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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Where to put it all... » » How many cases do you carry for your show?? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Christopher Starr
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Heart of America
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I knew that this would be an interesting thread.

There are a great many magicians that subscribe to the "Pack Small - Play Big" style of performing. And for the smaller shows, like birthday parties, I suppose that is ok. In a living room situation, there isn't a lot of room to begin with.

However, if you do a larger act, with birds, illusions, box tricks, etc. you are going to want to take a serious look at packing and organization. For example, if you are doing an illusion, then you better have a decent ATA style case for it, and add casters to the bottom of it. That way you can pile other cases on top of it, and roll several items at a time into the venue.

Also, look into getting an inexpensive hand truck, or two wheel dolly.

You can find reasonable deals on cases. For years I used an ata style guitar case to carry all of the items for my one-man shows. I got the thing used from a friend who needed cash (a common plight amongst many musicians). I cut out the foam inside from the guitar shape to more rectangular, and had a great case, which stored my die box, linking rings, dove pan, accessories, etc., and I could carry the whole show in at one time. I purchased a folding keyboard stand, and rested the case on it. Now I could access it during the show while standing. That case, and a side table, and I had it made.
Regan
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U.S.A.
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Hey Chris,

Those keyboard stands are great. I forgot to mention them, but I sometimes take 1 or 2 of those to my shows. I use them to sit my footlocker cases on. One is my puppet case, and it makes it easy to work right out of the case.

Great post, except for the part about the needy musicians...I am one of those myself..,musician, that is, not a needy one at the moment. HAHAHA Smile

Regan
Mister Mystery
indysmagic
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cherokee, tx
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After trying many cases and not finding just the right case, I decided to take the plunge and have one made. I layed out my birthday show props and designed a case around them. I went to a local ATA case builder and gave him my plans. He made some suggestions that I didn't think of and now I have the perfect case- for me.

It is ATA style, rolls in with a retractible handle, and has built in wheels. It has built in shelves that fit my props so I can roll in, open up (it opens like a fridge)and perform. The tricks go right back to their little cranny as I perform so that I can close and go after the show. It acts as a case/table.

It cost me around $500 to have made. It looks good, does exactly what I need it to do and fits me. It has been the best money I've spent in magic.
afun14u
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Tennessee
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I too, feel too many, however, just can't live with out them. When I signed off my last ship I only had 21 ATA cases plus my luggage. Most of the ATA's were actually small enough to put a person in too. Now I keep up with my cases and props with an inventory list - not really sure how many I now have. Still I love it.

Robert
Empowering Kingdom Growth through Evangelistic Entertainment!
One Man
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Frederick, MD
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If you were a mime you would only need one invisible suitcase.....and maybe a handtruck to carry the invisible box.

Just posted this elswhere but check out http://www.casesbysource.com

I have bought a couple of nice cases from them and they have a pretty good clearance section.

Kevin
pradell
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Alaska
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Cases aren't the only thing that is important. Packing also includes the type of vehicle you use to get to the show, how far from the stage your vehicle will be for loading purposes, how easy is the packing in/packing out, whether or not a sound system is required, how far away the audience will be, what climate you live in and what types of tricks you will need to entertain your audience effectively, etc.

Older magi must deal with the physical limitations of themselves and their abilities to easily move items, or hire others to move the loads. So there are a lot of factors involved. As a DJ, musician, and magician I've done all kinds of shows for all sizes of audiences of all ages. What is important is to plan things out in advance and have alternatives to attempt to avoid unforseen problems.

Is there a reason you have the large sized Hippity Hop rabbits? You may want to use these for school shows but take a small sized set to birthday parties. Or substitute fraidy cat rabbit-type tricks for hippity hops, becasue this is basically the same trick with 1/2 the props! I've taken a briefcase and a table that folds up into a briefcase sized container to some smaller shows. However, I have a Toyota Tundra pick up truck and the biggest Leer shell over the load compartment because I need a covered load as large as possible for the big events. I recently purchased a trailer, in part for the big illusions, moving, storing, managing, etc. A good dolly that converts from two wheels to four wheels for bigger loads is a lifesaver if you pack heavy. Fender's Passport amp systems (http://www.musiciansfriend.com/home/navigation?q=passport) provde great sound and all the pieces (speakers, amp, mikes, cords) assemble together so you can carry the whole system in one hand, or buy the added package which includes its own dolly.
The Lefler table is a godsend. There's enough room in there to take some extra tricks for other aged audience members in the event there are lots of kids at your adult show or visa versa. Good Luck!
magicman226
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I only use that Home Depot briefcase. It is terrific! I would love to have some kind of thing to put props in once I'm done. Sometimes, the props get a little mixed up. Other than that, the briefcase suits me perfectly. Plus it's no where near a "female-dog" to get around.

Michael
Stanyon
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Landrum, S.C. by way of Chicago
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Only one, but keeps the deck from shuffling in my coat pocket.

FWIW

Cheers! Smile
Stanyon

aka Steve Taylor

"Every move a move!"

"If you've enjoyed my performance half as much as I've enjoyed performing for you, then you've enjoyed it twice as much as me!"
EggMan
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Hi,
I guess your best solution is to custom build a case that is big enough to fit your show, yet is small enough to transport easily. That's what I do for my birthday shows.
SmallCheeto
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Seattle, WA
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Hi,
Let's see, 2 X-Large Breif cases,1 plastic storage box, 2 small boxes,and 1 Artist Portfolio(For my axtell board).

It doesn't seem like that much to me, but when I go into someone's living room to do a show, they look at me and think ... "What kind of show is this kid gonna do?!"

Magically,
Matthew Toner
Steven True
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Bonney Lake,WA
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Sorry it has been so long since I got in here and posted but an injury sidelined me and still is for awhile. Lots of great ideas here as always. EggMan, you maybe very close to what I am looking to do. Packing is very important no matter how far you are away from the stage or room you are performing in. The suitcase tables are great and I have purchased one for this new act.
Matthew you are going to be needing a road crew pretty soon with all that stuff. Hahahaha.
Thanks again for all of the posts here and the continuing ones too.

Happy Magic
Steven
TheAmbitiousCard
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Eternal Order
Northern California
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Quote:
On 2006-05-19 11:30, Daniel Faith wrote:
In my deluxe show package, I wouldn't want to short my show
by making rules of one trip from the car. No way!
I'm not lazy and don't mind making several trips if needed.
For example I use a live rabbit in every show.
It's obviously in a separate carrier.
If I use a backdrop and audio then there's another trip.
I even have lighting if it's needed.
I carry all the props in a Pro Table.
My approach is to bring theater into the home.
So what's in a few trips? It doesn't waste enough time to worry about.
I can charge a lot more for the top show package too.
So it all just depends on the situation of the particular show.

I agree with this completely.

Packs small/Plays big sounds nifty but if you're doing a show for 500 people you need sound, lighting, a backdrop, etc. Unless you know everything is already set up and perfect (which I don't recall ever happening), walking in with just a briefcase seems a bit hopeful to me.

The more I bring to a show, the less stressed out I am. A couple extra trips to the car is worth it, knowing your sound system works, there's no feedback from the mic, the stage will be well lit, etc. (Which is why I'm looking into getting some lighting).

The only thing I've learned to count on is that the stage they point you to when you ask "So where do you want me to perform?", is cluttered with xmas presents, band gear from 2 bands, a DJ right center stage all set up for a week's stay, no lighting, and speakers positioned specifically for feedback maximus. No only that, you've just been informed that there will be a loud jet engine demonstration where everyone gets a chance to rev the engine and the loudest gets a $1,000 prize... and it starts about 3 minutes before your act at the opposite end of the room.

Sure enough a lady announces " ... So if you want to watch the magic show come over here and if you wish to make a helluva lot of noise and have a helluva lot of fun and win $1,000 go to the other end of the room."

That is what I basically plan on happening at larger shows.
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
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ades888
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Quote:
On 2006-08-11 02:45, Frank Starsini wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-05-19 11:30, Daniel Faith wrote:
In my deluxe show package, I wouldn't want to short my show
by making rules of one trip from the car. No way!
I'm not lazy and don't mind making several trips if needed.
For example I use a live rabbit in every show.
It's obviously in a separate carrier.
If I use a backdrop and audio then there's another trip.
I even have lighting if it's needed.
I carry all the props in a Pro Table.
My approach is to bring theater into the home.
So what's in a few trips? It doesn't waste enough time to worry about.
I can charge a lot more for the top show package too.
So it all just depends on the situation of the particular show.

I agree with this completely.

Packs small/Plays big sounds nifty but if you're doing a show for 500 people you need sound, lighting, a backdrop, etc. Unless you know everything is already set up and perfect (which I don't recall ever happening), walking in with just a briefcase seems a bit hopeful to me.

The more I bring to a show, the less stressed out I am. A couple extra trips to the car is worth it, knowing your sound system works, there's no feedback from the mic, the stage will be well lit, etc. (Which is why I'm looking into getting some lighting).

The only thing I've learned to count on is that the stage they point you to when you ask "So where do you want me to perform?", is cluttered with xmas presents, band gear from 2 bands, a DJ right center stage all set up for a week's stay, no lighting, and speakers positioned specifically for feedback maximus. No only that, you've just been informed that there will be a loud jet engine demonstration where everyone gets a chance to rev the engine and the loudest gets a $1,000 prize... and it starts about 3 minutes before your act at the opposite end of the room.

Sure enough a lady announces " ... So if you want to watch the magic show come over here and if you wish to make a helluva lot of noise and have a helluva lot of fun and win $1,000 go to the other end of the room."

That is what I basically plan on happening at larger shows.

On this note, was wondering how you guys handle doing corporate gigs where there is a dinner and you are the after dinner entertainment. You need to walk in and do your show but you don't want to be seen to be "setting up". Do you guys come hours earlier or do you have assistants do the work for you so you can stay in the waiting room? Do you walk in with your case(s) or have them set up hours ahead of time before guests arrive? (I am a little conscious of doing this due to curious/prying eyes)

I ask because I have a gig in which I will be performing after dinner and am not sure how to handle this aspect (lighting, audio, cases etc.)
Christopher Starr
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Heart of America
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ades888:

Without a doubt, setting up before the dinner is the best route to go. I always check to see when I can gain access to my performing area, often shared with a band, etc. But since I usually do a larger style program, with a backdrop, illusions, etc. I need to have advance access.

As for prying eyes, I try to keep everything behind my backdrop. We load everything up, and slowly move the opening pieces out front as our showtime nears.

In your case, sometimes you have no other choice than to be setting up while the dinner is proceeding. That's the way it goes.

Chris
Doug Arden
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I always set up before the dinner. I think most corporate clients would find ir very annoying if I were hauling things in, setting up and doing a sound check during their dinner.

I have custom made tables that lock and that keeps prying eyes away. After dinner and just a few minutes before the show starts, I unlock the tables and do a final set-up, which takes no more than 5 minutes.

This may not work for everyone but it does for me.
MintonMagic
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South Lyon, Michigan
131 Posts

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I have 2 cases. One for my bday act and a closeup case. They both hold everything I need and are very nice. I built the one for the bday and bought the other one. They work nice!
In Magic,

Roger M.

www.mintonmagic.com
SeaDawg
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The Lunatic Fringe
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I found a contractors bag for taking to shows at Walmart in the tools section. If has a bunch of pockets for card decks and easy access as servant and ditch combo.

Trying to minimize trips is good, but like Frank points out, having the gear is necessary and reduces stress.
Crazy people take the psycho-path thru the forest...
Bill Scott
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Las Vegas, NV
119 Posts

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I use 2. The large Lefler suitcase/table and the other is an aluminum suitcase from Home Depot for the little little stuff that could easily get lost. My small "Pignose" little PA and wireless mic fit in the suitcase table.
JeffMac
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Sudbury, ont
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Coolest pack job I ever saw was a Musician he built a troll like a Ambulance Gurney but wider. pulled it out of the back of his van and the wheels popped down to hit the ground. Rolled 2 monitors 2 Speakers, set of congos, 3 Guitars, and a Bass and a bass Amp. One trip. After the show threw everything back on straped it all in rolled it right back inside his van
mcharisse
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York. PA
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I have two cases - one is my magic trunk, from K-Mart, turned on its side as a table (more on this in suitcase table thread).
The other is an old beat up black suitcase , a little deeper than an attache case, I picked up in a junk store. I put a Magic is a Vanishing Art bumper sticker on it and it looks cool and old and more than one spectator has commented, Wow that looks like a real magic case, or words to that effect.
I also have one of those portable legs wait staff in restaurants use to set large trays on. the suitcase goes on top of that and its a performing surface as well. It has little side pockets for small stuff, and the props go back inside as I'm done with them. That's what I use for adult, or less formal shows when a bunch of props are not expected anyway. (I never take both cases to the same show -- good discipline for me not to lug every prop to every show. I figure I should be able to pull off a birthday party or small stage show with what I can fit in a single storage trunk.)
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