My creative process is mostly problem solving. Coming up with ideas is the easy part. Asking the right questions, I think, is where my experience pays off.

This green bag was the result of solving problems and asking questions. The initial idea, years ago, came in response to “how can I work in a theatre with no easy access to the audience?” Then, just this week, I revisited that idea and asked myself “Can this work under social distancing rules?”

Once I had the defined goal, the work was fast and easy. Along the way, innovations came almost accidentally, solving problems as they arose in my prototype.

Magic Bag

Are you looking to jump-start your creative muscle? Try challenging yourself with these questions:

Questions To Inspire Creative Solutions For Your Magic Performances.

  1. Can I do this card trick with something other than playing cards?
  2. What does the physical action or process of the trick remind me of from real life? What is the metaphor?
  3. What is the worst part of this routine? (and how can I make it the not worst part?)
  4. Which dogmatic “rules of magic” am I following in this trick? Can I break the rules?
  5. How would this look different if it was performed by a magician I admire? (What would Max Maven do? What would Mac King do?)
  6. If I re-build this prop from scratch, what could I change?
  7. From the hundreds of thousands available tricks, why am I performing this one? What draws me to it? How can I communicate this importance to the audience?
  8. How does this trick naturally connect to another trick? What if the two were combined?
  9. What is the artistic/theatrical choice of this routine? What would happen if I turned it up to 11? (committed to it more strongly)
  10. Whatever the magic effect is, can it happen in reverse?
  11. If this same effect was in a beginner magic kit, what would be the simplest possible method?
  12. If it was in a Tommy Wonder book, what would be the most complicated method?
  13. What if this stage trick was made into a close-up trick? (or vice versa)
  14. What if a birthday party trick was made into a classy corporate banquet trick? (or the other way)
  15. Can I dream up 10 completely different methods for this trick? Then identify the strength and weakness of each one.

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2 thoughts on “Questions To Inspire Creative Solutions

  1. Chris says:

    Great list! I would also ask an inversion of #5: “How would this look different if it was performed by a magician I despise?” It could help illuminate answers to #3 (“What is the worst part of this routine?”). Though perhaps instead of naming a particular magician I despise, maybe I come up with a fictitious character of a bad magician, to minimize the negativity (and to eliminate the possibility that I meet that magician some day and accidentally blurt out “oh hey, you’re part of my creativity exercise” and then have to explain myself).

    • Ryan says:

      Yes, love it! Bob Fitch told a story like that in his lecture; pushing a magician to perform like his rival as a creative exercise. Apparently it brought a lot more energy to the routine!

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