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(c) Copyright 1978, Robert J. Hustwit
ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND DEDICATION I am dedicating these lecture notes to my best friend and teacher in magic, Aldini. Al has shown me by his attitude what magic is all about. Aldini has shared, worked, and researched magic with me unselfishly. He has been a friend, a teacher, a librarian, a showman and a critic to me and I have learned much from him. But the biggest lessons I learned from Al were honesty -- he is totally honest -- and an open attitude about sharing his knowledge of magic. In that spirit I present my lecture with thanks to Aldini. Santa Ana, Calif. May 19, 1978 Bob Hustwit BACKDROP-STAGING The backdrop consists of six separate pieces of foamboard taped at various points. The size of the pieces is as follows: two pieces 4' X 3' four pieces 3' 9" X 3' We will call the two 4' X 3' pieces A1 and A2. We will call the four 3' 9" X 3' pieces B1, B2, B3, and B4. Carefully place the two A pieces together, 4' edge to 4' edge as shown in Figure #1. Carefully lay the duct tape across the joint as shown by the dotted lines in Figure #1. Now turn both pieces over, so that the taped side is down. Take two of the B pieces, (B1 and B2) and place an ordinary dinner plate in one corner of each, as shown in Figure #2 -- this is to round the corners. Trace the outline of the plate then cut the unwanted foamboard with an X-acto knife. You now have the two A pieces, tape side down on the floor. Place B1 against A1 as shown and tape the joint. Fold B1 over onto A1 and repeat with B2 as shown in Figure #3, folding B2 over when taping is finished. Now repeat the above procedure taping B3 to A2 and then B4 to A2, each time folding the newly taped piece over onto the A piece. Now lift the whole assembly from the center joint -- marked by "X" in Figure #4A. The assembly should lift up as shown in Figure # 4B. You are now ready to set up your backdrop. Unfold the bottom pieces first, as shown in Figure #5. Then, standing at the spot marked "X" in Figure #6, lean over and unfold sides B1 and B2. If you were to look down from above, your backdrop assembly would now look like Figure #7. Now firmly grasp sides B1 and B1 and pivot them and side A1, lifting upwards, until B1 meets B3, and B2 meets B4 (see Figure #8) then slide locking plastic piece into place (sample enclosed) to secure B2 to B4 and B1 to B3. (see Figure #8A) Occasionally, the B pieces will "warp" unevenly, creating gaps at joint "Y" Figure #8A. In those cases, you must construct a "holder" as follows: Using poster board, Elmer's Glue and a pair of scissors, cut two squares, approximately 7", from the poster board; call these A. Then cut four 1" strips, 7" long from the poster board and call these B and paste where shown in Figure #1. Now cut one more piece 4" X 12" C and you're ready to go. Put glue on the four B strips ONLY and paste to the back of the backdrop where the warping occurs, putting one on the top half of the backdrop, at the joint, and carefully line the other up on the other half, just below it (see Figure #2); after the glue has dried, slip piece C in the top "Pocket" and slide it down into the bottom pocket - this will eliminate any "warping". THE WINGS: To complete your staging, consider adding wings. You will need the following: Eight pieces of foamboard 3' X 4" Four pieces of foamboard 3' X 2' Since the assembly of the wings follows the same steps as the backdrop, I will simply use Figures #1 and #1A to illustrate. We use the same plastic strips to secure the leading edges and the same method to paint the backdrop. MATERIAL LIST - WHAT TO ORDER FOR BACKDROP: The cheapest way to do the backdrop is to order three 4' X 8' panels of 1/4" Foamboard cut to size. This will cost you about 30-35.00. I got mine at Sterling Art Supply, 112 West Fourth Street, Santa Ana, Caa (714) 543-8309. I bought the duct tape at Standard Brands Paint Store for about $1.20 a roll, and I bouth the paint there as well. If you don't have any painting accessories, you might consider a Paint Pad set which I got on sale at Montgomery Wards for 7.00. . . it really works well. For the wings, you will need four more sheets (8' X 4') of foamboard. The 2' by 3' strips will be leftover from the cutting of the large sheets. PAINTING AND DECORATING: I used Standard Brands Best Latex Velvet Black #9771 $7.99/gallon. One gallon will do the backdrop, both wings and still have about 1/4 of a gallon left for touch-up. IMPORTANT! You must paint both sides of the same panel as quickly as possible to prevent warping. A complete list of materials follows. Use the mystic tape on all exposed edges for protection. Your Lighting System The lighting system is really very simple and relatively inexpensive. It consists of the following: 2-Star-D 10" Reflector, Clamp, Cord & Socket Set@ 6.95 14.00 2-Star-D #24 Light Stands @11.50 23.00 2-Lamps-EBW Photo Flood Lamps @ 1.38 2.75 1-Can Heat-resistant Flat Black Paint 10.00 1-50' Extension Cord & 1-25' Extension Cord approx. 10.00 1-Piece of 1" Foam Rubber 23"X 12" 1.00 53.26 The light stands will extend to approximately 7' and should be placed as shown in Figure #1. Paint the back of the reflectors black. Be sure to use heat- resistant paint. This system will give you 1000 watts of light on the stage. THE SOUND System Now comes one of the most important parts of any show. The SOUND SYSTEM. Whether you do a silent act to music or a talking act, it is imperative that you and/or your music be heard clearly. A good sound system will be one of the most expensive, yet rewarding parts of your investment in YOU. These are the components I recommend: Microphone/Sony ECM - 16 27.50 *Stereo Preamp/Radio Shack #422101 19.95 Amplifier/Any good Stereo Amp-used approx. 40.00 Cassette Tape Recorder approx. 40.00 2 Speakers/Realistic Minimus 7(#40-2030) 8oms 49.95 ea. Speaker Cord 100'/Radio Shack 3.95 2 "Y" Cord and Adapter Plugs as needed 10.00 aprx. **2 Speaker Brackets 5.00 aprx. total 243.90 * A stereo pre-amp is necessary so that your tape and/or microphone will work properly with your amplifier and so that you can hook various components of your system to other systems with no problems. ** Speaker Brackets are made as follows: 4 Clamps/Hold-All Stick-on Holder Model #1A Angel's 3 for 1.79 2 Pieces of 1/2" Plywood 4"X 6" 2 pieces of Black Felt 4"X 6" Assemble as per Figure #1. Speaker Bracket will attach easily to light stand. Make sure that Speaker Bracket is located on same side of Stand as one of the Tripod legs. (see Figure #2) ARTWORK FOR POSTERS, BROCHURES, ETC. First, get one or two studio-quality 8" x 10" photos. Then, using a fine point black ink felt tipped pen, (I use a Pilot Razor Point) and very thin tracing paper or, preferably, a Mylar photo protector (K&M Album leaves .005 gauge #115 MR about $.35.) trace the outline of the photo - don't worry yet about the details - when you have the general outline done, then trace the details, avoiding large patches of black, they can be done later. Being very, very careful not to let anything touch (and thereby smear) your tracing make Xerox copies right away. Touch up and fill in the best of the Xerox copies and use it for your master. Some Xerox copiers are able to reduce copies by 60%, these smaller prints may be used for business cards and/or brochures. To get the 8 X 10 artwork blown up, a photography store can help. Excellent portrain photos can be obtained from: J M Photography,Rialto, Ca. (714) 874-6010 for about $15 to $20. Blowups of your drawings can be done to amy large size at; Photographer's III, 1120 East Elm Avenue, Fullerton, CA (714) 871-2023, for about $14 for a 20" X 30" blowup--two-day service. The key to your enjoying your show is to be totally prepared and have every phase of your show working as efficiently as possible. Number one in importance is PRACTICE AND REHEARSAL. Practice consists of repeating the same moves over and over, allowing you to achieve a given effect. Rehearsal consists of repeating your entire act (nothing left out) over and over, to get the timing and "feel" of the flow of it. Number two in importance is organization, and that's really what this lecture is all about. Organization consists of: 1. Knowing the layout of your show 2. Having all details regarding the business end of the show completely worked out. a. money b. time/date c. length of show d. etc. 3. Getting there in plenty of time a. relax before the show b. get to the show at least one hour early, assuming that you are familiar with the layout', otherwise, three hours early. 4. Having all performance elements of your show checked out and ready to go. a. Gaffs set b. Silks ironed c. etc. 5. Trying to have all performance elements of your show compact, portable and easy to set-up. a. I use a Dolly A-46 Pm Handcart with a 12" X 24" Folding lip. $100.00 b. The Boxes about $ 10.00 ea. 1. Make them of 1/4" A-D plywood, using 1"X 1" Pine for supports. 2. Use cut-out-to-scale pieces of cardboard to see how various components will fit the best 3. Segregate the various components of your act so that you can easily carry only what you need. 4. The boxes should be able to stack on top of each other without sliding c. Make sure you can fit the Backdrop on the Dolly d. Most acts should be handled completely in one or two trips. 6. Trying to be prepared for anything a. Emergency Kit. EMERGENCY KIT [not available for download] SUMMARY SHEET [not available for download] LIGHTING [not available for download] SOUND [not available for download] STAGING [not available for download] DOLLY [not available for download] BOB HUSTWIT'S PHONE NUMBER PREDICTION [not available for download] ALDINI PRESENTS: BOB HUSTWIT'S THE PSYCHIC CONNECTION [not available for download]