My final scheduled virtual magic show was yesterday at 9:30am…and it was for a group of middle school aged kids. I’m going to say that middle school age isn’t the ideal demographic for 9:30am. They had fun, and so did I!
This show had some problems which are why virtual shows stressed me out. The big one was my internet dropped about 2 mins from the start of the show. I was back in the zoom before the show started. it’s one of those things that had it happened 5 mins later, it would have been a bigger issue. Zoom also wasn’t recognizing my mic, so I had to use my laptop’s mic. That also wasn’t a huge deal, but it just adds to the stress of these gigs.
I ran this show solo, normally I have my daughter run the production on the show. It was fun, but I’m glad to be back to performing in person.
I had a great time learning to perform in a virtual venue, and I really loved creating magic for virtual shows. I’m not saying I will never do another virtual show, there are just no more on my calendar.
Today is the the day that I perform my final virtual magic show! I’m pretty excited that I’m back to doing in person shows, however going forward I will still do virtual shows if requested. In the last year and a half, I think I’ve figured it out at a workable level. My virtual show was decent, not crazy amazing, but passable.
The HUGE thing that I’m not going to miss going forward is setting up my studio. I don’t have a dedicated space to do virtual shows, so I had to build and tear down the studio every time I did the show. That made the effort to do the virtual show close to what it would be to drive to an in person show.
The other big headache is technology. I think that’s the thing that was the most stressful about these shows. The internet has mysterious dropped out during shows, or gotten laggy while I was performing. That part that’s completely out of my hands, but affects the perception of how good the show is caused me a lot of stress!
I’m hoping today’s show virtual show is uneventful!
I’m really trying to clean up the sloppiness that has crept into my show over the last 18 months of not really performing it much. That’s my main goal this week at the fair. However I am adding some newer stuff to the show and also trying to figure that out.
One thing I’m working on in my version of Luca Volpe’s Key of Fate. It’s playing alright, but it was missing some punch at the end. I was trying to figure out what to do, as the trick has a kicker ending, so I can’t really add another kicker on top of the first one.
What I ended up trying was adding some “stinger” music. Music that’s upbeat that I play right after the kicker is revealed, and it worked great! It got a much more applause at the end. Now I’m not sure this is how I want to do it, but it is a definite improvement!
I’ve been working on my show this week at the fair. One thing that I’m doing is trying to correct little things. Little things are easy to fix, and can add up to a much tighter show!
In my show I do object in ball of yarn. I have a bowl that’s on a stand and it’s been on stage right with me and someone from the audience standing center stage. In it I give the person from the audience a fishing pole to reel in the yarn. Because the fishing pole is right handed, the person is using their upstage arm to turn the reel. I think the picture would look better if you saw the person’s hand cracking the reel.
The super simple fix was to having the bowl placed at stage right. Now you can see the person’s upstage hand cranking the reel. It really didn’t take much effort to figure this out, other than paying attention to the show.
On it’s own, it’s not a huge leap for the show, but bundle this with a dozen other small changes and it starts to be noticable!
This week I’m performing at a fair and here’s the view of the audience from the stage:
The table and chairs are for the judges of the pageant which happens at the end of the day (after my shows). Also all of the chairs have notes that say “reserved on them”.
This particular fair has trouble getting audiences to watch shows at this stage.
Can you guess why?
If you answered there’s no where for the audience to sit, you are correct. Most people given the choice will choose to not sit on the grass.
For my first show, I told people they could sit on the chairs. Quickly I filled all of the chairs for my show. With the success of giving people somewhere to sit, for my second show I drug over a bench. That bench filled. For my final show I drug over two more benches and those benches filled.
The solution was soo simple, give the people somewhere to sit, and they’ll watch the show.
I was driving some Seattle to California the other day and on a whim wondered if Jerry Andrus’s grave was on the route. I pulled over and a quick google search showed that it was about 5 mins off the freeway in Jefferson, Oregon! I took the detour to visit it and left some safety pins.
If you don’t know who Jerry Andrus was, he was one of the most innovative magicians of my lifetime and that I’ve ever met! He was doing cardistry 50 years before it was a thing. His Zone Zero trick is still a standard stage magic trick. Jeki Yoo has a huge chunk of his lecture devoted to that trick.
Besides magic, Jerry Andrus was a genius with optical illusions!
I also swung by the Castle of Chaos where he lived
It’s now a historic place!
This was a fun little side trip and great way to break up a long drive!
I’m cleaning out the computer and found a video of a magic jam from a while ago when my state was briefly open for people to hang out before closing again. Jamming in person is the way to go, you can creatively play off of each other a lot more efferently than over Zoom.
In the video there are a couple of cool tricks. The trick with the arrow drawn on a card and it makes the coin move was interesting to figure out. Then the ketchup packet to ketchup filled portion cup looked great!
If you don’t jam with other magicians, you are really missing out on fun, and working on your creativity!
Many years ago I used to buy magic collections of magicians who had passed. I would keep the books or props that I wanted and resell the rest. It’s been a while since I have done that for myself. Last year a did sell off a collection of magic that was a friend of mine who had passed and all the money went to his son.
The other day I was contacted about a magic collection and went out and picked it up. The person had one of my Evaporation tricks, and this was from the original run of 36 that I sold at a magic convention in Canada.
One thing that I think people don’t realize is that most of the stuff in a magic collection is worthless. Usually about half is unsellable because it’s damaged, counterfeit or shipping would cost more than the prop.
You should be realistic about what your collection is worth and to not really count things that have a used value of less than $20. Sure, they do add up, but they are hard as hell to sell!
It’s been a while since I’ve performed a show at a retirement community. I just did one and they’ve been trying to get me in for a couple of years and our schedules finally lined up and then COVID happened. As restrictions in my state have been fluctuating, we’ve been trying to schedule and it finally happened!
When I did the show, there still was one COVID compliance thing I had to do, and that was wear a mask the whole show. That makes doing the show very challenging, but I managed to make my way through it. I always forget how much facial expression I use until I make the face and realized no one can see it under the mask!
June has been a month of learning how to do the show within remaining COVID restrictions and I’m hoping that with the west coast basically being reopened by the end of the month, I won’t need to use these skills I’ve been building anymore!
Recently I was jamming with some magicians, and the one tip I want to give younger magicians is that they shouldn’t “hog the jam“. What I mean by that it is to share the time by passing it along, not just showing off the whole time. When you’re younger, I think it’s hard to pass it along if you’re getting positive feedback. However that’s what builds a jam is the sharing.
For me the fun thing about jamming is the sharing and seeing what other people are doing, or working on, not the showing off. I think the difference is that I have regular audiences to get my showing off fix, where not everyone does. People who don’t get a chance to show off their stuff often need a place, I get that, but honestly they don’t need to hog the jam, spread it out!