In my stage show I use a mismade bill that just has one seam of the bill on each side.
Most magician’s use the mismade bill that has two seams:
I think the single seam is easier to visually process from the audience and at a distance. I decided to do some testing at the fair that I’m performing at and I’m getting bigger reactions and faster reactions from the bill with a single seam than with two seams.
It’s such a small thing, and in many context’s you may want to use the two seam bill, like if you are tearing a bill into quarter, of course it makes sense to use the bill with two pieces. In my routine, I turn the bill inside out, so there’s no tearing.
The important thing is to try new things and see if maybe you can get a better reaction doing something slightly different.
In my magic lecture I talk about how you should be taking your magic one step further than what’s already out there. This is especially true if you are doing stock magic tricks. One of the twists I’ve put onto a standard magic trick is my finish to the Midmade Bill trick. It’s a trick I call Splitting Image, it was just reviewed by a magic reviewer:
With everything I do, I try to move it a step beyond where the store bought version is. This is advancing the act, simply doing sponge balls doesn’t.
When is good enough good enough and when do small details matter? I was thinking about the mis-made bill trick and how the serial numbers don’t match. It’s a small thing, but it’s one that someone who want to try to bust you can catch on to, and they do. For 99% of the times … Continue reading “Is It Good Enough…”
When is good enough good enough and when do small details matter? I was thinking about the mis-made bill trick and how the serial numbers don’t match. It’s a small thing, but it’s one that someone who want to try to bust you can catch on to, and they do.
For 99% of the times you do the trick, no one examines the bill, but that 1% it can lead to an awkward moment. It’s an easy fix, but one that takes time. For someone like me, that gives away the bill at the end, the time to make the serial numbers match adds up to a lot of time!
When do you take the extra step and add little things like that? I’d say for bigger gigs, or ones where you want to make sure you leave an impression. For example having a set of bills set up for someone that you want to book you. Whether or not they closely examine them doesn’t matter, you have the insurance if they do.
When I’m doing roving magic, one of the tricks that I frequently do is the Mismade Bill. I have two versions that I do, in the most basic I borrow a dollar, rip it in half, and restore backwards. The other version is my marketed “Splitting Image” trick. In this version I take a picture … Continue reading “It’s The Little Things…”
When I’m doing roving magic, one of the tricks that I frequently do is the Mismade Bill. I have two versions that I do, in the most basic I borrow a dollar, rip it in half, and restore backwards. The other version is my marketed “Splitting Image” trick. In this version I take a picture with a spectator’s phone of them holding the bill, then I tear it, restore it backwards, and make the picture change from a normal bill to the mismade bill.
In the basic version, I let the person keep the bill, in the second the keep the picture on their phone. Occasionally I’ll have someone try way to hard to figure it out. They’ll track me down an hour later at the gig to tell me the bills serial numbers are different. If they are going to look at the bill that closely, they’ll also notice the bill doesn’t exactly line up.
Normally I don’t care if they notice something like that after an hour of examining the bill. However, I’ve got a TV spot coming up and with the super high def TV’s, I don’t want people to be able to freeze the show and check numbers. The odds of anyone checking are very slim, but wanted to have that covered.
Here’s my bills:
It’s a small touch that took me 10 mins to do, so it wasn’t a huge undertaking. It’s the small touches that will make the experience for that one guy who tries to check the serial numbers more “magical”!
Newer performers frequently ask me about how I travel with my show on an airplane. People are worried about lost luggage. Unfortunately the only thing you can really do about that is to either carry everything on, or accept that can happen. I guess there’s a third option and that is having a show where … Continue reading “Travelling…”
Newer performers frequently ask me about how I travel with my show on an airplane. People are worried about lost luggage. Unfortunately the only thing you can really do about that is to either carry everything on, or accept that can happen. I guess there’s a third option and that is having a show where you can find all of your props in your destination city. Then there’s combinations of the three.
Unfortunately for my show, I can’t do it all in my carry on. Some of the items I use can’t be taken in the cabin of the plane and can’t be sourced locally, so I’m stuck checking at least some of my show. Since I have to check a bunch of stuff already, I check almost everything.
Currently here’s what I carry onto the plane in my backpack:
The white tube has my vanishing birdcage. If that wasn’t so easy to break by someone who examining it, I’d check it. In the zipper compartment is my cage pull, a thumb tip, mismade bills and a thumb drive with everything the people running the theater would need (cue sheets, video, music, intro, etc). Then in the yellow case is my audio gear (mics, mic packs, audio ape, etc). Everything else in the backpack is my personal stuff, so books, my laptop, etc.
I’ve had my luggage “lost” by the airline once, and they had it delivered to me within six hours. I also have had TSA screen my bags and forget to put a couple of things back into it, luckily after weeks of phone calls I tracked down my props!
What do I do if my luggage gets lost?
I’m lucky that I can do a lot with simple stuff and in the past I’ve done a lot of standard magic, so I can source a show locally. It’s not the ideal situation, however I can go to the Walmart in any city and pick up a two deck of cards, rope, scissors, yarn, pad of paper, duct tape, a couple of handkerchiefs and some markers and I’m good to go. This isn’t the show that I want to present, but I can do a decent show with that.
One of the “impromptu” tricks that I do is the mismade bill. It’s an amazing trick, and I’ve got a great routine for it. The flow of the trick is that I borrow a dollar, rip it up and it ends up mismade. I leave the dollar bill with them and don’t restore it. When … Continue reading “Never Restore It!”
One of the “impromptu” tricks that I do is the mismade bill. It’s an amazing trick, and I’ve got a great routine for it. The flow of the trick is that I borrow a dollar, rip it up and it ends up mismade. I leave the dollar bill with them and don’t restore it.
When I do the trick I normally don’t turn it back, I offer to buy the dollar bill back. It’s a much stronger trick to leave it messed up and give them the option to keep the bill. If they want a dollar back, I simply give them a fresh dollar out of my wallet.
Here’s why I never turn it back. People at that point try to bust you. They’ll remember the condition of the bill, or serial number and call you out on the switch. You are in a much better position buying back the bill with a separate dollar or ideally letting them keep it.
Yesterday’s blog post had a back up show set list that I would easily fit in my carry on luggage on an airplane. The next step is going to be to put those tricks into a set list for the show. There are a couple of tricks that are similar in effect, so I’ll have … Continue reading “Plan B Set List…”
Yesterday’s blog post had a back up show set list that I would easily fit in my carry on luggage on an airplane. The next step is going to be to put those tricks into a set list for the show. There are a couple of tricks that are similar in effect, so I’ll have to make sure I don’t put those back to back.
Here’s the list of the tricks from yesterday:
-ACAAN -Card to Pocket -Card Memorization -Blindfold drawing duplication -Book Test -Cue Card Confabulation -Coin Under Watch -Mismade bill -Color Changing Hank -Rubik’s Cube trick -Torn and Restored Newspaper
Right now I know by looking at this list, I’m going to open with ACAAN and close with Torn and Restored Newspaper. ACAAN is an amazing trick, and there’s a decent amount of action right out of the gate, and it uses person, but they don’t have to be on stage…they could be, but don’t have to. I’ve used the Torn and Restored Newspaper as a closer in the past, so I know it will work there.
Right after ACAAN I’m going to do the Book Test, followed by the Rubik’s Cube Trick. These are both tricks I’ve done in that order in the past as warm up for my show at Fairs, and they are a great combo back to back.
Next I’m going to do Coin Under Watch. It uses a person from the audience, and while I coin trick, I can make it play big. After that I’ll do a solo piece, which will be the Color Changing Hank. This has a lot of action, and a lot of jokes.
Now we’re going to get into a mentalism block. I’m going to do the Blindfold followed by my Cue Card Confabulation. The Blindfold routine I do let’s me play with the person from the audience and it’s a longer piece that hits hard! The Cue Card Confabulation is my own creation and it’s just me on stage talking to people in the audience, and it’s joke will build off the strength of the Blindfold routine. The confabulation routine ends with a great surprise!
Next up I’ll do Card to Pocket, the set up to the Card Memorization, the Mismade Bill and then the final part of the Card Memorization. I’m going to use the time during the Mismade Bill for the two people who will help me with the Card Memorization to sort the cards. That will eliminate some dead time.
I’ll play the Card Memorization as the end of the show, and do the Torn and Restored Newspaper as the forced encore with a, “you want to see one more” line. Here’s the set list:
ACAAN Book Test Rubik’s Cube Coin Under Watch Color Changing Handkerchief Blindfold Cue Card Confabulation Card To Pocket Card Memorization part 1 Mismade Bill Card Memorization part 2 Torn and Restored Newspaper
It’s a decent show, not the show I want to do, but it does look solid for an emergency show.
I recently has my trick “Splitting Image” reviewed in Vanish Magazine (December 2018 issue) it got 5 out of 5 stars! Here’s the review, and then I’ll make a couple comments it after: REVIEW BY NICK LEWIN Louie Foxx will probably be familiar to readers of Vanish Magazine from his excellent column and the routines … Continue reading “Don’t Rely on Apps…”
I recently has my trick “Splitting Image” reviewed in Vanish Magazine (December 2018 issue) it got 5 out of 5 stars! Here’s the review, and then I’ll make a couple comments it after:
REVIEW BY NICK LEWIN
Louie Foxx will probably be familiar to readers of Vanish Magazine from his excellent column and the routines he contributes. Louie and I met up recently in Las Vegas and he showed me this routine. I loved it. I have been performing it ever since and can assure you that it is an absolute winner. It even leaves the spectator with a very cool photographic souvenir. I consider this one of the finest new close-up items I have seen in years.
The eﬀect is a decidedly diﬀerent take on both the torn and restored bill and the mis-made dollar bill. The performer borrows a phone and takes a picture of the spectator holding a dollar bill. The magician rips the dollar in two and then restores it into a single dollar bill that is now “inside out.” When when the spectator looks at the picture he took of the dollar with their phone, it has magically changed into a picture of the mis-made dollar bill.
This item is GREAT magic with a series of surprises that will astound any layman. The phone is a genuine borrowed phone with no special apps, pre-work or Internet access needed. The two special bills are superbly made and take the Mis-Made Bill to a new level. This is one of these special eﬀects that is as much fun to perform as it is too watch. At this price it is a bargain, heck at twice the price it would be a bargain. You will carry this trick with you and use it a lot.
OK, that’s a positive review and Nick notices a couple things about the trick that are important to me. Mainly that it’s a cellphone trick that doesn’t use anything but an actual borrowed cellphone.
A couple months ago I was in a show where a magician asked the audience to download an app to do a trick. This is what’s wrong with magic on a cellphone, once they download the app, it’s the app that does the magic, not you. This particular show the magician hit another problem, no one took out their phone to download the app. Then after some begging, someone took out their phone, but they had no cell service! Finally someone did the trick using the app that was already on the performer’s phone…and the trick didn’t work!!!
This illustrates my policy that any trick that uses a phone must just use the phone, no “magic” apps, no internet…just a borrowed phone. I’ve published a couple methods for book tests using the Kindle or iBook app on a borrowed phone. Sure the tricks are harder as they will end up using some sleight of hand on your end, but it’s better than a trick failing!