Sunday, November 01, 2020

Astonify Run for October is Complete



The run of Astonify Shows for October is complete. We may or may not have one tomorrow Nov 1st. No tickets have sold yet and it's anyone's guess if tickets will sell. If they don't then we've finished the Halloween Season. I've got plenty to complain and rant about, but I'll save that. I'd rather share some stories from the show. 

Spirit Clock
As you may know, a signature piece in my show is the Spirit Clock. This is basically a glass clock face with numbers but no inner clockworks. There is a small protruding rod in the center to place an arrow-like pointer on, but that is it. You spin the pointer and plead with the spirits to stop at a chosen number. To say it works like clockwork, would be a poor play on words, but yes it works every time. Except. Except when Spirits get involved. I always know when spirits are present because the clock dial never lands where it is supposed to. To the audience it looks like I can't do anything right. But I know forces are at work that may make the rest of the show even more fun. THIS is exactly has Saturday night's show played out. The dial would not land on one single number called.  The night before, while rehearsing the show, everything was working fine until I said a rather unusual line, which I thought was funny. Apparently, I was the only one, as this thing stopped functioning. Then when the show was over, I told my brother, "watch, I'll go over there and the thing will work." Ummm, watch the attached video...


The rest of the show, AFTER, the Spirit Clock, went smoothly, and in fact, went better than smoothly. I was almost concerned at how well the spirit trumpet played. And the final routine, which was a bonus really, was a smashed hit. What a night! I think I still like the LIVE -in person version better, but it was great to turn Astonify into a Virtual show. Next up is converting the Christmas version of Astonify into a Virtual show. 


Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Virtual Magic Show and Seance

Astonify is BACK! The Victorian style magic show and seance returns in a virtual form. The Virtual Magic Show and Seance includes interactive magic routines, stories, and ghostly mysteries. Yes, there is a virtual seance included at the end of the show. As with the previous versions of Astonify, we gradually build up to the Seance. It is generally the shortest segment in the show, but anything is possible. I am certain however, that no two seances will be the same.

The Virtual Magic Show and Seance is really a new concept for magic. I have seen a few others doing Virtual Seances online, but each presenter is taking their own unique take on the subject. Our version, takes takes it's inspiration from the Victorian world, where the whole concept of Seances really originated. Due to the ONLINE aspect, we do have to alter what we are doing slightly. When we start speaking to spirits, we hope that spectators at home will experience some creepy moments of their own! Because of the psychology involved, there is no way to predict the final outcome. But rest assured it will be a fun night of Virtual Magic and ghostly mysteries!

The Virtual Magic Show and Seance is best suited for ages 16 and up. Tickets are sold per household and are available through ZoomMagicShow.com


                   

Sunday, August 09, 2020

A Night of Virtual Magic

 

Above is a photo from my current show online called, A Night of Virtual Magic. This is my Virtual Magic Show on the Zoom platform. It is actually my second show on zoom but it's the first evening show. What is special about this show you might ask? Well, I've really worked hard to create a unique product that is highly interactive, but retains a bit of the theatrical feel from my stage shows. I use a lot of green screen backdrops and also real back drops in order to change the look by a change of scenery. I incorporate three recorded segments into the show. These allow me to showcase magic that I can't do because of space limitations. 

In the photo above, you can see the smiles of laughter on everyone's face during one of the routines. In case, you're wondering, the three white squares at the bottom, are people who did not have their video cameras on. I noticed we had some issues with people dropping out and coming back on. By the end of the show, all cameras were on. You can still see the video feed of the show if your camera is off. The only thing is I cannot see YOU. 

The way I do the interactive portion is interesting. After you purchase a ticket, you receive an email with the code to see the show, and also a list of things you'll need for the show and some tips. One of those tips is to make sure the room you are watching the show in is well lit. This is so we can see you. In earlier shows, many folks sat in the dark and I couldn't see them. So I added this suggestion that you make sure you have lights on so you can be seen. It improves the overall look of the show. As for that list of things..it's a simple list: deck of cards, some coins, a notepad, and a novel (book). These items are for the AT HOME routines. But there are other interactive routines audience members can do via the screen. For example, I have a routine where  two people choose cards from a deck. Well this is still possible without them being here in person. As long as their camera is on and their sound is on, then it works. 

Another thing I do is use my green screen as a power point presentation. This allows me to tell stories and

change the images in the background as the story evolves. An example of that can be seen in the photo to the right which shows me with a picture of Houdini & the Great Lafayette in the background.  

My desire was always to close the show with an illusion. Because of my current situation, I only have one illusion on hand, my Disectolator mini-illusion.  And it proved to be a fun, quick, highly visual and stunning illusion to close the program with. BTW, the rest of my illusions are 600 miles away in a storeroom. I'm in the process of moving but COVID has slowed that down. So I'm using what I have on hand.

One thing about this illusion. Because we use green screen during the course of the show, I purposely made the decision to present this against a normal fabric backdrop. It would be so simple to create this same illusion via a camera trick, but that is not how this works. Instead, we can walk behind and even pass our hands through the open slots to prove what you see is what you get!

During last night's show I announced my plans for the future.  Those plans are to have a new show available every couple months. So right now the Night of Virtual Magic will run till mid September. It will be followed by The Astonify Show & Virtual Seance. This show will run till the end of October. That will be followed by a Virtual Christmas Show, which will run in December. And with any luck, I'll bring out a Virtual version of The Steampunk Illusionist Show in January 2021.  

How LONG the virtual shows will continue is anyone's guess. This is all due to the pandemic and my desire to give people some incredible magic and a really fun experience right from their home. It's a much needed form of escapist entertainment, in a time where this is a lot of uncertainty. And because I have no shows otherwise, it is now the way I bring in income.

If you'd like to get tickets to The Night of Virtual Magic. Simply go to ZoomMagicShow.com and choose your date. BTW, I am also doing a show for kids on select afternoons. These are totally different from the evening programs, and are really geared to younger aged kids. So if you know of anyone interested, they can also go to ZoomMagicShow.com and be sure to choose an afternoon date. Do NOT pick an evening show for kids as they will not enjoy it. Older kids, teens, will. But not younger kids.