January 2009 Vol 1, Issue 1

Creativity For Entertainers Trilogy

Creativity For Entertainers

Welcome to the first issue of my Creativity For Entertainers newsletter.  This will be an occasional service for owners of my Creativity For Entertainers books.  I want the books to be as valuable a resource as possible for you.
This newsletter will include corrections to the books, resources, and additional ideas that I have discovered since the books were published.  It may also contain ideas that you have shared with me.

I know that some people have not purchased the entire Creativity For Entertainers Trilogy.  You can use the quick links at the right to get information on the volumes you don't own yet.
I believe in making magic education available to beginners.  I got my start in magic when I was eight years old.  I learned from magic books that I checked out of my public library.  (I feel that if somebody has made the effort to purchase a magic book or to check one out of the library their effort indicates they have more than a casual interest in magic.)  I also believe in keeping trade secrets from those who are merely curious.  Magic effects really do change when you know how they are done.  When I first saw a performance of the Zig Zag illusion I didn't know the method used and felt a sense of wonder.  When I realized how the illusion was done I could never regain that wonder.  Because this newsletter can easily be read by members of the general public I will as much as possible refrain from describing the methods in detail in order to preserve that wonder for those in our audiences.  I will refer you to the appropriate pages in my books for you to read the method.

Please feel free to contact me with your questions and comments.
Card Match Principle
The Card Match Principle is described on pages 142-145 of Creativity for Entertainers Volume Three .  It will work with any phrase as long as the number of letters in each word is the same as the corresponding word in the phrase "Will The Cards Match."
For a Valentines Day event last year Jim Burke used the phrase "Will The Heart Match."  Instead of cards he used five heart shapes that were cut in half.  He gave each heart to a different couple in the audience and asked the husband to sign his name to one half while the wife signed her name to the other half.  Then Jim collected the halves with the wife's name as he went one direction through the audience and then collected the halves with the husband's name as he came back.  This automatically stacked the two halves in the opposite order putting him in position to perform the effect.  At the end of the effect the names of each couple were correctly paired.  (The order of the pairs will change so don't try to match each heart to a couple until after they have been turned over and the names revealed.)
Larry Becker is the originator of Will The Cards Match.  When I asked him for permission to include my variations of his routine in Creativity For Entertainers Volume Three, he not only graciously gave me permission, but sent details of additional variations that he had created.  One of those is Punchlines described on page 147 of Creativity For Entertainers Volume Three. An excellent resource for that routine is Jeff Brown's American Riddles collection of booklets.  He has produced a booklet of riddles for each of the 50 United States.  Each booklet has over 4 dozen riddles appropriate for that state.  Most of the riddles are paired with an interesting bit of information about the state.  You can select five riddles from Jeff's booklets for use in performing Puchline.   For samples of some of the riddles and ordering information 

In This Issue
Card Match Priciple
The Word
Innovation and Adaptation
Clown Camp Last Call
Quick Links
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The Word
On page 154 of Creativity For Entertainers Volume Three I suggest the possibility of using alphabet cards instead of a poker deck in the four ace routine.  Instead of producing the four aces you produce cards that spell out a four-letter word.  This is a concept that I have spent a lot of time exploring since my books have been published.  I have discovered that it is a very versatile concept that allows you to quickly and easily personalize a performance.  I refer to it as the Word.
Here is an idea that you can adapt for Valentines Day.  Last month Joel, and his wife, Rose, had dinner at our house in celebration of his birthday.  They had requested that I do a magic performance in Joel's honor.  I included the Word.  After the cards had been shuffled and Rose had further mixed the cards according to my instructions, I asked her to think of somebody she loved who was having a birthday.  Then I asked her to turn over the top card of each pile of cards and they spelled out JOEL.  I buried those cards in the deck, shuffled the cards, and had Joel mix the cards according to my instructions.  I asked him to think of someone he loved, and when he turned over the top card of each pile they spelled out ROSE.  That got a great reaction from them, and when I talked to them a week later they commented again on the trick with their names.  A similar routine will work very easily for Valentines Day if you know two people with four letters in their name.  Another option is to just do the effect once spelling out the word LOVE.
To perform the trick with an alphabet deck, stack the letters spelling out the second word in reverse order on top of the deck, i.e. the first letter goes down first, and then the second one, the third, and the last letter.  Then stack the letters spelling out the first word in reverse order on top of those.  If you want you can put three random letters on top of those.  In performance, show the top three cards one at a time and move them to the bottom of the deck.  Riffle shuffle the deck making sure the top block spelling the words falls last.  Follow the directions for the Four Ace trick in Creativity For Entertainers Volume Three.  When you turn over the cards, turn over the one on the far right first and the word will be properly spelled in order.  Remove the four face up cards and stack the deck making sure that the pile with the second word ends up on top.  Turn the four cards from the first word face down and insert them into different sections of the deck.  Riffle shuffle the deck again and repeat the effect producing the second word.
I have spent a lot of time looking at different alphabet decks in toy and educational supply stores.
A good deck to use for this effect is Word Rummy.  This poker size deck comes with 98 brightly colored cards.  The letters fill the face of the card so they are easy to read from a distance.  I would recommend getting two decks because even with 98 choices there may not be enough letters to spell every word.  For example, I recently wanted to do the effect with a word containing two K's but the deck had only one.  Just use 52 cards each time that you perform the effect.
Another good deck to use is Go Fish For Letters.  This large size deck is also brightly colored, but it does not have as many cards.  You would definitely want to purchase two decks to have enough letters available to spell most common four-letter words.
Another deck with its own advantages is called Word Monkeys.  It has large black letters against a white background so they are very easy to see.  The top border of each card has a monkey holding a sign that contains the letter.  This deck is unique in that it has cards with common two letter combinations like CH, TH, and QU.  That allows you to spell out some five and six letter words, for example CH - U - R - CH.

Innovation and Adaptation
The main article in my January 12, 2009 Thought For The Week newsletter described how I have adapted my performances to different types of venues at various times of my career.  To read how Sheri Lewis maintained a long entertainment career by changing venues and types of performances see Creativity For Entertainers Volume One pages 47-48.
Clown Camp Last Call
Clown Camp has been a big part of my professional life for over twenty years.  You will find references to it on the following pages in my Creativity For Entertainers trilogy.
Clown Camp (Volume One - 57, 138, 248 ) (Volume Two - 37, 55, 98, 128, 132, 183, 262, 299, 300, 301, 349, 350, 355, 356, 460, 466, 492 ) ( Volume Three -- 205, 225, 243, 250, 272, 315, 345, 409, 410, 413 )
In addition if you compare the staff list for this summer with the index for each book you will see that many of the instructors are people that I have learned from and been inspired by.
Richard Snowberg, director and founder of Clown Camp , has announced that summer 2009 will be the last of the traditional Clown Camp programs.  Clown Camp
That's it for this first issue.  I am always interested in your questions, comments, and how you have been able to apply the information from my books.  Often readers come up with ideas that I would not have.  Their ideas then inspire me to create additional related ideas.  This newsletter is an attempt to keep two-way communication with readers of my books flowing.
Bruce Johnson
Charlie's Creative Comedy