A question I get a lot is how do I create new material. So in this blog I’ll show you some of the methods I use to try to create new things.
First, it’s definitely not just something you can turn on. I never sit down and think, “Okay, let’s create something awesome.” Creativity is something that comes to you, as long as you put yourself in the right environment. In other words, how do I create a mindset that allows my mind to think of new ideas? That’s what I’ll explain in a moment.
I’ll show you a few things that start the process. One thing I like to do is to put aside the methods for card tricks. Those create barriers. I imagine that magic is real and I can do anything. Then I ask myself what would it look like? Is it dealing yourself all the possible poker hands? Or is it dealing yourself four suited blackjacks from a shuffled deck? (At one time, these two examples were impossible in my mind. However, both effect ideas were solved and published in my first book.) Is it making a thought of card appear in a spectator’s pocket? Or is it a Triumph where the spectator shuffles the cards? (Impossible now, but I just need to solve them.) Let your imagination run wild. Just get fresh ideas in your head. The only other thing you need to know here is that you must write these ideas down. Don’t worry that you can’t actually do them. Solving these problems we will take care of later.
Next, you need input. Read books, watch DVD’s, watch other magicians, etc. You need to constantly be around magic (or whatever craft you’re trying to be more creative with). Doing this will keep your mind busy with new fresh ideas. When I watch DVD’s or read books I hardly expect to see something I’ll perform right away. I look at new material as a source of ideas. I think, how can I make this better? How can I change it to make it mine? What’s a fitting presentation for it? Again, I don’t worry about answering those questions in that exact moment. I write these ideas down.
Here’s another technique. I think about combining things that already exist. Think about two good ideas you can mix together to make a new idea. Think about face-up facedown shuffles meets an ace assembly. Imagine a sandwich routine meets an ambitious routine or odd-backs meets a gambling demo. Don’t worry about finished ideas. The concept is to get the brain thinking about new things. And, as usual, write these ideas down.
Here’s the part where you learn new material. When you read your notes, you’ll be looking at lots of new ideas. Ideas from your imagined effects meet ideas from watching new material. Ideas from new books meet mixing effects you already do. You’ve now created a great environment for creating new things. Keep these notes running for years. Refer back to them over time. Here’s what happens to me quite often. I’ll have an idea from 2005 that meets an idea from 2015 and they go together perfectly. If you’re not writing these ideas down, magical moments like that won’t happen. For example, I thought of Bringing Down the House (the four suited blackjacks from a shuffled deck effect) about 20 years ago. I knew what I wanted it to look like but I didn’t know how to do it. It wasn’t until I read something in my notes from about 5 years ago that I was able to figure out how to do the trick.
So, start looking for new material, new books, new DVD’s, find new magicians, think about things you already like and combining old ideas into new ones. And most importantly—take notes.