One of the things about working a lot is you see your gear a lot and how dirty your stuff gets sneaks up on you. I try to give all of my gear a good cleaning at the end of every run. One thing that I missed was my microphone windscreen. It’s probably been a month or so since I replaced it.
It’s pretty gross!
Then there’s my shoes, I wipe them down every day. Here’s them at the end of a 6 day fair run:
They get a good cleaning at the end of the run. If I didn’t give them a quick clean everyday, they would get crazy gross and the deep clean a the end of the week gets them ready for the next contract!
…so the moral of the story is clean everything, not just the show props!
Recently I did a short run of smaller summer camp shows. These are for kids ages 4 to about 11 and due to the current COVID rules, they happened outdoors. In the past I always did them inside as it eliminates distractions, however I’d rather do the do with the slightly harder conditions than not do the gig right now.
During my first one about halfway through the 40 minute show it started raining! I’d know what to do and was waiting for cues for the people who worked there as to whether I should wrap it up. I got no signal from them, so the plowed through in very light rain for the remaining twenty minutes! They kids seemed to not care.
During these shows I dress casually. The main reason is that when I look like what the younger kids normally see, it’s easier to not have them be scared of me. Another reason is that being out and doing multiple shows in one day will tear up a more formal costume, especially when you don’t have a place to change out of your costume between shows. The final reason is that my character isn’t a magician, but a dad who can do some cool stuff, so it fits.
When I perform at fairs outdoors, I don’t wear pants, I wear shorts. They are part of my “costume” and look that I’m going for. The shorts that I wear are actually pants that I’ve cut into shorts. There are a couple reasons I do this, the main one is that they fit differently and hang on my body differently than most shorts do.
In the past I’ve always taken them to my local tailor and had them do the conversion. However their shop closed about six month ago, so I couldn’t take them to my normal person. I decided to try to remember what I learned in 8th grade home economics class and do it myself. I spent about 45 mins cutting and hemming two pairs of pants and they turned out pretty well, but hemming pants isn’t a very difficult project.
Many magicians are surprised when they hear I wear shorts in my show. They think it’s not part of a costume, or what a magician should look like. They are entitled to their opinion, but they are part of a coordinated look, I’m not just throwing on shorts. They may not like that look, but it fits with what I want the audience to see when they see me onstage.
One thing that I get frequently get criticized about is how I dress when I perform. This is at less formal venues like at a fair or festival, not at a formal venue like a theater. A good example of my less formal “show clothes” is this: It’s a black button up shirt, and if … Continue reading “Dressed Up…”
One thing that I get frequently get criticized about is how I dress when I perform. This is at less formal venues like at a fair or festival, not at a formal venue like a theater. A good example of my less formal “show clothes” is this:
It’s a black button up shirt, and if it’s outdoors I wear maroon pants with it. To match it up my socks are black and my shoes are maroon. I’ll give you that it’s not a formal look, it’s still a look.
Recently this promo video came across my facebook feed and I’m not criticizing his act, or why he chose that as his costume, I’m using it to justify what I’m doing.
I think what I’m wearing looks more formal that the polo with your company’s logo on it. I think the polo makes you look like an employee, versus the performer. From a distance you can’t see the logo, so it’s just a polo.
Sure, I just may look like some guy, however that’s kinda my character and done intentionally.
Today is Halloween and also National Magic Day, it’s also my least favorite day to do magic shows. The main reason for this is costumes. If you read my post from yesterday (click here to read it) then you know I don’t wear a “costume” upon request. If my show worked better with me dressed … Continue reading “National Magic Day…”
Today is Halloween and also National Magic Day, it’s also my least favorite day to do magic shows. The main reason for this is costumes. If you read my post from yesterday (click here to read it) then you know I don’t wear a “costume” upon request. If my show worked better with me dressed as Dracula, I’d do it year round.
However, I’m not talking about my costume, but costumes people wear. People act strange when you put them in costumes.
First of all if you are performing for people wearing masks, it makes it very hard for them to see…or talk. you can’t hear them laugh, they have tunnel vision and can’t hear people around them laugh. So they are in their own little world. It makes it very hard to unite the crowd if they are all in their own little world.
Next, people tend to try to act out their character. This makes doing a show rough, because it’s hard to connect with someone pretending to be Catwoman. That also creates a situation that’s hard for the audience to relate to.
All of that said, I have one gig today, it’s an afternoon gig. For me this is key, kids are still in “daytime mode” and the adults shouldn’t be drunk. This is my preferred type of show today.
When you’ve been performing long enough, you will get requests for things outside of your normal show. These can be simple things like “can you use the CEO in a trick” to more complex things like can you write a whole show on a specific theme/topic. I’m not going to really talk about the … Continue reading “Special Requests at a Gig…”
When you’ve been performing long enough, you will get requests for things outside of your normal show. These can be simple things like “can you use the CEO in a trick” to more complex things like can you write a whole show on a specific theme/topic.
I’m not going to really talk about the writing a whole show, as that’s really a specialized thing and either you do it or you don’t. I don’t.
I’m going to talk about smaller requests. Recently I had an request at a corporate gig where they asked me to make a small gift appear and give it to someone. I could do that, however I talked them out of it.
Simple, the gift will have more meaning from someone the recipient knows than from me. I could make the gift appear while doing a trick with the event organizer, then present it to the recipient, which would have a lot more meaning. However that ends up being the end of the show, I don’t want to follow that.
I want the show to end strong, not on something I really have no control over. If the person who is helping me with the trick where the gift appears is a clunker on stage, then it drags my ending down.
The way I see it, for a corporate gig I’m hired to do the show I’ve done a thousand times (and my pricing reflects that), not to do a something I’ve never done before. I just don’t get enough of these requests to make it worthwhile to having as a part of my show.
Probably the number one request I get has to do with costuming. The organizer will call and say, “our event is yellow themed, can you wear all yellow?” My response is to explain to them that, “I wear certain things because it makes things more visible, so if I use a yellow handkerchief in the show, you won’t be able to see it if I wear yellow.” However I ‘ll gladly wear it, if they provide the clothes (the must meet certain requirements like pocket space, etc), the tailoring, and I must have them a month before the gig so that I can practice in them. Also there additional practice time is billable, and if something doesn’t work with the provided clothes (like yellow on yellow) then we can either drop it from the show (shortening the show) or they can pay for a new prop in a different color.
I’ve never had anyone agree to the paragraph above, however if they did, I would gladly make it work. I think that people who aren’t performers don’t realize how much effort goes into something as simple as wearing a different pair of pants. If a pocket is too narrow, or the cut wrong, I can’t sneak something into or out of my pocket smoothly. Then I may stumble on it, drop it and people think I’m not a good magician, when the reality is that it’s not me, it’s the costume.
So the moral of this post is: Do your show the best you can!