Chapter 09: Props and Effects

In the world of technology, mixing different media and techniques creates new products. Some time ago, there were digital cameras and mobile phones – two different products with two different target audiences. A few years later, companies started to build mobile phones with built-in cameras. If you look around your home, you might find some other combinations of existing ideas.

What do you get if you mix...

  • a trolley and a suitcase? (A suitcase with wheels)
  • a copier and a telephone? (A fax machine)
  • a bell and a clock together? (An alarm clock)

By mixing and matching things that do not necessarily seem to fit together, the industry created a new hype.

How can we apply this to magic? In the first step, we can create a grid with some basic effects of magic on one side and the tools we have on the other side.

Combination Chart

While we find famous and well-known effects for some of the combinations, there are absurd combinations that we have probably not seen very often. Wouldn’t it be something new to see a cut and restore of a volunteer? Or combine two methods of magic into a new act. Have you heard of the linking rings while they are afloat in the air? You get the point...

If you replace the tools on the top of the grid with things that magicians usually do not use, you end up with a range of new possibilities. Fill in, for example, tools like a "cucumber," "guitar," "roll of toilet paper," "secretary," "boss"...

Note: The tools should fit the story and the character you have chosen. If you use your five senses, there is no problem finding new things to do magic with.

If the room you are working in is empty and bare, open up magazines, mail-order catalogs, school books of the kids, or your idea notebook. Or go with open eyes through different kinds of stores (department store, toy store, furniture store, building supply store, etc.). If you come upon something that you like to use but you do not have an idea as to how, purchase it and place it in a visible place in your home, a place where you walk by every day. The more you see the item, the easier it is to come up with an idea on how to use it.

Remember, you should first think about the effect you hope to create. After you have chosen the desired effect, you will come up with a method of achieving it.

Finally, a point about the look and feel of your props: If you buy items that look like magic props, people will believe that something is fishy with them. If you use props that look like normal items, you will save some time explaining that this prop is a normal item. And it makes your magic more real.