Moving Downstairs…

Last week I moved my show downstairs from the office to the living room. The main reason was I had daytime shows and I share an office with my wife. It turns out I prefer doing the show in the living room, it’s a lot less cramped than in the office. While I don’t use the extra space, it’s nice to not feel confined.

I’ve also been tweaking my set up and I added a formal holder for my ipad. It’s a holder that connects to camera tripod. Before I just taped it to the camera’s tripod. I really like this holder, it’s much easier to set up and take down, also it’s a lot more versatile with the placement in the room.

For me when creating a virtual show’s studio I acquire things as needed. Some people would find a list of things and buy the whole list. I don’t like that approach, as you’ll end up with things you don’t need. I wait till I have or forsee a need then fill it. This seems to work well for me, your results may vary.

My Side…

One thing that I’ve always enjoyed is seeing people’s set up inside their cases and tables. We all have fairly unique ways of solving logistical problems. A few days ago I posted about the shelf that I added to my table. Here’s my view of how my props are set up:

I’m really liking the shelf under the table. Today I’m going to look into adding some casters to the bottom of the table so it’s easier to move in and out of position. I’m not sure if that would make the table want to roll around during s something like the shell game. It looks like I can get a set of casters for about $10, so I’ll give it a try…

Is it Worth it?

After yesterday’s post about the offensive magic routine, it made me wonder why magicians fight so hard for things that have aged out of being acceptable.
Is it that they fear having to learn something new?

Honestly I don’t know.

Ray Franklyn continues to blow my mind with his defense of how he presents this magic trick. He asked me to tell him what I felt was offensive. Here’s a screenshot (Franklyn is his “stage last name”):

Ray Franklyn Magic show

His casual use of “Chinaman” shows how out of touch he is. Is he intentionally being offensive or racist, or does he not know better?

Honestly, I do not think he is intentionally trying to be offensive or racist…HOWEVER I do think that he’s unwilling to learn that it’s no longer 1960 and what may have been acceptable to say then, is not now.

Change is hard.

I struggle with keeping up with the times in my show. I also push boundaries in my show, however in the last 20 years I’m very aware those boundaries have changed. I also push boundaries with a personal point of view, not simply rehashing an Ian Adair trick that’s been done before.

Simple Virtual Set Up…

Sometimes I’m doing a quick virtual show spot and it doesn’t really need much set up. For this short spot, I did a simple set up:

It’s a light, camera, mic and an iPad that’s set up as a second screen for my laptop. Not much extra was needed for this gig, and I was just dealing with hand held props.

The softbox light was a great addition to my home studio. It’s super bright and does a great job lighting up my small space. I like it a lot more than the panel LED’s I had been using.

Doing the Full Act…

I got a last minute gig for today doing my full flea circus. I’ve done a greatest hits of the flea circus in some virtual shows, but not the full show. I haven’t really done it in almost exactly a year. A couple of days ago I pulled the props out of the shed and fixed what needed to be repaired. I was amazed that it was in pretty good shape. Normally I have two seasons I do it, summer and two weeks in December. It feels like I usually do a lot of work on it at the begging of each of those seasons.

Here’s it set up after a couple of glue applications:

I also recently picked up a new webcam and I set it up on a tripod that’s at the floor of the circus. I think it’s an interesting view of the flea circus.

Seeing the flea circus from the “ground level” is something that I can’t do in an in perons show. Here’s me playing with the fire breathing flea:

I’m a fan of the low camera. I’m going to use it for a couple of high flea tricks like the trapeze. I like the texture that using this gives me!

Keepin’ It Real…

Somehow I stumbled up a Hallmark movie that had some magic in it. It’s called the Christmas House. Magic is a big plot line in the movie, and there’s magic sprinkled throughout the movie.

Turns out the magic consultant was a someone I knew. Jason Verners did a great job with the magic tricks being actual magic tricks…or at least magic tricks that are possible. Soo many shows or movie simply make it up, and that’s fine, but I think it’s way more realistic when the tricks have some basis in reality.

12 Cent Interactive Trick!

The last couple of days I’ve been writing about doing an interactive “do as I do” trick using coins that has a magical ending. Yesterday I talked about how I’m forcing the coin, and a couple days ago I talked broadly about how the coin vanish would happen.

Basically I’m using a 21 cent trick coin set…but instead of the dime that’s in the set I’m using a penny. That gives me a set of two pennies and two nickels that will nest to form a single nickel. You are essentially doing the standard routine used with tricks like the 21 cent trick, all the coins go into your hand, you remove a nickel (that has the other three coins inside of it), then open your hand to show the other three coins are gone.

What my forcing sequence gives is a mini effect before the main effect. More importantly is that the mini effect justifies removing the nickel from your hand, which shifts a lot of heat from the method of the trick AND removes heat from the coin on the table, since there was a reason to remove it.

What I love about working on this trick is that I’ve taken a trick (21 Cent trick), where the standard routine is garbage and made something decent out of it. I can only think of one other routine with the coin set that’s any good. It’s in one of John Mendoza‘s books and uses ae $1.35 coin set, which is essentially the same coin set. That routine ends with a very surprising production of 85 pennies!!!

Watch Nick Lewin…

On the this weeks episode of Masters of Illusion, the act to watch in Nick Lewin do his Slow Motion Torn and Restored Newspaper. He’s the best act on the show. You can see the lifetime of work he’s put into it. You can watch is on The CW’s website.

Nick knows every beat of that trick. starts out with energy, establishes his character and the magic is strong.

Pay attention to how each joke moves the act forward. There are no jokes shoehorned in there. It all relates directly to him or the trick.

The appearance was just under 2 minutes, and I counted 9 laughs in those two minutes. That gives him 4.5 laughs per minute. That’s pretty solid, my goal is 4 LPM’s. You’ll notice he front loads the routine with jokes and then the final 25% is magic, and he doesn’t really mix the two.

I think everyone who wants to be a comedy magician can learn a lot by watching Nick’s appearance.

Stuff I’d Never Do…

One of the fun things about making short pre-recorded videos for events is that I get to play around with things that I’d never do in my show. Here’s a clip of a trick from one of those videos:

What I really enjoy about making videos like this is getting to play a lot more. When you can try something 20 times, it allows you to take risks you’d never take in a live show.

Go out and play!