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Topic: Malls the most challenging venue for Illuson performances?
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Nov 14, 2002 04:18AM)
I think so, as you have to contend with an almost true surrounded spec view of the illusion. You may not be performing for everyone around you but everyone around you (and from the top floor levels)sure are watching you.
And the kids in malls behave differently than the kids in a theater if you know what I'm sayin'..... Even the adults actually, come to think of it.....
So just wanna know, whaddaya guys recommend for mall illusion acts?
Experiences performing illusions in malls?
Loading props for appearances? What's your timing?

Message: Posted by: Michael Messing (Nov 14, 2002 07:15AM)
When I have performed in malls, I have always had the mall provide a stage (16' x 20'.) Then I use backdrops to control the angles. I have four sets of 9' wide portable backdrop stands (used by photographers.) I set them up in a "u" shape. One set to the right, one set to the left and two sets across the back.

I then set up a wider (12') backdrop set about 4 feet forward of the two sets at the back of the stage. This gives me an area that is completely hidden plus keeps my side angles to a minimum. I hope this makes sense.

What I end up with is a curtain that goes from the midpoint of the left side of the stage to the back, two sets that go across the back and another backdrop that goes from back to the midpoint of the right side of the stage. The wider backdrop (set no. 5) is set in the middle of the stage, about four feet from the back. This gives me the hidden area behind it and a walk way on each side.

Anyway, from there, I can perform my regular show, load people into illusions, etc. You need a quality PA system because the noise level is high in a mall, and you have to get used to the fact that those not watching the show will completely ignore you.

It does help to have the mall promote the show well so that there are people there to see your show. Those people will stay for the whole show. The only time I did not have a good audience was when the mall did a very poor job promoting my performance and all I got was passers-by.

Message: Posted by: Darmoe (Nov 14, 2002 11:01AM)
Thanks for pointing that out Mikey... I thought I was shorting out over the logic and folks not seeing it :rolleyes:
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Nov 14, 2002 01:41PM)
That's a pretty elaborate set up Magicmikey. Thanks for giving a detailed explanation. I'm sure most here will appreciate it. Does help a lot.
Darmoe, what you said to Magicmikey just flew completely past me. Then again, maybe it's just something between you guys.
Message: Posted by: Darmoe (Nov 14, 2002 05:29PM)
On 2002-11-14 14:41, Pakar Ilusi wrote:

That's a pretty elaborate set up Magicmikey. Thanks for giving a detailed explanation. I'm sure most here will appreciate it. Does help a lot.
Darmoe, what you said to Magicmikey just flew completely past me. Then again, maybe it's just something between you guys.


Essentially I was rather amazed at how many were seeing the situation in a mall as a circumstance that must be done in the round vs. getting the stage and setting up a backdrop... it's not that difficult and most all the Magic Magazines advertising pop-up backdrop frames for sale.

It amazes me how many that want to be "in the business" forget that the tricks aren't the key... the support is what makes or breaks your act e.g. sound, lights, music, sets, costumes, etc. The effects are nothing more than the vehicle the rest of it rides on.
Message: Posted by: Michael Messing (Nov 14, 2002 10:36PM)

The point is that you have to try to figure out the best way to present your show. Sometimes, circumstances dictate bad conditions. But other times, the situations can be overcome. That's what I did for mall shows.

You're quite correct when you say it's an elaborate set-up I use, but it's not incredibly expensive. I spent about $500 for the whole backdrop set-up when I did it 10 years ago. I'm sure it might cost more now.

The set-up time is long. I usually get there 2 1/2 hours before the show is scheduled. The reason for all this is to try to control my situation as much as possible. I want it to be the best set-up for my show.

The good news is it's worth it. The audience reaction is better when your show is set up right and that means more bookings!

Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Nov 15, 2002 12:23AM)
Thanks for the info and advice both of you. Has put everything a little more into context for me.
Message: Posted by: MagicRyan (Nov 20, 2002 07:22PM)
I had 4 mall performance in my life time... They were about 5-6 years ago. They pay well but the fustration about angles, sound, and distractions for your audence was just beyond my tolerance. As a performer I think we all find our little nich and what are favorite shows are and stick to that...some people HATE B-DAY Shows, but love the malls... and vice versa... you need to decide if the fustrations and work meets the payoff!!

I don't do Malls anymore. I stick to birthday parties... that's my venue!
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Nov 21, 2002 01:03PM)
Thanks for the opinion Ryan! :wavey:
Message: Posted by: amshake (Nov 21, 2002 01:46PM)
along the lines of mall shows.. how do you go about booking them?
Message: Posted by: Sergeant (Nov 21, 2002 11:46PM)
Mall shows are very very difficult here is why,

As stated, Magicmikey is very correct get the mall to supply a stage and backdrops and bring your own if you have them. Even with this in mind I would stay away from anything too angley.
Why? Because, you cannot control the flow of traffic, you cannot judge all the problems that will occur, you never know what last minute changes the mall might make on you.
The mall is a very dynamic environment.

Keep talking to a minimum. Sound is absolutely horrible in a mall, you might a well be in the bottom of a metal barrel. Not to mention not everyone will care about your act. Many people will be strolling by talking and not paying attention to you. It is also entirely possible that during your act they will suddenly notice they do not know how to turn off the mall music. The one guy with the key is on vacation in Budapest.

You must understand the mall is not made for performing. In some situations some good solid illusions like CubeZag or sword basket might be great. In others a street performance along the lines of linking rings and straight jacket escape would be better. But I would definitely keep in mind that talking will probably not go over well because of the acoustics. Keep it to a minimum.

I would also bring a close up show with you. Once (not a mall show but another similar difficult performance that I did) was a disaster because the organizers changed times and places at the last minute. In my contract I was to do a show in a nice hall on a nice stage. On show day everything changed and they wanted me to do my show outside in the round. WHAT???
I told her that I would not be able to do that, but I could do something else even better. I explained that I would do walk around magic that everyone would get to touch and see. She did not fully understand, but after the show, she received great feedback and I avoided a very nasty predicament.

Yes, I know, I sound so prepared and cool like that . . . but I learned this lesson the hard way by once not having an out and doing a show that I can only hope that there is no evidence remaining that can link me to that atrocity. It was hideous and every minute seemed like a month as the show slowly turned to fecal matter. I am sweating now as the memories return.
Good luck and avoid my previous mistake,