Lately I’ve been thinking about my stage show, and what it will look like when venues reopen. The obvious thing is that most bits that use someone from the audience are going to have to be cut, or completely reworked. With keeping a six foot gap between you and the person helping onstage, really limits interaction with them.
A bit I was thinking about doing was having props that they use at the front of the stage. For example there would be a pen and a pad of paper and you ask someone to draw a picture. However to keep it clean, you’d have a box of gloves on the front of the stage. Now someone from the audience can perform simple tasks and do it in a safe manner.
The bit is that when they go to put on the gloves, you ask every person to do it in a different way. You could have someone put on gloves like a cowboy, and other do it like a Spanish bullfighters. Of course you’d have music or audio to back up these suggestions. I think that makes someone putting on gloves a little more exciting and opens it up to a fun moment.
I’m fascinated by the Vanishing Birdcage trick. I remember hearing stories of Bert Allerton doing the vanishing birdcage close up at tables. The story I remember reading was that he took the sides off of his cage so that it would vanish quicker and have less bulk in his sleeve.
There have been many other people that have done the cage, and solved many problems. For example, using a Take Up Reel to allow you to do the cage later in your show.
The biggest challenge is how do you deal with the cage after the vanish (if it’s not your closer)? There are a lot of solutions ranging from using a small, flexible cage and just leaving it in your sleeve, to having a secret pocket in your pants your ditch it in.
Recently it hit me, that a virtual magic show is a great place to use the cage in the middle of the show. After the vanish you could have a title card that says “no rubber birds were hurt in this trick” or something like that. Then in the few seconds that plays, you ditch the cage. As long as you use title cards previously in your show, it won’t feel out of place.
When I perform and have tried doing the solid shell kicker, it never played how I’d like. I think there’s a disconnect between the shell game and when the solid shell is reveals, it’s a little out of left field. I was playing around with an ending as a topper to the kicker of the solid shells that I found in an old notebook of mine.
Today is an extension of yesterday’s post. I’m working on a script for my Polaroids to Envelope trick. I’ve build upon the yesterday’s script and fleshed out the hook a little bit more. Here’s the script as of this morning:
This is some of the most important stuff in the world to my wife and I. These are Polaroids of our pets and our daughter.
We have Talia who is a dog. She’s a Lhasa Apso which is means food vaccum. Talia’s favorite things are belly rubs, long walks and playing call of duty…and we don’t even own an xbox.
Then there’s Taco Tuesday who is a cat. He’s loves cheese, milk and pineapple on pizza. Which is how you know he’s a rescue.
And finally we have loucy who is a rat, she loves bossing around the dog and cat. We’ve got a reverse Tom and Jerry situation.
Here’s a common day at the home, when I’m home…I turn on the vacuum turn on and Talia disappears!
Of course you’ll always find her in Ella’s Room…Her extremely messy room.
Then when the UPS guy knocks on the door, Taco Tuesday will won’t be found.
You’ll find him hours later buried under the blankets on Ella’s bed. A bed that I asked ella to make two years ago.
Later in the day when I go to feed loucy, she’s totally gone!
Of course she hasn’t been there for hours, she’s been hanging out on Ellas desk…distracting her from doing home work. Ella calls it “proRATstinating”
And that’s a normal day at home!
I need to go back and make a lot of the punchlines stronger. I also need to start doing the trick while saying the lines. That will help me rewrite what doesn’t flow naturally from my mouth. Still more work to be done, but the trick is making progress!
My current book that I’m reading is Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe. This book is interesting and I’m only about 145 pages into volume one and it’s pretty good. When I was younger I used to have a loose script, but nothing formally written down. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized the huge advantages to writing down what you say in your show.
For me writing out a script makes it a lot easier to see where jokes should be. It also makes it easier to work on them. One thing I don’t like very much is the script format that this book uses when it’s showing scripts. I find them hard to read, however I’m 99% sure it’s simply because I’m not used to that format. I think the more I use it the easier it will get to read.
I’m working on my Polaroids to Envelope trick that I wrote about a week or so ago. I decided to write out the script using the format in Scripting Magic. What I did was simply use a practice video and wrote down what I said and added the actions.
Awhile ago I wrote about using progressive anagrams for streaming shows. Here’s a test show I did with the routine that was written up in those posts:
I should have handled the envelope a lot less, I’m way too fidgety with it. That and scripting it out better would have tightened it up. One of the cool things about right now is that there are soo many of these live stream shows you can get on and work out the bugs to routines before you take them in front of a paying audience!
On Thursday (5/28) my buddy Matt Baker and I will be hosting the Odd and Offbeat Variety Show. We’ve got some fun acts and all will be performing live and we’ll do a Q&A with the acts after they perform.
I think this is a great format for a virtual show, you get a lot of acts and it’s done live. Check it out on Thursday!
In yesterday’s blog post I wrote about Omni Style Tricks and how I think most versions are lazy creativity. That got me thinking about what could I make that’s an Omni type trick, but actually put some thought into it. I
I decided to go the Silver Extraction type route for the trick. The removing of an element that logically leaves you with a clear prop. I also wanted more of a “routine” over purely visual trick. I didn’t try too hard, but here’s what I came up with:
In the trick above you have the appearance, vanish and second appearance of the cinnamon stick. These three tricks are setting you up for the kicker ending of the clear cinnamon bear. Pulling the cinnamon out of the bear leaving it clear is a logical ending. It’s not one of those kicker endings that doesn’t make sense.
Ok, so is the trick that I created the best trick ever? No. Does it go beyond simply making a clear prop? YES!
Over the last 5 or so years there have been a lot of “Omni” magic props put out. The basic idea behind the trick is that the prop you are using turns into glass, or clear plastic. A quick Google search shows that recently there have been Omni Pens, Omni Cellphones, Omni Coins, Omni Credit Cards, and more!
Here’s the thing, unless you have an amazing switch of the prop you’ve come up with , it’s lazy creativity. I think that Jerry Andrus and Danny Korem’sOmni Deck was ground breaking and still has a lot more going for it that most other Omni props are lacking. In most other Omni tricks, the magic trick is that the prop turns clear, that’s it. In the original Omni Deck, the clear deck is the kicker ending. You are turning the deck that’s been handled by the spectator clear. Now only that it happens in their hands and to all the cards except theirs!
Now let’s look at another old school Omni prop, the Silver Extraction coin trick. In this trick, someone holds a coin. You then pull the silver of the coin through the back of their hand and they end up holding a clear coin. What makes this trick good is that there’s another element to the trick beyond simply turning the prop clear. Also the prop turning clear is an obvious, but unexpected ending to the coin trick.
Before you put out an clear prop, think about what you are contributing to magic. Are you moving the art forward, or just making a clear prop?