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Topic: We need professional help!
Message: Posted by: JJDrew (May 11, 2005 04:07PM)
Though I've heard the advice many times..."Get a director to watch your performance. Find professionals to help you in fields that you aren't experienced with"...I only finally took it a few weeks ago.

I have a linking ring routine that is done to music. It has been nearly a year developing, and I had reached a point where I was happy with the routine itself. The only problem? There were sections that didn't require any sleights where I was just standing there like an idiot. I had some moves that I had agonized over, but they were terrible and I knew it.

I had recently made friends with a professional dancer/choreographer and decided to hire her to watch my performance and help me choreograph the problem areas. I could handle the magic, but the dancing threw me for a loop.

My routine was progressed light-years in the one hour we worked together on it. Small things, like how to walk on the stage and how to wait for the music to begin, were worked out and made to look professional. She came up with suggestions and recommendations that I would never have thought of on my own. In addition, she observed the rest of the performance and pointed out a few points at which my motions could be altered so that my meaning was clearer to the audience.

I can't emphasize enough how useful it was and what a difference it made in the look of my performance.

If you've done something similar, what were the results?

If you haven't, do so! Take the show you have and work together with someone who specializes in your weak points to make it better. Magic is tricky as a performing art. Often it works out that you have to design your own routine, make your own props, write your own script, direct your own performance, choose your own music, choreograph your own movements, and design your own lighting cues.

I don't know ANYBODY who is equally skilled and professional in all of these areas. Focus on your own specialty area and bring in outside help for aspects in which your own skills and knowledge are less. They will bring to your routine changes and ideas that would take years of research and rehearsal to discover for yourself, and they will do so seeming effortlessly. The money you spend is worth every penny!
Message: Posted by: onezero1 (May 16, 2005 12:07PM)
I think it's weird how magicians don't study acting and mime as a normal part of magic development. Learning a little mime technique really helped my false takes and drops. Mind you it's still taking long enough for people to get into using scripts!! I couldn't call an effect "mastered" without a written script for it.
Message: Posted by: Gerald (Jul 5, 2005 07:36AM)
You are on the right track! Keep going!
Message: Posted by: onezero1 (Jul 6, 2005 08:11AM)
Thanks gerald, as somebody once said: "the practice of an art IS the art"
that line really hit me between the eyes a few months ago and changed my outlook on my magic totally. I realised that the only difference between pros and amateurs is pro's get paid to do it. Its a shame that not all magicians seem to realise that being an amateur does not mean you don't have to put in the same amount of work as a pro. In fact amateurs need to work harder as pro's get a lot more regular performing experience. It can be tough sometimes as you have to fight the urge to perform an unfinished effect, but its worth it when you deliver a perfect performance and receive exactly the response you planned for.
Heh! I never thought when I started magic that one day I would be spending more time repeating lines then palming coins, REALLY putting the coin in my hand more often then pretending to, and I've got to say that the most difficult thing to learn in magic is the art of the opening line.
Message: Posted by: Gerald (Jul 6, 2005 10:07AM)
"the practice of an art IS the art"

I believe you are exactly right. Performance reflects practice habits. If you practice and rehearse with a comprehensive, creative, organized, consistent attention to detail, and cover all the elements necessary for a successful performance, your performance has a good chance of reflecting those characteristics. On the other hand, if your practice is haphazard, boring, without meaning, direction or purpose, then your performances have a good chance of reflecting those same characteristics.

Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Jul 7, 2005 10:00AM)
Proper practice of an Art IS the Art. Improper Practice of an Art is something that leads to loss of sight and hairy palms. You know the word I'm sidling around, here.

Practice does not make perfect if the practice is not perfect. If you practice something incorrectly, all you do is lock into muscle memory the incorrect way of doing something - and that makes it much harder to "unlearn" at a later date.

Just my 2 cent's worth.

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: onezero1 (Jul 8, 2005 11:42AM)
Of course. As I said, a few months ago I woke up and smelt the coffee.
I decided to start again, from scratch. I have chosen to regard all of the things I have learned over the years(moves, effects etc)as mere dexterity training. I want to approach magic as I would any other theatrical art like straight acting or stand up comedy. My goal now is not to be able to do magic tricks, I was born an entertainer and I realise that the reason I got into magic in the first place was because I sensed that it was the best form of entertainment for my personality
to present. I have played around with comedy and general acting before but my love of the weird and fantastic is simply conveyed best to people through magic.
Somewhere along the way I stopped carrying magic in my pocket and magic had me in its pocket, does that make any sense? Anyway at the moment my practice consists of some very basic card effects and recording my voice over and over while I rehearse. The hardest part is listening to those recordings, but as with everything repetition makes it easier. My journey towards entertaining for a living just got a lot more complex, but all the richer for it.
Oh, and perhaps that quote should read, "practice of the art IS an art."
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jul 9, 2005 10:45AM)
Just out of curiousity, did she charge you for her time and expertise? If so, how much?
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 28, 2005 06:43PM)
Great thread! Awareness is very important. And in terms of vocal delivery, recording your voice and playing it back will help you achieve the delivery you want. As an actor and singer, I do this all the time. It will help your development greatly.
Considering the entire spectrum of the performance is crucial to developing a complete show. The magic method is just the beginning.
Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Oct 20, 2005 07:52PM)
This is the best thread I've read yet in the short time that I've been here at the Café!

JJDrew, your attitude is one that will take you very far and serve you very well. You "get" one of the most important things a magician can.

As a performer, be it magic, acting, opera, etc., I CRAVE direction! The third-point-perspective is essential. If you think about it, if we didn't need directors, the theatre would have done away with them centures ago!

And to piggy-back on Lee Darrow's post, I heard an expression once that has stuck with me for many years: "Practice Makes Permanent". How you practice is how you WILL perform. I experienced this just last week.

I was stage manager/co-choreographer for an opera company's production of [i]The Pirates of Penzance[/i]. Most of the ladies' chorus just refused to put any effort into rehearsing their numbers or scenes. They all said that they would "turn it up" for the show. No matter how much I encouraged them, they simply would not put forth the effort. For the performance they did turn it up. I asked the director if it looked better from out front. He told me yes, it was quite an improvement...and that they were still terribly wooden!

Life lessons for us all as to the actual importance of rehearsal and direction!

Message: Posted by: HusssKarson (Jan 8, 2009 12:08AM)
Any art in combination with magic will help making your magic better!