December 2010Vol 1, Issue 14

Creativity For Entertainers Trilogy

Creativity For Entertainers

In my magazine articles I always publish ideas that I have tested and know work well for me.
I also feel that there is value in sharing untested potential ideas with others as a form of long distance brain storming.  Maybe one of my ideas that won't work will inspire somebody else to create an idea that will work wonderfully.  One of the concepts of brainstorming is that all ideas are welcome because any idea may ultimately be the seed for the idea that you are looking for.  (You can read more about brainstorming in Creativity for Entertainers Volume Two.)  For that reason I have included some untested ideas in this issue.  If you do use them, or they inspire something else, I would be interested in hearing from you.

In this issue I am sharing an idea that was sent by Mike Puckett after reading the previous issue of this newsletter.  I would love to see this newsletter evolve into a forum for exchanging ideas.  If you have an idea, either inspired by this newsletter or one of the books, that you are willing to share with others, please send it to me.

I enjoy seeing subscribers at conventions and workshops.  I will be lecturing at the World Clown Association Convention in New York, NY, on March 14-18.  I will be lecturing at the Clowns of America International Convention in Anaheim, CA, on April 13-17.  I hope that I will be able to see you at one of those conventions.  I just added the COAI Convention to my schedule so it is not yet on my web site or in the educational opportunities column of my Thought For The Week newsletter.  I'll include links to the web sites for both conventions so you can obtain information about them.

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.

I wish all of my reader's a very wonderful holiday season filled with love and laughter shared with family and friends.

Have a great day,

In This Issue
Imagineering DVD
Rex the Card Dinosaur
Rubber Chicken Dressing
Will The Boxes Match
Quick Links
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Imagineering DVD


The Science of Disney Imagineering: Design and Models


This is part of a series of DVD's produced by Disney Educational Productions for use in science classrooms.  The series uses examples from rides and attractions at the Disney parks to teach scientific principles.  Design and Models teaches the creative process using the Animal Kingdom's Expedition Everest and the California Adventure Toy Story Midway Mania as primary examples.  I found it to be a very interesting DVD.  Their steps of the creative process were a little different then the way I described them in Creativity for Entertainers Volume One.  Looking at the process in more than one way can reveal concepts that you might use.  I obtained this DVD from my local library.  Many libraries are carrying it because it is an educational DVD from a very popular name.

Rex the Card Dinosaur


Fisher Price Imaginext has a series of motorized dinosaur toys.  One of them opens its mouth, bends down to bite something, and then straightens up.  Its action reminded me of an old magic prop called Joanne the Card Duck.  Joanne was a wooden cut out duck.  A deck of cards would be placed in a holder in front of Joanne.  She would behind forward and grab a card in her beak.  It turned out to be a previously selected card.  I haven't tried it out yet, but I believe it would be easy to rig the Imaginext dinosaur for use in a similar card trick.


In the original version you would either force a predetermined card or control a freely selected card to the bottom of the deck.  Joanne was built to pick up the bottom card of the deck.  (You will find information on both forcing and controlling a card in Creativity For Entertainers Volume Three.)


Each of my seven grandchildren has been fascinated with dinosaurs at different ages.  It is something that never goes out of style.  If you want to carry out the theme even further you could go to an educational toy store to obtain a deck of playing cards depicting dinosaurs for use in this effect.


Go to a toy store and look at the motorized dinosaurs.  How might you be able to use one of them in a routine?


Besides a duck or a dinosaur, what other creature could find a selected card?  How would you make the mechanics of the effect work?

Rubber Chicken Dressing


Many clowns, especially those involved in nursing home and hospital visits, create sight gags by dressing up rubber chickens.  For example, a rubber chicken wearing a cowboy hat, bandana, vest, and boots is a free range chicken.


Carole and I have discovered that wine bottle covers are the perfect size for dressing rubber chickens.  The first one that we found was a kimono which Carole placed on a rubber chicken.  She asks if anybody would like Oriental Chicken Salad and then shows her chicken in Oriental clothes.


I recently found a wine bottle cover that looked like Santa's coat and hat.  She put them on a rubber chicken to use in her hospital visits this week.  She announced that Santa Claws was coming to visit and then revealed her chicken.  She said it got great response.

What costume would you place on a rubber chicken?  What would the costume be made from?  How else could you use a wine bottle cover in your performances?




Will the Boxes Match



In issue thirteen of this newsletter I talked about the possibility of using the Card Match Principle with shoes in gift bags.  (You can use the archive link to read that issue.)  Mike Puckett, one of my subscribers, responded that he had never thought about performing it using some type of container.  He suggested performing a Card Match Principle routine using the little colored plastic drawer boxes.  They come in five different colors.  You could show the boxed empty at the beginning.  Then you would spell the phrase Will The Boxes Match as they are mixed.  The trick apparently would not work because the color of the boxes would not match.  However, when you opened the boxes the drawers would now contain something that did match.  For example two boxes paired at the end would each contain a red scarf, two of the paired boxes would each contain a blue scarf, etc.


Mike's idea inspired a new one for me.  You could perform it with five sets of small change bags.  Each pair of sacks would be a different color.  At the beginning the sacks would all contain a matching colored scarf.  After spelling the phrase Will The Sacks Match the sacks would no longer be paired up according to color.  However, you could conclude by showing that the scarves have changed colors so each pair of scarves was a correct match.


How could you use the concept of magic props as containers for a routine using the Card Match principle?  What other types of containers could you use with the Card Match principle?





During my travels in the past couple of years I have noticed that the Sudoku number puzzles are an international phenomenon.  On almost every air flight I would see people working on the puzzles.  Since words are not involved language is not a barrier so it has spread across cultures.  Because of this I wanted to create a magic illusion based on a Sudoku puzzle. 


For a long time the only idea that I could come up with was to do a torn and restored paper routine.  I wanted to come up with at least ten ideas.  (See the discussion of an Idea Quota in Creativity For Entertainers Volume Two.)  I couldn't think of anything else. 


Then I read Jim Kleefield's Puzzle Blocks routine in a recent issue of Funny Paper.  Puzzle blocks have pictures on each side.  When turned to the correct side and put in the right order they form one of six picture puzzles.  In Jim' routine, you place the blocks on a tray in an apparently random order, but when the blocks are turned over it is revealed that they form one of the pictures.  I realized that Jim's method might work with number blocks to form a completed and solved Sudoku puzzle.  That inspired a new train of thought resulting in several ideas.


Because the archive of this newsletter can be read by the general public I will not reveal any magic secrets here.  Some of these ideas are based on secrets included in my Creativity For Entertainers trilogy.  Others are things magicians are generally familiar with.  I am going to describe these ideas as an example of the creative process, and hopefully to inspire you to come up with additional ideas.

  1. Have a Sudoku puzzle printed on a large sheet of newsprint.  Try to solve it, make a mistake, tear it up, and then restore it resulting in a completed and solved puzzle.
  2. Make a variation of Jim Kleefield's Puzzle Blocks.
  3. Perform a visual painting to solve the puzzle.  (There is more than one method for performing this type of effect.)
  4. Create a Flexagon folder that changes from a new puzzle to a completed puzzle.
  5. Aldo Columbini's Blow Change using playing cards, Lee Mullally's Business Card Printing, or another method of doing a visual card change could work to solve a puzzle printed on a card.
  6. Use a card box to switch from a new puzzle grid to a completed puzzle.
  7. In the old Spirit Slate routine a ghost would use chalk to print a message on a chalkboard.  (Several methods were invented to accomplish it.)  Using on of those methods a ghost could solve the puzzle.
  8.  Quadriflex (invented by Ted "Suds" Sudbrack) was a visual transformation of a dollar bill.  His method would work to switch a puzzle grid for a completed puzzle.  You could also use a change bag, Tommy Windsor Popcorn Dye Box, or a money printer to switch a piece of paper with a grid for a piece of paper with a solved puzzle.
  9. There are envelopes designed to switch pieces of paper.  Use one of them to swith a puzzle grid for a completed puzzle.
  10. Use the Out to Lunch principle to demonstrate by helping somebody solve the top half of a puzzle and then instantly complete the bottom half.  (Silly Billy applied the principle to 8-1/2 x 11 inch pieces of paper.)
  11. I saw number tiles in the game section of a toy store.  The tiles were for playing Sudoku puzzles without pencil and paper.  Drop some of the tiles into the bottom of a dove pan, cover the pan to shake up the tiles, and when the lid is removed the tiles form a properly solved Sudoku.
  12. Drop foamie letters into a tear apart change bag.  When the bag is ripped open the numbers would be adhered to the cloth in an order that solves a Sudoku puzzle.
  13. Books of Sudoku puzzles are available.  Create a transforming book (similar to a Magic Coloring Book) that would instantly solve all of the puzzles as you flip through the pages.
  14. Make a card castle using number flash cards.  The cards on the front would be in a random order, but turn the castle around and they would form a completed Sudoku puzzle.
  15. Start with a completed Sudoku puzzle.  Have somebody point to any of the squares, and then using the Mind Control Principal reveal a prediction of the selected number.
  16. Use the Magician's Choice principle to force the selection of a number in a solved Sudoku puzzle and then reveal a prediction matching the choice.


I combined methods for doing similar effects or I could have listed 20 ideas, twice my quota.  Remember a quota is a goal to get you started.  If you pass it, that is even better.  I haven't built a sudoku routine and tried it out yet.  I probably will not use most of these ideas.  However, by having many ideas I can select the one that is the best for me.  The Disney Imagineers call this the Goldilocks principle.  (This one is too hard, this one is too soft, this one is just right.)


How could you use a sudoku puzzle in a routine?


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.