Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Connecting the tissue! Part 4 of 6

This is a continuation of this

Have a rewarding running trick!

Similar to a running gag in a comedy show a running trick is a trick is about repetition. There are two main ways of doing it. The first one is to attempt a certain trick over and over again, but failing. The Second one is to repeat a minor trick over and over until it becomes increasingly better and better.

Both ways need a rewarding finish. All this interluding stuff needs to add up to something.

Here is an example for the first way. You declare to perform the famous cut and restored rope. You show the rope, you cut it and then comment "This is the easy part. The next part.... well I'm working on it." Then you toss the ropes in a bag next to you.
Later you get out another piece of rope and cut it, this time you do a knot to get them back together and toss the bundle in the bag.
A few tricks later you attempt it again, Cut the rope, it is then visually restored but just as you take your applause the rope breaks again. You toss the pieces in the bag.
And finally you attempt it again, you cut and restore the rope. Being confident you take the bag, rip it open and from it all the pieces have become one long rope. Knowing the magic apparatus out there will make you understand that this routine is a self worker.

Here is an example for the second way. You borrow a 10 dollar note from one spectator and then another 10 dollar note from another spectator. Fold both together, then unfold, both have fused into a 20 dollar bill. So far the setup.... now you show two little bags, one red, the other one blue. "I'm gonna place the bill into one of the bags, then the first guy gets to guess where the bill is. If he's right, he gets to keep the bill. If he's wrong the game continues." Of course the spectator guesses wrong.
You do your next trick and after that you come back to the bills. "Now it's the second guys turn, red or blue? It was in the red one, maybe I put it there again, but I wouldn't be so stupid would I?" So he guesses and is wrong.... This can go on an on. Now for the finish.... "I'll make it easier." Now the twenty is openly placed into the blue bag. "You both get to choose. You can either trust me and take the blue bag or mistrust me and choose the red one. But whatever you get, the other guy gets the other bag." The choice is made and both open their bags at the same time. Both find nothing but their 10 dollar notes. Methodwise a TT gets your far ahead.

A running trick doesn't connect the tricks, but gives the impression to do so. It creates the illusion of a well thought out show. Try it, if you have nothing else.

The above image shows German magician Kalanag doing the Water from India running gag. The rewarding finish is that the bucket that supposedly holds all the produced water is dumped out and a rain of confetti goes airborne.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Connecting the tissue! Part 3 of 6

This is a continuation of yesterdays post, It all starts here.

Use the same props over again!

A really simple way to make your string of tricks feel connected is to reuse your props. As simple as this maybe I've seen magicians putting away the cards, getting out some coins, putting away the coins getting out a different deck of cards. It blows my mind. Switching decks.... sure thing, if it is not obvious. Best would be to do your card trick, do your deck switch (if you have to) as you are getting out the coins, then placing the deck to the side. After the coin trick you pocket your coins and continue with the "same" deck of cards.

Here is another example. The magic wand. The magic wand is more than a bit of motivation and more than a power claim. It can connect the tricks.

Here is an example from my repertoire. I do coin tricks, card tricks, using a lighter for a bill change a key and other stuff. Later in the show I do a trick with "random" objects. I ask my audience for stuff and I get out my lighter, my coins, the key and a single playing card. The audience has seen them, but now they are back. It even reminds them of the tricks they have seen 30 minutes ago. The reintroduction of the props for a different purpose connects the tricks in a subtle way.

This is no hard science. This is a simple devide that is underexplored. Try using it!

Please don't confuse this with reusing the same method or the same gimmick all over again. That is entirely different.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Connecting the Tissue! Part 2 of 6

This is a continuation of yesterdays post, either below this one or here.

Foreshadow the end!

The ending is what people will remember most in a show. So the ending needs to be special. Aside from being the strongest trick you do it needs to feel like a rewarding ending. One technique to do that is to foreshadow the end. You basically tell your audience what is going to happen, but not right on the nose but indirectly.

Here is an example from my repertoire. "I love old magic books. You find so many cool tricks in there that unfortunately you cannot do anymore. In one of the tricks - for example - a gentleman's handkerchief was borrowed. Usually his initials where sewn into one of the four corners. That was then stuffed into a pistol and then shot across the stage into a small locked box or some other impossible place. Nowadays nobody has a handkerchief with the initials sewn in. And a loaded pistol... the laws have changed. But I found an old magic trick that I can do...." 

Then I proceed to do that other trick. But in that story I have put in a few thing. First something about me, digging into old literature making me a bit more interesting, also answering the common question where to learn magic. Also it tells them something about my regret of not being able to perform such a cool sounding trick which pays off, because I just foreshadowed the end. 

My last trick of the show indeed is "Silk to apple" There a silk cloth is being signed then the silk cloth in being stuffed into a Nerf Gun and being shot across the room into an apple. 

So when this happens near the end, People get excited as they recall me telling the story about my regret of not being able to do the trick. It feels wonderful in the brain. People feels smart about being able to pick that up and it connects the show. The ending trick is not just a stand alone trick anymore. It feels like all has been building up to that. The ending feels rewarding and it tells people that it really is the end.

Of course you can foreshadow a lot of things in your show. But if you use that technique too much in becomes "unrewarding". However If you decide not to use this as a device to enhance your ending, because you may feel that your ending is strong enough I urge you to try it somewhere else in your act. Sometimes a natural spectator's response will help you greatly. Like you borrow a ring and you want to make it appear in a locked box. You do your magic method business, hand out the box and all you need to do is to make that "ring" disappear. But right before you do that the spectator says "If you can make my ring appear in the box that I'm holding, that would be a great trick."

This happened to me more than one time and it is a great moment. "Yeah that would be a great trick.... and I'm sure you all, but especially you would go crazy and applaud like there is no tomorrow.... but I'm not that good!" Basically unbeknownst to the spectator he did the foreshadowing him-/herself. I don't need to tell you how to go from here.

More tomorrow...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Connecting the tissue! Part 1 of 6

When you create a show, the least you can do is to string your tricks together, one following the next. The tricks get stronger and stronger and the strongest one is the one you end your show with.

It's a no fail scenario based on the dramatic device of raising the stakes. But a boring one.

You have to create the impression of a show that is more than that. Having created and performing five 90 minute shows I have a few tips for you.

Create loose ends!

People love it, when things come together and hate it when things are left open. In magic you can use that to great dramatic effect. 

In a simple mind reading routine for instance you can write down a city, lay down the piece of paper and then have a city named.... you nod and address the next spectator to think of an animal. You write down the supposed animal and lay down the piece of paper on the table. So far you smell the one ahead nature. You do that as often as you like, but in the end you don't have somebody think of something. Instead you are getting a psychic impression. You write that down and look at the paper. You shake your head in disbelieve saying "Nope, that doesn't make any sense!" and then place that piece of paper far away but still in view. Now you reveal the remain pieces of paper to be a correct and be done with the trick.....

Surly people are interested in the last piece of paper that you lay down. It is a loose end. It feels unresolved. Two or three tricks later something might go wrong. Seriously wrong. Maybe a freely named card was not what you wrote down on your giant prediction banner, but instead the King of Spades is named. Now you return to that piece of paper you left on the table earlier. You remember it suddenly... "Yes, now it makes sense!" Have a spectator pick it up and read it. It says "Sorry about the wrong prediction, of course it was the King of Spades.

Can you see how this plays much bigger that the two tricks just strung together. They are connected. The show feels connected.

More tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hello There!

Two months of not posting... such a dick move of mine! I'm such an asshole...!

Now that I got that out of the way; How are you guys? I've been busy. The development for the new show is done (the main reason for me not posting btw) and the show is in rehearsing stage. 24th of April is the first show.

How many card tricks do you do compared to the many you know? My guess is that you do about 2-3 per show of a standing repertoire of 5-6 out of a pool of about 40 card tricks. If that is the case raise your hand.

To all of the others... Stop buying card tricks!

Check out this 99 cent trick being sold on T11's Wire!...

well more of a technique in a project that has been years in the making. At least according to the 20-year-old creator John Bendewald. Is this supposed to be a convincing Second Deal? It doesn't even look like the top card is being taken at all. The fingers don't even give an indication they they are supposed to take the top card. The right hand thumb goes clearly under the top card which has weirdly been angled off from the deck.

If it sounds like I'm being over analytical, that is because I am. The Second Deal is one of those techniques, that if you do it well you can do it under scrutiny. If you suck at it, (like me) you better need a good reality outside of the move misdirecting from the move.

For instance. You just made the four aces appear by changing a single card into the four aces. The reality is different. Only three aces are there but thanks to Alex Elmsley it looks like four. But you planned ahead the missing ace is on top of the deck.
      So you drop the four card packet on the deck and then deal them out. The fourth card is the X card and the fifth card the last ace. So I can deal out three aces regularly giving me enough cover to do the one Second Deal.

Also the main idea has been done better before. Check out Card College and hell, even The Expert at the Card Table will do!