Spoon Trick…

The trick I’m working on today uses a spoon. Here’s the first proof of concept video of it:

I found the tiny spoon at a garage sale a few months ago, and have been trying to think of a use for it. Obviously it would be some sort of shrinking or growing effect. For the method, I think the first shrink is interesting, the final shrink is less interesting to me.

For the first shrink I really stumbled upon when I was working on a different trick with a spoon, and realized I could essentially make the first shrink self contained. That eliminated the need to have to steal anything or ditch anything initially. Ideally, if I could avoid sleeving the spoon for the second shrink, that would be the best, however I can’t think of a way to do that without ditching the spoon. The nice thing about sleeving (or using a topit) is that you end with nothing palmed.

-Louie

Unsigned Cards…

When I’m doing close up magic, one thing that I don’t do is have people sign cards. There’s frequently a strange hesitancy when you ask people, like they aren’t sure exactly what you want them to do. Instead I have people draw a picture on the card.

I say, “Draw a picture on the card, it can be anything…Bigfoot fighting a ninja, so it’d just be a picture of a bigfoot. I won’t judge you…till later. I don’t care what you draw, I’m not your mom…wouldn’t be the first rocket ship I’ve seen today.” That has 2-3 laughs but it also gives them a moment to think about what to draw and I disarm them about worrying about the drawing being bad. It also takes away the incentive for a teenage boy (or drunk adult) to draw a penis as I’ve already gotten the laugh from that.

The other thing this does is gives me a real moment in the show that’s happening now that I can comment on. I can talk about the picture and everyone knows this is real and not preplanned.

Play around with using alternatives to signatures you might like it.

-Louie

Milk Caps Across…

One thing that drives me nuts is when a magician will post a picture to social media of a craft store and say something like, “I could make so many magic tricks here” but then they don’t say what they made. These are people who are lazy and want to appear creative without doing any of the actual work. It’s not hard, but something that’s visually interesting and figure out a trick with it.

When I was performing last month in Casa Grande, AZ I went to a few junk shops. I’m normally looking for things for my oddity collection, but sometimes I find props to use with magic. One of the shops had about a dozen vintage milk caps.

pog magic trick

Milk caps were used in the early 1900’s to seal bottles of milk. These are made of cardboard and slightly larger than a silver dollar, but about one third as thick. These were stuffed into the neck of a glass milk bottle. They didn’t create an airtight seal, but they did keep out debris and bugs.

The size of milk bottle caps lend themselves to coin magic. I’m sure in the 1990’s during the POG game’s popularity, tons of magicians used them. I had the idea of using them for some platform style coin magic, and figured I’d give it a try at a virtual magic meeting the other night:

I think it went well for a first run, now I need to write a routine for it and some jokes and I’ll be up and running!
-Louie

Erasing Memory…

Sometimes playing with an idea without a real goal in mind will lead to something unexpected. Originally my first idea using and SD card was pen thru SD card (pen thru bill). That’s really an unoriginal idea, it’s just putting the pen thru something unusual, but doesn’t really contribute anything to the effect.

Well, last night I came up with an idea, where the effect is essentially pen thru SD card, but different. Here’s what I came up with:

From a creative standpoint it’s a much more interesting solution to penetrating the SD card with another object. This effect was inspired by the Flexible Mirror trick and the old Paper Coin Fold trick. Method wise, it’s different from the Paper Coin Fold, which was fun to figure out. The shape of the SD card makes the method work, where if it was done with a coin, you really couldn’t do the move. Sometimes changing the prop will open the door to a new method and that’s why play is an important part of creating!
-Louie

Printing Memory…

The idea of using SD cards for magic tricks is interesting to me. I’m not sure why, it’s basically a coin trick, but there’s something about the prop that I find interesting. I think that it’s potentially fragile and has value. The value can be either monetary or sentimental, and usually both.

Designed a SD card for my 3D printer

and printed them out:

There are a few different ones. Regular SD card shaped and then the ones with the holes could hold micro SD cards in the slots. I’m not sure what I want to do with the ones that will hold micro SD cards, I’m thinking a 16gb card turns into two micro 8gb cards.

I’ve got another fun idea, that’s sort of like an “omni” SD card. You mention that memories are contained on them. Someone from the audience mentions a topic that someone would take pics of. Let’s say they choose “Pets”. The SD card turns clear, but inside there’s a the image of a cat.

Now the fun part, playing until I find an idea I like!
-Louie

Memory Magic…

sd card

This morning I was doing the writing I do in the mornings and started playing with the idea of using an SD card for magic. I quick Google search makes it seem like no one has really worked on much with them. The SD cards are essentially coins, with them being about the diameter of a half dollar.

My initial idea was to do a Pen Thru SD Card as all of the props are related at office things. There’s really no new territory to explore there, it’s either a gimmicked pen or SD card and a pretty basic idea. However that idea got my brain going, so it did have its place.

One of the ideas I liked was having a 32 gb SD card, magically split it into two 16 gb cards, then finally split one into two 8 gb SD cards.

Another idea was doing a color changing SD card or a transposition with one black and one blue card.

Then I started thinking about making novelty SD cards with my 3D printer. Since they are essentially plastic, it would be easy to make a jumbo one, or a stretched one, or whatever.

Well…I have something new to play with.

-Louie

Runner Up Twist

A while ago I wrote up the sequential twisting effect that uses what I think is an original count of mine that I’m calling the Runner Up Count. I finally made a quick video of it:

Here’s what I think the pros and cons are of it when compared to the original Twisting the Aces:

Pros:
– The sequential nature makes it easy to follow what has and has not flipped
-There’s no variation in the sequence, all the counts look the same.

Cons:
-starting with a double deal as the first count is difficult

Honestly I don’t know if every phase looking the same is a good or bad thing.
-Louie

Economy of Motion…

Yesterday was a building day over here. Just me with my headphones in listening to music and working on building props for other performers. I’m very thankful for days when I can spend the day just building props without any distractions.

It’s also nice to be able to get ahead and build some extra things so I have some things in stock. Today I managed to be able to get a couple of extra Take Up Reels finished, so now I have some in stock and can ship them out immediately.

take up reel vanishing birdcage

Before 2020, I really didn’t keep anything in stock, and everything was made to order. At that point you could really only get my magic tricks from Hocus-Pocus.com. After the venues closed in 2020 I started offering my magic trick for sale here and have a lot more in stock, that’s ready to ship out than I did two years ago.

It’s been great to learn that making items in batches, even when I only need to ship out one of them is a HUGE timesaver. It’s like in sleight of hand, it comes down to the economy of motion. With magic manufacturing, making four of them is usually the same effort as making one.

Now look at what you do in performing. Do you do several different shows, that may share a prop? Would it be easier and ultimately save you a lot of time if you had two of that prop, so you didn’t need to move it case to case? Could you have more than one of your show costume to save time taking it to the cleaners? All of these things could potentially save you a lot of time when you add up all the wasted time over the months and years.

-Louie

Hanging with Jeff Martin

A couple of days ago I was at a showcase and saw my buddy Jeff Martin showcase. Jeff is a working magician and hypnotist.

I first met him years ago when I was performing at an Oktoberfest near where he lives. He came out to see another act I was working with, but stuck around for my show. We had a good time chatting cups and balls after my show.

If you don’t know Jeff, he’s an amazing sleight of hand guy and he won the Magic Castle’s Roving Olympics. We had a good time jamming a few cards tricks.

Here’s Jeff doing some coin work:

If Jeff is ever performing in your area, check him out…and tell him I say hi!
-Louie

Tiny Bible Magic Trick…

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!

-Louie