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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Cruise shows.. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

SIX
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New York City
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When constructing a routine to perform on cruises what do you guys tend to do?

How long?
Material?
Music, no music, some music?
Etc...

SIX
RobertBloor
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The Socialist Republic of the USA.
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What will your client want?
-Robert
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
-The Declaration of Independence
magic4u02
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Eternal Order
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Six: I am not sure if you are planning on attending the SAM Convention in Dallas this year. However, there will be a full lecture on this subject by 5 cruise ship magicians who handle this market regularly. It might be of interest to you. Hope it might help.

Kyle

PS: Robert is also right. It really is about meeting the needs and wants of your client and then finding solutions to those needs.
Kyle Peron

http://www.kylekellymagic.com

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Dannydoyle
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They will tell you what you need.

This kind of falls into the catagory of "If you have to ask the question, the answer may not help much".

Most agencies who book things of this nature will tell you exactly what it is you need.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Carl Andrews
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I have been working ships since 1994, here is my 2 cents. For Cruise ships you should have a 45 minute show and another 20-25 minutes for a split show. It is up to you if you use music, you can have a CD or mini disc or have charts prepared for the ship band to play. Do the material you do best, you should have your own personal style to make you different and make sure it is clean. I hope that helps.

Aloha,
Carl
joshlondon17
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San Diego, CA
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What is the best way to sell the show?

I've heard make a video of your whole show and send that in. But who would want a 45 minute show to watch?

Josh
Dannydoyle
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Josh many agents have been burned by the 5 minute video. Most ships use agencies to book their entertainment. ALL of them have guidelines for you as to what it is you need to provide.

Not all want the 45, but many, require a 45 minute, uncut, live in front of an audience show to see audience reaction.

IN general the ships want 2 seperate shows. Usually at least one family oriented. Depends a lot on the line you target.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
SIX
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Im curious as to what effects to perform..DO I have to use illusions or can I do a regular stand up magic act..What do cruise ships prefer? A Jason Latimer act or a Jeff Hobson act?


SIX
Christopher Starr
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Heart of America
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Six:

There are all style of magic being performed on the ships, from illusionists to stand-up comedy. However, with all of the competition for these limited gigs, you have to be able to prove that whatever you do will solidly entertain.

The point is, there is no one type of magic act that is getting the work. It comes down to doing whatever it is that you do very well.
joshlondon17
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Chris is right. I went ona cruise and saw a magician and a comedian. The magician did (suprise, suprise) Snowstorm, $100 Bill Change, Crazy Man's Handcuffs and some stand up stuff. Wasn't too thrilled, but he was up there and I was in the theater.

Josh London
Dannydoyle
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You sell the sizzle not the steak.

In a similar fashion we sell the magician not the magic. Would six card repeat be on anyones list if Michael Finney hadn't made it a work of art?

YOU are what they are buying. YOU are what you are selling.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
RobertBloor
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Regarding the video...

Make it a DVD.

Using a DVD will also cure your question of "how much video?" The great advantage to the DVD is that you can do whatever.

On my current promo DVD I have both several short promos (between 2-3 minutes each) and I have two sections of unedited full routine magic.

This way the buyer can decide which they want to judge you on.

-Robert
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
-The Declaration of Independence
natmagic
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I bought the book by Paul Romhany on working on cruise ships and I found it full of excellent advice. I bought mine from Hocus-Pocus.
r1ch-oxford
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Oxford, England
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I have found the Becker book on Cruise Magicians very helpful. Also Russ Stevens DVD Magic's Biggest Secret is excellent.

Rich
Jerskin
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Every cruise line is different. For that matter, every cruise is different. There are 3 & 4 day cruises where you may work one 25 minute spot in the welcome or farewell show. Other times-I did a 21 day cruise & needed 5 different 30s!! I've worked for Royal Caribbean almost 17 years. They want illusionists (usually a couple, the wife/girlfriend is the assistant) or comic magicians. Animals & fire are usually not allowed. If you have a good general working knowledge of magic you can do an act with items found onboard. (Rope, balloons, cards, envelopes, books, blah, blah, blah).
As far as video-if your first few minutes is lame they'll never finish watching. I can't imagine the agents actually watch an entire 45 minute video. I've watched acts' demos with my agent, you get about one minute tops to impress.
GrEg oTtO

MUNDUS VULT DECIPI
Gerry Hennessey
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Hi Jerskin,

From your vast experience, how are mentalism acts recieved on cruise ships i.e. husband & wife mentalism acts?

Many thanks

Hennessey
"Every discipline effects every other discipline. You can't straighten out the corporation if your closet is a mess" Jim Rohn

GerryHennessey.com
Jerskin
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I know the Evasons have done a few. Not many mentalists at sea.
GrEg oTtO

MUNDUS VULT DECIPI
Gerry Hennessey
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Thanks Greg.

Hennessey
"Every discipline effects every other discipline. You can't straighten out the corporation if your closet is a mess" Jim Rohn

GerryHennessey.com
diamond
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I've been performing on cruise ships since 2002 and there is one and only one important thing regarding your choice of performance material: it has to be entertaining in the first place! Actually, this rule applies wherever you perform - be it in land based venues or on cruises, but it was only when I started doing cruises that I started paying a lot of attention to the entertaining aspect of my routines and the presentation itself. In no other venues will you have so many showbiz experts watching everything you do and the only thing they care of is that their audiences are having a good time in your show. Cruise directors, Directors of Entertainment Departments, Entertainment Managers, In-House Producers, Choreographers are people who know a lot about showbiz itself, including magic. Even when your video is reviewed by these people and you get booked to perform on a certain ship, they will want to know which routines exactly are you going to perform and they might even tell you to change something in your act in order to make it more entertaining.

Of course you have to be technically good too, but on cruises sometimes a routine which requires a technical brilliance and mastery of many cool moves might not be a part of your show over a simple commercial routine performed in a highly entertaining manner. There are 4 key factors in producing an act for a cruise, and every routine has to contain at least one of them, and of course it can contain 2, 3 or all 4 of them. So your every routine has to be either:

a) Spectacular - this is why there are so many illusionists working at sea. Illusions are a branch of magic that causes the biggest level of amazement of the audience and if the illusionist and the illusions used are good the audience will be amazed.

b) Funny - this is why there are so many comedy magicians working at sea. Making them laugh and putting a smile on their faces is something that the cruise lines' entertainment departments will want you to do. Contact and interaction with audience will play a huge role here, and that is why audience participation routines are almost a must in every cruise magician's repertoire. If you have a witty and funny stage character and if you are able to make them fall off their seats because of laughter, that is your great advantage!

c) Technically brilliant - not all of your routines have to be the spectacular or funny ones (but most of them will have to eventually fall into one of the first two categories). A part of your show can be a classy manipulation segment for instance or some magic classic performed in a classic way. But not the whole show. Technical brilliance can become boring after some time.

d) Very unique. If you are one of the lucky people out there with a very special act or a routine like no other performer in the world has or like a very few performers in the world perform, this act or routine might be your ticket to the cruise! Usually the entertainment department of every cruise line is looking for something very unique. Make sure to put that very unique routine or act in the very begining of your promotional DVD.

Your show should be combined of the routines that fall into these categories. The show should be a combination of these categories and that is how you will get a very dynamic performance style. The whole show can fall into just one of these categories, but this is much harder - the easier way is to have a little bit of everything. For instance, there are comedy magicians whose whole show belongs to the funny category without having anything spectacular or technically brilliant performed (well of course, every good comedy magician is unique too), but not everyone can do it.

Another important thing to the cruise show is adaptability. Every ship will have a different stage and technical conditions, viewing angles, etc. Also, every cruise line will have different policies regarding the length of the show and the choice of material. Make sure that your show is created in such way that some parts of it can be taken out or substituted with some other routines, to tailor the show's length and dynamics according to what the entertainment department asks you to do.

This is how we come to the repertoire issue. Basically the most common requirement is to have 2 entirely different 45 minute shows or it can be 1 45 minute show and 1 different 25 minute show and a one 15 minute spot, etc. You never know what they will ask you to do. You must shorten the show or make it longer, for some cruise lines you will perform only 1 or 2 shows while others will ask you to bring more... Basically, you have to have a some more performance material on your repertoire than just two 45 minute shows. And it all has to be "A" material. Over the years I have come to the point that I have several hours of good audience tested material and when I'm booked for a cruise (or for a land based gig as well) I have a trouble deciding which routines or illusions not to perform and I always feel sorry to leave some of them out because of the time limit. But then again, it's a much leser headache than the one I would have if I had less performance material than the length of show(s) I'm booked to perform.

Also, when chosing the performance material, make sure you are aware of the fact that this is not going to be a kidshow (unless you are booked to perform for Dysney Cruise Line). Your show has to be family oriented and the majority of your audience will be adults. On more luxurious upscale ships, the majority of your audience will be senior citizens. Most of them have already been to places like Vegas or to luxurious cabaret theatres of Paris, so you really need to have nice, entertaining and unique repertoire.

As for whether you should do a silent act to music or a show with a spoken patter - it's up to you and what you think would be the best. I know for a fact that it is very hard and only few people can do a 45 minute show silent and to music, and to do a whole show to the spoken patter you have to be a very experienced comedian or so.I would recommend the combination used by most magicians who perform on cruises (or by those perform similar kinds of shows on land) - some parts of show performed silently to music and some parts performed to spoken patters (some background music running during the spoken parts is a good idea too).

Your promo video (DVD) should contain short trailers of your different performances of some of the very material you plan to perform on cruises shot in front of the real audience in a real setting (theatre, comedy club, cabaret, etc). It is a good idea to have pars of your promo trailer shot in different venues, which actually shows the adaptability of your act. The people from the various cruise lines' entertainment departments will only watch a few minutes of every DVD. So that's why you have to put your best and most unique things at the very beginning.

Once they are interested in your act, they will contact you (or your agent) and they will want to know more about your show. This is the moment when you can send them the full unedited footage of the show (although don't even do that unless they ask me to). They will surely want to know which routines/illusions you will be performing (or they might even ask you to include in your show something that they have seen on the video and they liked a lot) together with detailed description of every effect. They might either ask you to send the descriptions (and the photos or videos) of every effect you are going to perform and only then I might send them the full performance videos of the effects they wanted to see. They will also want to see your costume(s). They will also most probably ask you for a synopsis of the show. Before sending them all that, I always do a little bit of a research on a specific cruise line or a specific ship, or I ask them (or my agent) about the stage, storage space, audience seating configuration, typical audience demographics on a certain ship, etc. This way I can always make sure that my show is tailored to their needs.

I hope I have helped you!
Gerry Hennessey
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Diamond, you most certainly have.

Thank you for your excellent & informative post.

Be safe on the high seas.


Hennessey
"Every discipline effects every other discipline. You can't straighten out the corporation if your closet is a mess" Jim Rohn

GerryHennessey.com
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