Recently I did my clock prediction at a virtual magic open mic. I stumbled on a couple of jokes and probably could have “listened” more, but I think it went well.
One thing I that wasn’t really possible due to me being in a hotel room was that I couldn’t have the clock displayed the whole time. I kinda had it balanced on a chair, but it kept falling off. The routine still has a bit to go, but I like it!
I’ve been working on a routine that I call “choices”, this is essentially a card prediction. This has had many different versions and methods, with the first version simply using an invisible deck for the reveal. It’s had many different reveals from the selected card in a wallet, to it being the only red backed card in a blue backed, blank faced deck.
The trick was just OK, the final reveal was lacking something…or had too much. Then a while ago Nick Lewin put out the 6 Star Miracle Prediction, which is his version of Al Koran’s 5 Star Miracle Prediction. I’m a HUGE Nick Lewin fan, and get everything he puts out. I honestly didn’t think I’d use the trick, however it ended up being the solution for the Choices routine.
The ending where I’m just holding two cards gives a great picture and ends with me in an applause position. The nice thing is the whole thing fits inside a jumbo card case, so it packs relatively small. This trick is intended for stage shows, so I have no desire to use a regular pack…however it could be downsized to that size and play well on a stage.
I’m not sure if this is the final version of this trick, but it feel pretty close!
The dismantling of my Virtual Magic Show is continuing. Today I took apart the spinning shelf that held all of my props for the show.
As the show progressed, I simply rotated the shelf counter clockwise to get to the next set of props. From an efficiency standpoint, it was great! It was also nice to glace at the holders, and if there was an empty one, then a prop wasn’t set for the show or was missing!
I’m getting rid of the board, and keeping all the holders. If I need to recreate this, it won’t be hard to do.
Lately I’ve been popping into virtual open mics and there’s something that drives me crazy. It’s when performers say, “If you were here I’d have you ____” and usually fill in the blank with something like, “shuffle the cards” or whatever. It’s been almost two years since we’ve moved to virtual, you don’t need to say that. If you haven’t figured out how to do the trick without someone in the room yet, virtual performing may not be for you.
HOWEVER, I do think there is a place to mention that “if it was an in person show, I’d have you _____” and that’s to cover a method. More specifically to rule out a method. A good example of this in an in person show is when Kreskin does the linking finger rings and he exposes the gimmick and says he doesn’t use that.
In a virtual show context, you could say, “If you were here I’d have you shuffle the cards, but you’re not, so I’ll shuffle them…” then you do a false shuffle. The key would be to put a little bit of distance between the false shuffle and a crazy revelation that would only be possible with a deck that was in a special order. Doing a false shuffle and then doing something like Any Card At Any Number would probably be fine without putting in any time misdirection.
To sum it up, don’t tell the audience how you would do things if conditions were different…they aren’t attending an in person show and they know that.
The other day I picked up Interactive by Danny Orleans and Mike O’Donnell as it’s on Sale for 25% off right now. Interactive is a “touch the screen” type trick, however it gets it right. There’s no counting or spelling, which ups the odds of you getting everyone to end up on the right place at the end of the trick.
I got the pro version as it comes with the some tutorials and templates to make you own custom versions. I think the pro version is the way to go, it saved me a ton of time making a custom version. Sure, I could have figured out how to make my own custom version from the basic version, but in time saved, it saved me money.
I’m doing a few library shows in 2022 that are cryptid themed, so I made a custom version of the trick using bigfoot. I’m hoping with the talk up, the trick and the extro that I can get about 3 minutes out of it. I see this as something that I can fairly easily customize for themed virtual events and live ones if they have projection. If you know me, you know I dislike doing tricks that are themed to events…however this is relatively painless and I’m not compromising (much) what I’m willing to do.
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!!!
In an effort to streamline things for my virtual show, I picked up some foot pedals. Each pedal acts as a button that you can program to do a specific task.
The first thing I did was something that Richard Lake mentioned in the talk he did with Nick Lewin and made them up and down arrows. I then went through my show in OBS and made a scene for everything, so my show basically went straight down. It was a pain to do, but useful if I’m doing the show without a producer.
Normally I have a producer in the room running my OBS scenes, so I changed the foot pedals to activate a camera shot. So I have my general, tight, and close up that I can control with my feet. I’m really liking having the control of the cameras with my feet.
A while ago I was doing a video hangout with some friends and somehow the idea of having my daughter as a guest on one of their livestream shows. Well, we made it happen a bit ago and it was a lot of fun.
Here’s the thing, it wasn’t easy and that’s the problem, so many people think they are interesting and that’s enough. Here’s the truth, you aren’t interesting, you need to make yourself interesting.
How do you do that?
Simple, write out a few stories and have them ready to tell. Watch some of the previous shows and try to anticipate what the host will ask you and then write some jokes or stories as answers. You may never need them, but the act of preparing puts you a step ahead.
Then something unplanned happens, like on the show last week, there was no audio for the first 10 minutes. The first thing we did was look at what we had prepared that was visual that we could do. We had a few things, and we also played with it.
Having the mindset of having to work to be interesting and fun, instead of thinking we were interesting definitely gave us an advantage!
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to do a “pass the prop” video to promote a virtual show that I’m in. I’d never really done one before and there were a couple of things I needed to consider. The big one was was that I was quarantining with another act, so we had to decide whether to embrace being in the same place or try to hide that.
We decided to embrace it and you can see what we put out here:
The show came out a while ago, I had just forgotten about this video until now. The show turned out well and the host really did a great job, hopefully there will be more!
One of the challenges we’re all having moving shows from physical shows to virtual shows are things like card forces. There are ways to do them, however you’ve got to get over things like “lag” in video and comments. There are plenty of people doing the visual riffle card force, but there’s some risk with that.
Here’s a force that I’ve been doing a long time that’s 100% sure fire:
How the force works is you fan a deck and run the joker along it, someone from the audience says stop and remembers the card next to the joker. That’s your force card. The advantage this force has is that it allows people to change their mind. That overcomes any lag issue. They can say stop, then have you move the joker if it’s not exactly where they wanted you to stop.
One of the things I like about this force is how direct it is. There’s really no procedure. They say stop, and that’s where you put the joker. Look into if you need a “virtual card force“.