In the past I had made a 25ish minute emergency magic show that fits into a little pouch about the size of a sandwich bag. I keep this in my car and it’s come in handy several times since I made it.
In reading Doc Dixon’s book The Show is the Mother of Invention, it got me thinking of expanding this emergency pouch into a small show, not an emergency show. The emergency show was had tricks that I can do, but don’t do and were selected for the size of the trick, not necessarily if the trick was a good fit for my personality.
While I was killing time in a town the other day, I was walking through a junk shop and found a small doctor’s bag.
This bag was cheap at $20 and it’s still really small and won’t take up much room in the trunk of my car, but will allow me turn that 25 minute emergency show into a better show. I have a lot more space to play with and can put things that fit me better into it and things that will play for a larger audience.
Something that the larger size of the case will let me do that the pouch won’t is to put a couple of audio cables into it so the show will have music. This will add production value to the show.
I’m starting to put the show together, but I’m still on the road performing for another month and a half, so it probably won’t be done until I’m home and can add a few more props to it.
Right now I’m reading Doc Dixon’s book The Show is the Mother of Invention. It’s about having a show that you can take as carry on luggage onto a plane and making that stuff play big. I’m about 2/3’s of the way through it right now and I really like it!
For me this is a very interesting read as I do travel a lot, both by car and by plane. Even when travelling by car, it’s important to try to pack small, or at least efficiently!
I used to be a “Pack as small as your artistic vision will allow you to…” sort of person. That led me to travelling around the country with a four foot metal spoon that required it’s own case! And that prop was used only for a 15 second gag! I’m no longer that person, I still have that spoon and case, and can do the routine whenever I want, but the it’s not currently in my show.
Doc’s book has a lot of strategies for getting more time out of what you already have, and how to make small things play larger. There are many techniques that I already do, that I didn’t know were techniques, like telling stories about what’s happened when you did the trick at another show.
One thing that’s important to me is texture. I don’t want the show to feel like it was designed to fit into a case…even though it was. For example one of the things that’s in my show is my Applause Please trick, which is an applause sign that’s part of a larger routine. This is technically an “illusionette” in that it’s bigger than a hand held item, yet smaller than a zig zag. This prop has a lot of negative space that I can use to fill with other things when it’s packed up.
In addition to confirming what I was already doing, I’ve learned several new things that make Doc Dixon’s book totally worth buying for me! If packing smaller and getting more mileage out of what you already are doing is something that interests you, I highly recommend getting this book!