One of the questions I’ve been getting recently is “What’s it like doing a show on Zoom?”
It goes without saying that there are many differences between performing “in-person” vs. performing “virtually”. No doubt, the audience experience is different, but from a magician’s point of view, it can be VERY different. What’s the main difference?
I don’t mean the high-pitched squeal of a microphone at the wrong volume (although that can still happen). I’m actually talking about audience feedback.
If you’ve ever been part of a live performance you know first-hand that the audience’s energy makes a big impact. Performers rely on hearing laughter and applause, and seeing smiling faces and eyes that are glued to the show. Not only can we see and hear how an audience is responding, we can feel it. When I’m on stage, I might not be able to see everyone, but I can hear them. Or if I’m performing close-up magic, I can see people reacting and watch them look around to see if the other guests are just as amazed.
In the virtual world, it’s very different.
The feedback from a virtual audience has a lot of paths it can take before it gets to a magician. In a perfect world, everyone would leave their cameras on and stay unmuted. We’d all hear the applause and laughter and it would feel like an in-person show. Unfortunately, this isn’t always practical. We don’t want to hear someone else’s doorbell in the middle of a show, and who knows what our pets would do on camera? (Side note: I do know what my dog would do. He would absolutely know I was trying to watch a show, sit on my lap and block the view of the screen. So that’s what we’d see on camera.) (Side note 2: That’s not the worst.)
So how do you give feedback during a show? However you can! The best way to make it feel like a live show is to treat it like one. Do your best to clap on camera, smile at the screen, or reach for a reaction button. We’ll see it. And if you can’t do those things, send good vibes, we’ll feel it, and appreciate it.
Learn more about Derrin’s Virtual Show!