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  • Writer's pictureJeff Quinn

The Little Details

When I create a new library Summer Reading Program magic show, there is a lot that goes into it besides just new tricks and wrapping my presentation around the new SRP theme. Let me pull back the curtain and take you behind the scenes so you can see a small portion of my thought process when I'm putting together the Summer Reading Program show I'll be doing for your library.

The planning for the show sometimes begins years in advance. As soon as I find out a new Summer Reading Program theme, I file it away in the back of my mind. When I go to conventions, lectures and seminars over the next few years, I keep these themes in mind when I'm walking through the magic dealer's room or listening to a lecture. If something strikes me as useable, I'll make a note of it or buy the prop or trick.

Once I get a list of appropriate tricks worked out, I try to decide which order they'll go in my show. This takes forever. I try not to have two tricks back to back that require helpers. I try not to put two similar tricks together. I want my show to have a wide variety of styles. Sometimes that's very hard to do. I also want to begin my show with a strong, attention-getting trick and I want to close it with another strong trick that will really "wow" them.

Then there's clothing selection. I don't want to wear the same thing I wore the year before. On rare occasions I'll wear a costume that goes along with the theme. But more often than not, I'll show up at your library wearing black pants, a colorful shirt and a vest. My logic behind this is that I believe the kids want to see a magician who kind of looks like what they think a magician should look like. I want to live up to their expectations. However, this summer I just may slip on a lab coat during a trick or two.

Once I decide on my clothing, I have to double check the colors of my props and tricks. I don't want anything that will "blend in" with me if I'm holding it. If I'm wearing a red shirt and I'm using red ropes or red hankerchiefs, the red props sort of get lost against the background of my shirt.

I also have to take into consideration how practical the show is. Can I get everything loaded into your library in one or two trips to the car? Will the tricks I'm doing all fit in the carrying cases? Do I have any props that are breakable? How much set-up time will the show take? Can the tricks be re-set in front of an audience? Yes, I really run the show through the ringer and I think that when the final product is finally ready to go, that attention to detail really shows.

So, right now I'm going through the nitpicking stage of my upcoming Summer Reading Program magic show. I have the 2015 Summer Reading Program magic show about 50% done and I'm even chipping away at the 2016 theme.

I think that one of the keys to my success as a library magician is planning as far out as possible And it helps that I absolutely love the creative aspect of my job.

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