I’ve been working on a routine that I call “choices”, this is essentially a card prediction. This has had many different versions and methods, with the first version simply using an invisible deck for the reveal. It’s had many different reveals from the selected card in a wallet, to it being the only red backed card in a blue backed, blank faced deck.
The trick was just OK, the final reveal was lacking something…or had too much. Then a while ago Nick Lewin put out the 6 Star Miracle Prediction, which is his version of Al Koran’s 5 Star Miracle Prediction. I’m a HUGE Nick Lewin fan, and get everything he puts out. I honestly didn’t think I’d use the trick, however it ended up being the solution for the Choices routine.
The ending where I’m just holding two cards gives a great picture and ends with me in an applause position. The nice thing is the whole thing fits inside a jumbo card case, so it packs relatively small. This trick is intended for stage shows, so I have no desire to use a regular pack…however it could be downsized to that size and play well on a stage.
I’m not sure if this is the final version of this trick, but it feel pretty close!
When I’m out and about I try to support brick and mortar magic shops. There aren’t that many left and when I’m travelling they can be very helpful when I need to replace a prop or get some strange supply like rough stick.
Last week I visited Market Magic Shop and picked up a hoodie!
While I was there I picked up an old, thick stock jumbo invisible deck! I really want it for the thick cards, it doesn’t really matter that it’s roughed on one side as I’m not going to use it for the invisible deck trick.
If we want these magic shops to continue to exist, we need to support them by buying from them. Not just a deck of cards, but actually shopping and making more meaningful purchases.
Recently I wrote a blog post about learning Marc Oberon’s Bang On which is a named card to wallet. I’m hoping it’s a solution to a trick so I can avoid using an invisible deck. The effect is that someone names a card and it’s in your wallet. It’s a pretty direct way of accomplishing the effect with no conditions, like limiting the selection.
One of the cool things about living now, is that tricks like this are easy to practice with Siri on your iPhone or with an Amazon Echo. You simply ask the smart assistant to name a playing card and they give you a random one. This allows you to react as if you’re actually doing the trick. It doesn’t give you a second of mental preparation while you think of a card.
It’s a much more “real world” way to practice tricks like this. -Louie
I’ve been working on a trick for my platform/stage show that’s essentially an invisible deck. Well, it started out as an invisible deck and has gone through a lot of changes and doesn’t really resemble a traditional invisible deck routine.
The effect is that the audience eliminates half of the cards over and over until there is one card left, and that card matches the prediction.
I’m working on a platform version of it for my carry on luggage magic show. This will end with the card in an envelope in my wallet. Here’s video of an early test of it:
This is essentially Mark Oberon’s Bang On, but modified so that I only need two wallets and can show the back of the card as it comes out of the wallet.
This routine is really no longer the invisible deck or the Bang On routine. It’s now a mix of methods and you couldn’t do the trick how I do it with the standard props that come with either of those tricks. To me this is what more magicians should be doing. Taking standard tricks and really making them their own, not just with adding a joke or “filtering it through your personality” but actually changing the trick to fit your artistic vision.
Got out there a make actual art, not paint by numbers art.
Last week was the first outing of the Briefcase show and it went pretty well. The whole show including the stands fit inside of the Pelican Briefcase. Here’s the show set up at the fair I was performing at last week:
The show uses a lot of three dimensional props, which is intentional. I think that a lot briefcase shows select material based on the prop being flat. Obviously that is a concern. But things like the applause sign, which is hollow can have things packed inside of it.
The whole show was done with me solo on stage, except for the second to last effect, which is a game show routine that uses three kids. I have a method for that routine that I haven’t tried yet, but probably should try so I know if it works or not.
I’m happy with how it’s turned out, and hoping to somehow figure out how to expand it to a 40-45 minute show, which would be ideal.
Sometimes you find things you weren’t expecting when you are searching for other things on the internet. I ended up finding a video clip of me performing an early version of the final version of my “invisible deck routine“, which I call Choices
Here it is:
It’s not really an invisible deck, but that’s how I describe the routine to other magicians as that gives them an easy idea of what the effect is. Before I go further, yes I understand the trick would be stronger if I said, “Name a card” then it was reversed. HOWEVER, that’s not what I’m going for. First of all, I’m trying to get a little bit more time out of the routine.
The video above starts about 45 seconds into the routine, so that gives me a routine that’s about 4 minutes. It also allows me to involve more than a couple people from the audience. The trick also reveals some personal information about me (that’s at the beginning of the routine that’s not in the video). The routine is a lot more personal than, “I had a dream someone picked a card and when I work up I flipped it over“.
I’m happy with how this routine has progressed since that was recorded in October. -Louie
A couple of days ago I finished up my run at a 22 day gig (that took place over 30 days). I’m reflecting on all of the work I got done on the show over the 66 shows I did. Every show I was working on something. Sometimes it was a full routine, and sometimes it was small, like adding some confetti to a bit in the that I do with a kid.
For me, it’s all about trying to get better every show. Yes, there are some shows where you shouldn’t be trying or tweaking and you do just all A material. However I have the most fun when I can get on stage and play with ideas.
Here’s my stats for new stuff over the last month: Hand held mic technique went from a D to a C+ Invisible deck like routine went from D to a B Spoon and Fork went from C to B Drawing routine went from B to A Foam hand went from D to C Game show went from D to B
Having 66 shows to start to level up routines is a good use of the run of shows! I feel like I left there a better performer, writer and magic creator!
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!
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.
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…