Joined: 07 Jan 2003
What's up Penguins! When I wrote the original "absolute arsenal" post 4 years ago here I knew that in time I would have to redo it and update it, since I'm a magician who's constantly looking for newer things, better ways to do old things, and who tries to stay on the cutting edge. So this is going to be my absolute arsenal post revisited...going through in detail about what things have stayed and what things have gone, and what new things have arrived. I hope that it will be as useful to you all as what my last one seemed to be, and again, I applaud anyone who makes it through this entire post!
*Yoda voice on* "Hmmmm, updated the absolute arsenal is....hmmmm *Yoda off*
What is the "absolute arsenal"??
As I stated 4 years ago, I am a sleight-of-hand, close-up performer. I pride myself in being able to show up anywhere with a normal deck of cards and being able to perform with just that and any surrounding, everyday objects in the area. Most of you know that I don't prefer gimmicks, but there are the rare few that I really like. Of those gimmicks I really like, there are a small select few that I will actually carry around on me and absolutely love. That select few tricks are what I call my "absolute arsenal." That means that if I'm going to perform somewhere, I would absolutely like to have some of these effects on me.
In addition, I've now expanded my absolute arsenal to include effects that are not necessarily gimmicks, but common routines or effects that I do ALL THE TIME... the bread and butter of non-gimmicked, common effects. In this post, I will have separate sections for the gimmicks and non-gimmick arsenal effects, (and NO, I'm not posting any of my original routines or effects...though they may be absolute arsenal for me, this post is about common effects and gimmicks that you can purchase for yourself).
My absolute arsenal contains a few gimmicks that I've bought that have proven to be absolutely amazing and perfect for my performances. They have stood the test of time, and have proven to be some of the best gimmicks out there (combined with tons and tons of practice and great presentation, of course). The same is true now as it was 4 years ago, that all effects must meet certain criteria to ever become part of my absolute arsenal, no matter how "wow" the effect may be:
1. The effect must be "miracle status," meaning it must be absolutely amazing to laymen.
2. The effect must be natural or make sense to the real world. This means the effect has to be recognizable to laymen and not scream "I'm a gimmick." So you will never have me performing with brass tubes or unnatural-looking decks of cards. You'll never see me with a box of matches with a huge metal block inside of it...that sort of thing. Laymen must be able to relate to and understand the objects that I'm using. The objects MUST make sense to the real world, and are things commonly seen in the real world.
3. The effect must pack small and play HUGE! I don't carry cases with me, so the effect generally must fit in my pockets or in my jacket.
4. The trick should require minimal setup. I'm someone who places emphasis on the timing and flow of my performance pieces. If something is too cumbersome and requires too much setup or prep, it generally wont make it into my absolute arsenal. Also, I think it's terrible to always be "going away into hiding" to grab or setup another effect, then coming back out and doing it. It's unprofessional looking, in my opinion.
5. The effect needs to receive maximum reaction and minimum skepticism. I want to blow people away! This requirement is a little shaky, however, because of how much of that is required by your performance and not the effect itself. That said, if I find an effect meets the other requirements and not this one, I'll generally take it back to the drawing room and try to work out a different approach with it. But generally, if the effect cannot achieve "wow" status, it won't be in my arsenal.
6. The effect must also be either examinable, made to be examinable, or an effect that doesn't lead people to asking for examination. Again, hard to explain, but there are some effects that, although not examinable, they are never asked to be examined when performed correctly (like Invisible Deck). This is a must with my arsenal.
Ok, so now you understand the background of the absolute arsenal and what requirements these gimmicks meet. On to the arsenal!
Invisible DeckThe "Almost Arsenal"
This continues to be the single best gimmicked effect, perhaps ever. The effect packs small and plays huge, and a big advantage to this effect is that it plays in conjunction with many other effects. I use this all the time with Richard Osterlind's Radar Deck as a final "gut punch" to his already amazing effect (I love "gut-punches... hitting the crowd with another miracle when the audience thinks the effect is already over). And I can't count the amount of times Invisible Deck has saved me from mess ups and hecklers who have tried to fool me (this happened just last week, in fact). This gimmick, is without a doubt, my favorite of the absolute arsenal, and I cannot recommend this one enough. It's cheap, it's easy, and it's "miracle status." It's absolute arsenal!
Osterlind's Radar Deck
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=3239
This is something I've been toying around with for the last year, and has now made it into my absolute arsenal. The effect is killer. Pretty much, you show 4 people the cards, without looking at them at all. They all mentally remember a card they see in the deck. This is a completely free choice. They do not tell anyone what their card is, nor do they write it down or anything like that. After all 4 spectators have seen the cards and mentally chosen one they like, you put the cards away and proceed to tell each spectator what card they are merely thinking of! It's that simple. They see a card that they like, remember it, and you tell them what it is! This effect is awesome and I'm glad to have it included in the absolute arsenal. This one is a real reputation maker.
Just like 4 years ago, I feel that Loops are still the absolute best form of IT on the market. They are neat, they are convenient, and they are easy to use. They help create absolute miracles and there are a TON of things you can do with these! No wax, no sticky mess, no stripping thread...you just put one on and go. Because of their convenience, they are absolute arsenal. Pick some up and freak some people out! And as before, I would recommend getting the book "Animated Miracles," to help get you started and the brain wheels turning ( http://www.penguinmagic.com/product.php?ID=647 ).
Almost-Impromtu Rising Card
Not sold on Penguin
Simply the best rising card effect that I've seen yet. Similar to Kundalini Rising ( http://www.penguinmagic.com/product.php?ID=273 ), Almost-Impromtu Rising Card is a pre-made, better version of this gimmick. Even though I like Kundalini Rising, and the effect is essentially the same, I don't like Kundalini's "stronger gimmick," especially because I'm a darker skin tone and so it's more visible for me. Also, I like the convenience of having the gimmicks made up for you with Almost-Impromtu rather than having to construct them yourself. Either way, the effect is killer and is the cleanest, most fun version of a card rise in the SPECTATORS hands I've ever done. What's best, when its done you are completely clean. Everything can be inspected. You can use the cards for your next effect. And its all in their hands. This has absolute arsenal written all over it!
Simply stated, Card-Toon 2 rocked 4 years ago and it continues to rock today! Spectator picks a card, a drawing on the back of the card animates and finds the spectators card in a very funny and charming way. I like the second Card-Toon because of the better animated effect and because the fact that (at least mine) is printed on Bicycle stock. The effect is great, and will require some sleight-of-hand throughout the effect, but with a little practice you'll always have a neat effect that the ladies love. I'm a fan.
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=2727
Effect: You pull out a deck of blue playing cards and state that you will make a prediction about a spectator. You randomly pull out 3 cards and have the spectator pick out a card as well. Say, her card is the 3H. You show her that not only is the card she picked out the 3H, but all three of the "prediction cards" are 3H's as well. "Wait a minute, that can't be! There can't be four of the same card in a deck!" But, wait, you pick up the four cards, and one by one, you make the backs of each card change to a different color! In the end, you ask the spectator which of the four was the card she chose...and no matter what she says she's wrong, because you tell her that the original card had to come out of the deck you were using (which has been in full view the whole time). You show her that what was once a blue deck of cards has become completely red. That's a total of 5 different color changes that happen in this trick! No switches! This trick is awesome and definitely absolute arsenal. It does require a lot of sleight-of-hand, but once mastered this effect is a beauty. I do it all the time and it floors the audience! And unlike 4 years ago, it's now sold right here on Penguin!
A great effect, and continues to be in my absolute arsenal to this day. I'll be honest, the effect almost left the absolute arsenal after finding out how over-exposed this effect is on the internet. However, the effect is still strong and with a few minor adjustments to the handling, I've been able to keep this in my arsenal and I'm still flooring audiences with it. Does require a moderate amount of sleight-of-hand (its not really a gimmick), and stellar presentation. If you can get those down, you've got a fantastic miracle on your hands. I love it, and want to kill all the youtubers out there who are either revealing it or performing it so bad that it might as well be a reveal!
Ultimate 3 Card Monte
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=5388
The gimmicked version of the similar "Color Monte," but different enough that I use them both in routines at times. It's easier to do than "Color Monte," but requires a lot of good presentation and audience management to avoid skepticism. A fantastic effect that continues to be in my absolute arsenal after all these years. Not nearly as exposed as Color Monte is on the web either. You'll like this one.
A fantastic effect that is in the absolute arsenal for one reason: how many times A DAY I'm asking if I can make money into more money. No matter where I go, it seems like that is the one question people constantly ask (besides the famous "hey can you levitate"). Hundy is the answer to that question. I love this effect, and what's great about it is that you can carry it with you all the time. I'm currently investigating other similar effects though, namely Heiny 500 ( http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=9664 ) and Richard Sanders "Extreme Burn" ( http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... p?ID=10092 ). If I find those to be superior to Hundy, it may get replaced soon. Until then, this effect remains in my arsenal, and has been for years.
In my opinion, if it's Daniel Garcia, it's gonna be good! This is one of Daniel Garcia's best effects...I absolutely love this effect. It's not one that I do ALL the time, but one that is without a doubt part of my arsenal. What I like about it is its one of those you can carry with you all the time. Just construct it the gimmick and put it in your wallet... your ready to go anytime! It's a solid effect and with good presentation, the audiences' jaws drop! A fantastic effect and one I'll probably always do!
This effect is one of the bread and butter absolute arsenal effects in my collection. I absolutely love this effect, and it will probably always be a part of my absolute arsenal. A great piece of mentalism with a killer finish. I actually end with the other cards as blankers now, finding that the reactions have been stronger than when they were jokers. A great effect, and one I'll probably continue to modify and experiment with forever.
This continues to be my favorite pen/pencil thru bill effect ever. With this one, not only do you put a pencil thru a bill without harming the bill at all, but you also visually and audibly tear the pencil through the dollar! Afterward, you visibly melt the pencil through the bill, and can IMMEDIATELY give the dollar back and hand the pencil out for examination. It doesn't get any better than that! I actually give the pencils away as souvenirs immediately after performing the effect. Totally awesome, totally arsenal.
Scotch and Soda
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=2540
Scotch and soda is an absolute must have for any close up worker. It's awesome, and it's arsenal to the fullest extend. I don't perform it nearly as much as I used to, but I still prepare it and carry it with me to all my performances. It's a fantastic, easy-to-do effect that has multiple uses and can absolutely kill them if the ideal situation arises. I highly recommend this. It's great for beginners and more advanced magicians alike.
Just like before, I continue to have a list of effects that I really like, but don't quite make it into the absolute arsenal... usually because they do not meet one or more of the requirements for me.
I absolutely love using these things. They are a great attention grabber, especially in the restaurant setting. Many people know how these work, however, and they are commonly seen in club settings by non-magicians. That said, they still continue to mesmerize the audience and I don't really use them so much as a magic-effect as I do a way to get attention on me and gauge what people to approach in a restaurant. They are fun and I recommend them.
A great effect, but unfortunately I don't do it very much anymore. I still carry it with me however, for those times when this effect can play big. My biggest problem with this effect is that it seems really hard to get the blister to show on my hands sometimes. Other than that, it really is a great effect and one worth doing when the time's right.
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=5300 (big thanks to Philal for the link)
I love this effect, and do perform it, but mostly when I'm just entertaining friends or at a corporate gig. It's an effect that plays huge and doesn't require a lot of complicated sleight-of-hand, which can be nice at times. In essence, what happens is you have a couple of audience members select a card from the deck and those cards end up anywhere you'd like. For me, I often have the selected cards end up in my shoes, which gets great reactions. With some prep, I've had the selected cards show up underneath dinner plates, in the audience members pockets, even in their cars. An awesome effect, but for me, I just don't perform it like I used to.
These are non-gimmicked effects that I consider bread-and-butter. These are things I do all the time and really love, and highly recommend for purchase and practice. This isn't a complete list of all the great non-gimmicked effects I do, but a condensed list of some of the really killer things that I think you all may like and benefit from.
What didn't make it from the last Absolute Arsenal
This is one of the best effects I think I've ever learned to do...and an effect I do ALL THE TIME. It's one that is completely customizable and can have as many phases as you like. You can use it with other effects, as an out, or as something quick to establish credibility. There are many resources to learn this effect, and I recommend seeking out a few to learn different things to incorporate into this effect. I credit Daryl and his book, "Ambitious Card Omnibus" for many of the phases I've learned. You can purchase his Ambitious Card video here at Penguin ( http://www.penguinmagic.com/product.php?ID=30 ).
Richard Osterlind's Perfected Center Tear
One of my favorite moves that I've learned in 2007. Definitely a bread-and-butter, and I use it for a variety of different effects. I highly, highly, highly recommend learning this. You can get it here ( http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=3330 ) or learning it from Osterlind's "Mind Mysteries" DVD set (all volumes sold here at Penguin as well). Also, Oz's fantastic DVD "Into the Abyss" ( http://www.penguinmagic.com/product.php?ID=1678 ) features effects in which you'll need to learn the center tear...and the effects he teaches on this set are killer! Stop reading this post now and buy the center tear. You won't regret it.
Gregory Wilson's: Ring Leader
It was absolute arsenal 4 years ago, and it continues to be today. In general, if it's Gregory Wilson, it's gold! This effect is no different. You learn to make a borrowed ring come off and on a piece of rope in many amazing ways. I do it all the time, and love it! A purchase that has paid for itself a million times over. Well worth it!
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... .php?ID=55
An effect you learn from Richard Sander's Show Vol. 2, it is an amazing effect that I do almost as much as I do ambitious card! It's a great effect that I've made some small changes to and have received amazing reactions from. The basic effect stays the same: A spectator selects a card and signs it. You mix it into the deck and select another card, which you draw on the back of. That drawing magically disappears and reappears on several cards before finally appearing on the back of the spectators signed, selected card. The card is then given away as a souvenir. A fantastic effect and Richard Sander's is an AMAZING magician (I had the honor of meeting him last year). Highly recommended.
Card to Wallet
Several sold here on Penguin
It took me a long time, but last year I finally started carrying around a card wallet and I would never go back to not having one. I bought mine custom from a local shop here in Colorado Springs, but essentially the idea is the same with most card-to-wallets. I use mine as my real, everyday wallet, which is nice because I ALWAYS have something that I can do, even when I least expect to do magic. I use mine in conjunction with a ton of effects as well, as a "gut punch" to add to an already amazing effect (like Mr. Stickman, where not only is the drawing on their selected card, but instantly ends up folded and zipped inside my wallet seconds later). With my wallet you have to have knowledge of sleight-f-hand, like retentions or the Mercury fold if using it for a card, a skill I highly recommend anyway. But I can make more than just cards appear in my wallet, but just about any small object: small coins, rings, etc. One of my best purchases ever. I don't know what took me so long to get on board with this. This is one effect that I use as a major "gut-punch" to many, many of my signed card effects. Definitely recommended!
Crazy Man's Handcuffs
You can learn crazy man's handcuffs from many books, (I learned my first phase from Michael Ammar, I think from his "The Magic of Michael Ammar book, ( http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=3634 ). However, Link! adds many phases that are quite good. I only do a three phase routine, but it is arsenal simply because its a miracle that needs a couple rubber bands and sleight-of-hand. Highly recommended. WARNING: The original Crazy Man's Handcuffs effect is HIGHLY exposed by Youtubers.
I started doing this effect this year, and absolutely love it. It uses no gimmicks, can be done anywhere, and often gets the best reactions of anything I do. Now that's absolute arsenal! I also use this in conjunction with a timestop effect I do, which works perfectly. I really like this one.
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=5449
I have the honor of being good friends with John Sheets, who lives here in Colorado. Let me tell you, this guy has a great mind for magic! This is an effect that he showed me one day and I was floored by it! In essence, its a transposition of two borrowed bills that happens in the spectator's hand! It's an amazing effect!
A fantastic utility, and I add it here because its something that's more a utility than a trick. I use it as a way to hand out my business cards. I modified mine from the original, making it work much better, and you may have to do the same if you get one. It doesn't work with all types of business cards however, so research that before going with it. Also, although I really like the effect this is one that may soon be removed from the arsenal list as I'm investigating better ways to hand out business cards without all the prep or odor left on the business card. We'll see what happens.
Continues to be a staple in my magic act. I love sponge balls, maybe not as much as I did 4 years ago, but they are still great! Funny thing is that even though I use these a lot for kids, it seems like I mesmerize older audience members even more! For that reason, I still work em. I use red, which I feel get the best reactions and the least amount of skepticism. Also, Jay Noblezada has a great DVD that teaches you all kinds of awesome effects you can do with spongeballs ( http://www.penguinmagic.com/product.php?ID=1671 ). Get it!
The Arsenal of Books
3-in-1 Quarter/Coin Bite
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=8699
Though I still do this effect, I feel this has run its course, is overdone, and is over exposed over the internet. Like I said, I'll still perform this at times, but it really doesn't fit into my arsenal anymore.
Not sold at Penguin
It's actually a funny story what happened here. I was traveling to Vegas on vacation with my wife and brought a bunch of effects with me to do some street magic there (Vegas is great for that). I put my bags through the scanner in the airport, and immediately I've got all these security guys all around me and going through my bags. For the sake of not exposing the effect, let's just say that this effect contains something that is frowned upon in an airport, and its concealed within a card, and you wouldn't know it unless you destroyed the gimmick yourself to find out. So after a lengthy interrogation and offering to give up the effect so I can get on my plane, I made my flight just barely. Since the effect was confiscated, I've never rebought it, and thus it's no longer in my arsenal. Perhaps someday I'll bring it back, but at this point in my life, I've got enough gimmicks. I don't really need another one. The effect is still killer though!
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=3017
I still carry one around with me at every performance, just in case, but I find that I don't really use it much anymore. Part of that is that smoking is banned in buildings in Colorado now, and I used my TT primarily for cigarette vanishes. That said, TTs still rock and I'm sure that this is something that will be brought back into the arsenal at some point. But for now, I just don't find myself using it much at all...
Name That Card
Not sold at Penguin
Sometimes even a good gimmick gets laid off. That's the case here. I still absolutely love this effect, but over time you've got to put some things down to pick some things up. Being that I don't want to be overly gimmicked, I've often got to put something to rest to make room for some newer effects. This is the case here. A great effect, but just not up to snuff anymore in comparison to the other, newer effects I do. Just doesn't fit in my style anymore, but perhaps one day I'll bring it back into the mix.
Many of you know that I am a BIG supporter of learning magic from books and publications. No, I'm not a DVD hater or anything... in fact I own a very sizable collection of DVDs and videos and have learned a lot from them. However, I do feel that books give you the most bang-for-your-buck, and that they promote creativity and presentation in your performances, rather than simply copying what you see another magician do in a video (even I'm guilty of doing this... it's hard to separate out the presentation of someone you've watched when learning a new effect). So here is a list of a few books I highly recommend for those who still, in fact, know how to read a book:
Now You See It, Now You Don't...DVDs and Videos
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=3398
There are two volumes to this book series, and these books have been amazingly helpful in my career as a magician. One of the first books I ever bought years ago, I continue to still learn from these. Fantastic stuff in their pages, everything from close up to parlor effects, beginner to advanced. Softcover books with a difficulty rating for each effect, plenty of illustrations, and is very easy to understand. Highly recommended!
Royal Road to Card Magic
By now near everyone on these forums should know something about this book. A fantastic book and usually one of the first books I recommend to beginners, this book will give you the foundations needed to become a professional in the trade and tools that will be forever important as a magician. The book is amazing, which is why its probably one of the most recommended beginner magic books ever. Believe the hype, the book is that awesome! Get it, learn it, love it.
Harry Lorraine's "Apocalypse" series
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=5296
A four book series, this is one of the best investments I've ever made. This book series rocks! Inside the hardcovers is years and years of magic contributions that are simply amazing. It would take your entire life to learn everything in these books, maybe two lifetimes! It's an excellent reference tool and a must have! It's like having an encyclopedia of magic at your fingertips. Truly exceptional material. Penguin sells volumes 1 and 4 currently.
Bobo's Modern Coin Magic
THE book when it comes to learning coin magic. I use it all the time. Great for reading, and even greater for reference. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn coin magic and sleights needed for any close up, small object manipulation.
Expert Card Technique
Awesome material in this book, and a book I highly recommend to anyone who feels they are ready to go to the next level. I wouldn't call this a beginner book, but a dedicated beginner could really get a lot out of this. I would say reading Royal Road first would be wise before really getting deep into this one.
The Magic of Michael Ammar
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=3634
One of the first books given to me when I was a beginner, this book has everything. Cups and balls, cards, coins, rubber bands... its a great book for anyone. Also has some very interesting articles by Ammar and his theory on magic. Very good book.
Counts, Cuts, Moves, and Subtleties
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=4837
Another book I received when I was starting out, this book really did a lot for me. This book contains no effects, but rather offers you tools to enhance your magic and take it to the next level. An incredibly useful book, and a gem for the modest price tag.
Like I stated earlier, even though I prefer books to DVDs and videos, I understand that this is the digital age and I have amassed quite a collection of videos. Here is a small list of some of the better ones that I recommend and truly enjoy:
David Stone "Real Secrets of Magic" Vol. 1 and 2
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=9527
This DVD set is awesome! Though it seems that Penguin only carries the second volume at this time, I'd say these DVDs are some of the best I've ever purchased EVER. David Stone is an awesome magician who offers not only fantastic effects and great performances, but the entire collection features David's advice on how to perform, get restaurant gigs, how to deal with hecklers, how to work with restaurant staff...and more! David Stone teaches a variety of effects, from cards, to coins, to wine bottle productions and more, and though many of them will require a ton of practice, the effects are well worth the time spent. David Stone teaches "silent style," much like Jay Sankey's "45" video, but I've got to say that David does silent style teaching like no other. The effects are explain very well, and you get to see the effects from a variety of angles. The DVDs are really really well made, perhaps some of the best magic DVDs I've ever seen quality-wise, and they are funny as well! These DVDs are money in the bank! Get them, you won't regret it.
Gregory Wilson's "On The Spot"
Just like 4 years ago, this DVD is one of my absolute favorites of all time (beaten only by David Stone's DVD set, and that's a maybe). Gregory Wilson is a great magician and an even better performer, and its for his performance skills that I highly recommend this video. You'll see how a great perform performs, and you'll see how he uses that skill to be able to do things that he couldn't get away with without that skill. The effects featured on this dvd are killer, and they are all effects done with everyday normal objects. The dvd is fun to watch as well! I can't recommend this one enough!
The Daniel Garcia Project DVD set
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=5932
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=5933
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=5934
These DVDs were my first exposure to Daniel Garcia, and I've been a fan of his ever since. The guy is a genius. These DVDs are definitely not for the beginner, though a dedicated beginner could grasp and learn a lot of material on these. But I would recommend these for someone with an intermediate knowledge of sleight-of-hand and someone who is dedicated to practicing more complicated moves and sleights. The videos are awesome and contain some of the best effects I've ever seen. Danny is a funny guy as well (he's another magician I had the honor of hanging out with last year), so the videos are entertaining to watch as well as extremely informative.
In The Beginning, There Were Coins
A Noblezada vid I purchased last year and was very impressed with. If you are interested in learning the basics of coins sleights, I would recommend this one. It was well worth the purchase.
So there you have it, my updated "absolute arsenal." Hehe, I thought that after having written the first one, this one would be a piece of cake and take no time at all. Now, 3 hours later I'm just now finishing it, and still have the same hand cramps as I did the last time!
Just like before, the effects I've listed are not "miracle status" by themselves alone. As with any trick, they completely depend on a strong and solid presentation to get those great reactions. There's no way around this, and I can't say it enough. You must practice, practice, practice...and on more than just the moves. You've got to really note how you are presenting the trick and work on improving that aspect of the effect. These effects work well for me because I have dedicated a lot of time and effort into practicing them, getting them down, and creating a solid presentation and performance. I said this 4 years ago and I'll say it again: an effect itself does not get reactions...it's the performer that takes an effect and turns it into a miracle.
I'd also like to reiterate to everyone, please don't go out and buy all these things. Don't just take my word for it that these effects are great, do some research and make sure an effect is something that would work for you. These are effects that work well for me and my style, and may not necessarily be your cup of tea. And that's fine. The purpose of this post is to let you all know effects and tools that I consider great in my opinion, and to give you some food for thought. If you find that you want to try out some of the things I've mentioned, by all means go for it. But what I don't want is a bunch of Penguins to try to be like me and start spending all their money on the effects just because I wrote about them. Do some research, find out first what effects might fit in well with your style. Be smart, work hard, and find an arsenal that works for you. Everyone is different for a reason.
Don't get "gimmick-itis," which is buying a bunch of gimmicks, performing them for awhile, than buying more gimmicks because you have nothing left to perform. You should always strive to perfect what you have, make it stronger and better. Change it up. Add your own flavor to the effect. You do not have to clone what has been done, or what you have seen someone else do. The best magician you can ever be is yourself, so be THAT magician. The best reactions will always come from when you've dedicated yourself to perfecting what you have, and when you are being YOU.
A good rule of thumb is this. Think of a trick that required moves that took you a lot of time and effort in practice. You should always be doing just as much or more practice WITHOUT the trick in your hands, just practicing the performance, patter, etc. Do that...and you'll make even the sillyest of gimmicks look like miracles from heaven. Guaranteed.
Remember, books and videos are great for more than just learning new effects. They will give you a firm grasp on performance and sleight of hand that will aid you in your handling of gimmicks and will help to unlock your creativity to make your effects and gimmicks even better. Get them, use them, and become great. I added books and videos to this arsenal post for a reason!
Finally, I'm going to reiterate something I said in the last absolute arsenal post. Work on your "people skills." That is infinitely helpful in your magic and will seriously take your magic to the next level. Unfortunately, few people stress how truly important this is. Good people skills make your magic much more memorable, they will allow you to gauge your audiences, and will make your more approachable so that you're more likely to be accepted by audiences in the first place. Once you get "in" with an audience, you can do anything (what comes to mind for me is watch stealing...something I feel I could never do without being able to first gain their trust and friendship). So practice and hone your people skills. Initiate conversations with people, say hello to people as you walk by them, work on becoming a more extroverted person. Take up public speaking wherever you can...get yourself used to being in the public eye and being able to deal with it. Even if you must pretend at first, if you do it enough it WILL eventually become the way you naturally are (that's what I did). The better you are with people, the better your magic is going to be, and the better your audience is going to react to you.
And never forget to keep magic fun. It's supposed to be, for you and your audiences. So never lose that. If it stops being fun, take a break. You can never perform very well with a bad attitude, no matter how hard you try. So have fun with it, and pass that joy off to your audiences.
As always, I'm always available for advice, or questions, or whatever. If you have any questions or comments about this thread, or about anything, feel free to post or send me a PM. I'm glad to be a part of this community, and will always be glad to chat about magic anytime.
I apologize for the length of this post, and applaud anyone who actually read it top to bottom! I also apologize for any typos I may have made. I did my best to edit this, but due to its length I'm sure there are some mistakes that got missed.
But for now, time to relax the hands. Carpal Tunnel could be very disasterous to my career in magic! LOL.
Last edited by B_Magic on Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:27 am, edited 7 times in total.