It hit me yesterday while I was doing my version of the invisible deck was that my version is not about the card, it’s about the two cards matching. That’s a huge distinction when it comes to making it play big. If you’re performing on stage with the invisible deck, the audience needs to know it’s the card that was named. In my routine since it’s a prediction, they only need to know that the two cards match. That means they only need to be able to tell the cards look the same from the back of the audience.
To make it play bigger, but still use a normal size deck, I have a few options. I could use a jumbo index card, which I personally don’t like. I think they look funny. In the past for stage work, I’ve used GIANT INDEX cards. These are cards that don’t have the pips in the middle, they are more like flash cards. These also look funny, but I like they way the look more than Jumbo index cards. The final option is to use the Phoenix Large Index Cards. These are normal looking cards, but the pips and indexes are 50% larger.
I just ordered some of the large index cards. I’m going to make a gimmicked deck and give it a try when I’m back at the fair on Wednesday. I’m guessing it will play slightly better, I don’t think the difference will be huge, but better than how it’s been.
I also figured out the optimum number of cards to do the trick with. I need to do the trick with 16 pairs (32 total). That’s going to eliminate evenly from 32 to 16 to 8 to 4 to 2 to the final card. I’m hoping that 32 cards will still play like a full deck from the stage. We’ll find out…
One of the tricks I’m working on right now at the fair is my version of the Invisible Deck…Well my version of Vernet’s 52 B’wave. The effect is a selected card is in a second deck face up, has a different colored back and the rest of the deck is blank.
Because of my method for the trick, I know what the selected card it without looking at the face. Yesterday I said the name of the card without looking at it and someone in the audience called me on it. I played it off as saying I did look, and they must not have noticed. I need to do an exaggerated look at the front of the card. I also need to do a streamlined elimination of the cards. Right now I’m splitting the cards in half and eliminating half at each split. I need to figure out the least number of splits. Like maybe doing it with a 45 or 48 card deck instead of a 52 card deck make it go a little bit faster?
I’m figuring out the beats and how to make it play better with the audience. After the first reveal of the card upside down, I’m flipping the card they chose over, saying they aren’t an exact match, as that’s from a blue deck and I’m holding a red deck. I then flip the card in the red deck over to show it has has a red back. The change from just saying, “and it has a different colored back” to explaining why it would have a different colored back is giving me a stronger reaction.
I’m liking how this plays better than the traditional invisible deck where they simply name a card. It involves a lot of people from the audience, and they can see the cards that they are making a choice of. While it’s dirtier than the traditional invisible deck method/effect, it also eliminates the top explanations on how the tricks works:
1. Everyone picks the _____
2. It was set up with the person in advance
While neither of those are how the traditional invisible deck works, you really can’t argue them.
A couple days ago I wrote about an idea I had for a method for the invisible deck, but had a kicker where the card had a different colored back and then the rest of the cards were blank. This was inspired by Vernet Magic’s 52 B’Wave card trick.
I’ve been doing it at the fair I’m performing at, and I took a quick video of the first time I did it:
There’s a couple things I need to work on. The load to the deck in my pocket is very clunky. Right now I’m trying to square up the card with the back of the deck. I don’t think I need to do that. I think I just need to get it fairly close the the deck, and then can align it as I’m pulling it from the pocket.
People seem to react to the three beats of the trick. I wish I could come up with a one deck way to do it with jumbo cards. As it is right now, if I was doing it in a big room, I’d need video projection for it to play big.
In the past I’ve played with using an invisible deck in my show. The issue I have with it, is that it’s a pretty standard trick. I want to layer it with having something more than just an upside down card. In the past I’ve come up with a method where you can have more than one card picked (no force) and they are all upside down. In my show right now I’m using a variation on Vernet Magic’s 52 B’wave.
The 52 B’wave effect is the named card is upside down, has a different colored back and all of the other cards are blank. I really like this effect, and I think a booker that has seen the invisible deck will be able to tell the difference. What I don’t like about it is that there is a force of the color of the card.
I was kicking around ideas for it, and I think I have come up with a method that I like better than Vernet’s 52 B’wave. Here’s how the effect will play, you show a deck of cards and hold half in each hand. The audience chooses a half to eliminate (no forces are used in this) and you put them on the table. You then split the remaining cards in and half chosen to eliminate and repeat this till you have one card. The elimination process happens with the faces of the cards to the audience. You then reach into your pocket and remove a deck of cards. Inside that deck is one face up card, it matches the one selected by the audience. The card is not only the only card face up, but it has a different colored back, and the rest of the deck is blank! Not that I would do this, but at the end of the trick, the deck is ungimmicked and could be examined.
OK, for method it’s a combination of a gimmick, and sleight of hand. I haven’t tried this yet, but I’ll going to give it a go during my preshow at the fair tomorrow!
Here’s another packet trick that I got from a collection of magic that I’m revising. Today it’s Five Card Surprise, and there was not creator listed on the packaging. It’s sort of like an illogical princess card trick.
Here’s the video of me doing it the original way as written, then doing a revised version for a real audience:
This trick suffers from trying to make it easy to do. What I mean by that is the card selection is you simply telling them what card to take. I think it not being a choice weakens the trick a lot. The simple addition of a force of the card (any force) greatly improves the trick.
Here’s the second video of me revising a packet trick that I got with a collection of magic that I acquired. Today’s trick is the A.C.T. (another card trick) by Bill Pryor.
Here’s a demo of the trick as written, then how I revised the trick:
The big problem with this packet trick is that the whole effect is a “kicker” without the initial ending. What I mean by that is that you start by asking someone to think of a card, but you never reveal it. You need the initial effect for a kicker to really work. I think at the end spectators will still be thinking, “what about the card I was thinking of?”
Also I don’t think the gags are strong enough to carry the trick past you never revealing the card they are thinking of.
Recently I ended up with a collection of magic tricks and in that collection there were a bunch of packet tricks. Most weren’t very good, but that got me thinking about trying to improve them. The first one that I tried was called 4 Card Monte, and there are a lot of packet tricks with this title, so don’t judge them all by this one.
Here’s the effect as written in the instructions, then the effect reworked by me:
The trick as written is pretty bad, and doesn’t make much sense with the addition of a fifth card at the end. I think my version where there’s only four cards shown the whole time makes more sense. The addition of the kicker ending really adds a punctuation to the end.
One thing I think that’s important when you get a magic trick is to not discard because you don’t like the trick as written. Play with it and see if you can make it work!
Whenever I get an idea for a magic trick, I try to take some sort of action immediately. Sometimes this is simply writing down the idea, sometimes this is trying to actually work out the idea. Yesterday I was making breakfast for the family and was cracking an egg and had an idea for this:
It started with me thinking, “I wonder if you could do spellbound with an egg…” which is better than a coin for a couple of reasons. One, it’s a natural thing that people have seen (white and brown egg), most people have not seen a copper coin that’s the size of a half dollar or silver dollar…also most younger people haven’t really see or handles a half dollar or silver dollar. While those two coins are real objects, they are still unfamiliar objects, where an egg very commonplace. The second reason is that there’s a perception of eggs being fragile, thus harder to manipulate (or gimmick).
I’ll need to tweak it a little bit, but after trying it once, I think it’ll be a good trick!
About fifteen years ago I attended one of Gazzo‘s masterclasses on street shows. The main focus was on the Cups and Balls, but he also taught the tossed out deck, egg bag and one other card routine. I did his cups and balls routine for a long time, and occasionally still do it.
One of the things that he used in his routine were some fairly unique balls. They were little soccer balls, but they had a texture and density that I had never come across before. The were great and became the standard for many street performers. Unfortunately he hasn’t sold them for years. They feel like something you could walk into any toy shop and buy, however after years of searching I’d never come across them…until recently.
It turns out that I had been looking in the wrong place for them. I found them at the hardware store! I was shopping for something else, and happened to notice them, bought one and it was exactly the same thing!
I wish I was still doing the cups and balls in my main show, as this discovery would have come in super handy a decade ago! The moral of the story is to keep your eyes open, an ideas in the back of your head. As you move through life, look around!
A couple of weeks ago I got to do my Polaroid Trick for an in person audience. I did it using video projection and it played well. Here’s what it looked like:
Here’s my notes:
- The lighting needs to be better. It cuts off my face.
- Some light background music would help it.
- 0:26 mark: hold for the laugh a little bit longer
- 1:27 mark: freeze and stop moving during the applause
- 1:47 mark: pause another beat or two between the vanish and reproduction of the picture
- 1:52 mark: applause is starting and I step on it by going to my next line
So what I need to work on is mostly timing things, and letting effects and the reactions “marinade” a bit longer with the audience.