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Profile of Eddiemrdj
Hey guys, although technically not my first show I did have my first paying gig. I didn't feel like I had a good line up of tricks for a mixed crowd of about 75 people. I performed a nice ring on string routine to start and then went into invisible deck, card in a can, chop cup, vanishing bottle and others ending with strat-o-sphere for the kids. I just didn't feel right about the gig. I got paid $150 for a half hour show but felt I could of done a lot better. Don't rip me up too bad guys, but would certainly appreciate some advice.
Father Photius
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Grammar Host
El Paso, TX (Formerly Amarillo)
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Profile of Father Photius
Well nothing wrong with the trick line up and without being there to observe your preformance there isn't much we can say. If you did your best, then that is all you can do. You fee wasn't excessive, and you gave them what they paid for. Not feeling right, why? Felt your timing was off? No reaction from the audience? Or you felt you should have gotten a reaction like Lance Burton at the end of his show? We all start someplace. You have too. Just keep plugging away and doing your best.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
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Profile of marty.sasaki
Have more confidence in what you are doing and try to have a good time. If you are enjoying yourself, then your audience will more likely enjoy themselves. Be yourself.
Marty Sasaki
Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Standard disclaimer: I'm just a hobbyist who enjoys occasionally mystifying friends and family, so my opinions should be viewed with this in mind.
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Profile of Eddiemrdj
Thanks guys for the encouragement, I kinda felt that my show was too small for the people. Where is the cutoff for crowd peforming? Even a great card trick would be useless for a crowd of 200 people, wouldn't it? I performed in front of about 150 for my "first time" and felt like it was just too small of show and a lot of people didn't even know what I was doing. Please let me know your thoughts, I have another show coming up in about a week and I am really going crazy trying to design another show...HELP.
Brad Burt
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Profile of Brad Burt
You now have a ton of really valuable information. It is 'probably' true that some of the material was not appropriate to a half hour stand up show for 75, but again, you live and learn.


What can you add to your performance that would work really well for a 75-500 crowd?

Consider the following as not just possibilities, but as examples of classics that work for this size, etc.

Six Card Repeat
Any good solid Rope Routine
Torn and Restored Newspaper
Linking Rings
McCombical Prediction using Jumbo cards

A close-up show done in a cocktail or other setting demands that you pull YOUR focus INWARD to a smaller point that settles in front of those in your immediate

A stand-up show of virtually any kind, even one small enough to happen in a Living Room demands that you THROW your focus outward to encompass those seated in the furthest reaches of the venue you are working. There is more projection of YOU because the distance between you and your audience is greater. You can get the same effect in a close-up situation using a much smaller amount of energy, etc.

Look at any routine you are using and evaluate it FOR the possible situations you will encounter. Take my all time favorite trick: Chop Cup. Although it's possible to DO it in a Parlor situation and even have it be successful, I rejected it for that venue because I make the loads standing and the closer the spectator's are the easier it is to hide them. I also like the tactile immediacy that comes from the entire audience being more or less in reaching distance to the cup.

Also, the trick is small enough that you can lose folks that cannot easily see and comprehend every step of the routine. That doesn't mean that you can't use it in a Parlor situation, it's just not the best choice...generally. If you could figure out a way in which to do it with a small waste basket for instance you would have a KILLER routine for that and larger venues!

You are on the right track, just hang in. Best,
Brad Burt
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Profile of Eddiemrdj
Thank you brad for the kind words, I signed up for your newsletter and look forward to checking it out. A little info about me, I'm 42 and have been a DJ for 25 of those years and done really well at it. Throughout those years I've played around with magic as an extra hobby to help out during DJing. Just recently I've made the decision to go ahead and try doing the magic by itself and am enjoying it alot. Over the past 3 months I've probably spent about $800 on various tricks and ebay magic collections. I am currently looking into buying a guillotine for my finale....I've always wanted one. I like the idea of doing strolling magic and think I am doing pretty well, but the stage magic is where the problems come. I feel I have to go out now and buy all this "stage magic" before my next a week!!! Do I have to use doves..rabbits..huge illusions? I kinda am not sure where do you draw the line on what is "big" enough for stage? I would love to hear from you folks that perform stage magic and give me a typical routine that you would do. Any help is absolutly appreciated..Thanks guys. Eddie
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Profile of Coveran

I really resonated with eddiemrdj"s description of his first show. I am 58, getting ready to retire from the federal government, and have within the last year taken up magic as a hobby that I hope can suppliment my retirement check.

My first show consisted of a few silk/rope tricks (Impossible Knot, Blow-away Knot, and Silk Through Arm--all from the Magic Digest by George Anderson); I then switched to a Four-Ace card trick; followed by a card trick I modified and called "A Visit From Wild Bill Hickcock" in which I told the story of his life and death and reproduced his Dead-Man's Hand by having five spectators select forced cards. I ended the show with a fairwell message from Wild Bill by rubbing ashes on the Ace of Spades. The show was done as part of a church fundraiser consisting of 10 church members attending a bison dinner at my home. I thought I had laid out a semi-decent show that flowed. However, I got a total deadpan look from the people. That blew what little confidence I had and I have not done another "big" (i.e., more that two people) performance since then.

That said, I did assist during a kids Sunday School class illustrating most of the 10 Plagues of Egypt (the kids really enjoyed it when I changed water to blood)--obviously omitting the first-born last plague.

Any comments on what I did as well as creating a routine; dealing with blank faces; building confidence?

Also, I find myself drawn to Bizarre Magic; Silk Magic; some card tricks; and Paper Magic--especially paper animals locating selected cards . Some Mentalism effects appeal to me as well, especially the material used by Kinton Kneeper.

This is my first post and I realize I may have crossed forum boundaries by discussing multiple topics. But I would appreciate any comments/ideas. Just in case I don't make it back to the forum for a few days, comments can be sent to:

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Denver, CO
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Profile of disneywld
It takes a while to become comfortable in a new show. Especially the first. The most common mistake is that a new performer does magic, but skips the entertaining part.

Focus on entertaining, the magic is easy.
The Magic of Christopher Manos
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Profile of Bob Sanders
On 2007-12-16 11:04, disneywld wrote:
It takes a while to become comfortable in a new show. Especially the first. The most common mistake is that a new performer does magic, but skips the entertaining part.

Focus on entertaining, the magic is easy.

I think this puts the emphasis where it needs to go. You are an entertainer and magic is just one of many vehicles needed for a magic act. The audience is the best indicator of the success of your show. The dollar value of the props impresses magicians much more than it does audiences. You can own an audience with an egg or a piece of rope if you'll entertain them.

Congratulations on your first paid show. Keep it up! We'll be watching so please keep us posted.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz
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Profile of Joey911
You have to enjoy the show. If you are not laughing and enjoying the magic, the audience will NOT either. Just be comfortable and don't forget to have fun with it!!
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Profile of yeahidomagic
Looks like you did good , but remember its NOT the tricks that make a good show its how you present them. You can bring 15 tricks and bore them or you can bring 5 and amze them its all how you pattern them .
Geoff Weber
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Washington DC
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Profile of Geoff Weber
Hi Eddie,
Brad gave you some very good suggestions. The most important thing when selecting material, is choose the material that you can present the most comfortably. The more fun you have doing it, the more fun the audience has watching.

Visibility is a key factor in selecting routines for platform or stage work. The size of props is one aspect of visibility, but so is "framing"... That is to say how you hold the prop, and how you position yourself and your volunteers. Thoughtful applications of framing can help overcome almost any obstacle... For example, lets say you're doing a trick where the big finish is the revelation of card. Well obviously anyone more than 10 feet away won't be able to read the card, so one possibilty is to use a "Jumbo card". A lot of magicians choose this method. Another option is to have your volunteer hold it high above their head and shout the name of the card to the whole room. And immediately after they shout it, you repeat what they just said even louder and bigger than they did! Learning to adapt tricks in this manner is a skill that mostly comes with experience and is done a trick by trick basis.

Use can save yourself some hard work by selecting tricks that have traditionally been known to work under a wide range of performing conditions in big rooms and small.
some examples

Egg Bag (Denny Haney says this is the best trick in all of magic)
Linking Rings
Rope routines
Silk Routines
Predictions / mental effects
mouth coils
Thumb tie escape
needle thru balloon
cards across
Chinese Sticks
Strat-o-sphere is a great choice. I have used that in almost every show I've done for more than 10 years now. Although I use a prop I built myself and a routine inspired by J.B. Bobo.
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