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Wes Holly
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Baltimore, MD
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Profile of Wes Holly
The focus question is: "In the overall presentation of your show, does preselecting volunteers lessen or take away more benefits than it adds? Please explain."

There are times when I am asked to do a shorter show and it really helps with time management to have already picked the needed volunteers. Sometimes it's a list of names that the client has helped me gather and they don't know they're being picked, other times I recruit volunteers in the hallway and pre-position them in the audience so they can come up on stage faster. I am not implying that they are "stooges".
Happily Yours,
Wes Holly
Baltimore, MD, USA
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Profile of aaronharp88
Sometimes I like to go to the audience before a show to find out how they are what they like and to get the feel for them. usually by walking around and doing some small magic that way I know who to call on and who not.... my wife says I always chose the bad ones when I don't walk around first.

you just never know what your going to call up or how they might try to ruin your show... Which that has happened to me before
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Profile of thebeaky
Good question.

I have been thinking about this recently, Where possible Aaron's ideas make a lot of sense. I certainly wouldn't pick someone from the stage who looked showy offy.
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Profile of highcard
If I ask for volunteers, which is fairly routine for me, I do the same thing as aaronharp88. I try to mingle prior to a show and get a feel for as many people as I can. You can also watch the audience as you perform for a bit, before getting to a bit that needs a volunteer. Most of the time, you can tell by how people are reacting as to whether or not they'd be a good choice.
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Profile of leolaurindo
I think preselecting the volunteers it's very imporant. While on the first tricks, just watch people's reactions. The best ones are those that are either timid neither show off. Also, the best ones are the ones that had the strongest reactions.
Also, I never really ask for a volunteer. I just point someone and invite him/her to come up "stage".
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Profile of ronnyman
I always preselect. Nothing is worse than standing there with my ...hat.. in my hand waiting for someone to volunteer. I do anounce they were preselected to avoid any heckling.
Escape Artist
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Profile of Escape Artist
I use a Comedy Leegs Table in my show. The routine always goes best if using an assistant to yell out the words at the appointed time. I don't use an assistant, but always set it up before and ask a person connected with the person that hired me to answer me when I ask them the question. I don't share with them the routine so they don't know whats going to happen, but it makes the routine much funnier
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Profile of DavidThomas
I am not a fan of pre-selecting participates. Year ago I learned from watching Copperfield of going into the audience with great music and asking for a person to come to the stage. It works well.
David Thomas
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Profile of sumant
II went to see a show by Arthur Trace a Magician in Los Angeles, and after the show I asked him about the "volunteer" and he assured me she was not pre-arranged. After speaking with the volunteer from the audience as well, I got the same impression from her. All in all I think it depends on the venue. I do believe that to keep the authenticity of the act, the spontaneous route is the way to go.
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Profile of Rodney
I agree I think it depends on the trick and the audience. If you are performing for a family audience and need help from a young person elementary age it's usually not a problem to find someone to volunteer. However if you're working in older audience corporate etc. you can find resistance from some members of the audience to helping on stage. If you're working a trick that you need someone dressed a particular way, say with a tie and there's only one person in the audience with a tie it's probably wise to speak to them before the show.
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Profile of jugglestruck
I'd never thought of pre-selecting a volunteer but now I just might...
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