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Topic: Toward Originality
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 11, 2006 03:45AM)
One of my regular readers sent me an interesting message. He has decided that the classics have their place, but he is going to go for new, original illusions. That's an excellent idea. After all, musicians are expected to have original material. Comics write their own material. Why not magicians?

I haven't come up with many completely original tricks, but there are several fellows who do that. John Cornelius is one. Andre Kole is another.

There are degrees of originality.

The basic one is adapting an existing routine to fit your style, by changing a few bits of business.

Then there is developing a completely new routine for an old trick.

Another is combining or routining propls in a way that they have not been combined before.

Another is taking an old trick and doing it with something different -- for example, instead of doing a vanishing radio, doing a vanishing television set.

But the ultimate is creating a brand, spanking new illusion.

The investment in this kind of project can be astronomical. First, you need the idea. That's the hard part. Then you need to figure out the method that will work for you under the conditions you usually work in.

You need to build models, and you need to finally build the props.

One big thing is to look at the whole thing from the audience's standpoint and see if what you have done looks significantly different to them.

After you have done it though, you will have something you can call your own, something that sets you apart from the guys who go through a catalog and buy an act.

Good luck!

Oh, yes, after you have done it, you can expect the knockoff merchants to try to copy it.

Good luck with that, too!
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 25, 2006 06:46AM)
Children's entertainment is one field that suffers greatly from the "me, too" syndrome. Some people believe that the way to be a successful childrens entertainer is to buy every high-priced prop you can lay your hands on and then fill the performing area with them. This isn't the way I would do it, if I went back into the kid biz again.

The first thing I would do would be to read Barry Mitchell's book on creativity.

Then I would look through Tarbell and a few other standard works and see what I could find that nobody else around my area was doing. I would build those things, work out my own routines for them and go for it.

The late Chris Carey had a couple of books that were fairly good. One was called [i]Do the Stuff That's You.[/i] But most of his material was knocked off. You don't need to knock material off to come up with a good act.

I once had an idea for a character called "General Fun," but the present time is not a good one for characters that might be construed as making light of the military.