Tech and Teams for Virtual Show
By Joshua Jay - Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Magicians love to wear all the theatrical hats. We love to be our own writer/director/choreographer/comedy writer/producer/PR agent/marketing director/web designer/tech expert.
But who honestly thinks they have the expertise and time in all these areas to take on so much? I don’t think there’s a way to be competent in all of these area at the same time. It just wouldn’t leave enough time to be great at...magic. And yet, most magicians try to do it all.
That’s understandable. I certainly don’t have the bandwidth to employ a team of twelve to put on in-person magic shows, let alone a bigger team to help produce virtual shows. But in the case of virtual shows, I knew I didn’t have the expertise or patience to become an expert in streaming live video to large groups. So I brought in two friends who could help.
This has, of course, created extra expense and hassle in that when I do most virtual shows, I have to bring in one of them and operate the show from my apartment in a masked, distanced way that is safe (I’m lucky, I suppose, in that my tech buddy, Jason Silberman, also has Covid antibodies and the vaccine already, so he’s quite protected). But the flexibility his presence gives me as a performer is worth the hassle and taking precautions.
When I perform my virtual show, How Magicians Think, my only objective is to perform. That’s it. Be my best, be present, and convey the material in the best possible way that I can. All the other things that would add to my stress level: admitting people into the show, selecting volunteers, reframing the screen to include volunteers, muting noisy users, dealing tech issues in the chat for users–ALL of it falls to someone dedicated to those issues. Meanwhile, I’m relaxed and doing what I do: my show.
This also means when I set up the show, someone else gets to fuss with the lighting, the focus, make sure batteries are charged, and run all tests. I get to make sure my deck is in the right order, and then go over my script. Again, the team allows me to just be a magician.
Most of the magicians’ focus on virtual shows has been on the tech: what stack magicians prefer, what cameras they use, how they toggle between cameras. And I find all of this helpful and interesting. But it’s also beyond my understanding, and so I had no choice but to bring in experts. If you’re like me, and tech stuff isn’t your interest or strength, I would urge you to bring in someone who is.
Book your ticket for my show here
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