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Topic: Back up trunk
Message: Posted by: suspectacts (Jan 11, 2007 10:17AM)

So I fly home to Boston from a gig the night before New Year's Eve and when I get the airport I find that my bags are still in Detriot. Northwest tell me they won't arrive until the morning. By 10am the next day, I am running around my house like Mickey Rooney ( 'We've got to put on a show: I can use these drapes as a dress, and this old bucket as a drum!")

It made it painfully clear that I need a backup kit that has ALL the props for my show. My problem is that a lot of my show is made up of one of a kind props (not even magic store props, just crap I have picked up along the way). Anyone have any advice (general advice is fine) about putting together such a trunk.

BTW the courier arrived mid-day and I just back up my car to the van and transfered the bags directly into my car and left for my evening gig (2 hours away).


Message: Posted by: TheDean (Jan 11, 2007 12:50PM)
Whooo Weeee... (Everybody SING!) “Memories, light the corner of my mind. Mystery, water-colored memories, of the way we were...” (Thanks Babs! - Hehehehe!)

Peter, Ah I remember one of my trips to Puerto Rico to join yet another Ship when all but my carry-on didn’t make it in time for the ship to 'Bonvoyage'! - Uh boyee! Besides my carry-on (which is a solid 45 of "A" stand-up material.) but I was hired as the ships "ILLUSIONIST"... Yikes!

Feverishly making my way around the old city and through the bowls of the ship to scrape together fabric, big boxes, PVC piping, wood parts, paint & pens... blah, blah, blah! (And of-course we wouldn’t be back to THAT port for a full week... so “IMPROVE City!” - Woo Hoo... Fortunately, they KNEW this sort of thing happened too often to mention and they also KNEW that they called me late on WEDNESDAY for sail on Saturday, (Being in Nevada) so they were 'merciful', and it turned out OK anyway! (As a matter of fact, we actually KEPT one of the 'new' pieces in the regular show on request of the Entertainment Director. Go figure!)

Anyway, based on my experience, to answer YOUR question... KEEP a "Killer Carry-On" (Packs flat, plays BIG! "A" quality material!) WITH YOU at all times!

Regardless of the rest of your stuff, you ‘at-least’ have a solid, professional show WITH YOU at all times! Doesn’t even have to be all your regular stuff as long as it’s solid and well rehearsed and done! (Actually, there is an ADVANTAGE to having "other" stuff NOT in you original show!) I have covered OTHER acts with the additional material! – Can you say HERO! THIS alone has paid-off in more ways than I can count! (And NOT just in emergency situations either!) The “Go-To, Super Boy Scout of Magic” kinda thing! This has actually BOOKED me real, paid shows! – You get the idea!

Anyway... that is one.

The other is, "from now on" get TWO (or more) of everything and just build extra, back-up sets of your show. I know that doesn’t help with you older stuff as well, but from NOW ON, you got is licked!

Besides, what are experience like THIS anyway, but to LEARN from eh'?

Good job brother!

I am at your service and In HIS Service,

Scrounging around for new emergency stuff sometime produces surprising results anyway... might be a good success exorcize for anyone of us to do "just to see" what we would come up with. PROS are prepared, even if only in a 'drill' experience! You at-least know what to do if (when) it happens! - Give er' a try and see what yaaz come up with! - I'd like to see a list of things you guys create and come up with as well! (Maybe on a different thread, so as NOT to hijack this one which deserves our full attention!)
Message: Posted by: Doug Arden (Jan 11, 2007 10:30PM)

I have a backup for everything in my show, and I mean everything. Like you, I have a lot of stuff that is not from magic shops and was scrounged from various sources.

Some things are extremely hard to come by and you might think they're "one of a kind" and no longer obtainable. Not so! I have found E-bay to be very useful in this respect. If you keep checking long enough and often enough, you can find almost anything. I know, I've done it many times.


Message: Posted by: TheDean (Jan 11, 2007 10:35PM)
Ohhhhh... e-Bay! Good idea!
Message: Posted by: itshim (Jan 12, 2007 01:38AM)
How about creating a show from all the bits that were in your show in the past but which you have swapped for something else now. You already know how to perform all the tricks but when you come to use them you'll be coming at them with a frshness that will make the show go better.

When I turned up at a gig and found I'd left my prop bag at home I raided my (not at all tidy) car and found enough stuff to create a 45 min show + walkabout. Who said being tidy was a bonus?

Message: Posted by: Habu (Feb 3, 2007 04:45PM)
I haven't had this happen, but you opened my eyes.

How about coming up with an "impromptu" routine using only commonly found objects? Bending spoons, mentalism, rope tricks, card tricks, thumb tip, etc. that you can either keep handy or borrow.

You could also have a backup box with a few special items in it. Keep it with a relative or friend (that you trust) who could FedEx the package for you in an emergency. You would want to have an envelope with emergency postage cash kept with the parcel.

Or learn to sing while doing cartwheels?
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Feb 3, 2007 07:15PM)
Hi Pete,

Bite the bullet and get the duplicate set of props made, bought, constructed, or whatever. I had the same problems as you're facing regarding requiring having to duplicate non 'magic prop' items, things that were one offs, or things that are no longer made. I had to hunt them down, make them, or get someone else to make them from scratch or find an acceptable substitute.

Dean's suggestion is certainly worth considering, and it's obviously paid off for him in the past...but personally, it's not the way I'd go with this. Here's a very recent example of why:

The cruise ship I've just come from looked like it wasn't going to be able to stop at the port I was due to leave from. This meant that one of the acts that was due to be getting on wouldn't make it. The production manager phoned me to ask if I could do another show. Now, I travel with enough material for 2 full shows. I have my 1st show and my 2nd show, and both, I believe, are equally strong....BUT my 2nd show is only as strong as my 1st show, IF it's performed after I've already performed my 1st show. What's more, if I'm only required to perform 1 show, I have my A+ show, which combines elements of both shows. Having done my A+ show on this ship and then getting a call to do another show, I have 2 choices. Do a show that's not going to be as good as what I've already done, or not do a show. My reputation could suffer if I do a show below the standards I have already set myself...after all, the audience will judge you solely on what they witness. I get booked because of what I do, and I do not think I would be doing myself or the company I'm working for any favours if I was to then go out and do something that I don't do.

I appreciate it's not as cut and dried or black and white as that (and years ago, I improv'ed my way through a close-up gig when I turned up without anything on me or to hand) and if you have got a killer act that you can carry in your carry-on as Dean has....well, then, obviously that's great. :)

Personally, I haven't...and if I had, I'm not sure why I would be carrying anything else?

That's my take on it.

Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Feb 3, 2007 08:42PM)

When I was younger and more willing (i.e. had kids to raise) to be scattered, I packed three complete shows. They were the red show, the yellow show, and the black show. They were all the same and interchangeable. It saved me a lot of grief. I could work three completely different locations and know that everything that was needed was there. If there was a problem, ship another complete show.

I wholeheartedly recommend that method to others. It's only expensive once, and then it slays a lot of dragons for you.

Good Luck!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Feb 5, 2007 09:19AM)
Losing my show once actually resulted in my putting together a far more compact show that is easier to carry and very easy to replace.
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Feb 5, 2007 09:35AM)
If you lose it a few more times and apply the same approach, you'll end up with a show which has nothing to carry and nothing to replace. :)

Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Feb 5, 2007 10:37AM)
You know, I drive nearly everywhere I perform, so I rarely have to be concerned about this. But on those few occasions when I did fly, an old pro once told me to ship a backup case ahead through UPS or FedEx...and that advice has (so far) worked for me. Mind you, I'm not an illusionist and my biggest show fits into two Lefler-Table-size cases. If I were a regular air traveler today, I think I would still send a full duplicate set ahead via UPS or FedEx and then fly with my original set. An added expense and burden...but it's the cost of business and protecting your reputation.

I'm reminded of Mark Wilson's journey to China a couple of decades ago...and his entire show's props, tech, and wardrobe were several weeks late arriving due to political lunacy, airline problems, and customs issues...and yet he never missed a scheduled show. A professional prepares; an amateur makes excuses.
Message: Posted by: TheDean (Feb 5, 2007 12:56PM)