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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » So-so experience with Magic Drawing Board (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

MagicalArtist
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Veteran user
Hobart, Indiana
373 Posts

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Recently, I decided to take my Axtell Magic Drawing Board out of mothballs because, after all, it is a great effect. Since I'm a vent, I wrote up my own routine designed to appeal to both kids and adults. I start off the routine by drawing the face, with the standard gag of the eyes starting to move without me noticing. Then I carry on a short dialogue with the face, before changing it from a male to a female (with appropriate change of voice). Then I do a few jokes appropriate for a female character before finally erasing the face. The whole routine lasts about five minutes.

I recently tried this at a birthday party show at a lodge hall with a good mix of kids and adults. At least 30 people altogether. The routine starts out good, I have the audience's attention and there are audible sounds from the audience when the eyes start to move. But after a couple of minutes into the routine, I hear the adults starting to chatter among themselves! It starts to get louder and louder. Oh great, I feel like a fool, I'm doing this routine and nobody seems to be paying attention! Am I just making a corny ass of myself? I actually shorten it by dropping out a few jokes.

On the plus side, the audience does give me quite a hearty round of applause at the end. Still, I'm disturbed that I did not seem to be holding the adults' attention for the whole routine. maybe the adults thought this was mainly just a show "for the kids" and they were free therefore to converse among themselves if they felt like it. However, this makes me wonder if I have an all or mostly adult audience whether I will be able to hold their attention with this effect. Also I fear it will not look good to future bookers if they notice that I'm losing the attention of my audience in the middle of my act.

Should I be doing an actual routine with this prop or is it a case where you do it, boom, the audience sees the face is talking, effect over, move on to something else? I originally thought of doing it that way but then I decided that was wasting the potential of the prop, but now I'm not so sure.
kimmo
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Inner circle
Sheffield
1193 Posts

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There is a thread on 'the little darlings' section where we are discussing this right now.

http://themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic......7&16

IMHO 5 minutes is too long. You draw the face, it moves, it talks for a while and then you erase it. It also helps with adults if you 'work the crowd' a bit and involve them in the performance. My routine for the prop is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5yj61-9ehQ

This is usually the routine that makes the parents sit up and take notice, rather than the other way round. That's why I use it right at the beginning of my act. It also sets up the character of Charlie, who appears later as a 'real' puppet.

I love the idea of changing the character's sex so I'd leave that in. That is brilliant!

Don't be afraid to be ruthless. Take a good look at your routine and cut it back to the bare essentials. It will be no less memorable for being shorter.
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MagicalArtist
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Hobart, Indiana
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Great video Kimmo. A very high-energy routine (as I'm sure the rest of your act is). My routine isn't that, that much longer than yours (although I must confess, I do have to hold the board as it talks) Maybe that's the difference! LOL.

But seriously, Maybe I need to put more energy into my routine. I notice you got the kids laughing nicely. If I get the kids laughing enough,maybe I'll get the respect of the adults, even if I don't get their full attention.
axtell
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Steve Axtell
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Magical Artist I'm not sure what happened in this situation but there are many factors besides the trick. The adults will tend to pull away from most any kid show routines, but over the years we have heard the out of almost all their routines the Magic Drawing Board holds their attention. Some people go on for 5-10 minutes with routines before they even get to the erasing part, but they need to be very good at their craft for that. Learn from your experience and modify it to fit you. Shorter routine may be better. Act shocked yourself when it comes to life. The manual board is just as amazing as the remote to an audience that hasn't seen it. Take time to craft the routine....I'll be glad to help you improve it if you want to email me your routine.

Ax
Axtell Expressions, Inc.
Pro Puppets, Magic & Animatronics
Joseph_Then
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744 Posts

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Presentation is the key to a successful Talking Board routine.

If not, make the routine shorter.
-----



Joseph Then

Singapore Ventriloquist
Julian Franklin
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Houston, TX
139 Posts

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Kimmo,

I loved your video, but I have to ask. How did you get your MDB to speak with an English accent? Mine speaks with a southern drawl. Maybe I should talk to Steve about this apparent inconsistancy with the product line.

--Julian Franklin
Wanlu
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Manila, Philippines
3058 Posts

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I've had an Axtell MAGIC Drawing Board years before I ventured into ventriloquism...my point is I used it for several years as a magic prop more than a vent prop Smile

Before I learned ventriloquism, my routine was "look, no look" when the eyes start to move and the mouth starts to open and close Smile The board never uttered a single word Smile It was short and sweet Smile

But lately, Ive learned a few vent tricks and it of course enhanced the routine Smile... however, I still keep the routine short and sweet Smile

Wanlu
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axtell
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Steve Axtell
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Julian....that is the big problem we face with the Board. No matter how careful we are, they seem to all end up speaking differently. Over the years we have counted at least 60 different languages and an unknown number of dialects like yours, which has a southern drawl. So sorry, we'll try to do better!

It's hard because with over 20,000 Magic Drawing Boards out there...we are going to have some mistakes.

Ax
Axtell Expressions, Inc.
Pro Puppets, Magic & Animatronics
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