Magician/Inventor Rick Lax tells us his four favorite tools

Rick Lax created the TV show "Wizard Wars" and has written several books on deception. He's a non-practicing lawyer, a former MENSA member, and now spends his time creating tricks for other magicians and for Penguin Magic, the biggest magic retailer in the world.

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Show Notes:


Facebook (as a marketing tool)

"I became a mayor of Facebook overnight and I'm still trying to process exactly how it happened … I've treated Facebook marketing like an experiment … If you google, "How to make a good Facebook video? How to make a viral video?" 12 different people are going to tell you 12 different things, so I just put enough videos up where I can experiment and I can see for myself what's working and what's not working … What I found out is that is not actually a factor in the video's success, and I do this because I look at my most popular videos. I see what days are they posted, what time are they posted, and that has not been a factor … All the content creators who are doing so well on YouTube, they say, "Well, why should I go over to Facebook if I'm not going to get paid for it?" That's really left a window in Facebook for new content creators like me, so I was able to just sneak in there and have a tremendous success as everyone else is boycotting."



"Everyone says everything is fake … It's frustrating because I'm not actually doing camera tricks. I'm accomplishing this with sleight of hand, but I can't tell people how I'm doing it, but I want to be like, "No, it's not fake. I usually put it in this hand," but you can't say to them how to do the trick, so I'm just left with telling people, "No." … It's true that some people who perform on their webcam cannot perform live. They don't have good rapport, but that doesn't mean that this is an invalid medium for sharing the art form. This is an incredible medium … I've performed magic for more people than anyone else in the world the past 3 or 4 months because of this. … I get bothered by people who attack "webcam magic" or "webcam magicians." I think this is a valid, great new form of sharing magic."


Deck of Cards

"So much of magic is card magic, and what I've been doing with my channel and with sharing my magic is figuring out ways to take the principles behind card tricks and apply them to things that aren't cards. … I had 1 video a couple weeks ago. Again, it got 10,000,000 views where it was this old card trick from Jim Steinmeyer called "The 9-Card Card Trick." Other people have tried to do videos with it, which is great, and it's an interactive trick, which means the person watching it needs to have cards in their hands. What I figured out to do is instead of the cards — everyone else would do videos online, "Go get 9 cards," and then their videos wouldn't do well — so I told people, "Go get a piece of paper and a pen. Draw a tic-tac-toe board. Draw a different symbol in each quadrant or in each ninth of the tic-tac-toe board a different symbol. Rip it up." Now, it's like everyone had 9 cards in their hand."


Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most

"It helped me out. I wrote the authors to thank them. It was a new book. It was just a coincidence thing where it came out as I was like, "Oh, crap. I'm a guy that goes on TV and does this." I went through it, and I liked the book just because they had a ton of strategies for combating performance anxiety. About 10 of them were good for me, so I would go through them in my head every day, and that, plus a couple shots of alcohol before I went on stage did the trick."