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Topic: Perfect Opening Effect
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (May 12, 2005 12:32AM)
For all the world I don't know if this is the right place to post this, but the moderators will fix it if it isn't right.

I would just like to brainstorm with you on the thought of coming up with the perfect opening effect for a packs small plays big type of show. Mostly something that will fit in a briefcase.

What do you think are the qualities of such an effect? What should it encompass or accomplish? How long should the effect run at max? If you had your way, what would the effect be? Is there really any such thing as the perfect opening effect? I've toyed with the idea of using Dan Harlans Starcle, (Packs EXTREMELY small!) but don't really want to copy him, and I never could get that folding thing down pat anyway.

Any ideas and intelligent comments on the subject? Thanks!
Message: Posted by: MagikDavid (May 15, 2005 12:48AM)

First of all, I don't believe there is such a thing as a "perfect opener." There are too many variables, i.e., an opener for a child's birthday party may not play very well to a room full of doctors... a perfect opener for a street performer would be one that attracts other people to watch (perhaps something loud or something that causes a loud response from the spectators, such as laughter or applause)... a perfect opener to a stage performance which is routined with music background... (oh well, you get the point.)

In my opinion, you should have many different great openers to fit many occasions. In theory, a perfect opening effect should probably be one that is QUICK, VISUAL, STRONG, and pretty much FOOLPROOF. It should quickly establish YOU as someone who can do magical things. Once you've proven that, then you'll have their attention for more lengthy effects. By hitting them hard and fast at the beginning, it will entice them to want to see more.

Although Harlan's 'Starkle' is a great effect, I believe it would be better suited toward the end of your performance. As a matter of fact, I'm currently thinking of using it as my closing effect. I'm trying to develop a different script (story) since Dan's patter doesn't really suit my style. Due to the whimsical nature of the effect and the length of it's performance, it seems like a perfect ending to my show... AND... the spectator is left holding a souvenir (star) which symbolically reminds them of the magic they've just witnessed... AND the STAR who just performed it. (just my thoughts)

Some ideas for openers (close-up):
* Card Warp
* Linking Rubber Bands
* Sponge Ball Routine
* Professor's Nightmare
* Lethal Tender

(children's show)
* Coloring Book / Vanishing Crayons
* Flowers from Fingertips
* Color Changing Silk
* Flash Paper or Cotton
* Vanishing Silk (TT)

These ideas are based solely on my opinions and style (not intended as real advice, but rather 'food for thought'.) Others may disagree... Hopefully, they will freely offer their opinions on this subject.

Message: Posted by: MagikDavid (May 15, 2005 01:01AM)
HOLY SMOKE!!! I just re-read your original post. I apologize!!! You clearly asked about something that packs small to fit a briefcase... and I went on and on about stage shows, street magic, etc. I should be more careful before posting nonsensical babble.


Message: Posted by: DanHarlan (May 17, 2005 04:28AM)
MagikDavid is right that Starcle is a difficult effect to open with... for most shows. I have found it to work exceptionally well in walk-around situations, such as cocktail parties (Hmmmmm, I wonder why!). But for most shows, it builds too slowly. I have used it in the #2 spot after a very quick, visual opener -- typically an instant vanishing drink. I enter sipping a soda in a tall clear glass, resting on a cocktail napkin. I look around for the "table that is supposed to be there" so I can set my drink down. Not finding it, I vanish the soda -- and begin Starcle. The drink vanish takes less than 10 seconds and occurs while my "play-on" music is still going. It gets people's attention right away and lets them know they are going to see good, solid, professional magic that will surprise them. If you read that last sentence again, you'll find the answer to your original question. As a closer, Starcle is perfect.
Message: Posted by: todsky (May 18, 2005 08:30AM)
I've walked on with a cane, started rubbing my nose as about to sneeze, and wiped my nose with a silk (cane to silk). Experiment with different openers. Short and visual is indeed the key, unless you have the gift of gab and are a good enough storyteller to build up to something. Depends on your style. Depends on the type of audience. For small children, a slapstick clownish opener works well.
Message: Posted by: Paul D (May 18, 2005 08:58PM)
My favorite is my own creation .Its Flash Paper to Lollipop.You can find this effect at falsecuts.com in fine detail.To enter falsecuts you must register and submit a card trick or sleight and you will have access to almost 300 card tricks.
Message: Posted by: Daniel Faith (May 19, 2005 11:31PM)
The "perfect" opening effect if you must call it that is going to be different for each performer.
I never open with cards for one thing.
You need to search yourself as to what your best opener is and that might change according to venue.
Message: Posted by: DanielTyler (May 24, 2005 04:09PM)
My "perfect" opener is a Center Tear routine. It's direct, apparently propless at the beginning, establishes credibility, and doesn't take long to do.
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (May 26, 2005 08:55PM)
Ive changed my thinking in the last year or so on openings due to audience reaction!!

I open with 12" Linking Rings routine for 2-3 mins at most venues-

Done to music, fast ,flashy, lets the audience settle & check you out, a lot of quick openers are missed by audiences still talking , moving ,getting more comfortable etc -Rings pack small ,play big-lots of noise & excitement & most of all-Draws peoples attention to you no matter where you perform because of the noise & music etc

Just a thought!!

Works so well for me & always gets a big round of applause at the conclusion

Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jun 11, 2005 11:05AM)
I hve really toyed with the idea of using the Rubiks cube effect as an opener. (Cube is mixed, and tossed up in the air and solved in midair)

Anyway, it is certainly packs small, and I have some good patter for it, but I wonder if today's audiences really are familiar enough with the cube to "get" the effect? After all, this is an 80's thing, isn't it?

I saw henning do it in his show years ago, (not as an opener) and it looked wonderful)

The thing takes tons of practice as one wrong turn irretreivably screws up the whole effect!
Message: Posted by: Joe Mauro (Jun 12, 2005 08:02PM)
On 2005-05-18 09:30, todsky wrote:
I've walked on with a cane, started rubbing my nose as about to sneeze, and wiped my nose with a silk (cane to silk). Experiment with different openers. Short and visual is indeed the key, unless you have the gift of gab and are a good enough storyteller to build up to something. Depends on your style. Depends on the type of audience. For small children, a slapstick clownish opener works well.

That's about the best I've ever heard.
Message: Posted by: rdwat92284 (Jun 13, 2005 12:17AM)
I've always thought about walking out with chop sticks and catching flies with them. Sort of like a garbage man's miser's dream. Put fly after fly into a cup, each one with a little thud, only to then pour a bunch of them out. This could lead into a cups and balls routine with mini trash cans and flies (already someone has invented and is marketing this effect).
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jun 14, 2005 05:48PM)
Now THAT'S what I call original thinking!
Message: Posted by: Julie (Jun 19, 2005 11:42PM)
Enter and produce silk handkerchief, produce lighted match to light candle, match changes to flower (flower in lapel), candle covered by silk handkerchief vanishes.
You cleanly show silk handkerchief on both sides and step forward to acknowledge applause and produce a fishbowl, spring flowers or spring bills or a dove or spring rabbit etc from the silk handkerchief as a surprise climax to your opening.

>Packs very small and packs a wallop!<
Message: Posted by: rumburak (Jun 21, 2005 07:11AM)
How about a brief levitation? That's seemingly impromptu and gets people hooked up immediately.

In the beginning, it should be rather brief and almost (but not quite) imperceptible. If the reactions are good you can continue with some other PK effects.

Oh, if you're into comedy mentalism you may want to check out an effect called "Precious Metal".
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jun 25, 2005 07:58AM)
What is the effect of precious metal?
Message: Posted by: KyletheGreat (Jun 25, 2005 03:05PM)
I do an entire musical opener with a briefcase.

This routine was also mentioned by me in another section...I think it was boxes tubes and bags...

It is a bowling ball from briefcase (that I made on my own), but it also has appearing poles, appearing/vanishing candles, playing cards, rolled up sillks with confetti, and party poppers.

The music plays and things are produced. All the candles and cards are there for easy access to get and begin manipulation. Silks are stollen and flourished and party poppers are shot. Balls are taken and manipulated with the silks. It is a really beautiful and shocking opener that is enjoyed by everyone. It is used in most of my school assembly shows, and festivals.
Message: Posted by: CDS (Jul 20, 2005 10:26PM)
I was taught that an opener should sucker the spectator in to the performance
example I have had spectators tell me (for the first part of the trick, the set up) "Well, that's a good trick, for KID'S, but we're ADULT'S!" Now that they think I am this UN-sneaky person... I sucker punch them with the out come (the pay off)
"Where did that come from!" or "Where did it...I thought it was in his hand!"

what I am going after is the feeling you get at the end of a movie like
"the 6th sense"

Chuck Stroud
Message: Posted by: Caleb Wiles (Jul 31, 2005 11:41AM)
Jon Allen's Silent Treatment is my new opening effect.

Message: Posted by: Steve Suss (Aug 2, 2005 03:14PM)
I like to open with an effect that establishes my personality. I want them to like me before I fry them with with some heavy duty magic. This way the pain won't be so severe.

Currently my favorite opener is John Cornelius's burnt bill routine. This routine allows for lots of comedy and audience interaction. Once the audience and myself get to know each other I slowly hit them with stronger and stronger effects and finally close with a blockbuster.