Yesterday I had a full day of driving around town performing at senior living facilities doing my show. They love booking in magic shows for April Fools Day, and you can do shows pretty much from 10 am to about 7 pm if you want to. The main limit is your set up, take down and travel time.
Doing a lot of shows in a short amount of time is a great chance to work on things. I’m working on my Briefcase Magic Show, so not a single piece, but how to get the stuff to gel together as a show.
Everything pictured above (included the applause sign) fits into the case and sets up and packs away in less than 10 mins.
I was able to get 45 minutes out of those props at every show today! I’m working on adding a joke between each trick, that’s adding a time to the show without adding props. The goal is to have 2 minutes of jokes between each trick, that ends up being 12 minutes of the 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!
Now that I have a few more of these “masked, small group, no contact, socially distant” magic shows under my belt, I’ve started to streamline the show. I know what’s working and what’s not working or what’s not needed. Instead of doing one 45 minute magic show, I’m doing three magic shows that are 20 minutes each.
If you compare the picture above to the one that I posted a few weeks ago when I first started doing these shows, you’ll notice I have a lot less stuff in my case. The props I never used have been taken out. There are still some things I don’t really use, but have as back ups in case I end up with a really strange group.
You also may notice I have multiple sets of the same prop. This is because I’m doing three shows instead of one with very short gaps to reset. Having three sets of Gypsy Thread set up, or three peaches ready cuts down on reset time. I can now have one group coming in while the other is leaving.
Something else that was never really a concern with me since I usually only do one show, or have longer gaps to reset the magic tricks in my show is the actual reset time. Pretty much everything in the show was selected because it has quick or no reset time, or it was practical to have multiple sets of it. This was a compromise that needed to happen to make this show work.
One of the new tricks I added to my kid show this summer was the Gypsy Yarn (this is Nick Lewin’s version of the Gypsy Thread). I’m using his method for the set up / handling, and string/yarn. Whenever there’s a trick I want to do, if Nick Lewin has a routine for it, I’ll … Continue reading “Make it Yours…”
One of the new tricks I added to my kid show this summer was the Gypsy Yarn (this is Nick Lewin’s version of the Gypsy Thread). I’m using his method for the set up / handling, and string/yarn. Whenever there’s a trick I want to do, if Nick Lewin has a routine for it, I’ll always use his as my starting point.
Here’s my final routine:
In the video I should have paused a bit longer at the end of the trick showing the string restored.
If you are familiar with Nick Lewin’s routine, you’ll see that while I use the foundation of his, the routine is 100% different. I think the only thing the same is we both reference a spit ball. This is a good example of taking an existing routine and making it yours. It takes more than simply filtering someone else’s script through your mouth.
You need to actually put yourself into the routine. In the video above while you don’t learn “facts” about me, you get a peek into my personality with how I interact with the kid.
You’ll also notice there are no standard “kid show” bits. It doesn’t feel like a “kid show” magic routine. Yes it’s silly with the counting bit, but there’s no Look, but don’t see, or sucker magic. It’s a fun original routine for a standard trick…and the trick is good!
Earlier today I did my final library show of the summer. This year I’m performing a lot more in a different market, so only did about a dozen libraries. I’ve got couple of things that I learned about a few of the new magic tricks that I did in the show this summer. First I … Continue reading “Last Show…”
Earlier today I did my final library show of the summer. This year I’m performing a lot more in a different market, so only did about a dozen libraries. I’ve got couple of things that I learned about a few of the new magic tricks that I did in the show this summer.
First I learned how to do the Gypsy Thread trick for kids. I had to do some focus group work to figure out why the trick was falling flat. It’s one of those tricks that’s almost too good. The kids thought it was “magnet string” and it just turned back into one piece automatically. To solve this I had a kid hold the string, and it didn’t restore initially. Then later it turned back into one piece.
The second thing I learned is that the big fish production is OK by itself. However if you add the production of a smaller fish before it, the big fish production plays much better!!!
I think a lot of people don’t learn from their library shows. It’s a short term run, and that’s it. Personally I try to have one or two tricks that I can use outside of that themed show, and I’ve got two great ones!
I posted a while ago about the Gypsy Thread trick and trying to figure out how to make it work in my library shows. The problem I was having was kids had two ridiculous explanations of how the trick worked. Either magnets or trick string that just goes back together. I heard both enough that … Continue reading “Gypsy Thread…”
I posted a while ago about the Gypsy Thread trick and trying to figure out how to make it work in my library shows. The problem I was having was kids had two ridiculous explanations of how the trick worked. Either magnets or trick string that just goes back together. I heard both enough that it’s something I need to address.
Here’s my solution, I bring a kid on stage to help with the trick. This is good and makes the trick play bigger. The kid tries to put half of the pieces of string together and they can’t on the first try. This effectively cancels out the theory of magnets or trick string. Then the kid ends up holding all of the string and it restores while they hold it. After making this little change, it’s playing a lot better.
However there is a change I want to make to the trick. I just need to find time to work out the handling. I want the kid to hold all of the strings at the first failed restoration attempt. There are two ways to accomplish this. The first way is that I could add in the length of string with the ball of string on it after they’ve handled the string the first time. This wouldn’t be hard to do. The second method would be much bolder and have them hold all of the strings including the one with the ball of string. I’d just shove it into their fist and have them hold it.
Either way I think would make the trick stronger from someone trying to back track it. I know it’s a trick I’m doing in a kid show, but what makes art is going a step further.
P.S. I think Nick Lewin sells the best thread for the Gypsy Thread trick…at least for how I do the trick.
One of the tricks that I’m working on for my summer library tour is the Gypsy Thread trick. Basically it’s a torn and restored string trick, but you rip the string into many pieces and restore it. Technically I’ve got the trick down, but having a bit of trouble selling the trick. I think it’s … Continue reading “Gypsy Thread…”
One of the tricks that I’m working on for my summer library tour is the Gypsy Thread trick. Basically it’s a torn and restored string trick, but you rip the string into many pieces and restore it. Technically I’ve got the trick down, but having a bit of trouble selling the trick.
I think it’s a matter of figuring out where to put, and what the “magic” moment is. I think this is a case of me needing to tell them what they are going to see. I need to put some sizzle onto it.
Part of the problem with a restoration for kids, is in our modern society, things just fit together, or fit back together. Yes, things break, but with so many children’s products that just snap back together, the concept of a restoration of something like a piece of string isn’t miraculous. Of course this changes with something like Tony Clark’s Gypsy Balloon, where kids can relate to the broken string.
Before my show at a library I did some tricks that I’m working on as my preshow. One of the tricks is a dollar production called Sketch Money by Joao Miranda. It’s a drawing of a dollar bill that turns into a real dollar bill and other I did was the gypsy thread. Sketch Money … Continue reading “Breaking In Tricks…..”
Before my show at a library I did some tricks that I’m working on as my preshow. One of the tricks is a dollar production called Sketch Money by Joao Miranda. It’s a drawing of a dollar bill that turns into a real dollar bill and other I did was the gypsy thread.
Sketch Money played better than I thought it would, and I added a switch at the end to get rid of the gimmicked dollar bill. Basically I’m going an “under the box” type switch with the pad of paper instead of a box. It worked well, and I thought there’d be a ton of heat after the dollar production, but there was none. That was very unexpected.
The Gypsy Thread trick from a technical end is fine, I just need to work on selling the end. The trick is missing the magic moment. I think I need to verbally tell them what’s going to happen right before it does happen. I’m doing this trick for kids, and I think the moment of licking the string overshadows the restoration. The string licking is a very funny moment for the kids. I need some more separation between it and the restoration, and to give the restoration a magic moment, like a snap.
I’m happy with how these tricks are coming along and both are for my summer library shows, so hopefully they’ll be solid tricks by the end of the season.
Every summer for about the last decade I do a library tour and this summer is no different. This year I’m only doing about a dozen library shows. In the past I think I’ve done 70ish some years. Each summer the library tour gets a show written for it. Usually this is based on the … Continue reading “New Tricks in the Show…”
Every summer for about the last decade I do a library tour and this summer is no different. This year I’m only doing about a dozen library shows. In the past I think I’ve done 70ish some years. Each summer the library tour gets a show written for it. Usually this is based on the national library themed, and I usually write close to the them, but not exactly on it. This year the theme is “outer space”, however my show deals with space as in measurements.
One of the tricks in the show is a trick I’ve wanted to do for a while, but doesn’t fit my style is the Gypsy Thread. I think it’s a good trick, however my show lacks what it needs to play larger, and that’s good lighting at many venues. Generally if a trick is something I can’t do virtually everywhere, I don’t put it in my main show.
That’s the beauty of the library shows, I can do a trick that I normally wouldn’t. If for some reason I fall in love with it, then I can work to move it into the main show. The huge thing it’s got going for it is that it’s a pack small trick. It takes up virtually no space in my case, so if I can come up with at least a decent presentation, it could be a great emergency trick.