I write a bit about this in my book ‘Becoming FizzWizzPop.’ Taking tricks and making them my own is an exercise I love to do. It’s challenging to invent something and the rewards of it are pretty neat too. I’ve been doing this for years in my kids show.
I got into the magic industry through being an actor first. I didn’t know or have many magicians to copy or look up to. If I bought an effect, I read it and thought, well that’s dull. Let’s invent a new version!
I’m sure you will agree with me that there are so many magic tricks out there to buy. We have Books, tapes, dvd’s the internet and we can be bombarded by it at times.
If I see something that intrigues me in magic I don’t purchase it immediately. I begin pondering if I had this prop, gimmick or effect what would I do with it? And if I keep on coming back to the idea to the point I need the prop in my hand I’ll buy it…or make it myself.
I came across the Alex Elmsley’s books on a shelf. (Which by the way are fantastic if you haven’t got your hands on them yet).
The very first trick in his book, “The 4 Card Trick” intrigued me greatly. It was a simple and strong effect.
By performing the Four card trick I would be able to practice it. And (more importantly) perfect the ‘Ghost Count’ or ‘Elmsley Count’ as it later became known.
I began performing the trick as it was described in The Collected works of Alex Elmsley, (Page 21) and wondered how I could make this little piece unique and my own.
On the Hunt for Ideas…
At the time I was still a box jumper. (Being squished into boxes for those who don’t recognise the terminology).
I thought wouldn’t it be cool if the Ghost Count actually hid a girl like an illusion did.
Once I had this idea the story and moves fell into place.
The other three cards became the box and the girl was placed into it to perform the trick. This allowed me to talk about something I was very familiar with and yet I was performing a new type of magic that was alien at the time – card magic.
Keeping it simple is key!
It’s something to consider. If you are looking to make a trick new and unique, you don’t have to look far. Simple is better.
Search for something you know and can easily talk about. That way you can focus on performing the moves and not worry about what you are saying. It will be more natural.
The tools I needed to make my idea come to life.
I knew at the time that blank playing cards were a thing but I’d never owned them before.
I bought some and drew a stick girl on one and began to perform the trick with the new patter I’d came up with.
People really connected with the piece. The story I was telling was an honest one. The audience appeared to find it interesting to hear about my near death experiences in boxes and it actually became a hook.
Something Old. Something New…
I forgot about this trick for sometime and upon clearing out my card drawer – yes I have a card drawer – I came across the little packet trick again.
Upon seeing it, I couldn’t help but smile at the memory of this little piece I’d created all those years ago.
I sat and tried to recreate the routine. Once I figured it out again I remembered how good it was. I got thinking…
Long story short I have went and got this effect properly printed up and I intend to demo and sell it at my lecture in February at the Pentacle Magic Club and on the Arkane Shop website. I think it’s a neat little packet trick that perhaps others might enjoy performing it too.
It is much better than my drawing above.