Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Buyers Remorse

I don't want to alarm you, but I feel the need to tell you. If you buy Serial by Tom Wright you probably get buyers remorse. The method to this tricks more than bold. The video cuts out a crucial part. A part you need to know. You need to turn you head. You gotta have good eyesight and you gotta use English bills. It will work with Euros too, but the method will be more than transparent.

The video tells you that this is not an opening item, and that you need to establish credit as a mind reader first. That's a nice way of saying that if the audience actually thinks about the method they will know it. And suddenly this trick will turn into a cheap bar bet.

Sorry Tom, you can do better. Right?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Jolly Times Ahead

It's really though to judge ones own material. Let's say you came up with some magic trick. You perform it for audiences and the audiences react really well to it. They love the trick. Most of the time that leads to the assumption that the trick is really good. But that doesn't have to be. It could also be that the reason the audience reacts so well is not the trick, but the performer.

Nevertheless the performer fails to see that and releases that magic trick and wonders oh so much that the rest of us fails to deliver that little performance uniqueness that makes the trick work in the originators hands. Naturally he will get some "honest" reviews that aren't nice. Looking at you Andrew Mayne.
Why do I care about that? Well I know of someone who doesn't want to fail. Crap it, I said too much.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Quote of the Week

"And what I mean by that specifically is name calling and insults. There is no need for it. He's called people morons, idiots, and a slew of epithets."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

WMF Dynamo

Some of you may know him, some don't so here we go. Steven Frayne is a UK magician in his late 20's and has managed to get a deal with some big media companies that got him to produce TV magic specials. And as many that went before him he also chose to take the dark side.

I will now use the ugly F-word and the S-word.

Fake.... Stooge....

If you start to rely on those principle along side camera trickery and editing reactions into the shot that weren't there then you have moved from a respected magician into a territory known as the "whore-out-zone" of any major network.

But what the hell am I talking about. See this:

Do you see? Do you see? Maybe some kids need to point it out to you.

Hilarious isn't it. Suddenly all the reactions become fake (or taken from a different show) the method becomes way too obvious and the performer loses all his credits. Lame!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

"I never guess. It is a shocking habit — destructive to the logical faculty"

I'm fascinated by Indian street magicians. I have studied many videos of those guys doing magic. Mainly the Cups and Balls. They are all pretty good. Then I stumbled upon the following video, where the guy is speaking English:

It's a horrific magic act. The timing is way off, the magic moments are reduced to a mere challenge. It is repetitive as hell and there is no climax but the reveal of the main principle of being one ahead.

But here is what I like about it: The fact that the timing is way off, that the magic moments are reduced to a mere challenge. The repetitive nature and the actual reveal of the method.

And here is why! His timing is purposefully designed to create suspense. He fumbles around in his bag to get people interested in what he is doing. This gathers crowds. You gotta understand that he is not doing a magic show, but demonstrating sleight of hand. He tells the audience to "catch" him. Try that when doing the cups and balls. (I did, by showing one of the final loads and telling the audience that I will try to sneak the big ball under the cups near the end of the trick. That nicely foreshadows the final loads) Then he does this feint in the beginning and the audience catches him doing it right away, falling into his trap. That means that his audience is very, very bright and up for a challenge. To enter such a challenge and to get away with it... is not, as many magicians want to make you believe, making the audience look stupid. They like that. They want to get fooled... under the scrutiny of their own awareness. That is why the repetitive nature of the effect is actually an advantage instead of a drawback. This performer is so damn good, that he can not only live up to the challenge, no he can get away with spoiling the method, disguising it as an extra effect (the production of a fifth ball). That takes balls. Major props to this performer.

The audience kind of has to exclude sleight of hand, because they are convinced that they have been watching very carefully. The usual excuse of "He misdirected me!" doesn't apply here. And what else could it be if not tricky business? Quoting Sherlock Holmes not only as the post title:
"Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth."
So I guess it's magic then.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Hey, I got a better idea than this. How about this. A small card is introduced. On it is a QR code. The spectator is asked to think of any object/animal/thing in the world. The the spectator is to use the own phone to scan the QR code. The code will link to this website. There they have to answer just 20 simple questions about the thing they are thinking of.

And instead of charging 31,50 dollars for it, I'd sell it for 30. It's a bargain. And not overly complicated at all,

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Coin in Bottle

The great thing about the good old "coin in the bottle" effect is that there is no way to get the coin into the bottle, as the coin is bigger than the neck of the bottle. This is the actual effect, not so much the apparent penetration of the coin through the glass of the bottle.

So all these new versions seem to miss that fine point. It's about creating an impossible object.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Next Big Thing

If I could turn back time and had my heart ripped out.... I  assume I wouldn't want to be a magician. I would be a magic dealer. Seriously! Think about it! I could buy a product from the big supplier and resell it for about 1000% interest... and call it a discount, when it is 20% off. Of course all of that would make me money, but any business is out to make even more money in less time, so I would have to think of a way to generate money even faster. So I guess my next logical step would be "social networking" I would create some Facebook like trap "to give magicians all over the world the chance to communicate and share their ideas with one another."

Of course people all the magicians would come and do what they have done before, but now they do it at my site. Feeling familiarity and all of that. So whenever I want to sell a product I am right at the costumer base. Not only that. They would feel inclined to buy from me instead of some other dealer. You know... family and stuff.

Hmm, that still wouldn't generate me money fast enough, so I guess the next step is to appeal even more to the common magicians sense to get the latest thing. How about a marketplace where the community has to produce the content. They have to create the magic, make a video and then use your marketplace to sell it. Of course I would get part of the sell.

Not bad. What else? Since I don't care about magic at all (had my heart ripped out, remember) I could resell all the old secrets and "revalue" them. Giving the craving community a "course on the Double Lift." I would probably get a famous magician to do that 4 DVD set. And I do that for every move. Rehashing Tarbell perhaps? Or the whole of the Apocalypse. Yeah... that's it. The Apocalypse DVD set. You could get them monthly to recall the old times. You could probably even get the creators to demonstrate the effects. Yeah... I love it. Of course I would have to wait until Harry dies... but that's what... a couple of years.... who knows, meanwhile I make money with my next big project.

Yeah I will host a grand assembly with all the big names (even Shawn) to let them discuss magic. You know that thing they do for free on the forums, but I would get it on DVD and sell it. Yeah!

What else? Playing cards... those haven't seen a major update in like forever. Novelty playing cards. Including gimmicks. Those will sell like sliced bread. I would even make a fancy trailer with some guy doing flourishes. I will make it look like a movie trailer. (Note to self: Make sure there is at least one iPhone in the shot)

Oh, what about the forums. People share their thoughts there. Maybe I could hop in and hype a product that is about to be released. Offer an early bird discount.... get some big name (they too need money) to say something positive about it, and it will sell like crazy.

Hmm, about those who oppose me? Well I could round up my fans and have them work against me. Saying something like "Illusionistshop 12 has done more for magic than all the secrecy over the years."

I got it now. I would need a web show. I get some morons who love magic and have them review some of the stuff I sell. I put a cat in there too. People love the animal hook.

Yeah... too bad I'm a magician.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Gala Shows

I heard the last of the FISM Gala show was the worst one. An "offence of magic" to quote a famous magician. So what acts did make up the last Gala show?

Quote of the Week

"Material alone will never make you a star, but it is a most important ingredient in the recipes that make what we call acts. There have been a few instances where real genuine stars of the entertainment industry reached a stage where they thought that they no longer had to do anything. They just had to be there and everyone would applaud like mad as they had always done before. Sadly, their careers took a nose dive, and in some instances, perhaps, an early death."
Patrick Page

Saturday, July 14, 2012

More of the Same

Here is another trick they did from that book. It was the good old saltshaker through the table. Even with the feint of pretending to put a coin through the table. So they sat around practicing stealing the saltshaker when suddenly it dawned on them how to turn this into a full fledged piece. Here is what happened:

"Hey, see this coin on the table? And see this saltshaker? I will try to put the coin into the saltshaker. And there are three ways of doing it. I could open the saltshaker and put it in, which is really dumb. Or I could use pure force to jam the coin through the glass. Or I use magic. I decided to use the last two at the same time." A napkin is taken and the saltshaker is covered with the napkin. "Just in case it doesn't work!" The saltshaker is hovered above the coin and slowly set down. "hear that clink.. that's the sound of it not working" the saltshaker is raised again and the coin is still there. The saltshaker is then placed on the coin again, very carefully. The hand hovers above ready to smack the saltshaker hopefully making the coin go in. The hand comes down, the saltshaker appears to penetrate the table the audience hears it hitting on the floor. (was a pretty though saltshaker and could withstand dropping it on the floor)
The napkin is pushed away the coin is gone. An audience member is asked to pick up the saltshaker and to open it up. Indeed the coin is found inside the saltshaker within the salt.
"Violence and Magic... can't beat them. If you do, they fight back!"

Lovely, I love how they thought of a different effect first, (coin going into the saltshaker) and using that as a ruse to get away with the pushing through the table. They also understood that when the saltshaker hit the floor they had enough misdirection to get rid of the coin. They even thought duplicate coin. They started with a promise, (coin goes into the shaker) and not only delivered on the actual promise, they surpassed it. The version in the book, which is the version that most magicians perform actually falls short on the promise of making that coin go through the table. These young people understood, that this small letdown, is a letdown nevertheless. So they got rid of that. By simply changing the presentation a bit. Bravo. Bravo.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Long Time No See

Wow I've been to magic show... well not really. It was a bunch of magicians practicing magic... nope that's not right either. It was a bunch of young people, who have a serious interest in wanting to learn magic. The only problem they don't speak a lick of English so all the good books on that naturally are like a big big secret to them. So they got German books from the public library.

And they practiced the hell out of these and I saw something I have never seen before. They actually sat together thinking how this could be presented. They were fully aware that the trick is just a small part of the show.

 So they had this card trick, involving a key card. And here is what they had come up with.

Laypeople mind you! A card was selected and placed under the key card about center of the pack. The deck has then been spread out face up on the table. "As you can see, you see all the cards. Me too. The only difference: You know your card. I don't! But I'm gonna find your card by looking at you." Then the magicians took a deep look into the spectators eyes. "I want you to take a look at these cards. As you do that your pupils will eventually stick on one card a little longer then the others. I will be your card. There is nothing you can do about it. Now look!" The magician silently watches the spectator looking at the cards. Suddenly the magician wipes away half of the cards in a big swooping and dramatic action. "Your card is not among those" The rest of the cards are gathered up, shuffled and spread again. "Look again" the spectator does so. A long silence and wham again a few cards a brushed away "Not those either" only a few cards remain. The magician takes the remaining cards, shuffles them and lays them out in a row. "One of those is your's! Am I right?" the spectator agrees. "Alright, I want you to close your eyes. And give me your hand. Since you know where the card is you muscles will unconsciously tell me the way to your card. Don't look!" The spectators card is now second from the left. But as the magician is holding the spectators hand, the magician wipes away all of the remaining cards and sets the spectators card in the middle of the table. And slowly guides the spectators hand on the card, so the hand covers the whole card. "Alright your hand is on one card, one card only. Open your eyes. There is no more card left save one. Name your card!" The spectator does so and is to lift his hand. A miracle.

 Those young people came up with the presentation all by themselves. They did so many things right. They made it not about the cards, but the spectator. They involved the spectator. They added a big woo woo by whipping away the remaining cards. The silence. The fact that they have the card named before the reveal. The fact that the spectator does the reveal. I'm in awe. I saw magicians trying to create a presentation. And dude most fail so much. They get lost in the methods.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Angry Man of Magic : Web Forums – A Modest Proposal

A little while back I saw a post on a magic forum. It's ok – no names, no pack drill. But it was in a thread where the social convention dictates that people express their regret at the passing of the threads titular magician. It wasn't a magician I had heard of particularly, but death is always sad occasion to someone. What we want are reminiscences, stories, and anecdotes. One post was essentially,

“Person X loved my Y trick, from my book Z. The Y trick floored X. It's in my book, Z.”

Whisky. Tango. Foxtrot.

Why didn't they just add an Amazon affiliate link while they're at it!?

Oh. I forgot. Their sig file had a link to their web site. Seriously. Maybe they work for LOCOG!

Now, since I'm not going to name and shame, or slag off people I've never met, it's worth pointing out that the details are unimportant. After all, maybe the person meant it in a genuine way. So I hereby propose a method to determine if they're genuine, or contain more evil than Bin Laden's suggestion box!

And as a bonus, this method also works for the humour-impaired, those with a failure in their sarcasm filter, and people insistent on using text-speak or acronyms. Plus it's not confined to magicians, this works on any web forum, on any topic.

The solution is:

All messages on public web forums must use voice recordings, and not written words.

End of.

Humans have had more years learning the nuance of speech than they have the written word. Heck – before the Internet, the longest piece of prose Joe Public read was the instructions on a microwave dinner for one. (Because it's always for one.) And let's not get started on the amount of reading done with the “new wave” of “visual learners”.

So, by being able to hear the person's voice we can tell if they're being sarcastic, attempting to be funny, ironic, amusing, intelligent, or abhorrently commercial.

And that includes the *******ing **** of a ******* who's writing this ****ing ******** of a ***** article.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Quote of the Week

"Sometimes just being quite for a moment ... slowing down ... stimulates increased audience attention.
Expectations are generated.
Drama is born.
Woo-Woo. (An American Indian term referring to the cosmic, mind-shattering, and earth-shaking dimensions of the Unknown.)
Audiences love Woo-Woo.
Heavy breathing, a mystic pass, a deep gaze.
They want you to be a little 'farther out' than they are.
The dramatic pause.
One shouldn't talk too much about silence.
One should use it."


A while ago

there was advertisement on this blog. Just in case you wondered how it worked out. I actually made 14 dollars. Who clicks on these add's ?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Colombini to the Rescue

Mass spam private message by Steve Brooks via MC...:
Ultimate Self Working Card Tricks - your magic will never be the same again!
Wow, just wow.

I just love how self workers are treated "ultimate". The sad thing, people interested in this are not the people that should be performing those. It takes an experienced worker who to truly milk a good self working card trick. It's just for the pros.

But those who won't go through the trouble of actually learning a double lift will be the ones that buy the DVD. Guess what else they not gonna learn? Showmanship.

Are you looking forwards to endless dealing and lines like "I got a lucky card"?

"Tutorials on Charlier Shuffle, Jay Ose Cut, Breather Crimp, Bobby Bernard False Cut & Riffle Shuffle (for those who want to take the tricks to the next level of deceptiveness)." (from the BBM website)

Wow, the Charlier Shuffle is the next level of deceptiveness. That means that a Zarrow Shuffle would be even more of a level. Then the Push Through Shuffle. What's then... Game Over man, Game Over!

Btw: A true selfworker has the magician not handling the cards at all. That's key!