October 2010Vol 1, Issue 13

Creativity For Entertainers Trilogy

Creativity For Entertainers

Welcome back.  It was always my intention to publish this newsletter on an occasional basis, but it has been a little longer between issue twelve and thirteen than I planned.  The last three months have been very busy for me.  I have heard from many subscribers that it was a very busy time for them as well.  Some magicians report that they tend to be very busy during the month of October.  However, I know that for many entertainers this is a lull between the busy summer season and the winter holiday season.  That means this is a good time to work on new material.

I enjoyed seeing several subscribers at the South East Clown Association Convention a month ago.  At the request of Lee Mullally, I introduced a new lecture at that convention, Creative Tools and Techniques.  It was based on Creativity For Entertainers Volume Two.  I was very pleased with the response to the lecture.  I was not able to cover everything that I had planned, but that often happens with a new lecture.  Based on feedback from the participants I know some things I want to cut from the lecture and other things I want to talk about in more detail.  A lecture is similar to an act in many ways.  In fact I have noticed that the best received lectures and classes are those that are entertaining as well as informative.  In Creativity For Entertainers Volume One I discuss the process of writing more material than you need for an act, and then editing it down based on audience feedback.  The same process works for lectures as well.  I am looking forward to the next time I will be able to present this lecture.  If you are hosting an educational event, and am interested in this or any of my other lectues, please contact me.


Because these newsletters are archived in a place that is available to the general public, I do not reveal any actual magic methods here.  Please refer to the appropriate pages in your books to read how to use the ideas that I have included in this newsletter.

Have a great day,

In This Issue
Think Foolishly Whack
Reversible Props
Sight Words
Will The Shoes Match
Will The Signs Match
SPOT's Safety Lesson
Quick Links
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Think Foolishly Whack

Kenny Ahern recommended that I look at Drew Richardson's Think Foolishly blog. I found it interesting for many reasons.  One of them, Drew's list of 60 ways to think foolishly, relates to creativity because it can be used as a form of Whack Card.  A Whack Card is one type of the Forced Relationship creativity tool.  Randomly pick a number from 1 to 60.  Then go to Drew's web site and look up that number on Drew's list.  Then try to apply that method of thinking to the project that you are working on.  You can either use what you think the title of that method means, or you can click on the link to read a short article that Drew wrote on that method.  Either way this is a great tool for either overcoming a mental block or discovering new ideas you would not have found otherwise.


You can read more about the importance of a random choice in Creativity for Entertainers Volume Two pages 177-178.  You can read more about Whack Cards in Creativity for Entertainers Volume Two 178-181.  That volume contains other types of Forced Relationship tools.  If you have never experimented with one, try it out.  It is a very useful tool that can generate wonderful ideas.  An example of a routine that I created using a Forced Relationship is What Color Is It described on pages 210-219 in Creativity for Entertainers Volume Three.

Think Foolishly Blog

Reversible Props


Mark Anthony was known for carving foam rubber props that transformed when turned inside out.  For example, a bouquet of flowers that changed into a skunk.  During a recent trip to a pet store I saw some transforming plush dog toys.  One was a black flying bat with spread wings that changed into a human vampire (Dracula or a character from the Twilight movies).  Another was a tombstone that turned into a ghost.  I don't know how dogs were supposed to play with them.  However, they were well designed and manufactured.  How would you use one of these reversible props?

Sight Words



I recently found a deck of Sight Words flash cards produced by Trend enterprises, Inc.  A sight word is one that does not follow the phonetic rules so students have to memorize the word in order to recognize it on sight.  This deck of 52 cards has one word on each side of the cards giving you a total of 108 words.  You can use this deck to produce a short phrase by performing the Four Ace Trick described in Creativity For Entertainers Volume Three pages 150-156.  You would finish with an apparently meaningless group of words until you turn the top card of each pile over, and then it would make sense.  The phrase could be something that is recognizable as being relevant to the theme of your performance, match a prediction, or lead into another magic effect.  For example, the deck that I have includes the words "yellow, and, blue, egg."  You could produce those four words using the Four Ace Trick, and then reach behind your volunteer's ear to produce a plastic Easter egg that is half yellow and half blue.  (You would palm the egg before the card trick concludes.)  There are additional decks so you potentially have a greater selection of words to choose from in setting up the effect.


Of course you don't have to use the Sight Word cards.  You could make up your own set of flashcards with words for use in this or another effect.


How could you use Sight Word flash cards?  What four word phrase would you like to produce?  What would you do after the phrase is revealed?

Will the Shoes Match


The card match principle is one of my favorites because it is so versatile.  About ten years ago I saw Mona Webb do a Card Match variation with six pairs of footprints on cards.  Each pair was a different color.  The phrase she used was Match Feet Two By Two.


When I have done recent birthday parties I have noticed the shoes of the young guests lined up inside the doorway.  Frequently I pick up three of the shoes and juggle them.  The kids think it is great that I am performing a trick using something that belongs to them.


That inspired this routine that I have not yet tested.  Bring in ten paper bags.  Put a shoe in each bag.  Then perform a Card Match routine (Creativity for Entertainers Volume Three pages 142-145) by moving the bags around while you spell the phrase Will The Shoes Match.  At the end each pair of bags will have a matching pair of shoes.


The majority of my subscribers are magicians, but I know there are a few ventriloquists.  I started wondering if there is some way to use a child's tennis shoe as an improvised vent character?  It does have a tongue.  Those involved in gospel ministry might be able to incorporate the Bible verses about controlling your tongue or talk about the character's sole/soul.


What routine could you do with children's shoes?  What other objects do you frequently see belonging to children that you can incorporate into a routine?

Then recombine elements from separate ideas.  Finally, judge your ideas and use the best.


Will the Signs Match


This Safety Magic routine is another application of the Card Match Principle (Creativity for Entertainers Volume Three pages 142-145).


This past weekend I helped my grandson's Cub Scout Pack put on a bike rodeo.  We had stations set up that the kids could visit.  I wanted to do a safety magic station.  I took photos of five traffic signs from our neighborhood.  They were Bike Route, Stop, No Bikes Allowed, Right Lane Merge, and School Crossing.  I made five cards that each had one of the photos.  Then I made another set of five cards with text defining the meaning of the sign.  I performed a card match routine using the phrase "Will The Signs Match."  After the cards had been paired up, we turned up the photo of the sign first and I asked a child if they could identify the sign.  Then I turned over the other card to reveal they were correct and then we talked a little about the sign.  I think the parents got the most amusement from listening to the responses when I asked how long you had to stop when you came to a stop sign.  For example, one of the cubs said, "You have to wait 40 to 50 minutes before you can go."  Everyone was amazed that the cards matched properly at the end, and I could tell that the kids were paying attention and remembering the lessons.


Besides bike riding, where else are signs important?  What signs would you use?


An idea that just came to me is American Sign Language.  One of my grandchildren learned a little ASL in grade school.  You could perform an effect with five cards illustrating a word in ASL, and five cards with the English translation.


SPOT's Safety Lesson


This is another Safety Magic routine that I performed this weekend.  I performed the Four Ace Effect (

Creativity For Entertainers Volume Three pages 150-156) with a deck of alphabet cards and produced the word SPOT.  As I turned over the top card of each pile I set it in a stand so everyone could see it.  Then I revealed that I had made a prediction by printing SPOT on a large newsprint tablet.  I added extra lines to turn the word into a picture of a dog.  (Directions for doing this drawing can be found in Creativity for Entertainers Volume Two pages 271-273.)  Then I asked the kids what they should do when they see a red light or sign?  I switched the second and fourth card on the stand so they spelled STOP.  I lettered the drawing so it looked like the dog was saying, "Red means STOP."  I finished the routine by moving the first card on the stand to last position as I said, "Thank you for coming today because you are the TOPS."


Trick cartoons are a versatile teaching tool.  I have a lecture note pamphlet titled Charlie's Trick Cartoons -- Second Edition that includes several other Safety lessons and many Gospel Ministry lessons.  You can find information on this and my other books on my web site.




I will be teaching a class on Trick Cartoons at the World Clown Association Convention in New York City March 14-18, 2011.


World Clown Association Convention


This safety routine is a combination of two different skills, magic and drawing trick cartoons.  What skills do you possess?  How can you combine them?

That's it for this 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
Copyright 2010 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.  All rights reserved.