Sunday, September 9, 2012

Make A List - Check It Twice

You're going to go out on stage one night and half way through a routine you've done a hundred times you will find, to your absolute horror, that an essential prop or gimmick is missing. Being organized is the key to making your life and job easier - and avoiding this inevitable event.

With a check list of all your needed props and equipment you can certain that everything that needs to be there is there - each and every time.

Legendary magician Tenkai had custom-made cases with a specific place for each and every gimmick and prop. An empty place in the case meant something hadn't been packed.

An idea from the late, great Billy McComb is to take a picture of all your needed props and gimmicks packed inside the case. Print the photo and slip it in a safe place in the case. Now you have a visual reminder of where everything is to go and if it's not there - it's missing!

Preparing your show the same way every time is a good habit to develop that will pay off in worry free performances. And don't forget to pack your case the night before REMEMBER?

Organization will give you peace of mind so you can focus on entertaining your audience and not worry if you packed everything for the gig.


  1. These are all great ideas. Bud Dietrich had an idea along the same lines as Tenkai. Have a separate Zip Lock storage bag for each effect and put everything needed for that effect in the bag. Use a permanent marker to label the contents on the outside of the bag.The Jumbo size bag is very handy.

    1. Nice! I like that. Bob Sheets showed be a similar system with Ziplock bags too.

  2. I totally agree. By the judicious use of compartmentalizing components, ziplocks, envelopes, files, boxes, compartments, can organize sophisticated performances. The properties themselves work like a visual cue sheet. This is key because memorizing must never appear forced, it must appear like a natural evolution during your act. This kind of visual organization, is a built in memory prompt, and it helps immensely with complex and fluid stagings. I love having a given act fit into a compartmentalized space. If you have multiple shows like I do, each requiring a ton of technical memory, this is an irreplaceable tip. Great topic Bill!