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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » You Oughta Be In Pictures » » Opening for show (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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pbg739
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Hey guys,

Here's a first draft of my new show opening. Be honest!
*takes cover*

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ge2fGGsbYh4
ViolinKing
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Perhaps it would be best if you could tell us a little about yourself.
What I'd like to know is, do you currently have a show?
What is the venue you expect to be performing this opener for?

Lastly, your speech tends to be garbled. I WILL watch your other videos, to see if it is nerves, etc, but I don't see any way around it. It needs to be cleared up. Practice speaking to automated receptionists until you can get them to respond every time.

OKAY, so, those are my thoughts, please take them with a grain of salt.

Nick
pbg739
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Nick,

I do have a stage show but I am working on redoing the beginning and phasing in a few new routines. As my opening now is more of a joke, and I was advised to start off with magic right off the bat. I currently am working the festival market.

I hope this gives you some insight. Thanks again!
ViolinKing
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I'm having a chuckle here because I only thought the answer might be helpful to others with more experience. I'm an amateur, and don't have the experience necessary to judge your act.

But the garbled speech was the biggest impediment for me. I did like the way you presented yourself as a person. Your looks, energy level and good humor were all above par, compared to similar performers I've seen on video.
GuiMo
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I would like to see the video but you deleted it apparently... I also am an amateur so I won't be able to give you advice but I could maybe tell you my opinion.
pbg739
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Hey Guys,

I'm rescripting it so will have a new one up soon. Thanks for the feedback!
pbg739
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Ok, new vid....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzAD9a0jCqc

*takes cover*
GuiMo
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I watched your video. What you're going to read here is my opinion and as I am an amateur, it isn't maybe as perfect as it should be. But if I can help, good!

I like the beginning with the big famous magician who won't be here, it is a way for people to listen carefully to the introduction, it catch their ears directly. Then, with the silk vanish, it is quite a good idea to invent your own magical formula but, and I'm sorry if I'm wrong, when I listen to you, I'm listening to the beginning of a show I've already seen.

What I would do is find something original to begin with, something that fits you (but the stretching part is a good idea actually, you tell your story for an effect and that's fine!). For example, I start the show with a musical trick, with a very stereotypical music that when you hear that kind of music you can say "that will be an illusion" And then the music suddenly stops (you know like a broken disc, I don't know how to explain) and I tell them "Wait, wait wait wait... Is this a classic magic show again? No, no, no that is mine so stop it!" And then I begin to explain my involvement in magic with a routine I created.

That was the beginning of my first show. Because I wanted to break the stereotype of the magician that cuts someone in half and put it back together (those tricks are good, but that was my way of introducing my show)!

I think that you need to put something more personal in it. The beginning is fine, the stretching as well I think but for me something personal is missing. And the silk vanish is ok too.

I'm sorry if I offended you in my message, that is absolutely not my goal here! This is only my opinion and probably not the best, we all have things to fix in our show to make it better and I'm sure mine could be better, that kind of things evolve each time you perform it and rebuild it.

I hope this helps!
GuiMo
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Oh and be careful when you go in your pocket after the silk vanish, what you could do is go in your pocket with a purpose (take a wallet, a magic stick, a card...) This will be more natural I think
pbg739
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Guimo,

No offense taken my friend! Thank you for the thoughts and insight. I originally started with a fake Torn and Restored Newspaper but was advised to start with something quick and strong. This video was my first attempt at it. As for the "you've seen it before", I agree, but I am working the festival market which has a mix of both kids and adults and this intro I feel will get everybody on board.

I WILL certainly keep working on this. Thanks again!
ViolinKing
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I stick by my original statement: Your energy level, appearance and good humor are all above par. I think you will probably warm up to a crowd very well, because you seem genuine. BIG SMILE!

As for the magic, I personally feel that if you want your magic to be strong, you should, as stated above, invent some reason to go to pocket, if you want to show hands clean, ABSOLUTELY clean. From someone on the Café who is more experienced than I am, he said, "articulate each moment." I think your magic would have an impact if you slowly demonstrate VANISHING A SILK CLOTH...

I might show my left hand empty after it has just stuffed the silk in the right hand, then let it drop. Then, wait a beat, and let it sink in after people have done their part by screaming "Yes they are!" At this point, you need some reason to ditch, so you could go get your backup magic wand, or even grab something out of your pocket for the next trick, or even something technical, like a clip to clip down a microphone wire... But absent mindedly.
pbg739
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Thanks Violin......I'll keep tinkering with it. I submit it for review so I can get these insights. THANKS and keep em coming!
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Like Violinking, I do like your energy, and that you look like you’re set to have fun. I laughed at the “If I can fake the enthusiasm, you can too!” line, although as an audience member I usually dislike any time that the performer coaxes enthusiasm.

It’s a little hard to comment much on the opener without knowing what kind of response you’re looking for from your act as a whole. What kind of character do you want to portray? And what do you want the audience to be saying about you and your act on the drive home?

A scripting note: one pet peeve I have is scripting where the magician states the obvious: “I have here a half dollar”, “The dove has vanished”, “I’ll just pass a hoop over it”, etc. These are things that the audience can see for themselves. A general rule of writing is: omit needless words.

With that in mind, when you do the “silk” vanish (and I really think you should use the word “scarf” or “handkerchief”…no layperson ever refers to a piece of cloth as a “silk”), I’d suggest something like the following, starting from 1:36 in the video:

PETE: For example…
(Pete shows the red silk, and slowly and deliberately stuffs it into his right fist. Pause. Pete opens his hand, and the silk is still there)
PETE: Nothing happened! But if I do the exact same thing…
(Pete again stuffs the silk into his fist)
PETE: …then *I* say, “Words are hard” and *you* say…
(Audience response. Pete opens his fist to show the vanish)
PETE: …then the magic happens!

I’m a little unclear about the whole “words are hard/yes they are” business. Is this supposed to be a magic word that will make the magic work throughout the show? If so, the fact that you close your opening with this exchange and no magic is occurring muddles the issue. You also DON’T use it to achieve the magic of the arm twisting piece. This inconsistency makes me as an audience member feel that it’s all just a pointless audience participation bit,(you can probably tell: this is another of my pet peeves. Sorry if I’m hoisting stupid psychological baggage on you--just ignore me and I'll go away).

Whenever a performer coaxes me, as an audience member, to do some work in the show by saying lines, singing along, getting up and waving my arms or anything else, I expect some kind of payoff. Even though the audience is a group, a lot of them *do* feel a little self-conscious about doing this stuff, so they need that payoff to make it worth their while. The arm twisting bit provides them with a good payoff. I’m not sure that the “words are hard/yes they are” exchange does.

It’s a little hard to tell without seeing your whole act, but it looks to me like your energy and personality onstage are strong enough that you don’t have to resort to ploys like this to get your audience to respond to you and like you. I think that audiences do sense when the performer is asking questions simply to get a response (in the name of “audience participation”), without really listening to the answer.

(If you do want to do this kind of audience participation opening, I suggest you check out Bill Abbott’s “Five Card Opener”-- http://www.billabbottmagic.com/online-store/Five_Card_Opener.html. I think it could work well for you. It’s not cheap, but it’s VERY well thought out…a friend of mine uses it to very good effect. It would get the audience participation working for you in a much stronger way.)

Again, it looks to me like you have the makings of being a good performer—keep up the hard work and good luck!
David Hirata
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"Life is a combination of magic and pasta."
--Federico Fellini
pbg739
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Ronin,

Thank you for the insight. I recently just scripted this and it is in it's infancy so any input to help mold it is appreciated. I was going to keep the "words are hard part" as a recurring theme, and I can see how it can be muddled. As I am working the festival market it is a mix of kids and adults and was trying to appeal to them.

I will keep tinkering. Thanks again to all who responded. It is much appreciated!
GuiMo
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Yeah, I totally agree with Ronin!

In fact, I am sorry that I almost told you only "negative" things (sorry... I'm a teacher...)

It is true that I felt positive energy when I watched your opening, you really (I think) love and believe in what you say or do, and that's something that's not given to everyone!
pbg739
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GuiMO,

I asked for feedback and you provided it, any input is always appreciated, good or bad. How can I improve if I'm not shown how? In any event, thanks again, and if I have any other vids, I'll let you know.

Just as a side note, what subject/grade level do you teach? What kind of magic are you into?
Floyd Collins
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First off congrats on posting a video of your raw opening here for us to look at. Many times magicians just give us typed words to work with and a lot is lost.

I agree with the energy and looks and you like to smile that is a big plus.
So here are my tips for you hope they help in some way.

First and foremost – SLOW DOWN you speech is running away because you are reciting your script. I noticed that you stumbled a few times on your words. That is because what is in your head from reading over and over your script is getting mixed up when it comes out your mouth. This will smooth out once you have had more practice so for now just SLOW DOWN relax and be yourself.

Second – Your audience warm up need some work. When you start out telling the audience what to say right away this puts a lot of tension in the air. It would be better to do the wrist twist first, then the magic word then a little magic to drive home your point on why magic words are important.

Third – If I was you I would play off of your Magic Enhancer introduction track. You can come up with some jokes about yourself to help boost your introduction. This will warm them up too you they will see that you don’t take yourself too serious, and your there to have a good time.

Ok those are my three tips for you. Personally I don’t like the magic word bit unless you’re a kids show performer then you can get away with that. But if you are doing a family show I would drop that bit and just go into a much cleaner magic routine. As already suggested Bill’s five card opener is fantastic, I use this all the time and it is a great way to get into a magic show that is funny and the audience gets involved. I am not sure the little silk vanish is all that strong and you want your opening effect to be strong to re-capture their attention.

I want to now share with you the most important tip I was given over 25 years ago. “Not everyone likes magicians, but everyone will like you! Stop being a magician and be yourself entertainment is the reason your there magic is just the way you entertain.” Give that some thought.

Floyd
No one said it would be easy, or did they?

Check out my all new book "Chicken Scratches" visit my lulu store for more information.

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/thecenterstage

http://www.collinscomedymagic.com
GuiMo
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I am an English and Dutch teacher in Belgium, I teach at secondary school (probably not the same system in the USA..., the students are from 12 to 16 years old approximately...

I'm more into close-up magic for the moment, mostly cards but I include coins, sponge balls and items you can find at tables as well! But I have a show that I propose if the people have a podium to perform on, I have 3 shows "written" which I try to rebuild and rework as much as possible. I have never "hired" a hall to perform yet, but I'm planning to do that one day!

You are welcome for your other videos! I'm only trying to film myself for the moment, but I haven't got any videos yet on the net! I'll let you know if I post some
Chad Sanborn
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I like the opening prerecorded bit. Ive heard it before, but its not an overused item so stick with it. Develop it by varying the words used and the jokes used. Try something similar but slightly different. "Merlin, Blackstone, Copperfield, all great magicians in their day. But now its time for a new magician take the world by storm...eh but until we find him, please enjoy magic by, ummm (as if hollering to someone out of range) Whats his name again? oh yes... Please enjoy the magic of Pete G!"
You get the idea. Same joke, but maybe more you.

Clean up the put away of the thumbtip. That was horrible. Just wait till you are onto the start of your next trick and then casually put both hands into your pockets for a second and ditch it. Or reproduce it and as you put it away, put the tip away with it. easy peasy. But please don't do 'that' again...(said in my best Max Maven voice)

Your speech patterns and magic words "words are hard" lead me to believe you are overcoming a speech impediment. If your audience is mainly similar people then talking is preferable as it gives people in a similar situation a boost and something to look forward to. "he used to stutter, now he speaks perfectly, and does magic! I wanna be like that!" and so you give hope if that's the case. If on the other hand, you are performing for an average audience, then might I suggest doing a lot of silent acts. Or go in the opposite direction and draw attention to the speech, making fun of it, and thus putting it out of the minds of the audience. Otherwise you will get people who just focus on your speech and miss the fun of the show.

Next up is drop the stretching bit. Copperfield started doing it some years ago and still does. since then many magicians have copied it, and now you are. Don't. Instead, since your magic words are "words are hard" why not do something that involves words! (brilliant deduction Mr Sanborn! No need to thank me) Try out some sort of tongue twister magic, or that thing that Max Maven does where you have people hold up their right hands, for a circle with thumb and forefinger. Then touch it to their chin. You demonstrate as you talk, only you touch your cheek. Watch how many people put their finger circle on their cheek as you did and not on their chin as you stated. I think this would be a much better opening for you. Again though, find a wording that fits your style.

Ok and lastly, get comfortable on stage. You seemed a bit reserved or hesitant. Now I know you were on camera, but if you can't be secure on camera in your own home, you will never be secure on stage in front of hundreds or thousands of people. I suggest you take an acting class or comedy improv class. It will teach you how to let go and be honest in the moment. that's how sincerity is built with an audience. And remember bigger smile, wider eyes, and broader movements on stage. What you did on camera would never read well on a stage. Make it look over the top on camera and you will probably do well on stage. On camera you have to tone it down. Remember that.

Chad
Floyd Collins
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I watched his other videos before posting because I thought the same thing, however I did not hear any speech impediment from them. So I assumed it was nerves and from talking to fast myself.
No one said it would be easy, or did they?

Check out my all new book "Chicken Scratches" visit my lulu store for more information.

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/thecenterstage

http://www.collinscomedymagic.com
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