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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » One Trip from the Car (42 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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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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San Francisco & Los Angeles California
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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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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.
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
www.KenNorthridge.com
TonyB2009
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Quote:
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.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
ageo
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What do you mean by "TT", Dick?
ageo
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When working as a geologist in remote locations, I´ve had to manufacture entire magic shows out of material that I could obtain along the way. Cord tricks and other simple equipment which could be improvised or made along the way “did the trick”. The following effects are the ones that I have used the most. Shoe knot tie-tangle, three cords of the same length that change into one, what English-speaking people call the “Professor´s Nightmare”, color changing discs, water that disappears and appears on a newspaper, cut and restored rope, cups and balls, six-count repeat using cards and/or gimmicked bills, “Chinese Paper Mystery” after Tarbell (pages 297 to 301 of volume 1), torn and restored napkins, ping-pong balls routine with ball in mouth, a brassier or set of panties or panty-hose appearing between two handkerchiefs (akin to XX Century silks), one-thimble routines, and simple card tricks using borrowed decks.

At a gold mine, in Huancavelica, Peru, at around 4000 meters above sea level, I did three forty five minute shows in a day (one per shift of workers) to celebrate Carmel Virgin´s Day. The show included all of the above plus an effect with a borrowed ring. The cups used were crucibles borrowed from the assay laboratory and balls cut from styrofoam. Discs were cut from color cardboard obtained from used folders. The bills were used miner´s food ration bills. Cords were leftovers obtained from a dump. The bag for the water that disappears/appears inside the newspaper was made using a comb, matches and a plastic sample bag. Should anybody want further explanations about how to make the bag, I can ellaborate.

All of the “props” can be made using a pocketknife, its scissors, a comb, and everyday items such as your own handkerchiefs, borrowed ping-pong balls, and simple travel equipment such as thread, needle and thimble. Things like old brassiers, panties and panti-hose, can be obtained almost anywhere. Preparing the cords is a simple task, and obtaining cotton or nylon cords is possible in any part of the world.

That type of effects and equipment has enabled me to entertain crowds in many places that I visit. Very little preparation work is required and little to no cost. The props can be carried around for a while or left behind if extra weight is out of question. Cords, and a deck of cards go a long way in a camp.

During two, 2-month-long trips driving a 4WD (bakkie in Afrikaans) through remote locations of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia, I did cord tricks to all sorts of kids and adult audiences in dozens of villages. All the “props” came out of a pocket in my field vest. A sort of sign language was used to present the effects, because I was not fluent enough in the multiple African vernacular tongues. My “patter” was accompanied by many vocal noises, grunts and mimic. Many human ways to express the basic things are universal. I was happilly surprised to be able to entertain people from so varied backgrounds. Such improptu shows were always a great hit. They enabled me to carry out my mineral exploration, sampling and mapping job. Such good public relations produced a friendly atmosphere wherever I went.

Kids (and for that matter, humans) are the same anywhere. No matter the language. Laughter brought about by surprise is the same all over the world.

I agree with what many have stated on this forum before. It´s not the props but the entertainer and way in which the effects are presented that matter.

It would be great to know what types of tricks other colleagues use in these situations.

Cordially,

Alberto Lobo-Guerrero S. (Mago Tato)
MagiCol
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I've found making some simple props takes more effort than just carrying the light-weight ones. Finding the right kind of rope [flexible, wide, strippable, PVA on ends of ropes] for Professor's Nightmare can be hit and miss. Same for trying to make sponge balls. Having to buy suitable scissors. Where to make/find TT and a small silk?
In most circumstances it's easier to take a few small light props 'just in case' of needing/wanting to perform in emergencies.
In most cases, the number and type of props is whatever we choose or end up dragging from place to place.
The presentation makes the magic.
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