deck and I’m holding a red deck. I then flip the card in the red deck over to show it has has a red back. The change from just saying, “and it has a different colored back” to explaining why it would have a different colored back is giving me a stronger reaction.

I’m liking how this plays better than the traditional invisible deck where they simply name a card. It involves a lot of people from the audience, and they can see the cards that they are making a choice of. While it’s dirtier than the traditional invisible deck method/effect, it also eliminates the top explanations on how the tricks works:

1. Everyone picks the _____
2. It was set up with the person in advance

While neither of those are how the traditional invisible deck works, you really can’t argue them.

Trying the Inivisble Deck Plus…

A couple days ago I wrote about an idea I had for a method for the invisible deck, but had a kicker where the card had a different colored back and then the rest of the cards were blank. This was inspired by Vernet Magic’s 52 B’Wave card trick.

I’ve been doing it at the fair I’m performing at, and I took a quick video of the first time I did it:

There’s a couple things I need to work on. The load to the deck in my pocket is very clunky. Right now I’m trying to square up the card with the back of the deck. I don’t think I need to do that. I think I just need to get it fairly close the the deck, and then can align it as I’m pulling it from the pocket.

People seem to react to the three beats of the trick. I wish I could come up with a one deck way to do it with jumbo cards. As it is right now, if I was doing it in a big room, I’d need video projection for it to play big.

Invisible Deck Plus…

In the past I’ve played with using an invisible deck in my show. The issue I have with it, is that it’s a pretty standard trick. I want to layer it with having something more than just an upside down card. In the past I’ve come up with a method where you can have more than one card picked (no force) and they are all upside down. In my show right now I’m using a variation on Vernet Magic’s 52 B’wave.

The 52 B’wave effect is the named card is upside down, has a different colored back and all of the other cards are blank. I really like this effect, and I think a booker that has seen the invisible deck will be able to tell the difference. What I don’t like about it is that there is a force of the color of the card.

I was kicking around ideas for it, and I think I have come up with a method that I like better than Vernet’s 52 B’wave. Here’s how the effect will play, you show a deck of cards and hold half in each hand. The audience chooses a half to eliminate (no forces are used in this) and you put them on the table. You then split the remaining cards in and half chosen to eliminate and repeat this till you have one card. The elimination process happens with the faces of the cards to the audience. You then reach into your pocket and remove a deck of cards. Inside that deck is one face up card, it matches the one selected by the audience. The card is not only the only card face up, but it has a different colored back, and the rest of the deck is blank! Not that I would do this, but at the end of the trick, the deck is ungimmicked and could be examined.

OK, for method it’s a combination of a gimmick, and sleight of hand. I haven’t tried this yet, but I’ll going to give it a go during my preshow at the fair tomorrow!


Tossed Out Invisible Deck

In the show yesterday I tried out my new idea for the invisible deck. You can read about the idea here. In a nutshell, the idea is to have multiple cards named and all of them are reversed in the deck. I don’t know if for the audience this is a better trick than the … Continue reading “Tossed Out Invisible Deck”

In the show yesterday I tried out my new idea for the invisible deck. You can read about the idea here. In a nutshell, the idea is to have multiple cards named and all of them are reversed in the deck. I don’t know if for the audience this is a better trick than the standard invisible deck with only one card, for me it’s an interesting challenge.

I did the trick once yesterday and it went well. All the named cards were reversed in the pack and the people in the audience seemed to not know how the trick worked. This is an important part of a new idea…having it actually work for an audience, now the next step is going to be tweaking the gimmick.

Roughing stick by vanishing in for card magic
image from www.VanishingIncMagic.com

I’m roughing the cards with a Roughing Stick that Vanishing Inc puts out. It works well, but I need to play around with how I apply it to the cards. Right now I’m doing it in the middle of the length of the card. I think I’m going to make another deck where it goes across the middle of the short edge of the deck and see how that works.

The cool thing about the Roughing Stick, is that it’s easy to apply, so I fairly quickly try it in different configurations and see what works best for me. I’m also thinking I need to use two different cards stocks for the trick. I’ll be doing some playing this week!

Ideas and Action

Whenever I get an idea, my goal is to try to get a working version of it as quickly as possible. For me, this is a way to see if the idea has something going for it. There could be a weakness in effect, or method. Knowing that there is early on before a ton … Continue reading “Ideas and Action”

Whenever I get an idea, my goal is to try to get a working version of it as quickly as possible. For me, this is a way to see if the idea has something going for it. There could be a weakness in effect, or method. Knowing that there is early on before a ton of time has been devoted to it is very helpful.

Recently I had an idea pop into my head for a trick. I’m calling this trick “Invisible Tossed Out Deck”. Basically it’s a tossed out deck premise where three people end up thinking of cards. However instead of tossing a physical deck into the audience, it will be an imaginary one. The payoff will be that the thought of cards are in your deck upside down.

It only took a minute to source the necessary props for the routine.

Tossed out invisible deck

I quickly realized that there’s a problem if I construct the deck like a normal Invisible Deck. I’ll need a cull or displacement for each card I’m revealing. Luckily yesterday I was setting in construction traffic and sat for an hour not moving. I started to play with methods for concealing cards in the spread and came up with a couple of methods.

Later today I’ll give the trick a try during my preshow and see how it goes!