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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » An Idea for Drawing a Crowd Street Magic - Please Critique (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

TheAmbitiousCard
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For close up and stand up magic, I often perform a slightly different version of Mike Close's "The Big Surprise".

If you're not familiar, A sealed can is shown at the start of the act and a spectator is in charge of making sure nobody shakes it, looks inside, etc., etc. until the magician says so blah, blah, blah.

After attending the Cellini lecture and learning that "SOUND" was important for street magic I started to invision the following;

1. Obviously The Big Surprise is part of the Street Act.

2. A Horn is given to a spectator to blow whenever someone touches the big surprise (or perhaps even gets close). It seems like this could get very funny. It would also make a lot of noise to draw a bigger crowd.

2b. A lot of touching would happen at the very beginning to make the noise to draw a crowd early.

3. The Big Surprise in itself tends to keep people around because they want to know what's in the **** can.

4. One of the rules states that, if "The Big Surprise" is indeed a BIG surprse, the chosen spectator leads the audience and a HUGE loud round of applause.

5. There are other benefits, too many to mention, that I can also think of.

I'm not a street magician but will be doing just this type of thing at a farmer's market in a couple weeks.

Well, what do you think?
Is this appropriate for street magic? I've mentioned "The Big Surprise" before re: Street Magic but never heard anyone else that did it.

Thanks for your candid comments,

Frank
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KingStardog
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Frank,
This sounds pretty funny. Where are you going to be?
...think not that all wisdom is in your school. You may have studied other paths,but, it is important to remember that no matter who you are or where you come from, there is always more to learn.
TheAmbitiousCard
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I live in Davis, CA. I don't know if it will be funny enough for you to drive all the way from Mountain View.

I like your enthusiasm, however. Smile

If you have any ideas for some interesting/funny bits-o-business, let me know.

Frank
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Whiterabbit
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I think with 'The Big Surprise', you can also build in a lot of publicity. If you can get an article in the local paper in vague terms about a week before - you'll have a very large crowd there. A lot of people with nothing better to do will turn up and you may well get the local press there for the unveiling of the big surprise.

If it's novel or funny enough you may get coverage outside the local area.

Anyway, just my two cents.
May your fingers never lose their deftness,

May your tongue always lead them down the garden path...



Regards,



Whiterabbit
KingStardog
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Well, that's a ways away. Have you thought about the Wine circuit there in Napa/Sonoma area? Average tasting room grosses 900K-1mil
per year, so they would have a rather fat entertainment budget. Short hop for you too.
Over 200 winerys in Napa alone. Sandwich board sign at the end of the driveway. "See the Magic of Frank and the Big Surprise"

Just a thought.
...think not that all wisdom is in your school. You may have studied other paths,but, it is important to remember that no matter who you are or where you come from, there is always more to learn.
TheAmbitiousCard
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That's a good idea but The Big Surprise will get revealed after every set I'm assumming wich means every 20 minutes or so there will be an unveiling.

However your post has much merit and I was not thinking along the lines of Alerting The Media.

Not Bad!

Thanks,
Frank
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BroDavid
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Great suggestion from WhiteRabbit.

The press is out there, hungry, looking for something that is of interest to the media readers. Don't be afraid of them. An old saying goes; "there is no such thing as bad ink!"

More performers should take advantage of this great opportunity to build a crowd, and a reputation.

And although I think the attention span in the street is generally too short for a long running effect, with the right handling, you appear to have an idea that has the potential to sucessfully go against that thinking.

Nice thinking! Cellini surely does help to remove some of the "conventional thinking" barriers, doesn't he?

BroDavid
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SpiffnikHopkins
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alas I'm unfamilier with "the big suprise". If I lived in CA, I'd drive out and find out, but I'm on the east coast and want to know. Please tell me? Please PM if it's a secret not to be let out of the bag.

~Spiff
TheAmbitiousCard
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See. The crowd is already starting to gather in a metaphysical kind of way.

At the beginning of the show a contract is signed by a spectator, stating nobody will touch the big surprise, etc., etc. Without getting into too much detail, the contract (signed) ends up in the can yet nobody ever touched or opened The Big Surprise the whole time.

And believe me, everyone is watching that can.

I do this effect all the time. Mike Close also has one more item in the can and I also have a third item when I do my set. It's sort of a humorous thread that runs through the set with an unbelievable finish. M. Close leaves the can with a spectator and I leave it on the close up table with me instead (for several reasons).

And now I see it can have great benefit for a Street Show.

So if you incorporate the horn idea (or even a whistle that you GIVE AWAY to a kid or whatever)....

It's got great SOUND to help GATHER people
The can I use is very COLORFUL
It KEEPS people watching in anticipation
It's a great ending to a Street Act and generates a lot of APPLAUSE at the end (because applause on the contract).

I believe you can find the work in Michael Close's Workers 1. but, I could be wrong about which one it is. It's also on one of the Workers Videos (also #1 perhaps).

So I'm not telling everything that's in the Big Surprise or how it all gets there. Close has good rationale for what's there and the contract patter is quite humorous.

If anyone tries it, let me know.
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Whiterabbit
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I might be showing my ignorance about an effect and this may not suit it, but I'd play up the curiosity angle and the name.

Why not get a large cardboard packing case, throw black cloth over it, wrap it in metallic spray painted plastic chains etc. Make a big deal of it, then let the spectator unwrap it to reveal the can way inside. Similarly make up a sign saying "The Big Surprise. Can YOU Guess what's inside? Revelation at (time). "otherwise your publicity will be wasted.

Run the media article as "Magician Plans Big Surprise" then let the tension build. If you can get a photo of you standing beside the wrapped up box out a week in advance - hey, you're doing fine.

As Brother David mentions most press people are approachable anyway. Let's face it: they're clawing their way up the ladder too. I tripled my business in my day job over a two year period by just asking to see people in the local newspapers and radio stations and getting an article out every six months. It didn't cost me a thing.

Anyway, more thoughts, appropriate or not.
May your fingers never lose their deftness,

May your tongue always lead them down the garden path...



Regards,



Whiterabbit
Steve Hook
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Playing Devil's Advocate:

I see potential problems with the specky taking attention from your other routines as he horses around with the can or takes the can and walks away or keeps honking the horn during all your routines.

I hope I'm wrong but I see dark clouds on the horizon...

Steve
Like Bonnie Raitt said, "I miss Little Feat more than I miss being 8 years old." Thanks for the concerts + recordings, Lowell, Richie, and Paul!
TheAmbitiousCard
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That is one reason I keep the Big Surprise with me instead of giving it to a spectator.

In the many times I've done the effect, attention is only drawn to the Big Surprise when I draw attention to it myself. Otherwise, they are intently watching the magic at hand. In between effects, I might point and ask something like "Has anyone touched The Big Surprise? Are you sure?"

In this case, I might start to get close by reaching and then back off when I hear the horn and ...on with the show.

Steve,
I do think you need to be careful that the show does not just turn into "The Big Surprise Show" and I think I can handle that without issue. For starters, I keep the can. If you're worried about Specky honking too much, put it in the contract. Good point though.

I also love that word Specky and with your permission I plan on using it here at the Café from now on. Smile

It also keeps kids well behaved at a kids show because if they mess up, they don't get to see what's in it.

I also thought about having the can in a bigger box or whatever but then the production can become "Too Impossible" which I wish to avoid.
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BroDavid
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Another reason to keep the can in plain sight, is so that you don't introduce the possiblity of a magical; switch out, or other manipulation during the "unseen" time.

If they can't see the can, even if you don't go near it, they will imagine all sorts of rather silly methods for you to have accomplished it. But if the can sits in plain sight, and you still do the magic, you control reaction, and they have no "I know how he did it" hook to temper their amazement. They just have to "Deal with it!" I like it!

Sounds to me like Frank has this pretty well thought out, and I will certainly be interested to hear how it plays out!

BroDavid
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Steve Hook
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Frank:

I agree with BroDavid that you have thought this out well and it will be interesting to see how it evolves during the performances.

As far as "specky" goes, I liked it, too, when I saw Matt Field use it at TSD, so all credit goes to him. Smile

Steve
Like Bonnie Raitt said, "I miss Little Feat more than I miss being 8 years old." Thanks for the concerts + recordings, Lowell, Richie, and Paul!
q
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dude is Mike Close's "The Big Surprise" in text somewhere?

arg...... just realized you stated the video it was on, my bad.

found it on magicsmith.com
It's Michael Close's Workers Video PAL
right?
TheAmbitiousCard
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No. Wrong. That's not it.
I think it's on Very, Very Close #1

Let me check (brb)....

I'm back. Miss me?
Nope, I was wrong.
It's on Very, Very Close #4.

Hey guess what. No! Wrong again.
I just got back from The Wishing Well store and bought one of those metal horns with a bulb on the end that makes a very loud noise. I also bought a couple noise makers. This should do the trick for creating "SOUND" for my street act regarding The Big Surprise.

Frank
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JamesinLA
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Frank,
This basically sounds like a nest of boxes to me. Is that correct? And the secret to the effect is on the "Very, Very Close #4" tape? It's something we can make ourselves? Thanks. I think it's a great idea for any show, especially to the needs of a street show because it would help gather people and it keeps them there till the end, and should therefore increase your tip. Have you tried it yet?
Jim
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Adam V
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It's also in "Workers 3" from the printed series. Although I understand the video contains a bit more stuff on it.
Adam V - 9 out of 10 dentists recommend him.
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