Work Hard In A Smarter Way

Below is a excerpt from my new book, The Kids Know Best – Packing Small & Playing Big for Kids/Family Shows

I recently saw a pic of a school show magician’s stage set up. He had one of those big, branded show backdrops. And from what I could tell, the rest of the set up could (not including sound system) could fit in a carryon case. I looked at the pic and thought, “This guy gets it.” It reminded me of my set up when I was performing two hundred fifty school programs a year. 

The backdrop comes out of the wheeled bag. It sets up in two minutes. BOOM-done. It’s a big item, yes, but it’s also a SINGLE package. A lot of visual impact that can be unleashed in just 2 minutes, then resets right after the show. 

And the rest of the show fits in a case smaller than the backdrop. Two cases and done. 

Like I said. That guy gets it. 

Then I see other pics of kid show set ups. Here’s an example.
Two pop-up banners.
A third curtain backdrop.
A suitcase table.
Two to three magic boxes, like production boxes, rabbit wringers, or the ol’ MAK Magic dagger live stock vanish. A Botania.
A floating table.
A vent doll.
A Stratosphere tube with the accompany last ball vanisher
A spring raccoon.
A dove.
A rabbit.

And the show is thirty-five minutes. 

I want to say to that second magician: 

You are working hard. Too hard. You can work better and smarter. 

The show won’t be just as good with fewer props. 
It will be better. 

Yes, you can continue to bring all those props to a kid show. 

But you could also bring …
A better script.
Developed routines. 
Purposeful prop design. 
Audience participation.
A message. 
Proven show structure. 
Bonus: quicker set up and tear down time. 

But you can NOT do all those things
AND bring all those props. 
Because the show would be three hours long. 

When you write good scripts, fully develop routines, use smart audience participation, have a good message, and a solid show structure, you will out of necessity get more and higher quality entertainment time from fewer props. 

A better show that’s easier to troupe can be yours to share with your audiences. 

This is not about working lazier and delivering less. I don’t buy into the “it’s just a kids show” mentality. 

It’s about working smarter, harder in the creation and planning of the show, and more streamlined in the trouping of the show to deliver a BETTER show. 

Tentative release date: Black Friday, November 24, 2023.

Until Next Time,

Doc Dixon

PS: If you’d like to learn many, many MORE ways to pack small and play HUGE to the back of the room, order my new book, The Show Is The Mother Of Invention. As of August 28, 2023, the second printing is almost sold out with only about 10 books left. Act now!

PS#2 If you’re looking for a great packs small plays huge SKILL routine, check out Reign Man, the KING of All Magic Square Routines!


1More formally, a manipulation routine, but I’ve always used and heard the term “manip” when talking with other magicians, so that’s what I’ll use here.

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