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aussiemagic
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I have been doing magic for a while but I still feel uncomfortable entering a stage and I always struggle in choosing opening effects. I like Billy McComb, Jeff Hobson and Whit Haydn style performers. I don't do any manipulation, and don't really like the idea of doing "flashy" fire effects because it doesn't really suit me.

Any advice for entering a stage with confidence and presence and selecting openers?

I would appreciate advice from those who have a lot of stage experience and maybe some theatre training.
Thanks
Simon
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Frank Tougas
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Stage Presence and the Magician, interesting topic. While I am not an expert I have done my fair share of shows from birthdays to schools to corporate. Here is what I have found to be true.

Magicians spend the majority of their time preparing the technical aspects of their performances, while neglecting the fact that any audience will be experiencing the show with their eyes as well as their ears. The concept of "stage presence" ("stage command") is of critical importance to the delivery of a truly memorable performance.

Many magicians have a problem with maintaining good stage presence. This is because they are overwhelmed with feelings of self-consciousness while on stage. These feelings are completely and totally natural! Yes, everyone is looking at you! And, they are expecting you to entertain them! These facts can be quite intimidating, which leads to (often paralyzing) self-consciousness. This internal feeling of self consciousness is sometimes translated to the audience as boredom, or worse, incompetence, when in fact neither of these is the case. This mistranslation of "non-verbal messages" can be very damaging to a performance, even if the actual magic being performed is really good!

Many got into magic because they were shy or not particularly socially competent. Remember the advertising of years ago? “Become the life of the party.” And of course the ever popular hook, at least for the guy magicians, “Meet girls.” Neither promise was anything more than bad marketing.
SO, how can these uncomfortable and damaging feelings of self-consciousness be overcome? Fortunately, they can be handled in several ways.

1. First, by recognizing them. Become aware of your own feelings on stage. Are you actually really comfortable and "into" the performance, but just not showing it? Or are you truly uncomfortable, wishing you could just perform your favorite tricks without anyone looking at you? What is your body language on stage saying? While you are performing a trick? While you are not performing a trick? Do you ever acknowledge the audience? Do you ever smile? If not, why not?

2. Next, realize that as a stage performer you are automatically in a position of power over your audience. You have the skills, and the performance opportunity. The audience is the recipient of your gifts, and they are anxiously waiting to receive them! The "Apollo Theater" or "Gong Show" scenario, where performers are under the gun to "prove themselves" to the audience, is not normal. Most of the time, the performer has an audience that wants to be warm and supportive. Take advantage of this fact!

3. Notice that I said your goal is to give the impression that you are not self-conscious on stage; realize that the feelings may never go away completely. Performers often comment that a little stage fright gives them just the right amount of anxiety to be a better performer. The simplest and most powerful technique is to smile. The smile is the most powerful positive non-verbal message in the human vocabulary. This single technique alone will work wonders! You like to be appreciated, right? If the audience thinks their applause is being appreciated, then they will be inclined to give you more of it. The audience has a need to be accepted also; take advantage of this fact.

4. Become aware of what you do on stage when you're not doing a trick. How do you handle transitions from one routine to another? How do you interact with volunteers who have come on stage to help you? How do you handle unexpected situations?

DO:
• SMILE!
• Act interested in the magic.
• Get into your show, and let the audience share your joy.
• Move a little.
• Face the audience.
• Develop a comfortable non-performing stance on stage.
• Memorize your patter and routines. And see each performance as new.
• Take a class on acting or stagecraft.

DON'T:
• Act bored, even if you are. Yes, sometimes you're acting. This is show business!
• Put your hands in your pockets.
• Turn your back on your audience.
• Treat your volunteers as props.
• Discount criticism – listen, take what fits, and learn from it.

There are many experienced professional performers who still have tremendous trouble dealing with the concepts I have described. Why? Because as I stated, feelings of discomfort/stage fright/performance anxiety are natural. Work on overcoming them, and giving the impression that you are free of these detractors. Fake it 'till you make it!

If you start implementing these suggestions, the chances are very good that you, and your audience, will leave performances with much greater feelings of fulfillment, satisfaction, and success. Go for it!

Frank Tougas
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
mgical
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Try this, before entering the stage take a breath in. The difference between inflated and deflated lungs changes the way you carry yourself, you can experiment with this whenever you enter a room.
calexa
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Great advice Frank Tougas!

Magixx
Optimists have more fun.....
Brad Burt
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Hello;

Always attempt, when possible, to enter Stage Right. This is Left to Right for the audience and is the manner in which we read. It offers comfort and familiarity from th start. Not a hard and fast rule, but a nice one for gaining confidence.

Another simple and obvious rule is to always begin with a routine that DOES NOT use any assistants from the audience. Come out, say hello with a smile, LOOK at your audience and get into it! Six Card Repeat or a short Rope Routine are wonderful openers. Establish yourself AS A MAGICIAN! Catch 'em. Do something that you can't screw up and that you KNOW gets a positive reaction. Remember you don't have to KILL 'EM right off the bat. But, you do have to look good. Build your show. Start with something solid and then build to your finale.

Generally, the most nerves are at the very beginning of a any show. If you can get past the first routine with a solid response from the audience you can FEED on the positive energy coming your way.

When you walk out, walk out looking CONFIDENT AND HAPPY TO BE THERE! For crying out loud ACT THAT WAY even if you just threw up. It helps nothing to SHOW you are feeling scared. You do and many an audience will eat you alive. Remember IF you are doing a show YOU are expected to ACT in a professional manner even if it a freebie. ACT, ACT, ACT! When you finish.......take ONE step forward and take a bow to the audience to your Right, then to your left and then to the center. Say good bye with a big smile on your face and EXIT.

Good luck,
Brad Burt
muzicman
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Enter with your head high, dressed to the 10's. Walk with pride but not arrogantly. Your steps are not lazy. Enter with pride and confidence.
Peter Marucci
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Enter stage left and walk in a slight arc, upstage, then curve downstage to centre stage towards the apron where the mike should be.
Mr_Matthew_Charles
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Hey I am not very experienced on stage but I am a drama student. I thought maybe I would help with something.
-When you go up on stage the audience do not know you are scared/nervous (i always found it helpful to remember this)

-Get the audience on your side! make a joke about the service at the bar or something, then the audeince will sit and think hey this is a normal guy, and once they feel they can relate to you then they will be more responisve

- act like this is the highlight of your week, make the audience feel loved!

-and if you really do get nervous imagine the audience naked, this will help to calm you down and realise they are just people out to have a gd time, not to upset you

-have some quick snappy come-backs ready, if someone does decide to make a snide remark, deliver a quick line and the audience will think its funny and you will feel better, nothing insulting though, just cheeky, don't want to cause offense

I'm not sure if any of that was helpful, I'm sorry if its a load of ****. but I generally find I benifit from keeping these in mind
If you don't have enimies then you don't have character
B.K.Pal
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Theories differ. Entering from stage Right is as if the audience reads the stage from left to right.Soothing for them.
Perhaps I read in Gary Kurtz's book regarding stage entrance from stage Left .He justifies it to be more strong for its "against the grain" effect.

Henning Nelms suggests some stretching exercises and breathing exercises .
Good ones for relaxation.

Thinking eagerly to greet and entertain the nice audience certainly reflects your love through your eyes and facial muscles.

One gains more confidence through real performances.
Sincerely Yours,....PAL
spatrick
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Howard Thurston used to jump up and down several times and exclaim "I love my audience, I love my audience!".

This warms you up, gets the blood flowing and will give you the confidence to go out there and have fun with them.

S. Patrick
JT Kordesich
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I use an effect from Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic, Page 460, entitled "Who's There?"

You enter the stage through a doorway the audience saw empty the moment before you appear. Starts things off "magically" and gets a round of applause most of the time. Usually as soon as I come out I do a flash paper production/card production to just get the audience "warmed up"

Have fun with it
Illusion: Reality in the mind of the audience.
magicalaurie
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Ron Jaxon has posted a similar thread "Your First Ten Seconds".
Breathing is very important. A few deep breaths will help you relax and focus. Enter with authority. You need to "be there" before you enter.
"Every thought you think, word you speak, and action you take proceeds from either love or fear. Peace and upset, innocence and guilt, healing and illness all spring from that one fundamental choice." Alan Cohen
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MagicJared
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I always do an easy but powerful effect to start out with so I won't screw up under the pressure and get everyone's attention. I like to use the almost impromptu rising card as an opener, it always gets people attention.
I find being straight and to the point for the first trick is helpful because people wont listen to you unless they're impressed first. So, go out there pull a jeep out of your hat and they're in the palm of you hand for the rest of the show.
mouliu
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Music does matter.

In my limited experience, for performance for kids, music starts (my choice is Y.M.C.A.) a few seconds before I appear. Two effects: 1)audience are made prepared for sth to start; 2)your favour song makes you feel easy, relaxed and familiar with the set -- hey it's just the same thing as my last gig.

Hope it helps.
A novice't reflection: I like watching my audience's jaws drop, but sadly in reality I'm just too busy to enjoy it. Smile
dpe666
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IMO, everything depends on character. For example, a performer like myself needs to have a different way of entering the stage than, say, David Copperfield. A performer like Copperfield needs a different entrance than Bill Malone, and Malone needs a different entrance than Penn & Teller. As for me-

Quote:
On 2005-04-04 11:32, Frank Tougas wrote:

DO:
• SMILE!---- Not on my kids' lives
• Act interested in the magic.---Act interested in the audience
• Get into your show, and let the audience share your joy.---Or fear
• Move a little.----Only if the effect calls for it.
• Face the audience.---Unless you need to turn around
• Develop a comfortable non-performing stance on stage.--I tend to fill the stage with presence and am almost intimidating on stage.
• Memorize your patter and routines. And see each performance as new.--Do not memorize patter word for word; always leave room for improvization.
• Take a class on acting or stagecraft.---Save your money. There are enough books at your library on the subject, and eventually it comes naturally with practice.

DON'T:
• Act bored, even if you are. Yes, sometimes you're acting. This is show business!----I agree.
• Put your hands in your pockets.----Unless you have to in order to seem relaxed
• Turn your back on your audience.---unless you need to
• Treat your volunteers as props.---Depends on the situation
• Discount criticism – listen, take what fits, and learn from it.---Depends on the critisizm. If someone told me to drop the "Dark, Creepy Guy" character, I would not pay it any heed,




:devilish:
Frank Tougas
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BOO!
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
evolve629
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In my mind, entering a state with a white tiger, like Siegfried & Roy, is one of the strongest presence possible.
One hundred percent of the shots you don't take don't go in - Wayne Gretzky
My favorite part is putting the gaffs in the spectators hands...it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside! - Bob Kohler
magicalaurie
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Siegfried and Roy each have a ton of presence by themselves. Add the tiger or lion, cheetah, leopard, horse, elephant- whatever the case may be- and you've got 3 tons of presence. They are phenomenal! SARMOTI forever! Connection with the audience is amazing with these men. I think the reason they have always connected so well is they are sincere and have a need to touch people and be appreciated. Honest, real. Inspirational.
"Every thought you think, word you speak, and action you take proceeds from either love or fear. Peace and upset, innocence and guilt, healing and illness all spring from that one fundamental choice." Alan Cohen
https://magicalaurieblog.wordpress.com/
Brian Turntime
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Brad:
Quote:
Another simple and obvious rule is to always begin with a routine that DOES NOT use any assistants from the audience.


Ouch! I have been creating a show beginning with Osterlind's glass of water production.
What if I walked on stage with a hummer card and then did the GOW?
------

Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died. - Steven Wright
evolve629
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Quote:
On 2005-07-11 10:01, magicalaurie wrote:
Siegfried and Roy each have a ton of presence by themselves. Add the tiger or lion, cheetah, leopard, horse, elephant- whatever the case may be- and you've got 3 tons of presence. They are phenomenal! SARMOTI forever! Connection with the audience is amazing with these men. I think the reason they have always connected so well is they are sincere and have a need to touch people and be appreciated. Honest, real. Inspirational.

Flamboyant costumes and million dollar stage designed can contribute to enormous presence.
One hundred percent of the shots you don't take don't go in - Wayne Gretzky
My favorite part is putting the gaffs in the spectators hands...it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside! - Bob Kohler
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