A Story That Was 15 Years In The Making
For this blog, I would like to tell you a true story of an effect I created. How long it took me to create. Why it took so long and the moment I knew it was finally ready.
If you know anything about my magic background you will probably know that I loved magic since I was a small child but left it in my early teens and then fell back in love with it at the age of twenty. When the bug re-bit me, it bit hard! Magic was all I thought about and my dream was to somehow do magic as a career but I certainly didn’t know what route I would take, anyway that’s a story for a later date. Today’s blog is about the history of one effect in particular and how it came to be.
The effect in question is my Instant Interchange or iChange as it’s commonly known amongst magicians. So let’s start at the beginning. I was about two years in to my new magic phase and I would consume every bit of magic I could, whether it was on TV, in books or buying new magic. I realised early on that I had a knack for understanding how magic worked (well in most cases.) and just like Sherlock Holmes when I saw an effect the method would just appear to me. This came in very handy as it showed me how different methods, no matter how simple could be combined to produce something quite beautiful and magical. I can’t remember what magic show I was watching at the time but obviously I popped in a VHS and record it. A magician on the show performed an interchange routine. This was the first time I had seen this type of effect and I fell in love with it and more than that, I was intrigued as I didn’t automatically have the method pop in to my head. I remember watching and re-watching the recording over and over trying to deconstruct the effect. The magician who performed it had done it so perfectly but there are, always tells if you know what you are looking for (i.e when a count is taking place etc). but after many viewings and lots of trial and error I had finally cracked it or at least I thought I had. I had definitely come up with how I thought he was doing it but if it was his exact method I will never know, but my method worked!
Now here’s the thing, I learnt this routine because I was inquisitive about methods and not to go out and perform. As I have always been taught that just because you can work out how something is done that doesn’t give you the right to perform it. Only when a magician puts something in print or on the market (which in turn means he is willing to share it) should you be performing someone else’s routine. It’s very bad form to watch a magician and copy either the effects or their presentation without permission (trust me this is very frowned upon in the magic community) and morally something you should never do.
Let's get back to the effect at hand. In my eyes, it was a beautiful piece of card magic but boy did it need some work to perform. There were numerous counts, steals and palms both into and out of your pockets. I had mastered it but in my mind I knew it could be so much easier with the use of a few secret gaffs.... but what gaffs?. This is where the journey begun.
The first thing I did was my research. This gave me the background of the effect and I took the time to learn as many variations of the plot as possible. All had their own little tweaks but none of them matched up to my vision of what the effect could be. For the next 15 or so years this would be a project I kept coming back to. Trying new gimmicks and new handlings but I could never get it quite right, so the project would be put back on the shelf for another few years.
I remember the day I finally cracked it. It was a Saturday and I was in the shop with Chris Harding. Chris is an amazing magician and from the age of 15 he would help out in the shop. I remember talking to Chris and mentioning how I could never quite crack this effect and at that very moment an image of a gaffed card came in to my mind. I explained what I needed to Chris, he grabbed the guillotine, some glue and some cards and started making the mock ups. Chris is so good at arts and crafts but when I say these cards were rough and ready I mean rough and ready. I was supposed to he holding four cards but from the thickness of the packet it looked like I was holding half a deck but this didn’t matter to me I just needed to see if my idea would work.
I set it all up and performed it on Chris and BOOM! Instant Interchange was born. Not only did the gaffs allow me to perform the effect cleaner than any other version out there but they also added so many new elements to the routine including, an instant change of four cards and a killer kick back moment where four of the cards instantly vanish from your hand back in to four separate pockets. Now for the best bit.......the cards you are left with are 100% examinable!!!
Instant Interchange is one of my favourite creations ever. I think it really is the perfect version of this plot ever created.
So the point I wanted to make during this blog is never give up on an idea and never cut corners. Sometimes it takes a long time to get it right. Don’t rush to get something to the market. Give it time to breath and give it time to grow.