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accolombel
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For more takes on routining an act, see the sitcky at the top of the childrens forum. It is all about routining an act with some why things are done.

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Lauri you are indeed correct. ANY audience any size deserves the best you can offer. 2 people or 2000 people who cares, everyone gets the same. I was being diplomatic.

I feel every show should be done with your hair on fire! Leave nothing behind and give it all you got. I do it twice a day 5 days a week.

Glenn the mumbo jumbo as you call it occurs to me is somewhat akin to guys who say things like "I don't do difficult slights, I entertain.". They hide behind I entertain often (not always mind you) as an excuse not to learn difficult things.

The mumbo jumbo strikes me the same. Often people who don't wish to bother to learn or apply it, hide behind phrases like I only do local shows.

Glenn as you don't do only local shows you don't fall into this catagory, just so we are clear I am not speaking of you personally.

I will say this and I stand by it completly. The mumbo jumbo will make any show better, local show, close up show, or full Branson show. This is a fact and it is not in dispute. If it will make things better, as Lauri said, don't our audiences deserve it?

If we want "people" to start taking us serious, then we have to take ourselvs serious, don't you think? Why should we expect anything nearing respect from audiences, if we don't have the time to learn to entertain them properly?

Lauri I am on the exact same page with ya!
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Tommy the best magic show I ever saw to this date is the Blackstone Jr. show. The show had a full orchestra. The illusions were all new. The costumes were new. It was a new show that had the classic style of his Dads old show. But bigger and better.

Harry Jr. had theater training. To take this large show on I am sure it helped him because he played in the best theaters all over the USA for several years. The show had a script and there was a routine.

But Harry would talk and let the happenings in the show that do happen in a magic show happen. These become funny moments because they are unexpected. And often become the things that people talk about after the show. Harry would also stage whisper to the audience helpers and it appeared that they did things and got laughs that were part of the show script for years.

Fu Manchu also had a big show and like Harry Blackstone Jr. It had a script but it was open to the happenings and other things that I just talked about with Harry's show.

Before Harry had the big show he had a small show that he used the vanishing birdcage in. The illusions and the girls the sets the costumes were added and the tech people were hired on.

I think that a show - any show is like stringing beads. You have lots of different beads - Big Illusion - small trick - big illusion - small trick. The small tricks in front are done so the assistants and stage hands can set the big illusions for the next routine. This could be a whole set including a complete back-drop. And other props.

Blackstone did a routine where he produced a whole garden of flowers. Then in one he did the vanishing birdcage. Then the curtains opened and he did a large illusion perhaps the light bulb penetration where a girl got into a cabinet and 31 light bulbs went through her body.

Then something is one.

Then a number in Chinese decoration a whole set and he would produce a girl from the Chinese temple.

The string that holds the show together is the MAGICIAN Harry Blackstone. And the fact that there is color surprise and entertainment. That built to a circus final. In fact magic is a lot like a circus. A bunch of entertainment happening and what strings the circus into a show is the Ringmaster and the clowns.

The thing that I do not see needed in a magic show is that often magicians and producers over produce and over script a show. I have seen many magicians do this same script.

Magician just finishes a trick in one.

Assistant enters - I just invented this new illusion. There is a lot of silly talk most often the assistant can't act and is not very believable with the lines. The audience goes ugg and there is no way they believe this script story.

I have seen the same script at least 20 times from at least 20 magicians.

Assistant gets the magician into a disembodied princess or a shrinking illusion and then they do it to the magician. Boring, boring I look around and the audience is on cell phones or text messaging someone.

The illusion ends and they clap just to be polite.

Many magic shows are way over-produced and I would rather watch a show from Uncle Joe than any over produced over scripted production any day of the week and twice on Sundays. The point is that the best magic shows can have the extras but too many of the extra's or to much mumbo jumbo can hurt a show because often less is more!
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magicalaurie
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Quote:
On 2006-04-16 21:53, bishthemagish wrote:
Harry Jr had theater training...But Harry would talk and let the happenings in the show that do happen in a magic show happen. These become funny moments because they are unexpected.

Also known as Improvisation.


Posted: Apr 16, 2006 10:15pm
---------------------------------------------
Quote:
On 2006-04-16 21:53, bishthemagish wrote:
too many of the extra's or to much mumbo jumbo can hurt a show because often less is more!

Gotta know when and how to use the special effects. That's one area where theatre training can be very helpful.
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I love close up magic Glen but it must be said I also love watching a big show also. I did see a film though of Blackstone having a bad day in a massive open air show where everything went wrong. No matter how much you plan or who you are things will go bad sometimes.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Quote:
On 2006-04-16 22:23, tommy wrote:
I did see a film though of Blackstone having a bad day in a massive open air show where everything went wrong.


Thus providing maximum opportunity for Improvisation. Smile
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Glenn what you describe is a BAD magic show. A BAD close up show is just as horrific to watch. so is a BAD movie or any form of bad art.

Why not describe someone like Darren Romeo? a WONDERFULL production. The Hamners, the Spencers, Mark Kalen and Ginger, Copperfield. All wonderfull shows which are scripted down to the inch on marks on stage, and yet still marvelous to watch.

They are all fine ACTORS, trained dancers, understand timing, and improvisation when necessary.

You dismiss all shows with production values as bad. This would be the same as me finding a hack close up guy and telling you that close up and no production values are all bad because of this guy.

You point to the extremes as if they are the norm. This simply is not true.

Now when you tell people to forget production values and the mumbo jumbo, you actually in reality prepetuate the problem. Nobody learns because they are told they don't have too, just do it for fun! How does this help any magician? And more important as Laurie said, how does it help an audience?
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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Wow, great responses, everyone!

Please keep them coming.

Dai Bato
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A note on the subject of improv. It's a myth. Yes, I know, it actualy exists, but for the purposes of anyone reading this thread looking for guidance, it isn't real. Do not attempt it, because it doesn't actualy exist. Write your performances out. Script, block, edit, and rehearse them. Once you have your performance, in its entirety commited to completely perfect and functional memmory, you may then address the odd spontainious moment as they occour during your performance. If you think for one single fraction of a moment that you are clever enough to just make it up as you go, you will short change your audience, who has done nothing to deserve such treatment.

As for writing a routine. It is exactly like writing any other story, or better still, play. You are acting out events for an audience. You want to write a plot that will entertain them. You want your effects strung nicely together with a theme. No this isn't mandatory, but you will wind up with a better product in the end.As for the guys you say you've seen who have no theme or plot or any connection at all between there effects. It's there. It may be subtle. It may be a little abstract, but if you enjoyed the performance, there was something.
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Firstly let me ask, please forgive my naïve questions and comments but I certainly will not take the slightest offence if any one tells me I am talking rubbish. I assume I must be trying your patience when I am making conversation about something I know little about. So there is my get out clause before you all start getting irritated by me. Smile

So you say, think of the show like a play. Here is a daft question: What sort of play? According to a few things I read:

In a strict sense, plays are classified as being either tragedies or comedies. The broad difference between the two is in the ending. Comedies end happily. Tragedies end on an unhappy note. The tragedy acts as a purge. It arouses our pity for the stricken one and our terror that we ourselves may be struck down. As the play closes we are washed clean of these emotions and we feel better for the experience. A classical tragedy tells of a high and noble person who falls because of a "tragic flaw," a weakness in his own character. A domestic tragedy concerns the lives of ordinary people brought low by circumstances beyond their control. Domestic tragedy may be realistic seemingly true to life or naturalistic realistic and on the seamy side of life. A romantic comedy is a love story. The main characters are lovers; the secondary characters are comic. In the end the lovers are always united. Farce is comedy at its broadest. Much fun and horseplay enliven the action. The comedy of manners, or artificial comedy, is subtle, witty, and often mocking. Sentimental comedy mixes sentimental emotion with its humor. Melodrama has a plot filled with pathos and menacing threats by a villain, but it does include comic relief and has a happy ending. It depends upon physical action rather than upon character probing. Tragic or comic, the action of the play comes from conflict of characters how the stage people react to each other. These reactions make the play.

If we are to think of the magic act as a play what sort of play best suits magic?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2006-04-17 05:22, tommy wrote:
So you say, think of the show like a play. Here is a daft question: What sort of play?

If we are to think of the magic act as a play what sort of play best suits magic?


A magic show is closer to a speech or a monolog. The magician is doing an entertainment of public speaking and the speech or the goal is to give the audience a "Magic Effect". Pen and Teller do a duo-log but only one talks.

Anything in theater can be added to make the show better and more entertaining because it is suppose to be entertainment - yet magic IS NOT really theater. It has been only accepted and has an association with theater if the artist is into theater and writes and builds it as theater. Or performed IN a theater.

Magic (Magicians magic)comes from religion as far as my history goes. Many of the great magicians have had religious training to become a minister and learned public speaking this way. Magic also has a long history as a busking art and street entertainment. Fu Manchu's great, great grandfather was a busker that was invited into the homes of the royalty of Holland. He was a sailor and lost his leg to a cannon. He learned magic (how is lost in history but there is suggestion in the book by David Bamberg that magic was in the family before this Bamberg took up magic). He made a wood peg leg and he did magic on the street for tips.

People called him the Devil on one leg. His peg leg was constructed with a sevante that was used to vanish things like a top-it. I think that magic was used in religious service (theater) before it moved into theater - theater.

My dad used to call magic the art of grown up show and tell.

I do not consider public speaking acting (more of a hybrid of acting) although many public speakers have acting in there education. Scripting a speech is more like doing a magic show than scripting a play in most magic shows. The use of eye contact is the same. The use of props is much the same but in a magic show - you need to add stuff if you move to the bigger markets and the show must meet the demands of the market - or you will find it hard to get work.
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John Pezzullo
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Quote:
Though fascinating, it still doesn't answer a question I have: how do you routine your act?


Read the following for some 'ideas':

Tarbell (Volume 3) - Lesson #34
"One arrow. One life."
bishthemagish
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I agree with that John Pezzullo there is more than enough information in the Tarbell books to get anyone started and on the right road to doing magic as an act and then also a show.

I am going to take a reach here to talk about modern magic "The Magicians" the way I see it. Many won’t like it or agree with it. Some might find it funny. But here goes.

I think learning magic is a lot like swimming. You have to START at the shallow end and then as you work your way toward the deeper water you learn how to swim through lessons perhaps - but the most important thing is the experience in doing it.

You can't do this at home in your own bathtub. Sitting at home and playing with a magic trick is like learning how to swim in a bathtub. You have to go to the pool.

But you will never! Ever! Never Ever learn how to swim unless YOU GET IN THE WATER!

Now if magic were swimming and this was a play I might write the play like this. There is a pool. People around it talking about swimming. Swimming theory, what the best swimmers are what the best swimming style is. But this group never goes in the water.

Then there are people in the shallow end learning how to swim. (students of magic)

Then there are people swimming because they enjoy it. There are people training for a big swimming event. And then swimmers that do swimming shows for a living. Swimmers training to do swimming shows for a living.

Casting is important for this make believe play!

There are some swimmers like Mark Spitz (seven times Olympic gold)

Swimmers like Johnny Weissmuller (5 times Olympic gold)

And there are some Ester Williams.

Me I am a Buster Crabbe with my one Olympic gold for the breast stroke. And what I do is "B" productions in a small market.

So start at the shallow end of the pool and take a few tricks off the shelf. And get in the water. Do a show and have fun for a church, a cub scout pack, a grade school audience, a birthday party. And keep learning (take lessons if that helps in acting or whatever) as you move very slowly toward the deep water. And then suddenly - your swimming.

And when you can swim (do magic)and it becomes second nature to you - then you are a magician. Because doing magic and entertaining the audience and it is second nature is what magicians do!
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JackScratch
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Quote:
On 2006-04-17 05:22, tommy wrote:
Firstly let me ask, please forgive my naïve questions and comments but I certainly will not take the slightest offence if any one tells me I am talking rubbish. I assume I must be trying your patience when I am making conversation about something I know little about. So there is my get out clause before you all start getting irritated by me. Smile

So you say, think of the show like a play. Here is a daft question: What sort of play? According to a few things I read:

In a strict sense, plays are classified as being either tragedies or comedies. The broad difference between the two is in the ending. Comedies end happily. Tragedies end on an unhappy note. The tragedy acts as a purge. It arouses our pity for the stricken one and our terror that we ourselves may be struck down. As the play closes we are washed clean of these emotions and we feel better for the experience. A classical tragedy tells of a high and noble person who falls because of a "tragic flaw," a weakness in his own character. A domestic tragedy concerns the lives of ordinary people brought low by circumstances beyond their control. Domestic tragedy may be realistic seemingly true to life or naturalistic realistic and on the seamy side of life. A romantic comedy is a love story. The main characters are lovers; the secondary characters are comic. In the end the lovers are always united. Farce is comedy at its broadest. Much fun and horseplay enliven the action. The comedy of manners, or artificial comedy, is subtle, witty, and often mocking. Sentimental comedy mixes sentimental emotion with its humor. Melodrama has a plot filled with pathos and menacing threats by a villain, but it does include comic relief and has a happy ending. It depends upon physical action rather than upon character probing. Tragic or comic, the action of the play comes from conflict of characters how the stage people react to each other. These reactions make the play.

If we are to think of the magic act as a play what sort of play best suits magic?



That is precisely what I've been trying to say. You're the writer. It's up to you. There are no rules here. This is a performance. Even if you do walkaround, it is your job to reach your audience, and your audience could be anyone on this planet. You have to tell your story. You have to present your thoughts. There are realy no new effects under the sun, this is the part of magic that is you, yours. Your story can be dark and macabre' or light and uplifting. It can be a comedy. You could even use the comedia characters as your players. If I sound frustrated here, it's because you are asking for rules and boundries for something that should have none.
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Cool Glen. Then there are guys like me who dive into the deep end and shout help I'm drowning. Smile
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
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That is funny Tommy because America has had stage mothers that push kids into deep water before there ready in our theater history. There is a lot of negative talk about this now connected to kid beauty contests.

But magic is just like anything else. You have to start at the bottom and have a solid foundation under you before you can build your way UP. It is only when people want to start at the top do they get into trouble or drown.

Part of this problem of starting at the top is that magicians think that they can charge a professional fee BEFORE they have a professional program. When I started I built my first show with cardboard tubes and coffee cans. I had to get this show passed or approved by my Mom and Dad before I could do it for people for free. Then I had to do it for free (about 300 shows) before I was allowed to charge 2-5 dollars for it. I used to load up a red wagon with tricks and push it down the block to do a birthday party show for free at 8 years old.

Yes I worked in the shallow end of the pool for a very - very long time before going toward the deeper water. This experience alone makes me strong enough to handle the most dangerous waters and the strongest rip tide!

My Dad and Mom did not teach me magic tricks but they did teach me how to swim!
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Well well every thing I do is impromptu weather a performance a gig a show the patter is never the same I have no closer or middlde or what ever I do what comes to the top of my head.....
every time I see a show at the castle the same performer says exactly same thing almost word for word and same old effects ...... with me you never know what you will get good or bad ..
take a peek at robin Williams this is the way I like to perform my magic
Come check out my magic.

http://www.vinnymarini.com
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I tend to agree with Glenn that a magic act is really not all that much like a play. A play is a story about a character (the protagonist) who wants something, runs into obstructions, finds complications, and finally resolves his "want" in one way or another. How he goes about resolving the "want," and what the experience does to him, is what makes the play a comedy, a tragedy, a mystery, a farce, or anything else. A musical is just the same thing with music and dance. A movie is just the same thing on film. An opera is just the same thing again.

But yet a magic act can be structured the same way in terms of it having a beginning, a middle, and an end: we meet the protagonist, learn about him, and watch him progress forward to a really cool conclusion. Some acts and shows can work very well this way and others just can't. It all depends on what you want to do with the show.

Try doing what playwrights and screenwriters do: write out the gist of your show in one sentence. Then sit back and look at it. Then expand it into a couple of sentences and see how it reads. Go from there.
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magicalaurie
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Quote:
On 2006-04-17 03:13, JackScratch wrote:
Once you have your performance, in its entirety commited to completely perfect and functional memmory, you may then address the odd spontainious moment as they occour during your performance.


I agree with your sentiment, JackScratch.
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Thankyou magicalaurie, I was starting to think I was the only one.

For those of you who don't believe in scripting. I'm not saying it's impossible to be good without it. I am saying you will be, without question, better with it. You are denying your audience the better performance. For you old dogs who have been at this since before I was born, it's up to you, try a new trick, or just do it the way you always have. Regaurdless, it's a realy good idea.

As to magic being like a play. Do not take that statement too literaly. Not all paintings are on canvas. Not all paintings use paint. This is an art. I only use a play for comparison, because many of the production values and creative processes are the same. I understand there are many differences.

A good example of what I am trying to say is that snowstorm effect that came out a few years ago. Without being insulting, that effect was good, but nothing earth shattering. The reason that effect got so much attention was the story. The performer talks of days gone by, enjoying the snowglobe in a way you almost have to be young to enjoy it. He evokes emotions in his audience. Makes them think. I realise this is only one effect, not a complete routine, but it highlights the kind of aproach I am talking about. A routine doesn't have to be more than one effect anyway, but it certainly can, and often should be.

The theme of your performance doesn't have to complicated either. Simple themes such as a building series of card effects, each one appearing more difficult, or amazing than the last. Start with a lost an found card, proceed to a triumph, now the deck is actualy shuffled, then do a card in wallet, the card is now not only found, not only shuffled, but actualy transported invisibly through space. This is a very basic theme. How would you go about showing this corolation to your audience? What would you say to draw their attention to the comparison of the effects? How would you make the dialog interesting and appealing in a way that effects their lives?
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