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New user
96 Posts

Profile of kenllh
How long will I need to prepare? What must I do to ensure a good performance if I were to only perform, not to compete, in a hall in front of about 500 people?
Jordan Piper
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Veteran user
British Columbia, Canada
309 Posts

Profile of Jordan Piper
You should know your routine backwards and forwards, from side to side, and be able to do it with your eyes closed. I would also suggest your first performance not be in front of 500 people. Start small and work your way up.
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Inner circle
1552 Posts

Profile of Chrystal
Hi Ken,

Only you know how long it will take you to prepare there is no set number that one has to say "Now I'm ready for my big show".

I agree with theKernel you should in most cases start off small and then work your way up to the larger crowd. With that said however, the props and effects may not work that you used for parlour magic should you switch to stage. Some will, but the majority of items will need to be bigger and more visual for stage. You also need to learn how to play to the crowd and it's a bit different with larger audiences, as you don't have the coziness of the smaller crowd thus giving a more intimate atmosphere.

I often play to crowds of 500 or more and I don't find it now any different than if I perform parlour. Although it took me aprox 2 years to make the transition from when I started to when I felt comfortable to be able to perform in front of hundreds. It also involved planning and rehearsing of new effects. Seems to have been a natural progression to perform in a living room for a b-day party of approximately 20 to now performing on stage. The crowds became bigger as I became more well known in my area and the bookings were on a grander scale.

How quick you make this transition is solely up to you. When you get the feedback from clients that is positive and your circle of clientele grows you can slowly make the transition. Before you attempt any project of this sort just try to get as much experience performing under your belt. Volunteer to put on shows at a seniors home or school perhaps? (Just be careful that these places did not normally hire another paid entertainer however.) Join a club where you can fine tune your act and get feedback from the members.

So in a nutshell, with a larger show you also need sound equipment unless the place provides one, bigger and more visual effects and get used to making contact and play to larger audiences. Practice, practice, practice, as often as you can and gain as much experience as possible beforehand. Remember we all had to crawl first... then walk... then run. Step by step.

Best of luck to you! Smile
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Inner circle
1447 Posts

Profile of Dr. TORA
Very precious advice has been given above. If I were you I would listen to them. I just wanted to tell the same things. Only you will decide how many rehearsals you need and it is not a good idea to do the first show in front of 500 people. Any failure may be an unexpected "end" to a "beginning" career.
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Steve Friedberg
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Inner circle
1401 Posts

Profile of Steve Friedberg
Please don't take this as an insult, but if you were to perform with no experience before a group of 500 people, you'd be doing yourself a disservice.

That's a major, major undertaking, and requires incredible physical and mental preparation. Please read and heed the advice that folks like Tora, Chrystal and thekernel have given you. You won't be sorry.

"A trick does not fool the eyes, but fools the brain." -- John Mulholland
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Special user
United States Of America
525 Posts

Profile of EddyRay
Just remember a musician does not play a musical instrument for the first time in a concert.... and a person who has never acted will not play the star in the next action movie. There are already enough bad act out there whether it be magic, music, comedy etc. This would be the wrong way to get your experience. Start small, work with friends and gain your experience.
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Elite user
407 Posts

Profile of Dbzkid999
If you were to perform with no experience, you would probably hesitate while you're performing and screw up.
Tom Jorgenson
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Inner circle
4452 Posts

Profile of Tom Jorgenson
Go for it, and don't worry about the worrying! Know your tricks and effects well, know the moves and know the flow of your presentation. The only difference between one person and 500 people is that all 500 can't grab for the gimmick!, of course, the applause is much nicer.

Know your tricks and you'll do fine. After your 2nd and 3rd show before 500 people, you'll do much better ( i.e., be more relaxed, enjoy it with less nervousness, etc.)

How long you need to prepare is answerable only in theory: Your individual act will dictate how long you need to prepare. What to do to insure a good performance? Address the audience, CONNECT with them, smile. Do your work as good as you know how, and they'll love you.

Just make sure you choose effects that can be seen.

We dance an invisible dance to music they cannot hear.
Bob Sanders
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Grammar Supervisor
Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
20495 Posts

Profile of Bob Sanders
Magic is magic. It can be just as magic for the lady making change at the movie as it is to thousands on television. What changes is the size of the illusions. What doesn't change is the magicians' obligation to be very well prepared.

Please never perform a trick until you are sure you know it very well and that the conditions are right for that trick. A trick well done every time can be performed for years by the same performer even for the same audience. Once exposed, it is over forever with that audience. Knowing the secret is not power. Keeping the secret is! Using the secret while keeping it is art.

Competing is fun and good exercise. I still do it sometimes too. However, it is about as realistic as is "reality television" with all of its carefully selected people, props, camera angles, and hours of editing in those very contrived and artificial environments. It is frankly nothing like performing for a paying audience. Read some of the post here on The Magic Café about contests. It is as different from performing as a pro, as is the senior prom from the marriage. But both are fun and serve a purpose. Going in unprepared is not acceptable for either. Although I am new to this (with only forty-two years), my best advice is to reserve experiments for the contests and your absolute best for your paying audience. A mistake in front of 500 people is worst than a mistake in front of the mirror any day. It could be like a ball game! Missing a pass or striking out before a full stadium is tough. At practice, we can do it over. Magicians will allow you to grow and improve. Paying audiences will not. Worse than that, the damage done to your fellow entertainers is enormous.

Perhaps, finding a mentor who will put you into his/her show would be ideal. You know that timing is the most important part of a rain dance? Your mentor will want to help you succeed. One day you may learn that the magicians behind the magicians are often much better than the ones you see. Let them help you. They actually want to do that!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz
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