When I do virtual shows the format I’ve been using is fairly similar to the structure of my in person shows. I usually alternate a trick where I’m solo on stage, followed by a trick where I use someone from the audience onstage, then repeat that. It’s a nice break from a constant stream of people coming up from the audience.
Last night at a virtual show I started using more people on screen than I normally would. In the solo tricks, I just talking to the people and joking with them.
It played out really well and it made the show a lot more fun for me. For a virtual show it really helped bring up the energy and forced me to be more present in the show during my solo tricks.
Well I just had a realization that kinda sucks. It just hit me that the Coins to Glass that I’ve been working on and my CeeLotrick are essentially the same trick. Three objects disappear one at a time and reappear under a cup. Sure, both routines had different textures, one the objects visually appear and the other has the two jumbo loads, but they are the same trick.
Now here’s the choice I have to make. Do I try to separate them within the show, or use one as an “A” Show and the other as a “B” show routine.
I’m thinking about trying to put some time between them. If you think about it, I’ve seen several jugglers essentially do the same routine with different props. They do balls, then rings, then clubs, but it’s the same format. Three, then four, then five and maybe seven. It’s really the same trick with a different prop.
Honestly, if they are 10-15 mins apart in the show, I don’t think anyone will notice. However, it’s probably good for me to do one or the other and not both. I can replace one or them with something else I’m working on.
I feel like I’ve put a lot of work into the table I’m using for virtual shows. I think it’s really made a difference in the flow of the show. It’s soo much more efficient use of space than how I was previously doing it.
Here’s one view of the shelf:
And here’s the shelf rotated 180 degrees:
The nice thing with having holders is that I can look down and immediately know if something isn’t there as it’s holder will be empty. There are two wild cards as far as set up goes, the rest of the props can stay set up all the time. Those are the Gypsy Yarn and the silk in apple/peach. Both of those routines I set up on the day of the show.
You’ll also notice some redundancies, like each trick that uses a pen has it’s own pen. This is because I don’t want to be searching around for a pen, and it makes sure I have a back up pen if one dries out.
One of the things that’s been a challenge for me in virtual shows is using my space wisely. My virtual studio is in the office I share with my wife and I need to build the studio every show virtually from scratch. It’s much more work that driving to a venue and setting up.
About a week ago I did a post about adding a rotating shelf to below my working table top. I’m liking it and have gotten to use it in a couple of shows. I’m adding holders to the props, so that they can just stay set up. Here’s what I’ve 3d printed so far:
The goal is to hopefully cut down on my set up time. I just need to set up the studio, and not the studio plus all of my show props. The silver lining is that the holders also keep things from falling off the table when it’s moved or the shelf is rotated. I still need to make the holders for the rest of the table, but this is a start!
One of the things I’m always doing it trying to improve what I currently do. Right now in my virtual show I do a modified version of my Cee-Lo trick, which is a cup and dice routine. This ends with the production of two large dice. The large dice are 1 1/4 inches on each side. To give you some perspective, the picture below is one of the jumbo dice next to a regular die.
The reason that the trick uses 1 1/4 inch dice is that for a live, in person show, it makes the loading procedure work. The cup will hold two 1 1/2 inch dice, but the method where the spectator loads the cup for you doesn’t work well with a larger die.
I was cleaning up and found the old set of 1 1/2 inch dice I tried using for Cee-Lo. It hit me, since I’ve changed my loading procedure for virtual shows, and there are no spectators to handle the props, why not move to the larger size dice. To give you an idea of visually how much bigger they are, the pictures below are a 1 1/2 inch die next to a regular die and a 1 1/4 inch die.
That extra quarter inch makes it look massive! The nice thing about how I load the cups for live virtual shows is that the size of the die doesn’t really matter. I’m getting a little more visual impact for no extra work! I’m a fan of that.
One of the tricks I’m adding to my virtual magic shows is Cee-Lo which is my cups and dice routine. One of problems going from an in person show a virtual show is that you can’t move the audience’s focus around as easily. At one point in the routine I need to load the cup and doing it in the room with people there is super easy, however it’s much harder with the focused eye of the camera.
Normally I would load this from my pocket, however that won’t work for the reason above. What I’m going to do is load from the table. I designed a holder for the dice and they will slide up into the cup from behind the table’s edge.
This holder is currently printing out and I’ll try it out later today. This is something that I normally couldn’t use in my live shows because I perform in conditions where people can frequently see behind my table. This is one of the interesting things about working on a virtual show, I can use techniques that don’t work for my in person show.
Many years ago I remember watching a VHS tape with Dan Fleshman who did his Fleshman Flash as part of his cups and balls routine. This is a cool loading move for cups and balls that is a virtually invisible way to load two balls into the cups.
It looks like he teaches the Fleshman Flash on The Restaurant Magic of Dan Fleshman DVD vol. 3.
I remember rewinding that VHS tape over and over, the move was virtually invisible. Early on, that got me thinking about loading sequences and how you need to do more than simply put something into your pocket and steal it out the load.
Here’s and early version of my Cee-Lo Trick and at the end you can see the how the load of the second jumbo dice isn’t from my pocket.
And here’s another loading sequence that I’ve put together:
I think that varying your loading procedure is important. If they all come from the pocket at you put things away, it’s still surprising to an audience, but not as amazing. The more you go to your pockets the easier it is to backtrack. Start to think of clever ways to sneak the large production items in that aren’t all from the pocket.
Apparently I’m pretty guilty of having some disgusting props. I was looking over what I use and my personal set of dice for my Cee Lo (cup and dice) routine are gross. I think how they got this bad is that I’m the only person that handles the dice, so I haven’t gotten anyone to … Continue reading “Clean Up Your Act!”
Apparently I’m pretty guilty of having some disgusting props. I was looking over what I use and my personal set of dice for my Cee Lo (cup and dice) routine are gross. I think how they got this bad is that I’m the only person that handles the dice, so I haven’t gotten anyone to react to their grossness.
The die with the number 1 up is the clean one and when compared to the other die, you can see how gross they were!
Right now is a good time to take a look your props and give them a good wipe down, even if they don’t need it!
I’m frequently asked about why the Evaporation’s standard version is orange liquid. The reason for this is simple, it’s easy to be seen. Rarely will you have an orange background that you are performing in front of, so the color won’t disappear into whatever is behind you. Using things like cola, which is a … Continue reading “Your Tricks Gotta Be Seen!”
I’m frequently asked about why the Evaporation’s standard version is orange liquid. The reason for this is simple, it’s easy to be seen. Rarely will you have an orange background that you are performing in front of, so the color won’t disappear into whatever is behind you.
Using things like cola, which is a dark brown be hard to see with a dark background, or using milk in an elementary school gym against a white wall make seeing the trick difficult. That’s why I settled on Orange.
You need to think about this stuff with all of your magic. For example I love the idea of cups and balls, more specifically cup and ball(s). So a chop cup would fall in this category. My marketed trick Cee-Lo (Available from www.hocus-pocus.com) which uses 3 dice and a cup has some clever work on the final loads.
Here’s a video of Cee-Lo:
The problem is that the action happens on the table top, and if you are are a raised stage the audience is looking up at the bottom of the table and can’t see what’s happening.
There are a couple of solutions to this:
Build your table at an angle, so the front edge is lower than the back.
Use video projection onto a screen.
Create a routine where none of the action happens on a table top.
The first two are pretty simple solutions, however how practical they are will depend on the venues you perform in. The third one is the one that interests me. You are now walking into fairly uncharted waters. Aside from Ball and Cone, the only other cup and ball type trick that happens in the hands is Axel Hecklau’s Just a Cup.
Axel’s routine is great, but I want to come up with my own take on an in the hands cup and ball routine. So my starting point was a baseball cap, which hand a brim that I can hold on to and a large ball, that’s an inch and a half in diameter. All of the action now happens at chest level and it plays much larger due to the bigger props.
This routine is still in its early phases, hopefully it’ll work out. Once it’s closer to being finished, I’ll start sharing some video of it.
The point of this post is simple: Look at the tricks you do and think you about what the audience can actually see!