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Topic: Miss America
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 19, 2011 11:21AM)
I have a client who wants to participate in the Miss America pageant preliminaries using magic as her talent. She's never done magic in the past and doesn't have a "talent" yet. In addition to her coaches, I've tried to steer her in another direction but she is insistent. That being said, let's start recommending illusions for her show. Here are the requirements.

1) 90 seconds in length
2) One-woman act (no assistants)

I think that's about it. What would you guys recommend for some good illusions? I've already made my recommendations and want to see if you all come up with something different.
Message: Posted by: randirain (Oct 19, 2011 12:40PM)
This girl came into the local magic shop recently and bought a bunch of magic tricks.
She was a "burlesque" dancer, if that's what you want to call it.
I saw the act and it was horrible. Absolutely horrible!

It is impossible for someone who has never had any interest in magic, to buy some tricks, and present them in a way that is entertaining.
All it does is make them look stupid and make magic look stupid.

If I was you, I would refuse to help in any way. Because no matter what you do, it's going to suck.
This is one of the problems with magic today. People think you can go into a magic store and come out a magician, and it's simply not true.

She is going to lose Lose LOSE!

A lota bowl does not a magician make.

Randi
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 19, 2011 08:28PM)
You are absolutely right...but she's GOING to buy the effect somewhere so it might as well be me who sells it to her. :P

But hey...she is determined to practice a lot and take this as a learning experience (so that's good). But if she has no talent, might as well pick magic. She'll be at least able to do a trick on stage. Granted it won't be good...but she'll probably do it and amaze a couple people. Beats standing up there and reading a monologue which we all know means you have no talent. :)
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Oct 19, 2011 09:26PM)
Get a velvet "rope" from a fabric store and teach her a simple rope routine- "Catch a Knot", "Sliding Knot", "Bow Knot" and "Rope through Neck." If she needs more time, a cut and restored rope ending would be good. Giving her a magic box illusion to perform will only show she has money, not talent. Performing a rope routine, like the one described, will actually show she has talent and help her win, assuming she has the other gifts and talents required.
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 20, 2011 11:42AM)
I agree...but that's more from a magician standpoint. Many lay people don't understand the difference in watching a technically demanding routine from a box trick. They just want to see magic.

PS - I sold her the Tora Vanishing/Appearing Rabbit/Dove illusion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kt_057KYuaU
Message: Posted by: digiassn (Oct 20, 2011 09:57PM)
I wouldn't be so disparaging. Make it clear that you while she can buy a few effects, and do them in a show, its going to look like she bought a few effects to do them in a show. If she wants them to look like magic, she needs to practice those routines. And practice them some more. Usually pageant contestants will do that, and you can usually tell the ones who practice from the ones who do not. If she doesn't she won't make it past the prelims, and that will be the end of it. It's not the quantity of effects, its the quality. How many magicians do you know that only do a hand-full of effects and absolutely slay with them because they have been doing them and practicing them for years.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 21, 2011 06:43AM)
I would have her stay away from using any animals because of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). It can mess up her rating.

A few Costume Changes to herself would be great. Have each outfit similar to the styles they have in the pageant. Make the last outfit a bikini. Have her start to music as she dances. A few seconds she steps inside a solid phone booth like object and comes out in a new costume dancing with the different type of music. Make 4 or 5 changes.
Message: Posted by: Rebecca_Harris (Oct 21, 2011 09:44AM)
Why be so negative towards her, why not try to help her out? What can she do? Can she dance? If so then why not suggest an elegant routine, perhaps a silk routine, choreographed to music?

If you like, feel free to point her in my direction. I'm more than happy to suggest a few things and help her out with her routine.
Message: Posted by: randirain (Oct 21, 2011 11:42AM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-21 10:44, Rebecca_Harris wrote:
Why be so negative towards her, why not try to help her out?
[/quote]
Because a lot of us are tired of magic being a joke to the rest of the world.

The truth... If she is picking magic as a talent, and she has never performed magic, then that obviously means she has no talent. If she has no talent, she has no business running for Miss America.
Plain and simple.
The only outcome will be another strike against magic... and I need work.. and I don't want to do kids shows.

Randi
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 21, 2011 02:51PM)
But Randi, she might be able to help you with more business. If the world see her perform magic in a talented way from all our support, it might increase you getting more business. It will help show the world how talented female magicians really are. By the way, Randi, why don't you run for Miss America the year after? You are cute and talented you know.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Oct 21, 2011 06:14PM)
I have to side with Randi on this one. If she has never done it before, this is risky at best to do for the first time. Becky Blaney did magic for her talent when she was competing but she had been raised in the business. Harry Blackstone in one of his last appearances used magic (performed by him) on the Miss America show. Most of those girls could not even hit their marks yet alone do magic. They were too busy showing off all the cosmetic enhancements and smiling to even be aware of anything else.

I have no problem selling her a prop as she is going to buy it anyway. But I like that you sold her a more less self working prop. And when it fails, she can just say it is because it was made in Iran.

Richard
Message: Posted by: randirain (Oct 21, 2011 09:27PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-21 15:51, Dynamike wrote:
But Randi, she might be able to help you with more business. If the world see her perform magic in a talented way from all our support, it might increase you getting more business. It will help show the world how talented female magicians really are. By the way, Randi, why don't you run for Miss America the year after? You are cute and talented you know.
[/quote]
I doubt it very seriously that it will help.... and I am 40 years old.

Randi
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 21, 2011 11:04PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-21 22:27, randirain wrote:
.... and I am 40 years old.
[/quote]
Randi, you spelled "young" the wrong way.
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 22, 2011 04:20PM)
Lol at all you guys. :) Thanks for the input. Yeah, I tried to sell a self-working prop and that way she can work on presentation. She has no talent - so no singing, dancing, acting, etc. :) Awesome. Anyway, she sounds very serious and tenacious and just because she doesn't have a formal talent doesn't mean she can't do well with some work. We all started somewhere. Who knows. I wanted her to be realistic about what to expect.

About PETA - I agree that could be a bad thing for her. BUT I think a cute bunny routine could be good for her. She could play the angle the right way and probably do well with it. Her "thing" is helping mentally challenged children. The animals will look good with that too, I'd suspect. She seems like a genuinely nice young lady with a heck of a lot of determination. We'll see if she ends up winning Miss Texas.

She too was interested in costume changes. As about the only form in all magic that I have ZERO experience with, I couldn't make any recommendations to her regarding quick change. I have some contacts I suppose I could send her way though.

Anyway, thanks everyone for the conversation. Enjoyed the inputs.
Message: Posted by: Bema (Oct 22, 2011 05:28PM)
Great concept -- enter a talent contest and then choose a talent.

How about a ventriloquism act with the dummy being a little pageant queen (over-dressed and made up)? She could use the "whisper" technique so she wouldn't have to learn how to speak without moving lips.

She could interview the little pageant queen, asking the same questions they ask the contestants. Could be very funny and someone else could write it for her if she's incapable of that, too.

Actually, I'm starting to think that I may develop this for my own act!
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Oct 23, 2011 12:20PM)
This is what I recommend - one emotionally charged effect that evokes wonder with a simple method allowing her to just focus on presentation - one and no other. That is all it takes - and it should not be flashy - allowing her usual self you described to highlight a softer gentler mysterious side - to really show she is well rounded.

For an example that ties into the style people have described - get metamorphosis from cardshark Christian S. a close intimate demonstration for the judges - let the mysterious and the feminine power be projected thru that - if she works on just the presentation and script adapting it to herself - it will make a stronger impression than cheapo magic tricks out of the box

Now ignore all I said and let her find her own way by first figuring out why she chose magic versus anything else anyway - I would have thought she could do a cleaned up burlesque act
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Oct 23, 2011 01:28PM)
Double post
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 23, 2011 07:41PM)
Dr, how about if you take her to your lab and give her one of your talent pills? I still enjoy the ones I purchased from you. Taste just like candy.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Oct 24, 2011 04:32PM)
I must have given you the wrong batch - experiential learning is bitter as Confucius said
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 24, 2011 07:04PM)
LOL
Message: Posted by: G. Batson (Oct 25, 2011 08:26AM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-22 17:20, Matt Adams wrote:
We all started somewhere.
[/quote]

Probably not on TV in front of a bazillion viewers... Just another example of someone who thinks the magic is in the prop.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Oct 25, 2011 09:56AM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-21 12:42, randirain wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-10-21 10:44, Rebecca_Harris wrote:
Why be so negative towards her, why not try to help her out?
[/quote]
Because a lot of us are tired of magic being a joke to the rest of the world.

The truth... If she is picking magic as a talent, and she has never performed magic, then that obviously means she has no talent. If she has no talent, she has no business running for Miss America.
Plain and simple.
The only outcome will be another strike against magic... and I need work.. and I don't want to do kids shows.

Randi
[/quote]

Very well said.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 25, 2011 10:03AM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-25 09:26, G. Batson wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-10-22 17:20, Matt Adams wrote:
We all started somewhere.
[/quote]

Probably not on TV in front of a bazillion viewers.
[/quote]
That's how Pamela Anderson started off her career.
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 25, 2011 12:06PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-25 09:26, G. Batson wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-10-22 17:20, Matt Adams wrote:
We all started somewhere.
[/quote]

Probably not on TV in front of a bazillion viewers... Just another example of someone who thinks the magic is in the prop.
[/quote]

No one said she'd get on stage for the first time at her competition. She knows she needs work first, silly! In spite of the "Miss America" label, they aren't all just "dumb blondes" - lol. I recommended a great many performances for her first complete with videotaped feedback and I believe she will be taking that advice. THANK GOODNESS!
Message: Posted by: Curtis Kam (Nov 3, 2011 05:00PM)
I've coached young women to do magic in reigonal competitions, more than a few times. At first, I had the same hesitations as Randi, but it turns out that the people I coached were highly motivated, mostly intelligent, people of some achievement, but none of their talents fitted the format of a public performance. We can't all be singers, dancers, or musicians, after all. So as to whether they "deserved" my help, or "deserved" to be in the contest, I had no problem answering yes to both. Turns out they worked hard, did well, and the fact that they "acquired" their on-stage talents quickly and for the purposes of the contest frankly had a negligible effect on the overall sanctity and integrity of the noble institution of pageant competition.

As for the effect on magic in general, they did better than some local "professionals" I've seen, if only because they had the good sense to ask someone else if they were good or bad. A lot of the pros can't be bothered, much to their detriment. The fact that she quickly became competent was not a slight to magic's reputation, either, since nobody had to know how long she had been doing it. Obviously, her introduction didn't say "____'s been performing magic for all of two months...."

One question--in order to compete in the Miss America competition, don't you have to have already won a smaller competition, like the reigonals I mentioned? What did our subject contestant do for her talent to win that (or those) competition(s)?

Having said all that, here's my two cents' worth:

1. One advantage magic has in this context is that most judges have no idea how easy or difficult it is. You can sidestep the problem of a judge who's thinks he knows something about singing, for instance. Also, try to have one piece that looks like it requires skill, whether it does or not. The judges must be led to conclude that your contestant is doing more than just pressing buttons and smiling.

2. Write her an introduction that tells the judges how difficult magic is.

3. Find a characterization that she's comfortable with. She's a lay person, and they have all sorts of ideas about how magic is supposed to be presented, most being charactures of the magicians they've seen at parties, or on T.V. Is she able to dark and mysterious? Mischevious? Innocent and surprised? Can she do stage comedy? Is she a decent mime? Any of these characteristics can be built into a presentation, but you've got to choose one that fits, and before you choose the effects, if at all possible.

4. Keep in mind that she will be judged on appearance and poise, even though this is the talent segment. If an effect requires that she do something that looks awkward or clumsy, change the method or throw it out. The actual magic she does is mostly secondary to how she looks doing it. Just as in normal magic performance, it's not really about the tricks.

Good luck with it, don't jam her in a box unless she can come out looking better than when she went in. Remember that she will be going through all the stages of disillusionment you went through when you first learned how the tricks worked, and there will come a time when she will doubt whether the tricks will fool anyone. You're going to have to help her keep her faith in the magic. She will have the same anxiety that we all have about things going wrong. You can address that by making her practice her outs. Seriously, what should she do if the reel breaks? Teach and Rehearse that. She has to project joy in what she's doing, so try to keep the process fun. That said, I have also learned to expect some tears in rehearsal.
Message: Posted by: charliewerner (Nov 8, 2011 04:05AM)
Teach her the vanishing handkerchief...

"A person who never sing before doesn't mean she cant sing. It just mean people have not discover yet"

How often in magic, where a person who have interest in magic fail to have talent in magic... having interest doesn't mean you going to perform good magic"

How many of you guys are the next david Copperfield, cyril takayama, derren brown, dai vernon or ed marlo?

There are some not so talent magician become famous, such as david blaine or criss angel?

SO this girl here, might not have the talent, but maybe she be famous for the magician who always fail, fail in a cute girl? People don't want see magician who fool them, people love to watch a cute girl who always fail her magic, or determine to work her magic out...

"Remember a magician is just an actor playing the part of a magician"

Her purpose of learning magic is not become the best magician or sleight of hand artist but to just get into a camera, to have something to perform. As long as she get into a camera, the natural beauty or personality might land her something other than magic, modeling? advertisement? ... ...

This remind me of Piff the Magic Dragon, who perform normal trick but his personality that make his magic fun to watch...

Anymore hope to see what come up in the talent show... Good LUCK^^
Message: Posted by: Bondy (Jan 23, 2012 02:27AM)
Teach her the balloon swallowing trick. ;)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 23, 2012 09:33AM)
I'm with Randi. This woman has no talent, so she decides to do magic= takes no talent to do magic...
Message: Posted by: Tony Thomas (Jan 24, 2012 09:48PM)
I would encourage her to do a version of snowstorm in china. If she has some money, she should buy one of Kevin James versions. It is simple straightforward, conveys a story, and has a powerful large climax with strong music. Very elegant. With practice, this could be a winner.
Message: Posted by: magicdeere (Jan 26, 2012 10:46PM)
I hink this pageant is already done ?
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Feb 2, 2012 05:33AM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-19 13:40, randirain wrote:
It is impossible for someone who has never had any interest in magic, to buy some tricks, and present them in a way that is entertaining.
All it does is make them look stupid and make magic look stupid.
[/quote]
I came on this too late to offer useful advice, but this is the most extraordinarily negative statement.

Of course it is possible to give a complete beginner a trick and have them perform it in an entertaining fashion. In fact it is easy. The trick is only a vehicle. If the person is naturally entertaining, they can make the trick entertaining.

On the other hand, if someone has twenty years experience and interest in magic, but is a boring presenter, then they will not make magic entertaining.

We are far too precious about our craft, and more damage is done by boring and inept magicians than by beginners with enthusiasm and a desire to rehearse and learn.
Message: Posted by: Firestorm60 (Oct 23, 2019 01:28PM)
Came here looking for a review on selected doll by tora magic
Saw this and few thoughts came to me. Firstly how did the young get on in the competition?
Did she stick with magic thus showing us who was wrong or right and would the selected doll adapted
doll not have done with the dolls all dressed up as contestants. perhaps having a 4th reveal when she turned her dress at the back revealed to be the same as the doll
Anyway may be thinking out loud or lost the plot .