I recently received a question from a magician that ordered my new book, The Show Is The Mother Of Invention: Advice On Packing Small, Playing Big, And Living Large.
I ordered your new book. Does it have any pictures of the inside of your case and how you organize it? I know there is a system that you can buy from Pelican that will divide up your case, but I’m not sure what people are using to organize for travel, and then set up for the show. Any help along that line would be fantastic. Thank you!
Here, in expanded form, is my answer:
First, thank you for your purchase! Because you bought my book a few weeks after seeing my theater show, your purchase means that much more to me.
While my book doesn’t have any pics of my case packed for travel, here’s a much more helpful pic.
When I pack the case for travel to the show, the answer is one word: Tetris.
I pack it like the Tetris game, attempting to remove any empty spaces to get maximum capacity from the case. Example: the stand for my table is stuck inside my cocktail shaker I use for the Miser’s Dream. And the shaker is lined with sponge balls, six silver dollars, and a few markers.
The key to packing a case is to go Tetris on it. Nest things whenever possible. Avoid dead space to get the most in. It’s a very individual thing, as we all pack different props.
Setting up the props for the show
The unpacking and setting up for the show is now easy because there’s much more space to accommodate the props.
All the props that were inside the Pelican case now go from one place (the Pelican case) to THREE places.
They stay in the Pelican case.
They go in a canvas box (or next to it) that’s on my right.
They go in my pockets.
That is a TON of space for the required material, as at most I’ll perform 12 routines in a 90 minute show, many of them with props the size of a deck of cards and some envelopes.
Here’s what that looks like from a theater gig earlier this year. (I confess, I really dug the show biz western saloon vibe the venue had and that’s half my reason for sharing this pic lol. Cool place and I’m returning in 2024.)
Back on topic: the focus of the book is not Tetris packing or prop packing.
The focus is how to get time and impact with what’s in the case. More impact, and especially more time, equals fewer props.
For more details, here’s my new book The Show Is The Mother Of Invention.
Just like most other aspects of show improvement, becoming better at packing small & playing big isn’t the result of only one thing. It’s the accumulative effect of many things.
And those “many things” is what this book is about.
Until next time,
PS: And I don’t use the Pelican divider system