Recorded live during UnConventional.fun, Jonah hosts a virtual panel on hosting virtual shows. Joining the panel is David Parr, Ben Seidman, Haim Goldenberg, and Adrian Lacroix. Together they discuss the good side and the bad side of hosting virtual shows, how to develop your virtual show business, and tips and tricks they’ve learned along the way as the entire magic performing world has had to adjust to the new normal.
Virtual Shows Require Innovation
On one hand you get to work from home but on the other hand you get to work from home and that can be both a blessing and a curse when you never get to leave your home. From the lack of audience reaction, to staring at computer screens for extended periods of time, there’s a lot of work that goes into making a virtual show work. Virtual shows also present unique advantages like working inside the frame, when you’re hosting a virtual show you can have the frame of your camera work to aid you allowing you to perform moves that would be impossible on a stage in-person. Hosting virtual shows requires that you have to write an entirely new show for the medium. This is a great time to create new magic. Everything is still new and there’s lots of room still to innovate how virtual shows are hosted and presented.
Building New Tools
How do you connect with people across the screen? You have to get used to talking to a camera like it’s a person, the lens is your intimate connection to your audience and it will take practice to build the skill to make eye contact with your audience through this medium. David points out that sincerity is part of the engine that makes this function. Many of the skills used in television specials will be the same skills used in virtual shows. Engaging with people on a human level and being in the moment is critical. You don’t want your show to be a passive experience, where they can sit back and lose interest in what’s happening. Treat your shows like a live television show, pay attention to your lighting and your environment. Starting out, it might be ok to make it look like you’re live in your home but Haim suggests that this time is passing and having a professional looking studio is becoming the expectation.
Is It Worth The Effort?
Virtual Shows are not the same as in-person shows but they are also not the same as a TV special. If you keep comparing virtual shows to in-person performances you may be setting yourself up to defeat yourself. The only way to discover the strengths and weaknesses of virtual shows is to take the plunge.
You might just start with a laptop and the built in camera and microphone but if you’re anything like Ben you’ll find solutions to lighting and camera rigging to build innovative environments that work for your show and your needs.
Choose To Do Something
If you are presented with two possibilities between do nothing and do something, why would you choose to do nothing? Every single person presenting shows right now is having to innovate and face the challenge of virtual shows. You might be worried at first but once you get some road time you’ll build your experience and your confidence to be able to show your clients how good of a show you can produce for them.