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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » How Can I Develop Showmanship ? (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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MagicalFreak3
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This is my first year of officially performing stage magic. I have invested in some illusions suitable for routines and all but once I was on stage appearing in my university events often, I came to realize how important showmanship is. I really wish I can master the classiness of my performance and make my presentation and personality suitable to a grand theater type of classic performance. Of course this is my first year on stage so I didn't know much.

A kind gentleman here named Frank Simpson (which I'm still very greatful to) along with other magicians have given me some very useful advices such as:
- Take acting classes and get involved in plays
- Take dance classes
- It's necessary to have a stage director
- It's necessary to have a magic consultant
- Here are some recommended books by magicians that I heard were very useful (So You Want to Be an Illusionist - David Seebach, On Stage with Illusions - Duane Laflin, The Illusion Show Business – Stan Kramien, The Event Magician Volume 1 - J C Sum)


NOW THE PROBLEM FOR ME IS.... WHERE TO START FROM ? and is this everything I need to achieve like basic or decent Showmanship ?
Im a university student and don't have much time free but WHERE DO I START with this list ?

Also If ill hire a magic consultant he must be with me to see my act and guide me. I live in Egypt and THERE ARE NO professional magicians/grand illusionists. Ive never seen a professional magician in Egypt, only VERY FEW beginner-ish uni students.

And a stage director....sure it will be a hard search but will it be costly ? and instead of investing in illusions Ill be investing in directors ? I don't mind I just want to be sure....

I have a chance to make shows now....I should not do shows now or what ?

Thank you very much Smile
BRodgers
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Here are two books that will help you:

Strong Magic: Creative Showmanship for the Close-Up Magician by Darwin Ortiz

Why is it that some magicians get great audience reaction while others who are just as skillful leave audiences so cold? The answers are in Strong Magic.

and

Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber

There are no tricks in this book, but it’s loaded with secrets! The most important secrets- techniques for mastering your audience!

How to Be Your Own Director!
How to climb the Hierarchy of Mystery Entertainment!
How to target the "Big Three" Reactions!
Discover the Six Pillars of Entertainment Success!
Learn powerful tips for Scripting and Rehearsing, and Choosing the Most Powerful Material!
Discover invaluable Voice tricks and Language Skills!
Do you know the best way for magicians to be Funny? This book will show you!
Immensely practical tips on Sound and Lighting!
Find out what the most successful performers do Before, During, and even After every show!
Plus bonus chapters zeroing in on the special problems faced by Close-up magicians and Mentalists!
Creator of The Phantom Band 360
Mike Maturen
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Part of showmanship is learned (acting classes, critiques, experience, etc).

Part of showmanship is simply innate (just comes naturally to you).

To start, you need to evaluate your strengths on stage and play on those. For instance...if you have an innate ability to connect to the audience through your quick humor, then play up that part of your personality.

Make sure you have your show videotaped and watch it with a critical eye. Have an acting instructor at the University evaluate it for you and give you advice. The drama department at the University is also a good source for staging, direction, etc. You might be able to find a young talented director there who is willing to help you as part of a class project perhaps.

I would also recommend a book called "Showmanship For Magicians".

Above all: It will take time. Don't rush it.
Mike Maturen
World of Wonder Entertainment
The Magic and Mayhem of Mike Maturen
989-335-1661
mikematuren@gmail.com

AUTHOR OF "A NEW DAWN--Weekly Wisdom From Everyday Life"

member: International Magician's Society
George Ledo
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My usual suggestion is to ignore stuff on magic up front and study top performers: singers, comedians, and so forth. Figure out what they have in common and how they come across and how they develop their own character and "brand." Then apply that to magic; this is where the stuff on magic can begin to make sense.

Showmansdhip is as much a matter of taking what you already have (i.e., YOU) and selling it to an audience as it is learning lessons and following the instructions. But don't forget that top performers have lots of help (directors, choreographers, costume and light designers, etc.). It's very rare for a top performer to do everything himself/herself.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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makeupguy
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Any of the normal magic show consultants (Walt Anthony, Joanie Spina, Paul Osborne and others.. ) will do coaching by skype and email.

When I still did this, illusionists used to send me video tapes.. I'd watch the tape and sit with a microphone and a tape recorder and tape my comments in real time... then I'd offer constructive criticism I didn't have time for on a separate tape and in written notes.

Altnough it's easier to have it done live, it CAN be done with current technology.
MagicalFreak3
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BRodgers Thank you VERY much they both sound amazing....they're EXACTLY what I'm looking for (Y):D Smile !

makeupguy that's a great start, thank you very much. But you see my problem lies deeper....its with the fact that I know NOTHING about magic consulaing. I mean WHO am I going to use as a magic consultant ? There are 1000s....And my budget wont be very high because I usually invest in illusions but I will start storing. But WHO out of all these will I ask for consultation ? OBVIOUSLY I cant ask the the top consultants like Jim Steinmeyer/Don Wayne/John Gaughan lol I'm guessing they're consultation will be more expensive than everything I've ever put in magic. Additionally, what KIND of consultation will I be needing ?! I don't know honestly.

Mike Maturen I don't think I'm very good, I mean its my first year to do magic and I haven't been on theatrical stages very often. I have been on stages a lot generally but not theater ones. So I don't think I have much ability to connect with the audience but I try.
About the drama department, in my university we have few faculties and drama/acting isn't one of them. We do have a drama club, I'll be sure to ask the presidents of it if they can help me with it. And about video taping the event/performance, this is a great idea (Y) ! I really didn't have it on my mind thank you very much Smile ! As for your book oh yeah It was recommended to me by some fellow magicians on this page, I had it in my list thank you again very much Mr. Mike your post has been beneficial to me Smile Smile !

I have a chance to do shows now and I guess I will take it but Ill minimize the idea of having plays on stage like I wanted.....maybe for the future when I get enough training and so. Or maybe just single small plays with no need for heavy acting.

Thank you for your feedback everyone, your posts have been helpful to me Smile !
T. Durden
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Do as many shows as you possibly can, in as many types of venues as you possibly can, and for as many types of audiences as you possibly can. Stage presence and showmanship will follow. Personally, since this is your first year, I wouldn't yet worry about directors and consultants. That would be like building a house without the foundation in place. And you've clearly demonstrated here that you have a genuine passion and drive, and there is no substitute for that - at this stage, your own innate desire to learn, perform, and succeed will take you much further than any third-party consultant could. Eventually, yes, you'll want direction and whatnot, but for now, read everything you can get your hands on and perform whenever you can; build your foundation.
Good luck.
a.k.a. Nathan Allen
MagicalMotivator
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I agree with T. Durden, mileage and enthusiasm are your greatest resource right now. And if you cab get a chance to do multiple shows at a longer run (like a fair, trade show, exhibition, etc) then take it. To do the same performance over and over and over again before difference audiences is a real learning experience. But again as much performing as you possibly can.

Then look for outside resources.

Also watch as many different performances by as many different performers as well, not just magicians. And you tube is a great resource for that.

Best of luck,

Rick
Rick Rossini The Magical Motivator
www.rossinimagic.com
www.magicalmotivator.com
George Ledo
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"But you see my problem lies deeper....its with the fact that I know NOTHING about magic consulaing. I mean WHO am I going to use as a magic consultant ? There are 1000s...."

Very good point. The start of solving any problem is to recognize and define it. However, if you narrow it down by specialty, the number will get progressively smaller.

For instance, if I were doing an illusion show, I wouldn't want a close-up guy or a comedy guy to critique it; I'd want somebody with a proven track record of performing and/or coaching illusion shows. Yes you can argue that the close-up or comedy guys would have a different perspective, and so on and on, but, for my money, I'd want a specialist. I'd select a few, talk with them, find out about them, and then pick one -- knowing full well that if he/she doesn't work out, there are a couple of others still on the short list.

I go into this a little more in my column here on working with a director: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......um=173&0
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
alextsui
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AmrKhaled,

I understand your confusion and lack of direction. I've been doing magic since the age of 10 and even now after more than 30 years, I still think that I have a lot of room to improve.

There are a lot of good books out there but I think that things such as professional stage presence, movement and showmanship are not easily learned from books. I would suggest getting a video camera to capture your performances and then review them to see yourself as how the audience sees you (This is entirely different from watching yourself in the mirror and you will see many things which won't show in a mirror). Watch how good magicians move and use their props on stage from Youtube videos (This is a good free source of info). Take lessons from their acts but don't imitate any act move for move.

One of the best advice I got from a professional illusionist when he watched my performance was "You move too much. Try to stay still". Indeed, I discovered that when I was nervous on stage, I had the bad habit of shifting my weight from foot to foot and caused my body to sway left and right continously.

The best performers move gracefully and plan all their moves with economy of motion (meaning to use the least amount of unnecessary movement).

Hope this helps in some way. All the best!
Mike Maturen
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EXCELLENT advice, Alex!
Mike Maturen
World of Wonder Entertainment
The Magic and Mayhem of Mike Maturen
989-335-1661
mikematuren@gmail.com

AUTHOR OF "A NEW DAWN--Weekly Wisdom From Everyday Life"

member: International Magician's Society
reynold
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Nobody has mentioned the bible of showmanship books....Magic and Showmanship by Henning Nelms.
It helped me tremendoulsy when I was starting out in magic. It was given to me by my teacher and I am forever greatful.

Best,
Reynold
amazingcarrington
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Can't forget the Fitzkee book "Showmanship for Magicians"

It's been around for a long time and is still timeless.

Carrington
Sean Lough
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Lots of good advice above, and if I may at my two cents from 25 years upon the stage:

- Record your rehearsals (audio or video or both) and be ruthless about your performance - what you want to improve that is
- always rehearse in front of a mirror
- find someone whose opinion you trust and show them your stuff
- read Joanie Spina's columns from Magic magazine and the related videos
- watch and emulate your heroes, regardless of their professions
- Denny Lee's performance lecture is brilliant and cheap; lots of great learnings there
- never stop learning
SpellbinderEntertainment
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Thank you Michael for mentioning me as a consultant / coach / director. I’ve even done this by Skype! If you think you can’t afford my services, or you’re curious about my approach, get my book.

And with (not so much humility) I suggest purchasing my book anyway. I’m proud to say it became a best seller in hardbound and paperback and continues to sell well. I hope to have a few at Magic Live in August.

http://www.leapinglizardsmagic.com/csspa......ment.htm

Magically, Walt
“Tales of Enchantment: The Art of Magic”
by Walt Anthony
www.LeapingLizardsMagic.com

"spinning tales and weaving enchantment"
harbour
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Perform as many shows as possible.
Read the books mentioned above, but most of all, perform.
You're going to have bad days and really bad days, but you'l also have good days and great days.
Go to the major hotels and watch acts, there.
Find yourself, first. What type of magician you are most comfortable calling yourself.
IF you listen to your audiences, really listen to them, they will guide you on your road.
paulapaul
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Amen to performing at every chance possible. Performance = Polish.

As for reading: The book “Showmanship for Magicians” is one of three in the Dariel Fitzkee trilogy. The other two books “Magic by Misdirection” and “The Trick Brain” are excellent as well. These 3 give the reader a great background and understanding in what we do in magic, why and how. There are moves we use every day that are explained in these books. There are empowering principles. Just by reading these books, one is bound to become a more confident performer with plenty of great tools!
EndersGame
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Quote:
On Jul 7, 2013, BRodgers wrote:
Here are two books that will help you:

Strong Magic: Creative Showmanship for the Close-Up Magician by Darwin Ortiz

and

Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber

I highly recommend both titles, as the very best of the best. What I love about Ken Weber's book is how he really makes you think about every aspect of a performance. Many consider it to be a top book about entertainment and showmanship and how to raise the level of your magic performance. Ken has extensive experience with magic as a craft, and genuinely wants to help use improve and grow. His book has a wealth of material, and so many helpful tips. It also feels quite current, with references to big name acts like David Copperfield, David Blaine, Mac King, Michael Ammar, Criss Angel, and many others.

Besides the book, it's now available as an audiobook digital download from Vanishing Inc Magic (link), which sells for less than half the price of the physical book itself. I recently listened to the audio book and thought it was excellent. The reading is done by a working magician, Kent Axell, who does a superb job. The audio book includes a bonus hour long interview with Ken Weber, recorded in 2017, in which he makes further comments on the material and content of the book, clarifying and expanding on numerous points. Highly recommended!

For more thoughts, see the detailed review about the book and audio book that I posted elsewhere on The Magic Café here:

Ender's Review: Maximum Entertainment (Ken Weber) - An essential book about getting maximum entertainment from every aspect of magic

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......c=661266

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BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame - click here to see all my pictorial reviews: => Magic Reviews <==> Playing Card Reviews <==> Board Game Reviews <==
Bill Hegbli
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There is another book called, "Showmanship for Magicians" by Henning Helms. It is paperback an reasonably priced.

Showmanship is how you act on stage, how to stand, walk, and speak. In the end it is how you want to be perceived by your audiences.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
EndersGame
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Quote:
On Apr 19, 2018, Bill Hegbli wrote:
There is another book called, "Showmanship for Magicians" by Henning Helms. It is paperback an reasonably priced.

In case anybody does hunt for this book, his last name is actually Nelms. This book is considered a classic. Darwin Ortiz also makes reference to it numerous times in his books. It's also very inexpensive.

https://www.bookdepository.com/Magic-Sho......86410876

https://www.amazon.com/Magic-Showmanship......0FM0F184

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It was only recently that I learned that Henning Nelms also wrote a number of fiction books under the pen name Hake Talbot:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hake_Talbot

Judging by this article, he sounds like quite a fascinating person!
https://nevalalee.wordpress.com/2012/06/......g-nelms/
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BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame - click here to see all my pictorial reviews: => Magic Reviews <==> Playing Card Reviews <==> Board Game Reviews <==
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