You're Doing AmazeBox Wrong

Let's call this a "magic rant" for the views.

You're Doing AmazeBox Wrong

Many props allow audiences to write information onto cards and pop them into a box/basket/bag, only to get secretly switched out for pre-written cards. AmazeBox is the latest of these products, with great success due to its reliability and ability to pack flat. These switching devices tend to force outcomes or gather information from the audience.

There are incredible ways to utilize these props.

99% of magicians are so unbelievably lazy.

They’ll use these props to force something silly like a color or a playing card. There will be no motivator for the audience. The outcome will be too impossible. Their use of the prop will, ultimately, make the process feel redundant.

Why go to all this effort to force something meaningless?

It feels over the top.

It feels forced.

You need to take a step back and look at the overall presentation. Figure out why you’re using one of these props, and consider the impossibility and motivators.

Once you've done that, zoom in on the subtleties.

There are a few tried and tested subtleties to enhance these props. They’re all utilized by big-name mentalists on stage around the world.

  1. Use Multiple Colors to force multiple words by handing out red, yellow and blue cards to the audience. You can later ask a spectator on stage to select one of each color from the box.
  2. Use The Submitted Cards to reveal additional information. Most magicians never use the genuine submitted cards. Why not take the box prop off stage and go through the actual answers for another trick?
  3. Use Dual Questions to collect additional information. With instructions on each card requesting the audience write a famous song, some cards might also secretly ask for their name, home city and job role. This dual reality allows for additional information to get collected without the majority of the audience knowing.
  4. Use UV Inks to connect each card to the correct audience member. You can write seating numbers, people’s names or descriptions of them onto the cards you hand out to the audience. After you secretly switch and collect them, use a UV light to connect each submitted writing to the audience member.
  5. Use Dummy Cards as a convincer that the force cards are fairer before you ask the spectator on stage to select one randomly. Reach in yourself, remove dummy cards taped to the side or banded together, and show these different fake options to the audience.
  6. Use A Dual Force so you can reveal more forced information at a later date. If you’re forcing a movie name, secretly add the name of an actor from the film to the force cards. Only the spectator on stage will see this. You could ask this spectator if a specific actor came to mind when they saw the film’s name. Pretend to read their mind as if you did not also force this info.
  7. Force Something Embarrassing. Big-name mentalists will choose to collect embarrassing information like secrets or force embarrassing details because people are less likely to admit they are theirs. There’s less risk of an audience figuring out no one actually wrote the info on the card if it’s something no one will admit to.
  8. Use A Narrowing Force to create a higher sense of free selection. You might ask every audience member to write down their three favourite films. When one card gets selected on the stage, you ask the spectator to think of the movie from that list that most people in the audience will know. Of course, you wrote two made-up film names on the force cards and one famous film.

My best advice is to ask yourself why you will use a prop like this. Forget the method. Consider the audience's perspective, and consider why you are collecting cards in the first place—what happens to the cards, and why?


✌🏼Hey! This essay is featured in my new book ‘Magic Musings.’ If you want to collect a limited edition book filled with magic essays like this one — buy the book.