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Topic: I've Been Wasting My Money On Magic Props...
Message: Posted by: Leland Stone (Nov 18, 2005 04:04PM)
Hiya, Magi:

I did a "show" on Wednesday night for a library that needed someone to play the part of the "Wizard" for their story time. The librarian had a pitcher of water and some clear tumblers rigged with food colouring...at the appropriate moment, I was to make the water "change" colour.

The kids went WILD when the water changed to red, blue, or yellow...I mean they went absolutely BONKERS!!!! I'm dead serious...their reaction was just OVER THE TOP! Yes, I was hamming it up and having a good time with the bit, but come on! I might as well have just vanished an elephant or something!

I'm seriously considering changing the entire act to one bit: "Leland And The Amazing Technicolour Water Jar."
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Nov 18, 2005 04:12PM)
I have used this effect to great use too. I find I am sometimes embarrassed at how simple it is. You can link the trick with colour changing silks to match the colours in the cups.
Message: Posted by: Joe Howard (Nov 18, 2005 04:27PM)
I used the same thing in a Safety show years ago. Same reaction too. Made me wonder why I spent so much money on other props. I got over it and have a house and a storage locker full of stuff to prove it :)

Joe H
Message: Posted by: krantis (Nov 18, 2005 09:56PM)
You can never hae enough props - that's why you are booked- you are the guy with the props!!! Get it?????????????????????????????????????
Message: Posted by: rhinomax (Nov 18, 2005 09:59PM)
I don't get it
Message: Posted by: PROFED (Nov 18, 2005 10:36PM)
I combined this effect with the Boston Tea Party effect I constructed with a large tea kettle. I told the story of a famous Chinese Magician. I would poor the liquid into clear plastic cups which would change color, then I would pull the matching colored silk out of the kettle. For the climax all of the liquid would be returned to the kettle and a 36" dragon silk wold be produced.
Message: Posted by: Bob Johnston (Nov 19, 2005 12:20AM)
It reminds me of a child playing with an empty box for hours, and having a good time.

Message: Posted by: Regan (Nov 19, 2005 08:19AM)
I have done this with the "Tea Kettle" prop and I've used a similar effect called "Chameleon Drinks" in a safety show with great success.

It's all about presentation. The simplest effect can be magical if you make it magical. Kids have such a sense of wonder that anything can seem magical to them if it is presented as such. (And if it is presented well) That's one reason why I love performing for kids so much. They still believe in their hearts.

Message: Posted by: JohnCressman (Nov 19, 2005 08:43AM)
So how exactly did you do the trick? Did the cups already have the food coloring in them?
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Nov 19, 2005 08:52AM)

You may want to PM leland for that info and details as we are not alowed to discuss secrets of effcts openly in this part of the forum. I think you undersand. =)

Any ways, it goes to prove once more that it really is not how hardn the trick is or how technically difficult it is, that the kids enjoy the most. Sometimes an easy effect to perform can have the most lasting impression in a child's mind.

Message: Posted by: Dave Campbell (Nov 22, 2005 10:45PM)
I just used this today at my daughter's fifth birthday party and the 19 kids in attendance (age 5-8) absolutely loved it!

As I told Leland in a PM, seeing your five year old daughter beaming like that is priceless!

Thanks for sharing Leland!
Message: Posted by: Parson Smith (Nov 26, 2005 04:17PM)
Would you mind sharing the age of the children?
Message: Posted by: Derek Rutt Creations (Nov 26, 2005 11:43PM)
I have never wasted money on buying props......I love them and the more I fill the performong area with colourful props the better the kids seem to like it ....and comedy props are of course essential to my style. Of course you do not have to have many props and can perform just as well without them.....but for a childrens show I think they are a must! and if people do not buy props then I don't eat !!! :cry:
Message: Posted by: Jizmagic (Nov 27, 2005 06:22PM)
In this month's Magic Symbol newsletter (November 2005) Maria Ibanez describes a fantastic routine with food coloring and glasses - using a Niffen tube (or possibly a Viking Cocktail Shaker), you end up with a killer ending!
Message: Posted by: rossmacrae (Nov 28, 2005 02:09AM)
Back to the original effect: THIS is why "magicians never tell the secret." You can practice fancy sleights for years and still wow them with something this simple (and get credit for being a great magician either way.)
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Nov 29, 2005 02:01PM)
On 2005-11-18 22:56, krantis wrote:
You can never have enough props - that's why you are booked- you are the guy with the props!!! Get it?????????????????????????????????????

Firstly, you are booked because you are the guy that can entertain the children, as long as you can do that prop size and quantity is fairly irrelevent.

Secondly, Leland didn't say he'd been wasting his money on props but on "magic props". I'm thinking this was probably a little tongue in cheap but the point is there are a lot of props out there that can be used to great success that were in no way designed for a kid's magic show. Which is why you'll find many a kid's entertainers prop-shopping in toy stores, hardware stores, art stores, educational resources, sports shops, pound/dollar stores, supermarkets, craft shops.........

Message: Posted by: johnnymagic (Nov 29, 2005 04:28PM)
Message: Posted by: Leland Stone (Nov 29, 2005 09:07PM)
Hiya, Magi:

George: Yep, the title of the post is definitely tongue-in-cheek. For the record, I love Magic props and can't get enough of 'em. But seeing those kids go bonkers over such a non-Magic "trick" has got me re-thinking my Magic. No, I'm not tossing any props just yet, but rethinking and tweaking ideas...that's a good thing!

Parson: Let's see, there were around 75 kids, and mostly in the 4-11 year age range I'd say.

How the heck do you encore something like this? I'm thinking about a wild new transformation effect: "Cold Solid Block To Cold Liquid." Not sure they'll sit still for 3-4 hours watching this one, though :)
Message: Posted by: magicbob116 (Nov 29, 2005 10:55PM)

How the heck do you encore something like this? I'm thinking about a wild new transformation effect: "Cold Solid Block To Cold Liquid." Not sure they'll sit still for 3-4 hours watching this one, though :)


The magically drying paint?
Message: Posted by: chris mcbrien (Nov 29, 2005 11:20PM)
A CHIA PET! They'll watch for hours as miraculously little plants grow on a pot shaped like ...heck...anything!

I may dig out my tea kettle for this one....but perhaps one could do a lota bowl double whammy effect with this?
Message: Posted by: squando (Dec 5, 2005 04:48PM)
The magician makes the props not the other way around.
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Dec 5, 2005 06:21PM)
I had similar success in my early kid's shows with an effect I called Hi C...I rigged Hi C can up like a foo can, turned it upside down to show the effects of "ungravity" and when I poured it out it was red, (transformed into Hi C, I said) and it went over better than any thing else in my show. So simple, so satisfying...and such tremendous reactions from the kids. Amazing.
Message: Posted by: Tom Stevens (Dec 6, 2005 05:35AM)
Give me anything that can change from one state to another without spectators detecting how it's done and I'll show you a magic prop.
Message: Posted by: harris (Dec 21, 2005 11:41AM)
Great topic....

I love the K.I.S.S. approach...

Keep it Stupid, Simple or something like that...


Keep it simple, sweety.

On Monday a custodian walked by with a broom and long handled dust pan, while I was doing a harmonica bit. I asked him if I could borrow them. He said yes, so I went into an impromptu percussion and harmonica bit.

Stomp meets the Nearly Normal Magic Show.

The first time I tried this was at a Prison Show. I moved a chair on a cement floor and it created a nice sound. The chair became a great back beat.

Last year I learned a couple of yo-yo stunts and was surprised how well they were responded to. (Watch out for people that in their sentences with a preposition

The world is my magic store....

Harris Deutsch
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Dec 21, 2005 06:06PM)
I always love trying to think creatively and trying to be creative with my magic and with the routines I do. I always try to look outside and away from magic for a lot of the inspiration for the routines and acts I come up with. There are so many things that can inspire or spark your creativity if you only allow yourself and open yourself up to the art of "seeing".

Because of my art background, I think it has really taught me how to think about my magic in a totally different fashion then I think most people do. It has allowed me to be more open and creative and not feel like my ideas are being forced through a funnel.

Being an artist, I always say the only difference between an artist and anyone else is the fact that I have learned to SEE. People shake their heads and do not often understand what I mean by that. Let me try and explain.

Learning to see is far more then just looking and saying I understand what I am looking at. For example: a person is told to draw a tree. They do not look at the tree or understand the tree at all. Their brains are programmed that a tree looks a certain way and so they draw what their minds have registered a tree is supposed to look like. BUT, they are not really seeing it at all. Their minds have already placed in their subconscious a preconceived image. Whenever someone says tree, this image pops into their head and completes the thought.

But that image is not truly how THAT particular tree looks. You’re really not seeing at all. You’re seeing while wearing blinders. You come to realize that every tree is different from the other. The texture is different, the branches and color, how the atmosphere interacts with it and so on and so forth.

So learning to see is all about opening up your mind to really study something and to looking past the obvious. You force your brain not to construct these preconceived images but tell it to look at every tree as a different object entirely. It is a tough process to do but anyone can learn to do it.

This way of thinking and seeing is how I tend to view everything now. It has helped me to always observe and to be open to any thoughts and ideas for my own magic. Because of this, I feel my magic has become much more creative and entertaining and has become more of an extension of myself and my personality and character on stage.

I get ideas for my magic from anywhere and everything. I do not get my ideas for magic from magic or the magic props I buy or own. That sounds funny but it is so true. I find that my ideas come from nature, culture, music and just about anything. Even a cool shape of furniture can spark an idea or generate a thought. When you learn to open yourself up in this manner, you will find that your mind is more free to truly create something new and different.

Too many of us tend to look at the wrong things for inspiration. We are so used to going to our magic videos or books or acts or relying on our props. This is fine to get yourself excited about the project, but it tends to force you in a certain direction of copying or mimicking what you see. It limits you greatly.

The best suggestion to thinking creatively is to not go to the magic books or the videos just yet. Do not stare at your magic prop and struggle to gain ideas based upon that prop alone. Step away from it totally. Open yourself up to exploring the idea or object yourself and you will be amazed at what ideas you can generate.

I hope this has helped give you some ideas on how to think creatively and I would love to hear back from anyone else who has done this or who has their own ways of being creative.

Message: Posted by: drwilson (Dec 21, 2005 07:44PM)

These are great ideas. Some of the most original magic I ever saw was from bizarre magic performers who stated openly that they were inspired by movie special effects, driven by story lines from old horror movies. They made decisions based on character and story lines, then looked around for magic techniques to accomplish those ends. If the techniques did not exist in traditional stage magic, they stole them from movie or theatrical special effects.

You get a very different outcome starting from "I can hide something in my hand, now what can I do?" Bizarre magic folks started with a very clear idea of what they wanted to have happen. Sometimes they had to compromise, but usually the fire of the original vision was there.

We can all learn something from this approach. It's not restricted to bizarre magic. Look at, for example, Sylvester the Jester, who has a great unity of vision.


Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Dec 21, 2005 08:18PM)

I agree. That is basically what I am saying here. To look beyond the obvious. Look outwards for sources for your own creativity and not always at your magic videos or your magic props. Creative thoughts and creativity for magic can and should stem and thrive form other sources that are not always magic related.

I think we magicians tend to start viewing everything we do as a magician and from a magician's viewpoint. I think when we start to do this, we start to "ot see" clearly. As I stated above, it is the art of truely "seeing" that allows us to really open up our minds to creative thought. Instead of putting on blinders by thinking like a magician, try and step past that concept and notion.

There is so much more you can out into your magic other then ideas and magical thoughts that have been done before. Learn to look towards culture, art, plays, nature and the world around you. There is so much that can be taken from these sources and used and applied to a magical act or rotuine.

I think too many of us start with the magic prop and try and work outwards. I try to to the opposite. Instead of limiting myself to a magic prop, I think first of the magical notion of what is to take place. What is it that I want to convey and express to my audiences in a fun or emotional way? What story am I trying to express and share with them? Then based upon these answers, I build the magic around it.

Like every good book, there is a central plot, there are characters and there is even conflict. Why not use some of these features in your magic? It certainly would give your magic substance and your audience something to grab ahold of.

I think by thinking of the prop first and putting the prop foremost in your mind, you are limiting yourself right from the start. I think magicians like Slyvester the Jester and Topas are so creative because they did not limit themselves to what was already out there. they came up with these ideas and thoughts and developed the magic around them.

This way of thinking does not have to be applied only to bizarre magic, it can be used for any type of magic you do. It is just a means of thinking and a way in which you learn to see things from a different perspective.

Message: Posted by: muzicman (Dec 23, 2005 09:43AM)
Props are like clothes. You don't really need either of them, but they do enhance what they are hiding. I know people that can entertain with their words alone, but does that mean EVERYONE should? I love my props, and they are an extension of myself, just like my clothes!
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Dec 23, 2005 04:38PM)
I think it's a useful exercise to try to make simple things entertaining. I used to hate card tricks, for instance, because most that I saw were boring. Now, I can have an audience on the edge of their seats with just a deck of cards, both kids and adults. Sometimes the reliance on props causes us to not develop as performers.