Vanishing Inc. blog

Making Collard 2 Your Own

By John Archer - Wednesday, February 6, 2019


People often tell me that they love one of my effects like The Streets or Blank Night, but they don’t want to do it the same way I do it. I love hearing that, because that’s what I want people to think. I don’t want thousands of John Archer’s out there; I am often reminded that one is more than enough.

john archer collard2 tips

So with Collard 2, hopefully many of you are going to have the same thought “How can I make it my own?”

A first simple step is to realise that it doesn’t have to be a dog. Any stuffed animal can give you a crazy story that you can run with. I have had emails from people who use collard with a vent figure and others who actually use a real animal. It is all about imagination.

The good news is that it doesn’t even need to be an animal anymore. Some of you may remember that with the first version of collard the tag had a bone embossed in the back which was great for the collard effect but could be limiting for other Koran type medal effects. This is why we have deliberately kept the tag in Collard 2 plain rather than dog specific.

So now you are really only limited by your imagination and what would make sense to be engraved (OK, inscribed) on the disk. You could easily use the prop and indeed the new method to perform Don Wayne’s wonderful effect ‘Room service’, just attach it to a key and away you go.

The original Koran’s medallion might seem to be a bit of a stretch with a plastic tag, maybe, but grab some paint and a few fake jewels from your favourite hobby store and you (or someone else with artistic flair who owes you a favour) could transform that disk into something very grand indeed. The disk really is a blank canvas. All you need to do is think of what the disk could be, why you have something (it doesn’t have to be a name) inscribed on it, and how the audience become part of the process.

A couple of tips that may help:

  1. Have a good reason why you need to write down the information that the audience gives you. Make it part of a document or a keepsake for a helper. The reason can be comedic but it has to be justified. I find it odd when a simple piece of information is written down with the excuse that it may be forgotten by the whole audience when needed 20 seconds later. Have a reason!

  2. Ridiculous ideas are fine if you commit to them. What you are doing is theatre and pretty much anything goes. David Copperfield chats to an alien on stage, people claim they never saw snow till they were 8 yrs old and some even pretend they think a bandana is a banana…. Whatever you do, commit to it. (and drop the bandana).

  3. When the tag is read by the spectator use that opportunity to take it from them and display it to the front few rows of the audience. Everyone won't be able to see it but the reactions of the people at the front will filter back and the fact that you openly showed it to others will sell the authenticity to the whole audience.

Have fun being creative. It is one of the most exciting parts of what we do.