Snowstorm In Chingford: Using Weather To Enhance Zoom Shows

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As I’m writing this, it’s snowing outside my window. In fact, that’s the inspiration for this post. It’s an opportunistic idea to keep in your back pocket, which can add an element of, well, the elements, to your Zoom shows. You won’t be able to do it often, but when you can, it’ll be a memorable moment.

The Inspiration

As often happens, this idea came from combing two thoughts:

  1. Glancing out of my window and seeing that it had begun to snow.
  2. Recalling a great street performer bit, where if they noticed that the sun was about to go behind a cloud, they would say “Can you lower the house lights please?”, then the natural light would dip, so it seemed like the sky was reacting to them. (If anyone knows the reference for this, then please email me at wideopenmagic@gmail.com)

The Idea

This works best if you live somewhere with changeable weather. I live in the UK, where there’s a saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes”. It’s not unusual to have multiple kinds of weather in the same hour, from strong sunshine, to rain, to strong sunshine while it rains.

You’ll need to perform this during the daytime, and ideally for people who don’t live in the same town as you. The further away (and the different their local climate) the better.

To prepare to be spontaneous, add a comment early in the show about the weather, and briefly move your camera to show the view from your window.

A few potential lines to cover that:

  • “It’s a bright, sunny day here in Hawkins, as you can see, and I can’t wait to show you some amazing things.”
  • “It may be sunny outside, but we’re going to go to a much darker, stranger place.”
  • “This show’s going to be very interactive, so as a warm up, since I’m British, let’s talk about the weather. We’ll quickly go round and each person can say where they are, and what the weather’s like. I’ll start…”

Most of the time, that’ll be it, and you’ll continue with your show as normal. But occasionally, mid-show, you’ll notice that it’s started raining or snowing (or stopped, if it has been).

Now you can do a lovely kicker ending to a trick, a bit like David Copperfield’s snow finale, where it starts snowing on stage then ends with it snowing everywhere…but with real snow. Obviously, don’t directly duplicate his routine, and perhaps frame it as homage to him, since it’s one of his signature routines.

For snow, you could have a snowstorm load on hand, out of shot. Or perhaps do Jay Sankey’s snowstorm card trick. Or have a stack of photos and switch a non-snowy image for a snowy one. Or just jazz something with a simple drawing on the back of a playing card, which has snow appear on it.

For rain, you could do Jeff McBride’s Close-Up Water Fountain trick (just don’t soak your laptop!) or maybe a Lota Bowl.

Whatever the trick, have the audience say “Let It Snow”, or lead them in a singalong of “Singing In The Rain”, then show that the trick has worked. Then, look out the window, act amazed, and swing the camera around to show it coming down in real life.

Will The Rain Rein?

This is just an idea at the moment – I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, so I don’t know how it’ll play in real life. But it could be a delightful moment, which also makes for a great story for people to tell there friends afterwards.

As ever, if you give it a go, let me know. And if you’re enjoying these posts, please let another magician know about the blog, so we can grow our merry band.

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