I start with the spoon, knife and fork laid out in position for the force. On the back of the fork I secretly drew an X with a sharpie and I have a folded up piece of paper in my hand (but don’t call attention to it) and a second piece of paper hidden.
They touch one and if they touch the fork, the trick is over, have them flip the fork and you reveal the X. If they touch the knife or spoon, you do the procedure to force the fork. For the reveal you open the paper in your hand to show it predicts the first and second objects they picked as well as the third item they didn’t pick.
For the papers you need two, and simply switch the visible paper for the hidden one if necessary to have the correct reveal.
The first challenge I had when doing the force was getting people to move properly. There was too much going on, and people would get going really fast and do a double jump. What I started doing was having me call out the letters slowly and not doing the next letter until the jump was complete. It’s a simple solution to an unforeseen problem.
The last week I was at a coffee shop in Santa Maria and realized that if you lay out a fork, knife and spoon with the fork in the middle you can force the fork. While this isn’t the best stand alone trick as it’s a force of one object out of three and there is potentially some process involved, but it’s something that would be handy to have in your brain in case you ever need it.
Ask someone to touch one of them. If they touch the fork, you’re done. If they touch the knife or spoon, you have them spell that item, moving from one item to the next (forward/backwards) to an adjacent item for each letter. Due to the number of letters and how the math plays out it, they will always end on the fork (if they do it correctly).
You’ve now forced the fork, you can use that however you want.
When I’m doing close up magic, one thing that I don’t do is have people sign cards. There’s frequently a strange hesitancy when you ask people, like they aren’t sure exactly what you want them to do. Instead I have people draw a picture on the card.
I say, “Draw a picture on the card, it can be anything…Bigfoot fighting a ninja, so it’d just be a picture of a bigfoot. I won’t judge you…till later. I don’t care what you draw, I’m not your mom…wouldn’t be the first rocket ship I’ve seen today.” That has 2-3 laughs but it also gives them a moment to think about what to draw and I disarm them about worrying about the drawing being bad. It also takes away the incentive for a teenage boy (or drunk adult) to draw a penis as I’ve already gotten the laugh from that.
The other thing this does is gives me a real moment in the show that’s happening now that I can comment on. I can talk about the picture and everyone knows this is real and not preplanned.
Play around with using alternatives to signatures you might like it.
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. -Louie
Sometimes when performing at a fair the stage doesn’t really have a sound person. If they’re using professional variety acts, it’s normally not really necessary to have a sound guy there the all day, every day. On the stage I was on there were only two acts, me and a juggling act.
One of the things that I always do is take a picture of the soundboard:
The uppermost three cords are mine. Once the sound tech gets me where they want me, it’s easy to simply reference this picture whenever I show up and plug in. I don’t have to walk all over the fairgrounds to track down the sound guy to set my audio. -Louie
Awhile ago I had picked up some Milk Caps and rigged one up like a split coin so that I could do a Three Fly style routine. Here’s the routine with some patter:
These milk caps are as unusual of an object as something like a silver dollar to anyone under 30 years old. People get hung up on what’s an ordinary object, and a large size silver dollar isn’t an ordinary object. The USA stopped using the large size dollar coins in the late 1970’s or over 40 years ago! The audience has to make a leap in time for either prop. I’d argue that the milk cap is easier to justify because it’s something they haven’t seen before. Where a large size dollar coin is similar to something that exists, but not the same. You can justify the milk caps through presentation, however most magicians don’t justify why they have old coins.
Yesterday I posted about wanting to make a Remote Control Party Popper. I ended redesigning the party popper holder, so that it would fit more securely on the board. The one on the right is the new design, and it’s got a flat bottom to site flat on the board.
You’ll notice that I’m using spools to coil in the string. My first attempt was a lever that pulled them, but I couldn’t get the torque I needed, however the strings constant pull worked well to pull the strings.
Here’s the working version:
Having two that shoot off makes it feel “bigger” and having the second one staggered I think makes it hard to miss. I think people will hear the bang from the first one, but might miss the visual of the streamer. The second one should be seen as the first one will have gotten the attention.
I think if I made it again, I would put the two motors in the same motor housing, which would allow me to make it a little bit smaller. -Louie
The easiest step to being likable onstage is smiling. That’s it. If you can do that you’re soo much closer to the audience liking you.
Smiling makes you look like you want to be there and you are having fun. Yes, there are times you don’t want to smile, and those times should be well thought out. Your default should be a smile.
Many years ago I heard an interview with comedian Neal Brennan on Tom Papa’s podcast Come to Papa. He mentioned that he thought he was smiling onstage, but realized he wasn’t. Onstage you need to smile bigger than you think you need to for it to play to the audience. Hearing that interview really helped my show! -Louie
In Seattle we just wrapped up the third week of the Moisture Festival. This is a four week variety arts festival and has tons of amazing acts!
One of the great things about performing in festivals like this is that you get to work with some of the top acts in the world! Plus the audiences at the festival are also some of the best audiences in the world!
On this blog on the 1st and 15th of the month I publish The Moisture Festival Podcast where Matt Baker and I interview all of the performers and people the make the festival happen. There are tons of great insights in the interviews on the podcast.
I started this weekend at the festival and will be performing in it next weekend as well. If you’re ever in Seattle during the festival, this is something you need to check out! -Louie