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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Feminine Mystique » » Big Illusion Tips: Glow in the dark paint, breast implants, etc. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Autumn Morning Star
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When an assistant has to spend time in the darkness inside a prop that is turned around and around onstage, this can be terribly disorienting. To make this easier, I paint an image (smiley face, goofy flower, etc) in glow-in-the-dark paint inside the prop facing the direction where the audience will be when the prop stops. This allows my assistant to focus and keeps disorientation and motion-related queasiness at bay.

Then, when the prop stops moving and they appear, they know which way to emerge when they make their appearance. I realized the need for this during rehearsals when my assistants would often appear facing the rear of the stage when the foulard was removed!

All of my props are marked this way. I even code my cavalry sword basket with dots so I can clearly see the order of insertion. I also have a little face drawn on one corner of the lid, so I always know exactly where my assistant is sitting. My cavalry sword basket routine is very different, very funny, and it is really easy to lose track of where the person is sitting inside. (Think: Ouch.)

I also use a lot of glow-in-the-dark tape to mark everything onstage for set changes when it is dark. One of the most helpful items I have found are the small glow in the dark flashlights that usually go on sale around Halloween. I keep several of them in clear containers that are taped to the curtain sides.

I also post cheat sheets that show the order of the show in large dark print. I post them in the bathroom, backstage, and in the dressing room. An assistant can get rattled and forget what comes next in a show. This gives everyone in the show total reassurance, plus my crew seems calmer with this cheat sheet.

Pretty much everything in the show is number coded and color coded for the many changes that occur. This keeps things going pretty smoothly.

Assistants, please don't "surprise" your magician with breast implants. Let the magician know you are considering them. One of my principal assistants can no longer fit in tight props. Natural breasts, even large ones move to the side when you are on your back. Implants sit on your chest like ice-cream scoops. They keep t*** doors from closing completely. I really don't want the audience to see my props "breathing".

Whether your show is small or large or whether you do close-up: What do you do to make things go smoother? Do you have tips or hints that you have learned along the way?
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
scooter magic
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Those are great ideas. My dad/partner in crime is "in charge" of the show but I’m in charge of him. So... we are a two man team. An illusion show can be some work, on a good day. My dad, like most middle aged guys I know, isn't in the greatest physique as one would hope. So I end up being assistant, road crew, stage crew, cheering squad and packing expert. It’s a lot of work. So I always use a "cheat sheet" to keep me from loosing my head, or the rest of my mind. He hasn't shoved me into a small cramped box yet but he's thinking about it. I find that it helps that I know the show front, back, and in every variation of. On the rare occasion that something goes terribly wrong in the back I write a not in bold, easy to read print and place it on the table when I bring something out.

No matter what the magician says, always ask the assistant. They are the ones who are right.

Ashley
Ashley Taggert
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Autumn Morning Star
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Ashley, that is good advice. If you do squish down in a box, stretch first. Actually, start stretching NOW. You can become more limber over time. I have to do the Crystal Casket transposition myself on occasion, because my assistants are:
1. Momentarily claustrophobic
2. Have water weight gain
3. Are pregnant
4. Are having a less-than-limber day
5. Breast Implants get in the way (Please assistants, don't get them if you have to fit in a box!)

I can physically fold flat. I learned it when I first bought my illusion show and was trying out the Crystal Casket. There is a way to do this and I must look like a pretzel, because my assistants are always amazed when I first show them how they need to fold.
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
Big Daddy Cool
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While we are sharing tips, here is a great one that will help out any show, and if you are a female performance partner, you will impress your magician partner by doing this...

Get a roll of thick white masking tape. Roll out a 10-12 ft strip and place it on the front of the stage. Then write your show sequence on the strip of tape in big bold letters. A quick glance down and a performer can stay on track without too much effort!

Also,

Stretch, strech, strech! I have about a 45 minute to 1 hour stretching regime that I go through before a show and insist all of my cast mates do the same. It is crucially important to be warm and limber before a show. Even more so for me, because of severe back problems.
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
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Spellbinder
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I have made use of little red nightlights and red LEDs backstage to mark trails and to illuminate pathways. This is especially important in a theatrical stage vanish, like the one described in my article on "The Fabled Cloak of Invisibility" in The Wizards' Journal #6. The person who is vanishing does so after a brilliant flash of light for which he had better be keeping his eyes closed or he will be blinded by it, because the next step is for the stage to be in TOTAL darkness, and he has to walk QUICKLY to a certain position. The red leds make it possible to do this, creating a path for the performer to follow. You spot one red LED, move to it, and from there you can see the next, and so on. The LED is focused to be visible only to the performer from the stage and can't be seen by the audience.

Sorry for the use of the word "he" in the Feminine Mystique but it gets too complicated to write sentences with "he or she" and I hate the "he/she" version even more.
Professor Spellbinder

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jay leslie
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How about this for new assistants.

I took apart a 10 inch in diameter clock, removed the hour hand and the graphics so all that remained was the second hand.

Now when an illusion is over and I want someone new to hold a pose for six seconds (instesd of a quick curtesy and running off the stage) all they need to do is look at the clock face and count the ticks the hand makes.
MCM
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Speaking of the assistant in the box, I sometimes wonder how ANYONE can handle being spun around inside the props and still put on a show. Is it something you "learn" or are there some people that can't box-jump?
scooter magic
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I know several people who not "can't" box jump but won't box jump. They just don't like it. Like Autumn said, Claustrophobia and many other issues that make girls different from the boys also can sometimes get in the way. Lucky for me, I'm currently not the one being shoved in a box.

Ashley
Ashley Taggert
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Big Daddy Cool
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This is definitely something to discover in the audition process!
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
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Autumn Morning Star
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The advice with the roll of tape is great, Big Daddy! What a great way to remember the sequence. Sounds like that assistant course you run is tops!

Excellent advice, Spellbinder. The dark is really a problem and the use of the red LED's is a fantastic tip! I understand how the red nightlights work, but how do you get the LED's to stay on? A button battery and a closed circuit taped into place? I will be checking out "The Fabled Cloak of Invisibility" in The Wizards' Journal #6. It sounds like it might have some applications in my show.

Great idea with the clock, Jay. So many people just do not have an idea of what "holding a pose" means. Posing and holding positions for final bows are tricky, because you need to bow then come up at the same time. If everyone is off beat it looks like the cast is bobbing for apples.

MCM, I think the most important thing about learning to be spun in a box is to have something upon which to focus. I have had rock-steady assistants get claustrophobic in rehearsals. Anxiety attacks can come out of nowhere, especially when you are working with new assistants. I also think you have to make the box as cool as possible with blue ice or a silent hidden fan.

Scooter, the box is not so bad. You just have to set limits with your magician early on if you have problems with the dark or spinning. AND give yourself something glow-ey to focus on!
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
Destiny
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Just had an operation.

Can't wear my glasses for 6 weeks.

Have to hold a broken pair in front of my eyes like pince-nez.

Squinting at the computer screen I thought Autumn was suggesting glow in the dark breast implants were the tip of a big illusion.

Marketed properly I think glow in the dark breast implants could be the next big thing.

Strip clubs would save a fortune on electricity, and we'd all be forewarned if Britney Spears tried to sneak up on us in the dark.

Having read the post more carefully, I now understand why I recently saw a deceptive base with two humps like a Bactrian camel.

Destiny
Spellbinder
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Quote:
On 2007-07-18 17:59, Autumn Morning Star wrote:
the use of the red LED's is a fantastic tip! I understand how the red nightlights work, but how do you get the LED's to stay on? A button battery and a closed circuit taped into place?


Dollar Store Belly Button Jewelry! Comes with a battery and a tiny LED. An assistant is assigned to stick them on pre-marked spots, then turn them on just before the effect begins, and collect them and turn them off afterwards. I only needed three or four at the most.
Professor Spellbinder

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hugmagic
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Destiny, funny post..Hope props are working out for you.

I remember when I used to dance and swing my partner a lot. I could keep my bearing by just looking at them and not the wall. Usually, I could out last hem swinging in circles by using this method.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
Destiny
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Richard,

The roses are magnificent - people love color and movement!
Too many performers see the flash of yesteryear as old fashioned - but it's not the props - it's how they're used.
Prettiness has never gone out of fashion.

Trying to remember my ballroom dancing lessons 35 years ago.
I'm sure we were taught to 'spot and turn', but not as you describe.
I imagine it kept the blood from rushing to your head though.

Destiny
Bob Sanders
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Quote:
On 2007-07-16 10:16, Big Daddy Cool wrote:

Get a roll of thick white masking tape. Roll out a 10-12 ft strip and place it on the front of the stage. Then write your show sequence on the strip of tape in big bold letters. A quick glance down and a performer can stay on track without too much effort!



BDC,

(As you know) I spent too many of my early years in recording studios and stage concerts bending guitar strings behind some star.

Tape on the floor was the rule rather than the exception. It gave the key for songs, show order and even had chords in huge letters. As you played lead guitar you pointed at the correct chord with your foot for the rhythm guitars.

That took a skill people never knew a sideman would have! We had to be on our toes. Our hands were full. (Toe tapping has nothing to do with dancing.)

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

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