Anthony Hernandez and Dawn!

Last week I worked with Anthony Hernandez and Dawn in California. We instantly clicked and I had a blast chatting with them!

anthony hernandez and dawn magic show

They do a great show, they are both very likable on stage. One of the huge advantages of being a duo act is how they run their music. Every act they do in the show is to music and it well chosen. As they hit the end of the trick and the magic happens, the music’s audio bumps up. It’s great!

Another great thing Anthony does is how he sells the effect. He really pauses, and stretches out the magic. It made me realize I still rush the end too much, and I go a lot slower than I used to!

They do a great show, and if you get a chance to see them, I recommend it. I learned a lot from the show and also enjoyed watching it!


Playing With Others…

Working on the road at fairs allows me two work with all sorts of acts. Last week I worked with Scotty and Rich and Orion. They are all variety acts and with very different styles!

One of the great things is chatting ideas with these different acts. Everyone comes at it with a different background and preferences as to how a show should be done. Talking to other acts and getting feedback often will show you things in your show you didn’t see or thing of.

If you work with other acts, talk to them and use them to help you grow!

Party Popper Idea…

party popper

One of the cool things about having a 3D printer is it helps me make my ideas a reality, and do it fairly easily. Last week I got the idea in my head of having a remote control party popper. If you don’t know what a party popper is, it’s a little tube with a string. You pull the string, there’s a bang and and little streamers shoot out.

The mechanism is pretty simple, it’s going to be a motor on a remote control. The party popper needs something to hole it in place, so I designed a little holder for it, with a hole in the back:

The plan is to attach this to a board with the battery, remote receiver and motor. To load it, you’ll put in the party popper, tie the string to the motor and when you’re ready, simply push the on button on the remote.

We’ll see if this actually works once I put it together later today…

The Secret to Likability…

The easiest step to being likable onstage is smiling. That’s it. If you can do that you’re soo much closer to the audience liking you.

Smiling makes you look like you want to be there and you are having fun. Yes, there are times you don’t want to smile, and those times should be well thought out. Your default should be a smile.

Many years ago I heard an interview with comedian Neal Brennan on Tom Papa’s podcast Come to Papa. He mentioned that he thought he was smiling onstage, but realized he wasn’t. Onstage you need to smile bigger than you think you need to for it to play to the audience. Hearing that interview really helped my show!

Final Weekend of the Moisture Festival 2022

Tomorrow I start my final weekend performing at The Moisture Festival in Seattle. I was in the show last weekend and it was a ton of fun. This weekend there were be a bunch of magicians, Mike Caveney, Tina Lenert and Just Felice

I’ll be doing hand shadow act and probably my bullwhip act during the shows this weekend. One of the things that the festival likes about what I do is that it doesn’t really conflict with things that other magicians do.

One huge thing that’s really helped me with my career is having a “novelty” act that I can do. It really helps out when you are in variety shows, or even in just plain ol’ magic shows with other magicians. It makes you a lot more versatile as an act.

P.S. If you’re interesting in learning to do hand shadows, you can learn more about them here

First Thumbtips…

The thumb tip began being used by magicians in the late 1800’s and it’s actual creator isn’t exactly know, there are two people that clam it’s use. Recently I was at a museum and they had some Egyptian finger and toe caps:

These are essentially thumb tips, but used for decoration, and not for magic. There’s a lot of stuff that exists in the real world, that magicians notice and start to use for magical purposes. I wonder if these could have been the inspiration for the thumb tip?

We’ll never know for sure, but they sure do look usable!


MC Tip…

Last week while performing at the Moisture Festival, I hosted one show. One of your jobs as MC is to read their announcements, which is a pretty long list that has to happen up front before you introduce the first act. The announcements are things like fire exit instructions.

During my MC spot, I took those on right away and did those the first thing out. It really fell flat, and I had to dig out of a hole.

After the show Jamy Ian Swiss pulled me aside and reminded me of something I already knew, but didn’t do. He said, “Never start the show with announcements“. He’s right, and I’m glad he mentioned it to me. It’s something I know, put didn’t put into practice. I’m 1000% glad he mentioned that to me, otherwise this could have been the beginning of starting a bad habit while MCing.


Cutting Up Jackpots…

One of the trends in the county/state fair market is the fair putting the performers up in a house like an Air BnB instead of a hotel. Usually this is a great thing, I haven’t been housed with anyone I don’t get along with…yet.

The camaraderie that’s built hanging out at night BS’ing over a few beers around the table is one of my favorite things. In the carnival world that call it “cutting up jackpots

This is also where a lot of networking and creative brainstorming happens. I know some performers like a space to themselves, but they are missing out one of my favorite parts of working on the road!


Keep Focused…

Right now I’m reading the book Stolen Focus, it’s about how the bombardment of information we get overwhelms us and the distraction that social media is. I’m not too far into yet, but it’s definitely interesting and is motivating me to make some changes in my life.

When I started doing my morning writing first thing in the morning, I was travelling and would do it in the kitchen of the long term Air BnB that I was staying at. As my travels became more hotel based or I was home more often, I did it at my desk with my computer nearby. Just having the laptop next to me, meant I tended to look up things more often, which isn’t a bad thing, until you realize that sometimes end up on searching for things or visiting websites that aren’t necessary to the task at hand.

I did some searching and found a chrome browser extension called Pause. What it does is you have a list of websites that it pauses before you can access them. You can edit the list of websites and the length of the pause. When you go to the website you get a green page that won’t let you access the website you’re trying to get to for 5 seconds (or whatever you set it at). I find this really helpful to keep me on task. Once I see the screen, I realize I’m mindless clicking or trying to mindlessly scroll around.

Adding the Pause browser extension and going back to doing my morning writing at the kitchen table really have gotten my creative productivity back on track!


Using Light to add Punctuation

While in Arizona last week I visited Organ Stop Pizza and I wrote a little bit about it yesterday. Today I’m writing about something else that I noticed with performance. In many of the songs the organist played, there was lighting changes:

The room was normally dark, and when he got towards ends of song and it had a big ending, he would lighten up the room for the finale, then darken it at the end. While these songs were songs that had more exciting endings, the lighting change end really signaled the crowd to clap and cheer louder.

This is a technique used in many theater shows, sometimes ending the trick with a blackout. I’m sure there’s a name for it in theater terms, I just don’t know it. However it’s a way to signal the end of a trick or routine that may have less off a definite and hard punctuation at the end.

The organist used the lighting very deliberately and very effectively. Personally I’m a pretty basic lighting guy, and that’s probably because I came out of stand up comedy rooms, and not theaters. However it’s something I would like to explore more.