Here we are, almost into the fourth month of quarantine and there’s still no sign of normal live performances on the horizon. I’ve seen quite a few magicians turning toward the new virtual platform. At first, I wasn’t that interested in making the switch. My act is strongest with physical interaction and the energy created by a venue filled with astonished guests. My original goal during this extended break was to focus on my online coaching, writing, and creating new effects. However, over the last month or so, a number of leads have come in for virtual shows. So I figured I’d venture into uncharted territory and see what it’s like.
It’s a different animal all together. I had to build a set that still felt interactive. I had to create new ways for the audience to have some sense of control. I have new cameras, new lights, new angles, new everything… However, at the end of the day, this new show works. There’s nothing as strong as what can happen in a live situation, but based on the shows I’ve done and the reactions and reviews from the clients, I feel I’ve come pretty close to maximizing the impact of a virtual show.
Here are just a few things to consider:
- You can say goodbye to applause you’re used to after an effect. With the new format, you have to get used to the type of reactions you’ll get. As it’s not a live audience, it feels and sounds different. They are reacting, but you don’t feel it like you would in a venue. You can’t call attention to this as you perform. Just trust your material and continue through your show.
- The audience’s conviction of conditions will be lessened. As they’re not there to actually shuffle or examine items you use, there will always be some skepticism and or suspicion. It’s one thing to shuffle a deck yourself. It’s entirely something else to trust me to shuffle. (Who the hell would trust my shuffles?)
- Creating the right mood and atmosphere will take some creativity on your end. I’m used to performing in high-end event venues or theaters that already have a great vibe. You can’t set up an iPhone on your kitchen counter and expect this will suffice. Even though you’re working out of your home, you still have to add the production value, as much as possible in fact, to make this a special event for your clients.
Once I had performed a few shows to get a feel for what it’s like, I began actively booking again. Over the last few weeks, I’ve booked virtual conferences, trade shows, shows that are open to the public, and even company happy hour gigs (which is a totally new thing!) What is interesting is that I’m no longer confined to the NYC area (where I do 80% of my shows regularly.) This pandemic has pushed me outside of my comfort zone. With the online platform, I’ve found that my reach is significantly further and just as easy to book as my usual work. I’m finding that people are starving for entertainment! It’s a great time to book.
If you’re interested in one-on-one coaching to shift your material to the virtual platform, please send me a message. We can talk about what material to perform, camera and lighting setup, your performing area, the pitch to clients, and general tips to help you get back to performing magic. Who knows when things will get back to normal.