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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Confessions of an Oreo Cookie Magician (going from close up to stage) (9 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

carbone1853
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Many years ago I was a strolling magician. I work 3 night a week at restaurants doing magic table side magic. Nabisco put out a call for magicians and I signed up for the audition and was selected*! The gig called for 40 or so performances inside supper markets, which I knew I could cover, but also ten 30 minute shows on a stage constructed in supermarket parking lots. The problem was, I didn’t have a 30 minute stage show. I didn’t have any stage show. I had three or four 6 minute table side shows. On the plus side the I had about 2 months to get my act together. Here is what I did.

First I panicked. When I was finished, I thought I didn’t have enough time to put together a 30 minute act of completely new material; and not have it really suck. So, I decided to reuse as much of what I can already do.

So, the first thing I did was look through my routines and find the ones that I could do on stage “as is”. Lucky for me, tricks like card to wallet, 100 bill switch, and cups and balls can be performed on stage with out any modification. This gave me about 10 minutes.

The next step was to find tricks, that with proper modification, would work on stage. I slightly modified my sponge ball routine to make it work on stage. I turned my coin production routine into a misers dream type trick. I was also doing Emerson and West’s Whole Thing, which I was able to scail up to Darryl’s jumbo whole thing. This was another 10 minutes.

Now the tough part. I still didn’t want to start on anything completly new, but like most magicians, I had a lot of material that I had played and half learned. So, I look at stuff I had worked on that could work on stage and close up. I came up with a rope trick, a torn and restored napkin, and a silk hanky routine. I took them to the restaurants and would perform one of the new stage tricks in between two table side tricks I could do well. This would warm them up with a good trick and leave them with a strong trick, just incase the stage trick didn’t go well. I continued to work on them until they were ready for the stage act. I now had my thirty minute stage show!



* A story I may tell someday.
D. Yoder
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Interesting read!
Rocky
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I had a couple of buddies who also got those Nabisco Supermarket Gigs...they ended up putting together very decent 30 minute acts because of it as well!.
Michael Baker
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That's a good plan. There is a current discussion on Facebook regarding arriving at a gig, assuming to be doing close-up strolling, and find out that they expect a stage show. I've been in that situation before, so the first thing I did was to look at my material to find things that would immediately work on stage. Given zero notice, I was able to negotiate favorably with the client to split the set, part stage, part close-up.
At the time, I also had a stage show that I was using, but did not have that with me on this particular gig. Knowing HOW to work on stage sure did help, though. This gig was booked through a private agent, so I did have to give him a few better ways to set up bookings after that. It really wasn't anyone's fault, just miscommunication in there somewhere.
BTW, I was also selected to work the Nabisco shows, but I turned it down. They wanted me to adopt a more "corporate" look, which was inconsistent with the way I was making the majority of my money as a performer. I was good friends with the guys who booked these in my state, so I was glad for them.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
carbone1853
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"BTW, I was also selected to work the Nabisco shows, but I turned it down. They wanted me to adopt a more "corporate" look, which was inconsistent with the way I was making the majority of my money as a performer. I was good friends with the guys who booked these in my state, so I was glad for them."


The pay was low and the audiences were tough, but I was as new performer and was very happy to get the gig. Later on in my career, I probably would have been less excited.
Michael Baker
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Quote:
On Jan 15, 2018, carbone1853 wrote:
"BTW, I was also selected to work the Nabisco shows, but I turned it down. They wanted me to adopt a more "corporate" look, which was inconsistent with the way I was making the majority of my money as a performer. I was good friends with the guys who booked these in my state, so I was glad for them."


The pay was low and the audiences were tough, but I was as new performer and was very happy to get the gig. Later on in my career, I probably would have been less excited.


I can understand. When I was new to the game, I would take lots of gigs just to add to my list of clients. It's how we build, right? Smile
At the time, I was already well-established in my region, and working under a certain persona. I was not motivated to change all that for a temporary job. A couple of my friends in the state already fit that mold, and I was happy that they did get the work.

The fact that you and some other guys ended up developing stage shows because of it, is probably worth more than the money from these gigs, and really the main point of your post. That in itself opened up doors to a lot more money... and opportunity! It's good to look back on how we got to where we are.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Jan 16, 2018, Michael Baker wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 15, 2018, carbone1853 wrote:
"BTW, I was also selected to work the Nabisco shows, but I turned it down. They wanted me to adopt a more "corporate" look, which was inconsistent with the way I was making the majority of my money as a performer. I was good friends with the guys who booked these in my state, so I was glad for them."


The pay was low and the audiences were tough, but I was as new performer and was very happy to get the gig. Later on in my career, I probably would have been less excited.


I can understand. When I was new to the game, I would take lots of gigs just to add to my list of clients. It's how we build, right? Smile
At the time, I was already well-established in my region, and working under a certain persona. I was not motivated to change all that for a temporary job. A couple of my friends in the state already fit that mold, and I was happy that they did get the work.

The fact that you and some other guys ended up developing stage shows because of it, is probably worth more than the money from these gigs, and really the main point of your post. That in itself opened up doors to a lot more money... and opportunity! It's good to look back on how we got to where we are.


YUP!!!!!!

I "broke in" as a 15 year old, in a carnie side show, in the mid '40s. Shortly after, I was able to do local club dates, school assemblies, ETC., while still in high school. I became a part time pro'. in my teens. THAT, led to all sorts of club dates, while in the Navy. At each "step", I was moving towards my eventual full time work.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
SleightlyChris
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Great read! I'm happy, I've been in a process of developing a stage show as well. Last year when I decided I wanted to start building a family type show I went through the same thought process as you.

I changed my sponge routine and made it bigger, learned a Misers dream routine, created a rope routine big enough for a stage which is essentially still the same just now with a bigger ring.

Next I looked at the pros I've seen work family shows here on Disney Cruise Lines and the common denominator was the funniest and funnest routines were the ones that used the children and created situational comedy. They used the children and their tendencies to create these funny moments, it made all the parents laugh because they can all relate.

After this I've created a solid 25 min show, obviously 25 min is rather short but it'd a start, now instead of buying what I think would work I'm looking in my books for opportunities to create something unique, these books so far are:

Conjuring Anthology, magic of alan wakeling, and tarbell.

I've found one in conjuring anthology that I think will work wonders, as well as a fun card stab in another.

I think you're well on your way to making the leap into a solid family show, good on you and keep it up!
carbone1853
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I would also like to suggest the Mark Wilson Course in Magic, it has a bunch of gems that can help round out a stage show.

"I think you're well on your way to making the leap into a solid family show, good on you and keep it up!"
I hope so, since that story takes place in 1992! Smile
SleightlyChris
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Hahaha didn't really connect the dots with that one! At least I know I'm. On the right track if we had the same thought process haha
Johnny250
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The most important thing for me in your story is that necessity often brings us to new heights. I had a show on the radio that I agreed to in two hours. I did not even know what I was going to do, but I decided to go for it, and it was really great
Dollarbill
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First I panicked. When I was finished.......... lmao! That right there is classic! 👌 glad it went good! awesome!
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