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Topic: DVDs, Videos and/or Books on Showmanship?
Message: Posted by: DannyJay (Jul 1, 2014 10:06AM)
Hey forum,

I'm looking for some material to improve my showmanship skills. Which have never been the best, but even still, having magic taken a temporary step back in my life, I've noticed a `rustiness` to my performances.

I do have `Magic and Showmanship` however I must admit I'm more of a visual learner, so video format is always preferable to me, plus I enjoy how videos allow you to see real-life situations and pick up training beyond what is being intentionally taught.

I hope some of you can offer some good reads/watches. Also I'm open to any suggestions which may/may not be related to magic. So even if you even have a self-help dvd on developing social skills, that'll be a great help too :)

Thank you very much for your time!
Message: Posted by: Bulla (Jul 1, 2014 10:44AM)
Read Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber
Message: Posted by: RobertlewisIR (Jul 1, 2014 12:40PM)
A good thing to try is indeed to forget about magic. Read some books (or better yet, take a class) on theatre/drama. Fundamentally, we're all actors, so I think this is of great benefit.

Other than that (and other than what's been suggested above), the Fitzkee books are great resources.

It might also help if you explain your situation. Where do you perform (or want to perform)? Is your problem with showmanship a matter of scripting? Nervousness? Shyness?
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Jul 1, 2014 12:43PM)
David Copperfield has degrees in Theater and Dance. I think the failing of many wannabee magicians is that they focus on the magic and just flail around on stage waving their hands and trying to look mysterious.
Message: Posted by: jazzy snazzy (Jul 1, 2014 03:12PM)
Darwin Ortiz
[b]Strong Magic: Creative Showmanship for the Close-Up Magician[/b]

http://www.amazon.com/Strong-Magic-Creative-Showmanship-Close-Up/dp/B00534I956
Message: Posted by: professorwhut (Jul 1, 2014 03:25PM)
Good for you, wanting to improve your skills in showmanship.
Many "magicians" have no clue that they lack in this area.

This is really good little book, that I ran across recently. Very much worth the read.

http://www.spsmagic.com/products/on-stage-bringing-out-the-best
Message: Posted by: MRSharpe (Jul 3, 2014 07:37AM)
Magic and Meaning by Robert Neale and Eugene Burger.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jul 3, 2014 09:54AM)
"SHOWMANSHIP & PRESENTATION" (Edward Maurice)

In 1947, I bought this little 10 or 12 page bookLET at the old MYSTERY MART in Milwaukee. I think it was about $2.00, then!

I was just 16 and it sure gave me a boost in the right direction! I'm sure that it's out of print now, but worth a read, if you can find it. It was an English publication, but, I can't remember the publisher.

Since then, Dariel Fitzkee's trilogy, Henning Nelms "college text" on "MAGIC & SHOWMANSHIP, Makeelynne & Devant's "OUR MAGIC", David Bamberg's article in "GREATER MAGIC", and now Ken Weber's "MAXIMUM ENTERTAINMENT", have ALL BEEN WELL WORTH READING!!!!!

I must admit that Jay Marshall had to "kvetsch" me into reading "OUR MAGIC"! (the section on "showmanship & presentation" is rather "dry", but, as Jay said, "It should be 'required reading'!" (I also must admit that Jay was "right"!) The trick section is a trifle "dated", but worth a read.

I can't locate it in my "file", but John Mulholland, wrote a GOOD paragraph (I think it was in the old "SPHINX") about magicians needing to spend more time working on presentation, and less time learning a new trick!

I haven't seen Ortiz's STRONG MAGIC. (hey! I'm retired) and, although my area of the business was "stand up platform", I think that ANYTHING written by a qualifed successful performer on ANY AREA of SHOWMANSHIP & PRESENTATION, is helpful.

Feom the title of Ortiz's book, he talks about CLOSE UP PERFORMING. I would guess that more of the fellows who come to the Café are parlor and close up performers, and therefore his book should be worth their time to read.

The GREAT COMEDIAN, Jack Benny, said that, "It's not important that they laugh at every joke! What's important is that when you leave the stage, they still like you!"

I would like to emphasize that, but just change a few words. IT'S NOT IMPORTANT THAT THEY LAUGH (OR APPLAUD) EVERY TRICK! WHAT'S IMPORTANT IS THAT WHEN YOU LEAVE THE STAGE, THEY STILL LIKE YOU! --NATURALLY, THE PERFORMER HAD BETTER BE LIKEABLE THROUGHOUT HIS WHOLE SHOW!

I don't know of any (but, there MAY be some!) videos, DVDs that are specifically devoted to presentation or showmanship. So! Go and watch recognized, qualified performers (not JUST magicians) and STUDY what, and how, they "do it"!!! --AFTER, you have read and studied the books mentioned in this thread.

I, also don't know, and haven't seen any of the others who've responded, above, but IMO each of them have offered something very worthwhile.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jul 3, 2014 09:57AM)
"SHOWMANSHIP & PRESENTATION" (Edward Maurice)

In 1947, I bought this little 10 or 12 page bookLET at the old MYSTERY MART in Milwaukee. I think it was about $2.00, then!

I was just 16 and it sure gave me a boost in the right direction! I'm sure that it's out of print now, but worth a read, if you can find it. It was an English publication, but, I can't remember the publisher.

Since then, Dariel Fitzkee's trilogy, Henning Nelms "college text" on "MAGIC & SHOWMANSHIP, Makeelynne & Devant's "OUR MAGIC", David Bamberg's article in "GREATER MAGIC", and now Ken Weber's "MAXIMUM ENTERTAINMENT", have ALL BEEN WELL WORTH READING!!!!!

I must admit that Jay Marshall had to "kvetsch" me into reading "OUR MAGIC"! (the section on "showmanship & presentation" is rather "dry", but, as Jay said, "It should be 'required reading'!" (I also must admit that Jay was "right"!) The trick section is a trifle "dated", but worth a read.

I can't locate it in my "file", but John Mulholland, wrote a GOOD paragraph (I think it was in the old "SPHINX") about magicians needing to spend more time working on presentation, and less time learning a new trick!

I haven't seen Ortiz's STRONG MAGIC. (hey! I'm retired) and, although my area of the business was "stand up platform", I think that ANYTHING written by a qualifed successful performer on ANY AREA of SHOWMANSHIP & PRESENTATION, is helpful.

Feom the title of Ortiz's book, he talks about CLOSE UP PERFORMING. I would guess that more of the fellows who come to the Café are parlor and close up performers, and therefore his book should be worth their time to read.

The GREAT COMEDIAN, Jack Benny, said that, "It's not important that they laugh at every joke! What's important is that when you leave the stage, they still like you!"

I would like to emphasize that, but just change a few words. IT'S NOT IMPORTANT THAT THEY LAUGH (OR APPLAUD) EVERY TRICK! WHAT'S IMPORTANT IS THAT WHEN YOU LEAVE THE STAGE, THEY STILL LIKE YOU! --NATURALLY, THE PERFORMER HAD BETTER BE LIKEABLE THROUGHOUT HIS WHOLE SHOW!

I don't know of any (but, there MAY be some!) videos, DVDs that are specifically devoted to presentation or showmanship. So! Go and watch recognized, qualified performers (not JUST magicians) and STUDY what, and how, they "do it"!!! --AFTER, you have read and studied the books mentioned in this thread.

I, also don't know, and haven't seen any of the others who've responded, above, but IMO each of them have offered something very worthwhile.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jul 3, 2014 09:58AM)
OOPS! Well, if it's worth readin ONCE, maybe it's worth reading TWICE!!!
Message: Posted by: motown (Jul 3, 2014 06:58PM)
There's a book by Gay Ljungberg called "Audience Management" that's excellent.
Message: Posted by: myrealsphinx (Jul 23, 2014 02:40PM)
And what about Joanie Spina's "Get Your Act Together"? is in the same purpose???
Message: Posted by: Andrew Immerman (Jul 24, 2014 12:08AM)
Consider:[list][*][i]Our Magic[/i] (Nevil Maskelyne, David Devant) [1911]
[*][i]The Five Points in Magic[/i] (Juan Tamariz) [1982]
[*][i]Strong Magic[/i] (Darwin Ortiz) [1994]
[*][i]Magic and Meaning[/i] (Eugene Burger) [1995]
[*][i]Scripting Magic[/i] (Pete McCabe) [2008]
[*][i]Devious Standards[/i] (Jamy Ian Swiss) [2011][/list]Andrew
Message: Posted by: Atom3339 (Jul 25, 2014 10:22AM)
Watch good performers on DVD like Bill Malone.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Jul 26, 2014 06:13PM)
I would suggest watching videos of really great performers and then watch videos of really mediocre performers. Make a list of notes about what you liked and didn't like about both. Why does Bill Malone manage to make everyone his friend? How can Bob Cassidy get away with his mildly offensive humor without giving offense? Then look at the guys who don't connect and ask yourself how they could have done it better. That question will teach you a lot.

-Patrick
Message: Posted by: myrealsphinx (Jul 26, 2014 07:06PM)
Somebody knows where can I find Eugene Burger Agic and Meaning book??
Message: Posted by: danhughes (Jul 26, 2014 09:18PM)
Excellent answers to the first part of your question.

As for the last part ("Also I'm open to any suggestions which may/may not be related to magic. So even if you even have a self-help dvd on developing social skills, that'll be a great help too"):

The book that changed my life was Dale Carnegie's HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE. You want social skills, read this book. Your public library has it, used bookstores have it cheap. I can't praise it enough. It was updated in the 1980s, and the new version is excellent, but I like the original (1936) version a little bit better.
Message: Posted by: myrealsphinx (Jul 26, 2014 09:32PM)
[quote]On Jul 26, 2014, danhughes wrote:
Excellent answers to the first part of your question.

As for the last part ("Also I'm open to any suggestions which may/may not be related to magic. So even if you even have a self-help dvd on developing social skills, that'll be a great help too"):

The book that changed my life was Dale Carnegie's HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE. You want social skills, read this book. Your public library has it, used bookstores have it cheap. I can't praise it enough. It was updated in the 1980s, and the new version is excellent, but I like the original (1936) version a little bit better. [/quote]



This book is great. It show us that everybody is always focus on them. So we must gain access to them world
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Jul 27, 2014 05:21PM)
Oh, and if you have a chance to take a class or workshop on improv comedy, that will help a lot. It won't be about showmanship so much as thinking on your feet and being ready to add helpfully to whatever is thrown your way. If you can do a half-hour improv show with a few other people, you can probably lose a lot of the nerves that come from performing.

-Patrick
Message: Posted by: myrealsphinx (Jul 27, 2014 05:55PM)
[quote]On Jul 27, 2014, Mr. Woolery wrote:
Oh, and if you have a chance to take a class or workshop on improv comedy, that will help a lot. It won't be about showmanship so much as thinking on your feet and being ready to add helpfully to whatever is thrown your way. If you can do a half-hour improv show with a few other people, you can probably lose a lot of the nerves that come from performing.

-Patrick [/quote]


Sure... Break the ice barrier is gaining acess to there world
Message: Posted by: Tim Cavendish (Jul 29, 2014 04:05PM)
[quote]On Jul 1, 2014, Bulla wrote:
Read Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber [/quote]

This one is worth echoing.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jan 13, 2015 11:55AM)
Where to get my magic?

After only 53 years in professional magic and 56 years in the professional entertainment industry, I'm still guilty of wanting it all. LOL!

The bottom line is really, "Who are you?", "What is your audience?" and "What are my self-imposed requirements?" These determine the support needs. It covers both the content and media sources.

Who are you? --- What is your identity to observers? Many things matter here. Dress is certainly a major clue. For many it is your first and last impression people will have of you. What is your method of communication? Are you serious, sincere, funny, educated, sophisticated, rude, loud, dignified, arrogant, respectful, in/out of touch with reality, and/or any of these? Obviously, "fit" is going to be the key for the content sought. Know what fits you.

What is your audience? --- The audience has a Who, What, Where and When. ---Remember that "TIMING" is the most important part of a rain dance. --- There are many faces of the same person. Who are they when you entertain them? What is your access to entertain them? (It is too easy to forget that is about timing!) What are the facilities? They are indeed part of your show! And When is it YOUR TURN. These things have a critical relationship to your material and props.

What are my self-imposed requirements? --- This is what makes you more "original" than you may be willing to admit. Personally, I don't do Blue material or Harm animals. I try to be funny and to avoid making the audience the fool. To me, mysterious looking props add to the magic. Magic is entertainment, not a puzzle. Props help set the stage for "Let's Make Something Happen!" We seek the unusual results.

Thus, my purchases are for things that help me get the results I want. In other words, I'm looking for ways to get from Point A to Point B. Mentors are priceless, lectures and conventions also rate highly with me. Books are a necessary permanent reference for both "How to" and "What if". Classics take priority. Not much magic has been invented in our lifetime. This old Marketing Professor will also tell you the major new things to magic are the new names of old effects and the patter.

There is no simple answer. But strategy needs to precede tactics.

Frankly, I am not a good prospect for DVDs. They too seldom "FIT" "Who I am", "My Audience", or "My self-imposed requirements". They are entertaining.

Reality is that brick and mortar vendors are going to continue to get scarce. The integrity of too many online vendors is not commendable. Magicians need to communicate their good and bad experiences honestly with each other. Deal as directly with the producer as you can. When you can, shop with magician friends with you.

Have a strategy for your show before your take off on tactics. It will save you a lot of time and money.

Enjoy your magic.
Message: Posted by: msukairi (Jan 19, 2015 12:33PM)
Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber and Darwin Ortiz book.
Message: Posted by: SamanthaO (Jan 20, 2015 09:10AM)
There's a free resource by Joshua Jay - "Magic in Mind" - which collects great essays and articles from magicians. Ken Weber is there, Tommy Wonder, Eugene Burger, Jamy Ian Swiss etc. Part of it deals with what you should be thinking about when you perform etc.

Get it. It's free, excellent and very very good. Really makes you think about your magic, about your performance and just about everything worth thinking about :D
Message: Posted by: GreenKnight33 (Jan 21, 2015 01:24AM)
Agree with SamanthO.

I'm on my third reading of that book, and I pick up something new every time.

GreenKnight
Message: Posted by: Joey_Z (Jan 21, 2015 06:17PM)
+1 for Magic in Mind (and the price is unbeatable)
Message: Posted by: Ollie (Jan 21, 2015 09:16PM)
Maximum Entertainment is a great read for any performer.
Message: Posted by: bbarefoot (Jan 22, 2015 11:11AM)
The books I have found useful on this topic are:
Magic and Showmanship by Henning Nelms
The Creative Magician's Handbook by Marvin Kaye
The Amateur Magician's Handbook by Henry Hay (Don't discount it based on its name)
Not sure which lessons in the Tarbell Course, but there are some good tips in there as well

And to repeat some that have been listed:
Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber

In addition to these, Penguin Magic and Paul Draper have teamed up to provide this list of history and theory books that is worth checking out. http://www.penguinmagic.com/mhpt.php Some of the books on the list have already been listed on this post, but it is worth checking out.

All the best,

Brad
Message: Posted by: Remillard (Jan 22, 2015 04:16PM)
Danny;

All books I've seen mentioned here are excellent, at least the ones I have read. The rest have gone on my reading list. However you did state that you were looking more for video sources. Penguin recently came out with episode 20 of their ongoing Tarbell series. This one is entitled How to Please Your Audience and features Dan Harlan and Michael Ammar. I know it was originally released for free but it looks like they are now charging 9.95 for the download. Still a good deal.