All or Nothing…

A few day ago I ordered Jon Allen’s download All or Nothing. It’s fantastic! For about $20 usd you many methods for going a very cool routine / concept.

I tried it last night and it got a great response and I’m using it as a lead in to another trick. For the price it’s a steal, hit up Jon and order it!

Peeking Behind the 3d Curtain…

Last week at the KAX Conference I was part of a panel talking about 3d printing. One of the things that a lot of people think that 3d printing going to be hard to do. It’s pretty easy, it can get complex, but for what most performers are doing, it’s easy. I made a quick video on how to make a holder for a thumb tip and a dollar bill for inside of your case:

Taking a peek behind the curtain of 3d printing hopefully will take some of the mystery out of it. It’s really changed my life, instead of having to make props out of found objects or cardboard, I get exactly what I want!

Bday Breakdown…

Well, I did the outdoor, masked, socially distant, no contact birthday party magic show for four year old kids. It was 40 degrees out and I was worried how my hands would hold up. Luckily it was sunny, and performing in full sun finally felt great!

Ok, to the show, it took about 6 mins to get them warmed up. It’s not surprising for a group that young that’s spread out and since they were masked and outdoors, the couldn’t get feedback from each other that other kids were laughing. Once we were going I was getting back into my groove of playing within my show. At one point a jogger briefly stopped to watch the show, and another a kid fell off their chair from laughing (and sitting on a hill). I got to do some playing with those moments.

It felt great to be back at it.

One thing that I notice was my mic that was inside my mask didn’t have a windscreen. You could hear me breathing over the speaker. In the future, I think that needs a windscreen. I’m not sure it will 100% stop the audience from hearing me breathe, but it should reduce that.

Also in the future I probably won’t do a show for kids that young until I can do it not masked. Without seeing my face, a lot is lost for a group that young. Older kids would be easier to do masked.

Now to work on my adult show, I have an in person socially distant, no contact, comedy gig on Sunday.

Dusting off the Cobwebs…

Somedays you feel like a beginner. Today I’m heading out to do a no contact, outdoor, socially distant show for a kids birthday party. I haven’t really done birthdays for years, so this isn’t something I have solid “muscle memory” of doing.

This show has me super stressed out. I took it to help me knock off the cobwebs from having not performed in person much for the last 10 months. I’ve checked and recheck my case for all of my props, run the show dozens of times. Stuff I really haven’t done for my normal show in years. I know the props, I know they are in the case, and I know what to do if something breaks or is missing. More importantly, I know how long the show will run. With this birthday show, I have a guess how long the show will run, but not as good of an idea as I would with shows I normally do. I did pack some filler just in case…

I’ll let you know tomorrow how the show went.

First Draft For the Pail…

Yesterday’s blog post was about getting a Himber Pail, a prop I’ve been chasing for years and trying to figure out how to use it within my show. Last night I sat down and starting writing some ideas. Here’s what I wrote last night:

When I was a teenager I saw the most amazing magic trick, and the magician taught me to do it. I’ve been doing it ever since…so for 3 years. If it was on the mount rushmore of the greatest magic tricks, it’d be 17 miles down the road at Crazy horse…because he let me use it.  

I bring you the milk bucket trick!

Did you know most asians are lactose intolerant?  Shouldn’t surprise you, how many do you remember on the Got Milk posters in your elementary school gym?

Show got milk posters

Nope nope nope… Michelle kwan … that’s it.  start hashtag #gotMilkSoWhite

I should mention that I used to be lactose intolerant.  But now, I’ll drink white and chocolate milk.

Pour milk 

Oh shoot, I messed up the trick…I forgot to put in the bottom

Hand thru bucket and show it empty

Let’s do the trick in reverse…

Lift the bucket like you are going to pour its contents into the bottle.   Contine flipping so its upside down and pour milk into the bottom. 

And that’s the greatest trick I’ve ever seen!

That’s not the very good, but it’s as start. I took action by actually writing, and that’s the first step. Waiting for something to just pop into my head randomly, isn’t an effective way to come up with a routine.

It’s interesting that the routine I wrote ended up having a them. When writing it was just some jokes I wrote around the hook of “the greatest magic trick I’ve seen” and the props , but the bit turned out to be a piece about racism. It’s not something I’d probably do in my show, but it’s a start.

What I do like is the “do it in reverse” part which motivates the pouring of the milk onto the bottom of the pail. I think that’s the keeper out of my first try to figure out what to do with the Himber Pail.

A Magic Sophie’s Choice…

Well I just had a realization that kinda sucks. It just hit me that the Coins to Glass that I’ve been working on and my CeeLo trick are essentially the same trick. Three objects disappear one at a time and reappear under a cup. Sure, both routines had different textures, one the objects visually appear and the other has the two jumbo loads, but they are the same trick.

Now here’s the choice I have to make. Do I try to separate them within the show, or use one as an “A” Show and the other as a “B” show routine.

I’m thinking about trying to put some time between them. If you think about it, I’ve seen several jugglers essentially do the same routine with different props. They do balls, then rings, then clubs, but it’s the same format. Three, then four, then five and maybe seven. It’s really the same trick with a different prop.

Honestly, if they are 10-15 mins apart in the show, I don’t think anyone will notice. However, it’s probably good for me to do one or the other and not both. I can replace one or them with something else I’m working on.

Holy Grail of Props…

For years I’ve wanted a Himber Pail. I think it’s one of the coolest props. If you don’t know what it is, here’s a video:

I’ve missed them at auctions due to internet or time issues on multiple occasions. The prop has been just out of my reach for years. Recently Stevens Magic Emporium had some made and I jumped at the chance to get one.

Here’s the problem, I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. How am I going to frame it from a presentation stand point. I could just play some music and do it, but I think it needs more than that. Once I figure out the hook, everything else gets easier.

Hand Shadow Puppets!

Today I’m doing a workshop on Shadowgraphy for the KAX convention. Here’s my act condensed down to 10 seconds:

If shadowgraphy is something you’re thinking of learning, you can get the special cap I use on my flashlight along with a video of the workshop from KAX for $20. You can order them here:

Should You…

Not too long ago I was chatting with a magician who mentioned they were still doing in person shows. I’m not judging them on that, sometimes you’ve gotta do what you gotta do to pay the bills. They mentioned they were doing sponge balls at kids shows and the kids had no problems holding them in their hands, and this is what I have an issue with.

First of all, I’m betting they aren’t cleaning the sponge balls. That’s a problem, besides any COVID transmission, there’s tons of other germs on them…they’re sponge, germs love them.

Next, kids will hold anything you tell them to. You’re the adult, they’ll just do it in most instances. So kids being willing to hold them doesn’t really mean much.

Finally, just because you can…should you? Is the health risk worth it for a dopey magic trick?

Here’s how I see it, we’ve had over 10 months to figure out other magic we can do where people don’t hold a prop in their hands. Why are we still doing sponge balls? Don’t give me the, “they get a reaction“, because so does kicking someone in the nuts. Very few people have taken sponge balls beyond the effect and made it into something that moves the plot forward.

Let’s try to innovate and move forward and not live in the past.

Pedal to the Metal!

In an effort to streamline things for my virtual show, I picked up some foot pedals. Each pedal acts as a button that you can program to do a specific task.

The first thing I did was something that Richard Lake mentioned in the talk he did with Nick Lewin and made them up and down arrows. I then went through my show in OBS and made a scene for everything, so my show basically went straight down. It was a pain to do, but useful if I’m doing the show without a producer.

Normally I have a producer in the room running my OBS scenes, so I changed the foot pedals to activate a camera shot. So I have my general, tight, and close up that I can control with my feet. I’m really liking having the control of the cameras with my feet.