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Topic: Routining
Message: Posted by: Curt from Canada (Feb 5, 2007 09:17PM)
Hello, guys and gals, this is me again. I have done magic for a year or so, but I am starting to put together a routine for either a kid show or adult show, preferably both. I made the mistake of buying the effects before I had and idea for the shows, because I was doing a lot of close up magic before, but I own a few props for kid shows, such as the Backstage Vanishing Elephant and mini Hip Hop Rabbits. I also have the Dracula Book Test for adult shows and just acquired a Die Box from Michael Baker and The Magic Company.

I can preform the effects well, and I love to preform them, but it seems to me that I hit a road block as soon as I try to piece all of the effects together. This has been my trouble spot in my magic for a long time. I just keep on buying more and more magic, but I can never put a routine together. I am ending up more as a collector compared to a performer, which is what I want to be.

If you guys could help me out with this, it would be very much appreciated. And if no one saw my post about the effect called Head Rush by Peter Loughran, and if any of you have any experience with it... I know it will be a pointless to buy yet another effect with nowhere to put it, so......I don't know.

Lastly, if anyone here has a good resource for learning about routining, whether it's a book or a DVD, that would be great. I have heard Strong Magic by Darwin Ortiz would be a good book to buy, but I am always after other resources.

Once again, thanks in advance...
Message: Posted by: johnobryant (Feb 6, 2007 12:39AM)
I made this post a VERY long time ago in another forum...I hope it helps.

1) Research- Research, Research, Research. I can't say this enough. This is one thing that is a must. That is why I put it at the top of the list, even though this list is not in any particular order. Research things so you know the history of what you are actually performing. Research things such as psychology so you know how to actually know what people are thinking when you are performing.

2) Think like a lay - If you think like a lay person while coming up with your show and routine, your show WILL BE BETTER! Think about it... You see a trick that you want to buy because, well, you don't know how it works and you want to learn it. You watch the demo or the previews, and you get fooled. Once you get this trick and learn the secret, do not get disappointed. Think back to when you saw the demo, and watched it over and over again, and you were fooled. Well, same with the people you will be performing for, unless you don't master it. When coming up with where you will stand during an act or what to say...think like a lay. "What would they like to see?" "Am I blocking the view of the trick?" and so on.

3) Scripting and Patter- This is very hard for some people, yet as easy as opening a can of soda for other people. Scripting is very crucial. I know a guy who masters his tricks, can show them to you, and fool you with them every time! Yet, he goes off the top of his head with patter and presentation. I was once told by someone, "Yes, you can have ad libs, but write your script out". Everyone should get a pen and paper, turn on music or whatever helps you think, come up with some patter, and write it down or type it.
Also, when I am scripting, I think from the end. I think, "What do I want to happen," and, "How will I get there," and, "Will I be able to do this with what I have?" Once you have thought of patter and like what you see, then go out and buy your prop. The effects should build on one another. Card College states (Theory Section, Vol. 2)... "Answer these questions...Do I like the trick myself? Does it fit my style? Is it well constructed? What purpose does it serve the program? Is this the best method I know to accomplish the trick?"

I like to stress the fact that a trick needs to be a result of a phenomenon. For example..."The magic wand does the magic if you tap the cup with it." I think every effect should have some type of "magical reasoning". Be creative, because you can make up some comical things with this one.

4) Buying Props - Before buying props, like I kind-of suggested above, please think to yourself, "When will I use this," and, "Where will this go in my routine?" It is okay to buy things to collect...but for the sake of the subject...do the above.

5) Practicing - I went to a Michael Ammar lecture a couple of days ago, and he had a good point. Master one trick at a time before moving on. He gave an example that was hilarious because he acted it out for us. If you are working on Cups and Balls and you drop a ball off the table and go to pick it up, but see a Hot Rod and start playing with that, that is not a good rehearsal technique to pick up.
When practicing, use a mirror or a video camera. Practice patter, so it seems like you are ad-libbing the WHOLE show! But, really, you know what you are saying and doing the WHOLE time, and it is all natural! Practice so much that you could do the show even if a little chihuahua at a birthday party was hooked to your leg and wouldn't let go!

6) Reviewing - Attend a show of a performer in your area. Review it for him and take notes. I have done this countless number of times, and trust me, THIS WORKS! You can then compare what you have scripted earlier to his/her show. A lot of times you will think your show still needs work and can be better, but that is ALWAYS the case. A show can be improved anytime. People always say, "No one is perfect." This can also be tied in with a show. You also might start doubting yourself and your show after this has happened. Do not doubt your show. Just think to yourself, "What can I fix?" and "Good thing I have not yet performed this yet". BTW...be unique...this doesn't mean to copy the person you are reviewing.

I hope this helps and isn't too outdated. lol

Message: Posted by: joshlondon17 (Feb 6, 2007 02:49AM)
An excellent book to get is "Maximum Entertainment" by Ken Weber. I've been out of magic for a year or so pursuing a career as a paramedic, and now I'm back. That book has changed my show from what it was, a really good corporate selling show, to what it is now, a corporate show audiences can't get enough of!

I've also learned that I too have too much "stuff." My library is at about 100 books, DVDs/videos are at 30 or so, and I have numerous effects. How many routines do I perform in a 90 minute show? About 8!

I'd recommend watching tapes of Copperfield and other successful magicians to see how they transition between effects. It sucks standing there on stage when your done with your first trick and saying, "For my next trick..." Plus, it's boring for an audience. Transition with a joke, music, etc. Also, take a look at comedians. Robin Williams is the best at transitions. He goes from one thing to another without blinking, then back again to the original topic.
Message: Posted by: Curt from Canada (Feb 6, 2007 10:14AM)
Thanks for the responses; these are great. I will try some of the stuff you said, John. And thanks for the resource tip, Josh.
Message: Posted by: johnobryant (Feb 6, 2007 11:06AM)
On 2007-02-06 03:49, joshlondon17 wrote:
An excellent book to get is "Maximum Entertainment" by Ken Weber. [/quote]

I second that... Definitely get Ken Weber's book.

Message: Posted by: BrianMillerMagic (Feb 6, 2007 11:17AM)
Lots of great advice there, John. You always seem to have something very useful to say in your posts. :) One thing that I would like to reinforce that you said was about getting discouraged upon learning the secret. I see and hear so many "beginning" magicians, and even some experienced magicians, get upset about the method of a trick they bought and, therefore, will not use it. It is like John said, you have to remember what made you want to purchase that effect in the first place. Remember what it felt like to see the effect and be fooled! That is what your audience will experience, not the secret/method.

A quick example is like when I saw Max Maven lecture a year or so ago. He performed this routine that I've commented on elsewhere in the forums, "Ancient Las Vegas Pulse Reading". It was one of the most terrific pieces of mentalism I have ever witnessed in my life. Then, he gave us the secret. I was so disappointed that I dismissed the effect immediately. I thought it was too easy! We get these expectations that a great effect can only be the result of some phenomenal out-of-this-world method. In reality, it is the simplest methods that often produce the greatest effects. That routine has been a staple in my show ever since I realized this, and it kills every time.

Pardon my ramblings!
Message: Posted by: SeasideShowman (Feb 6, 2007 11:18AM)
All the above are great suggestions ... However, to put a 'routine' into simple context, it should consist of a STRONG opening, a STRONG closer, and all the other Good stuff in the middle. Try to make the preceding bit-o-business flow right into the next bit. This is an over-simplified explanation, but I'm sure you get the point. Best of luck to you on your appearances.

Cap'n Mike
Message: Posted by: Curt from Canada (Feb 6, 2007 05:52PM)
Wow, thanks, guys, for all the help... This is a lot of great information to know.
Message: Posted by: joshlondon17 (Feb 6, 2007 11:35PM)
What you should shoot for is using all killer-closer-type effects in your show. That means that everything you do kills the audience. Then, add transitions and other bits of business in between the effects.