In stand up comedy circles there’s an inside joke that when someone does something cool, people say, “Who books that?” Typically newer comics or comics that are plateauing are asking comics moving up how they got a cool gig. Or really what they’re asking is how they can get a gig without putting in the work to get the gig.
In reality, it’s really easy to find out who books a gig, you simply call the gig and ask!
Recently I did a casino, which was a tribal casino in the middle of nowhere:
I posted that picture of my picture on their sign on social media and had four magicians contact me asking for the bookers information. These were magicians that I know, but I’m not really close with. If they were a close friend or someone I frequently trade referrals with, it’s not a big deal. But when it’s someone that I chat with twice a decade, the request feels gross.
Don’t be the person taking the lazy way out, do the work!
Here’s what loading in my 60 minute stage show looks like!
That’s actually not quite right, the doctor bag on top isn’t part of the stage show, and neither is the brown tabletop on the left side of the luggage cart. I just didn’t want to leave them in the car. So the actual props I’m moving is slightly smaller.
I’m not a believer in the “briefcase show” where you have 60 mins in a briefcase. There are a handful of people that can pull it off, however most look like every trick was selected because it’s flat and the show has no visual texture.
So my advice is to pack as small as your artistic vision allows!
I’m playing with adding some visual effects to sizzle reels, or social media videos. Here’s two versions of a sizzle reel, one without effects and one with some visual effects.
Here’s the one without:
And here’s the one with:
The goal is to not use the visual effects simply because I can, but to hopefully use them to enhance what you’re watching. I don’t want to be like soo many of the videos in the early days of consumer level video editing where every transition was a a huge deal, with star wipes or whatever.
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’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!
Yesterday I started work on the current batch of Applause Please 2. This is the prop used for my “object in lightbulb” routines. The base and outer shell of the applause sign are made by Brian overat Magic Crafter and look amazing!
Yesterday I added the switch and lightbulb holder to the bases.
I also made all of the electronic parts and added the remote controls.
Today I’ll be adding the electronics to the boxes and packing everything up. Hopefully I can get all of my preorders out in the mail tomorrow!
I only have one left if you want to order the Applause Please 2 from me, however four of these are going to Hocus-Pocus.com, so they’ll have them in a few days.
One of my preferred ways of booking gigs is through showcases. A showcase is where you do a sample of your show in front of people that book entertainment. These exist for pretty much every market that uses entertainment regularly.
What I like about this is that I get to let my show do the selling. If my show is good, I get booked. My calendar has nothing to do with how good I write ad copy or can layout a brochure.
There are downsides to booking gigs through showcases. Normally I have to travel to them, so there’s plane, car and hotel costs. Then there’s usually a fee associated with showcasing (not always) and that’s not cheap! Also the caliber of entertainment is usually fairly high, so you need to be able to deliver a good, short version of your show. Another challenge is that you could have a bad show, and it’s no fault of yours. Like the audio or lights could be bad, or someone in the audience has a heart attack right before you start or you could just be off that night.
This isn’t a good way for beginners to get work, there’s no do overs, you have to crush it every time!
One of the rough things about being creative is people taking your work and calling it their own. This recently happened (in a non magic context) when I posted this picture that I took on social media:
Then someone took the picture and passed it off as their own:
No little photo credit or even tagging me. Sure if he gave me a photo credit, it would takeaway the idea that this was his idea…but you know what, it’s not his idea, it’s mine! Since I know this person, simply asking me if they could use the picture would have been a nice courtesy.
On the surface this appears to be a stupid little picture and it is. But there was a bit of hard work to get there. First of all someone had to have the idea of putting shrimp where it didn’t belong. Here are the three previous ideas before I got to the coffee (which is the best image):
FYI, I’ve also learned that I’m not the first person to do the Corona bottle when someone posted it in the comments of the picture of the shrimp in the coffee, and honestly I’d be surprised if I was the first person to do the coffee.
Above is the full uncropped image. Next I had to blur the background and crop it to get to the final image.
While it’s not a ton of work, it’s still my energy, both creative and physical…I’m the one who put in the work. There were steps to get to the final image, it didn’t just appear like magic out of nowhere. This is the exact same thing as stealing a joke from my show. I try to be creative all the time, and it really sucks when someone passes my work off as their own.
The moral of the story is don’t steal other people’s creativity.