Over the last year or so I’ve been wanting to add more production value to my show. One of the ways is using video elements, the added bonus to using video elements is that using them takes up virtually no space in your case, but can play extremely big! The challenge is that it’s hard to run if you’re a solo show that plays places that have minimal tech.
On the recommendation of a friend who is a hypnotist, I ordered the Media Star Pro.
This is a remote system for music and video. I haven’t used it in a show (yet), but really like how it works at home. I’ll be trying it out at a live show soon.
The hidden bonus with Media Star Pro is that it comes with software to run music, and video with. This software was pretty easy to use, and my first attempt at running something “complex” is going to be for a workshop I’m teaching in about a week. It’s going to have still images and video in the presentation and I’ll be suing the Media Star Pro to run that. We’ll see if I still like it after that!
When I was a kid I remember Michael Close in his lecture talking about how to get good patter ideas for your tricks. His advice was to go out and do stuff that’s not magic related. Living a life aside from magic will add depth to you onstage.
Personally for me, I love magic and it’s a huge part of my life and something that I’m very passionate about. However I do have a lot of other interests. Things like travel, urban exploring and leather craft. Having those interests gives my show depth.
Earlier this week the podcast that I co host did an interview with Carisa Hendrix where she talks about her life.
Another thing that I learned while I was in Nashville was about the beginnings of Elvis’s performing career. I don’t remember who wrote it (it was a band member, or agent) said that, “Elvis got on stage, jumped around and carried on, then the bass player would start carrying on, then the next guy. ” What they were doing onstage was playing around and having fun.
One of the bands I saw in Nashville was had four performers (only three are pictured) and only one of them was having fun onstage. In the band the bass player was having a blast, or at least he did a dang good job acting that he was having a ton of fun. His enthusiasm really carried across the audience.
When you are on stage, have fun and play around. Try something new, be whatever your version of silly is, and whatever your version of comedy is, don’t be so serious.
Last weekend I went to Nashville and saw some live music at some of the bars in The District. One of the things that struck me was that there were a lot of good musicians, but not a lot of good performers. I guess it’s harder to be both. I think that one of the two comes more naturally than the other to most people.
What I noticed was that people onstage looked like they were working, not having fun. What you want in a show is someone that looks like they are having a blast. Yes, there are moments where you should look like you are working, but in most cases you should look like you want to be there.
The easiest way to look like you are having fun is to smile. That’s the most effective way to show an audience you like what you’re doing. Why do a lot of performers not smile? I’m guessing they don’t practice their show while smiling. Their faces default is the face they have when they practice. The simple solution is to practice smiling while you practice!
Today I was thinking of the Seven Keys To Baldplate routine. It’s the trick where you have seven keys, and only one opens a lock, and somehow that’s the key selected (or only one not selected). There are tons of methods to this trick, but I think Stewart Judah’s is the best. In that method any key will work or won’t work in the lock.
Typically people lock things like a finger ring or money to the lock. The idea I had for the trick was to lock someone’s belt loop to a chain. The other end of that chain could be attached to me, a chair, or whatever. You could even have multiple locks with multiple people that are locked together. Every finds the key that opens their lock.
The idea of chaining someone to something is an interesting visual and I think would lend itself to some interesting situational comedy. I think having people on the end of the lock instead of a ring will make it play bigger. The next challenge would be coming up with a routine.
After starting to read the book Principia by Harapn Ong about a year ago, I finally finished it. It’s a book that I’d read a bit of it, then put it down and pick it back up a month later. It’s a great book, and there are a couple things in it that I’ve used throughout the year.
Near the end of the book there are a couple of essay’s on the Trick That Cannot Be Explained. These are fantastic! There’s some great theory in them, not just on the card trick, but on tricks using multiple outs.
Also near the end, there’s a trick where the cards get mixed face up and face down. You find their selected card, and no the cards don’t all magically fix themselves. The cards not fixing themselves is what I think makes this trick great, and something that I think is going to go into my impromptu card magic toolbox.
The other day I was hanging out with a magician friend, we were working on something not magic trick related. At some point we always end up goofing around with magic. and that’s when the good ideas come out. Unfortunately this day it was just goofing around.
One of the things we were playing with was a bottle cap. Here’s one of the things that we did:
It’s not a great trick, or even that original, however it’s a good example of part of the creative process. It’s just playing with an item and seeing what comes up.
Yesterday I finished my first attempt at making a clear coin for the Silver Extraction magic trick. I made the mold in silicone and cast it in a clear resin. The clear coin ended up having a lot more air bubbles in it than I would like it to have. At the end of the day, it’s a clear coin and would work for the trick.
After doing some research on the causes of the air bubbles, what it will take to remove them from future castings is something I’m not really set up right now to handle. I learned a lot from making this, mostly that clear castings are going to be a pain in the butt!!
For some reason this month I’ve done a lot of community center shows. I’m not sure why, it could be that they call me year round, but I’m just not available to do them and this month I was home. These shows are family shows, and the age range will vary from very young to very old. While these shows are geared towards kids, there are usually an equal number of adults and kids. Frequently you’ll have more adults than kids.
I’ve mentioned this in the past, when I do these shows I don’t do a kids show. I do my normal show and make the kids “step up” to whats going on. My show which ran 50 minutes didn’t pander the 4 year olds, and it shouldn’t when they are a minority of the audience. Sure I do some funny things, but they are universally funny across most ages.
The other thing is that I’m doing a show that’s watchable to the people who are in charge of making the decision to go, or buying the tickets. When my kid was young, I didn’t take her to shows that I knew weren’t going to engage me. I was the one in charge of the decisions, and that’s who I’m catering my show to.
One thing I like to do when I’m learning to new things is to do them whenever I can for projects that I won’t necessarily use, but someone will. Right now I’m learning more about making silicone molds and casting things in resin.
My current project is making some coins that will be clear. This will be for the a trick similar to the Silver Extraction Coin trick.
Above is the mold for the coins. After making the mold, I think there are a few changes I would make to it. We’ll see if these turn out.