Next week I’m performing at the Auburn Ave Theater and the other day I found out on the news there’s some changes about the show:
It’s kinda surreal to get texts about changes to my show from friends who saw a news article about it that used my picture!
Personally I don’t care if I’m performing for 25% or 50% capacity, I’m going to give the best show that I can under the conditions that I’m given. Sure it will be strange performing to a nearly empty venue with everyone spaced out, but we’ll have some fun regardless!
This week I’m doing a series of hybrid in person / virtual shows for a small school that has about 20 kids in each show. Yesterday’s group upper elementary school age and the rest of the week will be middle school aged kids. Doing the show, I was very chatting with the kids and the kids were very chatty with me, however I held them and no one logged off the zoom as this was an optional event. The principal was impressed that I held them all and kept the kids engaged the whole time.
Now…going forward for the next school that contacts me for a hybrid show, I think if I know it’s going to be a hybrid event, I may try have my daughter run the Zoom part of it. The experience the kids at home got wasn’t the best. They had an iPad in the back of the room, so it was just a blurry wide show of me 30 feet from it. Having a camera that could move (pivot) and zoom in and out would be a huge advantage. They also had a large projector screen with the Zoom screen on it, I think I would ideally have that behind me, so then I could use that screen to my advantage and do some close up stuff.
All of that would be the ideal way to do it. Unfortunately, that’s probably not how it would actually play out. How it would probably actually play out is this:
I’d ask them to log me into their Zoom room and they’d say they couldn’t due to privacy reasons.
I’d ask to have the screen behind me and they’d say no because of how the room has to be laid out for social distancing
I’d ask to plug my camera into the computer they are using for Zoom and it would crash it because their computer doesn’t have enough power to run an external camera.
Knowing my ideal hybrid situation now will hopefully get me at least one of the three. Now that I know what to ask for, it’ll be easier to get something!
The other night I was travelling with my family and flipping channels in the hotel room and saw myself on TV! It was very surprising to stumble upon myself on a rerun of Masters of Illusion.
The nice thing about these is whenever they air I get emails from people who have used me in the past saying they saw me on TV. This show has been a great way passively stay in front of people who want to book me!
You can watch my whole appearance above:
Now let’s chat about how magicians seem to feel about this show. Most magicians talk bad about it. The reality is that most of the magicians who talk bad about the show would take it in a heartbeat if they were offered. That same group of magicians don’t have what it takes from simply a material perspective to perform on this show.
The first thing to consider is that this show has been on TV for over 8 seasons, so it’s doing something right. The next and bigger thing to consider is that this show isn’t for magicians. What a magician wants to see on a TV magic show and what a non-magician wants to see is totally different.
Now let’s get to why this show is great, it’s fun to perform on TV. The whole experience is a good time. It’s great networking with other magicians at the studio and hotel. It’s gets my “art” out there for more people to see. On top of that there’s the marketing angle as a bonus!
I’m honored to take part in the 2021 International Brotherhood of Magicians convention this summer! I went to my first one when I was 18 years old in Minneapolis and got to see some amazing acts! The 2021 convention is going to be done virtually and they’ve got an amazing deal on the convention!
Whenever I get an idea for a magic trick, I try to take some sort of action immediately. Sometimes this is simply writing down the idea, sometimes this is trying to actually work out the idea. Yesterday I was making breakfast for the family and was cracking an egg and had an idea for this:
It started with me thinking, “I wonder if you could do spellbound with an egg…” which is better than a coin for a couple of reasons. One, it’s a natural thing that people have seen (white and brown egg), most people have not seen a copper coin that’s the size of a half dollar or silver dollar…also most younger people haven’t really see or handles a half dollar or silver dollar. While those two coins are real objects, they are still unfamiliar objects, where an egg very commonplace. The second reason is that there’s a perception of eggs being fragile, thus harder to manipulate (or gimmick).
I’ll need to tweak it a little bit, but after trying it once, I think it’ll be a good trick!
One of my favorite tricks and the opener to my virtual show is my Russian Shell Game routine. This is a three shell game routine with an ending that has 15 shells on the table. Someone just sent me a link to this review of the trick:
One little correction to something that he mentions in the review. The shells are not 3D printed, they are cast in resin. The original set that the mold was made from was 3D printed, but the set I use and sell is resin.
I love this routine, and still really enjoy performing it!
This came across my Facebook feed today, it’s probably the best stage levitation I’ve ever seen! Turn on the sound and watch the video:
There are several things that make this great. First of all it’s well performed. Next it starts with a very relatable premise, which isn’t floating, but flying and it does it in a very relatable way…fans. The fans give it “process” that’s missing in so many magic show levitations. Showing some sort of “process” is big in mentalism, but not soo much in magic. Also probably every at some point in time has floated something with a fan, or even been floated by a fan at one of the indoor skydiving place, so it gives people a point of reference.
One thing this doesn’t do is waste time with proving there are no wires. I’m aware that this isn’t performed in a magic show, so proving there are not wires isn’t the issue. It makes me wonder if the hoop is necessary in a magic show?
Not too long ago I added the remote control chattering teeth bit from my in person shows to my virtual shows and to my surprise, it was a hit! Honestly I didn’t think it would play as well over the screen. After trying it, it’s staying in the family virtual show!
One thing that I didn’t like is that my hand had to drop out of frame to push the button. Honestly, this really isn’t a big deal, and I don’t think that anyone notices it and this isn’t really a magic trick, but a comedy bit. I was going to build the remote transmitter into a foot pedal, then noticed I an old telegraph key kicking around. Here’s what I built:
I had to 3d print the base under the telegraph key to hold the remote transmitter and battery. The telegraphy key simply sits on the floor and I push it with my foot.
I’m a huge fan of props with things that no one sees but you, and there’s some embellishment that only you know about. I know I just built thing, but whenever I look at it, it makes me smile!
Later this evening I’ll be performing a family night show for the first group I did a full, live virtual show for. I’m amazed that a year later I’m still doing these shows and the show has come a long way! I’ve added a bit more production, I’m using more audio effects, and have tricks that are better suited / created for the virtual viewer.
This is the promo video I made from that first show:
It’s also the promo video I still use to promote virtual shows. I probably should have updated it a months ago, but it’s gotten me a lot of work!
Some of the core of that show hasn’t changed, like the silk in peach and the gypsy thread, however a lot has been changed or added.
I used to do a coin sequence that ended with some jumbo coin manipulation. That’s gone, it’s been replaced with my coins under glass routine.
Right now the show opens with the three shell game, a year ago that was in my recorded preshow video.
The show used to open with my flea circus, which was great, however it’s now too much work to set up. Early on in the virtual show timeline, I had a studio in my buddy’s garage that I could leave the flea circus set up in. Unfortunately he moved and that studio is now 5 hours away and my virtual studio is now my office. There’s really not enough room to do it in the office.
I would close the show with a password prediction, but that has changed to the Wheel of Dinner.
I’ve learned soo much over the last year, it’s been a very educational time. Like any show, it’s evolved over the last year and I’ve evolved in how I perform in the show as well!
The current project I’m working on is making a couple magical cocktail demos for IBM convention this summer. It was an honor to be asked to do this for them, it also shows that I’ve got something unique that I’ve started doing during quarantine.
One of the hard things about making these demo’s is using only the ingredients and the utensils that are needed. There are people that do a mixology or cooking videos, but crowbar in magic tricks that aren’t really related to the drink or recipe they are making. In my opinion that’s the guy that does his normal magic show and then at the end says, “kids don’t do drugs” and sells it as an anti drug school assembly magic show.
For one of the tricks in one of the cocktail videos I’m using is the Joao Miranda’s Gravity reel which I wrote a blog post about recently. It worked great and did what it needed to do, however I did find the thing that I don’t like about it. You can’t just preload a crap ton of thread into it. You need to put in a bit more than you plan to use. If it breaks, it tends to get tangled with itself, which has led to me cutting out and wasting a ton of thread. You are better off simply respooling what you need. Honestly, it’s easy to respool the thread, so it’s not a huge deal. I’d just prefer to load a bunch of thread on it and then pull it out as it breaks.