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Topic: Your Audience
Message: Posted by: ryanshaw9572 (Aug 28, 2019 08:28AM)
Do you think about who you want as your audience, and then cater your shows toward them, or do you make a show that comes from your heart that you are genuinely passionate about, and let that define what type of audience you have? Is it a combination for you? Why?
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 28, 2019 08:33AM)
Do the show in front of you, not the show in your head.

The audience is not there to live up to your expectations. Quite the opposite.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Aug 28, 2019 09:02AM)
You are also bets served to create a show for your market, rather than creating a show then having to try to find someone to sell it to/book it. With one, you are always chasing after the next booking. With the other you know you always have a market to properly serve.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 28, 2019 12:40PM)
As a very young teen, in the '40s, I learned a hodge podge of'stuff'. I was the ONLY magician within 60 miles in Northern Michigan! I had no problem getting booked for the usual "beginner" dates! As I gained experience, I listened to my mentors, and developed a criteria. I've modified it a bit, but, basically, it has been my 'guide" since. While in the Navy, I carried the entire 30 minute act in a cigar box size shaving kit,

When I decided to "go pro", I produced a 45-60 minute program that could ENTERTAIN almost anyone, and be performed almost anywhere, with minimum set up time (and minimum pack up time! The props were mostly "generic". (silks, rope, coins, etc. The tricks/routines were "classics" (silk dye, 20C silks, c/r rope, knot tricks, professor's nightmare, trouble wit, 3 linking rings, Disecto, Mutilaated Parasol, Inertia, chapeaugraphy, brakawa fan & wand, Misers Dream, "Slydini" silks, etc. For several seasons, I used two doves. Their routine (productions and bits of business ran 8 minutes.

I toured the USA, coast to coast, and, border to border, for about 50 years. I was never "at liberty". (Managers would call ME.

The props carried in a 13" x 20" x 8" fiber "fat" attache case, weighing about 23 lbs. I worked out of the case, which sat on a waiter's tray stand. Nothing was ever "unpacked". I took the prop from the case, did the routine or trick, and placed it back in the case. Two minutes to "set", and, two minutes to "pack" and leave. It was all PLANNED!
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 28, 2019 03:31PM)
My personal, and admittedly limited experience, has been that either way you're going to have to work your butt off.

Build the show you love and would like to see yourself, and people with similar interests will find it - assuming you are able to network, advertise, build word of mouth reputation, all while paying bills and eating occasionally.

Build the show you know your preferred market will like, and they will hire you - assuming you're able to network, advertise, build word of mouth reputation, all while paying bills and eating occasionally.

I think the main difference is that in the first scenario you're like a fisher throwing a line into the lake and hoping for bites. In the second you're more like a bow fisher wading out into the water to get up close to the fish. This metaphor is falling apart as I try to build it. I hope you understand. In one, they are coming to you, in the other, you are going to them.

For me I have tried both approaches and building the show that I love doing is the only one with remotely any success. When I tried to build performances that catered to a particular market I found myself quickly growing bored of doing, and then resenting the gigs. Not a good thing. DIdn't make much money, either, because my heart wasn't in it so it was impossible to motivate myself to do the business side.

I think either way, though, you're going to end up doing a ton of work regardless. It's just a matter of what specific kind of work you do.

Of course, if someone more experienced disagrees with me I'd have no legs to stand on in that discussion so please - take this with a grain of salt. It's just my experience/interpretation.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 28, 2019 05:02PM)
Don't go into performing full time.

My lord what does the audience care if you are bored or not? Performance is not about you, it is about the audience. Without whom it would be nothing but theory. Coming to them, they coming to you is ridiculous distinctions without a difference. Once they get in the room YOU STILL HAVE TO DO THE SHOW.

As for bringing like minded people this happens naturally. People who do not enjoy magic shows do not go to magic shows as a rule. People who do not like music don't buy many tickets to concerts and so forth. I think it is easy to see where I am going with this. If you want to make money you do a show that as many people as possible can enjoy. Not tough to understand.

Most magicians would sit through shows that were heavy on technique. Heck they do it. It is called magic lectures. Magicians buy tickets to them all the time! BUT the general public would hate them. So the idea that you build a show that would make you happy is not necessarily profitable.

It is as easy as building a show people want to come and see. It is as difficult as building a show people want to come and see. As far as who I want in my audience it is anyone who has the price of a ticket and is willing to spend it. Literally. The material you choose and the style you have will decide the type of audience you are able to draw. The decision is usually made for you. If people have made a financial investment and an investment in their time to come and see you they are generally a great audience. They usually do this based on what you are already doing. So again the choice is already made. Try doing something that speaks from your heart and hope people enjoy it.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Aug 28, 2019 07:52PM)
There have been SO many great thoughts on this above. I have somewhat of a balance between the two. When I started out as an actor, I didn't just auditioned for the shows I loved, I auditioned for everything in order to get the most work. Some of the shows were my favorites, some were new to me. It was my job to find the joy in each one and bring that to life. I think I carried that through into my career in Magic. When JNeal and I were demo-ing tricks at Hollywood Magic back in the late 70's early 80's... we could have easily spent all the time playing with the effects we loved, but we made it a challenge to take the odd ball effects and make them good, to find the beauty in each one. lol... Some were definitely harder than others! When I began performing full time, I chose to give the audiences somethings they liked and at that point they would accept more of the things that I liked. It was a balancing act of giving them the carbs they wanted while sneaking in the protein that I wanted to give them. It was what I learned while teaching. I do know of a friend that worked with us that designed this entire act of just the things he loved. It ended up being an act without a market for too many reasons to go into now. Another good friend at the time had an act which consistently won awards in every competition. At one point we were talking about the practicality of the act for the public. He said, "Are you kidding? I would never do that except for magicians!" His "Lay" act was totally different and incredibly strong and commercial.

I love crossing over into MANY different markets and I have a different approach to each one. My job is to communicate, enlighten, amaze and entertain. The challenge is to read each market and determine the correct balance to do that the most elegantly.
Message: Posted by: ryanshaw9572 (Aug 28, 2019 08:30PM)
I like that Ray. Balance and adaptability, while staying true to yourself.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Aug 28, 2019 09:05PM)
As an amateur - from French, one who loves, lover Ė I naturally make a show that comes from my heart that I am genuinely passionate about.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 29, 2019 08:33AM)
[quote]On Aug 28, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
Don't go into performing full time.

My lord what does the audience care if you are bored or not? Performance is not about you, it is about the audience. Without whom it would be nothing but theory. Coming to them, they coming to you is ridiculous distinctions without a difference. Once they get in the room YOU STILL HAVE TO DO THE SHOW. [/quote]

We've traded thoughts on this subject before and I'm fairly certain neither of us will change the other's opinion. Which is fine.

The audience doesn't care if I'm "bored" per se - but they do care if the show isn't any good, and if I'm bored it's very difficult to put on a good show - because I don't care about the material. When I perform the material I care about it shines through - because it's concerning things that I am genuinely, thoroughly obsessed with. Stuff I've been reading about and learning about since I was a kid.

Easy example - Last month, while promoting a show, I stopped into a local oddities shop. While there I got into a conversation with the owner/operator about oddities (which I love) and mentioned I did seances and now I've secured an October run of seance programs in her "Dark Gallery" (art gallery) that is likely to make me more money, and secure more follow up gigs, than any gig I got trying to be commercial.

I've never been ambiguous about the fact that my posts are just my experience and my opinion. That remains true here - this is what works best for me, and I suspect that whichever path one takes the real key is just to work at building the reputation, networking with people who will hire you (And who talk to other people who will hire you), and generating as much word of mouth as possible.

I could be wrong, of course.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Aug 29, 2019 10:29AM)
Magic is boring and that is why magic is dressed up to the nines with bosh.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 29, 2019 11:41AM)
[quote]On Aug 29, 2019, WitchDocChris wrote:
[quote]On Aug 28, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
Don't go into performing full time.

My lord what does the audience care if you are bored or not? Performance is not about you, it is about the audience. Without whom it would be nothing but theory. Coming to them, they coming to you is ridiculous distinctions without a difference. Once they get in the room YOU STILL HAVE TO DO THE SHOW. [/quote]

We've traded thoughts on this subject before and I'm fairly certain neither of us will change the other's opinion. Which is fine.

The audience doesn't care if I'm "bored" per se - but they do care if the show isn't any good, and if I'm bored it's very difficult to put on a good show - because I don't care about the material. When I perform the material I care about it shines through - because it's concerning things that I am genuinely, thoroughly obsessed with. Stuff I've been reading about and learning about since I was a kid.

Easy example - Last month, while promoting a show, I stopped into a local oddities shop. While there I got into a conversation with the owner/operator about oddities (which I love) and mentioned I did seances and now I've secured an October run of seance programs in her "Dark Gallery" (art gallery) that is likely to make me more money, and secure more follow up gigs, than any gig I got trying to be commercial.

I've never been ambiguous about the fact that my posts are just my experience and my opinion. That remains true here - this is what works best for me, and I suspect that whichever path one takes the real key is just to work at building the reputation, networking with people who will hire you (And who talk to other people who will hire you), and generating as much word of mouth as possible.

I could be wrong, of course. [/quote]

You could be wrong but you don't care.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 29, 2019 01:57PM)
I care, but I also don't take advice blindly. Everyone's experience is different, and there are no magic solutions.

I've listened to a lot of podcasts, read several books, read through forum posts, done webinars, had sit down meetings with people who do marketing, attended lectures, all that kind of stuff. I really am doing my best to learn this side of business but there's only one thing I've found that is remotely consistent - Build a reputation, network with people who can get you hired, and word of mouth is the best advertising possible.

I am only offering the experience I've had and my perspective from it. I say things like "This is my experience" and "I could be wrong" because ... I could be wrong, and this is just what I've experienced. The reader must filter the information for their own situation, just like I have to do. I am purposely trying not to position myself as an expert here.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 29, 2019 02:28PM)
It seems as if you are doing everything you can possibly do. Well with the exception of getting out and performing it seems. NOT ONCE in that list do you mention getting out and working at it in front of an audience and taking THAT EXPERIENCE. If you would spend that time effort energy and money into getting in front of people they will teach you everything you need to know.

We learn our craft from each other, and our art from our audience. You are trying to learn art while learning craft and it simply does not work.

Mind you it is possible you have hit upon the right answer. But you will never find out the way you are going about it. Just like every great chef must eventually cook an edible meal and serve it to a guest so must a performer perform. That is if he is to be called a performer. You will make mistakes, you will have rotten shows and life will move along.

No matter WHAT you read and filter and whatever other things you want to play at the answer is in front of an audience. That IS the magic solution. It is just one most want to avoid.

There is only so much to learn without doing. There is a limit. It is reached very quickly. Then it is not really useful until you apply what you have learned, then you can find out what else has to be learned. It is a process. You are looking for consistency and there it is. This has never changed. The only thing that is changed is that with the internet people feel they are doing more while doing nothing.

You are worried about getting hired. Great. Not going to happen until you have given them a reason to hire you. You can't give them that reason from the laboratory. Experience is why they will hire you eventually. Experience in front of people. Not experience in the rehearsal studio. You have 500 things to do in order. You are on step probably 249. You are fretting about step 450.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 29, 2019 02:42PM)
Apologies, I made an assumption in that I though that performance time is a given.

One builds their reputation by delivering quality shows regularly (and also being pleasant to work with helps, in my experience). One generates word of mouth by having a show good enough for the patrons to talk about afterward. I suppose there are other ways to do those things but I can't think of any that I'd try.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 29, 2019 03:23PM)
Ahh but here is the rub. How do you get to the point that the show is worth selling and to whom? This is sort of the original posters question. How do you get it in front of people, and what do you put in front of them so they create word of mouth? Isn't that the point?

Oh by the way I have seen comics that are almost impossible to work with who draw a crowd who buys drinks so they work consistently. In the end yea being pleasant to work with is the way to go if you ask me but when it comes to money and business it matters quite little. Once MONEY is involved you would be shocked at how much that really isn't relevant.

But you say performance is a given, but hardly. What shows are you doing and for whom? What group are you trying to create word of mouth for? In the end is it agents who you want talking or patrons? You gloss over so many things you don't seem to understand. Generating word of mouth is way easier than most think. Generating PROFITABLE word of mouth is a horse of a different color. For example I know a guy with a YouTube channel with over a million views. He generates a few hundred a month. Conversely I know a guy with a few thousand who generates 10X that minimum. Who has better "word of mouth"?

In the end things like if you enjoy what you are doing, if you are happy or what not are not a real part of the equation. When you want to generate money that is. If you goal is not money or business then I have no idea what should or should not be done. The thing you seem to miss is your reputation is built on every show, every interaction and every time anyone sees or hears about you. It starts way before most think about it.

Also my question is this. What is a "quality show"? Is that one you enjoy doing, or is it one the audience enjoys watching? The answer to this is far more important than you suspect.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 29, 2019 04:27PM)
First off, I prefaced my post above by explicitly stating my experience is limited. I never intended to create an in depth expose here. I was giving a summary of my experience, and being quite clear that I knew it was limited and from my own perspective.

We're not in the Tricky Business section here - you'll notice I almost never post there because I know I don't know enough to be able to make valuable contributions. This is Food for Thought. A place to think about things. I'm thinking out loud and expressing my experience and thoughts.

And yes, I know jerks that work regularly. But I also know I've gotten gigs over others because they were a jerk and I was nice, and otherwise our offerings were fairly similar (fire, not my current work).

I can't speak for anyone else, but I am doing intellectual shows based largely around myths and unsolved mysteries, coupled with feats of endurance/strength. I target my shows at people who are interested in those things - generally speaking around my age, likes reading, probably gothy or hipster, likely plays video games, probably likes fantasy stories like LotR/Harry Potter, has an interest in death/the macabre, possibly spiritual.

Venues I am currently working with - a speakeasy (hopefully recurring show), an Elk's Lodge (recurring vaudeville style show), an oddities shop (recurring show), and the city event coordinators (sporadically recurring). I try to get the people who book those venues to talk about me to each other (so I have social proof for booking the venues), and I try to get my patrons talking about me to generate ticket sales.

[quote]What is a "quality show"? Is that one you enjoy doing, or is it one the audience enjoys watching? The answer to this is far more important than you suspect.[/quote]

For me (and perhaps me only, who knows) - those are the same show. Yes, I understand that ultimately it is the audience experience that matters. If they are happy, the booker will probably be happy, and that's what's important. However - if I don't enjoy doing the show, the audience picks up on it. The feedback I've gotten from shows I did when I was trying to be more commercial and the feedback I get from shows where I am 100% doing what I am interested in are distinctly different.

I am in a position where I can be picky about when and where I perform. I can wait until I find the right venue and the right audience. For me this has been the best strategy because the people I work for know I will put on a good show and their patrons will be happy.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 29, 2019 05:32PM)
So since this is food for thought nobody should point out where they may differ form your thoughts?
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 30, 2019 06:17AM)
[quote]On Aug 29, 2019, tommy wrote:
Magic is boring and that is why magic is dressed up to the nines with bosh. [/quote]

I don't think that MAGIC is boring! (IF the performer, is an ENTERTAINER.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Aug 30, 2019 01:22PM)
[quote]On Aug 30, 2019, Dick Oslund wrote:
[quote]On Aug 29, 2019, tommy wrote:
Magic is boring and that is why magic is dressed up to the nines with bosh. [/quote]

I don't think that MAGIC is boring! (IF the performer, is an ENTERTAINER. [/quote]
I don't think magic, in and of itself, is boring either, and I agree with Dick: it's all in the performance.

Anything can be boring. A baseball game in which nothing happens. A football game, ditto. A song poorly performed. A bad comedian. A movie, TV show, novel, magazine article, and so on and on. It's all the same. I happen to find architectural history fascinating but wouldn't want to talk about it at a party unless it was full of architects, and even then I'd tone it down.

As far as the OP: When I started out I was doing one trick after another with no rhyme or reason, and didn't really care where I performed as long as I performed. I was getting "polite applause" but didn't know it. Years later I decided I really liked Channing Pollock's act and decided to go with cards and doves because I thought it had commercial potential. So I spent about a year putting it together and then went out and started looking for the right audiences and marketing to them. When I was performing, sure, I had rehearsed and performed the act so many times that sometimes it did get a little boring, but when I was up there I wasn't thinking so much about the moves as about the audience. I was listening and watching them and adjusting the pace or my facial expressions (it was a silent act done to live music) as needed to keep them engaged. That's when the applause went from "polite" to "genuine with vocalizations," and I knew I was in the right place.

If I were to do it all over again, I'd do the same: put together an act with commercial potential and then find the audiences.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 30, 2019 03:29PM)
Magic in and of itself does not have the ability to be boring. It has to be presented. The presentation may be boring, but this is not the fault of "magic".

I think the real problem is who is presenting it.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Aug 30, 2019 08:23PM)
[quote]On Aug 29, 2019, WitchDocChris wrote:

if I'm bored it's very difficult to put on a good show - because I don't care about the material. When I perform the material I care about it shines through - because it's concerning things that I am genuinely, thoroughly obsessed with. Stuff I've been reading about and learning about since I was a kid. [/quote]

I must say I am a bit surprised to hear this from you. This is more of a perspective of a beginner or newer performer. I thought you'd been doing this for some time now (perhaps I'm wrong). In the beginning, your concern about the material and artistry tends to be more personal of importance. When performing professionally it, as Danny said, is all about the audience and client. More than likely whatever you perform you will be bored with or less exciting for you, which is the nature of the regularly working professional. The key is acceptance of this or finding a pay to make it more enjoyable or exciting to yourself. This is often the difference between business and art,
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 30, 2019 10:24PM)
Learn the art of acting. It is right there in the word. Just act. I have heard some of the jokes and seen some of the bits thousands and thousands of times. It is fresh every night as if it was new. This is the art.

The key is making it the best experience for the audience. To center on your own boredom is mind boggling to me.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 30, 2019 10:36PM)
I just finished reading "The Neat Review". At the end is an interview with Derren Brown. I think it is easily agreed, any personal opinions about him aside, that Brown is a successful performer. In it, he states that one of the most important things to his doing a good show and eliminating nerves, is to enjoy it.

Clearly, I am in good company.

Yes - I understand that the audience's experience and the booker's appreciation is what matters. I've said that many times, several in this very thread.

However - if I am going to present the best product possible - I have to enjoy doing it. It's entirely possible that the audience doesn't totally notice when I'm bored with the material. But I do. And my energy is affected by that knowing. In my experience the feedback I get from shows featuring the material I created from my passions far surpasses the feedback I got from 'commercial' performances.

When I do the material I enjoy, I can do it all day, every day. I never get bored of this stuff. Ever. I've been thinking about, reading about, and talking about these subjects for over thirty years. Since I was a child, barely able to read - one of the first things I read on my own was "Unsolved Mysteries". That's what I build my shows around. And when I focus on that material, I find gig opportunities popping up left and right. When I tried to be more commercial, finding gigs was a grind.

And, once more, this is -my- experience. My perspective. One little fish in a gigantic pond. If my perspective helps anyone else here - great. If not, fine, ignore me. No skin off my back - I have a seance to write and another idea to pitch to the booker.
Message: Posted by: The_Mediocre_Gatsby (Aug 30, 2019 11:11PM)
Well said Chris
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 30, 2019 11:49PM)
[quote]On Aug 30, 2019, WitchDocChris wrote:
I just finished reading "The Neat Review". At the end is an interview with Derren Brown. I think it is easily agreed, any personal opinions about him aside, that Brown is a successful performer. In it, he states that one of the most important things to his doing a good show and eliminating nerves, is to enjoy it.

Clearly, I am in good company.
[/quote]
No. Clearly you have the ability to quote mine and to find something that agrees with your own point of view when taken out of context.

I think Brown is a very successful performer. I think his live show is spectacular. I think he is as well. So lets move from this point.

What ABOUT the show does he enjoy? Is he saying he has to enjoy every effect he is doing or is he saying that he has to enjoy performance itself? I think the answer might shock you because it totally disagrees with you.

Nobody wants to present effects they find stupid or not worthwhile presenting. But people love certain things so artists do them. Singers are a classic example of it. The stories are legion of singers wanting to move away from certain songs but just can't because the audience wants to hear that song. Again your perspective about not having to worry about if you get the show or not is fairly niche and not what most performing artists strive for.

Unless you somehow plan on reworking your show every week you will fall victim to the boredom problem. As an artist who actually has to perform to eat you find pleasure in the art of performance. That is the key. Making every show special for every audience of any makeup. Then whether they are coming to you or you to them is simply not relevant. They are an audience to be entertained. You are happy simply because you are performing. Otherwise take up stamp collecting.

Good performance is less about the artist and more about the audience experience. I mean even for just pragmatic reasons eventually without an audience to support what you are doing there is no way to keep doing it. Unless you have a rich family you live off of or what not. Point is that the equation works itself out. You perform so people come to see you one way or the other. You OWE them the best you can give them. It is that simple, and that difficult. THEIR enjoyment should be paramount. Your boredom should come in dead last once the show is going. If you can not wrap your head around this concept performance might not be for you.

I GUARANTEE you that Mr. Brown gives his audience 100%. He gives it away every night without fail. He immensely enjoys performing. I don't dispute that. I dispute what you are trying to twist it into.
Message: Posted by: danaruns (Sep 4, 2019 08:33AM)
I'm with you, Chris. It's very important to do material that speaks to you. And Danny likes to find a bone to gnaw on, and it looks like you're his bone, here.

Of course, it depends on what you're doing. If you're doing trade shows, then your material had better fit the client's needs. If you're doing cruise ships, your show better satisfy the booker, and that usually means satisfying a family crowd. If you want to be known as "a magician" then you should find material that suits your niche (and if you're smart you'll have one).

OTOH, if you want to be WitchDocChris, then you should perform material that speaks to you, that you love, that defines you. Our own Dan Sperry isn't getting any cruise ship gigs or children's parties, but audiences come to see him because he does what he loves. Same with Penn & Teller, Piff, the Amazing Jonathan, Rob Zabrecky, Derek DelGaudio, etc., etc. If you want to be known as "a magician," and want to maximize your hack potential, then do work that pleases the maximum number of people, no matter how boring to you. But if you want to be WitchDocChris, mount a show that you love to perform. The former has more steady potential over a wider swath of gigs. A great Gig Salad entertainer! The latter will set you apart from everyone else and give you the opportunity to become a star.

It depends on what your goals are. Something I was told over and over, "There are many rooms in the house of magic. There is a room for you."
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Sep 4, 2019 09:03AM)
You come in and diminish everything said and dismiss it with that gnaw on a bone thing? As if there is no point to what is being said? Right. Why not explain with your vast personal performance experience why exactly I'm wrong instead of just attacking me?

Seems as if there are many rooms in the house of magic, unless they disagree with the one and only Danaruns.

Funny hour you end up attacking me. While complaining about others behavior. Irony much?
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Sep 4, 2019 09:17AM)
[quote]I GUARANTEE you that Mr. Brown gives his audience 100%. He gives it away every night without fail. He immensely enjoys performing. I don't dispute that. I dispute what you are trying to twist it into.[/quote]

And in the interview he points out he's certain audiences can tell when he's run down, or if he's gotten into a mechanical way of doing a routine, and he has to find ways to make it fresh every time. Recreating, not repeating.

I've said all I have to say on the subject currently and we're just going in circles. This is what works for me - I have no idea why you're so dead set on arguing what I have made clear is a personal opinion, derived from personal experience. I'm not trying to convince anyone that my way is "the right way".

[quote]On Sep 4, 2019, danaruns wrote:
I'm with you, Chris. It's very important to do material that speaks to you. And Danny likes to find a bone to gnaw on, and it looks like you're his bone, here.

Of course, it depends on what you're doing. If you're doing trade shows, then your material had better fit the client's needs. If you're doing cruise ships, your show better satisfy the booker, and that usually means satisfying a family crowd. If you want to be known as "a magician" then you should find material that suits your niche (and if you're smart you'll have one).

OTOH, if you want to be WitchDocChris, then you should perform material that speaks to you, that you love, that defines you. Our own Dan Sperry isn't getting any cruise ship gigs or children's parties, but audiences come to see him because he does what he loves. Same with Penn & Teller, Piff, the Amazing Jonathan, Rob Zabrecky, Derek DelGaudio, etc., etc. If you want to be known as "a magician," and want to maximize your hack potential, then do work that pleases the maximum number of people, no matter how boring to you. But if you want to be WitchDocChris, mount a show that you love to perform. The former has more steady potential over a wider swath of gigs. A great Gig Salad entertainer! The latter will set you apart from everyone else and give you the opportunity to become a star.

It depends on what your goals are. Something I was told over and over, "There are many rooms in the house of magic. There is a room for you." [/quote]

Exactly. I have no desire to be like anyone else. Yes, I miss out on some gigs because of my style of performance and being picky about venues and such. I'm OK with that, it works for me.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Sep 4, 2019 10:41AM)
Before you go one point. Please indulge me and respond.

The point of view you are speaking from does not include having to do shows to make money. (I pass no judgement on this, and actually think it is the smartest way to be a performer so don't misunderstand my point please.)

The reason I am a dog on a bone as our friend wants to derisively put it is when someone follows that advice and does NEED to make money it will take them down a pointless road and make the journey very difficult. While your position is not having to make money and I respect that, I should think you would also respect the view when people must make money.

Contrary to what Dana wants to imply they're are LOTS of guys out there who are not hacks or GigMasters acts who do make quite a bit of money and are very original.

It seems as if some like to pass judgement on all based on what limited they have seen. This is just not the case and I'll tell you that hacks making lots of money is the exception not the rule.

Don't be like anyone else. I've never once encouraged such a behavior. It is a false equivalency. Or a straw man I'm not sure. All I'm trying to say is you have a tendency to paint with a very wide brush things you simply have not seen. You don't want it done to you, so doing it to others seems unfair.

I in no way encourage you to be like anyone but you. Never have and if this is what you are taking from what I've written I need to work on my writing.

At some point you end up missing out on gigs no matter what your style is. I never have done family or kids shows. I don't do one night events or corporate gigs. Not for me. Never was or will be. I miss out on them sinply by being me. It is no different.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Sep 4, 2019 12:19PM)
Very well, I'll indulge you.

I have specifically said: this is my personal experience and the most successful strategy I've employed. I never said this was a path to make money. I said that I believe either path the OP mentioned could be successful but both will require a lot of work. The closest I gave to a 'business strategy' was: "Develop the reputation, network, and build word of mouth".

I have repeatedly emphasized that this is my personal experience.

Though, in point of fact, I actually do make more money this way. The shows where I perform the material I find most interesting, are the ones that get me more gigs, and more money, as well as better audience responses, than when I'm attempting to be commercial. Which might be irony, or may just show that I'm bad at being generally commercial.

I've heard a phrase tossed around a few times: Niche to get rich. For me, this has been accurate.

So. This is what works for me. It may not work for others. It's up to each person to develop the strategy that works best for them. This is just one perspective in many.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Sep 4, 2019 12:23PM)
Thank you for indulging. Seriously.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Sep 4, 2019 03:32PM)
Once inspired by a subject, it is an artistís hope that he and we will be enchanted by the piece created. So it is about both the artist and his audience.

I still hold that the magic is boring. A performance of Our Magic is not simply a story of two sides but is a story two diametrically opposite sides. It is because the two sides are opposites that when the two are balanced it results in a di-lemma. The two sides are called Entertainment and Magic. The audience goes along with the Entertainment because it is fiction. The audience questions the Magic because it is fact in effect. That which is known to be fiction cannot be fact but there it is! That is the di-lemma the two balanced opposites of Our Magic. The opposite of Entertaining is Boring. "Will some one now kindly see that there are no more Queens in the deck."
Message: Posted by: Brad Burt (Sep 26, 2019 08:09PM)
[quote]On Aug 28, 2019, ryanshaw9572 wrote:
Do you think about who you want as your audience, and then cater your shows toward them, or do you make a show that comes from your heart that you are genuinely passionate about, and let that define what type of audience you have? Is it a combination for you? Why? [/quote]


Some very good stuff on this topic. Magic is like a lot of things in that there are degrees of how good, etc. There are:

1- Great tricks/effects that interesting no matter how bad the presentation.

2- Tricks that without something of a presentation are not really very good.

3- Tricks that are minor miracles with a strong presentation.

4- Degrees of the above on a scale of 1-10

One of the terrible things about magic is that there are tricks, etc. so good that even someone whose performing persona is so dull that it could be used as a tactical weapon, can in fact to a limited degree get a fairly good reaction. What those folks can NOT do is stand up to evaluation next to a performer of true skill and personality.

In one sense magic tricks are universal. Unless the show demands something so specific in content that it MUST be tailored, most good routines will play almost across the board. Excluding children's shows perhaps. Get a good solid act together in whatever general venue you wish and it should be pretty fine across the board.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Sep 27, 2019 04:12AM)
I tend to lean more towards Danny's perspective. I have been performing on stage professionally for around 50 years. Yes, most of the time I love what I do... at other times it is just a job which is why I get paid to do it. Every audience deserves the same level of performance and artistry and it is my job to deliver that no matter how I feel at the time. I started doing over 2000 shows a year in theme parks. I promise you that they weren't all fun but a paid professional is there to give the audience the same excellent experience each and every time. If you're performing just for fun, then you can be more selective on when and what you want to do. If you're a professional, it is your job to make it fun and find the joy in each audience whether you feel like it or not. As an actor, I'm not always doing the exact material I would choose on my own, but again, I'm hired to find the beauty in each project and bring it to life to the best of my abilities.

I would also stipulate that many people who truly love magic are not cut out to do it professionally. It takes a very different mind set. Some are truly better off as amateurs and retaining the ability to work when they feel like it and are so inspired. I can also say that I don't really consider an effect to be "down pat" until at least 10 years of performances. Until then, I'm just working on it. Many do not have the dedication to work like that and that's really ok. It doesn't mean they're less talented than a professional, it is just a very different skill.

I'm being paid for consistency. It's not about consistency of execution but consistency of results. My job is to deliver a consistent reaction from each audience, no matter what. There are amateurs who are occasionally better than some pros... but they can't deliver under any circumstance. This is the main mitigating factor that separates them.

The best thing is to understand your motivation for performing and learn how to feed that properly. The rest will work itself out!
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Sep 27, 2019 04:17AM)
[quote]On Sep 4, 2019, tommy wrote:
I still hold that the magic is boring.[/quote]

It's just semantics. To me... a trick is something you read or purchase... when you develop it, find a reason for it to inspire others and perfect both the mechanics and the performance to it's maximum entertainment potential... then in my hands, it has become "magic". Just a different perspective.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Sep 27, 2019 05:54AM)
I expressed my thoughts early in this thread, and, I'm not changing them. I loved what I did, and, I was NEVER AT LIBERTY, in FIFTY YEARS.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Sep 27, 2019 06:55PM)
It is not the climax but rather the factual steps of the experiment which are boring. At the climax the fiction appears to proven true by the facts but they know it cannot be. This dilemma is neither fiction nor fact but both simultaneously. It has nothing to do with the science of meaning in language. It has to do with the nature of two opposites which create the dilemma and how the mind deals with facts and fiction differently.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Sep 27, 2019 09:21PM)
[quote]On Sep 27, 2019, Ray Pierce wrote:
I tend to lean more towards Danny's perspective. I have been performing on stage professionally for around 50 years. Yes, most of the time I love what I do... at other times it is just a job which is why I get paid to do it. Every audience deserves the same level of performance and artistry and it is my job to deliver that no matter how I feel at the time. I started doing over 2000 shows a year in theme parks. I promise you that they weren't all fun but a paid professional is there to give the audience the same excellent experience each and every time. If you're performing just for fun, then you can be more selective on when and what you want to do. If you're a professional, it is your job to make it fun and find the joy in each audience whether you feel like it or not. As an actor, I'm not always doing the exact material I would choose on my own, but again, I'm hired to find the beauty in each project and bring it to life to the best of my abilities.

I would also stipulate that many people who truly love magic are not cut out to do it professionally. It takes a very different mind set. Some are truly better off as amateurs and retaining the ability to work when they feel like it and are so inspired. I can also say that I don't really consider an effect to be "down pat" until at least 10 years of performances. Until then, I'm just working on it. Many do not have the dedication to work like that and that's really ok. It doesn't mean they're less talented than a professional, it is just a very different skill.

I'm being paid for consistency. It's not about consistency of execution but consistency of results. My job is to deliver a consistent reaction from each audience, no matter what. There are amateurs who are occasionally better than some pros... but they can't deliver under any circumstance. This is the main mitigating factor that separates them.

The best thing is to understand your motivation for performing and learn how to feed that properly. The rest will work itself out! [/quote]

Pretty much sums it up right there. As a professional who is being paid or results, once an audience has paid, "fun" has no place in the equation.

My point is that once someone commits the time to see me, I can NEVER get that back to them. I have a responsibility to be better than ANYTHING else they can do with that time. Not just other magic shows, but literally anything else. If they do not enjoy a show we can talk about a refund, but time is taken from the audience forever. They deserve nothing less than what Ray is speaking about.

Not everyone thinks this way, which is OK by me. Nobody else has to. It is simply the way I think my job breaks down. It is self imposed, and not imposed upon others. Everyone's thoughts about it are just as valid as mine.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Sep 28, 2019 07:14AM)
[quote]On Sep 27, 2019, tommy wrote:
It is not the climax but rather the factual steps of the experiment which are boring. At the climax the fiction appears to proven true by the facts but they know it cannot be. This dilemma is neither fiction nor fact but both simultaneously. It has nothing to do with the science of meaning in language. It has to do with the nature of two opposites which create the dilemma and how the mind deals with facts and fiction differently. [/quote]

Tommy, for the life of me I have no idea what you're talking about... or more correctly where you're coming from. It certainly isn't as a performing artist/magician. We must define the difference between demonstrating a trick and performing magic. It is the difference between reciting dates in history and telling a compelling story of our past. We ARE storytellers... artists who take the elements of a "trick" and weave them around a tale to create magic in our hands and an illusion in the minds of our viewers. The "factual steps" of our process are the bones of the skeleton. They definitely support our story but have no soul or passion. Merely getting the factual steps of an effect is akin to getting all the notes right on the piano. It is a mechanical baseline devoid of artistry or passion. That is the goal of a good performer is to cover the steps with a psychological overlay which leads the observer to a conclusion (climax) which is inherently impossible. I would hypothesize that without this critical layer, the audience could simply retrace the factual steps to determine the actual method. It is the difference between an entertainer and a furniture mover on stage. Both get the job done but one captivates you with a memory that has the ability to transform your life. I would suggest reading "Magic by Misdirection" by Fitzke to understand the elements that transform a trick into magic. All who do tricks aren't capable of calling themselves magicians.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Sep 28, 2019 09:30PM)
A performance of magic consists of Entertainment and Magic.

The nature of the Entertainment is Fiction.

The nature of the Magic is Fact.

For the Entertainment/Fiction, the fairy story, the audience suspends its disbelief: that means the audience willingly suspend their Critical Faculties and believes true for their amusement that which they know isnít true.

For the Magic/Fact, the audience use their Critical Faculties to logically question and check each step of the magic procedure. It is those factual steps that prove the entertaining fictional fairy story, true.

That is a magic dilemma. Two opposites, a double proposition, etcetera.

The audience demands both entertainment and magic and that is just what they get.

Remember rule 3

Avoid complexity of Procedure, and never tax either the Patience or the memory of an audience. N.M.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Sep 28, 2019 10:20PM)
And don't forget

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVWfHbbkxOg
Message: Posted by: tommy (Sep 30, 2019 04:39AM)
Given that the two sides are opposites: can one love one side and hate the other?

Which do you prefer: the matador's cloak or the matador's sword?