I just came up with this idea and will perform it at my restaurants this weekend. It's a take on John Travolta's mispronunciation of "Idina Menzel" at last weekend's Oscars.
You can watch the video here.
Magicians, if you like the idea, feel free to use and perform it. I think this is going to be hot for maybe another week.
This effect offers a gimmicked playing card that visually changes. It's a flashy and fast transformation from one square image that's "drawn" on a card's back to another image, and the card with the changed back may be given away as a souvenir.
In the basic effect, you ask a spectator to select a card and then you draw a empty black rectangle on it with a marker. In the blink of an eye, the rectangle changes to reveal a chosen playing card, a prediction or any image that you wish that you can draw in the rectangle.
Make Your Own
The gimmicked card will wear out but the kit comes with materials to construct your own cards and the system offers lots of possibilities. The card is easy to handle and use and the change is convincing and surprising. There are no angle issues and reset is fast. This gimmick is one that you may use to enhance your own card tricks.
I like this one and can recommend it. But when it comes to a changing card, I think that Business Card Cardiographic, with it's Martin Lewis-inspired slow motion "Cardiographic" change, is really hard to beat (you can read my review here).
According to a recent story, production has begun on truTV's brand new series The Carbonaro Effect, starring magician Michael Carbonaro. The series, formerly titled "Undercover Magic," features Carbonaro as a "pranking" character who amazes unsuspecting spectators.
"Michael Carbonaro is a magician by trade, but he's a prankster at heart," says the story. "In each episode of The Carbonaro Effect, he will perform baffling tricks on people in everyday situations, all caught on hidden camera. Posing as an ordinary bartender or a seemingly unremarkable salesman, Michael astonishes marks by turning a tuft of hair into a puppy or pouring 12 pints of beer from an ordinary bottle. Whether the marks are alone or with their friends, everyone is left stunned and delighted, even though they have no idea what just hit them."
You can read more here.
Comedy magician Matt Marcy is turning his successful live show into a web series. In my interview with Marcy, he talks about creating a disillusioned magician character and the challenges of bringing his comedic vision to the web and television.
You can read my interview with Matt Marcy here.
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Review of The Experiment Behind the Scenes by Franz Harary
It's not often that I review a magic trick and am immediately and enthusiastically taken with it. And furthermore, using it regularly in my magic work. But this is the case with "Nothing but the Truth" by Cameron Francis. I have reviewed numerous effects and DVDs from Francis over the years and this is the best product from his creative mind. The close-up card trick offers strong interaction with spectators, a fun theme, and a killer ending. Furthermore, it's not difficult to learn and perform. I had the technical aspects memorized and ready in under 15-minutes.
The product takes on the theme of a packet of cards that act as a "lie detector." You bring out a deck of your own regular cards (not provided) and have one selected. You then bring out the packet of "Nothing but the Truth" cards that act as a lie detector. You ask spectators a series of questions about their selected card's identity and they are free to lie or tell the truth. In every case, the cards are correct by stating "true" or "lie." When the playing card is finally deduced by the series of lies and facts, all of the cards in the packet turn into the selected card.
The kit provides the five playing cards that act as the "lie detector." The sequences are not difficult to learn, recall and perform. All you have to know how to do is force a card (Francis teaches one on the DVD) and an Elmsley count. And if you haven't mastered the Elmsley count, Francis teaches another method. The packet quickly resets - I do this as I put the packet away in my pocket as I walk towards my next table. There are no angle issues. Other considerations: this one can't be repeated and the cards can't be examined.
Francis says that this close-up effects works in stand-up situations, but I have my doubts as to how effective it would work with a crowd bigger than say 20 people.
The best part of this effect is the interaction that it promotes with spectators who become a part of the routine. My tables of regulars enjoyed this effect during a couple of recent outings.
I really like this one. It's a true winner by Cameron Francis. And I could be performing this one for a good long time.
I'm generally not a big fan of spelling-style routines with playing cards, but with the "Auto Spell Deck," Devin Knight has created a baffling, hands-off and easy to learn routine.
Casting a Spell
You ask a spectator to cut a deck and the top card becomes the selected card. As you look away, the spectator views and remembers the card and then pushes it into the center of the deck. You take back the deck and perform a single cut.
Now for the magic. You ask the spectator to name the card and then deal cards onto the table face up - one card for each letter. The spectator deals the cards face up and they are shown to all be different. When the selected card is spelled, the spectator reveals that the card at that point is his selected card.
The magic occurs due to a gimmicked deck. While the deck can't be examined, it will pass a casual glance. The effect is self-working and there are no sleights or forces. Reset is fast - you accomplish this as you put the deck away - and the effect can be repeated with different results. Also, there are no angles to worry about.
I think that this one can play strong and I like the hands-off nature of the routine.
"...because you paid a bunch of money for a prop doesn't mean you have to extract an additional amount of time from it in your show," says Lewin in Rule #8. "In spite of owning that solid gold thumbtip you bought from Joe Stevens (which was individually crafted by Joe Porper and modeled on Pete Biro's actual digit) you don't have to stretch the cigarette in jacket to 30 minutes."
You can read Lewin's insightful list here.
The effect begins with a Mechanic coin - a line of high-quality and attractive coins specifically manufactured for close-up magic, which I reviewed earlier (click here to ready my review). "Ignition" offers a key ring with a Mechanic coin that you can attach you keys to and perform a trick.
On and Off
In the basic effect, you cause the key ring's chain to penetrate on and off of the coin (you'll have to remove any keys before performing the trick.) The photos provided by the manufacturer show the entire kit so I don't think that the secret is something that they are trying to hide. The kit includes a standard Mechanic silver-dollar-sized coin and an unattached key-ring chain, and a matching coin that is permanently attached to another chain.
Through some sleight of hand, which is taught via a well done online video that you are given access to watch, you switch out the coins and chains and cause the chains to apparently penetrate the coin in a visual manner. You'll need to practice this but the sleights aren't overly difficult. In the best routine, you'll need to wear a jacket (and this version leaves you clean) and there are different variations.
Is this effect one that you can always carry around and be ready to perform? I like the props and strong effect, but there is one consideration. This one requires that you carry additional props (an extra coin and unattached chain) to perform the effect, which may or may not be an issue for you.
High-quality coins, a great visual effect, and it makes for an attractive key chain that matches the other intriguing Mechanic products. It's good. This one comes in two finishes: bronze and gun metal.
Should Your Magic Stand Out From Others?
Magician Jason Alan Greenmyer, a corporate entertainer, recently discussed in his blog how many magicians perform the same material.
"The magic world is full of floating tables, bowling ball illusions and other tricks that everyone is doing," says Greenmyer in his blog. "Why are you doing it then? What does it say about you? What are you expressing with this trick? ...Show yourself onstage, not someone else!"
You can read the blog here.
On the Mark Sharpie?
Is the "SansMinds Sharpie" "game-changing" as the ads state? I don't think I'm giving too much away when I explain that this gimmicked Sharpie is one that writes with a temporary ink. You can use the SansMinds Sharpie to write on the skin of a spectator or on your own skin, and later erase the mark with your slightly moistened thumb or finger.
The SansMind Sharpie looks like a real Sharpie and even features a subtle, but distinctive marking so you can easily tell it apart from your regular Sharpies.
Magic With Drawing Power
In the main effect you use the SansMinds Sharpie to draw a small figure on a spectator's hand and then, apparently move it anywhere you want. This includes onto your own hand, onto a coffee cup, or with some work (think "ashes") onto the back of a spectator's hand or arm. The accompanying DVD does a good job of teaching several effects, including a card revelation.
In my evaluation, the Sharpie worked as it should. I could draw on my skin and the ink would dry and seem to be permanent when rubbed with a dry finger. With some moisture on my finger, I could then rub away the ink. I had a problem with the ink tending to smear as it was erased. But I think that with practice and use, one can become adept at effectively working with the ink.
What's In It?
The manufacturer claims that the ink is non-toxic. They don't list what's in the ink, and who can blame them, but we're taking their word that the ink is completely safe. The ads also state "No chemicals." I'll assume that they meant "no harsh or dangerous chemicals," but who knows?
The SansMinds Sharpie does what its producer says it will. I agree that moving marks around on a spectator's skin can result in some powerful magic. As a I performer, however, I'm not inclined to touch the hands and arms of my spectators, but I can see using this pen on my own skin.