SUCK? Okay, so I got your attention – coins don’t suck – but there is a problem with them. Let me explain what I feel the inherent problems are. Before I continue writing, I ask one thing. Read slow…read slow enough to ask questions while you are reading. I am not trying to trash the concept of coin magic, but show a limitation in one medium of our art. Something, I believe can be changed – but we must bring it to our attention. To understand the problems, we have to agree on a few concepts – first – the spectator inherently wants to know how an effect is done. They are a thinking audience and are trying to NOT be fooled, so many are looking for the method, until they exhaust all options and give up looking or find an out. Second, it is important that effects have logic in them that gives reason to the magic happening – although not always necessary, is very important for the concept of strong magic to occur and for people to see it as more than just “a trick”. Lastly, magic effects, can be boiled down to three different levels of involvement – we will categorize them as: 1 “Look at you (the audience)” magic – where the magic moment happens in their hands or they do the magic, example: participant cuts to aces or sponge balls - arguably, very strong magic and most often the most convincing, because of its hands off nature. 2 “Look at us” magic – where the magician has the magic happen in their hands, but the participant is involved throughout the process – sign the card, pushed it in, shuffles the deck. Involvement ranges, but more than just holding something or examining an item. Example – (depending on its structure) – ambitious card, crazy man’s handcuffs. This type of magic has people involved, and the magic is happening with them – but not in their hands. This kind of magic is not as strong as “Look at you”, but is still strong in impact – not reaction, as anyone can get reactions – but I digress, as this is another essay. 3 “Look at me (the magician)” magic – where the spectator is just watching the magician, like they do a TV. I say “spectator” instead of “participant” because they are just watching or observing. This magic can gain reactions – but the impact can be limited, depending on the effect. Again, still strong magic – yet, I argue not as strong as the two other kinds. Examples are plentiful – floating bill, flourishes/cardistry, many card routines, and yep - coins effects…almost all of them. If you agree with this – please continue reading, if you don’t – then, I have nothing to share with you. So what is the problem with coins? In short, they are a poor medium. Here is why: REASON 1 – COIN MAGIC OFTEN LACKS LOGICAL REASON IN ITS EFFECTS Many look at me effects can still be enjoyable, when they are given an emotional hook or reason to occur. Let’s take a look at one of T11’s effects for sale – PROPHET – it is a look at me effect where five $1 bills turn into five $100 bills, but the emotional hook is the question. What would you do with this money if you could do magic? They say turn it into $100.00 or make it more. This is the emotional hook that is needed, and often doesn’t exist in coin work. Often, a magician makes a coin vanish and reappear for no reason, then uses another method to do the same thing, or he makes the coin appear somewhere illogical. “Look the coin is gone – now it’s in my sock” WTF? Why in the world did it end up there? Much magic suffers from this problem, but none more than coin work. Will effects like these get reactions? Sure – but if that is all you want – take a crap on your neighbors’ lawn – I want magic to do magic in a way that appears more natural and logical. I don’t know what is logical or natural about an Okito box or why you would make 3 coins vanish from one hand just to appear in the other…when you could place them there without magic. Really – when you see an effect, like 3 fly (Sorry Mr. Kenner), you have to ask – what are you claiming you can do that lay people cannot? (Magician) I can make 3 coins go from my left into my right hand. (Audience) so can I. (Magician) Yeah, but I can do it so you can’t see it happen. (Audience) whoopee? So, the effect is you can make coins travel invisibly a short distance? REASON 2 – COIN MAGIC PRESENTAIONS ARE LIMITED AND DIFFICULT: We should strive to make magic with coins exist for a reason – it is the card equivalent to colour changes for no reason, when you see spellbound routines. I can hear you guys saying, “Well, I say it happens for this reason”, but I also ask that you check that your reason isn’t verbal diarrhea that isn’t illogical rationale for illogical magic. Here is the difference in an example: Coins to coin purse presentational ideas: Verbal diarrhea concept – these coins have wings on them, so they will fly from one hand to the coin holder – and…lame. More connected and logical concept – What is the laziest thing you do…or should I say don’t do? For example, I have a friend so lazy – he won’t capitalize words when he types because the shift key is too much effort. I am pretty lazy too – I am so lazy that when I get change back from buying something…I don’t want to put it in this change holder. I usually just throw it away – which is why I have to work here now – but then figured I could put it away using magic. Heck – even the above example isn’t that great, so please don’t trash me – I never said I have the solution – I just notice there is a problem. It is a very hard concept to come up with logical reasons for coin magic to occur and an emotional hook to the effect. REASON 3 – COIN MAGIC IS LIMITED IN INTERACTION Coin magic doesn’t usually involve the spectator – you can often only use them as a table as they hold or examine the coins, or load something on them. In coin magic, you are often just using your audience’s eyes, but are not their brains, their emotions, often not even their ears? Coins don’t engage as many senses as other mediums, like cards, do. Not that I am starting a card versus coin debate, I think that is like comparing apples to oranges. I believe that doing “look at me magic” can sometimes appear, wrongly, as a challenge effect, because you are fooling people (and they can feel stupid) and it appears as if you are showing off. Also, because it looks like a game of what hand is it in…which leads me to: REASON 4: COIN MAGIC LOOKS LIKE IT TAKES SKILL We all agree that coin magic is one of the hardest mediums to make look good. This is because the methods used to do coin magic usually involve hiding coins in your hand, sometimes multiple coins – and they are supposed to look empty. David Williamson once talked to me about the difficulty of coin magic and how it was hard to connect with coins…because people realize it’s a game of hide and seek. Where is the coin? Hmm, perhaps behind your big meaty hook of a hand! If one of the most talented magicians in the world struggles with this – it is obviously not an easy task. What ways do you think we can make coins more enjoyable to watch – where it doesn’t appear like skill, but something inherently interesting – but like magic – with no explanation? When you aren’t engaging the crowd, you are not playing on the strength of our craft – the interactive and inclusive nature of close up. This is one thing, of many, that can make us better than movies and TV shows. I want to end with one last thought – WHAT THE F IS A JUMBO COIN? How illogical is that…look…a man-hole cover! HUH? Proving once again that coin magic uses shock value rather than creating mystery. So – how do you propose we elevate the medium and make coin magic leave as strong of an impact as cups and balls, engage the senses as much as cards and have an emotional hook as strong as a bill change? Is it possible? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A couple side notes: there are a few guys…like Nate Kranzo, Troy Hoosier, Brian Roberts and a few others that can make coin magic look so good that you don’t care where the coin is or what happens – However, all these guys do their best to find ways to make coin magic more than just eye candy, and am sure they would agree with the limitations and difficulties in presenting coin magic.