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Dick Oslund
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On Dec 24, 2015, TrickyRicky wrote:
I have nothing against using lots of props. It's just that, with a bad hand I can't carry much weight. That forced me to develop routines with small props.
I've discovered that tricks like the 20th Century Silks--Misers Dream--Egg Bag--sponge bunnies--rope--silk Cabby and the Silk wonder Box are still some of the best for adults and children. Oldies, that stood the test of time.
As the Mighty One say's (pack small play big).
Tricky Ricky


INTERESTING!

Except for the silk cabby, and sponge bunnies and, with a few additions, like rope (knots and nitemare, "perpetual balls", 3 rings, color change silk, "Slydini" Knots, tip-cee bottle, that's about what I use, too. For high schools, I also do a comedy routine with wands and brakawa fan, and "fancy" card shuffles.

The "interesting" thing is that these are all "classics". Oh! add the mutilated parasol for the "munchkins".

When "we" published my book, many asked for a DVD of my school program. Norm Barnhart "cobbled" together several elementary school shows, shot over a "few" years by visiting magician friends. They are candid shots, not studio quality, but, they do show how small hand props can be effective.
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Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Dec 24, 2015, TrickyRicky wrote:
I have nothing against using lots of props. It's just that, with a bad hand I can't carry much weight. That forced me to develop routines with small props.
I've discovered that tricks like the 20th Century Silks--Misers Dream--Egg Bag--sponge bunnies--rope--silk Cabby and the Silk wonder Box are still some of the best for adults and children. Oldies, that stood the test of time.
As the Mighty One say's (pack small play big).
Tricky Ricky


INTERESTING!

Except for the silk cabby, and sponge bunnies and, with a few additions, like rope (knots and nitemare, "perpetual balls", 3 rings, color change silk, "Slydini" Knots, tip-cee bottle, that's about what I use, too. For high schools, I also do a comedy routine with wands and brakawa fan, and "fancy" card shuffles.

The "interesting" thing is that these are all "classics". Oh! add the mutilated parasol for the "munchkins".

When "we" published my book, many asked for a DVD of my school program. Norm Barnhart "cobbled" together several elementary school shows, shot over a "few" years by visiting magician friends. They are candid shots, not studio quality, but, they do show how small hand props can be effective.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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On Dec 24, 2015, jakeg wrote:
TonyB2009 put one of his shows up on this forum. Well worth watching. I'm completely impressed at how much he is able get out of a group of kids with a few simple props.
It's all personality and presentation.


Yup~! PERSONALITY AND PRESENTATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(KIS MIF!)
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Gerry Walkowski
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For starters, Merry Christmas everyone.

I have an interesting question for Tricky Ricky and Dick Oslund.

Here it goes:

If 2 magicians had EQUAL TALENT and GREAT PERSONALITIES but one carried a few extra flashy props, do you feel that THE CLIENT would still enjoy seeing a slightly bigger show with more bells and whistles?

I thinkg that they would.

I have seen some wonderful magicians in my life. I've seen Paul Daniels slay audiences with a chop cup, Professor's Nightmare and Linking Rings. Jay Marshall was just great with a hand puppet and Blackstone Jr. was a master with a vanishing bird cage, rope tie, etc.

Still, all things being equal, would an audience feel more endulged seeing a bigger show with more flash?

I think they would.

Look, I'm totally NOT in favor of carrying in extra stuff just to make me look better. That's why I would never transport a backdrop curtain. I just think that something like that is a little overboard.

My basic act would probably fit into a case the size that Dick Oslund transports, but still I like carrying in a few extra pieces that I feel are necessary in order to endulge my audiences and to brand my show in such a unique way that it makes it an unforgettable experience.

If you have 5 half-way decent magicians in your market and everyone of them are performing the Miser's Dream, 20th Century Silks, Professor's Nightmare, Liking Rings and the Mutilated Parasol, how can an agent or an audience tell one magician from another?

I don't think they can.

I know we all say PERSONALITY and PRESENTATION, but not every performer is a terrible entertainer.

It's something to think about.

Gerry
TrickyRicky
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Hi Gerry. Good question.
I used to have large props at one time, nothing is wrong with using them, as long you have a good presentation with it and the audience enjoy what you do. As in my last post, I had no choice, I had to carry a lighter load and that forced me to start thinking out the box and to be creative.
Yes, quite a lot of magicians do the standard as you've mentioned--Misers dream, 20Th Century Silks, Linking Rings--and funny that Oslung mention (Mutilated Parasol) it's one of my all time favorite, again I try to put a different spin on the routine--it's the presentation that does the trick. The Misers Dream is a staple in my everyday show. How many times someone would walk up and said "I've seen you do that coin catching with the children many times and they can't get enough of all of that funny stuff--they had a blast".
Tricky Ricky
Dick Oslund
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Hi Gerry! Yup, GOOD question!

Because I CHOSE the school assembly field, it was necessary to produce and present, a program that could (and would) entertain almost anyone, almost anywhere! The Lyceum magician performs for every conceivable age group in schools, PLUS, in later years (about 1975--)senior citizen assisted living residences, nursing homes, etc. PLUS, mental hospitals, teen age reformatories --AND, PRISONS.

Itineraries, schedules, physical conditions, ETC. also are part of the challenge!

The props carried must be able to help, with good presentation, produce entertaining effects that will meet the above situations!

I wrote up a "hundred" anecdotes in my book to illustrate these points! To a "non roadie", many of the stories will be unbelievable!

The skills you carry in your head are much more practical than the props in your case. (If I had had to carry special props for all those different situations, I would have needed a semi truck!

"Forty miler magicians" have different challenges (e.g.: competition!) So! You may find it necessary to have a "box office" trick! (or two!) --and, if I were in your situation, it's very likely that I would, too.

So, it's an "apples & oranges" discussion!!
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Dick Oslund
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P.S.! My agent, Howard Schultz (later, his son, Mark) sold ME, not the tricks that I did! My manager(s) (school assembly "bureaus") sold PERSONALITIES with TALENTS. I also worked with several bureaus as a "talent consultant" (salesman).

I also tell the stories of principals who would ask, "Is THAT all you have?" when they saw my prop case, in the book!

I was always in the 'top 3' of a 12 program list, and, I've even 'topped' the list at the end of the season! --as a result, I never had to 'ask' for work! On my first tour for Dakota Assemblies, my program topped ALL of the other magicians that had played that circuit.

Merry Christmas!

Dick
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danfreed
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I don't like the idea of choosing my stuff (up to a point!) based around what packs flat/light. Everyone has a point at which they draw the line. I have a Jeff Jones backdrop, but I hardly use it, it would often mean an extra trip to the car, extra set-up time (often in a rush between gigs), etc. Some people feel like stuff like that is worth it, I can understand why, but enough is enough, that's where I draw the line. Also, a rabbit, there is strong benefits to that as well, but no thanks, not worth it for me personally (plus I don't want to stress out an animal).
However, for shows where most kids are 8 & under, I bring at least 2 puppets, and they take up a fair amount of space. Plus, I have a small PA that I use half the time, I can get by without it, but it's really nice to have it. Then, my closer is usually a large comedy square circle routine, I love doing it and it gets great reactions, so I can't see not doing it. Misers dream bucket, a few things like that and it really adds up quick. But I can do a show out of my buskers pouch, and it's also very entertaining. My show for 9-10 year olds happens to be smaller/light weight, 1 small Lefler table and that's it.
On the subject of doing the classics, there isn't a right or wrong, but Fitke has a book call Magic by Misdirection, and he has some very interesting thoughts on the subject that some people might have a problem with. I can't really explain it well without going into several paragraphs, so bare with me, but he is stating that the classics became a classic because 1 guy did it then a bunch of other people starting doing it, that doesn't mean it will work for you and your approach, skill set and personality. So don't automaticly do something just because it's a classic. Hey, I'm just the messenger on that topic, you can form your own ideas.
jakeg
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When I did school fund raisers, I felt that it was absolutely necessary to fill the stage with colorful props, use livestock, and at least 1 illusion. I still feel that way. I think that there was a direct correlation between the eye wash, and the perceived value. I don't think that's necessary for most other venues, and sometime, it's detrimental.
Hey, it's Christmas Day, and it's going up to 72 degrees in NY/NJ.
Dan Ford
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3 trips is normal for my shows and I love it!
Gerry Walkowski
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Hey Dick,

I read you book and I LOVED IT. I've re-read it several times.

In your particular situation, your portable school show made a lot of sense to me. I honestly don't know how else you could have performed so many shows in one day.

And Ricky, what you did made perfect sense to me as well.

Both of you are smart men and I admire you both.

Again, for the most part everyone has to do what feels right for them.

I set out to create a very unique show. It required me to carry a few extra things, but that's all part of my branding efforts. The show I created fit my personality, yet I still don't carry any illusions, backdrop curtains, etc.

Thanks,

Gerry
Howie Diddot
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This is the type of case I use, I can roll both cases with wheels up the stairs just fine

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Gator/GK-Lig......heels.gc


This looks interesting, I am going to look at it

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Gator/GK-LT-......r-Bag.gc
TonyB2009
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Quote:
On Dec 25, 2015, Gerry Walkowski wrote:
If 2 magicians had EQUAL TALENT and GREAT PERSONALITIES but one carried a few extra flashy props, do you feel that THE CLIENT would still enjoy seeing a slightly bigger show with more bells and whistles?

I thinkg that they would.

I have seen some wonderful magicians in my life. I've seen Paul Daniels slay audiences with a chop cup, Professor's Nightmare and Linking Rings. Jay Marshall was just great with a hand puppet and Blackstone Jr. was a master with a vanishing bird cage, rope tie, etc.

Still, all things being equal, would an audience feel more indulged seeing a bigger show with more flash?

I think they would.

I don't think it would matter to them. You cite two great magicians, both of whom I have not only seen live and talked to. I even shared a stage with Blackstone once at a convention. Big day for me, just another day at the office for the great one.

Harry could do the small stuff brilliantly. But he also handled the big illusions well. Paul was far more at home with the small stuff. And he rarely toured with the big illusions, reserving them for TV specials, etc. Yet he was every bit as successful, over a very long period. We didn't come to see the illusions; we came to see him. We still do.

Comedians typically earn more than magicians and circus acts, but use far less props, generally none.

The most successful ventriloquists (Jeff Dunham, Nina Conti, etc) tour with minimal flash. But some earn millions a year and draw full houses. I genuinely believe it is about personality; they want you, not what you bring.

If it is part of your personality to do the flashy stuff, then go for it. I can't imagine David Copperfield doing the parlour tricks that Paul Daniels excels at. But they are a sort of extension of you, not something extra that puts you ahead of the guy who doesn't use them because they do not suit his personality. They are going for the whole package, not the add-ons, and at the centre of the package is your personality.
Ken Northridge
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On Dec 24, 2015, TonyB2009 wrote:
I make one trip and I fill the room with magic. It's not about being lazy. It's about being true to our artistic vision.


I agree. I have considered downscaling many times, but my artistic vision of having large colorful props, animals, etc. will not allow it.
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
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TonyB2009
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On Dec 31, 2015, Ken Northridge wrote:
Quote:
On Dec 24, 2015, TonyB2009 wrote:
I make one trip and I fill the room with magic. It's not about being lazy. It's about being true to our artistic vision.


I agree. I have considered downscaling many times, but my artistic vision of having large colorful props, animals, etc. will not allow it.

Ken, as that is your artistic vision I fully respect it. I am sure your show is better for following your instincts.

The ones I don't respect are those who go portable because they are lazy, or those who go big and flashy to make up for a lack of talent. Those following their vision generally get it right. Big or small doesn't matter. Integrity matters. Audiences and bookers get it.
Gerry Walkowski
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Tony,

The way you described that was perfect. I agree with you 100%.

Gerry
Geoff Akins
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Many years ago I attended my first KidAbara convention and one of the presenters mentioned how he used a Rock-n-Roller cart by multi-cart. I thought it was brilliant and that idea alone was worth the cost of the convention because up to that point I'd been making multiple trips to my car to bring things in.

It was also at that same convention that Jeff Jones debuted his Magic Backdrops! I ended up buying two sizes from him over the years.

For the last six years I've stopped doing birthday parties at people's homes. I will still do an occasional birthday for special clients or for the children of other sorts of clients. Getting in and out of homes with stairs and basements trying not to ding up walls, etc...I don't miss that headache.

My focus is mostly on schools, libraries, museums, and things along those lines and I have it down to a science bringing everything inside in a single trip. My clients remark how that in itself is quite magical!

Some libraries allow me to vend after the show so those performances include a second trip to the car to load up on items I sell afterward.
lurker
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I work out of a briefcase and can hold a kid show audience up to an hour although I think 45 minutes is preferable. Having said that I do recognise there are certain advantages to having a lot of stuff. Well, actually only one advantage of any consequence. That is that the kids love the flash and it builds anticipation at the beginning. The main advantage though is that the parents are terribly impressed when you bring all that stuff in. They delude themselves that they are going to see a great show. And on rare occasions they actually do. However, you still actually have to DO the show and very often the colour and flash isn't enough to get away with it. It is often a sign that the performer lacks talent and in desperation buys a ton of fancy props to make up for his lack of ability. Not always of course but sadly I do have to say, more often than not.

But the disadvantages of having all that stuff outweighs the advantages. Several trips to the car in bad weather. Going up flights of stairs with large props. All that time to set up and pack away. You have to arrive so early to do that.

No thanks. I arrive 5 minutes before the show, set up in 5 minutes and away I go. At the end I am out of the house within 5 minutes. I am not a social type and don't hang about althought it is good business to do so for a little while. For a larger event I arrive 30 minutes early so they don't have to panic but I hardly have to set up anything.

One thing I do know. If you can do a show out of a briefcase the odds are you are a good performer. The opposite tends to apply when you bring in everything but the kitchen sink. Not always but 75% of the time since it is a sign you don't have the personality to carry it off.
TrickyRicky
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Well said Lurker.
Please remember that it is the entertainer(Magician)they are booking and not the tricks--tricks are just the tools to entertain the children with.
Almost 90% of the customers will say "I'd like to book you to come over and entertain the children".
I too know of a good friend that only uses a carrying case, using minimum props. He even use that small case to entertain the kids at the start.
To see him perform is a lesson on entertaining children with small props.
Tricky Ricky
Dick Oslund
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Karrell Fox's birthday party show was carried in a neat case about the size of a shoe box.

T&R napkin, Prof. Nightmare, egg bag Chinese Sticks, 2 silks and a TT, and a few other small props that I can't remember.

He did a half hour. He had all the work that he wanted.
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