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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Helping hands » » Girlfriend=Assistant - A good idea??? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Brent McLeod
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New Zealand
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I got busted a few years ago with my then Girlfriend of a few years.

My act that involved 3 Illusions all using her was redundant after we split up-remained friends.

I now work solo for majority shows with my eldest daughter coming into the first Levitation Illusion!

If your relationship is going places go for it & have fun - Make sure you pay your assistant!
briansmagic
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Hey Everyone,
I am the one who first started this post over a year ago and I thought I would let you know what happened! In March 2004 I got in a pinch and NEEDED someone to do a show w/ me b/c my regular couldn't do it. So she agreed to do it and was horrified, I have never seen anyone more scared in my life but we went out there and did it and she LOVED it. So she became my regular and we did TONS of shows together all over the place, we even flew from Seattle to St. Louis to do the Stars of Tomorrow Show for SAM. Everything was working out pretty well for us although sometimes things were hard. It's not easy to be "directed" by your b/f. But it went ok, mostly pretty good and we had a blast traveling all over the place doing these shows. Then a month ago we had a very sad, ugly, unfortunate break up. So now I'm back to strangers!
rannie
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Familiarity breeds contept! On the other hand, there is nothing more comforting performing with someone you have full trust. Being on the road with a girlfriend involved in the same business takes its toll. Fights happen and that's normal, but believe me , in a situation like this, it gets worse.

If the relationship is solid and the maturity is there, GO FOR IT !

Peace,

Rannie
"If you can't teach an old dog new tricks, trick the old dog to learn."

-Rannie Raymundo-
aka The Boss
aka The Manila Enforcer

www.rannieraymundo.com
www.tapm.proboards80.net
MDS
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I have had problems with this in the past. I have started two ways: the first is that I started using my girlfriend and then I have also found an assistant and after spending so much time with her (on the road, theaters, hotels, etc.) we started dating. In both cases it has failed. Not saying that it will always. The reason that it didn't work for me is that even though she was my girlfriend when we were working I was her boss. I am passionate and serious about my magic (its my living) and if she isn't willing to do what I say in the show than she should'nt be in the show with me.

I will say that since I have realized this I treat my assistants with a lot more respect. I also realized that no matter how good of a magician I am that she can make my show. I have two assistants right now Emily and Emily, one of them is my girlfriend. It is nice to travel with my gf, but honestly the one that isn't my gf is a better worker. I think that I tend to push her a little harder, but it really pays off.

MDS
Matthew David Stanley,
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jl
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I have been working with my girlfriend for a year now sometimes it's bad but mostly it's better than working with just anyone we are just about to start our second season together so fingers crossed!
zaubern
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It really goes both ways...in some respects it great working with someone you are comfortable with but you always run the risk of losing an assistant if you split. It's great if you can make it work though.
Zaubern Smile
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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This is not a "Do as I do" post. If I had the answer carved in stone I would not have read the posts here. (Do you realize how long the same crew has been posting here?) It's something in over forty years of magic has deserved a look over and over.

For the most part, I can safely say of my wives (three of them), they never helped me on stage before we were married. Likewise, I have had plenty of other assistants. My wives have always had professional careers of their own (a college dean, a computer wizard MBA, and a physician who also performs separately in her own stage shows). Therefore, they were not available much of the time either. There is also the period between the time of the loss of my second wife (she died) and when I remarried (about a decade without a wife).

When it works, wives are certainly the best assistants. I can't remember ever being sorry that my assistant was my wife. I hope the feeling was mutual!

Assistants are part of the cast with important jobs that have to be performed with due care. That is more important than the source. The cast is a team. Fit is everything. I have also had assistants that did not fit well. Perhaps it is because I have also always been an entrepreneur, but I have never had a romantic relationship that began with an employee or even a member of the audience. It is a case of focus.

I know I have blind spots in this area. But perhaps that has served me well too. On stage I need support for the show and not some other agenda. In my younger days, I owned my own airplanes that I used in my work. One day when I recognized that I was trying to land at about twice landing speed, I decided that hiring pilot was just smart. There are limits on what I can juggle well at one time.

These are two entirely separate and unrelated roles. I don’t think I would force a merger. That also leaves the other options wide open. (I hope that is different from a definite "Maybe".)

Keep posting. We might learn something!

Bob
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@MagicBySander.com

http://www.magicbysander.com/
magicalmischief
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Massachusetts
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Quote:
On 2003-09-26 22:43, crazyhands wrote:
It's just my opinion that you shouldn't mix business with pleasure, just my .02 cents


I have to agree... It's never a good idea to mix Marriage (business) and Magic (pleasure)...LOL
Seems to me that death is just natures way of telling us to SLOW DOWN!
Nick Wait
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Lichfield, UK
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I tried this when I was and still am doing very few shows due to school. Although we still rehearsed, I made my act to consist of a majority of solo stuff and 3 easy assistant illusions. I choreographed it for her, and because we're not always in each others faces we were fine. She was also in control of clothing!!! She had an input and I tried to make it more like a 50:50 venture.
Nick
kat_kelly_007
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Hey I thought I'd comment on this.. I am the now ex-girlfriend of briansmagic and I just wanted to say I thought it worked pretty well. There were pros and cons. The pros were that we knew each other so well that I knew when to help and when to stay out of the way. I wasn't afraid to tell him when something went wrong or praise him when something went well. I thought that overall things went pretty smoothly. The cons were that sometimes it's hard to take crtique from someone you're so close too, and also to keep personal problems off the stage... I think we did a pretty good job though. I would tell someone that if they think their relationship is strong enough than to go for it! And just for the record we have worked together since the sad, ugly breakup! I guess it shows we could handle it since things went fine on stage! -kat
PyroJeffNic
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Alberta, Canada
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I won't lie to you, a person I know very well uses his girlfriend as his assistant. It is definately not a charming atmosphere back stage nor on stage. BUT then again his act is kinda like their relationship so it workes out well for them:P
retrostylemagic
Al Angello
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Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
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The answer is very simple. If we are talking about my first wife the answer is "you must be crazy". If we are talking about my second wife the answer is "don't leave home without her", so there be the difference.
Al
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Lee Darrow
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There's an old saying about bodily functions, location and eating as relates to work and romance.

The same thing applies with regards to assistants, unless you happen to be Falkenstein & Willard, the Pendragons or the Beckers. There are a few other notable exceptions, of course...

In fact, the exceptions seem to be more the rule in magic, now that I think about it...!

Lee Darrow, C.H.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
Al Angello
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Bodily functions and eating. HA HA HA
Al
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
DanielSteep
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I say NO don't get ur GF as an assistant what happens if you break up???? you would be left with out an assistnat and the secret could get out if ur GF is mad at you
Steven Steele
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Hesperia, California USA
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Never? Seems a few started that way...

Mark Kalin & Ginger
Harry and Gay Blackstone
The Pendragons
The Falkensteins
Petric and Mia

I think it's a matter of how the two approach the situation. Work is work and play is play. I've worked alongside my girlfriend for a long time. I now work alongside my wife. We work well together...but not magic.
magicelam
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Briansmagic,

I have used 4 different girlfriends as assistants... since I no longer perform professionally anymore, nor date any of those girls, I'm probably not a good authority on this...

that being said, let me tell you why it didn't really work for me.

When I'm with my girlfriend (current and past) I tend to "baby" them. When I do shows, I'm all business. So, when what is normally, "Honey, let me go to the car and get this because I might need it." becomes, "Hey, get those silks out of the car I forgot, I have to set this table up... and try not to knock that stuff over again," they tend to not take it the right way.

So I would say don't mix business with pleasure... my fiance, for the most part, can't stand magic... but the other day I performed Michael P. Lair's Beach Memories for her (www.lairmagic.com to watch a video...) and now she likes to play with the invisible thread.

So... I'd say don't do it.

Mike
Mike
JackScratch
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Quote:
On 2004-01-31 22:58, Bill Palmer wrote:However, she also knows that I am not going to run off with some little cupcake just because she can fit in the Indian Basket Illusion.


Ah yes, I remember her well.
George Ledo
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SF Bay Area
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I would say the real issue is whether she's interested in show biz or not. I had several girlfriends over a period of years, and only one of them had any interest in being on stage; in fact, she was a very good dancer and costume designer. We talked several times about doing an act together, but I finally decided she wouldn't be amenable to all the rehearsals, so we dropped the idea.

A couple of years ago I trained Donna to do a short magic act for a couple of magician friends who were coming to dinner. We both thought it would be a blast, but it actually took about three sessions before she understood that rehearsals are a place to make mistakes and correct them. I'm so used to that idea that I found it amazing how long it took her to get it, especially considering she had been a cheerleader for four years in high school. But that's how it goes.

The act came out great, but she just doesn't have any interest in doing it again.
That's Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net
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airship
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I think if your wife or girlfriend has had a burning, lifelong dream to be a magician's assistant, then go for it. Your passions are matched.

If not, you might want to leave it alone and use someone who is just in it for the money. They have a motivation to do it right and to keep doing it.
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
The Bonnie Kids
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I have performed in the past with girlfriends without any problem.
I have also performed with the last girlfriend, now wife, but she doesn't like it anymore, so now I am waiting to perform with my doughter, she looks good for shows (but she is still only 3....).
Regarding this I have a comment: if you think the girlfriend might me a "temporary relationship", how do you solve the fact that you have to tell her how you do your tricks? I mean, if she is an active partner of ocurse you have to, but if she only helps? I remember I never told them I did my tricks, and I think I did well because now they have nothing to do with magic... but I would like to listen your opinion..

// Andrea
P.T. Murphy
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Just remember this is SHOW/ BUSINESS. Sometimes an intimate relationship can get in the way of the business part. But sometimes it works in your favor.
P.T. Murphy
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gsidhe
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All I can go by is my own experience...
My lovely girlfriend Sylver and I have been performing together for two years as part of a performance group, in the group we were pretty much equal...Now we perform a seperate sideshow act with just the two of us.
We're still equal.
I am a sideshow/fire performer/bizarrist magician and I am...Unusual looking to say the least.
She is a sideshow/fire performer/dancer who is Beautiful, filled with personality and is absolutelty adorable on stage.
Imagine a foppish Brit version of the Amazing Johnathon coupled with a mischevious Tinkerbell and you have our act.
I would be no where near as successful as I am without her and her unique interpretation of character. I do all of the talking during the act (Her character is silent, communicating only through cue cards), but it is her the crowd flocks to after the shows.
She is not my assistant...Yes, I wrote the show, developed the routines and built most of the props, but she puts just as much effort into it as I do and half of the stunts and illusions in the show are performed by her.
She's a partner.
Is it rough sometimes? Yes. When we are developing a new bit for her to perform, it can get tense ("I barely fit in this BOX you made...and now you try to poke me in the eye with a stick? GIMMIE THAT!!" Followed by thwacking sounds and a magician running for his own safety)
But those are few and far between. We have our props list and prep down so well that we can set up the whole act in under 5 minutes flawlessly. No bickering there!
I guess what I am saying is that if you have a good solid mature relationship, treat your partner like a partner with respect instead of dictating, if they have a real interest in performing and have some real skills...
There is no real reason why it won't work.
Gwyd
Peter Loughran
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The equation is simple, personalities, will they work together or not?

Every combo is different, what will work for one couple will not work for another.

If you can get the relationship to work, you will reap the benifits, however as we have also learned if the relationship fails, the damage is significant.

There is no one right answer, the answer and the chance of success all depends on the individual couple at hand, and it is impossible for one to predict the outcome.

P.
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Jason Johnson
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To me, there's a difference between a girlfriend and a wife.

A girlfriend is someone you date. They're temporary. They come and go. They'll spill the beans to get back at you. That's not a good proposition in my opinion.

A wife is someone who you're with for life (I'm old fashioned.) She is your partner in life and magic. There have been many great magic husband and wife teams, so I know it can work.

This is my opinion, and I'm not trying to tell anyone else how to live.
Bill Hegbli
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The famous husband and wife teams were usually not married to begin with. They met or was offered an assistant position, then over time things developed into marriage.

The original poster is here asking us, when actually, he should be asking his girl friend. If he thinks he can just make the decision for her he is very wrong. The decision is hers as well as his invitation. And to think he don't have to pay her or pay her as much. Boy - That will go over like a lead balloon.

Actually, one of the best gauges to find out if she will fit your interest, is to take her to a magic shop, and if she wants to leave after 10 minutes, then she is not interested in magic. Another way is to take her to a magic convention, and if she doesn't want to go to most of the scheduled events and is happy when the convention is over, then she is the wrong for the job. She has not interest.

If she does agree, create a few tricks where she is an important part of the trick. A simple silk vanish, and she is holding the balloon that the silk appears in, will be a great trick, and help her feel like she is contributing to the show.
Graduate of Chavez School of Prestidigitation and Showmanship
msmagic1
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Better question..... why not?
jugglestruck
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Quote:
On 2006-07-09 23:04, P.T. Murphy wrote:
Just remember this is SHOW/ BUSINESS. Sometimes an intimate relationship can get in the way of the business part. But sometimes it works in your favor.

Having married my assistant I think you speak wise words Mr Murphy.
thomasR
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I've worked for/ with couples in the entertainment industry (magic and non magic related shows) and I'm almost always against it.
The man will usually not tell the gf what to do in the same fashion as his other employees... That's simply not fair. The gf also feels like
she is some sort of automatic boss cause her bf is the employer. That really doesn't sit well with me.

I say hire professionals to do the job.
jugglestruck
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Quote:
I say hire professionals to do the job.


In theory a great idea but often so much easier said than done.
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