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Topic: Magic on live TV
Message: Posted by: themagicofmc (Jun 2, 2003 10:27PM)
A few weeks ago, I was on the morning news with a few other magicians, promoting an upcoming show that we had. The plan was for each of us to do a very quick effect. Well, that was the plan, what ended up happening was us running out of time and I was the only one that was not able to do something. I just stood there. I wanted to warn people thinking of doing live TV, don't go on with other magicians. It just turns into a headache. Has this ever happened to anyone else?

Michael :dance:
Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Jun 8, 2003 01:37PM)
I've done over a hundred TV appearances. That's not a brag, that's just to show you that I know exactly what you went through. Time on TV goes by much faster than you realise. You have to hit them fast, make your point and then fill at the end if there is extra time. Working alone can make the spot a lot more effective as it does lose focus.

Even if you are doing it alone, you will probably have to deal with the host, and that can take up precious time that you need to perform. I like to railroad the spot by starting off with, "I want to thank you for having me here to let people know about the ----- show I'm doing at the ----- Theater. Let me give you an example of what we do at the ----- show." I then hit them with something short and sweet. And as I come to the climax of the trick, I add in, "and if you like this kind of magic, call 555-1234 for tickets for the ----- show at the ----- Theater." It's not subtle, but you are there for business. Often the host will then repeat the ticket info and the show name and location.

Todd Robbins
Message: Posted by: PaulEds (Jun 15, 2003 01:05PM)
Live TV is difficult! Unlike a recorded segment, you only get one shot at it. In my experience, I've always gone for my most powerful routines that are TRIED and TESTED, it's not the place to try out and show off your 'chops' unless you're really confident in them, cos if you fail.....

Also, because timing is extremely important in any live show, I've always been asked by the host/presenter for a quick rehearsal, thus losing the element of surprise when it comes to transmission time!!

Saying this, there is an amazing buzz when it comes to live TV - you get one shot at it, you don't have to hang around all day going over and over the routine
Message: Posted by: Thoughtreader (Jun 15, 2003 03:28PM)
When I first started doing work on television, we did work LIVE. I fully remember doing the "Zombie" and having it fall off the gimmick while on camera. Talk about a memorable first experience.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
AB StageCraft
Unique Mentalism and Magic World-wide
Home of FRAGMENTS, the best magazine test in the world.
Message: Posted by: BlackSalt (Jun 15, 2003 04:06PM)
Anyone invited to appear on an interview type program to promote an upcoming event should re-read Todd Robbins reply.

Use the old tried and true and be prepared to demonstrate your abilities at situation control. You may wish to fax an outline of the effect to the show’s director so they can think about close-ups and angles.

Above all else, don’t forget to suck in tummy, stick out the chest and smile, smile, smile.

Well done Todd.

Best regards,
Message: Posted by: Luis Sirgado (Sep 25, 2003 01:52PM)
There´s a great book, that helps people that want to perform on TV. The name is TV PERFORMANCE SECRETS by the great Gary Oulette. This is a very great book.

Message: Posted by: Ricahato (Oct 2, 2003 11:36PM)
Check out Jeff McBride talking about the tv image that you want to show all the effects , the magic needs to happen at your face level, if you are going to show a card put it next to your face don't flip it on the table ie. :rabbitfromhat:
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Nov 8, 2003 01:55PM)
Live TV can be a pain or very productive; it's just a matter of potluck on the day. However pre-edited TV can also cause problems. Remember it's out of the performer's hands as to what is shown and what is cut (ie... a four hour session filmed in the street showing eight different escapes ended up as a six minute shot with the straitjacket only shown... the host had more air time than me, then they went and got the venue dates wrong !!). After much complaints from the venue bookers of the TV promoted event, I went back the following week to the studio to do a four minute live spot. No format was suggested, but I was ready this time.... so I walked onto set with a nail already sticking out of my nose.... instant mayhem, good interview, nothing could be cut, great. The more you do the wiser you get !!!!!
Message: Posted by: Chrystal (Nov 16, 2003 08:05PM)
Good Advice Kondini,

I was asked to appear on a TV Breakfast/News hour show , Arg!!The interview was great no problems there, but they cut to commercial as I was doing one of my effects!!! Grumble Grumble. Ah well live and learn. They did provide my number on the screen however and that was very helpful in acquiring more gigs and overall I enjoyed the experience. :)
Message: Posted by: Erik Anderson (Dec 10, 2003 04:45PM)
I'm often asked to do a live spot when I am performing at fairs and such. Invariably it goes something like this:

"Hi, glad you're here. You're going to have 3 minutes. This is Carol, the host of the segment. You're live in 1 minute ...3,2,1 ... <Host> Hi! We'll be back in just a few moments with with musician Rick Anderson LIVE at the fair! ... and we're clear. Dick's spot on cattle futures ran long. You'll have a minute and a half after the hog calling contest results...the're over time. Carol tell the magic guy he's got 30 seconds in ...3,2,1..."

Doing live TV is an exercise in extreme flexibility. If you plan on doing it, be prepared to abandon plans A,B,C,D,E, and F.

Once, as the clock ticked out from under me and I had a few seconds of the original three minutes I was promised, I forced a card on the host off camera (in the absolute worst sense of the word...I showed her a card and said "remember this card") a couple seconds before we went live saying "run with me on this." We went live, got the information out about the sponsor I was representing and then I just said "A moment ago you chose a card. Do you remember it?" She said "yes" and I did a very visual revelation of the card. Not elegant but the live crowd cheered and applauded on cue.

Not very graceful, but any landing you can limp away from...
Message: Posted by: altoni (Dec 12, 2003 03:09AM)
Interesting topic. My TV experiences have all been really wonderful, even the unplanned ones. Performing at street fairs and having the news cameras show up. I’ve been lucky in that way. (Though there tends to be that...rushed feeling in the air).

Another interesting topic might be what effects work well on TV? Some effects just do not work. It’s very hard, for example, to misdirect the camera. Some effects, especially gimmicked ones, look like magic no matter how many times you see them. There are certain sleight of hand effect that have that quality as well, as long as the performer is… well, really good.

Message: Posted by: Steve Hart (Dec 12, 2003 08:21AM)
Hey Gang,

Erik Anderson's advice is very good. His story is so typical of a live TV appearance.

Be prepared; think it through a head of time. Give them strong visual magic that is quick and easy for the camera to shoot.

When you get a live TV spot, it is not minutes but seconds that count. Rehearse! Know what 30 sec. is.

Oh and be sure to smile!

Steve Hart
Cape Canaveral, FL USA
Message: Posted by: Erik Anderson (Dec 12, 2003 11:46AM)

Thanks Steve, I forgot that one.
Message: Posted by: LordM (Jul 19, 2004 09:35PM)
Live TV is a adrenaline rush. I enjoy working live , its much more exciting. what you see is what you get :)
Besides they cannot edit , or hide parts of your act, just to save time, like they did to me once. They even switched the music because it was copyrighted..
Message: Posted by: rmoraleta (Aug 26, 2004 04:03AM)
Our Ring, Ring 322, The Magicians Foundation, Inc. have been appearing on T.V. since 2001.

Usually everyone present gets a chance to perform. We ask the writer or producer how much time we are given on a certain spot and we divide the time among ourselves.

We did one wherein there were 17 magicians present. All were able to perform in that morning show.