The Busiest I’ve Been As A Virtual Magician
All my events for the year were canceled in March. Initially I thought there was no way I would transition to virtual events. I am not a tech savvy person and my show is best when I’m able to develop a rapport with my audience–something the virtual medium makes difficult. Though I swore off virtual events at the start, I helped others transition to performing full time as virtual magicians for corporate events. I helped create and redesign tricks for virtual platforms, I helped direct shows on Zoom, and I watched as the shows flopped. The first few months of virtual performances were tough with a lot of trial and error producing mostly error. But as the months wore on, clients kept asking for shows and after helping other magicians with much of their show, I realized that I could do it and actually have fun with it. In late August I took the plunge and decided I’d devote my time to virtual entertainment.
As I mentioned, I am not a tech savvy person, which is why I am so thankful to my network of magicians and mentalists around the world who I could lean on to help make the transition to virtual performances. You may think, “How tech savvy do you have to be to operate Zoom?” And the answer is “Not much,” but to make a show as effective as possible, you need much more than Zoom. Most of us are using additional software, at least two cameras, professional lighting, professional sound equipment, and other hardware such as external monitors, switchers, hotkey buttons, teleprompters, etc. I like to say that as a virtual magician, I am both Today Show host and Today Show producer at once, and all this added hardware and software is what allows me to run the show.
Though learning the new technologies was a little challenging, it was truly rewarding to problem solve with other entertainers as we endeavored to create the best experience for our guests. In shows I had for Google, the client would often ask “How did you do that in Google Meet”–we had integrated features into Google Meet that Google engineers couldn’t do.
The next challenge was the show itself. I have now been in my fair share of virtual events and meetings and what’s so great about performing a virtual magic and mind reading show is how different it is from everything else. In part given the ways we use technology, we are able to create an actual rapport with an audience virtually. Often I join a meeting early to get situated before my show, which means I’m able to see how the event runs and honestly, it’s very one dimensional. A presenter presents and everyone else watches. In my show, I’m routinely calling on people, unmuting the whole audience, having people go back and forth, inviting people onto the proverbial “stage,” and the like. With audiences ranging from 15 to 800, the show has been a lot of fun.
It reached what I can only imagine is it’s apex in December. Someone would see my show, refer it to their company meeting planner and I’d have another show on the calendar. Soon I had 30 events in a 3 week period. Some days had 4 or 5 events. As you can imagine, I was really hoping we didn’t have a power outage. At first, I admit, I was skeptical and even a bit cynical about virtual magic shows but over the past 3 months I realized that when done correctly–and I am sure not everyone does it right–they can actually be a great experience for everyone. Throughout the show we see the audience having a ton of fun, we hear the “How did that happen!” and everyone is able to invite their families to the shows. 2020 has been a year. It’s great to be able to release some tension and make people smile again.