As we move forward and out of the COVID pandemic and venues start to reopen and live, in person entertainment begins to come back, we’re going to have to follow some rules. There are tons of magicians that are saying, “I’ll never do a show with a mask on” or whatever, and that’s fine…it’s their personal choice. The venue’s don’t get a choice, they are given guidelines to follow by the state/county/city and must follow those. So your personal choice will affect your ability to perform.
I think that the fear of performing with a mask, or a no contact show comes from a place of laziness. Why wouldn’t you want to figure out how to do your show no contact? The answer you hear is, “My comedy comes from interacting with people”. Great! you can still do that without someone physically onstage…or onstage 6 feet from you. It just takes some work.
I’ve had to recently reblock my show so that couple things I still do with someone onstage can have the person six feet from me…and we both can be masked. I’ve had to reexamine my show and figure out how to make it work…but that’s something you should be doing every now and then anyway.
In my continuing quest to make things play bigger, I’ve finally altered a trick that I used close up to hopefully have it play for a bigger audience. The trick started as Huge Shelley’s iCube trick. The problem with his set up was that I found using my phone as a thumper was unreliable. The bluetooth would drop, or I wouldn’t necessarily be able to feel the vibrations.
I then got a ProMystic MD Mini, which is completely reliable. I just didn’t like the look of the cube, so I put the guts into the shell that came with icube and have a little prop that works great for close up!
The next challenge is how to make it play bigger. Right now the cube is about 3/4 of an each on each side. The obvious way it to scale it up to a bigger cube. For that I picked up a Meffert’s Oskar’s Treasure Cube with is a Rubik’s Cube that had a compartment inside.
I put the MD Mini that’s inside the iCube shell into the treasure cube and secured it with sponge. Now I that can be seen in a bigger venue. The next challenge is to figure out a way to show the selected side of the cube. This was a bit of a challenge because if it’s held up and show by someone in the audience, they won’t necessarily do a good job displaying it.
To solve this, I went with an obvious solution, and that’s to put the die is a box with a lid.
The box was a very quick and simple 3D print to design and it only displays one side. No I can simply ask the person to, “take off the lid and show it to the audience” and there’s no issue with displaying the selected color. As a bonus, if the trick ever fails me, I now have an out. I can use it like the old color block trick where you put the lid on the side!
It was only a matter of time before I got an inquiry for a gig that required me to be fully vaccinated.
Personally I have no objection to getting the COVID vaccine and knew that not having it may affect my ability to work. I got my vaccine the first chance I was eligible to get it. The big thing to consider is time…if you get the two shot version, you’ve got five weeks until you are fully vaccinated. The waiting period could cost you some work if you wait until the last minute to get it.
I’m not a doctor and don’t take this as medical advice, but for me getting the vaccine at the first chance I had was a good business decision!
Recently I released my Take Up Reel through Hocus Pocus and the response has been amazing. Honestly, I thought they would sell two of them, but they are selling as quickly as I can make them!
I just want to say “thank you” to everyone that has supported this magic release. It’s been several years in the making. From the initial development of it to me road testing and tweaking it…to having other people road test it and doing some more tweaking.
Here’s the next batch of Take Up Reels that are going out.
I wish these reels were easier to make, they take about a week from start to finish to make…and I can only do them in small batches.
Here’s some advice if you are thinking of putting out a magic product, actually put in the time to work it out. Don’t rush ideas out to the market. There’s soo much that’s put out that you can tell wasn’t really tested out on audiences in the real world…whether that’s an in person or virtual show.
Recently someone in a magic group posted a video of them doing a 12 minute “flash” act, which is essentially a series of tricks. The opening trick they did was show a torch a long time, then it turned into a cane. This is a marketed trick called “torch to cane” and you can watch a demo of it below:
Here’s the thing with the trick, you are taking something very interesting which is fire and turning it into something very uninteresting which is a cane. I think you’d be better off showing a torch and then doing fire eating (which is interesting) than turning it into a cane. The magician’s style of cane has been out of style pretty much my whole lifetime, so no one instantly know what it is.
A better idea would be turning fire into an animal.
The above video isn’t how I’d do it, but a dove is way more interesting than a cane. Fire is cool to look at, so make something appear that’s cool to look at. Maybe touch it to your palm, and your palm catches on fire, you toss the fire to the audience and it turns into a throw coil! That’s way more exciting than a torch to cane. Also if you think an appearing cane is really fooling anyone, think again. At best is a B- of a trick. Sure, it has it’s place in the right act, but it’s not a huge mystery.
When you are doing a transformation from one item to the other, the final item must be as interesting as the first. Torch to cane…nope. Cane to lit torch…YES!!!!
Right now I’m at a showcase for performers and last night a friend of mine performed. He uses larger props in his magic show. He does things like balloon to dove, dove to rabbit and walking thru a plate of steel. It’s crazy how much bigger his show feels than mine does. Using larger props … Continue reading “Bigger Props…”
Right now I’m at a showcase for performers and last night a friend of mine performed. He uses larger props in his magic show. He does things like balloon to dove, dove to rabbit and walking thru a plate of steel. It’s crazy how much bigger his show feels than mine does.
Using larger props really fills the stage. In a show like mine, it’s just me and some hand held props. I think that my early days performing in comedy clubs and cabaret shows really molded how I perform. In those venues you really can’t have big props. Even something like a table is a lot of real estate on a tiny stage.
I’ve learned to make small props play larger (usually). For an act like mine, that’s important, keeping the props to a minimum. I want to the show to feel less formal and having large props makes it feel way too formal for me.
The other day I visited a magician friend who isn’t doing too well from health standpoint. I drove several hours each way to visit him. It really lifted his spirits, we had a good time jamming and laughing. If you know another magician that’s not doing well, pop by and visit them. One of the … Continue reading “Great Visit!”
The other day I visited a magician friend who isn’t doing too well from health standpoint. I drove several hours each way to visit him. It really lifted his spirits, we had a good time jamming and laughing. If you know another magician that’s not doing well, pop by and visit them.
One of the things we chatted about was my silk and coathanger routine. This is something that I’ve been working on all summer and have hit a wall. The problem I’m having is that the trick gets stunned silence. Each phase adds to the stunned silence. The problem is getting a reaction out of it that’s not silence.
My friend who is known as a close up guy, but has amazing knowledge of stage magic gave me a great suggestion. He said the trick is lacking the release of tension. Instead of looking for a finale to the trick, blow it off with a laugh. Now I just need to figure out what that blow off it and to try it.
The variety show that I was in last night was a lot of fun. A couple of the acts were thrown off by how wide the stage was. The stage was probably 24 feet wide and 8 feet deep. I personally don’t mind a wide stage, but work on them fairly frequently. The picture above … Continue reading “Big Stages”
The variety show that I was in last night was a lot of fun. A couple of the acts were thrown off by how wide the stage was. The stage was probably 24 feet wide and 8 feet deep. I personally don’t mind a wide stage, but work on them fairly frequently.
The picture above is form the venue last night. You’ll notice one of the things that I do is “define my area” on the stage. My case and table create the edges of where I work. This keeps me from wandering the stage to get props if my case or table were at either end of the stage.
Having a wider stage is way better than a narrow stage where you are crammed into. Currently I’m working hard on my show to play larger. I’m not a pack small, play big person. I prefer to use props that fit what I want to do…but hopefully make it play large!
A friend of mine who is a mentalist from Ireland is in town and we had coffee yesterday. We were chatting about mentalism and the struggles to make it play big. One of the things he showed me was probably the coolest thing I’ve seen this year (more on this in a minute). Part of … Continue reading “Adding Texture to Predictions…”
A friend of mine who is a mentalist from Ireland is in town and we had coffee yesterday. We were chatting about mentalism and the struggles to make it play big. One of the things he showed me was probably the coolest thing I’ve seen this year (more on this in a minute).
Part of the challenge of mentalism is you need normal-ish looking props. Once you know make a die 24 inches big, or use a calculator that’s build for bigfoot, you lose what makes mentalism great, which is the lack of propy props.
This is an amazing way to force one object out of five that feels very free and has some theatrical build up to it as well.
My idea is to borrow five different objects from people in the audience. You introduce a padded envelope that has your prediction in it. They give you a number, let’s say it is 28. You count to that number per the Quinta Force and let’s say we end up on a cellphone. You open the envelope and inside is a cellphone…then for the kicker on the back written in marker in giant numbers is 28!
I haven’t finished reading the book, so someone may have thought of this already.
That’s something that will play fairly large, I guess it could be done with paper prediction that unfolded into a large display. My thinking was to try to get away from a printed prediction as that’s fairly common way to reveal things and I wanted something that would add some texture to the show.