I was scrolling through Instagram last night and came upon a picture of overhead projector bills.
I was thinking of what could be done with these. I think you could create a makeshift projector using the flashlight on your phone. If you combined that with a glass table I think you could do some fun stuff on the ceiling.
One thought was you could do a “touch the screen” type effect with the bills on the ceiling for a group of people.
If you have a $1, $5, $10, $20 and $50 dollar bills and line them up in numerical order, you can do some spell count procedures to eventually force a bill. The basic routine would be:
Touch a bill and spell the value of it (ie ONE), jumping one bill per letter and keep touching that bill
Remove the end bills ($1 and $50)
Spell the value of one of the eliminated bills (ONE or FIFTY)
They are now on the $10
You could then reveal the prediction of having a ten dollar bill in your phone case.
I was hanging out with Chris Beason the other day and we were chatting about some tricks with a dollar bill.
One idea I had was that you mention that there are 13 arrows that the eagle is holding on the back of a dollar bill. You then do a double take and notice your bill has 14 arrows and is a misprint. You then pull a full size arrow out of the dollar bill!
It would be pretty easy to do, you’d need a gimmick like an appearing straw, but only about 24 inches long and glue an arrowhead to one end. Or cut the end to a point and paint it silver. It could be kept in a thumb tip, and possibly put a slit in the side of the tip to allow the arrow to be removed from it. The thumb tip is really only there to keep the arrow compress and easier to handle when rolled up.
While not the worlds greatest mystery, it would be a decent sight gag.
A few weeks ago I was hanging out with my buddy Clive Hayward and he showed me Jay Scott Berry’s Lightning Bill Switch. Honestly I think it’s better than the hundred dollar bill switch…in most situations. Essentially it’s the Hundred Dollar Bill Switch, but using a modified Sanada Gimmick called the Cloaking Device instead of a thumb tip.
I bought two videos from Jay, the one on how to make the Cloaking Device and the other on the Lightning Bill Switch. I will say that I feel the Cloaking Device video was incomplete. I think it’s a chopped version of a DVD that he used to sell. Mine starts with him constructing the gimmick, but he doesn’t go into the materials used. I think there’s another video where he talks about the materials, but I’m not going to drop another $10-20 to figure out how to get the name of the type of tape he uses. Personally, I think if I were to buy the videos again, I’d look for a used DVD and you’d get all the info. While I’m all for supporting the creator, I feel like he sold me an incomplete product, so I have no problem paying $5-10 for a used DVD and getting all the information.
With the above concern noted, I still think this is an amazing bill switch. What makes it great is that the bill is only folded into eighths, not sixteenths like with the Hundred Dollar Bill Switch using a thumb tip. That keeps the bill a lot more visible, which is great when doing it onstage and it feels a lot less cramped.
One thing that has always bugged me are magicians that won’t do magic for people they run into who ask them to “show a trick“. There thinking is that no one else in any profession gets asked to work. That’s simply not true. Lawyers get asked legal questions, doctors get asked for medical advice, it’s not unique to magicians. It’s unique to professions that have “secret knowledge“. What I mean by that is they have knowledge or understand things that the average person doesn’t.
Looking back in time, all of the great magicians a hundred years ago made reputations doing impromptu magic. Max Malini biting the buttons off of coats or Hermann who pulled the coins out of rolls or eggs at the market. I think most magicians hesitancy is they lack the technical skills and knowledge of tricks to “do a trick” at a moments notice. I’m a huge fan of always having a trick on you. You don’t have to do it, but sometimes it makes a huge difference having something always ready.
The other night someone at the bar where I was having dinner recognized me from my show earlier in the day. They told the bartender that I was a magician and he asked if I could show him a trick. I asked if the bar had a deck of cards, and they didn’t. He handed me a pen and asked if I could do a trick with that, so I swallowed the pen by lapping it. Then I did my Splitting Image (mismade bill) trick, which was a solid end to my “impromptu” performance.
Not relying on what you can find around you, but having something on you that you are guaranteed to kill with is a huge advantage. Planning ahead and keeping a few tricks in your wallet makes a huge difference! -Louie
Yesterday I posted a dollar bill trick where the dollar was used to produce a tiny bible. The “bible” was one I made was just some paper that was stapled together, covered with duct tape and wrote on it in white pen (These pens are also handy for marking cards!).
The homemade bible is fine for a test run, but the first thing the people I’ve shown this to did was flip through it. That tells me it needs to be a real bible or at least pass the flip test. There are certain things where having the object people want to touch be real and not something that pretends to be real makes the trick stronger. There’s a sense of disappointment if someone realizes that the oranges you use in cups and balls aren’t real. It doesn’t make the trick any less amazing, but it takes them out of the magic headspace there were in. With that in mind I went out and hunted down a tiny bible!
Sometimes it’s the little things that add a lot to the trick. Having it be a real bible makes it more than a sight gag…not much more, but it does elevate the trick!
I’ve had an idea in my head for a while to do something with the “In God We Trust” on the back of a dollar bill. I went out and made a bill that doesn’t have it, normally it’s printed just above the giant ONE on the back of a dollar bill.
This one turned out great and it’s got a nice texture and doesn’t feel altered. The next thing was to figure out what to do with it, here’s what I came up with:
Ideally I want to borrow their dollar bill, call attention to a lot of the “hidden” things on a bill, and also call attention to the “in god we trust”. Then I’d do some sort of trick with one of the parts of the bill and during that trick I’d switch the bill for the one that didn’t have “in god we trust” and I’d do the bible production.
The next challenge is going to be figuring out what the first phase would be…
A couple of days ago I had a Facebook memory pop up that had a video I made while I was on tour in Canada about four years ago. While I travelled I used to do a videos of magic tricks in my hotel room. It’s been a while since I’ve made one, however I think this was a very interesting video as it uses Canadian money. If you’ve never played with them, they are plastic bills, that don’t easily fold and hold a crease, and most Canadian magicians dislike them. Here’s a cool trick I came up with using them:
What I think is really cool about this trick is that it takes advantage of the hologram and clear spot that’s in the Canadian bill. I don’t know how well this would play in Canada as there’s a discrepancy in the trick that virtually no one outside of Canada would notice.
I think this is a fun social media trick, but really wouldn’t make it into an in person show.
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.
I made a cleaner video of the coin to cork trick, which I’m giving the title Corkage Fee. This is the title that was stuck in my head.
I cleaned up the handling’s timing a little bit and added some context to the switch of the cork. For a quick social media video, having the balance on the nose at the beginning is a better switch than a shuttle pass. An even better way would have been to start with a bottle of wine that I took the cork out of. I don’t really drink wine, so that’s not something I have kicking around.
Yesterday I wrote about a Cork To Coin effect (read it here) and I’ve taken it a bit further than a simple 2 second trick. It’s not gone much further, but here’s where it’s at:
I like the idea of a transposition between the cork and the coin. It adds a layer of less obviousness to how the trick works. I think I may flesh it out a bit more and rerecord it with better lighting and put it out as a social media video.