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Topic: Best tricks that tell a story
Message: Posted by: martinjmac497 (Dec 28, 2013 05:29PM)
I enjoy close-up tricks that tell a story and am looking for new ideas. I know a lot of magicians don't like them, but what are the best or your favorite close-up tricks that tell a story. (Not limited to card tricks)
Message: Posted by: ianchandler (Dec 28, 2013 05:32PM)
Stories can be added to any close-up trick to make them better. I'd challenge you to come up with some. For some ideas, check out Vegas Visit by Josh Jay, Horizon Aces in the East Meets West download, and the Miser's Dream.
Message: Posted by: martinjmac497 (Dec 28, 2013 06:11PM)
Thanks for the examples. Vegas Visit is great and is something I haven't seen before. Usually I take the premise of the stories and change the characters, locations, ect. to fit it into my routine.
Message: Posted by: ianchandler (Dec 28, 2013 06:26PM)
That's a great way to do it. Sam the Bellhop usually challenges your narrative skills, too, and is a fun experiment.
Message: Posted by: motown (Dec 28, 2013 09:24PM)
Gypsy Thread
Message: Posted by: charliemartin (Dec 28, 2013 09:41PM)
Torn & Restored Cigarette Paper.
Message: Posted by: RobertlewisIR (Dec 28, 2013 10:07PM)
All of them.

Well, maybe not always a full "story." But every piece of magic should point beyond itself to something else. It needs at least a premise. Otherwise, it's not magic--it's just a trick.
Message: Posted by: charliemartin (Dec 29, 2013 02:44AM)
Kate & Edith
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Dec 29, 2013 09:28AM)
You might want to check out my Magician Vs. Gambler.
Message: Posted by: motown (Dec 29, 2013 11:10AM)
Marc DeSouza has an excellent DVD of story magic.
Message: Posted by: Aus (Dec 29, 2013 04:32PM)
When I was going through High School Bob Longe books where my treasure trove in the day, beginner level but the tricks diverse enough not be the run of the mill beginner tricks that everyone was doing.

One that sticks out in my mind was a trick called “Murder” out Bob’s book “World’s Best Card Tricks”. The theme was a wealthy lady in a mansion gets murdered and the cops surround the building cornering in all suspects and through a process of elimination find the murderer which turns out to be quite the surprise.

Nice trick and easy to do.


Message: Posted by: Dougini (Dec 29, 2013 05:17PM)
Wanna tell story magic? This book will inspire you not only to write fantastic stories, it can change the way you do, and view Magic! This $35 tome will give you the tools to really PERFORM, with YOUR tales of Enchantment!


Message: Posted by: motown (Dec 29, 2013 07:23PM)
Ariel Frailich has a cook called Card Stories

Brain Food by David Parr
Message: Posted by: Yellowcustard (Dec 29, 2013 09:50PM)
I feel that telling stories as we do magic is a very strong thing we can do. I think ther are few things to bare in mind. The story has to be interesting - To you as the teller as much as them to the listener. This is obvious yet so many get it wrong. You have many great stories. don't use other people stories it seem to dilute. Also I have heard people go when I was in Africa and at the end you say were in Africa was you and they say I just say that for that effect. I know we can play charters and that's OK but there is a line.

I would start looking around at stories that interest you and work from there. If it can be your own story or your way of explain something it going to be strong. In my note books are stories with out effect and effects with out stories. But slowly the ides form.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Dec 30, 2013 02:13AM)
Telling a story well can take as much practice as your magic effect. The reason why many magicians do not like story-telling, methinks, is that they are unwilling to put in the effort to do it well. You can't just add some words to a magic effect and expect it to enhance the effect any more than changing the color of your pocket handkerchief or buying an expensive wand. They may make it "different" but not "better."

Start by telling stories out-loud whenever possible. Go to hospitals and the park -- and tell stories. Learn to create magic with intonation, volume and gestures. Then add a magic trick.

Also, magic may be used to enhance a story as well as the other way around (as in Gospel Magic). A story may give relevance or framing to an effect without accompanying it. You can tell about a magic effect you have seen and recreate the awe and wonder without any prop. Remember - the magic impact you desire resides withing the spectator and not you. You can kindle it and nurture it. A story can serve you well -- if properly done.
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Mar 23, 2014 01:53PM)
Thank you Doug for adding my book to this thread. I am very proud of the impact it has made on magicians and their thoughts about the magic they do in a theatrical context! Magically, Walt

Message: Posted by: Dougini (Mar 23, 2014 07:02PM)
My pleasure Walt! :)

Ya know, I wonder if anyone even considers my advice here. I kill a LOT of threads. Or, I'm just ignored. No matter. After forty years of this, I do know a few things, LOL! I only WISH I had “Tales of Enchantment: The Art of Magic” by Walt Anthony when I first started in 1971!

I would not have made the mistakes I made! Naturally, when I see, "Best Tricks That Tell A Story", I wanna tell everyone that EVERY effect has a story! How creative ARE you? And are you a MAGICIAN or a trickster? Showing tricks like they are puzzles to solve? Or taking your victi...er, [i]spectator[/i] on an Enchanted Journey, "down the rabbit hole", so to speak?

It goes from "How did you DO that?" to, "Oh, wow! That was like real MAGIC!" Well, “Tales of Enchantment: The Art of Magic”, by Walt Anthony is the book you want. It shows you, for example, how to take a tacky, intelligence-insulting trick like the Sliding Die Box, and turn it into The Wizard's Herb Chest, along with an appropriate tale.

That effect is TOTALLY transformed! Today, even my Cups & Balls effect has a story! Really think about WHY you are doing what you do. Why does the ball vanish or change color? Why does the ball FLOAT? What Wizardry is going on around us that makes this stuff happen? What Alien presence is causing this? The government knows more than it's telling...etc.

Guys and gals...please. Make up a story for your magic effects! Get “Tales of Enchantment: The Art of Magic”, by Walt Anthony and let him show you just HOW to do that! $35 is not a lot of cash, compared to some of the lame effects I see out there. Good Magic to you all! :)

Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Mar 23, 2014 07:52PM)
Ha! You must have inherited my magic and heraldic title. I went from Sir Walt the Dragon Slayer to Sir Walt the Thread Killer when I joined the Café long ago…
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Mar 24, 2014 11:09AM)
Yeah, LOL! I know what ya mean. Maybe folks are being polite. They really disagree but won't post it. I really pushed in one post and I got a reply that not every effect needs a story. Or it bogs it all down. People want FAST. In and out, over and done. That's not how I roll.

I guess I'm Old School in more ways than one. You want to see Magic? Then let me SHOW you Magic! You want a quick trick? A puzzle they'll want to solve? Fine. Not from me. I don't DO "tricks"! I play the role of the Wizard! Imagine Merlin being asked to show a "trick"! He'd say:

."F--k You! I'm MERLIN! I do MAGIC!"

Message: Posted by: hp (Mar 24, 2014 11:58AM)
Color Monte is a great story-telling effect.

And I agree with those who say that many tricks can be enhanced with a great story. I have had great success with a multi-coin copper silver effect in which the half dollars are men, the English pennies ladies.

Message: Posted by: charliemartin (Mar 24, 2014 10:35PM)
Story telling in moderation can be a powerful skill or weapon. Too much of it could bore an audience. Be you, let your audience connect with you.
Message: Posted by: Tree (Mar 25, 2014 12:33AM)
Nutty Surprise by Pete Biro
Teleportation Device by Pop Hayd'n
Gypsy Thread
Torn Restored Newspaper
Message: Posted by: 1KJ (Mar 25, 2014 01:04AM)
This is a great thread Martin! Thanks for posting.

I really like stories and magic.

Sometimes I use stories that are clearly make-believe. For example, one of my favorites is Steve Valentine's "3". He uses the classic monte "story". However, I like to do this with a story about a Kingdom with three brothers fighting over the Kingdom.

Sometimes I do stories that tread a fine line between fantasy and reality. For example, using the effect "The Extractor", I do a story about having a dream that involves the participant. In one of Mel Meller's DVDs, he does a similar "dream" routine using the invisible deck.

Sometimes I use stories that seem real. For example, I talk about my aunt who lost her mind. This routine combines cards and rubber band magic.

like you, I like to take existing plots, effects, etc. and think about how they could be different. Think about how you might combine an existing effect with another effect or something new and create a story. One of the ways of doing this, is with "imperfect" magic. Dave Williamson is good at doing this. You start with an effect, and it doesn't seem to be going well. You go to plan B, and end with the effect coming full circle. If your story involves the audience and appears impromptu, it will draw the audience in more.

Best of luck with your magic and enjoy!

Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Mar 25, 2014 08:18PM)
I was honored that Pete Biro allowed me to script a presentation for his marketed Nutty Surprise. Walt
Message: Posted by: 1KJ (Mar 25, 2014 08:45PM)
On Mar 25, 2014, SpellbinderEntertainment wrote:
I was honored that Pete Biro allowed me to script a presentation for his marketed Nutty Surprise. Walt


I just ordered your book. I'm really looing forward to it.

Message: Posted by: Shuaige (Mar 26, 2014 10:45AM)
On Dec 29, 2013, Harry Lorayne wrote:
You might want to check out my Magician Vs. Gambler.

Mr Lorayne,

May I know if this is a book or DVD or a single trick?

Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Mar 26, 2014 11:03AM)
Hi: Originally in my pamphlet, Personal Secrets (early 1960s) out of print. I perform/teach it on Vol. 1 of my 4-volume "Best Ever" DVD set. And, you can see me perform it (not under the best of circumstances) if you go to www.youtube.com/harrylorayneonvideo . You can also learn more about my stuff if you go to my magic website - third address listed under this post with the word "magic" in it. And no, I never put out a book or DVD with one trick in/on it. Best - Harry L.
(If you have any questions, email to my personal email address, first one listed under this post.) Best - Harry.
Message: Posted by: pradell (Apr 4, 2014 06:58PM)
Tricks don't tell stories, magicians do. This is the problem with reading the instructions with quoted "patter" or watching a DVD with someone else telling you what to do or say. A truly great illusion builder tried to tell me that there was only one way to do the trick he built from the plans (Steinmeyer's Modern Art) and I bought from him: the way that the Pendragons did it on TV. Hah! Not true! The story comes from taking the trick, i.e. the stuff and the method, and thinking outside of the box. Incorporating the trick into your show, your persona, your character. What is the thing? What is the effect? How can you tell a story about it? Does it tie in with a theme you are trying to convey? Where are the dramatic points in the presentation? How can you make it memorable? Watch Eugene Burger take the simplest litle magic item and, using his deep voice, long bearded face, and great personality, turn it into a minor miracle before a huge audience or a small group. See how he creatively tells a story. Watch any of the old Copperfield TV specials. See how he weaves magic, music and theater into stories in most of his illusions. Fred Kaps is a master storyteller as well. The magic trick is only secondary to the theater. You want to move the audience, to make them feel something. That's good storytelling. Magic tricks are the tools you use to tell great stories. They are the props used in a great theatrical performance. What stories will you tell?
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (May 11, 2014 03:31PM)
Every magic trick IS a story. They aren't all good stories, and they aren't all presented in a way that is easy to retell.

Most of the time, adding a story onto the story of the trick is like pouring ketchup over quiche.

That being said, One Card Pete, Color Monte, and Cannibal Kings are successful attempts to combine a story with the plot of an effect.

What is the story that you want you spectators to tell about what they have seen?

Any story that you tell with a routine should serve the magic; it should make it easier for the spectator to remember, explain and defend the story of the effect itself.
Message: Posted by: george1953 (May 11, 2014 04:04PM)
I would say On The Blood Re-Loaded by Lebanon Circle, not only is a very good story the props are absolutely fantastic, one of my favourite effects to perform.
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (May 11, 2014 04:40PM)
After you've checked out Magician VS Gambler, check out my Card Shark & The Four GI even tellamblers and The Lorayne Poker Deal. I even tell a story, if you can call it that, when I do Lazy Man's Card Trick.
Message: Posted by: 1KJ (May 13, 2014 11:20AM)
[quote]On Dec 29, 2013, Dougini wrote:
Wanna tell story magic? This book will inspire you not only to write fantastic stories, it can change the way you do, and view Magic! This $35 tome will give you the tools to really PERFORM, with YOUR tales of Enchantment!


Doug [/quote]

This is a really good book! I second this one. In addition to reading this book, think about things in your life you could turn into a story. They could be personal experiences, or things you have seen. For example, watch comedy on TV or youtube. Take an amusing comedy bit twist it around, and give it a magic plot. I think Saturday Night Live or Mad TV skits are great sources of inspiration for magic plots. Also, read the papers for real life stories.

For example, there was a story recently about a monkey in Russia that had to be put into alcohol rehab. I can think of ten different comedy magic ways to go with this story. Sometimes, all you need is the headline and you can create your own story or routine around this. For the Monkey story, I created a routine using a different version of the magic pizza box effect with the monkey getting into his car, driving down to the liquor store, getting drunk, and getting lost. In the end, someone just takes the car keys ways from him and sends him to alcohol rehab. The routine starts with an actual printout of the story, then I kid around about a story a bit, then "re-enact" the story, and end with a lesson about how you should never give your car keys to your pet monkey.

Another source is things you did as a kid. There are so many things we did as kids that people can relate to, and it brings them back to their own childhood. Another source is romantic stories. Ask your friends to tell you stories from their past, unusual stories. Retell the story in a magic way. Go to an elderly home and ask some of the elders for the most unusual story they ever heard or experienced. See if any of those stories could be twisted around and turned into a magic plot.

However, I would first do as Doug suggested, and start with the Tales of Enchantment book, because it will give you ideas of how you can take ANY story or plot and figure out how to fit it into a magic theme.

As Doug said, it just might change your magic life.

Message: Posted by: 1KJ (May 13, 2014 11:30AM)

I think this is one of the best "new to magic" topics posted! Far too frequently, we see magicians performing an effect the way they see it done in a magic book or DVD. It would be like if every singer just sang the same dozen songs, pretty much the same way, or if comedians got on stage and told the same jokes over and over.

I was recently at the Magic Castle and saw a few acts. Most of what I saw were effects and routines you can purchase "in a can".

While there are a handful of magicians that create and perform very unique material, the vast majority of magicians are just regurgitating what they saw on a video.

Congrats to you for trying to do something different!