Monthly Archives: January 2013

Optical illusion magic trick

optical illusion magic trick - Thatcher

Last year the local libraries had a theme of “Strange but True”, so I created a Strange But True – Game Show magic show. For that show I wanted something a little bit different than just a standard effect, so I started looking at different optical illusions magic tricks that I could add into the show.

I had seen a couple performers use the Thatcher optical illusion and decided it would be a great addition to my show.

The Thatcher effect or Thatcher illusion is a phenomenon where it becomes difficult to detect local feature changes in an upside down face, despite identical changes being obvious in an upright face. It is named after British former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on whose photograph the effect has been most famously demonstrated. This was originally created by Peter Thompson, in 1980. [Wikipedia link]

The only problem was that I didn’t like the sample faces that were available online because children had no idea who the people were. That’s when I decided to create my own Thatcher Optical illusions out of people that they would recognize.

I created three illusions with famous celebrities children would recognize including Salina Gomez, Justin Beiber, and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter). Upside down the faces look totally normal, but turn them 180º and you’ll discover that the eyes and mouth are facing the wrong way.  Read More…

Progressive Learning and Hypnosis

If you’re reading this blog then you know the importance of progressive learning. To be a successful performer you need to be continually learning and developing new skills. Somebody who embodies this principal to its fullest is Corporate Hypnotist and Peak Performance Expert Wayne Lee.

I first met Wayne Lee when I was about 17 years old, which was about 10 years ago. Wayne and I were both hired to perform a highschool graduation party. I was going to be doing some close-up mingling magic, and Wayne would be doing a full Hypnosis show. Wayne flew into Kelowna from Edmonton with his two crew members and rented car then he also picked me up and we drove to the event together that was just out of town. We would be staying in a hotel overnight, and drive back the next day. I remember it vividly because this was the first time I ever had a client pay for my own hotel room. I hit the big time! lol

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Making your testimonials more visible on Facebook

Previously I’ve written about getting amazing client testimonials, and my last post was about posting photo’s taken at the event on Facebook. In this post I’m going to talk about combining these two techniques together.

If you post a customer testimonial as a status update it will quickly become “stale”. That means that once the information has gone past people’s homepage that it won’t ever be seen again.


However, if you post a photo online it gets added to an album so whenever people go through that album they will see the picture and that content lasts a lot longer. Instead what you want to do is combine a photo from an event, along with the corresponding testimonial from that event as a DESCRIPTION on that photo. Now that testimonial will last a lot longer on your account so people will see it.



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Temporary Tattoos

Today Laura Martin (aka Beebop the Clown) shared this great tip with me. This time of year it seems that everyone has the cold or the flu, and this means that you may end up with fewer children then expected at parties. This can be a problem if you’re offering balloon twisting, a magic workshop, or facepainting where the smaller turnout may mean you’re finished early.

For an extra activity you might want to get some temporary tattoos. Since it’s is so lightwight you can take these to nearly every party and have them as a backup activity. Display them in the pockets of baseball card sleeves from the dollar store for quick selection and carry then in a 3 hole duotang binder.

With just a tiny binder there’s huge value added to the client. You can even offer temporary tattoo’s as an up-sell to your clients for an additional fee.

Personally I’ve never offered temporary tattoos at my shows before, but with such a small investment and the portability, it sounds like a no-brainer. With the huge range of temporary tattoos on the market there’s even an opportunity to enhance a themed party. I know for smaller parties this would be a huge hit.

Have you offered temporary tattoos at your show before? Let me know if you give this tip a try!

Buying the perfect domain name

There are lots of things to consider when selecting a domain name. A good domain will be something that people can remember, that’s unique, and matches your site content.

Whenever I need to purchase a new domain name I always go through the same process:

  1. Brainstorm different ideas
  2. Create a shortlist of the good ideas and make sure the .com is available. You can see if a new domain is available by searching for it on
  3. Ask a few people what they think of possible names
  4. If I’m not 100% satisfied with the name, I’ll go back a few hours later or days later and see if I can come up with a better name
  5. Register the domain name

Here a photo of my brainstorming sheet when I was trying to come up with a domain name for this blog:

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We teach our audiences

Sometimes while performing an audience or volunteer will act differently than we expect or want them to. This behavior isn’t necessarily good or bad but good spectator management is the key to a successful performance. Anything that can happen on stage, will happen.

I believe that most of the time audiences will react in a certain way based on the expectations that you’ve established through your personality.

As an example, imagine a children’s performer presenting a routine where a child volunteer is selected to be on stage and the routine is structured so that the child disobeys the magician to the delight and joy of everyone in the audience. Each time the child does something that the magician “doesn’t want him to do” the audience bursts out laughing. What does this teach the audience? That they can you do whatever they want on stage and it will be funny! Imagine the next routine in the show where the magician selects a volunteer to be on stage, and the kid disobeys the magician “for real” this time. Maybe throwing something that they were supposed to hold, or dropping something intentionally. To the child it may be funny, but it may disrupt the flow of that particular routine. In this case the performer has unintentionally taught the audience how to behave in a way that is undesired.

With experience you learn how to deal with these situations, but the first step is to be aware of WHY they’re happening.

Here’s a great example of this concept. Here’s a clip of the amazing Justin Flom is performing on the Ellen Show.

In this clip Ellen was offered to select a cookie, under the assumption that she was supposed to do something with it for the trick. But at the end of the routine you can see her confusion when she’s left with a cookie that she didn’t do anything with. This taught her that when offered something, that it isn’t part of the trick.

You can see this psychology in the next routine when Justin offers her a mint. She assumes that it isn’t going to be part of the effect so she pops it into her mouth. Thankfully it was inconsequential to the effect, but it demonstrates quite clearly exactly how our actions teach our audiences how to behave.

What are your actions teaching your audience? Think about these things when watching video recordings of your show. You can either change what is causing the audience to behave in an undesired way, or anticipate it and find new moments within that structure to entertain your audience.

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