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blink_inc
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Hamilton
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I am making the move to begin performing professionally part time and have been doing research and lots of reading here. I want to thank this forum for the great information that is here. Part of my research is to see others that are "doing it" and observe their style, structure, personality, methods etc so as to develop my own style further and to also see what the "competition" is doing.

I packed up the wife and child last night to head out to a restaurant to watch a "professional" at work.

So we can't get a table but we can get a seat at the bar and wait for 40 min to get a table. Fine.

I spot the "worker" in a black 3 piece suit leaving a table and heading into the kitchen. Rentering the room 5 min. later he comes over to the bar. I'm thinking great, he sees that we are bored, trying to occupy a child and he is going to entertain us for a while, but NO....he fills up his glass with pop and heads back to the kitchen. Interesting I say to myself.

A few minutes later (1/4 pint later) he comes out again and walks over to the bar area, I ask if he is a magician and he says yes and hands me his card. I tell him that I love magic and practice the craft myself and am looking at moving into the professional world. He says to me that he has been here three years and took the job off the last guy that was here.....AND WALKS AWAY!!!

So I watch.

He goes to table one and gets a four year old to pick a card and sign their name on it. FOUR years old! and does card from mouth. Didn't smile once. left the table and on he went.

Next table has a seven year old. He again get the child to pick a card and sign it doing card from mouth only two tables away from where he just did the same effect.

I could go on and on but I won't. It was painfull to watch this young chap, 22 or so, walk table to table doing the same effect over and over with zero personality and zero performance.

I guess what I am getting at and what I learned after all of this, is that:

1. Be HAPPY or fake it, these people are out for a good time and a dull persona will not create any sort of experience for them.

2. Perform effects that are audience suitable. Signed cards are great for adults but a simple balloon animal or pulling a coin out of the kids ear is more for kids. (I will be using Chameleon Coins and steel ball and tube)

3. When someone opens a conversation with you, converse, you never know who they are, what they do or what could come of the conversation.

4. Have some personality, be crazy, goofy, overly serious, laugh whatever you do don't be dull. Raise your voice, change your voice, don't speak in monotone.

5. Have something that will dinstiguish you from the rest of the crowd. The suit is fine if it is yellow, or your tie is made of glitter or you have a five foot tall top hat. Whatever it is get noticed. (Not by flash paper)

6. Be aware of your surroundings. Notice if people are waiting in line or standing at the bar waiting for a table. I saw lots of people leave because they had to wait. Perhaps working the waiting area is more benefical to the business while keeping the people there and entertaining them will create a more positive experience than working only the tables.

7. Perhaps talking with the manager and finding a way to get behind the bar to push more drinks during a mini bar performance could raise bar revenue and keep the patrons waiting that little bit more.

Just my thoughts and observations. Thought I would share the experience.

Will//
I am a Sankey addict....please, help me!

My name is Will, my company is Blink, an experience in transposition.
Magic_Steve
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Maryland
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Will,

It sounds like you didn't have the bset experiance. Also, it sounds like this guy is an arrogant ass who thinks rather highly of himself, even though I'm sure the guests think otherwise. I pretty much agree with all that was said except "Be happy or Fake it."

It's pretty hard to fake being happy in my opinion. But, not hard to get there. Normally, one good reaction early in the night will get me in a great mood. But, nice post, and thanks for sharing your experiance.

Best,
Steve
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
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Sounds like you've done your homework and just need a little OJT to get your feet wet. Your observations are not that unusual. There are a lot of goons out there screwing up good turf for everyone else.

As long as you understand the most basic concept of restaurant performing, which is seamlessly blending what you do with what the restaurant does, you'll be ok. You have the right attitude about how to present yourself.

The only thing you really need to hope for is that your prospective venues have not seen this duffer at work.

If I can ask, what city are you in, and is this the only other "worker" around?

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
blink_inc
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Hamilton
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I am in the Burlington/Oakville area just outside Toronto.

As far as I know he may just be the only one.
I got the location off my IBM site and he wasn't even the performer listed.(time to update the site guys)

I asked him if he was a member and he responded that he had thought about it but "it's just a place where you go to practice right?" was his answer.I told him he was right and it's just a bunch of old guys playing with cards. I like secrets.

He was also cocky enough, before walking away, to tell me that there were two other locations that asked him to work but he was too busy with school and stuff. (You can guess where I am going this afternoon right...)

I have only been practicing for a year and two months, however I feel I am ready to do something more with it. I have practiced for 4 or more hours every day and perform spontaneously for people every weekend at different bars and restaurants.

I put this guy to shame in terms of effects, personality and added value.
In fact watching him gave me the confidence that I needed to make the big step to making money.

Like, comon, signed card to mouth for a four year old...Me, I would have done unlinking straws using straws on the table, telling the kid that even they have some magic in them as they blow the straws and they unlink.

Although most may say I have limited myself by learning mostly from Sankey, he worked restaurants for years and his effects are generally suitable for the venue. Add a few ballon animals and I am ready to create experience. I also carry some great self workers to shake off the nerves and for those "gotta nail this" performances.

Getting ready to take the market by storm,
Will//
I am a Sankey addict....please, help me!

My name is Will, my company is Blink, an experience in transposition.
RicHeka
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I would bet that this guy has an 'in' at that restaurant...either a relative/friend who is a manager or owner.

Notice he smugly volunteered he took the gig from the last guy.I really doubt he would last 'three weeks' at a regular restaurant..

Will,it sounds like you have been doing your homework.Although,I do not agree with #5. A black suit can work just fine for a performer providing it fits his style and his character...the same goes for yellow[yikes]or a glitter tie.Let us know when you get your first gig.

All the best.
Rich
blink_inc
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Hamilton
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Hopefully I get it this afternoon.
I have years of sales and marketing experience and some really strong effects to close the deal so we will see....

#5 comment, fair enough, I just think he could have looked more......magical.
I am a Sankey addict....please, help me!

My name is Will, my company is Blink, an experience in transposition.
RicHeka
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I don't think any attire would help that guy.

Good luck with your audition.

Rich
MagicSanta
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Northern Nevada
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I wonder if there was video of the event if what we would see would match what you stated. Could he had been on a break? Could he have not been thrilled to work for a magician at the table as you told him you were and his statement meaning he assumed you would be after his job as well? Could the table he worked for doing card from mouth (I don't suggest doing it) have requested that routine? Could the fellow have been ill that evening and didn't want to leave the place w/out a magician when he commited to be there? Did the manager tell him not to work the line or bar but stick to the tables? Could this be the standard case of a magician seeing one work and thinking "I'm better than him"?
Dave V
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Las Vegas, NV
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"on a break"
Then he shouldn't have come out to the bar.

"not thrilled to work for a magician.."
How about "Great! I'm working now, let's talk later..."
or: "Great! Would you like to see something new I've been working on?"

My experiences with working magicians have always been along these lines based on conversations with several trade show and restaurant magicians including David Harris, Seth Kramer, Michael Ammar, Johnny Thompson, Jay Sankey,... Not a single one of them were anything less than gracious.

"ill"
Why was he there? To spread his germs among the patrons?

"manager says stick to tables"
Not much to say on that one. He could have at least done better at the tables themselves. Card to mouth? C'mon, this is a RESTAURANT! I doubt that multiple tables requested a DNA sample.

"thinking I'm better than him"
IMO, he probably is.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
Dannydoyle
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Here is the best advice you are probably going to hear along these lines and it is counter intuative, so don't jump on me like you tend too.

If you want to become a pro and want to develop a unique style and don't want to pick up any bad habits, DON'T GO SEE GUYS WORK! f

First develop your style as YOURS. The more guys you watch, the more things you incorporate, even unconsciously. This may be a good thing when you are arround great guys, but when there is nothing good available, you are better off on your own.

You are ambitious, and on the right track. It would suck to pick up bad habits from bad workers, and take yourself down. No need for that. If you have a mentor or someone who you KNOW is worth watching then go do it, but otherwise you run the risk of seeing bad habits and saying to yourself, "well if THAT guy can do that so can I". It is a bad road.

Good luck.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
blink_inc
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Hamilton
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Could could could, are you seriously trying to discredit my experience as educational and informative!?

I watched him for an hour and a half.

He went to the kitchen after every second table, perhaps to reset something, this is too often.

I heard NO laughs or gasps or loud rounds of applause.

He was healthy enough. If he was ill in any form, he shouldn't be there, bottom line.

They very well may have requested card from mouth, at one table. Not eleven.

And are you saying that being a magician for many years will grant you a more observant nature. I know when someone lacks personality, I can also read reactions and body language quite accurately. And afer an hour and a half I have seen nothing but a deck of cards I have to question creativity and routine structure.

My thought is, "This guy is burning my market."


Oh, and I AM better than him. FAR better than him.
I smile, and so does my audience they also applaud and for a moment believe that something really amazing just happened.
A positive, memorable experience is what my goal is EVERY time I perform.

Will//
I am a Sankey addict....please, help me!

My name is Will, my company is Blink, an experience in transposition.
blink_inc
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Hamilton
278 Posts

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Thank you for the advice Danny. I hear what you are saying.

I do have my own style and am developing more and more each performance. I must say I have picked up some lines from Sankey however that is more through osmosis than lack of originality and I try to replace the similarity each chance I get.

I don't really know where to see other magicians work and really don't care to. I get enough from IBM meetings, lectures and going to the Magic Store.

I was having a really hard time determining for myself if I was ready to perform for money although everyone I asked said yes.
Asking myself can I perform in this environment and do it well again and again.

I think I said somewhere that I try not to compare myself to others as we are all unique, however in this case I required something to set a benchmark. I found what I was after in the most fair of scenarios.
I am a Sankey addict....please, help me!

My name is Will, my company is Blink, an experience in transposition.
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