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briansmagic
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I am trying to come up with new illusion ideas or concepts to build. I am having trouble coming up with ideas. Does any one have a formula or procedure they follow to come up with original illusions? How are new illusions created? Any help or thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!
IllusionJack
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I try to come up with an effect i'd like to see happen and then work from there. After I come up with an idea for a concept or an effect, I try to think of illusions that may already exist that can be used or modified. If an idea requires something new to be built, it always seems best to have a professional builder assist.

As for now, I haven't had any of my original ideas "built" yet. However, I prefer stories that don't necessarily need a prop box, so a lot of my ideas might not require the traditional box props, but would still require some original design.

Overall though, once you have an idea for an effect you want to accomplish, begin to think in your mind about how to accomplish it. Then, think of ways to hide those methods.

--Jack Smile
Pakar Ilusi
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Watch some fantasy & sci-fi movies! Get some ideas from there and look around if it can be accomplished using existing illusionary techniques!
For the actual building, I'd advice making a scaled down model first... Cheaper mistakes... Trust me, I learnt this through experience...

Smile

Smile
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
The Cardfather
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I found illusion ideas came easier when I was new to magic. Before the influence of what I now see on a regular basis. Try talking to a layperson, ask them what they'd like to see an illusionist perform and try to make it happen. That person is a potential paying member of the audience, that should qualify him.
JamesinLA
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I think the way to do it is to create a scene you would like to play out and then think of the illusion that would be the central action to that drama/comedy. Then come up with small bits that would be other effects that would lead up to the main illusion.
Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
magic4u02
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Philadelphia, PA
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I like Jim's thinking. He is rigfht in that it really is the story or actiuon and drama that needs to be thought out first. In this way the Illusion then flows into this drama on stage and does not becomes just another "look what I can do" creation.

Also, when coming up with new illusion ideas, it is always a must to make sure you have a good grasp on the principles of illusions. Study them and really understand how they all work from bases to black art etc. A good understanding of these principles will help open your mind up to new creations.

It is not the illusionary principle that will be the new and original idea. Often it is the presentation and combination of these principles that makes an idea fresh and new.

I always look at other things in our culture that are far from magic in order to get ideas. You never know where or what can inspire you to a new idea. Keep your mind open and use things from art, literature and movies. These are all great places to learn more and to feed the mind.
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Frank Tougas
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I would lokk at older illusions and see what else they may be. There is a great example of this manner of thinking in the Tarbell Series,of a doll house being made into a giant slot machine, giving it an all new look.

Sword cabinets can be elongated into a broom closet and use brooms to penetrate the poor assistant.

Years ago I made a small illusion using the grandmother's necklace principle on a large scale. It is somewhere in MUM about a thousand years ago (the cardfather is right, I was better at this when I still had all my brain cells) call the Salem Witch Hitch.

I still use it when a larger type show is requested. It really fills the stage using six men, a young lady from the audience and myself.
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
magic4u02
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Frank:
That is great way of thinking and was a perfect example of what I was referring to in my last post.

In your examples, it is not the illusion principle that is really changing, it is more on the presentation and the story that you are trying to tell to the audience.

Too many magicians get caught up on thre principle thinking that if the principle is the same as another illusion, then their illusion is not different enough.

I only say to this, that the principle of how an illusion works, should never even be apparent to the audience in the first place. If this is the case, then use these principles because they work. Use these principles to create interesting and creative new illusions.
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Jeff007
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I don't think I agree that a routine has to come first. There are times when an illusion/effect may spark a routine just as there are times when an idea for a routine may spark an illusion/effect. We have come up with some of our ideas by watching movies, listening to music, trying to rework older already existing methods and effects for something completely new, or even merely driving down the road. After a while, you'll realize that your mind is always turning (whether you want it to or not), and that will eventually lead to ideas that you never had thought of before. It's always great to be as creative and as original as possible. Don't ever think a routine is "finished" either... always be open for a change if it's for the better. Also, not always will you realize if it's for the better. Being in control of your show allows you to change it back if it isn't though, so it all works out in the end for the better. Smile
magic4u02
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Jeff:
Thanks for your post. you are correct. Ideas for illusions can come from most anywhere. I geuss what I was trying to say is that I feel an illusion needs to be performed and thought out well enough so it does not just become another "oh i am going to fool you again, look what I can do that you can't". I see too many illusions performed with no routining or anything thought out about it.
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Jeff007
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I couldn't agree more! You are right on with your thoughts on this.
Spellbinder
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The magician is an ACTOR playing the role of a magician. I can't remember who first said that but someone will supply the reference, I'm sure. My point is that this applies more to the illusionist than to other magicians, because the illusionist is actually presenting a series of small plays or skits. The central character woven throughout this collection of plays is the magician. The character of this magician (the role you play) needs to be well established. He can't be a clown one minute and a serious Wizard the next. The character has to be believable and the actor has to stay within the boundaries of that character throughout.

Once you have developed the character of the role you will be playing, illusion ideas will begin to suggest themselves. And remember... think outside the box! Illusions that have to be done in a box or cabinet are expensive and restrictive. If you were a REAL Wizard, you wouldn't need to put someone in a box to change them into a tiger or make them disappear. Exhaust the boxless possibilities before you decide you have to have a shiny new expensive box in your garage.

Professor Spellbinder
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magic4u02
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Nice post. Any illusion can work as long as it fits your character and style on stage. Just mnake sure you do your audience a favor and make sure you spend the timr to routine the illusion first. To me it is not good enough to just perform an illusion as a look what I can do type of effect. Your audiences deserve more.
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Odini731
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Dude, Just think of something crazy that has not been done before that is too crazy for someone to try, then figure out how it works. Its all about knowing what you want to see then figuring out how it works
magic4u02
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It is more a matter of learning to think outside the box. Learning NOT to seek other magic tapes of performance to get all of our ideas. We must really start to learn to get ideas from the outside world in which we live in. There is so much out there that can be brought back into our magic to make it unique.Do not settle for just doing the same old thing. Force yourself to be more creatiove with it. Your audiences deserve that much.
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JamesinLA
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I agree that ideas for an illusion can come before the "story" and visa versa. However, I personally like to have the story come first. Then I have a drive to create this fantasy-device in order to see my story and characters come to life. I also want to add one more thing that has worked very well for me in the past: the part the magician plays does not always have to be a magician... Think about it.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
magic4u02
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Jim:
You bring up a wonderful point here and I hope it sparks thought and discussion. Your are right, the magician does not have to always play the part of a magician. If you come to this realization, then the doors open up to you for having more creative routines and effects.

I also like to develop my illusion routines and my acts based on the story or the presentation first and then have everything else fall into place from that. I find when I do it this way, I am keeping the presentation at the forefront as it should be.
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Chance Wolf
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Someone once listed the main effects possible in Illusion/Magic:
Disappearance/Reappearance
Metamorphosis
Penetration
Amputation
Transposition
Compression
I am sure there are a couple more I missed. When I choose to create a new Illusion, my first step is to look at the above list and find a brand new category. I may be inspired by Movies/TV, a social observation or maybe watching a Science channel late at night.
Once you have discovered this new "visual mutation" then you can proceed to developing it into a workable Illusion. Well, that's easier said than done but I consider it the fun part of the process.
When designing an Illusion, you have a few choices in Design.
1) Natural/Minimized. This is my FIRST choice. To create a "non-prop" Illusion. Using recognizable components such as lamps, tables,real trunks and trays etc. The list is endless but you get the idea. You may be lucky enough to find pre-made components and modify them saving a tremendous amount of time & money. If not, your goal is to re-create the components and get them as close to the real thing as possible avoiding "thickening up" too much.
The Strong point: YOU get the credit for creating the Magic.
The Weak point: Your show is not as flashy. But in many cases that is good unless your prancing around on a Vegas stage with 105 lb. topless girls caressing your...uh...OK...back to my point.

2) Modern/Contemporary. This will be a "non-recognizable unnatural but very cool looking prop.
Strong point: Much more room for deception in design and the props are visually stimulating.
Weak point: The audience does not understand/recognize the structure giving the prop credit for creating the magic. The Illusion itself will lead you into the applicable direction.
Clearly, there are MANY more strengths and weaknesses to each option but you get the point.
I will give this more thought and post some other input later.
Hope this helps.
Chance wolf
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magic4u02
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Wolf:
Great stuff my friend. I enjoyed your creative process and how you mentioned the principles of magic and how they can be explored as a stepping off point for creation.
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Jeff007
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Got to agree with Kyle, Wolf, I don't think anyone could have said much of that any better. I agree with everything in your post.
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