Last night I performed at a hybrid in person / virtual show. The in person aspect of it was interesting as it was a socially distant, outdoor event in tents…oh, the show took place at the tail end of a snowstorm, so it was cold out! I was performing indoors with a an open roll up door in front of me. I could see one table, the rest were in tents watching on a projection screen which was showing what was on the zoom feed.
It was a very interesting experience. The camera was over my left shoulder and the audience in front of me. The challenge was where to play to. I chose to mostly play to the camera as that’s where the majority of the audience’s viewpoint was from. It’s very strange to no play to the only group of humans you can see. I didn’t ignore the one table I could see, but did most of my talking to the camera.
Going forward, I think ticketed, in person shows are going to have to do this hybrid approach to make any money if they physical audience has to be socially distant. How you will approach this scenario is something to start thinking about now…
It’s kinda strange practicing my show. I used to practice new stuff, or when there was a change to existing material, didn’t really run the whole show. I need to right now as it’s been 11 months since I’ve done my full main show. I’m doing a short 10-15 min act in a comedy show tonight, then I’ve got a full 45-60 min show coming up in a couple of days.
It’s interesting the more I practice/rehearse, the more comes back to me. Each time I’ll say a line I wasn’t saying before. This is good, my muscle memory is coming back. Watching old videos of the show is good, however sometimes there are lines that you didn’t say in that recorded show for one reason or another. Also I’m remembering bits that I had stopping doing for some reason, and not sure why.
Besides shaking off the cobwebs, I’m trying to figure out how to do the show that meets the COVID safe requirements, which are different everywhere.
In this episode we welcome Seattle folk legend Jim Page to the Moisture Festival Podcast studio. Here, we talk about Jim’s lobbying efforts to legalize busking in Seattle, as well as his adventure organizing the first Busker Fest at Pike Place Market. Jim also brings his guitar and plays us a few songs.
A great interview with one of the most influential Seattle musicians of our time.
A buddy of mine sent me a link to the trailer for the magic trick Summit by The Other Brothers and Patrick Kun. He also sent me a link PropDog’s version of the same trailer that’s “fact checking” the claims made in the original trailer. Watch the first trailer and tell me if you can figure out who the trick works based on what they say:
Based on the first trailer if the claims where 100% true, it’s be impossible…as a real world, workable, sellable magic trick. That had me want to come up with a real world method…and I basically came up with the method used in Abstract Effect’s Summit.
What I came up with was limiting the choice of card. I used Ben Harris’s Silent Running principle which would limit their choice of card to one of eight cards…which is better than the 12 cards you limit them to in this trick. And there’s not magician’s choice with the Silent Running principle. I’d have an index of seven of those cards, the eighth card would already be in the pen.
For loading the card (if needed) I would use a method I used in a bill to cigarette I did 20 years ago. Basically you just push the card down into the pen while you pretend to pull out the palmed card from the pen.
OK, so I have a method, now let’s watch the PropDog video that fact checks the original trailer:
Well…I basically came up with the same method. The only differences are we are using different methods to limit the choice and I think they are reducing they number of cards in the index by having them double ended. Double ended cards wouldn’t work well with what I’m to limit the choice, but the trade off is the card could be unrolled by the spectator.
Here’s the thing, if a trick seems impossible…guess what 95% of the time it probably is and the trailer for the magic trick is misleading. I get that some trailers need to not show something, like Dean Dill’s Blizzard. That said The Other Brothers seem to be stretching the truth and playing with words a lot in the ad.
Last week at the KAX Conference I was part of a panel talking about 3d printing. One of the things that a lot of people think that 3d printing going to be hard to do. It’s pretty easy, it can get complex, but for what most performers are doing, it’s easy. I made a quick video on how to make a holder for a thumb tip and a dollar bill for inside of your case:
Taking a peek behind the curtain of 3d printing hopefully will take some of the mystery out of it. It’s really changed my life, instead of having to make props out of found objects or cardboard, I get exactly what I want!
Well, I did the outdoor, masked, socially distant, no contact birthday party magic show for four year old kids. It was 40 degrees out and I was worried how my hands would hold up. Luckily it was sunny, and performing in full sun finally felt great!
Ok, to the show, it took about 6 mins to get them warmed up. It’s not surprising for a group that young that’s spread out and since they were masked and outdoors, the couldn’t get feedback from each other that other kids were laughing. Once we were going I was getting back into my groove of playing within my show. At one point a jogger briefly stopped to watch the show, and another a kid fell off their chair from laughing (and sitting on a hill). I got to do some playing with those moments.
It felt great to be back at it.
One thing that I notice was my mic that was inside my mask didn’t have a windscreen. You could hear me breathing over the speaker. In the future, I think that needs a windscreen. I’m not sure it will 100% stop the audience from hearing me breathe, but it should reduce that.
Also in the future I probably won’t do a show for kids that young until I can do it not masked. Without seeing my face, a lot is lost for a group that young. Older kids would be easier to do masked.
Now to work on my adult show, I have an in person socially distant, no contact, comedy gig on Sunday.
Last week I moved my show downstairs from the office to the living room. The main reason was I had daytime shows and I share an office with my wife. It turns out I prefer doing the show in the living room, it’s a lot less cramped than in the office. While I don’t use the extra space, it’s nice to not feel confined.
I’ve also been tweaking my set up and I added a formal holder for my ipad. It’s a holder that connects to camera tripod. Before I just taped it to the camera’s tripod. I really like this holder, it’s much easier to set up and take down, also it’s a lot more versatile with the placement in the room.
For me when creating a virtual show’s studio I acquire things as needed. Some people would find a list of things and buy the whole list. I don’t like that approach, as you’ll end up with things you don’t need. I wait till I have or forsee a need then fill it. This seems to work well for me, your results may vary.
Somedays you feel like a beginner. Today I’m heading out to do a no contact, outdoor, socially distant show for a kids birthday party. I haven’t really done birthdays for years, so this isn’t something I have solid “muscle memory” of doing.
This show has me super stressed out. I took it to help me knock off the cobwebs from having not performed in person much for the last 10 months. I’ve checked and recheck my case for all of my props, run the show dozens of times. Stuff I really haven’t done for my normal show in years. I know the props, I know they are in the case, and I know what to do if something breaks or is missing. More importantly, I know how long the show will run. With this birthday show, I have a guess how long the show will run, but not as good of an idea as I would with shows I normally do. I did pack some filler just in case…
Yesterday’s blog post was about getting a Himber Pail, a prop I’ve been chasing for years and trying to figure out how to use it within my show. Last night I sat down and starting writing some ideas. Here’s what I wrote last night:
When I was a teenager I saw the most amazing magic trick, and the magician taught me to do it. I’ve been doing it ever since…so for 3 years. If it was on the mount rushmore of the greatest magic tricks, it’d be 17 miles down the road at Crazy horse…because he let me use it.
I bring you the milk bucket trick!
Did you know most asians are lactose intolerant? Shouldn’t surprise you, how many do you remember on the Got Milk posters in your elementary school gym?
I should mention that I used to be lactose intolerant. But now, I’ll drink white and chocolate milk.
Oh shoot, I messed up the trick…I forgot to put in the bottom
Hand thru bucket and show it empty
Let’s do the trick in reverse…
Lift the bucket like you are going to pour its contents into the bottle. Contine flipping so its upside down and pour milk into the bottom.
And that’s the greatest trick I’ve ever seen!
That’s not the very good, but it’s as start. I took action by actually writing, and that’s the first step. Waiting for something to just pop into my head randomly, isn’t an effective way to come up with a routine.
It’s interesting that the routine I wrote ended up having a them. When writing it was just some jokes I wrote around the hook of “the greatest magic trick I’ve seen” and the props , but the bit turned out to be a piece about racism. It’s not something I’d probably do in my show, but it’s a start.
What I do like is the “do it in reverse” part which motivates the pouring of the milk onto the bottom of the pail. I think that’s the keeper out of my first try to figure out what to do with the Himber Pail.