Finding Little Things to Change…

Yesterday was the end of the third week on the road performing my new school assembly show. This week I was really focusing on getting more out of the people who help me onstage in the show and letting them “shine” more.

One bit in the show where I draw a picture of a kid. I have the kid face the audience and do different emotions. I was using and older kid in the 3rd to 6th grade range and they weren’t really doing much interesting. My reasoning for an older kid was they are standing on stage by themself, so I was worried a kid that a younger kid would be uncomfortable onstage alone. Turns out I think that was the issue with an older kid, they feel a bit self conscious.

This week I switched a kindergarten or first grade kid and the difference is HUGE! Every kid I’ve used was great, and really played up the emotions that I was asking them to do. Also there’s something that all ages love is seeing a little kid have fun. Their joy is infectious!

It’s little things like this that make a good show great! My show still has a lot of these little things to be fixed.

-Louie

Splenda to Sugar!

I was messing around with an idea in my hotel room. It’s pretty simple, change a packet of sugar to a packet of something else. I came up with several ways, and this is probably the best one:

@louiefoxx Splenda or Sugar? #magictrick #sugar #splenda #louiefoxx #magic #magician #what #illusion ♬ original sound – Louie Foxx

It’s very direct, the packet of Splenda turns to a packet of sugar. No crazy moves, just cover it with a cup. I’m pretty proud of this, and I don’t think this technique has been used yet (but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had)

-Louie

Efficiently Loading In and Out

One huge thing with this school assembly tour is efficiency. Honestly, I’m not getting paid a ton, so wasting time loading in and out isn’t a good use of my time. The show loads in and out in one trip.

My road case has wheels on the bottom of it and I have handle that attaches to the front of it that I use to pull it.

One trip without a dolly or hand truck makes this a quick load in and out.

-Louie

Asian Magic Boxes…

Magic has a long history of appropriating Asian culture, from people performing in yellow face to props having random Chinese characters put on them to make them look exotic.

I have a prop that has Chinese on it that actually makes sense. A couple of years ago I made a production box out of a take out box from a Chinese restaurant. This idea had been in a notebook years earlier, but I finally got around to it in 2020.

This box is the first trick in the school assembly show and gets a huge reaction! In the show I use it to produce a tennis ball, while saying producing a tennis ball from a take out box doesn’t really make sense, in the routine it does make sense.

This little box is crushing it in the show!

-Louie

Setting Up The Show Quickly

Out here on this tour, sometimes the travel time between shows is very tight and I don’t have very much time to set or strike the show. I provide everything except electricity. Knowing that some shows I may not have much time to set, need to pack out quickly, or both, I have two set ups for the show.

The normal set up takes about 20-25 minutes to set up and I use this when I have plenty of time to set up and strike.

Here’s the normal set up:

school assembly magic show

The quick set up/strike takes about 10-15 mins and I use it when I have tight travel time.

Here’s what it looks like:

school assembly magic show

The big difference is that I don’t have the banner. It also doesn’t use a speaker stand for the PA. A difference you can’t see is that the quick set up doesn’t use a wireless headset mic. Those few things make a huge difference in set up/strike time.

I use the handheld mic with a stand or a mic hanger for when I need to use my hands. I’m really glad that about a year and half ago I decided to learn to use a handheld microphone. Having practiced with a handheld really makes me a lot more versatile!

-Louie

School Assembly Tour Week 3

Today is the beginning of week three of this school assembly tour. One of the metric’s for figuring out how well you are doing is laughs per minute (LPM). My first show of the tour and first time doing the whole show for an audience I got 1.57 LPM’s. That’s an OK number, as this show has a lot of content in it, and isn’t a “just for fun” show.

Laughs per minute

I listened back to my last show on friday and it had 105 laughs in 45 minutes, giving me 2.3 LPM’s. that’s a huge improvement over the the first show. I added about 50% more laughs to the show!

If you don’t know how to calculate LPM’s, it’s super easy. Record your show, then listen back to it and count the laughs. I used a counter app on my iPhone. Then dived the laughs by the length of your show.

The question I always get asked is what qualifies as a laugh? That’s really up to you to decide.

Another metric is reactions per minute. In that you could count applause, or people going, “wow”. The thing I wouldn’t count are call and response, so anytime you ask the audience to do something and they do it.

-Louie

What Qualifies as Original?

I’ve recently started posting on Tik Tok, and you can follow me there @LouieFoxx. When I post magic trick videos, I have some criteria. The trick has to have something original about it. I’m not just buying a trick like the card to watch trick and doing it.

@louiefoxx



What qualifies as original?

It could be in method, presentation, or prop. For example, I do a trick that was popular on instagram in 2020 where you make a pen float and pass a hoop over it. The original angle is that I’m doing it with a chicken wing. Then there’s some tricks that are 100% original like this one:

@louiefoxx Kitchen Magic with Louie Foxx! #magic #magictrick #egg #whiskey #magician #magicshow #fyp #foryourpage #kitchenmagician ♬ original sound – Louie Foxx

My goal is to use Tik Tok as an outlet for ideas that I have, and ones that I’ll probably never do in my show, but I think still has some sort of merit. My goal is to publish a trick every 2-3 days, which is a lot!

We’ll see how long I can keep it up.

-Louie

Tweaking a Line…

Yesterday I posted about writing a line to try to solve a problem where I had a spot in the show where a kid would frequently shout something. I needed to add a line to tell the audience that the fruit I was using wasn’t real. The line I wrote was, “they’re not real, I got them from Ikea…So they’re made of particle board and Swedish meatballs”. That line didn’t get huge laughs, but seems to have solved the problem.

I tweaked the line a little bit to be, “they’re not real, I got them from Ikea…So they’re made of swedish meatballs and sawdust”. This new line is getting a laugh from the adults AND the kids. I think both particle board and swedish meatballs is too much for the kids here to understand. However they do know what sawdust is!

A little tweak like that upped my laughs per minute and solved the problem of how to address the fruit not being real.

-Louie

Preemptive Line…

In the new school assembly show I do a trick with apples and oranges. It’s based on Jim Steinmeyer’s Apples and Oranges trick from his book Conjuring. The concept is the same, the the routine is completely different.

jim steinmeyer apples and oranges trick from conjuring

I’ve notice that about every 2-3 shows I have kid in the audience when I introduce the apples and oranges that will yell out, “they’re fake” and the kid is correct, they’re plastic. What puzzles me is that kid will fixate on the fact that they aren’t real and keep yelling out “they’re fake“, even after I agree with the kid that they aren’t real fruit.

I’ve tried different ways to deal with this, and yesterday I wrote the line, “they’re not real, I got them from Ikea…So they’re made of particle board and Swedish meatballs”. The goal is to address the issue before the kids says anything. I’ve done it at 2 shows and so far I haven’t had anyone yell out anything.

One challenge with this line is that I’m in North Dakota and there isn’t a Ikea for about 700 miles! The line gets a small laugh from the adults, and not much from the kids. this is better than nothing, however I think I need to write a better line…

-Louie

Mentalism For Kids…

Years ago when I was a teenager I saw Lee Earle lecture and he briefly mentioned his thoughts on performing mentalism for kids. It was only a sentence and it fully stated his position. Lee said, “In order to have your mind read you must have a mind.” He’s not wrong, however it doesn’t mean you can’t do mentalism for kids. You need to frame it differently.

In the school assembly show I’m out doing right now on this tour, I have two mentalism tricks that I’m doing. After writing the show, I realized they are the exact same trick, luckily they are 30 mins apart in the show and are presented very differently. Both are essentially one out of five predictions, but they aren’t predictions. The kid(s) pick an unseen item that turns out to be different from the rest of the items. There’s no formal prediction, but it’s clearly obvious that they picked the outlier.

After doing the show for a week and a half, I think the first effect strengthens the second one. In the first one, it’s a surprise however the second time, I’ve very blatantly foreshadowed what’s going to happen. When I finally get around to the second reveal, it’s a huge release of tension when it confirms what they were thinking.

This isn’t my first time doing mentalism for kids. I used to do a routine that used a billet switch and peek that was essentially me reading someone’s mind, but framed as a game. The general presentation was that I was the worlds best 20 Questions player and could guess what they were thinking of in 5 guesses or less. I had them write down the item so that they couldn’t lie and change their mind. I also did this as an open preshow. I would do it while the classes were coming into the show, but I did it on mic so everyone was aware. This routine is written up in the book Performing Mentalism for Young Minds Vol 2.

Mentalism can play very strongly for kids, as long as it’s framed with a presentation that they can understand.

-Louie