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Vick
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Why do walk around or strolling when stage or parlor pays better for less time?

Am not a fan of strolling magic (even though I sometimes include my style of close up in a package, will take a strolling gig if I need to generate revenue or if it is a very attractive engagement) as I really believe performing magic belongs on a stage, where people come to see you or at least where guests are expecting your performance.

An trying to understand why experienced performers will choose strolling over other forms even to the point of making that the main focus of their adverting (again when stage or parlor pays better).

Maybe I'm really missing something here so .... why?
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bowers
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I might prefer one venue over another.
I love closeup magic the best.but when a
gig is offered be it closeup-stage or parlor.
it comes down to money.if it pays well.i take it.
todd
pepka
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Some of us just have a natural gift for one over the other. I'm not saying that any type of magic comes NATURALLY, just that a style of performing. I LOVE the interaction I get while strolling. Also, most laymen think that close-up is more impressive and difficult because it is so close, and often with borrowed or examinable objects as opposed to big fancy boxes and proppy looking props.
Michael Baker
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My first love was stage magic. Even as a kid, I preferred to stand up in front of a group and put on a show in a controlled environment. I really loved the fact that I could "rig" my performing space. This is much harder to do when strolling.

I learned to do close-up because it was a faster way to book jobs. There simply seemed to be more venues available. It was also a great way to showcase for future business. It is far easier to discuss such things and give out business cards when you are in direct contact with people. That intimate interaction rarely happens when you work from the stage... at least not in the same volume. It also allowed me to work where the people played. It would be difficult to meet the wide range of people that I did without a platform like strolling offered. The venues were already set up for that.

However.... I always still wanted the freedom that a stage offers. You lose some of what close-up offers, but you have so many new toys to play with. I also knew that stage/platform would pay better... as mentioned by Vick, more money for less time. The transition began when I started pushing for stand-up close-up shows, instead of walk-around. Assuming the group was the correct size and the venue could handle it, I could do a 45 minute stand-up show, show the people more magic than they would see had I worked strictly from my pockets, and I made more than I would had I worked 2 hours strolling. I only had to do each trick one time, without worry of reset. The math and artistic satisfaction was in line for me.

Not yet mentioned, but there is also a dynamic at work when you have an audience of sufficient numbers. The collective force within a large crowd is something you'll never experience doing strolling magic.

Once I got to the point where I changed back more to stage, I felt a luxury of being able to be more selective with the jobs I took. While I was always in control of the magic that I did, I learned to be in control of my life. Just my story... everyone has their own.
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Mary Mowder
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Close-Up offers a one on one (or a few more) contact. It is personal and can have a strong impact that is hard to achieve from stage.

I'm guessing it is easier to get your Mom to buy a Magic set than even a small Stage illusion and there aren't many Stage venues available to young Magicians so the divide may start early.

Close-Up is much easier to practice and doesn't take a lot of trooping. Stage equipment is more expensive and harder to store.

I think there is a definite bias toward Close-Up Magic in lectures and more Close-Up Magicians to confab with in Magic Clubs and Conventions.

I do more Parlor style than Close-Up but only because that's what I'm able to book. Both have their charms.
I think it is easier to book Parlor and Close-Up shows. I rarely do Stage (and my act is a little small for Stage) so I'm speaking from that perspective.

-Mary Mowder
Wravyn
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Some magicians enjoy the intimacy that closeup interaction offers.
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I prefer to be one on one (or one on a small group) to show pure slight of hand (with a well placed gaff once in a while) and take away the thought of smoke and mirrors. And most of all, magic has never been about the money to me... I have spent much more learning it and buying my "well placed gaffs" than I will ever make back. It is a labor of love to me.
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funsway
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My most enjoyable performance time was at SCA Medieval gatherings, wandering from camp to camp like a jeungleur of old and performing magic with whatever objects were at hand, telling stories and sharing a fire. At banquets for "royals" I would perform planned effects in a Medieval style -- sorta parlor but with poor lighting and often surrounded. Of the two approaches the wandering was much to be preferred and appreciated, as was developing skills to perform with "found" objects.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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Vick
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Thank you for sharing the well thought out and heartfelt responses (I was wearing an asbestos suit in case).

Michael Baker makes some great points (of course I'll say that as it is along the lines of how I think)

For me part of the issue is I prefer to perform for an audience that is there to see a show, not as sort of an add on to the evening's event (one of the few strolling then parlor gigs I did this December guests had looked me up before the show and were waiting for me). Egotistical as it may sound I want (and think my show deserves) to be a focus and not just a part of the event. Even when sharing the stage with other acts you are the focus when you are on stage.

I admit it's not a strong suit of mine nor am I very comfortable at engaging people with small talk to work my way into a couple of effects, don't enjoy having to engage guests/audience to see my work. Am very good at connecting from stand up performing be it parlor or stage (I don't have a Vegas style big box review stage show, I have 2 large "box" illusions and almost everything else is interactive and/or unique to my show).

Not to start a flame war but I don't agree that magic is strongest up close, there is so much I can't perform and share when strolling that I can when performing on stage or parlor style.
There are amazing, enchanting, thought provoking, smile/laugh producing and heart touching effects in my show that don't play from my pockets or a small table.

For me beyond sincerely enjoying creating and sharing special experiences with magical entertainment I'm performing to earn a living so higher paying gigs are much more attractive. Part of why am having a challenge understanding why strolling (especially when some performers advertise almost exclusively or really push strolling)? Half a loaf is better than none?

You can say it's good for making future contacts for bigger shows but it's the same performing stand up, parlor or stage (every performance is a showcase for more performances). Am fortunate a nice % of my clients are repeat, referral or have seen me perform.

In my heart and mind I really do believe and feel magic belongs on a stage (with the exception of some amazing buskers and then they turn their area in to their stage), it's a grand event.


Guess it's something I'll never really comprehend ;-(

Thanks again
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Wravyn
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Vick, it is OK to not comprehend some things in life... I can't seem to get my mind wrapped around how some people enjoy watching some of the TV programs on... Honey Boo Boo; Keeping Up with the Kardashians; Big Brother; American Idol; etc.
As I mentioned though, some magicians enjoy the intimate interactions that closeup has to offer whereas a parlor/stage setting is a completely different form of interaction with the audience. Neither one is better than the other, it just depends on which stage (at the table/hands vs. the parlor/theatre stage) the performer feels most comfortable.
I promise not to think less of your magical skill because you prefer the large stage if you don't think less of mine because I prefer the intimate setting Smile
Vick
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Quote:
On 2012-12-25 14:40, Wravyn wrote:
I can't seem to get my mind wrapped around how some people enjoy watching some of the TV programs on... Honey Boo Boo; Keeping Up with the Kardashians


there's something we can agree on! ;-)
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Dimitri Mystery Artist
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Quote:
I don't agree that magic is strongest up close, there is so much I can't perform and share when strolling that I can when performing on stage or parlor style.
There are amazing, enchanting, thought provoking, smile/laugh producing and heart touching effects in my show that don't play from my pockets or a small table.


the same thing can be said from opposite point of view...some effects that plays strong in strolling won't work on stage, somethings you cannot share on stage as you would do in close up situation.
S2000magician
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Quote:
On 2012-12-24 23:51, Vick wrote:
Why do walk around or strolling when stage or parlor pays better for less time?

Perhaps there's more to performing that how much it pays.
55Hudson
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I am not in magic for the money. For me, it is a hobby and an area where I can contribute through volunteer work, bringing joy to others that are in difficult circumstances. That said, I enjoy the intimacy of close up and parlor magic. Much of what I do is in the hands of the spectator. Nothing more thrilling for me than to see the face on a child who has just opened their hands to 10 or 15 spongeballs when they expect three. I am a magician because I enjoy the skill magic requires and the joy it can bring to others.

I don't have a stage show and have no desire to create one.

Now if I were to rely on magic for my living, I think I would have to agree with Vick and focus on shows that paid well. But I don't, so I focus on what I enjoy.

Hudson

PS. I never take a paying gig below market rate, or take a free show when one could be paid, as I believe that take money away from those who use magic for partial or full financial support.
SIX
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Because I follow my heart, not my wallet... That's as honest as I could be.
MickNZ
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Often an event's venue and/or performing conditions simply prohibit a successful standup/stage performance. By contrast strolling performances have the ability of being far more flexible.
funsway
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A collateral issue is the mindset of the audience in both settings being considered. When a spectator chooses to participate in a "magic show" either by purchasing a ticket or even setting aside time for the event, their attention and expectations are on seeing magic occur, being astonished and being entertained by having their concept of the impossible jarred. Size of the audience is not the issue but the a priori expectations. In the "camp strolling" events mentioned above by me, often I was invited to a camp for a birthday or group supper, while in others I just strolled in and interrupted the events in progress. The type of effects I would perform would be different in each situation -- the key issue being that each spectator knew I was a magician and about to perform a magic effect.

Thus, the preference to perform "on stage" may be a function of audience engagement rather than format. Likewise, there is a difference between setting up a table on a corner and performing for those who choose to stop and participate "on the half-hour," and just walking up to a stranger and assaulting their senses. For me, the former setting allows for more magic to occur than in the second one. In the first the permission request is "watch the magic." In the second the request/demand is "watch me."

In complete contrast, most of the magic effects I have performed in past decades has been in situations where it was not know that I was a magician nor any expectations that something magical was about to occur, i.e. there were no a priori expectations for the spectator. Here the focus was not "must be magic" as a conclusion, but "what I consider to be impossible may be wrong." The point is that the issue addressed by Vick is not simply a matter of "setting" but intent and expectations.

Magic occurs in the mind of the spectator. Preparing them to expect magic must be a factor in which type of performance one prefers.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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Vick
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Thanks again everyone for being open and honest without bar b queing me

55Hudson
I appreciate your p.s. ;-)

Because I don't enjoy strolling and really don't understand the motivation it is interesting to see the why's and viewpoint from those who do. Can's learn anything without finding different opinions and perspectives.

It's rare that a venue's size limits me from doing a stand up show, I can and have gotten my parlor show down to 4 feet wide and 2 feet deep. Have performed stand up in a crowded nightclub (on more than one occasion) at the edge of the dance floor or with my back to a wall.

The hardest thing for me to wrap my mind around and/or what I don't enjoy is approaching someone who is not expecting a performance, not there to see a performance and making small talk with them to lead into a short set. That's why I don't enjoy strolling.
(if I can't sell them on a show or my type of close up I'll do strolling, had a great time at a 3 hour event this Holiday season, by the 3rd hour when the drinks had been flowing everyone was asking me to come over, taking pictures and such. They also let me set up my table and work from that for part of the evening so got what I wanted also)

Please pardon me for how this will sound but
I, just like many if not all of you have put a lot of time, hard work, effort, study, resources and devoted a good part of my life into performing.
I want people there to see me or at least know there is going to be a show (really think and feel the art deserves it), not cold calling on a conversation. It's an extra barrier that I'm not comfortable with, not something I do particularity well.

Obviously it's a better fit for someone who enjoys speaking with strangers. I don't think interrupting a conversation is exactly the right expression but sometimes it seems like that.

and yes, I do it for the money ;-). Would I share amazement, help people smile, enjoy themselves, experience wonder, laugh and so on it there was no $ in it? Yes, but I wouldn't put near the time in marketing to do so and wouldn't expect the financial return and truth be told (think what you will), I wouldn't be as good as I am now if it wasn't for the $
(I feel I owe the paying audience something special, an expereince)

Stage magic doesn't always mean big glitzy Vegas revue, think I mentioned I only have 2 big box type effects, occasionally a special mentalist piece that is sent weeks ahead of the event and on the rare occasion a straight jacket escape. The rest is routines my from parlor show played larger.

Thanks again.

Please be well

Best wishes,
Vick
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Michael Baker
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Quote:
On 2012-12-26 18:36, Vick wrote:


It's rare that a venue's size limits me from doing a stand up show, I can and have gotten my parlor show down to 4 feet wide and 2 feet deep. Have performed stand up in a crowded nightclub (on more than one occasion) at the edge of the dance floor or with my back to a wall.


Reflecting on my own experiences, I had to laugh reading this. For smaller stand-up shows, I recall working with my heels to a diving well and the audience on bleachers in front of me. I also have also stood with my toes to an indoor swimming pool with the audience in the water. I blame it on Pisces being a water sign.

I also used to do a pretty involved show with doves and a duck, including some more serious apparatus, tables, etc. It naturally required a fair amount of space, but I once had to contend with a venue change that put me inside a train car working for a bunch of diners. Worst part was, I had to bring ALL my equipment down the entire length of the train car and over the heads of the audience to get to the end where I was to do the show (big sound system included). This same dove/duck act was booked for a Christmas party at a bowling alley. I was told that I would be performing in a separate room, much to my relief, thinking about the conflict of working near the lanes, etc. Short-lived joy as it turned out to be a locker room with 6 foot benches bolted to the floor everywhere. Talk about disrupting the planned blocking.

In a weird sort of opposite, I was booked to perform one trick, the floating paper rose in front of a banquet crowd... of 2000 people! Fortunately, it was projected onto a large video screen. However, another even worse scenario happened when I was to stroll through the crowd in an arena before a monster truck show. I did not know until I got there that they planned to put my segment on the jumbo-tron, but the cameras were located all the way across the arena with no miked-in sound. Making matters worse, my back had to be to the cameras in order to play to the people sitting in the seats.

That sucked pretty bad, and seeing that it was a multi-day event, I changed plans for the remaining days and did something larger from the center of the arena with a hand held camera right in front of me. Whew! Almost 19,000 people at that event!
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Vick
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Great stories Michael, thanks for sharing them!
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