In the past I had made a 25ish minute emergency magic show that fits into a little pouch about the size of a sandwich bag. I keep this in my car and it’s come in handy several times since I made it.
In reading Doc Dixon’s book The Show is the Mother of Invention, it got me thinking of expanding this emergency pouch into a small show, not an emergency show. The emergency show was had tricks that I can do, but don’t do and were selected for the size of the trick, not necessarily if the trick was a good fit for my personality.
While I was killing time in a town the other day, I was walking through a junk shop and found a small doctor’s bag.
This bag was cheap at $20 and it’s still really small and won’t take up much room in the trunk of my car, but will allow me turn that 25 minute emergency show into a better show. I have a lot more space to play with and can put things that fit me better into it and things that will play for a larger audience.
Something that the larger size of the case will let me do that the pouch won’t is to put a couple of audio cables into it so the show will have music. This will add production value to the show.
I’m starting to put the show together, but I’m still on the road performing for another month and a half, so it probably won’t be done until I’m home and can add a few more props to it.
The other day I posted about an act leaving their backdrop onstage during my show. Besides it being clutter on stage I did voice a concern about it in the wind.
They blew off my suggestions
Well, the next day it got windy and the backdrop started swaying and I took this picture as it blew onto another act on the stage!
The sound guy and I jumped onto the stage, pulled it off of the other act and laid the backdrop flat on the ground. I then went to the backdrop’s owner’s trailer and of course they weren’t onsite. I told them about it when they returned and they blew me off again.
I have a mindset onstage that’s “Your convenience is not my inconvenience“. What that means is that if something makes your show easier to set up, but makes my show harder to do, then I say NO and am firm about it.
Before my next show the act that had the back drop was trying to tether it and I told them it could not be up during my show. They said they’d tether it better and I told them it couldn’t be up onstage during my shows. It’s a safety issue for me, my props and anyone from the audience onstage.
They told me that the event said they could leave it onstage, so I sent the picture of it falling on the other act to our boss along with me voicing my safety concern. Included in the message was that I wanted a record of my safety concern for their backdrop onstage incase something happened during my show to reduce my liability.
They had to take it down during other peoples shows. I’ve watched them set it up and take it down after their shows and it literally takes a few minutes. The only reason to leave it up is laziness.
Don’t let someone else’s laziness affect your show. Working with a band that wants to leave guitars in your performing area, tell them to move them. It’s your stage during your set, if you need 10 X 10 feet or whatever to perform in, tell them that and they need to move their stuff.
Now your show is a success or failure on your terms, not because you have to deal with a backdrop smashing your stuff or shrinking your show because a band won’t move a guitar.
The other act I was sharing the stage with had a large banner that they left onstage, I’m not a huge fan of other people’s stuff in my performing area. They cleared it with the “boss” to leave it up, so I put my pop up banner in front of it.
It’s nice that it shortened the depth of the the stage, so that was the silver lining.
I try to play nice with other acts, but honestly it’s not a big deal for them to move their back drop off the stage after each show.
About a week ago I was able to switch back to using the ProMystic Color Match and I’ve been using it with 100% success! I’m glad to be able to not Anverdi Color Match set where I was constantly getting a missed signal. That doesn’t mean that the Anverdi set is bad, it just doesn’t work for how I work.
The ProMystic set is the set I’ve used for years, and that may be why I prefer it. I know why it works, and when it doesn’t, I know why it’s not working. I feel like I definitely committed giving the Anverdi set a chance. I know tons of people that prefer the Anverdi set over the ProMystic. I think ultimately your performing style will dictate which works better for you.
Recently I did my clock prediction at a virtual magic open mic. I stumbled on a couple of jokes and probably could have “listened” more, but I think it went well.
One thing I that wasn’t really possible due to me being in a hotel room was that I couldn’t have the clock displayed the whole time. I kinda had it balanced on a chair, but it kept falling off. The routine still has a bit to go, but I like it!
Right now I’m reading Doc Dixon’s book The Show is the Mother of Invention. It’s about having a show that you can take as carry on luggage onto a plane and making that stuff play big. I’m about 2/3’s of the way through it right now and I really like it!
For me this is a very interesting read as I do travel a lot, both by car and by plane. Even when travelling by car, it’s important to try to pack small, or at least efficiently!
I used to be a “Pack as small as your artistic vision will allow you to…” sort of person. That led me to travelling around the country with a four foot metal spoon that required it’s own case! And that prop was used only for a 15 second gag! I’m no longer that person, I still have that spoon and case, and can do the routine whenever I want, but the it’s not currently in my show.
Doc’s book has a lot of strategies for getting more time out of what you already have, and how to make small things play larger. There are many techniques that I already do, that I didn’t know were techniques, like telling stories about what’s happened when you did the trick at another show.
One thing that’s important to me is texture. I don’t want the show to feel like it was designed to fit into a case…even though it was. For example one of the things that’s in my show is my Applause Please trick, which is an applause sign that’s part of a larger routine. This is technically an “illusionette” in that it’s bigger than a hand held item, yet smaller than a zig zag. This prop has a lot of negative space that I can use to fill with other things when it’s packed up.
In addition to confirming what I was already doing, I’ve learned several new things that make Doc Dixon’s book totally worth buying for me! If packing smaller and getting more mileage out of what you already are doing is something that interests you, I highly recommend getting this book!
Just a heads up, I’m on the road performing right now. Normally my shipping department when I’m travelling is my daughter, but she’s on vacation now through 9/12/23, so all orders placed for in stock items wont’ ship until then.
Digital products will still be emailed within 24 hours of placing your order.
Physical products that I currently have in stock are:
I’ve been working on a routine that I call “choices”, this is essentially a card prediction. This has had many different versions and methods, with the first version simply using an invisible deck for the reveal. It’s had many different reveals from the selected card in a wallet, to it being the only red backed card in a blue backed, blank faced deck.
The trick was just OK, the final reveal was lacking something…or had too much. Then a while ago Nick Lewin put out the 6 Star Miracle Prediction, which is his version of Al Koran’s 5 Star Miracle Prediction. I’m a HUGE Nick Lewin fan, and get everything he puts out. I honestly didn’t think I’d use the trick, however it ended up being the solution for the Choices routine.
The ending where I’m just holding two cards gives a great picture and ends with me in an applause position. The nice thing is the whole thing fits inside a jumbo card case, so it packs relatively small. This trick is intended for stage shows, so I have no desire to use a regular pack…however it could be downsized to that size and play well on a stage.
I’m not sure if this is the final version of this trick, but it feel pretty close!
About a month ago I worked with Roy McCoy, The Quick Draw Cowboy in Wyoming. Roy is an cartoonist, and his show is him drawing stuff (there’s a couple of other things in it as well). Roy only does the fair where he lives, however he has one of the best stage set ups that I’ve seen.
I think if he was doing more than one fair, he’d probably have less stage dressing to lug around, set up and strike. The show was probably as good as it could get for someone who doesn’t do a lot of shows. It’s missing a lot of the bits to fill dead time, however for what it is, it’s fantastic!
I really enjoyed this show, it was something different and fun!