Many times after shows magicians will comment on how much is must cost me to perform my show. I have several spots where I use props that I can’t reuse each show. Honestly, I don’t have too many props that are single use. Here are my consumable props for my day at the fair:
Each show I use a paper coil, kabuki streamer, bar of hotel soap and a banana. In addition to the picture I also give away some of my wristbands which I sell after the show. Every show costs me about five dollars to do. To me this isn’t a big deal and since I’m getting paid, it’s just the cost of doing business.
If spending $5 or $100 to do your show is what your vision as an artist is, then it’s money well spent! -Louie
I’m always reading on social media that people are upset that their name isn’t on programs and instead a generic “magic show” is used. Honestly, given the choice between just my name or just what I do, I’d rather have just “magic show” on the schedule. It’s going to put more butts in seats than my name with now context.
Last week I was performing at a fair and they used just my name on the schedule, with no context, not one knows what I do.
I took a dry erase marker and added some context to my name.
There’s not really a way to definitely tell if it made a difference. My first show of the day before I added it, I had no audience 15 mins before showtime and had to talk it up. The other three shows had people sitting in chairs waiting for the show when I started my talk up. My non-scientific test tells me it made a difference.
My advice is to get over your ego and put butts in the seat.
Yesterday I took a quick break from performing on the fair circuit and did a senior show. This was a “monthly activity” for seniors at a retirement community. Most of these places need entertainment and host multiple entertainers a month to perform at things like monthly birthdays, holidays, etc.
If you’d like more info on performing senior shows check out my book How To Perform For Seniors which teaches you how to market and perform shows at these communities.
My current 40-45 minute show fits into the black case, which is briefcase sized.
The yellow case is my audio gear.
The show was put together to visually fill a little bit of space and not look like I’m just using flat handheld props that were selected because they easily fit into a briefcase.
The nice thing about this show is that it can be done using people from the audience, and it can also be done “no contact”, so no one from the audience joins me on the stage or handles any props.
Aside from any COVID restrictions, the no contact option is handy as sometimes you’ll have a less mobile group and it’s not easy to have people join you on stage. Having them interact from their seats is good, however if you physically go to them in the back row, a lot of the audience can’t see what’s happening. When you talk to them from the stage and the magic still happens onstage the whole audience can see what’s going on.
In this episode of the Moisture Festival Podcast we triangulate locations over zoom and welcome in Just Felice. We learn about how she got started in magic, how she wrote her thesis on street performing and how that inspired her to start doing street shows herself.
We also learn about how she uses her comedy to turn stereotypes on it’s head and what inspired her to take that approach. She also teaches us what an Ethnographer is and how to pronounce it. A great conversation with a great mind in the performing world.
Normally when I perform on a stage, I have the monitors moved, so the front of the stage is clear. That gives me more real estate to perform on at the front of the stage and it also removes a physical barrier between the audience and me. Last week while performing at a fair I was watching the bands that I shared the stage with and realized how much better the stage looks without the monitors.
Here’s a band with the monitors on stage:
I think audiences are used to seeing monitors onstage. However once you remove them, it looks soo much cleaner!
The two bands without monitors were using “in ears” monitors. I don’t think they are right for most magic acts but using them to eliminate the monitors for a band looks great. It also gives the performer a more powerful position onstage with no physical barriers between them and the audience.
If your stage has monitors, you can ask to have them moved…if you don’t need them.
I’m cleaning out videos from my laptop and found a video from last year’s Abbott’s Magic Get Together. I was hanging out at “the Legion” and some teenagers weren’t familiar with Paul Harris, so I showed them one of my favorite Paul Harris tricks!
It’s such a great ace production, unfortunately I don’t remember the name of it. Here’s a video of Paul doing it on The Magic Palace:
There’s a lot of gold in the Paul Harris books and there’s a rumor of a new one coming out… -Louie
Performing as many shows as I do around the country at all sorts of different venues you encounter a lot of things. I just had a new one, it was a gorgeous sunny morning, but it was raining onstage!
What had happened was it was really dewey this morning and moisture had collected on the underside of the stage’s canopy. The top edge of the canopy wasn’t pulled very tight, so it had little valleys the water could pool on and form droplets that fell down on me during during my show.
It was the strangest thing because the audience really couldn’t see this, so it was something that I had to deal with. I did mention it to the audience, so that they were aware of it. That was it didn’t look strange when I pulled out wet props!
I did have to move things around to keep more water sensitive things dry. For example my notebooks (svenpads) I put another prop over to keep them dry.
This is a case of be ready for anything that can happen when performing. You never know what you’ll be walking into!
Last week while doing my sound check, I had the sound guy ask me to turn up the volume on my handheld mic.
This is a scenario where knowing your gear comes in handy. This was a Shure SM58, which is a very standard microphone and 99% of handheld mics don’t have volume knobs.
I asked the sound guy for clarity, that he was referring to the corded handheld I was holding. He said yes, and repeated that I should turn up the volume on it. I told him I was unaware corded handheld mics had a volume knob and didn’t know how to adjust it, and he’d have to show me. At that point, somehow he magically made the sound go up using only his soundboard.
The whole week ended up being a struggle with this sound company. From them wanting to sound check a band 10 minutes before my show after I had already starting to my “talk up” for crowd building, to them telling me my gear was bad when it ultimately was their snake that had bad inputs.
The moral of the story is to not let anyone push you around, and know your gear, so that you know how it works, why it works and that will usually give you a clue as to why it’s not working when it doesn’t.
One of the things I’ve started doing to “add value” for the fairs that book me is to make little sizzle reels of me performing at the fair.
Here’s this weeks video:
You’ll see me do my version of Sticker Kicker in this video. I’m still working out the flow of the trick. I like it and it’s such a strange visual when you peel the back off of the card. I really like it!