Behind the Virtual Curtain…

Performing a live, virtual show over Zoom it a lot more involved than most people think. Last night I gave a talk about and demonstration about Hand Shadow Puppets and taught a magic trick for the Washington State Parks Great Camp In over Zoom that was broadcasted on YouTube live.Here’s a side by side of what’s happening in the room and what is going out on YouTube.

The person I’m talking to is the host of the show, who is in another location.

The person in the room is my daughter who is running production for me.

For a bit of context, the speaker before me just gave a presentation about bats.

One of my goals when doing virtual shows is to do something that makes my daughter who is running production to laugh. I want to try to crack her up. During the bat presentation before mine, I quickly downloaded the flying bat graphic and added a button to my stream deck. Right before I was live, I told her she could hit the bat effect button anytime during the intro interview or the extro interview. She added the throwing of the physical stuffed bat without me knowing.

I got her to laugh, but also it puts energy and fun into the presentation! A lot of the virtual shows I’ve seen are missing energy and fun. I’m not saying you need to be bouncing off the walls, but so many are performed like they aren’t people watching at the other end of the camera. Figure out how to make the virtual show fun for you to do, and that goes a long way for the audience!

That Was Cute…

For the last twenty years or so, I’ve tried to have a show that people don’t call “cute”. I want what I do to have some edge or be amazing, and not simply cute. However recently a show producer called something I did cute and I was excited for that comment! I was doing my new routine to my Polaroids to Envelope trick that I’ve written about on this blog.

What makes the trick “cute” is the story, it’s a personal story about my family. It’s a real, honest and true story. It’s also something outside of my comfort zone. I do joke based magic tricks, and while I do reveal personal things about my life, this is the first thing I’ve written that was more about the story than the jokes.

The show producer commented that she had a kid and the story was really relatable. Maybe it’s me getting older, but that comment really warmed my heart. Performing is about connecting with people. Usually I do that through fart jokes, but I did it through parenting this time. This routine took me out of my comfort zone and it paid off.

Is my show going to have a huge shift because of this one success? Nope. This trick does add some texture to my show and I will continue to explore writing like this in the future.