Sunday, September 11, 2005

It's about balance Grasshopper!

When I began working on this show I started with a steno notebook, a blue pen and some ideas of what effects I wanted to perform. I began to research these effects and while searching through magic books and videos would come across other effects that I thought would be good to try out. Each one of these went into my notebook as a little notation of what the effect was and where I found it. That way I could go back to it later and play around with it.
Sometimes the effect was so interesting that I would play around with it right away so that whatever I was looking for would end up on the back burner for awhile. If I spent enough time playing with that effect I would work out a routine, which I would script in my notebook and eventually type out on my computer.
I was about two weeks into this process when I discovered something interesting. (Well, interesting to me.) Most of the effects I had were card tricks. Usually this wouldn't be a problem. When I was working in restaurants I couldn't have enough card tricks, but this was going to be a stage show so the rules were different.
While I know of some magicians who have presented whole shows with nothing but card tricks, I wasn't that type of guy. I wanted variety, not just to keep the audience entertained but to keep myself entertained. I can only imagine the groans coming from the audience when I say "And here is yet another card trick! Who hasn't picked a card yet?"
Variety is the spice of life, they say (I don't know who "they" are but we should find them and sacrifice them to our Gods) and to put together a decent magic show I needed to find balance. Balance between effects, balance between card tricks and other type of tricks.
So I made a list of effects I had worked on up to this point, this included any tricks or effects that I had ready BEFORE I decided to do this show. (This included a very good head chopper effect that always received a great response and a couple of other effects that I used in my kids show but could easily be used for an adult crowd.)
Here's what I found. Many card tricks, no rope tricks, no coin tricks, one mentalism effect and various other items already mentioned. In other words, the scale was tipping towards card tricks. Not good.
The problem is though that pretty much any magic book or video you turn too will be card trick heavy. Cards are plentiful, every house has at least one deck kicking around, so it's easy to go into practically any situation and do a few card effects. So the magic resources focus mostly on card tricks, which makes it that much harder to find non-card tricks.
And so I must find balance. I must dig deeper to find that which does not involve cards. I have decided that I will allow no more than three card tricks in my show, two spots of which I already have filled. I am still in the hunt for a suitable third card trick, which is why last night I was using the Exacto knife on some jokers (the cards, not wise guys) in an attempt to make a card jack-in-the-box.
My focus away from cards have yielded some good results as well. An older effect where coins travel from one cup to another is my current obsession and a rope effect is working out well. I should work a little faster than I have, though, after all October of 2006 (my un-official cut off date) is only 13 months away.

Next post: The fine art of burning money, or "I think that was the wrong envelope."


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