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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Building a Repetoire (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Special user
Portland, Oregon
767 Posts

Profile of MichaelDouglas
Hey Everyone,

I'm frustrated. I've a solid kids show that kills. I also have a regular gig doing close-up at a restaurant. Lastly I've a stand-up comedy magic show also. Here's my issue. There are just soooo many great effects out there to learn and I just can't absorb material as fast as I find stuff that I want to learn. It would take me two years to learn all that I've bought over the last few years without every making another magic purchase. Yet I keep finding out about more cool stuff that I'd like to learn. Arrrrgh!!! It never stops.

I've read that pros that build a career in magic do so on not more that 20 tricks or so. They just become flawless in the execution of that set of tricks. My challenge is narrowing down what I own to a core of maybe 2 or 3 full shows for each of kids, close-up, and stand-up. This is just so hard and time consuming. This is so because once I learn something, I may find that I don't like it or I like it but it just doesn't pull a strong enough reaction. I guess it just takes years to work to boil down to that core that I'll use for a lifetime.

Am I alone in this pursuit? What are your experiences with building your performance repertoire?
Dimitri Mystery Artist
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Veteran user
355 Posts

Profile of Dimitri Mystery Artist
You are definitely not along,
I can tell you I have dropped my kid act because I realized I cannot do it all, not on a high level...

I can understand you even if you take one field in magic, there are so many stuff to learn and it is not only the effects,keep in mind acting skills, business skills, etc...

however if you think in 2 years you can learn everything you own, I envy you...i need several life-times to learn everything I would like to master!

however, the good news, most stuff look cool but nothing more, I think that from 100 effects only 1 is very powerful.
but even if the effect is powerful it might not be practical or might not suite the conditions you are working in.

so every time I see something I like, I ask myself where can I do it (i have seen many great versions of matrix but I cannot think of a place where I can do it).

for me it also helps to ask "why"?
why to do this or that (torn and restored card maybe a beautiful effect but I cannot find any reason why I would do want to share it with my audience).

I might find a routine that is practical and fits my conditions and I know I can present it well, but than I will ask myself maybe I already do something similar but stronger...

hope it helps
Scott Burton
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Inner circle
1131 Posts

Profile of Scott Burton
It's so much more rewarding to see your act developing over years to a state of excellence. Just about ANY effect can be great in a show if you do it right. In my opinion anyway. I know this is often said but it is true: it's more about you and your entertainment value than the tricks you pick.
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Special user
Portland, Oregon
767 Posts

Profile of MichaelDouglas
Aaaaahhhh.....Scott, thanks for that reminder. "It's not the song, it's the singer." It's refreshing to know that my dilemma is not unique. Dimitri, I'll just have to patiently think through these questions and make those evaluations as I allow my act/s to mature. Thanks for the input guys.
Phil Blackmore
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New user
81 Posts

Profile of Phil Blackmore
Find your weakest trick in your act, and replace it with something better. Then something else will be the weakest trick. Find something stronger for that. Keep going one trick at a time until you feel the replacement won't be stronger than the current trick/routine.
Al Angello
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Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
11047 Posts

Profile of Al Angello
It took me years to be able to stand up in front of an audience, tell them a funny story, and finish with a magic effect. I don't really know how or when I got my stage presence, but when you have it you will be the first to know.

I also practice exactly what Phil Blackmore (my fellow juggler) recommends too. I typically add three, or four tricks a year to the collection of tricks that I perform either in my show, or for close up magic, and my shows are far better than they were 30 years ago. LOL
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
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Special user
Victoria, Australia
730 Posts

Profile of scottds80
Introduce one new trick at a time after you have perfected it technically. Then master it on stage.
If it kills, keep it, but drop it if it doesn't work out.

One day your show will become long enough to drop less favorable tricks.
Repeat every few months or year.
"Great Scott the Magician", Gippsland
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Special user
Portland, Oregon
767 Posts

Profile of MichaelDouglas
Great advice guys. Thanks.
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