Senior Shows Zoom Training Session

magic show on zoom

A while ago I had an idea to host a zoom session about performing for seniors. It’s been a while since I’ve done any meaningful performing on zoom, so it was a little bit stressful. I did need to redownload and relearn the basics of using OBS (production program).

With all of the technical stress, the nice thing about giving presentations on Zoom is that I can tape my notes to the wall behind my computer! Also with this not being a show, I didn’t feel the need to dig out the backdrop or set up all of the lights.

My goal with the zoom session was to solve problems, not really as a lecture. There were a lot of questions and a topic that came up a couple times was the best way to contact senior communities. For me the best way to do that is with postcards or letters. While it may or may not be the method with the highest closing percentage, for me it’s the most efficient. I can spend less than an hour total and have a couple hundred postcards in the mail, where using phone or email will take a lot longer than that. With email, unless you already have a complete and up to date list, this can be fairly time consuming!

Another topic that came up a couple times is what to bring into a senior show and what type of material to do. My show fits in a briefcase and the audio has it’s own case. The other thing I travel with is a folding step stool.

magic show cases

When I do seniors shows, since they aren’t the best paying gigs, I need to be able to set up and pack quickly. This show can set up in about 15 mins and pack up in about 10 mins!

There will probably be another Senior Show Zoom at some point, if you want to be updated about it, contact me and ask to be on the mailing list!

PS If you are interested in performing in senior communities and don’t have my book How to Perform for Seniors, you can get it here:

Briefcase Show in action!

Last week was the first outing of the Briefcase show and it went pretty well. The whole show including the stands fit inside of the Pelican Briefcase. Here’s the show set up at the fair I was performing at last week:

briefcase magic show

The show uses a lot of three dimensional props, which is intentional. I think that a lot briefcase shows select material based on the prop being flat. Obviously that is a concern. But things like the applause sign, which is hollow can have things packed inside of it.

The whole show was done with me solo on stage, except for the second to last effect, which is a game show routine that uses three kids. I have a method for that routine that I haven’t tried yet, but probably should try so I know if it works or not.

I’m happy with how it’s turned out, and hoping to somehow figure out how to expand it to a 40-45 minute show, which would be ideal.


Pelican Briefcase Magic Show…

It’s taken forever, but I’m getting to work on assembling a briefcase magic show. I dug out of the shed an old Pelican 1525 case that I bought for a specific gig a while ago, then used for my outdoor kid shows in the summer of 2020.

This case had a flange on the bottom, and I took that off. It used to have a bunch of custom 3d printed holders in it, but I took them out when I started using the case for the kid shows. I did leave my Sharpie holder in the case. This is a pretty creative solution to keeping pens easily accessible. The yellow holder has magnets in it, and so do the pens. They will pretty securely in the holder, but are easy to reach in and remove.

I’m starting to play with the layout of things in the case:

I have to make some choices, like using poker size cards, or moving up to parlour or jumbo sized cards. I think that choice will end up being made for me by what props/routines end up in the show.

Briefcase Magic Show…

One of my least favorite tropes in magic ads is “packs flat and plays big“. I don’t like it because you should be selecting material that is right for your show, not right for the size of a case that fits under the seat of an airplane. I had a saying, “fits my artistic vision and packs as small as it can“. Some props are simply large and there’s no realistic way to make them any smaller. If that big prop is part of your art, then lug it around.

In the past, for a specific gig I needed a “briefcase magic show” that I could carry onto an airplane and when I got to the gig all I had to do was open the case and it was good to go. It worked for that gig, and I used it for a few more gigs. What I didn’t like was a lot of the material was selected for its size and lack of set up at the show. I wasn’t picking tricks because they were best for the show, but best for the travel and set up.

One of the things I want to work on right now is making a briefcase magic show that can live in the trunk of my car and has minimal set up when I arrive at the gig. I’m going to start the show length at 30 mins and hopefully work it up to 45 mins. The goal is for the show to have some texture. Most of the pack flat, play big shows I’ve seen lack texture. Most of the props are flat cards, and the show (to me) feels flat.

The other goal for the show would be something that could play in a black box theater, so up to about 100 people, and could be done with just a handheld microphone. That would allow me to not have to bring audio and spend time setting it up. I’m hoping for a 5 min set up and 5 min take down.

Quick set up, that plays big, that’s the goal.