After about 19 months, I’m back out on the road performing at state and county fairs across the USA. This week I’m at the San Mateo County Fair in San Mateo, California. Having a wide scope of what my work is this week made me pack pretty much everything!
My “road tip” is that I never leave my show in my car at the hotel overnight. This is the stuff that I need to do my show, and if I don’t have it, I can’t do my show. Yes, I can do a show with things from the local walmart, but that’s not the show that was hired, or the show that I want to do.
Lugging all your gear to your room adds 10 mins to your day, but it’s way better than getting your car broken into and you losing your show!
Later this evening I’ll be performing a family night show for the first group I did a full, live virtual show for. I’m amazed that a year later I’m still doing these shows and the show has come a long way! I’ve added a bit more production, I’m using more audio effects, and have tricks that are better suited / created for the virtual viewer.
This is the promo video I made from that first show:
It’s also the promo video I still use to promote virtual shows. I probably should have updated it a months ago, but it’s gotten me a lot of work!
Some of the core of that show hasn’t changed, like the silk in peach and the gypsy thread, however a lot has been changed or added.
I used to do a coin sequence that ended with some jumbo coin manipulation. That’s gone, it’s been replaced with my coins under glass routine.
Right now the show opens with the three shell game, a year ago that was in my recorded preshow video.
The show used to open with my flea circus, which was great, however it’s now too much work to set up. Early on in the virtual show timeline, I had a studio in my buddy’s garage that I could leave the flea circus set up in. Unfortunately he moved and that studio is now 5 hours away and my virtual studio is now my office. There’s really not enough room to do it in the office.
I would close the show with a password prediction, but that has changed to the Wheel of Dinner.
I’ve learned soo much over the last year, it’s been a very educational time. Like any show, it’s evolved over the last year and I’ve evolved in how I perform in the show as well!
I got a last minute gig for today doing my full flea circus. I’ve done a greatest hits of the flea circus in some virtual shows, but not the full show. I haven’t really done it in almost exactly a year. A couple of days ago I pulled the props out of the shed and fixed what needed to be repaired. I was amazed that it was in pretty good shape. Normally I have two seasons I do it, summer and two weeks in December. It feels like I usually do a lot of work on it at the begging of each of those seasons.
Here’s it set up after a couple of glue applications:
I also recently picked up a new webcam and I set it up on a tripod that’s at the floor of the circus. I think it’s an interesting view of the flea circus.
Seeing the flea circus from the “ground level” is something that I can’t do in an in perons show. Here’s me playing with the fire breathing flea:
I’m a fan of the low camera. I’m going to use it for a couple of high flea tricks like the trapeze. I like the texture that using this gives me!
There was a fun surprise waiting for me in my email this morning. A while ago Xavi Puk contacted me asking to use a couple of pictures of my flea circus for an upcoming book about flea circuses. Well, it looks like the Spanish Edition it out and available on Amazon.com !
Unfortunately I don’t read Spanish, so I’ll have to wait for the English version to happen. I did run the pages that I’m mention in through Google Translate and I’m used as an example in marketing your flea circus. Specifically how I embrace social media and how I pose / stage pictures.
If you’re into flea circuses and can read spanish, you should check it out. It appears to be a pretty thorough book!
Over the last couple of days I designed and built a tiny cannon that will shoot out a flea in a flea circus. I picked up some flash paper and finally got to try it out and it worked! It’s always a good feeling when something translates from your head to a physical prop easily.
If you’re not 3d printing props, you are really missing out. Basically within 3 hours of chatting about making a flea cannon I had one in my hand. The video below has a little overview on the 3d printing process as well as a demo of the flea cannon.
If you don’t have a 3d printer, you are really missing out!
Yesterday’s post I wrote about making a cannon for my flea circus. The existing, public domain design wasn’t what I wanted, so I built my own from the ground up. Here’s what I printed:
I still need to clean up the edges and there’s some tweaks to the design, but I think it looks fine and hopefully it will be functional. I don’t have any flash paper, so I can’t try it until later today when I can drive to Market Magic Shop and pick some up.
The other day I was chatting with another performer who is building a flea circus and I mentioned I’ve 3d printed a couple. Right now there’s a small cannon 3d file on the internet that some people are using for their flea circus’s, however in my opinion it’s pretty big:
One of the reasons for its size is that it holds a party popper inside of it. Also it wasn’t designed for a flea circus. Because of this, it’s not going to scale down smaller if you still want it to shoot out the party popper.
Personally I don’t need it to shoot the party popper, so designed a cannon to shoot out flash paper.
This will be printed in two parts, that’s so that I don’t have to deal with supports in the print. This will speed up the printing process, and I’ll just glue the two together.
To give you an idea of size, the light blue base is about 1.5 inches in diameter. It’s printing right now, so we’ll see how it turns out!
For the last seven days I’ve been performing at a fair that’s about an hour from my house. That means I was able to drive to the fair instead of flying and that allowed me to bring some bigger props. One of the bigger things that I brought was my flea circus. The biggest challenge … Continue reading “Get Them Invested…”
For the last seven days I’ve been performing at a fair that’s about an hour from my house. That means I was able to drive to the fair instead of flying and that allowed me to bring some bigger props. One of the bigger things that I brought was my flea circus.
The biggest challenge I have doing the flea circus as a roving act is there’s a portion of the crowd that I stop that only wants to know if there are real fleas. That’s it, and the second they learn they are real, they will walk. I personally don’t hold this against them, however I goal is to get them invested, so they don’t walk.
What I started doing last week was a much longer talk up to the first actual circus trick. In this talk up I do the Haunted Deck card trick, which is a “demonstration” of a flea training technique. There is no card picked, the flea simply moves the cards. During this talk up, the crowd builds, that anchors in people, so it’s harder for them to leave.
Another thing I’ve been doing is having the crowd say things. This gets them invested into the show, they’ve put energy into the show. Between the talk up and more participation they amount of people that walk once they realize there are no fleas is much less. I’m happy about that!
If you are a professional performer, you will run it to all sorts of unanticipated challenge in your career. For 10 days this month I’m performing at the airport in Seattle. One of the unusual challenges is getting my props past security, and since I’m there to 10 days, being able to do any repairs … Continue reading “Unusual Challenges…”
If you are a professional performer, you will run it to all sorts of unanticipated challenge in your career. For 10 days this month I’m performing at the airport in Seattle.
One of the unusual challenges is getting my props past security, and since I’m there to 10 days, being able to do any repairs on the spot. The big challenge is that I can’t really bring tools or anything sharp past the security check points…and all of my props needed to be approved and cleared by security.
Once my gear goes past security, it lives there for the whole run. That means I can’t use any of the props for shows outside of the airport. That was an important consideration when pitching what material I was going to do. If my main show was stuck at the airport, I’d need a back up set of props to use. I do have a back up set of my main show (mostly), and it has come in handy many times.
Be ready and most importantly, be flexible with the challenges that come with performing in different venues!
Quite often people are surprised when they hear that I can put the Evaporation gimmick into glass bottles. Some of my early experiments with Evaporation were using glass bottles, however if you are traveling with your show (like me) having it in plastic is much easier. You don’t have to pack it in its own case … Continue reading “Glass Evaporation Bottles…”
Quite often people are surprised when they hear that I can put the Evaporation gimmick into glass bottles. Some of my early experiments with Evaporation were using glass bottles, however if you are traveling with your show (like me) having it in plastic is much easier. You don’t have to pack it in its own case to ensure the glass doesn’t crack.
In a version of my flea circus I use a glass Yoo Hoo bottle: