Oh man, so yesterday I posted a routine for a card split routine. Part of the routine you expose a double envelope and it got me thinking about what is exposure. To me 99% of the magic that’s exposed doesn’t matter…well doesn’t matter in the context it’s exposed. I think magic that’s exposed in the moment it’s being done is the 1% that matters.
Ok, now for some of my general thoughts on exposure. I think magicians are the worst at exposure. They routinely give away “secrets” during their shows without realizing it. How they do it is when they cancel methods. For example, simply saying “no stooges” or “we haven’t prearranged anything” in a mentalism routine exposes a viable method.
Other ways things are exposed unintentionally through cancelling methods are things like, “check out the box, there’s no trap doors, mirrors, hidden assistants…” That tips three methods right there. Or at the end of a prediction when the magician/mentalist tears apart the envelope and says, “there’s nothing else in here” also exposes a method.
In the card split routine that I posted, I’m exposing a double envelope. I’d argue this method is exposed by soo many performers in the context of cancelling methods, it’s really not a secret. Also, it’s a logical method for any audience member to think of, to have an envelope with more than one prediction in it. That’s why it’s a common thing that magicians or mentalists expose to eliminate a method.
If your trick relies simply on an A/B prediction where the mystery hinges upon you simply opening one side or another of an envelope, your trick probably isn’t very magically sound. You need to add a lot more layers to your trick to make it a decent trick.
Yesterday I posted a video of a method for a “card split” effect. I mentioned I don’t think I’ll ever do it, however last night I thought of a routine for it, or at least a way to give it some context and it’s not just showing an 8 of hearts and turning it into two 4 of hearts.
Here we go:
You start with a prediction envelope on the table and a deck of cards. You drop cards onto the table and someone from the audience stops you at any point and you show the card they stopped at. It’s the eight of hearts.
You open the envelope and take out a card, it’s the four of hearts. You admit you messed up and that it’s a trick envelope and you opened the wrong side. You flip the envelope over and open the other side, but that side also has a four of hearts!
You admit you really screwed up the trick and put the same card in both sides of the envelope! You then realize that an 8 is actually two 4’s, so technically you got it right!
You then rip the eight of hearts in half and each half then turns into a four of hearts!
There’s not much to the routine, just a drop force and a double envelope…well that and the gaffed card for the card split. -Louie
I’m trying to find a solution for a way to reveal a card that’s been selected by the audience. Essentially this is a free choice, so I need multiple outs. In the past I’ve used several ideas, like limiting the choice, or things like an invisible deck. I’m not sure I like the previous things that I’ve tried. I remembered that Marc Oberon put out a “Any Card in Wallet” trick called Bang On a while ago and found one.
I was aware of the method and I think this may work for me. The big problem is that it uses a poker size playing card, so it’s small. I think the trick needs projection to work on stage, and there’s really not a way to make it physically larger as the card needs to fit in a wallet.
I’m going to play with this a bit, as it may get me a bit closer to the solution that I’m looking for.
One of the tricks that I’m trying to move out of my preshow and into the main body of my show is my version of Iain Bailey’s Measure For Measure trick. This is a tape measure prediction, you pull out the tape and someone says “stop” and there’s a giant arrow drawn on the back where they stopped. I totally reworked Iain’s gimmick so that it works way better for how I perform and the conditions that I perform in. You can read a little bit about it on this blog post.
The challenge I’ve had with it was getting the effect to really hit. It was getting an “meh” sort of reaction. What fixed it was that I added a phase to the beginning of the trick. This first phase I used a separate tape measure and the person from the audience says “stop”, but misses the prediction and it’s wrong. I tell them they will get it wrong the first time, but will get it right the second time. I think this really sets up what’s going to happen the second time and makes their brain processing the effect much faster.
I’ve managed to get a couple more laughs out of the routine as I’ve been working on it this summer. It’s slowly becoming a more fleshed out routine. I just need to do the work, which is writing, testing and editing.
One of the greatest challenges in magic is getting audiences in virtual shows to turn on their cameras. In the pic below I’m doing performing for about 50 people, but only a handful have their camera’s on.
There are a lot of reasons why people don’t turn their camera’s on, and I honestly don’t blame anyone who keeps their camera off. There are some solutions, for example some ticketed shows have a requirement that all cameras are on. This isn’t an option when you’re hired by someone…I guess you could put that in as a condition in your contract, but I bet it would be a hard sell for a corporate meeting.
The first step is simply asking for people to turn their cameras on. That’s the single step you can take that will yield the most cameras to turn on. In my experience the more I interact with people the more cameras turn on. Once someone figures out a way to get 90% of the camera’s on without requiring it, these shows will be soo much more rockin! -Louie
The version I’m working on uses bigfoot images over the background of the Pacific Northwest. In the end the audience will end up on the same bigfoot image and all of the other ones will fade away.
With touch the screen type tricks, something that I’ve learned in virtual shows, you need something physical to end the trick. Something that adds another layer more that you just pushing play on a graphic, or reading some instructions. For me, the physical thing I’m using is a cast of a bigfoot foot print. On the back of it will be the location of where it was taken, which will match the location of the bigfoot that everyone ended up on.
The reveal of the location at the end is a bonus effect. You aren’t doing anything extra to get the final reveal. If anyone thought about it, and you knew everyone was going to end up on the same bigfoot image, then of course you would have known what that location would be. However, in the moment people don’t think like that.
Is this the bonus effect the strongest effect?
Probably not, but in the moment it does strengthen the touch the screen effect.
In the past I’ve written about my dislike for magic apps, and my fascination with them. I think they are interesting, but the main problem is that the majority of them either rely on an internet connection or using your phone. In my opinion there’s no way around having to use the internet for apps … Continue reading “App Free…”
In the past I’ve written about my dislike for magic apps, and my fascination with them. I think they are interesting, but the main problem is that the majority of them either rely on an internet connection or using your phone. In my opinion there’s no way around having to use the internet for apps that work that way, and that makes them not as reliable as I’d like. As for using your phone, well, you just need to justify it.
I just started playing with an idea that uses my phone to take a picture for a prediction. The idea of using a picture that you are taking in the moment makes more sense that a random pic in your gallery that’s been there for months.
Here’s what the rough idea looks like:
This is a trick that I don’t think really has a place in a formal show, but as an informal trick, I think it’s great. The nice thing about it is they can pick any of the items and they can pick up the phone to reveal the prediction. It’s pretty hands off once you take the pictures.
It really cracks me up when magicians worry about exposure of tricks where the method is technological. The “exposure” they are worried about is when this similar tech becomes used in applications for the general public. A good example is someone makes a die that you assign tasks to, and have an app linked to … Continue reading “What Me Worry…”
It really cracks me up when magicians worry about exposure of tricks where the method is technological. The “exposure” they are worried about is when this similar tech becomes used in applications for the general public. A good example is someone makes a die that you assign tasks to, and have an app linked to it. You put the side up when you are working on that task. The app knows what side it up and tells you how long you devote to each task. This is essentially a tech that’s been used for magic for a long time.
I think there are two reasons that people that are upset with magic tech becoming everyday tech. The first is that when it’s magic, it’s a niche market and very specialized, so it’s expensive. These people are upset that the value of their investment has been decreased. The second reason is that these people aren’t willing to put in the time to learn to do it any other way (i.e. Sleight of hand).
Here’s a good example, many people make a little cube that has different colors on all of the sides. Due to the tech, you always know what color is on top. However if you are aware of a similar device to keep you on task at work, then the impossibility of the trick is diminished. How can you do the same trick?
Here are two ways:
1. Instead of the cube, they write down a color on a business card and put it in their pocket. Using standard mentalism techniques you can easily know their color.
2. You put a prediction on the table. The pick a color on the block and it’s covered up so you can’t see it. You turn over the prediction and it’s the color they picked. Methodwise this is simply using the block to tell you what color was picked, then you use nailwriter for the prediction.
Both methods will have the same impact as just using the tech, but won’t become obsolete when the magic tech becomes everyday tech. The moral of the story is to go out and learn some sleight of hand.
I’m very luck that have places to “work out” routines, not a lot of magicians have that. Personally I prefer to work out stuff in a real show over an open mic. With an open mic typcially the audience isn’t invested in the show like they would normally be in a show that they paid … Continue reading “Ten Card Deal…”
I’m very luck that have places to “work out” routines, not a lot of magicians have that. Personally I prefer to work out stuff in a real show over an open mic. With an open mic typcially the audience isn’t invested in the show like they would normally be in a show that they paid a ticket to see.
Last night I hosted a show and as host, not the feature or headline act, I can play a bit more with new stuff. Currently I’m working on a stage version of the 10 Card Poker Deal. It ended well, but was a hot mess up until the ending.
In my stage poker deal, it uses jumbo cards and ends with a prediction. Somehow I wasn’t paying attention and ended up having the wrong prediction after the first deal. Luckily I know a lot of poker deal variations and was able to do a second deal and end up with the prediction that matched the one I had on the table.
This is where it’s important to know more than just the routine you do. Whenever possible I try to have a deeper knowledge of the concept or the trick. Knowing more that just what’s required for the routine bailed me out of the situation last night.
A friend of mine who is a mentalist from Ireland is in town and we had coffee yesterday. We were chatting about mentalism and the struggles to make it play big. One of the things he showed me was probably the coolest thing I’ve seen this year (more on this in a minute). Part of … Continue reading “Adding Texture to Predictions…”
A friend of mine who is a mentalist from Ireland is in town and we had coffee yesterday. We were chatting about mentalism and the struggles to make it play big. One of the things he showed me was probably the coolest thing I’ve seen this year (more on this in a minute).
Part of the challenge of mentalism is you need normal-ish looking props. Once you know make a die 24 inches big, or use a calculator that’s build for bigfoot, you lose what makes mentalism great, which is the lack of propy props.
This is an amazing way to force one object out of five that feels very free and has some theatrical build up to it as well.
My idea is to borrow five different objects from people in the audience. You introduce a padded envelope that has your prediction in it. They give you a number, let’s say it is 28. You count to that number per the Quinta Force and let’s say we end up on a cellphone. You open the envelope and inside is a cellphone…then for the kicker on the back written in marker in giant numbers is 28!
I haven’t finished reading the book, so someone may have thought of this already.
That’s something that will play fairly large, I guess it could be done with paper prediction that unfolded into a large display. My thinking was to try to get away from a printed prediction as that’s fairly common way to reveal things and I wanted something that would add some texture to the show.