A while ago I had an idea to host a zoom session about performing for seniors. It’s been a while since I’ve done any meaningful performing on zoom, so it was a little bit stressful. I did need to redownload and relearn the basics of using OBS (production program).
With all of the technical stress, the nice thing about giving presentations on Zoom is that I can tape my notes to the wall behind my computer! Also with this not being a show, I didn’t feel the need to dig out the backdrop or set up all of the lights.
My goal with the zoom session was to solve problems, not really as a lecture. There were a lot of questions and a topic that came up a couple times was the best way to contact senior communities. For me the best way to do that is with postcards or letters. While it may or may not be the method with the highest closing percentage, for me it’s the most efficient. I can spend less than an hour total and have a couple hundred postcards in the mail, where using phone or email will take a lot longer than that. With email, unless you already have a complete and up to date list, this can be fairly time consuming!
Another topic that came up a couple times is what to bring into a senior show and what type of material to do. My show fits in a briefcase and the audio has it’s own case. The other thing I travel with is a folding step stool.
When I do seniors shows, since they aren’t the best paying gigs, I need to be able to set up and pack quickly. This show can set up in about 15 mins and pack up in about 10 mins!
There will probably be another Senior Show Zoom at some point, if you want to be updated about it, contact me and ask to be on the mailing list!
-Louie PS If you are interested in performing in senior communities and don’t have my book How to Perform for Seniors, you can get it here: https://www.magicshow.tips/how-to-perform-for-seniors-book/
This guy is using his downtime at work to practice and get good at a skill! Practicing in your downtime with other tasks in a great way to pick up new skills! I learned to do rubik’s cube and a lot yo yo tricks in the time between when I finish setting up my show and my show’s start time. Sometimes it’s just 15 mins, or whatever. That’s time I could be scrolling through Instagram, or learning something new!
One thing that I don’t really do anymore are themed shows. However there’s one exception, and next week I’m doing a show with some Christmas/winter themed magic. It’s for a client that’s used me for close to two decades, so I’m willing to do things for them that I normally wouldn’t do.
This is a family show, but geared to kids as I’m the opening act for Santa. I agreed to do 30% of the show themed for them. I ordered a few things for this event that I’ll be doing two back to back shows at. All of the tricks are similar to things that I’ve done in the past, so I’m familiar with them.
These trick are easy to plug into my show. This show will be what I consider “commercial art”. This show isn’t what’s in my heart (well 30% isn’t), but it helps keep me funded to do my art!
In stand up comedy circles there’s an inside joke that when someone does something cool, people say, “Who books that?” Typically newer comics or comics that are plateauing are asking comics moving up how they got a cool gig. Or really what they’re asking is how they can get a gig without putting in the work to get the gig.
In reality, it’s really easy to find out who books a gig, you simply call the gig and ask!
Recently I did a casino, which was a tribal casino in the middle of nowhere:
I posted that picture of my picture on their sign on social media and had four magicians contact me asking for the bookers information. These were magicians that I know, but I’m not really close with. If they were a close friend or someone I frequently trade referrals with, it’s not a big deal. But when it’s someone that I chat with twice a decade, the request feels gross.
Don’t be the person taking the lazy way out, do the work!
Here’s what loading in my 60 minute stage show looks like!
That’s actually not quite right, the doctor bag on top isn’t part of the stage show, and neither is the brown tabletop on the left side of the luggage cart. I just didn’t want to leave them in the car. So the actual props I’m moving is slightly smaller.
I’m not a believer in the “briefcase show” where you have 60 mins in a briefcase. There are a handful of people that can pull it off, however most look like every trick was selected because it’s flat and the show has no visual texture.
So my advice is to pack as small as your artistic vision allows!
One of my hobbies is treasure hunting through old boxes of magic tricks. There are two things I like about it, the first is finding something really cool or collectible and the second is trying to figure out what things are. I love finding parts to tricks that I’m unfamiliar with and trying to reverse engineer what they’re supposed to do.
One of the things from a recent magic box that I got were some Jerry Andrus optical illusions:
This is a Trizonal Space Warper from 1981 and it’s the size of a record! It’s actually intended to be put onto a record player to create the spin. I was chatting with someone who knows a lot more about Jerry Andrus that me and he said that there were about 25 of this one made and of the 25 only about ten ever sold. that would make this is a pretty rare product from Jerry!
I’m playing with adding some visual effects to sizzle reels, or social media videos. Here’s two versions of a sizzle reel, one without effects and one with some visual effects.
Here’s the one without:
And here’s the one with:
The goal is to not use the visual effects simply because I can, but to hopefully use them to enhance what you’re watching. I don’t want to be like soo many of the videos in the early days of consumer level video editing where every transition was a a huge deal, with star wipes or whatever.
A few days ago a few of us Seattle magicians went out to see Justin Willman‘s show at the Moore Theatre. Justin does an amazing show that’s super smart how it’s done. From his opening effect that’s a “sucker” effect, but not really done like a traditional sucker effect. It really gets everyone in the audience on his side.
Justin’s show is a great example of how you don’t need a lot of props to fill a theater. Sure he does use video projection, however it doesn’t feel like he’s using the projection to make small things play big. His use of the projector enhances what he’s already doing. There were no close up tricks that needed the projector AND he only used it few times for close ups and they felt fun when he used it.
He did have the show on the projector behind him, and his is kinda the standard thing now. Micheal Carbonaro also does it that way as well. It just makes the show play better in the back.
One of the tricks that Justin does is a “roulette” with a borrowed cellphone and a hammer. The beauty of this trick is how it connects with the audience. Our lives are in our phones. At it’s core, the trick is a Key R Rect or 7 Keys to Baldplate, but after seeing this, why would anyone do it with keys. There’s literally no attachment with keys.
That’s where Justin shines, he’s great at finding relatable hooks for everything in the show. He’s also great at creating places for real interactions with people and then finding the comedy in those places.
If he’s playing in your area, this show is a great example of how to play a theater with a parlor size act!
Yesterday I started work on the current batch of Applause Please 2. This is the prop used for my “object in lightbulb” routines. The base and outer shell of the applause sign are made by Brian overat Magic Crafter and look amazing!
Yesterday I added the switch and lightbulb holder to the bases.
I also made all of the electronic parts and added the remote controls.
Today I’ll be adding the electronics to the boxes and packing everything up. Hopefully I can get all of my preorders out in the mail tomorrow!
I only have one left if you want to order the Applause Please 2 from me, however four of these are going to Hocus-Pocus.com, so they’ll have them in a few days.