Be Prepared! Every performer needs to be part Boy Scout…..
A couple of years ago Lewin Enterprises (home of my online product line) started to market a really great microphone holder. It fits any sized mic and is easily adjustable to be the perfect distance from your mouth. Which is exactly one palm’s width below your chin. It even comes in a colorful silk bag so that it doesn’t get lost in dark backstage areas. It is made in the USA, and I am very proud of it! Whenever you need a “hands free” mic experience this product gets the job done perfectly—no matter what microphone you are given to work with.
I am fully aware that in this day and age most savvy pros carry their own wireless microphones. I certainly do, it is in many people’s opinion the best available a Countryman E6 Isomax microphone. However, inside its carrying case I keep one of my microphone holders that I slip on my neck behind my shirt just prior to showtime. I suggest doing this on my website and had to chuckle about how many working pros instantly and fully understood how vital this precaution can be.
Last night was one of those shows in a blue moon when this procedure really paid off. My technical rehearsal in the afternoon went great and my microphone sounded great. The backstage sound check just prior to showtime was perfect. However, the moment I opened my mouth for the first time onstage all hell broke loose. There were enough squawks, shrieks and loud electronic noises to scare a heavy metal band! The backstage tech brought out a replacement transmitter/mic for me to switch out, but having done so the same problem repeated itself. It was the most painful way to spend that all-important first four minutes of a show that you can imagine.
After doing all the usual lines, “How is that new sound equipment from McDonald’s working out for you guys?” etc. etc. I instructed the techie to fetch me a hand held microphone. I then flipped out my microphone holder from under my shirt and single handedly placed the hand held wireless mic into it. It is such an unobtrusive unit that many people, including my sound guy, had no idea how the microphone so effortlessly remained suspended there! I received a big round of applause from the audience and it saved the day. The show began with a nightmare opening and then went on to receive a standing ovation at the end of my performance. I was never a Boy Scout but I do revere their motto of “Be Prepared!”
Just for the hell of it, let me add that everything I use in my act such as lighters, pens, cards, and small props has a duplicate item easily at hand in my case. Some items that can’t be easily duplicated if they are knocked over or broken have entire additional tricks available on hand to replace them. I can’t begin to tell you how many times this has smoothed out a potentially ugly moment in the show.
Even when things go as smoothly as you could wish the sense of confidence and ease of mind that this kind of preparation gives you is astounding. There are so many other things that can potentially go wrong when performing a magic show why not eliminate the obvious ones right from the start. It could well do more to instill the contagious sense of confidence you are grasping for than that expensive new battery controlled prop that you are lusting after. You know, the one that is going to thrust your act into overdrive and propel you into the big time. As long as the battery works!
It is useful to make a very thorough list of everything you use during your act and tape it to the inside of your working case. You can then mentally tick off each item prior to showtime, and this helps to ensure that unnecessary surprises won’t hijack you during your show. Performing to real live audiences, instead of the mirror in your living room, can throw many a twist and turn in your direction, without having to worry about the ones you could have avoided with just a little advance preparation.
Yes, you can buy one of my newly designed and updated microphone holders for 30 bucks from my website. In fact I suggest, like a huge number of top pros, you do! I have no shame or hesitancy in plugging it here—just yesterday it saved my ass and it might well do the same for you… There is a link on this blog site!
However even if you don’t want to purchase an Ultimate Microphone Holder you might want to reflect a little on my other Real World words of advice, simple as they are, it has taken me decades of performing to fully formulate them!
You can visit my online store at www.lewinenterprises.com