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I rarely suggest electronic methods when I’m TV consulting.
Unless when electronics are the very best method for the trick—like a magic watch or every Marc Kerstein trick. Often electronics open up a whole new range of possibilities for the solo performer. Technology may be integral to the trick, like searching for a random word on Wikipedia.
When you shoot telly, the cost of any trick must factor in the location fee, shooting crew, editorial crew, transport, camera hire, contributors (if they’re getting paid), and more. So even an Ambitious Card routine could cost you $10k on a good day. The stakes are high, the entire shoot could be entirely based around one trick and when the "magic isn't ready," it can be a tad stressful.
I learned from the best, to always prepare extra gimmicks and back-up methods:
- When I started consulting, I wanted to use an electronic reel for a shoot. An older and wiser consultant wanted to fill a closet door with a fake brick wall then hide a human in there for an entire hour to yank fishing line instead. Guess which method failed in rehearsal, and which one we used for the shoot?
- Another time, a performer wanted to use a digital impression pad—a second older, wiser magic consultant set-up a carbon paper layer inside the pad as a back-up. When we made a mistake and incorrectly set up the digital pad on the final take of the evening, the older consultant (in costume) went in to retrieve the pad, and the carbon paper saved us.
- At my first-ever consulting gig, when an older and wiser consultant discovered how easily the non-technology based gimmick could break (after I dropped and smashed it), they decided we would spend the evening making back-ups. We stayed in the office until 3 AM, making back-up gimmicks. The shoot’s call time was 6 AM.
Always prepare a back-up.
OK, Let’s do this
The concept of knowing which color pen is selected dates back to Tony Anverdi. It’s now been perfected by ProMystic with their incredible system.
To my mind, the use of this idea was made infamous after my old boss Justin Willman performed the trick on Ellen. Justin has a delightful knack for taking off-the-shelf tricks and making them well and truly his own. In this case, so much so that ProMystic added this disclaimer to their site stating Willman’s routine is not included with your purchase.
ProMystic is a wonderful company, and this is a wonderful and reliable trick. ProMystic’s site also states:
copyrighted Picasso routine (yes, that one)
So please, although this post is simply a creative exercise—if you try any of these methods for knowing which colored pen is selected and wish to perform the ProMystic’s Picasso routine, purchase Colormatch. I won’t teach the Picasso routine. I’ll use some basic examples like circling celebrity names or drawing random shapes.