One thing that’s been life changing for my show is learning to use a 3D printer. Recently I was part of a panel that was talking about 3D printing for performers and I made a quick video tutorial that took you through the entire design process of making a holder for a thumb tip and dollar bill holder.
Here it is:
Hopefully this took some of the mystery out of 3D printing. Honestly I thought it would be much harder, until I got one and learned to do it!
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.
What are you doing to stay creative right now? I’ve got several outlets for creativity, however on of them is new to me. During the self quarantine, my brothers and our families have a virtual dinner once a week. Last week they asked me to do a cooking show, so I’ve been working on that for fun.
One of the things that I came up with was to turn a garlic clove into chopped garlic. The simple solution is to use a thumb tip. I didn’t really want my hands covered in garlic, so I thought about wearing gloves and a then this I covered a thumbtip with the end of glove and it worked great!
Forcing yourself outside of your comfort zone is a great way to get yourself thinking creatively! If the cooking show turns out watchable, I’ll share it here.
One of the hardest groups to work for is middle school aged kids. They don’t have the life experience that someone a bit older has, but are too old for the reference that elementary school aged kids would get. I work for them like I would for a group of adults, I’m just aware that … Continue reading “Let it Die…”
One of the hardest groups to work for is middle school aged kids. They don’t have the life experience that someone a bit older has, but are too old for the reference that elementary school aged kids would get. I work for them like I would for a group of adults, I’m just aware that some of my material will fall flat.
I do my best to cut material that won’t work for that age range, however there’s some stuff I need to leave in. For example I need to move something from one thumb tip to another in my show. I cover this by reaching into the bin on my table and taking out a W-9 Tax Form and there’s a joke about it. This bit has to be there, otherwise I’m just reaching the bin, shuffling around and coming back out with my hands empty. This makes the trick a lot less deceptive.
In the show that I did for the middle school group, I did the bit and had to let it die in front of the audience. I had no choice. I did present the bit with much less emphasis than I normally would. This played more like a throwaway gag for the few adults in the room. The trick otherwise played well. Being aware of what will work for an audience and what won’t puts you way ahead of the game!
One of the most common joke questions people ask is if you can turn a one dollar bill into a hundred dollar bill. When people ask things like this they think they are the first person to every ask you that. There are three ways to deal with it. First you can laugh with them, … Continue reading “As You Wish…”
One of the most common joke questions people ask is if you can turn a one dollar bill into a hundred dollar bill. When people ask things like this they think they are the first person to every ask you that. There are three ways to deal with it. First you can laugh with them, next you can try to one up them with a joke, and finally you can do what they ask.
Of the three reactions to the joke, the only one I don’t recommend is the second one. Let the person have their moment, they are going to allow you many more. Now as for the first and third option, I prefer being able to comply, but that’s not always possible with the “make my wife disappear” jokes, so then you have to laugh it off with them.
For something like turn my dollar bill into a hundred dollar bill, you can comply. You can keep a hundred dollar bill in a thumb tip and do a bill switch, however if you do this you have to give them the hundred dollar bill. It’ll cost you ninety nine bucks, but you’ll have created a miracle that they’ll talk about forever.
Another way would to be to take their dollar and switch it for a bill that has the serial number altered. The serial number reads “A 00000100 S”, so it’s a hundred dollar bill. You could also have the serial number read “1 HUNDRED”. Either way you’ve turned their bill into a hundred. Changing the serial number takes a bit of work, but it’s a lot cheaper than spending $99!!!
With a magic trick, all of the little things matter and they matter a lot! There’s a trick that I do in the show that when I started doing it, it used three thumb thumb tips. At one point I had to remove something from one of them, and put it into a different thumb … Continue reading “Little Things…”
With a magic trick, all of the little things matter and they matter a lot! There’s a trick that I do in the show that when I started doing it, it used three thumb thumb tips. At one point I had to remove something from one of them, and put it into a different thumb tip!
After really thinking about how the trick flowed, I managed to figure out a way to do it with only two thumb tips. One of the tips is a XXL thumb tip, and that solved the the problem of having to move something from one thumb tip to another, and it also meant one less time that I need to go to the bin on my table.
The next problem was prop management. On my table, there’s a bin. In that bin are my props, and the thumb tips used to just lay on the bottom of the bin. The problem is that they roll around, especially if my table is carried out, and not preset. I solved this by 3D printing this holder:
The foot on the holder is to provide a more steady base, so that it can’t tip over. Hopefully the thumb tips will stay upright!
Recently I worked with an act and the airline lost his luggage, and he had to perform for two days without gear. He’s a pro, and was really flustered, I think more at how the airline handled the situation than specifically about his missing gear. His shows were great, but it got me thinking about … Continue reading “What’s Your Plan B?”
Recently I worked with an act and the airline lost his luggage, and he had to perform for two days without gear. He’s a pro, and was really flustered, I think more at how the airline handled the situation than specifically about his missing gear. His shows were great, but it got me thinking about what my backup plan is.
Sure we all can go to the Walmart and put together a show, and I hear performers say that’s their back up plan all time. That’s all good, but whatever is in your “Walmart Show” is material you really need to practice. It should be your “B” show, meaning you do it every now and then. You have jokes and bits, not just do tricks.
This made me think of what I can carry onto a plane, that’s will play big. I’m putting together a list of things so I’m prepared for when this does happen. I also want to do it on my terms, meaning, I have a plan and I’m not scrounging.
The easy starting point is to figure out what card tricks would play big on stage.
1: ACAAN 2: Card to Pocket 3: Card Memorization
These are tricks that have already been in my stage show in the past, so I have good routines for them. These also are very different in texture, they don’t feel like the same trick. Those three tricks are about 12-15 mins. Right away I’m 1/3 of the way to a 45 mins show.
Now to build upon the card tricks to fill in the show. I could add some mentalism:
1: Blindfold drawing duplication 2: Impromptu Book Test 3: Cue Card Confabulation
These three tricks also have different textures and will bring the show to about 30 mins. I can make the the cue cards with the pad of paper from the drawing duplication and I will have the coins from the blindfold, I can use them for a coin trick:
1: Coin Under Watch
I’m going to have to be careful to space out coin under watch and card to pocket as they are both “transportation” tricks. This is not a big deal, I just need to be aware of it. This is going to bring the show to about 33 mins.
There will be room for some small gimmicks, so I can add these tricks:
1: Thumb Tip with mismade bill 2: Dye Tube
Now that I’ve added these two tricks, that puts my show length at about 39 mins. That’s almost a show. Let’s add a couple of small props to the carry on bag:
1: Rubik’s Cube trick 2: Torn and Restored Newspaper
That’s going to bring the whole show to 45 mins.
This show’s carry on list would be: 1: Jumbo deck of cards 2: Regular deck of cards 3: 2 pads of paper 4: Roll of duct tape 5: 2 Coins 6: Book 7: Thumb Tip 8: Mismade bill 9: Dye Tube 10: 2 handkerchiefs 11: Newspaper 12: 2 Rubik’s Cubes
The pack list isn’t very long, and all the props when put together don’t take up much space, and would play well on a stage. All of these are things that have been in my show in the past, so I know the material and have routines for them.
Is this my dream show to do? Nope, but it’ll work in a pinch, and I think it’s a better option than buying some junk at the hardware store and trying to figure out what to do with it!