Watch the video below first, then read the rest of the blog entry.

There was a discussion on the Wizard Product Review section of the Magic Cafe where I mentioned I didn’t care for gimmicked boxes or decks whose sole purpose was to create an interesting way to introduce themselves. More specifically, there is an effect with a gimmicked box that allows you to show the box empty then immediately produce a deck of cards from the previously empty box.

It seems that we think ourselves out of more obvious solutions–namely more traditional sleight of hand techniques. The video above is simply meant to illustrate how simple and dramatic a lighter and a bit of flash paper can be. I started doing this deck production after watching David Stone’s Real Secrets of Magic volume 1. On that DVD, he uses a candle at a table as the flame source and it looks stunning in his hands. My goal was to find a method to do the same thing in a more informal situation and the above video is what I came up with.

Here’s what I like about this flash paper production

  • There is almost nothing more dramatic then producing a physical item from a ball of flame. It grabs everyone’s attention immediately and gives you instant prestige in a way that Uncle Bob’s 21 card trick never could.
  • Doesn’t require any additional gimmicks or gaffs. Just some flash paper and a lighter.
  • You have the option of employing the production or just pulling the deck out of your pocket. You can decide this at a moment’s notice and don’t need to worry about exposing a gaff.
  • This method can be used to produce many objects in the same way. You could produce coins, sponge balls, rope, etc. without having to have separate gimmicks for each.

Note that I’m NOT saying one shouldn’t use the aforementioned gimmicks (or any other gimmicks for that matter). My point is that one should really think about whether those gimmicks provide an improvement over existing methods. For me, the answer is no, but for you it may very well be justifiable.

Two specific points about the video itself:

  • Visual productions with fire don’t translate very well through the rigid eye of the camera. Hopefully this will give you a rough idea of how good it can actually look in a live setting. Everyone I’ve done this for has been quite impressed. There really is no comparison between video and live. I’m sure it has something to do with drop frame (29.97 fps) capturing isolated moments whereas in realtime your brain just links all those moments into one fluid movement.
  • My timing was off slightly for the production. I would have done it again but I ran out of flash paper doing the additional productions below.

And to reiterate a point made above, this is a single method that can be used for any number of productions. Below are a couple more. Keep in mind this is not designed to fool you but rather to get you thinking about what gimmicks you really need vs. things you can already do that are far more dramatic and globally intriguing.