One trick that I’m doing in the school assembly is based on Jim Steinmeyer’s Apples and Oranges routine in his book Conjuring. Jim’s trick is the Piano Card Trick, but using apples and oranges, which makes it play on stage. Essentially the trick is an orange disappears from one side of the stage and reappears on the other.
I took Jim’s idea and rewrote the script and changed the props so that it works for the show I was doing. In the first few weeks of doing the show, I felt like the kids holding the nets of fruit were really only there as human props and I needed to give them opportunities to shine. I started by asking them some questions, then giving one of them a line and creating an impossible challenge for the other kid. This made the routine soo much more engaging that it was before.
Also I should add that the trick is good! When the orange ends up on the other side of the stage, the teachers seem more amazed than the kids! That’s an important point about this show and all kids shows, the magic needs to be good. There were (and still are) soo many magic tricks that from an effect standpoint aren’t good that are marketed to children’s performers. This is part of what creates the stereotype that kids magic is cheesy. If you up your game with good tricks, it’s helps take you out of that cheesy magician box.
Last week I was at Disneyland and went over to the California Adventure park to see the Dr. Strange show. Essentially this was a 12 minute magic show. The magic trick were essentially used as “live special effects”, and not as magic tricks. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing them this way, it’s just a different mindset.
There were basically four tricks: Devils Hank, Ring to Flower, Zombie, andan Appearing Pole. This show was a great example of a themed magic show. Every trick was used with a purpose to further along the story. The Zombie was well motivated, but went way longer than it should have gone.
Here’s video I found online of the full show:
This show is also a good example of why when I do themed shows my role is more of a lecturer than a character that’s presenting a show. Performing as someone other than me doesn’t really interest me, and I’m not a good enough actor to do that.
Frequently I’m asked to perform magic for a Halloween event and they want me to do magic for that theme. I don’t really do that (anymore). When I was younger and was being hired more because they wanted a “Halloween Magic Show” rather than a great magic show, I did them. October used to be … Continue reading “Themed Magic…”
Frequently I’m asked to perform magic for a Halloween event and they want me to do magic for that theme. I don’t really do that (anymore). When I was younger and was being hired more because they wanted a “Halloween Magic Show” rather than a great magic show, I did them.
October used to be a HUGE month for shows. Over the years as I’ve stopped doing a Halloween or Harvest Magic show, the second half of the month has slowed down (I’m OK with that).
So why not dust off an old themed show for a couple weeks and make some money?
The answer is simple, doing them was never in my heart. I’m at the point in my career that I want to do the show that I want to do. Also a show you do dozen times once a year will never be as good as your main show. I’d rather work on my show.
The compromise that I’m willing make is that I can use props that fit a color scheme where appropriate. For example using black and orange handkerchiefs in a color changing handkerchief routine, or something like that. However the booker’s budget to buy new props in their color scheme makes this not happen very often.
One of the things that I don’t really do is perform as a character. What I mean by character is dressing up like a cowboy and being a “cowboy magician”. Some people perform as a popular movie character, or celebrity. The main reason I don’t do this is that I can’t character act, and most … Continue reading “”
One of the things that I don’t really do is perform as a character. What I mean by character is dressing up like a cowboy and being a “cowboy magician”. Some people perform as a popular movie character, or celebrity.
The main reason I don’t do this is that I can’t character act, and most magicians can’t either. Many think they can, without any acting training, and these are probably the same people that get upset when an actor learns a magic trick and people think that trick is amazing.
Doing a character is more that just a costume. For example here’s someone that performs “as Sponge Bob:
Unfortunately they don’t do a voice, they don’t do the trick that Sponge Bob would do. It’s a guy wearing a cheap outfit doing a normal show. This in my opinion is a cash grab, someone trying to make a buck and not giving a sh!t. I don’t know his life circumstance, maybe he really needs the money, but this is a very short sighted way to get it.
A better way would be to take some acting classes, learn whatever character you are going to be doing, select material that fits it. Here’s a good example of doing it right:
This performer is doing a Captain Jack Sparrow style character, however the costume is correct to the character. It’s not a halloween costume. Also look at the material selection, he’s using swords and it looks like a sword basket in the background. This is a show that makes sense with the character.
If you do a character, do it right. If you care, audiences will care.
Yesterday I went to Luche Libre Taco Shop in San Diego, CA. This is a Mexican Wrestling themed restuarant. One thing is that they go all out with the theme. It’s not just a picture on the wall, it’s all the pictures on the wall, it’s the graffiitti in the bathroom, it’s the toys in … Continue reading “Themed Show?”
Yesterday I went to Luche Libre Taco Shop in San Diego, CA. This is a Mexican Wrestling themed restuarant. One thing is that they go all out with the theme. It’s not just a picture on the wall, it’s all the pictures on the wall, it’s the graffiitti in the bathroom, it’s the toys in the vending machines. It’s 100% themed.
Another place I went a few days ago was Hodads in downtown San Diego. It’s also themed out. It’s a rocker/skater/surfer themed, that had a late 80’s feel to it. Once again it was 100% themed.
These were two of my favorite places we ate at this week. Why? Simple, they were fun. They did the theme right. You felt like you were a part of something.
This got me thinking about people who do themed shows. People use themed props, themed costume, or themed patter, however not many people use all three. Typically you’ll have someone that uses two themed things, but not all three.
I think you need to jump in and do a full on themed show if you are going to do one. This is something that really brings the audience into your world.