I’m always thinking about how to use video screens to make the show play bigger. It’s technology that 10 years ago really wasn’t within the grasp of the average magician, but now for less than $1,000 you can have a compete set up…even less if you already have a laptop computer!
One of the things about the Micheal Buble show that I was recently at, was that the screens weren’t just for making him bigger. There were three screens and sometimes there was a “set piece” like a the moon above. Sometimes it was a close up of a band member or the audience in the middle with Buble on the sides or vice versa.
This is something that doing a couple seasons on Masters of Illusion taught me, that the background adds a lot. In their tech sheet they ask if there’s something you want as your background. Something simple like adding a picture of a workshop when you’re doing a bit about inventing a trick, or a picture of your wife when you’re doing a routine about your wife adds a lot of production value to your show, and that’s just still images.
Last night my wife and I went to see Michael Buble, and that guy works his butt off onstage. He did just over two hours with no opening act, and the two hours flew by!
One huge thing to note is that it wasn’t all music. In between each song the told jokes. It was a mini stand up set that usually introduced the next song or was about the city we were in. Telling jokes between routines is a great way to add personality and time in your magic show. I used to do this more, and need to get back to doing more of it.
Basic math says if you do eight tricks in your show, and if you can add 2 minutes of jokes between those eight routines, you’ve added 12 minutes to your show without having to carry any extra props. That would turn a 45 in show into almost an hour!
Somedays I get to a gig and see that it’s really set up for my show to struggle. Here’s the set up at a recent fair:
The hay bales are probably 35-40 feet way from the stage, and in full sun. Due to the direction the stage faced, there really wasn’t much I could do about the sun, but I could work on the hay bales. I drug most of them closer to the stage:
Closing the gap to the audience really helped me connect. It also stopped people from using the area in front of the stage as a walkway through the fairgrounds. I always do what I can to give my show the best possible conditions based on the situation.
Okay, so I tried the Auto Spring Fan Card Revelation with misdirection to flip the fan over. The idea is that they don’t see me turn the fan over, their attention is elsewhere, and when they look back all of the cards have changed.
Here’s sort of what it looks like (it doesn’t work on camera as it’s an open move that’s covered by misdirection):
The reaction it gets has a delay while people notice it at staggered times, so it’s not at punchy as openly flipping the fan over. Reaction wise, it’s say it’s about the same either way, but flipping it covered by misdirection is a stronger magic trick. What’s nice is that it can be done either way and you can choose at the last minute how you are going to do the revelation, you aren’t really locked into one way or the other.
The card revelation that I’m playing with got tested out at the fair, and it’s getting good reactions:
It’s not the most magical trick ever, it’s a novelty revelation. Sure there are layers to it, like showing the backs of the cards, but at the end of the day if anyone wanted to explain it, they’d say you turned the cards over.
I did have an idea this morning that might make it a little more magical. What if I did the turn over of the fan while they weren’t looking. So when the look back at the fan it’s changed to all the same card. I’ll have to try to figure out a moment to flip the fan, so it’s not like I’m intentionally making them look away.
The other day I was at a magic shop in Mesa, AZ and I bought an auto spring fan of cards on a whim. If you don’t know what an Auto Spring Fan is, it’s a packet of cards that pops open into a fan automatically. I thought I was probably just going to have a kid hold them in pictures after the show.
During the drive to the gig, I thought about what else could be done with them. There’s not a lot you can do besides open them. Then I got an idea, they could be used as a card revelation. The idea is the whole fanned deck would turn into the selected card.
I realized that if I held the closed deck face down and fanned them so that I was tightening the spring, I could show the backs of the cards on the edge that’s normally hidden.
This allows me to have all the cards on the back (except for the top card) to have the corner shown when fanned to be the same card. Having the top card change would simply be making a flap card.
…at least that’s how it is in my head. Now to actually make the gimmick, which is the real work!
I was on the road and ran out of things to autograph for people at the show, so I made a quick order for some new postcards
Printing has changed in my lifetime. My first business cards cost way more than these postcards and were only black and white…and took about a month to make. I had these in about a week from when I ordered them.
You will notice that on the back I have Magic and Comedy, and when listed, I try to put magic first. It’s a little thing where people like to use “comedy magician” , however in my show the magic is first…at least in my mind.
There’s really no excuse, aside from laziness to not have promo. I will go on record saying that sometimes laziness is a valid excuse!
Last week I was performing about 45 minutes from Tuscon, AZ in a small town. I saw there was a magic shop in Tuscon, so I made the drive up to William’s Magic. I had heard of Williams Magic in the past, they had a mobile magic shop that travelled the country and went to magic conventions and clubs.
I had a blast chatting with Emory and while it’s mostly a pitch shop, he had a few things that I needed (like a double face deck).
The district that the shop was in allowed walking beers, so it was a rare occasion that I got to have a local beer in a local magic shop!
I always try to be good about supporting magic shops when I travel. If you don’t support them, you can’t complain when they close! -Louie
When you are out performing, I always try to keep an eye out for photo ops. Moments where I can take a picture and it will make good social media content. Once you do this a while you start to have some ones you do often. Things like a dog watching my flea circus or law enforcement playing the three shell game!
Once you have a few “hits” you know what to look for, but don’t get soo blinded by the hits that you aren’t on the look out for new things!
For example the new thing I’m doing where I peel the picture off of the card and stick it onto a kid. This is a great photo op!