Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's the audience's fault

Here a pro tip that some pros don't want to hear. Sometimes the spectators are the ones to blame for killing your show. I give you an example. Let's assume you do your rope routine. You have done that routine hundreds of times. And there is that one part where you always get applause. But this time you don't. What's wrong? Did you go away from your usual patter? Was you intonation wrong? Is you fly open? Do you wear a dirty costume?

Sometimes the answer is to be found with the spectators. Some are just to darn tired to clap or to laugh or whatever. Sometimes it is not your fault. Most pros will tell you that the spectator must never be made the guy responsible for killing the show. Well, most often you can get around the issue by waiting. In our case people don't applaud after you made ends end and middle of the rope switch places. Usually they do. But now they don't. LET THE AWKWARD SILENCE SINK IN. They will applaud because they feel uncomfortable with the silence and need to fill it themselves because you don't do it.

And that might actually loosen up the audience so the rest of the show runs smoothly. If it happens again, you can start filling the gap with a corny joke: "Looks like you see this sort of thing every day." Now they should get the message.

Maybe, just maybe they are just tired. Or maybe they don't like you or magic. And here is why! People gather in groups of shared interest. Those are called friends. A party usually has a lot of friends in one place. They are friends not just because they share the same interests, but also because they think about stuff in similar fashion.

So if you have bad luck, you run into a group which doesn't like going crazy mad every time you make a card come to the top of the deck. Maybe they don't like your look. Maybe you look like those Ellusionist magicians. Maybe they wan't you to get a hair cut and a real job.

It's their fault your show is ruined, but them must never be called out on that. But know that deep inside your show was a good as always. Don't let a bad experience let you down. Sometimes it's the audience's fault.

So I wanna wish you a Merry New Year. (or whatever you say in order to be politically correct)

Have fun with your gig tomorrow!

What? You don't have one tomorrow.... then you're not a pro! ;)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Three Realities

What book would you recommend for a beginning magician? "Magic for Dummies" by David Pogue? "Close-up Magic" by Nicholas Einhorn? "Magic Tricks for Grownups" by Jon Tremaine? Or even "Magic: The Complete Course" by Joshua Jay?

Think back when you first learned magic. Did you really get a book first? Only a few of us have been so lucky? Before we got a book we had a trick.

In my case it was the Ball and Vase that my grandpa used to own. It was a plastic version. It was dark green and the ball was black. Like a black pearl. He used to fool the hell out of me. And one day I stole the darn thing.

So that was my serious introduction to magic. A criminal act. Next Christmas I got my first magic kit... yeah who's been naughty or nice? My first book on magic was years later. I was in third grade and my reading skill finally has come to a degree that I had fun doing the reading.

But before I read the book I had tinkered with magic stuff many times. And if I hadn't done so I probably would have had a hard time to comprehend even half of what the book was talking about. I was 8 years old. I had a hard time to differentiate between the reality the spectators where perceiving and the reality I had. And that I had to pretend to have the same sort of fake reality that my spectators had. And rather difficult concept really! Now imagine the enlightenment the following trick had on me:

A bowl of rice. You place a wooden ball on the surface of the rice. Then you lift the bowl above every ones head. And then you shook the bowl slightly. And when you brought the bowl down the ball had become golden. I knew what was going on, but realizing to pretend to be amazed myself got me a greater reaction I slowly understood the meaning of magic. Because I didn't see the ball change my reality was the same as the spectators reality. Now I only had to deny the absolute reality of it being a trick and physics and all.

That knowledge really helped me to "pretend". Now when I change the color of a ball I see it. But I can pretend not to see it. Therefore I don't send any signals of guilt or that of a different reality apart from the spectator's reality.

And that is something that those books do not teach you. At all. I made this little drawing I should have seen many, many years ago:

WishCraft..... uhhhhhhh

Monday, December 24, 2012

Review Shows Suck

I need to get that of my chest. There are a few people dedicating time and effort in creating review shows for magic effects. And almost all of them suck. Expect the Magic Friday one. Most know of course would be the Wizard Product Review by the greatest host the magic scene deserves. Craig Petty and David Penn.

Granted, the two have some understanding of magic. But whatever goes beyond their level of expertise and their level of experience as real world performers will be oblivious to them. So it feels like a possible train wreck is coming with each new episode. I'm happy that lately they have focused on just their level of magic. Reviewing Tenyo.

Is it that hard to be honest about a product? Well they are selling products so naturally they are not allowed to be honest.

So here's my idea: To all the manufacturers of magic. If you want an honest review of your magic send it to me. I tell you how much you suck or I will praise you into heaven if you really have something good to offer. I got real world experience. I perform casual and formal. For kids, adults and corporate entities. I perform a lot. I do think I have a commercial sense when it comes to magic products. So what I will give you is the opinion of a working pro who performs for all but magicians.

There is a bit of a catch. I'll review everything I get. If you send me any crap or any gold I will review it. With video and all. And there is nothing you can do about it.

So who has the balls to spend money to send me some stuff? Write me an email so we can work out the details!

PS: Do the reviewers get to keep the stuff or do they send it back?

PPS: Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Magic Pirates Exposed

This has totally gone under my radar. But I love it. Apparently some guy created a fake website called and people were able to sign up for free pirated magic.

Then he published all the names and email addresses of the people who joined. Unfortunately he removed the list of the people who joined fearing legal consequences. But here is a nice copy: have fun recognizing certain names. ;)

Friday, December 21, 2012

You have no right

It's weird that some people assume that when a magician releases some of his material he has become a sellout and all of his material should be released. Even the magician in question seems to believe that. "I have released parts of my act and people liked it. Now I gotta release everything, while it's running so well."
I have actually talked to a magician on Facebook who told me that he likes to get a copy of the entirety of Luke Jermay's act. To him he feels that he has all the right to know about the routines mentioned but not explained in the "3510" book.
This is very disrespectful to the creative guy who released some of his ideas. Stop it!

Stuff from Stuff

Producing objects don't need a lot of justification. The simple fact that you can make something appear from thin air already is a great deal. Think about it. From nothing you make something by sheer will and it will be whatever you want it to be. These are enormous implications. God is supposed to have that sort of power. But of course any production can benefit from some sort of justification or logical or emotional reasoning.

Here is a bad example: Silk and Ball routines. They are pretty, yes but what is the relationship between silk and ball? Do they come together naturally? No! Yet all the production strike us as beautiful when done right. The intrinsic aesthetics are enough to make us not question the purpose of the choice of props. Is there a way to add to the routine by giving it a better justification aside from the "pretty"-aspect? Yes! Here is how:

Basically you talk about your childhood and all those things you encountered during that time. And that all those things might be responsible for your later outcome of your personality.
Of course a fitting music should go along that. Something nostalgic. Something that reminds us of childhood.
Then you grab a piece of silk and from it you produce a baby's rattle. Then a toy block, a mechanical tin toy, a toy car, a marble, a yo-yo, a Game Boy, a pager, a cell phone.
In between you show the silk to be empty. All the standard ball to silk moves come to mind when thinking about methods to accomplish this.
The aim is, that people will recognize those props. Either referring to their own childhood or the childhood of their own children. Along with the music it will lead to an emotional reaction, hopefully. And you end in the "here" and "now". Returning from memory lane.

This is an example of an emotional reasoning that make up the choice of props to be produced. You still have the God like power of creating stuff, but less random and with much more focus on a given subject.

Here is a cool little bit of wisdom. If people can choose what you produce the production will be stronger. Here is an example: Three imaginary coins are floating in the air. A 2 Euro coin, a 1 Euro coin and a 50 cents coin. The magician claims to hold a real coin in his closed fist. The spectator is asked to pick one of the imaginary coins. Then the hand is opened and the named coin is the only one in there. In terms of method: (C/S two times out of three or Shuttle pass, one time out of three.) Technically it's just a 1/3 chance that you are correct. But the fact that your audience could choose elevates it to a much more appreciative realm.

Let's give you an example for a logical production. This was created from the basic "bottle from a bunch of silks"-effect. It is designed to fit in a kids show.

Effect: Explain that you can Different pieces of clothing are shown. Warm socks, a scarf, gloves, a stupid hat. The kids realize, that all of that is needed in the winter. And from this whole bunch of clothing a thermos bottle is produced. The hot chocolate for later.

Method: A chair is standing around. Behind the backrest on a hook a sock is hanging. Inside the sock the thermos bottle. The clothing is shown and put on the backrest to show the next one. Near the end everything is picked up the loaded sock goes along for the ride. The bundle can be seen from all sides. Push down on the sock and the rest of the clothing and the thermos bottle will seemingly pop up.

You introduced the theme of winter. Coming up with stuff that keeps you warm. What could warm you more than hot chocolate? Right! Nothing.

A what the hell, one more: You may be familiar with the effect, that a rope is shown and a knot is tied. Then as the knot is tightened a colorful piece of silk appears in the knot. (Flash Silk on Rope by Doug Edwards Vol. 15 Issue 12 of the Apocalypse, read it, it's cool!)

Problem: There is absolutely no reason for the silk to appear aside from the surprise.
Solution: I put it at the beginning of my knot routine, by explaining that there are three basic simple knots. The first one; The real knot. I do a real knot to demonstrate. I open the knot again. The second one; The knot that is not. I do a false knot. And third; The magic knot. I do the knot and the piece of silk appears in the knot.
It is not the best solution, but it gives it a bit more reason and time... Yes time to see, that the rope is indeed normal.

And as an afterthought I might add a fourth knot. The knot that comes off. To do that, the piece of silk is twirled together like a rope and a false knot made. In your palm should be a removable knot, or it might by tied to the silk to begin with. That way you can pretend to take off the knot which would come as a real surprise and would justify the piece of silk in a strange way. And if you would open the piece of silk and it would have a hole in the center, it would even further explain why a cloth was used and not a rope. Aside from being funny.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Stuff becomes Stuff

In close up magic most often coins are changed for other coins. It's so common that we have a word for that particular effect: Spellbound. But the minds of the magicians don't seem to stray very far from it. Sometimes the coins change into rings and keys. Sometimes little balls change color....

So just to make you brain consider more possibilities I'm offering a few things here.

Nuts: Are great for magic. They have the right size to do all sorts of manipulations. You can change certain kind of nuts into any other kind of nuts. Like changing a peanut into a hazelnut. "I'm allergic!"

Stones: Come in all sizes and colors. Think about changing a coin several times. It becomes older and older. Finally you turn it into a stone. "Too far we're in the stone age!"

Hardware: Bolts, nuts and Gears... all could be added to a Steampunk themed act. You could have a wire and roll it around the finger. Then change it into a gear. One of those smoke producing gimmicks could visualize the technical change.

Office Stuff: Paperclips could change color. Priority labels could be "downgraded". I imagine a routine where the magician writes something with a pencil, looks at his writing, shakes his head and then visually changes the pencil into an eraser and rubs away his writing. A stamp could become a more valuable stamp.

Food: In fact I remember posting my little idea about gummy bears. Which was motivated and nobody paid attention to. But what if you use the switch for something more layered. Effect: A steel ball bearing is eaten. Many actually. No tricky moves, they really go into the mouth and are swallowed.
Method: You will need ONE real steel ball and the other ones are cocktail tomatoes treated with silver edible spray paint. That way all you need to do is to show how real the real steel ball is, switch it for a tomato and eat it.

Mentalism: Think about mentalism when it comes to spellbound. A regular key can be visually changed into a bent key. A fresh leaf could become an old, dry leave, which in presentation could be a "changing season" thing or in mentalism could be a "sucking out the aura" thing. Two magnets; if you switch one from something that looks similar both will no longer attract each other. Ergo "sucking out magnetism" could be the effect. (Where does the magnetism go? Maybe a demonstration of PK-effects is in order. The falling block of wood makes sense now!)

Changing the Effect: A broken monocle could repair itself.... you see stuff has not to become other stuff. The effect could be perceived differently. In this case a restoration. Now think even further. Some that gets repaired could also just go back in time to a point where it wasn't broken. Now if you think about changing an old toy into a working, shiny version of the toy... you are on the road to create a memorable, emotional effect. As it refers to so many aspects of any body's childhood. When wonders where still acceptable!

Go bold with the plot: What if it is not just the objects that changes, but the whole universe? What if a pack of salt in this universe is a pack of sugar in the other universe? What other changes might occur? I hope you can see where I'm going with this. I swear if I hear the King Midas story again I will leave the room. Changing stuff to gold is a great trick, but don't go back to plots that have seen better days.

Changing parts of nothing: Have you ever done the Spellbound Move with "nothing"? You could see something in the air and catch it. Show the "nothing" between your fingers and then mention the fact that the audience probably won't see it. The simple reason. They are seeing the wrong side. "It's a hole, but you are looking from the inside out. That's why you don't see the edge. Let's me twist it around a bit!" Then add the palmed steel ring to the picture in a twisting motion, as if you have turned a hole inside out.
This is a stupid premise and will not believed by the audience, but they will play along as long as they are entertained. And I think that this premise is a bit of a mind twister. One that is entertaining. (Of course you could continue with the steel ring. It's a portable hole after all. But what's one the other side of the hole? I hope you can see that this flies off in many directions!)

So you close up guys. I hope you put your coins and balls to rest for a while and experiment with other little objects that have the right size for manipulation. Such as: finger rings,
screws, billets,
bunched up silks,
blocks of wood,
dry beans,
sugar cubes,
pocket knives,
poker chips,
nail clippers
safety pins,
small candles,
small light bulbs,
keyboard keys,
blocks of glass,
ice cubes,
chess pieces,
monopoly houses,
sea shells,
pencil sharpeners
and matches.

One more effect that is easy and cool.

Effect: "Have you ever seen MacGyver? I love this guy. He can build the most complicated stuff from simple stuff." You get out a box of matches "All he needed was a box of matches. He would take just a few of them." A few matches are taken and the box is put away. "And a rubberband. He would wrap the rubberband around the matches and then add a paperclip."

Method: A rubberband is taken and wrapped tightly around the matches, so they become -sleight of hand-able. Then a paperclip is taken as well as a palmed minibomb (basically just a small black ball with a piece of flash string attached) the paperclip is slipped under the ruberband as well, and then a Boboswitch is made. One hand assumingly holds the match-rubberband-paperclip bundle, but in fact that hand holds the bomb. The other hand goes in the pocket getting a lighter and ditching the bundle.

"That is how you make a small bomb which can take out two, may three blocks."

Then the fuse is lit. "Damn, a dud!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Stuff based on Stuff

Let me give you two plots in magic that have not been explored to the full extent.

Here is a nice card plot. The survivor plot. "Imagine there is zombie apocalypse. Hordes of zombies roam the land and only a few people are in shelters desperately trying to make the next day. One of those shelters has run out of food. Food needs to be organized. So a group of three people is set up and goes outside." The deck is separated into reds and black. "The red cards representing the survivors and the black cards the zombies." The red pile is in a sheltered, that means a spectator holds on to them. "Three of the red cards go out and look for food. Unfortunately they run into a group of zombies and are surrounded." The three red cards are sandwiched into four black cards... "suddenly the zombies leave, leaving the survivors alone. Why? Well turns out they have evolved... and have a plan. In fact one of the group is infected." One of the three cards has become black... "but nobody knows... on the way back to the shelter the other two become infected as well." All three black cards are then pushed into half the deck the spectator is holding... "can you imagine the horror?" When the spectator turns over the cards in his hands, they all have become black.

I'm not gonna talk you through a possible handling. Check out Walton for that.

And here is a nice plot that can be taken from close up to stage. The phantom hands. "Imagine a set of invisible hands, right next to my own hands. They do whatever my real hands do." You show a cup and a stamp. You let the stamp fall into the cup. Then both hands mime taking out the stamp, claiming that the phantom hands actually take out the stamp. You mime tearing the stamp into fours pieces and then dropping them back in the cup. When the cup is turned over the stamp in there is torn into four pieces. Method: There is a torn stamp in the cup to begin with. You show a regular stamp and false transfer it to the other hand which pretends to put it in the cup. You ditch the real stamp and the rest is just presentation. There is not much to this... but let's elevate this into a creepy stage piece....

"You know the sensation of being stared at? Well think about being touched with nobody around." Think PK Touches with just one person. Suddenly everything gets a theatrical veil, the veil of mystery.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stuff in Stuff

So we got this cool little gimmicked wallet. What do we do with it? Card to wallet... yeah how boring. Here is an idea to spice it up, possibly being a prelude to the card to wallet.

Have the wallet in you left inside jacket pocket. Borrow a finger ring and remark it's beauty. Do not make cheap jokes about it. People might chuckle, but they won't like you! The vanish the ring. Anything by Gregory Wilson is nice. Show your hands empty and then get out the wallet. Open the wallet and reach through the zipper compartment to the outside and pull in and then out the ring.

If you do card to wallet anyways here is my little addition, even though a few bits need to be figured out. Open the wallet and show a face down card in one compartment. It's one of those wallets where a transparent window let's you see what is there. Usually for drivers licences and shit. But in this case you see the back of a card. Leave the wallet open as you have a card selected and signed. Free choice of course. Then the usual shenanigans and finally the card is vanished. You claim it's the card they've been staring at the whole time. Cleanly you pull out the card with no funny moves and it really is the card. The method is nothing but a combination of two gimmicks. One is the wallet and the other one is the transparent window in the wallet. It's basically the face down version of the Wow 2.0 gimmick by Masuda. So before any card is in the wallet the gimmick poses as a card. And once the card is in the wallet the gimmick becomes transparent. Now you got a miracle.

Do not load one card, load more than one. It is much stronger.

Borrow the business card of a spectator... look at it, wondering, then saying, "have we ever met?" Then reach for your wallet and inside there will be the same business card. Looking back at the first business card is has now become your own business card which you hand to the spectator. Do I need to tell you how commercial that is?

Have you ever played around with the option of stealing stuff from the wallet as well. That opens up room for transpositions and all of that fun stuff.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Stuff under Stuff

Is it really that hard to come up with creative magic on your own? I cannot be the only one that has no problem whatsoever to be creative. In fact I got the opposite problem. I have so may ideas that I cannot use. Some routines that I come up with do not support my character, some go over my budget and some are too close to other routines that I do.

Example: I got like 5 routines floating in my head where stuff ends up under other stuff. I got this coin routine where three coins one by one end up under the purse. I love the purse as it is a completely motivated prop having around coins. Cards need one hell of a motivation. Also with cards there is "floating" going on the purse doesn't float. My purse has a metal frame so it will naturally create a sound when put down on a hard surface. That sound will completely camouflage any secret placing of a coin. So using a purse makes it possible to do the routine on a hard surface. At the end you can put the coins into the purse and so on. I've been using that idea for a few years now. Darn practical I tell ya!

Another routine would be an ungimmicked Chop Cup routine. So a ball would go through the cup in a variety of ways. Through the table, through to bottom, the side, from the pocket and so on. The main premise was that I have a little assistant who helps me doing all the magic. And that would turn out to be my final load, a stuffed mouse. The main creative point would be the premise. I do that routine for kids and they love it.

The third thing would be the heavily gimmicked version of the Chop Cup by Alex Hecklau. His premise is about how gamblers cheat and so on. I changed it so I explain that magic works by being one step ahead. I show the die and have it roll a few times, so people see that the die rolls all numbers. Then I cover the die asking the audience if they remember what number was up. Whatever they say I lift the cup to reveal the die gone. Then I take the die from my pocket saying "You thought it was about the numbers... it was about stealing the die. You couldn't catch me because you mind was occupied with the other task... let's continue" Then I somehow explain how I steal the die. After having it openly placed in my pocket I reveal that it is back under the cup. The patter continues: "You see, you thought it was about me stealing the die... and again you couldn't catch me putting it back, only because I was one step ahead" Than I seemingly explain how the die comes back only to set up the next phase... you see where I'm going with this. The premise is about how magic works... the creative point again is the premise.

The fourth idea is a take on the Benson Bowl. Mainly the last ball. The audience has seen two of the balls go from the table under the bowl. The last ball would seem pretty anticlimactic if it went under the bowl the same way. So I change the structure by offering a solution, a funny solution. Here it is for your pleasure:

The magician says that he will explain how it works with the last ball. He picks up the ball with his right hand and false transfers it to the left hand. He picks up the wand with the right hand and says that the ball "travels" along the left arm, (wand points along the way) up to the shoulder, behind the neck. To prove this ridiculous claim, the left hand is opened and seen empty. The left hand takes the wand and the right hand goes up behind the neck, producing the ball from there.

The wand is put on the table, as the ball is shown, then false transferred to the left hand. The left hand pretends to put it behind the neck, is shown empty afterwards and then picks up the wand again.
The claim continues. The ball "travels" from the neck down the right arm (again wand point out the supposed path) into the right hand. The right hand opens to prove the statement.
The wand is put on the table again, as the right hand shows the ball and transfers it to the left hand. The right hand goes to the pocket and picks up an extra ball as you claim that there is a hole in the pocket. To prove it the right hand comes out (ball hidden) and the left hand does a shuttle pass to the right hand. "Just watch" the magician claims as he visually puts the ball in his pocket and the ball is plucked right from the outside of the trousers' pocket with the left hand.
"It goes even further" the magicians says, as the right hand comes out of the pocket empty. The ball is false transferred from the left to the right and again the right hand goes in the right pocket.
The wand is picked up with the left hand. And the motion of the ball travelling is pointed out. All the way down the right leg. The right hand comes out of the pocket and is casually shown empty.
The wand is tossed in the right hand and the ball produced with the left hand form the foot area.
The wand is placed in the right pocket (sticking out) and the ball transferred to the right hand. "And now comes the most difficult part of that trick" (looking at the bowl)
The ball is false transferred from the right to the left hand, the left hand goes down to put it back in the "foot area" as the right hand goes for the wand in the right pocket ditching the ball in the pocket for good.

The left hand is shown empty, the right hand is shown empty (aside from the wand of course) and again the pointing out of the assumed path of the ball is shown with the wand. This time from the foot area across the floor (hilarious I think) to the table, up the table's leg through the table's surface, finally pointing at the bowl and lifting it, to show it has arrived.

And there is a fifth idea... but I spare you this one.

You can see that I cannot put those in one show. No way too darn similar, even though they are different. Take those ideas if you need to. But let's make a deal. If you take one of those ideas you must promise to never ever use stock patter again. Never do a trick right out the box and never ever use the suggested handling. Always add your own.

PS: Using a blue silk instead of a red silk to vanish is not creativity.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Is this a revolution in the Cups and Balls?

So Peter Loughran has something new. A table which does all the work for you.

Is there seriously a need for that? Are those too lazy to actually practice the Cups and Balls so desperate to perform this, so they have to resort to this? Was the chop cup too damn hard?

Aside from those questions... This is like the very first method a layperson thinks of. The little miniskirt the table is wearing screams "load". I don't know why Peter Loughran keeps fucking up when it comes to creating props.

The best thing Peter ever released was "Seep". And that wasn't even something new.... wait, now that I think about it, the table is not a new idea either. I remember seeing a table like that years ago in a magic store. It was in the corner and collected dust. It was mechanical and needed to be operated by foot. But it was silent and if I recall correctly the masking on the table surface was way less obvious.

1250 dollars is the price for that little piece of apparatus? Does it work? I think so. I really believe that Peter is able to create working props. I had the "Entity" in my hands a few year ago. A huge ass brick of a gimmick, but it worked.

I got an idea though... Imagine having such a table. Only applying some principles from the illusion section of our craft. So the table looks way thinner. So you do your normal cups and balls, and then you offer to explain how the lemon got under the cup. You put all the cups aside and get out a glass. You put the glass at the sweet spot and move away. Do something that makes sure that everybody is looking at you. At that time the lemon loads itself under the glass. When people look back the glass has the load. That would strengthen the prior routine and give the usual cups and ball routine an extra twist that people will talk about.

If you do just one load with that technology the table needs to only have one gimmicked spot. Ergo the needed apparatus could be hidden in one of the legs or other supporting structure of the table. That would make it possible to have an extra thin table. But I cannot build anything. So fuck that idea.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

So Justin Miller was in jail

Normally I wouldn't write about personal information such as this, but Justin Miller himself talks about it rather openly. In a bragging kind of way.
"As you all know, I was the unlucky surviver of the american "justice" system recently when I was placed into a most luxurious jail in ohio for 30 days. Suffice to say the nightmare that it was is indesrcibable."
And Justin uses this to get him some sales. In his newsletter he writes:
"Recently I was placed in jail for 30 days for something that is ridiculous..child support! And I actually pay my ex. Anyway's, I am now 30 days behind on everything and now you guys get to actually benefit."
And he uses this to generate him sales. I don't know if it works for him and I don't care, but I somehow get this vibe that he is actually proud of having been to jail. This should not be the case.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Black Club

So what fucking happened the last few days? Nothing much. Nobody got burned, nobody made public exposure and nobody is an asshole. But Ellusionist has a a Black Club that you can be a member of. It's like the top of marketing brand awareness genius. I sincerely applaud Ellusionist for doing such a school book business.

So you can be a member of a unique club. How? Not by skill or connections... no by paying money. 147 dollars is the price. And you will get SWAG along with it.

You will get one Artifice Black Club Playing Cards Deck, Apex Edition which is black... you know, like real cards. One Black Club Playing Card Storage Box With Magnetic Closure to hold 15 prized decks which are not part of the offer. One HALO Fiber Optic Accessory, and you know what I think of those. Also the Black Club Membership Card with hidden reveals. The later thing is really something to behold. Let me add the picture:

Look at this. The reveal is Seven of Clubs. So let me get this straight. You get out those black cards and do some card tricks as you have a glowing wrist band around your wrist. You force the Seven of Clubs and then cleverly tell people that you are part of a secret Black Club. I assume the first thing that you need to address is the fact that it is not the opposite of the KKK, but a magic club. To prove that you get out your membership card. And low and behold... It says Seven of Clubs. This is so organic.

What else do you get? Three downloads of your choice from a bunch of selected videos. A download with each DVD of the same product, and more. But the cake would be the access to the exclusive Black Club Store, where only members can purchase rare items.

What are those items? A ring for 60 dollars, a case for an iPhone for 23 dollars, a luggage tag for 15 dollars and an emblem for your skate board for 75 dollars. All with the unique Black Club logo.

This is really is text book marketing. Bravo Ellusionist. In terms of marketing you really make no mistakes!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quote of the Week

"Jugglers suck! Look at them, they throw burning clubs at each other. They toss, and toss and catch and catch and all the time you have to listen to "Adiemus" by Enya. And the throwing usually goes on forever. Well, it could be worse. It could be a magician doing card tricks."


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

WMF Peter Valance

Exposure and all.... well I won't go on a rant here that exposure is bad and in no way is doing a service to magic. Nope not this time. But let's talk about a few different kinds of exposure.

Exposure by default: Is done if you have to expose the modus operandi of something in order to make a point that otherwise wouldn't be understood. A magic example would be a second deal demo. The point that is to be made is that how skillful gamblers cheat. If you tell them without showing it would be unsatisfying.

Necessary exposure: If the method of the trick is actually far more entertaining than the effect. That it is necessary to expose the method. This usually preludes a sucker effect.

Good intent exposure: Is the exposure of a secret in order to teach the secret. Usually a compensation is in order. Like money, fame or a blowjob.

Exposure to create an even bigger illusion: A nice example is the showing of the key ring in a linking rings routine and to throw it away saying: "I don't need this crook!"

And finally the good old mean spirited exposure. This is where we meet Peter Valance. A German magician who is slowly crawling up the ranks. In fact he seems like a nice guy with skill and all the razzle dazzle that one would need to be up there. So what happened?

Well he was basically explaining the good old balloon trick on national television. You know the trick that is currently sold as "Pressure". That in itself is not too much of a horrible, horrible thing to do, but the way Peter Valance did it, was below anything that a man of his caliber would do. He basically performed the effect which got good reactions. Then the host asked him how he did that. So he explained it. But the explanation wasn't funny, nor entertaining in any way. It was just "oh, simple, just do that."

The exposure left the magician with no dignity. Suddenly the skill/magic was reduced to something that wasn't skill or magic. It left the magician with a classic "oh, that's how... how pathetic" reaction by his audience. The whole exposure did a huge disservice to magicians all around. Even those who do not actually do that trick. (those are fucked the most of course) Basically Peter Valance openly told everyone via subtext, that being a magician needs no effort, no skill and no magic. Thank you Peter Valance for thinking it was a good idea to expose the trick....

Here is what you should have done, according to my little list. You could have either done the necessary exposure route or the exposure to create an even bigger illusion. Both would start with the performance of the balloon trick, then the exposure and then you would throw away the balloon saying "I don't need this crook" and then blow up a new balloon and really put the cell phone in the balloon. Suddenly you would have combined a sucker effect with an entertaining premise and you would have created a greater illusion. As a nice side note you would have left all the magicians with dignity a hint of mystery and an aura of the awesome.

Unless of course it was you plan to tear down the image of the magician and show them as what they really are. In that case no problem.... save one: That's my job!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

advocate diablo

Sometimes I love to be the devils advocate, but I love what Wayne Houchin does. So this terrible incident happened and Wayne does the right thing by milking it to the extreme. First the FB-message... then a few hours later the first three photos and a day later the video. On the Genii forum he posted a lengthy statement what exactly happened BUT no mention of his medical condition. How bad is it really? I'm wondering.

But I do applaud him for milking the incident. Shouldn't have happened but at least he is making the most of it gaining him talk. And maybe even some sales.

The advocate has spoken.