Appetizer #21: Play Small
November 26th, 2020
closeup, magic, magic appetizer, performance, Performing, show, virtual
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Today’s advice from Jonah is directed towards stage magicians who are transitioning from big stage or parlor shows to performing for the camera in virtual shows and he’s looking to the world of acting for the answers.
Ready For Your Close Up
You used to be a stage performer, or you used to be a parlor performer, and now you are a virtual magician. And one thing that you’ll notice in virtual magic is you’re a little bit closer to your audience than you would be before. You’re quite close to the camera.
Sometimes actors have to transition from the world of theater acting to the world of camera acting. And one thing that happens when actors make that switch, is the directors often have to tell them over and over again, to play smaller. Do less. And here’s what that means. It means that they’re used to performing on a stage. That means that they talk with their hands. They express themselves with their whole body. If they’re sad, they’re not just sad with their face they’re sad with their shoulders so that the people sitting in the back row knows that the performer is feeling sad or looking sad.
But for an actor who is acting for a camera for television, they actually need to make their emotions very small. If they’re looking angry, it’s more about adding a little bit of anger to their face, to their facial expression than it is to adding a whole lot of anger to their body. Or maybe if they’re looking excited, it’s about raising their eyes up a little bit. So the viewers at home can really intuit that they’re feeling excited because they’re close up to their face. They don’t have to throw their arms in the air and get incredibly excited.
Play Small, Do Less
That is the exact same piece of advice that Jonah is going to share for those of you that are translating from the world of parlor magic to the world of virtual magic, which is kind of an alternate close-up magic. You should be playing smaller, not necessarily the magic, but your expressions about it should be playing smaller, especially if you’re positioned close to your camera. If you’re positioned close to your camera, it’s much more important what it is that your face is doing than it is what your arms and what your body’s doing, because your face probably takes up to 40% of the screen. So if we’re looking really bored on our face but we think that doing interesting stuff with our hands is going to really help. It’s not. People are going to see a boring face. If we look excited and overly excited with our face, people are going to think that we are completely out of our minds because they’re right up close to our face.
So sometimes if you’re making that transition, from stage magic to the world of virtual magic, we’re going to take the advice that directors give to actors who are transitioning from theater to camera. And that is do less or play smaller.
So not big with your arms, not big with your legs, not big with your body, but instead the small movements in your face, that express the way you’re feeling, your excitement, your anticipation. That might be a change that’s going to help you really connect with the people on the other side of the screen.
Ask For More Help
We hope this was helpful for you. Please let us know and leave a comment. We want to know if this is the kind of stuff that you want to know
And if you need help with your virtual magic show, especially getting more bookings, getting higher paid bookings and systematizing the whole thing so it doesn’t drain your entire life, then send Jonah a message. Send an email titled “hello” to firstname.lastname@example.org and he will make sure to help you out.