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Starrpower
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It's FEWER props, not LESS props.

Dick is dead-on here. Even though you never know what kind of room you'll be in you can block your show. Blocking can include something as simple as prop placement inside your case or table. I practice doing a move, but I rehearse that move in a routine and that routine within a complete show.

Michael, that is a lot of stuff to bring into a house for a birthday party. Not knowing your show, at least the parents would be impressed with the set-up.

I have never successfully been able to pack-as-I-go, but I can have my birthday show packed in about 5-6 minutes. If I am in a real hurry, I can be out of there in one minute and tidy up in my car.

I have a pdf document that I send out to parents. It not only spells out my expectations, but tells them WHY. When they understand the benefit to them, they are more likely to plan the party the way we ask. We do scores of them each year, they do a few, maybe as few as one. When we can get them so comply with our expectations, we are way ahead of the game.

To the British chaps: What is a council house?
frankieacemagic
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Hey Arthur. Man, I just reread your reply. THANK YOU THANK YOU For all of those suggestions. Seriously. But I really do love the idea of running through my show in my basement, having it all scattered about (relatively organized), then practicing the packing up over and over. I really meant it when I said 2-4 times a week isn't really enough time to get truly proficient at it! I rhink about my restaurant magic (I'm heading into Francesca's now Smile and I think about how habitual everything is for me. I've been doing restaurants a long time and repeating the same 6-7 effects over and over. It's really all muscle memory! And that, I think, is what I need to do with packing up my stand up shows. I think if I were full time and performed and packed up every day, I WOULD get better at the clean up and escape. But as it stands, I just don't do it enough to feel satisfied. It think that's what Dick was telling me. Anyway, thank you again!
TonyB2009
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Potty, I am sure a big backdrop with two foot behind it for set-up would look great in a council house front room. But as most council houses have a small front room, that two foot chunk is a big portion of the space available. For a big party where do the kids go? Out in the yard, looking in the window?

In the UK it is quite common to perform in parish halls. For those who market themselves to the more affluent they play in big rooms in big houses. But those of us who play city apartments, working class estates, etc, often find ourselves in places where the big productions are completely inappropriate.

I am not saying not to have a big production. I am only saying it is wise to have a small show for those occasions were that is what will fit.
MickNZ
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Quote:
On 2014-01-20 12:38, frankieacemagic wrote:
Hey Mick! That sounds wonderful, using less props. Would you mind briefly describing what sort of props you use and how you make the most of those fewer props? That would help me immensely. Thank you!


Sure. Use stuff that fits in your case. That's it Smile

I won't even buy a trick (for my birthday show, since that's what's being discussed here) if it won't fit into my case.

As an example, I get about five minutes and some BIG laughs (from kids and parents) out of a few silks and a change bag. It's not about the tricks you do, it's about how you do them. I'm sure we've all seen guys who have thousands of dollars worth of expensive props all over the stage and they perform them like a dealer-demo with no presentation or entertainment value at all.

Personality packs lighter than props do, and people enjoy it more!
frankieacemagic
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Starrpower, thanks for grammar the check. Off duty Smile I agree about the pack as I go. Can't seem to do it.

Those of you who don't use Lefler tables--do you have custom-made cases? Like ATA cases?
Starrpower
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What's the weight of those tables. anyway (anyweigh?) They look heavy!
frankieacemagic
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The one I used was about 50lbs. The weight wasn't the problem; it was swinging it in and out of the car that really got to me. And yes, the shows in the basements and 3rd floors. Ouch. So heavy. This is my 14th year as a part timer, and I'm almost 40. I read on one of the threads that most magicians get to this point: they want to perform just as well as they have been, but with fewer props. It's like they're going monastic, or channeling Thoreau's "Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity." Or my favorite from Antoine de St Exupery, "You know you've achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away." I think that's what I'm looking for. So do I dump the drawing board and the pizza box and get the small axtell board and a much smaller die box? Probably would work! But oh man, that smokey mountain Pizza oven has been calling my name for months. So seductive....that's a big prop!
Starrpower
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Reducing the size and quantity is not good if it results in a lower quality show.

A table that is 50 lbs empty is crazy! Even on wheels, there is too much of the things you mentioned -- stairs, in and out of cars, and so on. I've always made my own. 50 lbs LOADED would be too much!
Ed_Millis
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I built a table onto a collapsable hand truck (dolly): http://m.samsclub.com/ip/magna-cart-fold......d7290002 The sides fold up and everthing fits inside. Roll into the home, unfold the sides, push the handle down, and attach the top. I can go from there if I have to, though I prefer to set things up a bit first. I also have one of those collapsable laundry bags that catches things when I'm done.

Ed
Dick Oslund
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I thought that I had THE "easy to schlepp" show, until I apent a week as a guest of Karrell Fox! We had been friends for years. I was working a shopping mall in Detroit. Karrell said, "Don't get a motel. The kids are at summer camp. We have a room for you."

One night he showed me his birthday party prop case. It was about the size of a SHOE BOX. In it was a pair of Chinese Sticks, a TT and 2 12" silks, an egg bag, a breakaway wand, 3 pieces of rope, (prof. nightmare) 3 linking rings and a 24" silk in a bag, tissue paper for Cecil Lyle's PAPER HAT, and some paper napkins. THE ONLY 'SET UP' WAS: HE HAD TO 'BALL UP' TWO NAPKINS!

He worked as WOW THE WIZARD. He had a graduation gown covered with 'stars & moons, etc.'. He wore a gray wig and a "pointy" WIZARD'S HAT.

He would walk into the house, sit on a chair, and entertain the moppets for 30 minutes. Then, he closed the prop case, waved "bye bye", picked up the check and left.

THE PERFORMER IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HIS PROPS!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
kimmo
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I use two trunks on stands, Props come out of the trunks and then go back in when I'm done with them. At the end of the show it takes 5 minutes or so to reset the props, close the trunks and I'm off. I own a backdrop but very rarely use it.

Karrell Fox's set up sounds great and if large vent puppets weren't such a big feature in my act, that's what I'd be going for!
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TonyB2009
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I am with Kimmo. As puppets become more important to me, I need to carry more. If I had no puppet in my act, I would travel with pockets and nothing more. To be honest the only reason I have the brief case is to have somewhere to put the contents of my pockets when I am not performing.

But puppets take space. You can't minimize there.
Potty the Pirate
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Quote:
On 2014-01-20 19:12, TonyB2009 wrote:
Potty, I am sure a big backdrop with two foot behind it for set-up would look great in a council house front room. But as most council houses have a small front room, that two foot chunk is a big portion of the space available. For a big party where do the kids go? Out in the yard, looking in the window?

In the UK it is quite common to perform in parish halls. For those who market themselves to the more affluent they play in big rooms in big houses. But those of us who play city apartments, working class estates, etc, often find ourselves in places where the big productions are completely inappropriate.

I am not saying not to have a big production. I am only saying it is wise to have a small show for those occasions were that is what will fit.


The JJ backdrop stands about 8" from the wall. But, in almost any council house, there is furniture in the front room. In this instance, the JJ backdrop will normally hang directly in front of the furniture, with no gap at all. I have never yet encountered a room so small that the JJ backdrop wouldn't fit in....really, until you use one, I suppose it's hard to imagine how it works.

On the matter of having too many large props, on that I agree: if you're in a small room, it's inappropriate to have too many large props.

I don't find myself worrying about packing up, since I frequently change up things in my shows. But, I do rehearse blocking extensively.

That's a strange thing - I use my left arm for some puppets, and my right for others. Bizzarely, I find it almost impossible to use the "wrong" arm for any particular puppet.

I can perfectly produce a 10 foot pole from my left breast pocket, but not my right.

For a long time, I could only perform the vent mask when the spectator was standing on my right; C&R rope only with the kid to my left.

I find it quite useful to learn to do things the "opposite" way.
TonyB2009
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Potty, with eight inches I can see the backdrop fitting. It was just the mention of room to prepare behind that threw me!

I know what you mean about doing some things with one hand and others with the other hand. I learned to box and do judo ambidexterously. But I can only do one-handed cuts and passes with my left hand, and I tend to use my right more for the puppets. Like you I do make an effort to use both sides. But that is work, and I have an allergy to work.
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