I’m was home for a day and in the mail that had been accumulating was a book called Bingo Bango by Jeff Stone. It’s a book about the classic practical joke item that makes a loud bang and surprises people.
The book is a fun read and has over 100 things you can do with the Bingo Device. There are jokes, magic tricks, gags and more.
What surprise me was that apparently at some point I had helped Jeff figure out some of the history of the is joke. I know a bit about about, when I used to work at Market Magic Shop in Seattle, I sold a ton of them. They came in many different forms, sometimes hidden in books, or pens, or even on that is held on your hand like a joy buzzer.
It was very sweet of Jeff to send me a book, and he wrote me a nice note as well:
This is a fun book, and if you’re into practical jokes it’s great! Another fun thing about this book is to see how brainstorming on one idea can lead to soo many different ideas!
After one of my shows yesterday at the fair I’m performing at, I had a guy tell me something interesting after the show. He was a caterer and has worked with a lot of local performers, so he’s seen some magicians, and told me that. The caterer told me that my product wasn’t a magic show, it was my personality.
I 100% agree with his assessment and that’s the goal with the show. It’s not about the tricks, while they are important and I select them to hopefully move the story of my personality forward. What I’m selling is how I work, not what I work with.
Some magicians live on the the tricks that they do and that’s an easier route than trying to live on your personality. One of the hard things is when people don’t like your show, that directly means they don’t like you. Where if you do an effect driven show, if they don’t like the show they don’t like the tricks.
This week I’m performing at a 9 day fair and it’s been a little while since I’ve done my full stage show, so I’ve had a few little road bumps. The biggest one is that I’m not doing my cracker card trick. It’s a fun trick with some twists and turns and it’s an unusual trick.
The problem is the cracker packaging I need to do the trick doesn’t appear to be made anymore. I need to load a cracker into a cracker wrapper and seal it, and all of the packing that I’ve found recently don’t work for the resealing part, and are super tight making the loading really difficult without damaging the cracker.
After much searching, this cracker finally popped up. The packaging looks looser that what I’ve been able to get recently. While that solves one of the issues, it doesn’t solve the other. The placement of the seam on the packaging is in the middle, and that won’t work for the resealing of the cracker package.
I’ve got an idea of how to make it work, however you can’t just order one or two crackers to try out the idea. I need to order a box of 500 of them and after shipping I’m about $50 into crackers! The trick is worth the gamble, let’s hope it works when they show up on Thursday!
I’m putting together a magic garage sale on July 11th! It’s a literal garage sale, so you have to show up in person for the deals. What’s left I may try to sell on facebook used magic groups, and a lot of it will probably just go to the dump.
There’s a lot of cool stuff, and I was just going through last night and putting prices on things. The garage sale prices are pretty cheap, there are a lot of deals to be had! If I end up listing stuff on the internet for sale, it will be more than the garage sale prices.
Here’s what I priced yesterday:
There’s a lot more! If you’re going to be in the Seattle area on 7/11/21, send me an email and I’ll give you the details!
Many years ago I used to buy magic collections of magicians who had passed. I would keep the books or props that I wanted and resell the rest. It’s been a while since I have done that for myself. Last year a did sell off a collection of magic that was a friend of mine who had passed and all the money went to his son.
The other day I was contacted about a magic collection and went out and picked it up. The person had one of my Evaporation tricks, and this was from the original run of 36 that I sold at a magic convention in Canada.
One thing that I think people don’t realize is that most of the stuff in a magic collection is worthless. Usually about half is unsellable because it’s damaged, counterfeit or shipping would cost more than the prop.
You should be realistic about what your collection is worth and to not really count things that have a used value of less than $20. Sure, they do add up, but they are hard as hell to sell!
Something that still bugs me are performers that are still using facemasks in their shows as if they are topical. They really aren’t, it’s lazy creativity. I’ve written about this before (you can read it here), and my thoughts haven’t changed.
Not too long ago I figured out what the problem with 99 % of the mask tricks are:
YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE MASK OFF TO DO THE TRICK
By simply doing the trick, you are defeating the purpose of the prop. That’s the flaw in all of these tricks. The rare exception is something like a color changing mask. If someone came up with a trick where you didn’t take the mask off for the trick, that would make it make sense.
Keeping the mask on really limits what you can do. That condition pretty much leaves you with a color change, with out doing some actual thinking. Here’s some ideas that I don’t have a method for:
Tongue thru mask
Eating / drinking thru the mask
shrinking / growing mask
things appearing on the ear loops: Kinda like the Ring Flite trick
Broken and restored ear loop
It moving by itself: Running gag: while you are talking it keeps moving up your face. You move it down, and it moves up again
Multiplying: you keep taking them off, and there’s always one on your face. You’d have to remove a large amount, so that it’s clear you didn’t just have four masks on.
All of the above tricks keep a mask on your face. However you still have a problem to face, it’s a used hygiene product you are using. Doing a trick with a tissue from the box uses a clean hygiene product. Doing a trick with a tissue you just blew your nose on is a used hygiene product. That’s something else to consider, technically once you touch or take it off with your bare hands, you are supposed to wash your hands.
How do you solve this?
I don’t know the answer, but then I also really don’t want to do a trick with a facemask, so you’ll have to figure that out for yourself if you want to do a trick with a face mask!
One of the best books on stand up magic as far as tricks go is Jim Steinmeyer’s The Conjuring Anthology. It’s full of mostly stand up style magic, there are other things in there as well, like stage illusions. This book is a tremendous resource.
Recently I was making a bunch of videos for a client and needed some inspiration. I was flipping through this book and there’a trick that uses confetti in it that’s caught my eye in the past. Essentially loose confetti turns into a full sheet of tissue paper.
I went out, got the stuff to build the prop and got two work on it.
The first thing that I noticed was that this trick is a great lead in to the torn and restored tissue. If you put the two tricks together you’ve got a 3-4 minute routine that takes up virtually no space in your case, or could easily be made in a hotel room.
I’m glad that the project I was working on had me go back and flip though that book. I also think that if I had played with that trick at another point in my life I may not have had the same results as I did.
In 2014 we bought a new refrigerator and shortly after it was out of warranty our ice maker stopped working. I checked all of the water supply lines, followed the troubleshooting from the owner’s manual, nothing worked. We called a repair guy and he couldn’t fix it. For the last 4 or 5 years we’ve been buying bagged ice at the store. Not a huge deal, kind of inconvenient and not that expensive at a couple bucks a week.
This weeks I’ve been working on some home projects and one of them ended up looking at the ice maker. It turns out there’s an unmarked, tiny square of plastic on the bottom of it that looks it doesn’t move, well that’s is actually a reset button! I pushed it and we’re back in the ice business!
OK, what does this have to do with magic?
How often do you got back and revisit magic tricks you were working on and hit an wall you were unable to get through, so you stopped practicing the magic trick?
I’m not saying you should schedule a weekly revisit, but you should every now and then flip though old notebooks, or watch old videos of yourself. I can’t tell you how often I’ll watch an old video of mine and see me do a trick a think, “why did I stop doing that?” Usually there’s a good reason, but that doesn’t me I can’t revisit now it to try to fix that reason.
Each year more and more magic tricks are coming out that come with online instructions and that’s the only way to get the information. In theory everyone wins, you get video instructions, it drops the cost for the creator, and possibly the buyer as well. It also makes things cheaper to ship.
Now for the downside, not everyone will have access to the information. What I mean by that is that access won’t last forever like the instructions in some physical form. Sure you can download the instructions (usually), but that only is good for as long as the tricks producer has the video online.
A good example would be a trick that’s been out for several years, but you just bought it at a magic shop. You open the trick, find the download card and go to the site, but the site no longer exists. What do you do? If the company is out of business, you’re out of luck. I guess you could return it to the magic shop, however that’s doesn’t solve the problem of product being out there where producer of it got rid of content that was paid for.
Personally I don’t do online only instructions, every magic trick I sell comes with a DVD or print instructions. I do offer “bonus content” online for tricks I sell or for stuff in my lecture notes. The pain in the butt with these things is that I just changed my hosting on my website and I had to service all of those links, many are to products I haven’t sold in a few years. Unfortunately a lot of creators don’t do that.
The hard part now is that less and less computers have DVD players, how do I deliver video content without it being online? The current solution I’m considering is thumb drives. The downside is that they cost much more than DVD’s, but the upside is that they are small, and versatile. I could order 100 of them and use them for a variety of different products.
If you’re a magic producer, you need to think about what’s going to happen when someone buys your trick 5 years from now…unless you’re just in it for a quick money grab (but then you’re an a-hole).