Creativity. What is it? How do I get some? How do I create my own magic trick? Who REALLY shot JFK?
All but the latter of those questions is something I’m asked EVERY SINGLE DAY.
In an industry that glamorizes artists and creators, it’s become the in-thing to create a magic trick.
This series of blog posts will focus on how to create a best-selling magic trick. From creating it, to developing it, to building an audience and finally… collecting ‘dat paper’ when it goes on sale.
I may be contributing to the upcoming oversaturation of the magic industry by teaching you this, but I’d rather see you do it properly than end up collecting your $0.96cents Royalties cheque at the end of the month. I’ve been there.
But why should you believe me?
Many of you don’t know this, but I develop all of the strategy and marketing for Ellusionist, and have done for years now.
Today’s post will focus purely on how to create a magic trick, and we’ll cover the other goodness in upcoming posts on this blog.
Coffee made? Hair on point? Great… Now let’s create a magic trick.
DO YOU EVEN NEED TO?
Before you start, you need to ask yourself. Do you even need to create a magic trick?
Those who don’t have an original routine are made to feel inadequate in this industry.
Up and coming talent now see a fork in the road to their careers. Shall they create magic? Or perform magic?
The two aren’t mutually exclusive and believe it or not, performers are the most successful.
- David Blaine
- David Copperfield
All of the industry’s most successful magicians PERFORM other people’s tricks, instead of worrying about creating their own.
( Their names all also begin with the letter ‘D’, so if you’ve been born with any other name but “Dan” you should give up on your dreams. )
It’s okay to be ‘just’ a performer. To adhere yourself to presentation over method.
I mean, isn’t that the reason we all got into magic in the first place? To perform.
THE PLOT METHOD
So you want to create magic.
You ignored the above paragraph because who the hell am I to tell you can’t do something?
Like Will Smith said in the Pursuit Of Happiness: “If you want something, go get it. Period.”
Period means something very different here in the UK, so I always wince when American’s use it excessively.
Some of my original effects are created from plot.
Most recently in 2016 I was told about a face-melting effect performed by Tony Chang at the Session 2016. I didn’t see it in person, so I asked a friend to describe the effect to me. Outlining the plot.
My brain went crazy and I had 3 methods before I’d even arrived home. All, later confirmed, to be original methods and not the same as Tony’s miracle.
Practice this yourself.
I want you to create a transposition of a wallet and a phone. Time is ticking and I’m not going to suggest any methods for you to piggyback off.
That would be cheating.
THE LBGC GAME
This sounds like a politically correct method for people of all sexualities. It’s not.
LB stands for Lloyd Barnes.
GC are my initials.
This is a game we created back in 2007 and still use today, and we didn’t officially name it but now’s as good a time as any.
It has been said that there are only 10 principles of magic:
This is how you play.
You pick one of these principles at random.
Now you pick a random object near you, or in your pocket.
I used this game to create my best-selling effect Extra Extra. It was a chewing gum restoration that I wanted to make impromptu. The result of a competition between Lloyd and I.
We gave each other 1 week to create the best trick possible with 2 random choices from the list, and we’ve created multiple unpublished effects since too.
If you’re new to creating, this game will serve you well.
It might also build stronger bonds with your friends within the magic community. You can set each other challenges and bounce ideas back and forth to get the best out of your creation.
Powerhouse creators Tom Elderfield and Ollie G Smith even publish tricks together, so if it suits you to have a partner in crime it doesn’t mean you have to ruin a friendship when it comes to releasing it.
Half the profits of a number #1 is worth more than the full profits on a total flop.
CREATING BY REQUEST
“Make it appear in my pocket”
I turned and saw a smug face staring back at me. His intoxicated breath filled the air like a thick effluvia.
A heckler in his natural environment; a grotty Newport pub for a 60th Birthday party .
Thankfully for me he’d shouted it at the last table I was at too, and I dropped a dupe into his pocket when I joined the new table.
Surprisingly easy on someone 4 pints deep in Stella.
The screams were deafening.
I know we all have stories like this, and although this trick isn’t original, some spectators (or muggles) will give you incredibly original ideas for a new trick when given the chance.
“Can you float my glass?”
“Put a phone in a bottle like Dynamo”
“Make my keys disappear”
Imagine taking these requests seriously and making a mental note to explore the potentials of each in your spare time?
You’ll notice that when one person asks, another person is guaranteed to ask the same one day.
In the same way we’re always asked to make a man’s wife disappear.
Even if it’s not exactly what they asked for, you’ll be able to re-frame their request to match your new effect.
“I can’t make your keys disappear. This doesn’t always work and I don’t want you to be locked out of your house later. Here are my keys. Check them out.” *Then Vanish your own key using that sexy new method you’ve created*
Don’t be quick to dismiss your audience’s requests. It could be the quickest way to get your name in lights.
This mostly happens with card sleights and effects. As unlikely as it sounds, some new creations happen purely by accident.
A mis-placed thumb could be amazing.
(That’s what she said… I know I know, cheap joke. Well if I didn’t say it, you would.)
Seriously though, I’ve created some sleights by incorrectly performing others and some effects have been conceived whilst blundering through another.
Whether it’s the stars aligning with uranus or pure freak chance, your next trick could be an accident.
They say an infinite amount of monkeys with typewriters could write the entire works of Shakespeare.
I believe the same is true for magic.
As a result, the more you handle cards, coins etc. The more chance you have of creating something meaningful.
You’re a proverbial monkey, typing his way to certain victory.
I’ll be waiting.
COMING SOON: Next in this series of posts we’ll be talking about developing the trick into a best-seller. Feel free to leave a comment if this particular post helped you. Or if you have questions for what to do with your newly created effect, I could cover it in the next post.
As always, shares on social media help me immensely. So if this was a genuinely interesting read for you. Please take 6 seconds out of your day to share it. I’d be eternally grateful.