How to create great magic tricks?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by NathanMagic, May 16, 2018.

  1. Hey everyone. It's the person who asks a infinite amount of questions here! How do you guys create great effects? I wanna create some good effects but to be honest I can't think up anything great. Only average is the best I get. I know some of you guys are pretty creative and make great tricks. So I ask how do you guys create effects.

  2. Always start with a what if, or a problem that can be solved. I'll try think of an example here: what if this card could appear in the spectator's hand? Etc etc, then from there you come up with the solution and a way to present it.
    NathanMagic likes this.
  3. There's a few ways I go about creating.

    1) I see a routine I like, and work at it until I can perform it in a way that is my style. Usually this involves rewriting the script from the ground up, often it involves changing the method a bit. It also frequently means learning several different versions and combining different methods to find the one that works best for me. An example of that is my routine which I call "A Psychic Game" - I took Spidey's "Out of My Mind" and Hector Chadwick's "Reds and Blacks" and smushed the methods together. Then I made a couple more minor alterations to suit my own style. Now it's a routine that's pretty solid, and also very "me".

    2) I come up with an experience I want to give the audience, and figure out how to make it happen.

    I think most of my really good material has come from this method. A really common way I go about this is thinking about legends and myths, and trying to recreate them. Or I'll take historic accounts of strange and unexplained things, and find a method to pull it off. Or I'll find a way to explore a common human condition.

    3) Evolution. Nothing I've been performing for a long time is the same as when I started performing it. Over the years the scripts morph, the methods improve, etc. Eventually you realize you have a totally different thing than when you started.

    My biggest piece of advice is this: Find a problem, and solve it. Then solve it again, and again, in different ways.

    Creating just to create is a good exercise in problem solving, but it usually results in mediocre material. Write those ideas down and then pick one to develop for real.
  4. Creativity in magic is like building something with Legos - the more Lego pieces you have, the better the end result. The Lego pieces in this analogy represent the amount of knowledge you have regarding magical effects, plots and methods. The more you know, the more ideas you are likely to generate.
  5. Oh yes, that too.

    To quote Paul Draper quoting Max Maven, "Read everything."
  6. You have to train your creativity. Here are some ways to do this.

    Brainstorming: Throw out all kinds of ideas and concepts on a piece of paper. There are no rules to this. Anything goes. Just throw out anything you know and can think of on a piece of paper.

    Then comment on it, write notes, take out, add, organize, group together everything you wrote down.

    Lateral Thinking: This is what most magical people probably do, and what Christopher was kind of explaining earlier ago. You take common concepts (i.e. magic effects people have already created), and split them up into different components. You then think of ways you can dramatically change or improve one of the components. An example of this would be the Ambitious Card. It is essentially 2 parts: Rise to the top, and a kicker ending. A way you can change a component is perhaps it doesn't rise to the top. Perhaps it goes to any location in the deck that you want it to be in. Perhaps the card is scared of people and it always rises second to the top hiding behind another one. Possibilities are endless.

    Future Envisaging: You want to think of an atmosphere where anything goes. No laws of nature. Just the supernatural possibilities. Describe how things could work. Create that effect and bring it to modern day.

    Impossible Combinations: Self explanatory. Take things that normally wouldn't go together and create something new. For example just looking through my room. I have a heater and a can of corn. What if I could get a spectator to pick from 10 cans of corns. The first one he picks is exactly that. A can of corn. I tell him to grab me another can and I hold it to the heater. It cooks the can of corn and when he opens it, it's popcorn!

    There are a bunch of ways to stretch and train you creativity. Sometimes magic related books aren't always the thing that will advance your magic. To quote ChristopherT quoting Paul Draper quoting Max Maven, "Read everything".
  7. It may have been worded more articulately by the seasoned pros above me, but I personally come up with things based on every day things and objects I encounter. I did some walking around and had an iced coffee that had “7 of Hearts” on it (TY barista who didn’t care). When I found an opportunity to do some walk up magic I’d ask them to hold my coffee if they would mind, facing that away from them and then going through several false methods of “free” choice they’d end up with a 7H. Insert prediction line of choice and ask them to look at the cup. A bit lame technically speaking but it got nice reactions as it has the “Oh you’re holding the prediction the entire time” concept.

    Your environment can be a powerful tool if you find something workable!
    NathanMagic and Peter Slim like this.
  8. Here's how you do it.

    Step One:

    Learn everything

    Step Two:


    Step Three:

    Follow through

    That's it. A good portion of my current job consists of me creating magic on the spot for myself, other magicians, corporate clients and other performers. That's my process.

    If I get stuck, I have to go read, watch 10 videos or do research about a new subject. That's how you get inspired.

    How do you get good ideas? You look at other ideas that you think are good and mix them up. Bob Dylan's mentor said something along the lines of, "If you hear a song you like then copy it. Go fast when they go slow, go high when they go low until you have something completely new." Try this.

    If you have an idea you need to follow through. If you have an idea for a prop or gimmick try to make it. Odds are, you wont be able to deliver. This is great. Let this new prop inspire you. If you aren't willing to try new things you will never be creative.
    JakeTay10r and lmbrjack like this.
  9. So using the logic of that quote, I need to start an unambitious card routine? Actually I really like that.

    Stripper deck or pinky break at the selected card, card goes into deck, you fail to reveal it 3 times, give up, ask them if they’d give it a look to see if it was their card after cutting to the selected.

    Probably been done before but I was thinking how do you go opposite on that routine.
  10. I can give examples of what other people have done.

    In Royal Road to Card Magic the Ambitious Card is explained as a trick where the whole deck becomes the selected card (kinda like an ungimmicked Svengali Deck). If you went the opposite direction you could make the card vanish from the deck Lubor Fielder has one of my favorite methods for this:

    In an ambitious card the obvious reversal is to control the card to the bottom rather than the top, which has been done in many ways.

    Usually the card pops to the top in an instant. Many people have slowed it down, or gone slow where they went fast. Notably Raise Rise is the classic which has spawned many variants.

    Taking off from your idea, what if instead of placing a card in the deck and having it move to where ever you wanted you had it stay where it was. What if you put the card in the tenth position, shuffled and mixed the cards and it still ended up in the tenth position? I have a version of this effect that will soon be published in Penguin Magic Monthly, but there is room to run with it.
  11. Normally I kind of play pretend.
    I stand in front of the mirror with a camera recording me in the corner, and I pretend I really can do magic. I pretend to do crazy things that can't really happen, but letting those creative thoughts just flow out gives me all kinds of ideas. So I act the part of a true Magician in front of my bathroom mirror. Then, because I have me goofing around recorded right then and there, all my ideas are saved. After that, its months of prep to make it just how I like. I've started tricks years ago that aren't even finished yet. Mostly because I'm not prepared to show them to anyone yet, but just letting out the creativity really helps. Just go for it, and you'll find something great!
  12. I love creating.. I have tons of ideas. Just most need capital... and I have none lol.
    Sometimes I'll see a trick and try and think of a new, more crazy ending.
    Most come to me on long drives...
    JakeTay10r likes this.

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