Monday, December 6, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
You've just walked offstage and you feel like garbage. Your spidey sense is acting up and telling you that the crowd didn't buy into you, your magic, and were waiting for you to leave the stage about 44 minutes ago so they could get on with their lives. The one routine that usually kills, even fell flat with this bunch of suits. And that new piece you'd been dying to try, carefully book-ended in the middle of your time-tested veteran effects...what were you thinking!? The euphoria and adrenalin that usually accompanies the walk to your car has been replaced with complete emotional and physical exhaustion. Humiliation too, maybe? It was that crowd. Could they have been more comatose? Cardiac defibrillation couldn't have aroused these humorless zombies. And didn't anyone read your tech rider? Not only were you forced to perform on the smallest platform riser known to human civilization, but did they have to find the one Churchill stood on when he delivered his 'Never Give In' speech. Every time you stood in the middle of it, you were doing the Michael Jackson 'lean' from Smooth Criminal. The moment you KNEW you sucked though, was when you had to walk past everyone after the show. You could tell most of them wouldn't look you in the eye. And the people that did say, "great show" and "nice job" and "thanks a lot" were really thinking, "he must have a real job, this can't be all he does."
What do you do after a bad show? I blame myself. I blame the venue. I blame the audience. I blame the organizer. I blame my choice of material. I blame the material. I could have. I should have. They could have. They should have. etc. etc.
But, once that human knee-jerk reaction has fizzled and you're on your way home, what do you do? For the past while, I have attempted to compartmentalize the negative experience as best I can, and look at the show as objectively as I can. We can never connect with every audience we perform for. It's not only impossible, it's not conducive to growth. Growth as a performer and artist. The growth of your act and your routines. And growth as a human adult in this world.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
At the end of your show you explain that due to an incredible sales year at company XYZ (insert client’s company name here), the upper management has agreed to arrange for an all-expenses paid vacation for everyone to anywhere in the world. They have left the choice up to us to choose the destination, time of departure and the form of transportation to the destination. You take off your watch and ask a volunteer in the front row to stand up and show them that you want them to wind your watch changing the time with each turn of the stem. To make this a random procedure ask them to do this while the watch face is face down in their hand.
While they are doing this you ask anyone to call out vacation destinations. As they do, you pull out a pad of paper and begin to write down each destination per piece of paper, folding them twice and dropping them one at a time onto an empty table or chair. Once you have 10-12 names you ask a volunteer to join you on stage. You ask them to select any slip of paper from the random ones on the table/chair and to pocket it. Once this is done you invite them to take a seat on a chair beside you.
You remove a pack of blank backed cards that have various forms of transportation on one side of them. MOPED, STREETCAR, KAYAK, ON FOOT, SNOWMOBILE, DOG SLED, ONE HORSE OPEN SLEIGH, etc. are some of the options. You hand them the pack and proceed with the 'Smart Ass' elimination procedure concluding with a final selection which you tell your participant to pocket along with the destination. Finally you tell your ‘watch winding’ assistant to stop his winding and to push the stem of the watch in, turn the watch over and call out the random time. You write the time on a large black/ white board, thank the volunteer and take back your watch.
Instruct your on stage volunteer to remove the mystery destination slip and transportation card from their pocket and call both out while you write them on the board below the departure time. Take back the card and slip and ask the volunteer to take their seat. You ask the event organizer to come on stage and to bring ‘the package’. They come to the stage bringing a long mailing tube. Ask them to verify that they received this package two weeks before the performance and have not opened or tampered with it in anyway. Ask them to open it and remove the contents. Inside there are is a large scroll of paper. You ask them to take one free end while you let it unroll from the ‘scroll’. Slowly the departure time, form of transportation and exact destination is revealed in a banner that boldly proclaims a 100% accurate prediction that eventually fills the entire stage.
You do not have to mail out the prediction ahead of time, but it does lend itself to a more dramatic and suspenseful conclusion. I have had a professionally printed banner printed on vinyl that, when unrolled, opens to a whopping 25 feet across and 3 feet wide. This fits into a mailing tube which I seal and mail to the client previous to the event with the instruction to bring it to the show. You could do this cost-effectively using your own printer, or simply take a roll of paper and write out your prediction with a large marker.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Welcome to the first Bill Abbott Magic PRO-TIP featuring Mind Control Re-Mastered found here on my website.