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.
Sometimes you get an idea stuck in your head. For me it’s the title of a magic trick, and it’s not a good title either. The title is “Corkage Fee“. For me that just leads to something involving money and a cork. My original idea was a cork turning into dollar bills. The second idea was a cork that disappeared when rolled into a dollar bill. I came up with a barely working version of the second idea.
I started playing with a third idea for a trick using a cork and a coin:
While not the best idea, I think it may have some uses for Instagram type videos.
A few days ago The Amazing Randi passed. I remember as a teenager reading his books. I never expected to run into him. I was probably 20-ish years old and ran into him at a magic shops. We chatted a bit and ended up hanging out while he was in Seattle doing a TV show.
From the stories he told, he’s a guy that’s lived the life of twenty people. He’s pretty much seen and done it all. From touring with Alice Cooper to speaking at huge scientific conferences and he had great stories about them all!
He’s the first person that really turned me onto altering money for magic. Mentioned I should play with putting Scotch Guard on bills. I think I published the trick I came up with using Scotch Guard in a Linking Ring magazine.
From my limited experience hanging out with Randi, he was a cool guy who knew how live life!
One of the effects in magic that I don’t do in my show is a levitation. It doesn’t fit with my character, or at least I haven’t found a way to make it fit. I’ve create a couple different levitation tricks, but they aren’t things that I would do. However this one is my favorite:
Method wise it’s pretty solid, it’s self contained and there’s a redundant system in case the gimmick breaks during the trick. It’s also casually examinable before and after the trick. It solves a lot of the reasons why I don’t from a technical standpoint do any tricks that use this method and that’s that they are fragile.
My method is loosely based on a Ben Harris card trick. The gimmick is very different from Ben’s, if you took his card and swapped it for a bill, the trick wouldn’t work. For me, this floating bill trick is a good example of creating some sort of art that’s pretty much for the sake of creating.
When I used to travel frequently one of the things that I did to keep myself busy was invent magic tricks. I has some guidelines, the main one was to use things found in my hotel room. Here’s one from a few years ago:
One thing I really like about this trick is the visual of pulling the bill through the straw. Once I had the idea of the sideways penetration, then I had to figure out a method. I can’t find any notes I wrote for this trick and honestly I’m not 100% sure how I did it. I have an idea of how I probably did it as there are only a few ways you can slide a bill through as straw.
Doing these hotel room videos were a fun creative challenge because you are really limited prop wise with what you can do.
Not too long ago someone sent me a video of a magician doing a visual bill change. The trick in the video wasn’t very good as you only saw a small portion of the bill and didn’t see the whole bill until after the change. I sent a quick video back of how I would improve the trick, however personally I wouldn’t do the trick as I don’t think it’s a bill switch is good if you can’t show the most of the bill before it changes. If you only show me fraction of it, it’s not as impressive.
Later that night I was playing around with the gimmick I had made and added some lighter fluid to add some razzle dazzle to the bill change. I was kinda amazed that it worked, and made a new gimmicked bill where I could show the whole face of the bill. Here’s what I came up with:
The fire justified the shaking of the action for the bill, which is necessary for this gimmick to work. It adds a “magic moment” to the trick. It’s not just a visual change that happens with a shake. It also makes the trick longer than a 2 second trick, which is nice.
The last couple of days I created and refined a coin routine. Here are the two routines and the conditions:
Initially the conditions were:
Viewed from the front
Done for the camera
Face must be framed
I will say that I initially fudged the face must be framed because I put the coin in my pocket, however there’s still action by my face as that’s where my right hand stays holding a coin.
After coming up the first version, I added a couple more conditions:
Hands stay in frame
Usable in a LIVE show with video projection
Able to set up quickly
With the second set of conditions, I’m thinking about actually using the routine. In the second version, I’m playing the the camera for the two times the coin disappears from one hand and reappears in the other, but it will still work live. The set up quickly condition is huge, I need to be able to reach into my case, grab the coins and be good to go.
Then there’s a small challenge with the condition of my hands not leaving the frame. I have the stupid penny to keep hidden after it changes into the two silver dollars. It sounds simple, but was a pain to figure out how…until I came up with a very simple and obvious solution to holding out the penny for almost the whole routine.
The next step would be to start to work on a verbal routine, or at least intro, to get more than 30ish seconds out of the routine.
The coin routine that I started yesterday started with a penny turning into two silver dollars. One silver dollar repeated traveled from the pocket to the hand and for a finish one of the silver dollars turned clear. It’s a decent routine, however after playing with it, I added a couple more conditions (I’ll write about the conditions tomorrow) and here’s what the routine changed into:
The first big difference is the routine is about 17 seconds shorter. I took the coin going from the pocket to the hand, that I felt was pretty redundant after I did it more than twice. It doesn’t feel as impossible with a coin as it does with a ball. It’s interesting that the routine started with a billiard ball manipulation premise, however moved away from that.
The ending with both coins turning clear makes more sense than just one of them doing and the final display of one in each hand is better.