About a week ago I was able to switch back to using the ProMystic Color Match and I’ve been using it with 100% success! I’m glad to be able to not Anverdi Color Match set where I was constantly getting a missed signal. That doesn’t mean that the Anverdi set is bad, it just doesn’t work for how I work.
The ProMystic set is the set I’ve used for years, and that may be why I prefer it. I know why it works, and when it doesn’t, I know why it’s not working. I feel like I definitely committed giving the Anverdi set a chance. I know tons of people that prefer the Anverdi set over the ProMystic. I think ultimately your performing style will dictate which works better for you.
Last week I was performing at Montana Fair in Billings, MT. One day the news was there taking video for their fair highlights. This is always tricky for me as if I don’t talk to them, they will always use a super wide shot that’s out of context and makes no sense. In a highlight reel, stuff doesn’t need a lot of context if the content is chosen correctly.
What I do is try to talk to them or whoever the media coordinator is and do staged video where I act like I’m performing for a crowd and we put the camera onstage to get video that’s better framed and I use tricks that you don’t need much context to understand what’s happening.
Here’s the video from last week:
Whenever possible I try to show or tell them what I’m going to do so that they know what to expect and can put their camera in a good spot. I will also tell them the bad spots to record from if there are any.
Last weekend I had to deal with a crazy interruption during my show. It’s something I’ve never really had to deal with during a show. Independent of the fair that I was performing at was an airshow….and my show was the same time as the Blue Angels!
There’s really not much that I can do, the planes are loud and let’s face it, way more exciting than my show. I made a few jokes about, and stopped the show while they were performing, that’s really all that I could do.
“That’s the most expensive opening act I’ve ever had!“
It was only two days of an eight day gig, so there were plenty more shows to do without conflicting with the air show!
This week the stage I’m performing on has a dressing area off to the side of it. I’ve been using it as storage for my show props overnight. I don’t just leave my props set up overnight because the dressing area is a tent. I pack the show back up, but leave the cases in the dressing area.
Since the fair is still open after I’m finished for the day, and no one is really patrolling the dressing area when the fair is closed, I lock up my gear.
I’m using a bicycle cable to lock my gear to one of the tent posts. Sure, someone could probably cut the cables or locks, but I’m guessing the average person doesn’t bring cable cutters to the fair!
This gives me a bit of peace of mind and keeps me from having to lug my gear across the fairground at the beginning and end of day.
This week I’m sharing a stage with a show that has a large structure for puppets.
This structure can’t move between shows, so I have to perform in front of it. I don’t like having other acts stuff behind me while I perform and normally I will make the other act move their stuff to the side during my show. However that’s not an option this week. Luckily I had my pop up banner with me that I use at library shows.
This was a decent solution to covering up their puppet structure. The bonus is that it also has my name onstage behind me while I’m performing.
This year I’m performing about one hundred days outside at fairgrounds across the USA. That’s a lot of shows outside! Over the years I’ve learned a few things to make performing outdoors a little easier on your body. This is what works for me, your mileage may vary.
Hydrate: If you’re going to be performing outdoors, you need to hydrate. That doesn’t mean just drinking water during your show, it means drinking water the day before your outdoor gig. You need to start the day hydrated. For me that means drinking at least a gallon of water a day the day before my first day of outdoor gigs and at least a gallon every day I’m in the sun.
A good indicator of hydration is the color of your pee. More info on this is at https://www.healthline.com/health/hydration-chart
Sunblock: Use it correctly. Apply it 15-30 before you’re in the sun. I use one that’s for waterproof or for “sport” due to sweating during the show.
Summer Costume: You need something to wear that’s consistent with your character that is also lighter weight and breathable. One thing that I do is have a version of what I wear onstage for indoor gigs, but had a tailor convert the pants into shorts and cut the sleeves short. It makes a huge difference!
Keeping Fresh: Use a 50/50 mix of water and cheap vodka and put it into a spray bottle. I use this to deodorize my clothes between shows or at the end of the day. More info at: https://thewardrobeguide.com/vodka-spray-for-costumes/
Stay Dry: I keep a hand towel in my case to dry myself off during shows when I get sweaty. A magician dripping with sweat isn’t the best look.
Take Breaks: In between shows I get out of the sun. There’s no shame in sitting for a bit in your car with the AC on to cool off.
One thing about performing outdoors is that the weather can make pulling a crowd very difficult. Last week at a fair, on Sunday it rained hard all day and attendance was really low during the day. I had the last show of the night and my show started an hour before the fair closed, so there was literally no one on the fairgrounds!
The picture above was taken from the stage about 5 minutes before my show’s start time. The challenge is what do you do? I probably could have called off the show and the fair would have been OK with that. Personally I will stand on stage and talk for however long my show is supposed to last. I can usually make something happen, but I wasn’t optimistic about a show happening.
Right after show start time I was on the mic working on jokes, and two people walked by and I started talking to them and got them to sit down and did some informal magic for them from the stage.
At this point with less than an hour left in the fair and a break in the rain, some other people started to venture out of the buildings, and about 15 mins into my show I actually had a crowd!
It wasn’t the biggest crowd I’ve ever had, but I did end up getting about 90% of people who walked by my show to join the crowd, so that’s HUGE!
The moral of this story is always work hard on stage and don’t “phone it in”.
A couple of months ago I recorded an interview with Cris Johnson for The Professional Magician podcast. We were going to talk about more businessy stuff, but we ended up talking about how I work on my show.
When I was starting out, no one ever told me how to work on my show…and I bet if I asked a room full of magicians how they work on their show, the vast majority really won’t have an answer beyond some generic “I practice”.
I came up with a system to working on my show that I call the 6R’s. Each step begins with the letter R. I’ve presented this as a lecture that I’ve presented to groups of performers around the country. A couple of years ago I did one for the virtual KAX Convention and have a recording of it.
If you’d like to learn the 6R’s to working on your show, you can get access to video for $5! Simply use the Add To Cart button below
6R’s To Working On Your Show $5
Once you order, I’ll email you the download info withing 24 hours.
Frequently I get asked by magicians what it’s like to perform at a fair. One of the main questions is about where I keep my stuff and hang out between the shows. Usually there’s some sort of green room, which usually doubles at the storage room for your props.
Here’s the green/storage room from the fair last week.
You can see that every act has their own table and there’s an table for drinks and snacks.
Here’s my table:
I try to keep all of my props set up whenever possible, so that I’m not doing a full set up every morning and pack up every night. I simply move my gear to the green room at the end of the day.
Every fair gig is different, so sometimes your storage is simply a closet and sometimes you have more formal green rooms with couches, microwaves and fridges.
Sometimes where you perform outdoors you’ll have issues with the weather. One night it rained most of the day, and that killed attendance for the shows right after it stopped raining. There was literally no people on the fairgrounds to pull to make an audience, so we used the time as practice time.
The juggler at the fair and I used that down time to work on some lasso tricks:
And since we both had lassos, I was able to try doing two lassos at the same time!
We could have called the show and not performed, however we both got in some fun practice time! I always try to look for spots in my day when I can get in a little bit of practice and a rained out show was a great spot!