This is more for people my age. I am not trying to teach those older and wiser, just display my view on things of this nature having created about 50 effect, all original. This essay is for those who want to create their own original magic. Please, enjoy.
Chapter 1: Exposure
What many young magicians do not understand about magic is that it is a highly respected art form by those who pursue it and are engrossed by it. It saddens me to see so many exposures by people young and old on the internet or live. What they do not realize is that, as kind as they may think it is, it is often hurting our profession. If everyone on the block starts doing Coin Matrix and Triumph routines, then what is left? Will the layperson soon become a vanished breed?
As long as magic shops are public and internet magic websites running, some average Joe could learn or purchase, say, a DVD by Jay Sankey or Tyler Wilson’s book, learn the effects they were not meant to learn, not take it seriously, and teach it to others without a care. The truth is, anyone can do what we do. How?
Practice! If, for whatever reason (as an icebreaker?), a layperson is willing to put the time and effort, the person can learn the routine or sleight and will often use it. That is another form of exposure: poor handling of an effect. If a layperson learns an intermediate effect, the person will most likely slip up, or get caught. And what is worse, they often do not care! They often do not take magic seriously. They think of magic as a simple hobby such as knitting or baking. But it is not! Most magicians’ jobs and lives rely on magic, and if laypeople know, for instance, a DL exists, they could call you on one, even if you aren’t doing it! I, for one, would be destroyed by that, since most card routines I do contain at least one DL. Many times we get away with sleights because laypeople aren’t looking for a palmed card or coin. They do not even know that type of thing exists, but if they do, POOF! The close-uppers career is weakened. Exposure happens; it is all too real. So how can it be avoided?
One of the best ways is to create your own magic. To invent or innovate a new trick or sleight and keep it to yourself. “How can I create my own magic?” There are numerous ways to go about it. Here is the first way.
Chapter 2: A Simple Test
We are going to execute a test. Right here, right now. Do NOT leave your seat, but look around you. Find the closest object to yourself. Pick up the object. I am going to tell you exactly what you are holding. Concentrate on the object. Think of nothing else but the object.
So, you’re thinking of it, your mind clear of any other thoughts. Read the following:
The object you are holding is rather small. It has a slightly round quality to part of it. It is a smooth object. The object is slightly flexible. The object is…
Your first magic creation.
I am right, aren’t I? Of course I am, because that is the object you are stuck with for the next while. At least, until you create magic with it.
Look at your object. Now think of something magical that could happen to the object. Could it change colour? Could it levitate? Could it spontaneously combust? Could it be ground into powder with your bare hands? Of course not… in real life. I want you to think about reality now, and relate the magical occurrence you have in mind to it. What could be used with your object to make the magic happen? Invisible thread? Confetti? Paint? A TT?
Now, I want you to think of a way your magical occurrence could happen to your object. Could it be palmed? Could you use the paddle move? Could it be sleeved? Of course, most magic effects use more than one magic sleight or principle to make the magic happen, so you should think of numerous ways to accomplish your dream effect. Think of an easy method, utilizing (for example) a false transfer or key card principle. But also think of advanced methods, even if the method is far beyond your skill. As long as you know the mechanics of the advanced sleights, you should be fine. Think of methods using Culling, Multiple Breaks, Sleeving, or the Tenkai Pinch. For example, a Colour Changing Hair Comb could be accomplished simply with a couple of Paddle Moves or in a more advanced way with the Flipstick move and a quick sleeving.
Now that it has all been worked through, go get any materials you have in mind to make the magic happen, and work with your idea. If your idea doesn’t work, no problem! Try alternative methods. You must have skimmed through a few techniques while brainstorming, why not give them a go? It wouldn’t hurt to try.
Congratulations! You now know the basics of putting together a basic effect! All that is left is patter and presentation, and maybe an extension or improvement of your effect. There is definitely much improvement needed for your effect. However, you are still not done. The next chapter is of great importance, so read it carefully before so much as practicing your creation.
Chapter 3: The Angry Magician and YOU
Michael Kras has just created a magic effect. He calls this effect “Coins Across” which involves the coins magically traveling from one hand to the other. He claims this is a totally new concept, and publishes it in his new book. His book becomes a bestseller, and magicians love this new magic! Michael sits in his armchair, greedily counting his money, when a loud knock on the door is heard. Michael jumps out of his armchair and makes his way toward the door. Through the peephole, he espies a group of angry close-uppers! Michael does the only thing he can think of: he RUNS! He gallops toward the back door, and a loud THUD is heard! The magicians have broken down the front door! They quickly hurdle toward Michael, and….
I will leave that to your imagination. Sorry if I scared you, but that IS what will happen if you rip-off a published magic effect. Okay, maybe not so extreme, but many in the magic community will be against you. Why? Because you have stolen.
Whether you know it or not, you have stolen an existing effect from a potential artist. As negative as it sounds, it happens all the time. Magicians do not do there homework before releasing their effect to the magic community, and get burned on it later.
How can this be avoided? Easily! Just do your research and find out if the effect has been done before. Of course, you can easily find out if the effect is the same as a slightly famous effect just by looking around. Surf the internet, read a book. It is acceptable if the EFFECT is the same but your METHOD is different, but a routine accomplished by a method that is already in print is definitely a no-no. Heck, you should even be careful in Case A. Some magicians STILL think if your effect is the same or even somewhat similar to an existing effect but the method is different, it is still stealing, especially if you call the effect original. Just take a look at every magic book and DVD you own and check if your effect is in print before releasing. If it is, you can still remodel the effect until it utilizes a different magic principle. The best place to research is in the Tarbell Course In Magic, since so many methods are in print just there. Of course, it would be impossible to study and research every existing magic book, video, manuscript, or marketed effect, especially for one effect, so the best thing to do is study the most popular magic products and records. If you reprint something that has been long forgotten, it can be called a discovery. Note that I said “discovery”. That is a mistake many magicians make. Since it is near impossible to create something totally new these days, the best you can say you have accomplished is discovered an effect. Not created, not invented, but discovered! There is no possible way of telling if an effect is original, which it most likely isn’t, so you lose all credibility in the magic community by, basically, lying!
As long as you have studied and have really tried to find an effect, you can call your effect a discovery. Since the earliest magic book in print dates back to 1584 with a book entitled The Discovery Of Witchcraft, there is no possible way of finding out if an effect has been done before. Note the word “Discovery” in the book’s title! Even in the 1500s there was no way of telling! If someone in those times could figure that out, so can you.
Chapter 4: Effective Ways To Create Magic
You are in a creative mood. You feel the need to play around to create an effect. Ideas start brewing in your mind, and you anxiously jump out of your seat and lunge for a deck of cards. STOP RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE! STEP AWAY FROM THE BIKES!
I strongly recommend you do not try to create a card effect until you have some experience in creating magic. Why? Believe me, as common as card effects are, you will find it very difficult to create a card effect… at least one that is as “new” as possible. You might find yourself re-inventing The Ambitious Card or Twisting The Aces. Trust me, as experienced as you may be with cards, it is no picnic to create something new with them. You will most likely get burned, or worse, stuck. But do not fret! You can still brainstorm today, my friend. Why don’t you grab the hammer in your garage? Get a sponge from the bathroom while you’re at it!
Believe it or not, the best way and easiest way to discover something that is hopefully new is to play around with the most uncommon props in magic! Tennis rackets, batteries, broccoli, ANYTHING. That is, anything BUT cards or coins.
How about recharging the battery with your hand? Biting and restoring the broccoli? Levitating a tennis ball and whacking it into the distance with the tennis racket? All great examples of effects with the most uncommon of magic props. What can you do with a kite? A television remote? A belt? A knife? The possibilities are endless! I suggest using the technique in Chapter 2 to start brainstorming with your object. However, use this technique in a different way. Enter each room in your house, and grab the first object you see. While you do this, think of the possibilities. How could your object do the impossible? It doesn’t matter if the effects won’t fool other magicians! To fool any layperson from age 5 to 105 is the goal. Don’t stop with household objects either! Check your backyard. What can you accomplish with a rock? A fallen leaf?
While reading this, you may feel rushed to create magic with everything in sight. I advise strongly against that. If you want to create something great with an object, work with that object for a while. THEN move on to something else. Rush is never a good thing, unless you suffer a sudden violent bowel movement.
Chapter 5: Magic That Is YOU!
Close up magicians create close up magic. Stage performers create stage magic. Children’s performers create children’s magic.
Close uppers don’t normally create stage illusions. Children’s magicians won’t experiment with cards and flash paper. It’s just not what they do. Which is why you should create the magic that suits you. Do not create magic that is not your style. You are wasting your time creating something you will never use. The main reason magicians create magic is to keep to themselves. To use themselves without fear of other magicians already having knowledge of the effect. Don’t just create for the sake of creating or keeping yourself busy. There is no point!
When you create an effect, make sure it suits you. Not only your style of magic, but your personality. Add your own humor and your own patter. Patter that is YOU. Not only does it make creating and developing magic much easier, but it makes the magic more believable. If you are a welder that does magic as a hobby, people will relate to and find the magic more believable if, for example, you fuse two pieces of metal together with the heat of your hands. If you are a young magician and start pattering about being on the job or purchasing a new car, you automatically lose credibility for creating real magic. This not only applies to creating magic, but performing magic in general. My advice to you is to try to not use the patter and presentation supplied with a marketed effect. At least, not after a while. I do recommend you start off the effect performing it exactly as the instructions say you should. Practice it this way for about a week, until you have the effect down to a decent working. Afterwards, now that you have decent knowledge of the effect, you can create your own presentation and patter that suits you and your style. To present a routine or effect to laypeople that can relate you your style of life with the effect set to your style, what you are in terms of personality and job, and what you do in terms of hobbies or lifestyles feels like real magic not only to your spectators, but also to yourself. Magic does not get much more real than that!