When I had gotten my wisdom teeth pulled a while ago, I kept the teeth that were removed. For years they’ve sat on my shelf doing nothing. Well I did donate one of them to a friend’s oddity museum, but other than that they just sit there.
While not the greatest trick, here’s something I did yesterday:
I had some black paper on my desk, then saw the teeth and decided that would be a good trick to do. I think I may reshoot it and put it out on social media at some point.
Coming up in a few days is the Odd and Offbeat Variety Show which is a live show that takes place over Zoom. Here’s a peek at what has happened in the past on this show and what to look forward to this week:
The show is on 7/16 at 5pm (pacific) and is $7 per household.
One of the biggest challenges right now with all of the Social Distancing is breaking in new material. Personally I tend to try to work out things on stage. I try them, I ad lib, I tweak and adjust. Right now some in-person venues are starting to open up and this is great and will make working on new material much easier.
Here’s an early version of a trick that I wrote about a month ago on this blog. It’s using “fishing” along with a physical prediction for the trick.
The big change that I made was that I’m pulling the card out of the envelope before the card is named. I’m taking a risk that the person can totally screw my ending by lying about the card that they saw. However the questions leading into the reveal makes it hard to lie, they just can’t make up a card at the last moment as they’ve already confirmed things about it. That’s not going to stop an asshole from just saying a different card, but it does make it harder.
There’s one trick that I’ve been fascinated by for decades and it’s the Himber Pail. Here’s a video of Richard Himber doing it on Don Alan’s Magic Ranch:
I love this trick, the effect is good and it’s got a ton of suprises and hits all of the beats! The problem is that the are hard to find and when the pop up at auctions, somehow I always miss bidding on them.
Then a few years ago, I set out to make a version of the trick. Here’s what I came up with:
The technical end of how it works is completely different than Himber’s method, but the effect is the same. Himber’s method is way more practical than mine. Also my method wasn’t 100% where his is.
This is a trick I revisit very now and then, and still have yet to come up with a practical way to do it. Himber’s method doesn’t scale down to a cup size very well. Eventually I’ll come up with a way…
Early on in the days of “shelter in place”, bookers who had magic shows scheduled were blindly switching to online shows. They didn’t really know what it would look like, they just needed another option. Now that we’re almost four months into having restrictions on large gatherings, people are starting to look into booking these, and not just converting existing bookings.
Because of the shift from converted shows already scheduled to scheduling new shows, I decided it was time to make a promo video for my virtual magic show. Here’s what the current version looks like:
I’m going to make another version, this was the first so that I have something to show potential bookers right now. As I compile more and more video, I’ll make another promo video.
In yesterday’s blog post I wrote about a four ace production that I saw on social media and why it wasn’t good. This morning I’m going into my social media and found a four ace production from about a year ago. If I remember correctly this is from Principia by Harapan Ong.
Here’s why the is a better trick that the one that I shared yesterday:
I’m talking, it fills the dead space a bit better
No procedural shuffling
You get an ace production right away
The final ace production is magical and puts an punctuation on the trick
Is the ace trick that I did the best? No, however it’s way better than the one that I shared yesterday. Think about what you’re sharing before you put it out there.
After being in magic most of my life, I still love it. That’s not to say that I unconditionally love any trick, there are plenty of bad ones. For example I had this one come through my Facebook feed:
For a four ace production it’s pretty bad, and the payoff after all that procedure heavy shuffling doesn’t justify the time it took to get there. After all of that shuffling, at least give me a flash production of the four aces, don’t just take them off the top of the deck.
For a social media video, a better trick would be a couple of riffle shuffles and then a flash production, and you’d be at less than 30 seconds of video and it’d be a much stronger trick. For one minute to simply turn the top cards over, you’d need some novelty or cardistry type shuffling to make it interesting.
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to do a “pass the prop” video to promote a virtual show that I’m in. I’d never really done one before and there were a couple of things I needed to consider. The big one was was that I was quarantining with another act, so we had to decide whether to embrace being in the same place or try to hide that.
We decided to embrace it and you can see what we put out here:
The show came out a while ago, I had just forgotten about this video until now. The show turned out well and the host really did a great job, hopefully there will be more!
Normally I don’t produce shows, it’s a pain to deal with many acts that aren’t full time pros (and some full time pros as well). During the current “shelter in place” I’m co-producing a variety show that takes place over zoom. There are a lot of approaches to these streaming shows. Our theory is to do them live, and it give it the feeling that anything can happen. Also a live show that is happening while you are watching it has a different energy for the viewer than just watching a youtube video.
Here’s highlights from our last show:
We’re going to a fun, hanging out vibe and I think we’ve gotten that. It’s not just a show it’s a hangout. If you’re doing a streaming show, what separates yours from just a camera on your show?
I’ve been making tricks that I do is to make them more “bullet proof” on camera. One of the things that I’ve done is to use a gimmicked table to avoid going to the pocket to ditch or to steal things. This is changing how I think about a lot of close up magic.
One thing performing for the camera and not live close up is that it’s hard to get your face and table in frame at the same time. That is when you use a traditional table height, which is about weight height. You end up with either a very wide shot and it’s harder to see the action or just the tabletop and your crotch in frame.
Personally I’d rather people see my face open space on the table. In the past I’ve done a couple things, first having a smaller table top that’s slightly higher than normal helped. I also try squat down to physically get my head closer to the table. This is uncomfortable and wouldn’t want to do a whole show this way, but it helps allow me to get my face in the video.
Here’s an example from video of mine:
You’ll see in the video above that the table is at about belly button level, instead of at the bottom of my crotch. What I’ve recently done is raise my table up to a couple of inches below my armpit and shrink the size of the tabletop. That makes it a lot easier to show both my face and the tabletop!
For me when I perform, I want to have my face in frame as much as possible, that’s just as important as the magic. Sure there are times when you want to focus on the trick, but for me the overwhelming majority of the time, I want my face also in frame. Keep in mind, this is for a static one camera video, when you have a moving or multiple cameras, you have more options to show your face and highlight the magic.