For months, Scotty Wiese and I assumed that tonight, July 8th, we’d debut our new show, “Professional" Magicians. Then, just over a week ago, Scotty tore his shoulder. He is currently in a sling which as you can imagine, has severely limited his capacity to do magic. We made the unfortunate decision to cancel tonight’s performance, and I am doing tomorrow’s show by myself. I’ll be presenting my new show, Everything I Don’t Know, and you can grab tickets here.
Here are three lessons I’ve learned from this hectic week.
1. Organization wins
When I rehearsed Everything I Don’t Know in April, I knew I’d be doing it again, though I didn’t know when. That’s why it was important to save everything I did, so I wasn’t starting from scratch. Something as simple as a checklist that I can access again saved me hours of painstakingly compiling everything I needed, especially because I had to fly my props from D.C. to Denver. It’s easy to think, especially as a performer, that a specific situation is a one-off. But keeping detailed notes on your own preparation can save you valuable time when you’re thrust into a new situation.
Here’s an example of something that I need to organize better: My script. I’m learning this lesson the hard way. While I’m a big proponent of scripting your entire show, I often fall into a habit where I edit my script (which is normal), and I don’t write it down (which is a bad idea) because, as my flawed logic goes, I’ll only need this new version for the next few days.
This is a bad habit that I’m quickly working out of. You never know when you’ll have to perform a specific trick again. James Clear says that in tough situations, “you do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” So, I am actively systematizing editing and iterating scripts, to be ready no matter the situation.
2. Everything is a learning opportunity
When I flew from D.C. to Denver, I packed almost my entire show in a carry-on. I didn’t know that my show was so compact until I took the opportunity to travel with it. It’s such a great lesson that Everything I Don’t Know is transportable. I can even order single-use supplies, like envelopes, on Amazon, and send them straight to the destination, saving me space in my suitcase.
Another lesson: I might get the opportunity to perform this show three times in a row on one afternoon at the end of the summer. That is yet another new situation to run the show through, and it will force me to ask important questions: “How much of my show can be instantly reset? How much will it cost to buy multiple versions of the same prop so that I don’t have to reset it, and is that cost worth the time and hassle I save from buying it? How quickly can I train someone to be my assistant?”
I love to geek out on logistics, and despite this show being unexpected and somewhat sad (I definitely wish Scotty and I could perform together), there is plenty to learn.
3. Friends always help friends
When Scotty performed the first ever magic show at Red Rocks, I got the gift of helping him with random tasks. Even something as simple as finding a glass of water or escorting someone backstage took the burden off Scotty so he could focus on his performance. Now, I’m incredibly lucky that despite being in a sling, Scotty has been with me at every rehearsal, upbeat and helpful.
Although I’ll be the one on stage, it’s still both of our shows, and I can’t even take half the credit. Scotty has been instrumental in the entire process, as well as our assistant, Avery–not to mention the tech directors we’ll meet at the theater tomorrow.
Magic shows are a team effort, and this is a great example of a team coming together to make sure an audience has a show, even when plans change.
So, tomorrow is the only time I'm performing Everything I Don’t Know in Denver this year. If you’re in town, I’d better see you tomorrow night! Tickets here.
Wanna see a show this summer? Join me in Denver and NYC: