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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Magician = Actor????? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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fengenroll
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The thing is: I have performed for smaller groups for a while now.
I perform routines like the: ACR, coins across, oil and water, bill switch etc.
I belive I have good technique, but unfortunately my acting needs a l o t of work.
I can't get myself to act puzzled or amazed upon final revelation of let's say a monte routine.
I wonder how you are able to practice on your exitement and "wow" factor for your presentational side of the routine.



What's your tip for making me a magician,
and not a guy who just knows a couple of tricks?




F.
Small-hands Luke
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First: Be yourself! "Act" surprised in the way you would normally be surprised. If, for example, you're low key, maybe it would be better to act puzzled than shocked. The audience can tell if you take it too far.
sjdavison
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Wow, quite a topic! Unfortunately, I believe that it is something only you can develop, personally. Generally perform effects you find entertaining yourself, and the enthusiasm will come through - the spectators will see that.

That said, you do not necessarily have to 'act' amazed yourself - I presonally perform most effects, and then say or do nothing - let the effect speak for itself. If you have sold the effect correctly, they should be reacting anyway, without you acting surprised also.

Pm me for any more questions.

Si
Simon, 32, UK



www.sidavisonmagic.com
Roldero
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Being new to magic, I have been puzzled by this "act surprised when your magic 'happens'" advice. I have seen it recommended in several places, but to me, if you are a magician then these amazing events happen all the time for you, so why should you be surprised when it happens?


I would think that it is more to do with your 'persona' than a necessity. Maybe if you are a 'bumbling magician' that is always making mistakes, you would be surprised when your magic works. But if you are performing a routine where the spectators bill ends up in a lemon, why should you be surprised when the bill is found in the lemon? If you didn't expect it to be in the lemon, why did you have a spectator hold on to a lemon and then cut it open?

Fengenroll mentions a monte routine, I do the color monte, where you tell the story of what happened to yourself and ended up losing $14. Since I am relating a story of what happened to me, I shouldn't be surprised by the ending. Admittedly, I could end it by saying something like "Imagine my surprise...", but this is slightly different of being surprised or amazed by the ending, I knew was going to happen.


In response to Fengenroll's original question regard to acting, I would suggest a couple of options:
1) Join a local amateur theatre group (they are usual crying out for male actors) or take some drama lessons. This would help with confidence and acting ability.

2) Video yourself and try different things of what you think you would be like when you are surprised. Try to think back to occaisions when you were surprised and how you reacted. Watch the video and see what looks natural.

Hope this helps.

Mike
magicalaurie
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This again. Smile "A magician is an actor..." True.

Roldero makes some good points.
rikbrooks
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Al Schneider doesn't act surprised, maybe a tad amused. Nobody would claim that he's not a magician (invented Matrix for those of you that are new).

Pete Biro has said over and over...

"There are no rules"

Act surprised is advised because it works, but it's not the ONLY thing that works.
Steve Haffner
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When the magic happens, the attitude that works for me is one of "sharing the delight". Sounds corny, but I think a little smile - certainly not a smirk - to show you are enjoying it and it is meant to be enjoyed rather than puzzled over. But sometimes it does depend on the effect.

It's a fine line to walk between coming across as "I'm smiling because I just pulled something over on you" and "I'm smiling because that was fun, wasn't it?"

- Steve
boomassacre
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Put a tack in your shoe, if you want to look suprised, just step on it. or you can use the "sullivan" method and put one in your pants...if things get a bit bland, just sit down for a second.
I'm telling you the truth, I swear....
Parson Smith
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Well, I have a bit of a different approach.
I am of the opinion that you get your motivation from you audience.
So, if at the finish of a routine you say something like, "Isn't that the strangest thing?" THEN, play off of the reactions of your audience.
Peace,
Parson
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Reis O'Brien
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Have you considered perhaps joining a community theatre acting workshop? They have all kinds of exercises, from the silly to the serious, that will help break you out of the shell, so to speak. You may find it useful.

Just a thought.
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Starkindler201
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If you cant really appear surprised... do a mock surprised. Gets good laughs.
Jonton
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Quote:
On 2005-11-09 17:35, Starkindler201 wrote:
If you cant really appear surprised... do a mock surprised. Gets good laughs.


I know a lot of great magicians who are known for theyre overly-detectable sense of sarcasm. Sometimes just a "ha...ha...ha...isnt that just weird". If you do it wrong, the spectators will think that youre stuck up, but if you do it right, it can be pretty funny.

Or you could pull a Gregory Wilson line:
"Oh...hey, hey, how's my acting...'Gee, how'd THAT happen??'"

That gives yourself a little credit, its not stuck up, you can let them KNOW that youre acting (by verbally stating it), and if done right, it can get rolls of laughter. Works for me, maybe you too!
~Jonton
I Came, I Saw, I Conjured
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fengenroll
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Many great feedbacks - and I appreciate it!
The thing is: When I perform for friends my act tends to be "challenged" by the guys.
My act often feels more like a bet than a magic act.
How do I get the guys to relax and enjoy the routines, rather than the guys "burning" every move trying to catch me at something?

F.
Jaz
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Doing tricks for friends and family can be very tough.

Here are three basic ways that you can present your tricks.

1) First Person:
The mage uses pronouns such as "I" or "me" or "my either inpresent or past tense.
Example:
"I turned over the card and to my surprise it was mine."
This method has a 'look at me' feel to it and may cause some 'burn' by specs.
___________
2)Second Person:
With the second person the story uses the pronoun "you". The character is someone similar to you.
Example:
"As you look at the red silk and it suddenly changes to blue before your eyes."
This may be taken as a challenge to the spectator.
____________
3)Third Person:
The third person point of view is the most commonly used in fiction. When writing in the third person you will use pronouns such as "he", "she", or "it".
Example:
The mage took the four silver coins in his right hand. With a wave of his hand they all vanished. He told the boy to look in his own pocket. The coins had somehow traveled to the boy's[b] pocket from [b]the mage's hand."
This somewhat alienates you from the magic and is not a direct challenge to the audience.
------------

Hope this helps.
Good luck,
abc
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Practise facial expressions in the mirror. You don't have to act surprised but there are many expressions or things that can make your magic come alive.
If you are doing a poker routine where you are supposed to get the four aces but you don't it doesn't have to be a look of surprise. I do an eye roll thing that I practised for hours in front of the mirror and it is pretty humorous. Sometimes friends ask me do skip the magic and just do some faces. The eye roll is always one of them. Let your face communictate to you what you are feeling when you look in the mirror and then memorise what your face feels like. If you do it over and over then eventually muscle memory takes over and it becomes very easy.
Point two - Practise patter lines and also tone of voice. If you are dealing the aces (same example I know) and you slow your speech down a little when the ace is revealed it puts audio attention to something that they are seeing. (all wrong terms I know)
So you don't have to act surprised but by playing with your voice and face you can really make boring things come alive and turn a 5 minute cut and restored rope routine into something really special.
magicalaurie
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Quote:
On 2005-11-11 05:46, fengenroll wrote:
The thing is: When I perform for friends my act tends to be "challenged" by the guys.
My act often feels more like a bet than a magic act.
How do I get the guys to relax and enjoy the routines, rather than the guys "burning" every move trying to catch me at something?
F.


They're GUYS. Not sure there's anything you can do about that. Smile
The Great Dave
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Part of what you are experiencing from your friends is that people do not like to be tricked or fooled, but they do like to be entertained. Everyone is looking for your moves at all times when you work with a tough crowd. Do some research on street performing 3 Card Monte and learn what the great hustlers did such as Canada Bill Jones who worked the River Boats. Try humor such as Whit Haydn's material or Harry Anderson's work. Try Mentalism - it is more intellectual in nature and appeals to young people and also has fewer moves than manipulations. Also try putting the magic event into the hands of the spectator(s) as if they made the magic happen. This makes you just a part of the process and the audience becomes the magician which gives them a sense of power. Best of luck ...
Academy of Magical Arts

Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat! Whoops, wrong hat ...
fengenroll
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I value this quality information, several aspects have been mentioned here who made me think in different directions.
I will for sure change my performance when I know I work a "tough" crowd.
I have a notebook where I write pros and cons after each performance, when I look back on it all it seems that the times when I start of with a "gambling routine" like 3 card monte or cups and balls and are able to win it keeps the guys on edge during the rest of the performance. I don't like this...
Guys (College stage) loves a good challenge, but hate to loose.
I will try Jaz's approach when presenting these effects, I think it helps when I seem to be on the same side, and present it in "First Person".

BTW any good ideas about a Magician in trouble routine I might check out?

Thanks again all!!

F.
liam-j-gilbert
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A magician in trouble...

Im not exactly sure what you mean by this but I think "call of the wild" by John Bannon may fit your requirements.

It is a gambling routine using basic sleights which I believe comes with a presentation about a competition between a magician and a gambler - in short the magician keeps loosing rounds of this competition to the gambler only until the final sucker punch! I will reveal no more here but encourage you to take a look... it is for sale on magicbox.uk.com.

Best,

Liam
www.liamgilbert.co.uk -- for info, booking or queries on Liam Gilbert
ConjuringCoach
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Most actors swear by this book Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen. Like any discipline you must be willing to spend time excercising your art. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your perspective) that usually means more work for magicians because we are a strange mix of actor, wizard, juggler, and clown.
You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
~Mark Twain
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