Justin Willman’s Show

Justin willman

A few days ago a few of us Seattle magicians went out to see Justin Willman‘s show at the Moore Theatre. Justin does an amazing show that’s super smart how it’s done. From his opening effect that’s a “sucker” effect, but not really done like a traditional sucker effect. It really gets everyone in the audience on his side.

Justin Willman Seattle

Justin’s show is a great example of how you don’t need a lot of props to fill a theater. Sure he does use video projection, however it doesn’t feel like he’s using the projection to make small things play big. His use of the projector enhances what he’s already doing. There were no close up tricks that needed the projector AND he only used it few times for close ups and they felt fun when he used it.

He did have the show on the projector behind him, and his is kinda the standard thing now. Micheal Carbonaro also does it that way as well. It just makes the show play better in the back.

One of the tricks that Justin does is a “roulette” with a borrowed cellphone and a hammer. The beauty of this trick is how it connects with the audience. Our lives are in our phones. At it’s core, the trick is a Key R Rect or 7 Keys to Baldplate, but after seeing this, why would anyone do it with keys. There’s literally no attachment with keys.

That’s where Justin shines, he’s great at finding relatable hooks for everything in the show. He’s also great at creating places for real interactions with people and then finding the comedy in those places.

If he’s playing in your area, this show is a great example of how to play a theater with a parlor size act!


Phone Pouch…

A few nights ago I saw Amy Schumer perform at a theater in Seattle. She was great! Amy has a very defined character and point of view. That point of view may not be for everyone, but when you get to her level, “everyone” isn’t your audience. As a stand up, you need a point of view, and that’s to to eliminate some people who don’t agree with you.

Going into the theater, they had us lock our phones up in little pouches. This is becoming more and more common. I think that we as a culture have proven our inability to keep our phones in our pockets during a show, even after a no photo/recording announcement.

My first thought was that these pouches would be great to do a Key-R-Rect or 7 Keys to Baldplate style trick with. You’d just need to put grommets on both sides of the flap. Now you can borrow or use your phone and put it in and do the key trick with it.

The challenge would be getting one of these. It doesn’t look like they sell them direct to the public, so you’d need to find someone who goes to a school that uses them, buy theirs, and have them say they lost theirs.

I haven’t thought of a routine yet…but I think it’s a good prop for locking up a cellphone.

Area to Improve…

This morning I’m reflecting on the two senior shows I did over the last two days. Normally I wouldn’t put too much thought into them, however it’s been a while since I’ve done a full, in person show. I’ve been doing a lot of shorter bits lately, and that’s a different skill than 45-50 mins.

I think the areas I could improve would be to have a few more “non contact” tricks in this show. What I mean is have non contact options. There are a few spots where I needed to go into the audience, as I wasn’t allowed to bring people on stage. For procedural things, it’s not a huge deal. I’ve already added non contact options for things like “pick a card” an instead I have them name a card. It makes for some more interesting methods and makes me not be lazy.

There are some magic tricks that the person has do for the effect to really work. A good example is a I a Key R Rect / Seven Keys to Baldplate sort of trick and the impact is very much lessened when I turn the keys, versus having someone from the audience do that. The bigger problem is that the action happens in the audience, so it’s harder for people to see. The nice thing is that when it opens there’s a CLICK noise.

One solution I have though of for the Key R Rect trick is to have 3 people pick numbers from 1-4 and whoever picks the number I wrote down wins. I think it works, but in my head I feel it’s lacking something. It could just be that guessing a number doesn’t feel like a game to me. I do need to just go out and try it and see how it plays…