Today is the the day that I perform my final virtual magic show! I’m pretty excited that I’m back to doing in person shows, however going forward I will still do virtual shows if requested. In the last year and a half, I think I’ve figured it out at a workable level. My virtual show was decent, not crazy amazing, but passable.
The HUGE thing that I’m not going to miss going forward is setting up my studio. I don’t have a dedicated space to do virtual shows, so I had to build and tear down the studio every time I did the show. That made the effort to do the virtual show close to what it would be to drive to an in person show.
The other big headache is technology. I think that’s the thing that was the most stressful about these shows. The internet has mysterious dropped out during shows, or gotten laggy while I was performing. That part that’s completely out of my hands, but affects the perception of how good the show is caused me a lot of stress!
I’m hoping today’s show virtual show is uneventful!
Lately I’m getting more and more requests for hybrid events. These are live, in person shows, that also have a virtual component. I think we’re going to have more and more of these. Last week I did four school assemblies that were hybrid, with some of the kids in the room with me and some at home. I just hosted a charity auction that was a hybrid event:
Here’s what I’m noticing about these, you can’t easily stage it for both audiences. Most event planners think you can just plunk up a camera, and that’s not the case.
For example the event in the picture above, they had me set up for the camera, but didn’t think about the in person audience. First of all I’m sitting at a table on the opposite side of the room, so I’m losing connection with a huge chunk of the in person audience. The didn’t have a monitor, so I couldn’t see the gallery view of the virtual audience, so I didn’t have any connection with them.
The gig went well, it was a hosting gig, so it wasn’t a show and we ended up raising more money than the charity’s goal for the evening, so it was a success…but it could have been soo much better for both audiences!!!
We’re heading in the right direction for things opening back up for live, in person magic shows. Next week I’ve got my second bigger in person show. I’ll be performing in Lincoln City, OR as part of their Festival of Illusions on 3/23.
The bigger thing I’m having to figure out is that there’s not really one set of rules that everyone place has to follow. The regulations so far are varying everywhere as to what COVID restrictions you have to follow. Sure the only 100% sure fire way to plan is to assume you’ll be 25 feet from the audience (who is distanced) and you’ll be doing a no contact, no volunteer on stage, magic show while you are wearing a mask.
Most places don’t have requirements that strict. Since I don’t have a huge itinerary of big events, it’s easier to plan how I’m going to work the show on a case by case basis. I’m trying to work on things that use people from their seats in the audience and not relying too much on that.
The in person show went well, and it’s good to have a full show under my belt! It was sold out at just over 200 people and it was a fundraiser for a venue that had been closed due to the pandemic.
I’m glad I spent the time working on my show and relearning it at home, versus on stage. There were a few moments where I hadn’t foreseen how things would play out socially distant and needed the brain power freed up by having some muscle memory of the show.
Everyone says “it’s like riding a bicycle” and it sort of is, but I was still remember bits each time I practiced!
Last night I performed at a hybrid in person / virtual show. The in person aspect of it was interesting as it was a socially distant, outdoor event in tents…oh, the show took place at the tail end of a snowstorm, so it was cold out! I was performing indoors with a an open roll up door in front of me. I could see one table, the rest were in tents watching on a projection screen which was showing what was on the zoom feed.
It was a very interesting experience. The camera was over my left shoulder and the audience in front of me. The challenge was where to play to. I chose to mostly play to the camera as that’s where the majority of the audience’s viewpoint was from. It’s very strange to no play to the only group of humans you can see. I didn’t ignore the one table I could see, but did most of my talking to the camera.
Going forward, I think ticketed, in person shows are going to have to do this hybrid approach to make any money if they physical audience has to be socially distant. How you will approach this scenario is something to start thinking about now…