About a hundred years ago, there were a lot of tricks where objects when through a hat. Stanley Collins had several giant dice through hat methods, and I think P & L made a dice thru hat as well. Then there’s glass through hat. I have one that’s about 100 years old, and while I think it’s over engineered for the effect, it is fun to do.
Here’s my first time trying it out:
From a method standpoint, it’s an interesting solution to making a glass penetrate a hat. I don’t think it’s the best solution and I would never do it in a show, however it is fun to practice! That the thing with magic is that you have to have fun, I still love magic. It’s not just my job, I love learning about it, I love playing with it and I love performing it.
Once again last night I was back in the office getting ready for some virtual shows. Everyone thought virtual magic shows would go away once in person shows started up again, however they are still here.
One thing I don’t like about how I do my shows is that it’s not very mobile. What I mean by that is that it wouldn’t be easy to travel with my current virtual show and set up if I wanted to do one while I was on the road.
That should be something that I work on, essentially a “briefcase show” but for virtual. The trick part shouldn’t be a problem, it’s the lights and stands that will be tricky to figure out how to pack small and light.
When it comes to prop management, I’m not the best, but I do have a system. All of my hand held props are in a bin on my table. I don’t do any performing on the table top, it all happens in my hands, so the table simply holds my props. Here’s a peek into my table top bin:
As things get used they either go back into their space in the bin if the trick is instantly reset at the completion of the trick. If the trick doesn’t reset, it goes into my case which is to my left and holds a two larger props I use. This system works well for me when doing three shows a day at fairs. It makes it easy for me to assess what tricks need to be reset and make sure nothing gets missed.
I’m sure there are better systems. I know some two person acts have the “assistant” bring out each routine and then remove the props at the end of the routines. The advantage of that is the show is getting packed up while the show is happening. I’ve used this system in the past when I’ve performed with my daughter. It’s a really nice way to do it, but it’s not something in can do in 90% of my shows.
What’s probably the most important thing is that you have a system of some sort to try to eliminate or shorten dead time while getting or putting away props. Sometimes a joke or interesting patter can fill this time. Other instances, simply having a prop that’s easy to grab is the best option.
In my show I primarily work out of the little bin on the top of my table. It allows me access to my props without having to reach squat to reach down into a case that’s on the floor. It also lets me look into the case and see everything quickly and easily. This is what my table top looks like at the beginning of the show:
As some of the larger props get used they get moved to the trunk on the floor. This is a fairly efficient way for me, as a one man act to manage my props.
Many years ago, I used to work out of my show case that was on the floor. When I was younger I didn’t mind squatting down and grabbing props. As I’ve gotten older, I don’t like to do that, also, ducking behind a case visually doesn’t look good onstage.
I feel like I’ve put a lot of work into the table I’m using for virtual shows. I think it’s really made a difference in the flow of the show. It’s soo much more efficient use of space than how I was previously doing it.
Here’s one view of the shelf:
And here’s the shelf rotated 180 degrees:
The nice thing with having holders is that I can look down and immediately know if something isn’t there as it’s holder will be empty. There are two wild cards as far as set up goes, the rest of the props can stay set up all the time. Those are the Gypsy Yarn and the silk in apple/peach. Both of those routines I set up on the day of the show.
You’ll also notice some redundancies, like each trick that uses a pen has it’s own pen. This is because I don’t want to be searching around for a pen, and it makes sure I have a back up pen if one dries out.
When the COVID pandemic hit, a buddy and I built a studio in his garage. Unfortunately he just bought a house in another state and is moving, so I’m working on my at home studio. Part of that is customizing props, one of the things that I’m working on is a table. For virtual shows I like a high table, something that’s just below armpit level. That makes it easier to frame my face.
The table I’m currently using has a pretty small table top. The base it’s on is pretty slim, which means I can’t put a very bit table top on it without it getting wobbly. In my shed I have some old speaker stands that are very heavy duty compared to a typical magic table’s base. These will allow me to move the table up high and still be sturdy.
I designed and printed out a flange:
It pressure fits onto the speaker stand.
It’s attached to the table top by eight screws.
It’s very sturdy! I was amazed, there’s no wobbly in the table. I may try to put a larger tabletop onto a speaker stand to give myself some more performing space!
Yesterday I wrote a post about what playing with gimmicked shells, pea and table for the three shell game. Here’s a simple sequence I put together with them to highlight what you can do with the combination:
My end goal is going to be having “zones” on my table that make the balls appear under that specific shell. I think will have some interesting possibilities…