May 2014Vol 1, Issue 18

Creativity For Entertainers Trilogy

Creativity For Entertainers


This newsletter can be read by any one, but it is intended for owners of my Creativity for Entertainers trilogy. It will be most useful to them.


Since this newsletter can be accessed by the general public I don't reveal the secrets of any magic illusions here. I will refer you to the pages in my publications that explain those secrets.


This creativity newsletter has never had a regular schedule. However, unintentionally I have not put out an issue for a couple of years. Without a publication deadline it was easy to put off finishing up an issue. I hope to sent it out more frequently this year.


I am always interested in your feedback.  Let me know what types of articles are most helpful to you, and I will include more of them.


As with my Thought For The Week newsletter, when this newsletter no longer meets your needs you may use the SafeUnsubscribe button at the bottom to remove your name from the subscription list.



Have a great day,
I have many new purchasers of these books.  You can use the Newsletter Archive link at the right to read the previous issues of this newsletter.

In This Issue
Utilizing Deadlines
Plussing a Prop
Will The --- Match New Variations
Circus Postage Stamps
Quick Links
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Utilizing Deadlines


In Creativity for Entertainers Volume One, pages 143-144 and 193-194, I talk about using deadlines as part of the creative process. That provides motivation by turning something you will do "someday," which never comes, into something you will do by a specific day.


In 1982 I built a model circus wagon to hold the props for my circus juggling act. There was an immediate definite improvement in audience response to my act caused by the improved appearance of my props. I decided to build a circus themed act where all of my prop boxes were model circus wagons. At the time I was performing some magic effects with doves. I used a prop called a Junior Nite Club Vanish to transform a dove into a paper origami crane. That prop is a box with a lid in the top. You open the lid, place a dove inside, and then take the box apart showing that the dove has vanished. I took an adult education wood working class through my local school district to gain access to power tools, and built a version of a Junior Nite Club Vanish that was shaped like a circus wagon. I was almost finished with it when I started working in different venues where dove magic was not practical. My doves lived out their natural life span and died. So for about twenty five years I had stored the pieces of the prop without finishing it.


Then I was invited to have a display as part of the Circus Model Builders Exhibit at the 2014 World Clown Association Convention in Chicago, IL. I decided to use that as a deadline for finishing the Junior Nite Club Vanish Circus Wagon. I finished the construction, decided on the decoration, painted it, and finished three days before leaving for the convention. I think that twenty five years is the longest time it has taken me to finish a prop project. It still would not have been finished if the convention had not inspired me to set a deadline.


What upcoming events do you have on your calendar? What projects do you have in progress? How can you use one of those events as a deadline for completing one of those projects?


Plussing the Model Circus Wagon


At Walt Disney Imagineering they talk about Plussing something which means adding something to an existing idea to increase its effectiveness. I try to plus things to increase their entertainment potential. I did that with my new model circus wagon by incorporating additional magic routines.


Although I no longer perform magic with doves, I discovered that I could use my new circus wagon in many ways. First, I discovered if I opened the lid it became an ideal open topped box for performing silk magic. The secret compartment works perfectly for holding silks and gimmicks in position for grabbing them quickly without reaching all the way into the box. I also discovered that the box can be used to perform transformations. Anything that fits into the secret compartment can be turned into anything that fits into the main part of the box.


Every circus wagon is numbered so an inventory of its contents can be maintained. For example, wagon 25 might contain the rigging for all the aerial acts. In my lecture note booklet titled Introduction to Magic, I describe a math trick in which a volunteer selects four numbers that they add together. The sum is always 34. So, I painted the number 34 on my model wagon. At the convention in Chicago, I had people do the math trick. After they finished and arrived at the number 34 I pointed to the wagon as my prediction. They were amazed that their sum was painted on the wagon.


The paintings on the sides of the wagon were inspired by a classic circus poster of a leaping tiger. So, I made a 50/50 Force Deck (Creativity for Entertainers Volume 3 pages 18-13) of circus posters. When an audience member selected one of the poster cards I pointed out that it matched my predication which was the side of the wagon.


When you build a prop, how many different ways can you use it? What can you add to it in order to increase its entertainment potential?

Will The --- Match New Variations


I love Larry Becker's Will the Card Match routine. (Creativity for Entertainers Volume 3 pages 142-149) At the 2014 WCA Convention in Chicago I performed three new versions. (At my display table I performed a different magic trick each day that I had created for the convention.)


The first was Will the Wagon Match. Instead of two sets of cards, I used five model circus wagons lined up on my display table and five face-down photos of the models. With each letter of the phrase "Will The Wagon Match" audience members decided if I should more a photo from the top to the bottom of the pile or move a wagon from the front to the back of the line. After each word was spelled, the wagon at the front of the line was placed on the top face-down photo and set aside. At the end the photos were turned over to reveal that they matched the accompanying wagon. Audience response was extremely strong.


I was celebrating the centennial of Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp character at the convention. In his honor I performed Will The Tramp Match. I used pictures of five tramp clowns, Chaplin, two tramp clowns who had influenced him, and two tramp clowns he had influenced. I cut each picture in half. The top half of the pictures formed one set of cards. The bottom half of the pictures formed the other set of cards. After the sets were mixed up and the pairs turned over it was revealed that the top halves matched the bottom halves. I didn't have time to perform this very often, but response by those who saw it was good.


A variation on the above routine was Will The Clown Match. I used pictures of five clowns who I knew would be attending the convention. I cut them in half to create the two sets of cards. I did not perform both routines with the same audience. Again I had limited time to perform this routine, but response was good.


Here is another variation that I created, but there was not a chance to perform it at the convention. Instead of two sets of cards, I would use five people dressed in street clothes and five photos of their clown character. (For the convention I would have used five WCA Past Presidents that I knew would be in attendance.) I would have had the people line up across the stage displaying their photo to stage left of me. Then I would take their photo from them so the stack was in reverse order. While spelling the phrase "Will The Clown Match" audience members would decide for each letter if I would move a photo from the top to the bottom of the stack or if a person would move from the front to the end of the line. After each word was spelled I would give the top photo to the first person in line and have them move to my stage right. At the end they would turn the photo they are holding around revealing that they have been reunited with the photo of their clown character. I have done other variations where I substitute people for one set of the cards, and the response has always been excellent.


What variations can you come up with for Will The Cards Match. What objects could you use instead of sets of cards? What pictures could you use to create sets of cards? What phrase would you use?


Circus Postage Stamps




The United States Postal Service released a new set of postage stamps on May 5. The stamps depict eight classic circus posters from the Ringling Museum of Art archives. The stamps are in a page of sixteen stamps so each poster appears twice on the page. I have started playing around with possible magic effects using the stamps. You can legally copy the image of stamps as long as the reproduction is a different size.


The Will The Card Match principle can be used with the phrase Will The Stamp Match. I have come up with several possible ways. One way is to put the stamps on envelopes addressed to the person depicted on the poster. Inside the envelope is a reproduction of the stamp. Since there are two copies of each poster on a page, you could let five audience members choose one of the posters. They would put the stamps depicting that poster on two cards, for example, the back of your business card. At the end of the routine you would pass out the cards for them to keep as a souvenir. How might you use the stamps to create your own version of Will The Stamp Match?



Another idea that I have is to use the stamps in a version of Mind Control. (Creativity for Entertainers Volume Three pages 57-59) Three large reproductions of the stamps could be used as the possible selections and actual stamps could be fastened to the predictions. If you prepare eight predictions you could display the page of stamps, have somebody point to any stamp on the page, and then reveal the corresponding prediction. How could you use the Mind Control concept with the stamps? How many stamps would you use? How would you reveal the selected stamp?


How else could you use the new circus poster stamps in your performances?



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.