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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All tied up! » » Ideas on speed, making it snappy! (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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magicbymccauley
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To make a long story short, many of the venues I've auditioned for have extremely strict performing requirements in terms of time. Most want a 20 or 22 minute act. This is difficult for me because most of my performances are 30 minutes to an hour in length. And if I include two escapes (or more) the time really adds up. Not many people on these various comedy and ren fair circuits are doing escapes, so I would rather have as many as possible and not do too much magic or mentalism.

So the question is: How do I make the escapes more snappy, cut time and still get through the various phases of an escape: Examining the escape, getting in the escape, and building drama getting out of the escape?

I also worry that doing them TOO quickly or snappily will ruin the dramatic tension of the escape.

Any thoughts from the more experienced?
"Tricks are about objects, Magic is about life."
-Max Maven
InventorRu
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Hiya...I loved the question and I cannot help feeling we could all do with asking ourselves that very same thing sometimes.It was very open ended and you didn't describe what you do with the 30 minutes you use at the moment.So I will give you my answer in the same spirit...if you will forgive me sounding a bit vague.

I think every performer of any kind must think carefully about what he is giving as a show so every single component must be there for a good reason.Every link and pause and word can be used to our advantage but there shouldn't be anything there without good reason.

I very much hear your worry about retaining the dramatic tension and this is certainly a very very important part but I just bet there are bits you don't need in there....I also wager there are things you could say more simply or more quickly.

Try writing your script out and as you do so think "Is this the simplest way to get this across..?" then having written it in full,set it aside for a few days coming back to it again with fresh eyes and ask the question again "Do I really need all this in there..?"

Obviously I haven't seen what you do but this is still a good exercise even if it only forces you to look at things differently.
I think this will be a positive experience whatever happens because even if you genuinely cannot cut any of it then you must have an incredible half hour show.

Best of luck and let us know how you get on.
Rufus
Harley Newman
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20 minute sets are a requirement in today's repetoire. You need to be able to do one.

Maybe just one escape in the set?
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Cliffg37
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I do a 20 minute set that features just 2 escapes a chain and lock escape (not Siberian) and a straitjacket. The rest of the time is used for magic and humor. (I am not a stand up comedian, so I try to limit that, but I do get some laughs.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
magicbymccauley
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Harley, you're so right and thanks all for their comments, Cliff and .

For the comedy clubs and such, it's not as big a deal. They're paying for entertainment or laughs, and the versatility of magic and escapes allows me to fill that out a bit better. You can do anything you want for a bar, nightclub or comedy club, there aren't as many restrictions.

For the ren fairs and circus fairs however, I have a serious problem. I can get away with a mentalism trick here or a magic trick there, but at fairs they ALREADY HAVE A magician, juggler, etc. SOOOOOOOO many things are out of the picture. The only area really untread is illusions and escapes. These places don't want to hire another magician or juggler or what have you. You need to be seriously different.

So for example, I do cigar boxes and contact juggling both to music. Well that's out the freaking window already. They already have people doing cigar boxes and contact juggling. They even already (likely) have someone doing a straight jacket (which is all the rage on the east cost for some reason. Fire is out for most venues: fire eating? Forget it. You can't even do music at a lot of them unless it's live music.

And there are already magicians (sometimes sub par ones) at ALL these events. So selling yourself as the magician is difficult.

All that's left really is illusions and escapes, which people aren't willing to do because they're too much work. (I AM willing to do work, from construction to performance).


This is my current 30 minute set.

1. Coin routine with jumbo coin. (Establishing skill, competence and charachter)
2. Either Sponge Balls/Die Box/Change Bag (Audience participation, humor focused)
3. Deck in Balloon (Something strange and interesting).
4. Handcuff Escape (Story/History/Middle routine)
5. Six person stage Equivoque/Mentalism routine (Audience Participation, head scratcher, deceptive)
6. Contact Juggling to music (The skill/Feature/visual oohs and ahs)
7. Mail Bag Escape (Finale, Big, fills the stage, with humor and so forth added).

For longer shows (40-60 minutes) I add in stuff like a signed card trick, torn and restored into a huge mouth coil, linking rings, half dyed comedy hank, or a magic rope routine set to music.

My trouble is

1. Good quick opener.
2. Getting all the phases of an act into such a short time.
"Tricks are about objects, Magic is about life."
-Max Maven
jay leslie
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The correct question is not how to make an act snappy- it is how to keep adding so much extra slop that it drags. Quick is easy, long takes thought.

Ego is the culprit. Start filming all your shows and cut every bit of excess crap the audience does not enjoy.

Enjoy means: The audience does not tolerate you, it means you give them just enough they will pay to see you twice.
magicbymccauley
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Filming all my shows and cutting things would be very helpful. I will do that. The other problem is that I usually do magic with some escapes. I need to change to escapes with only a little bit of magic.

I also have no idea what an escape opener would look like, and I'm playing around with that idea. Escapes are usually middle routines or closers for me.
"Tricks are about objects, Magic is about life."
-Max Maven
Steve_Mollett
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Quote:
On 2013-10-16 13:10, magicbymccauley wrote:
I also have no idea what an escape opener would look like, and I'm playing around with that idea.

Fast; either locking something on yourself or being fastened by trained assistants. No talk; use music.
Fast and smooth release; make it look like you're just "playing with the restraint" as a warm-up.

Note: a restraint that cannot stand up to a strict examination works well as a silent, "warm-up" stunt, as the device is never examined.
Author of: GARROTE ESCAPES
The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
- Albert Camus
magicofCurtis
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Steve_Mollett good advice.... Smile
magicbymccauley
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Great advice steve!

I think having, for instance, an escape prop set up before hand so you can get into it quickly and get out of it to say a timer or something set for 60 seconds would be an appropriate way to get the thrill of an opener into an escape. Really good advice indeed. And it needn't be examined, you're right. We can get into the examination phase later when there's time for a middle routine, and do an intro: "Now you can take the time to make sure I'm really restrained and can't get out" and then proceed to an examinable escape, or a physical non-gim one.

Really good advice, I am taking it under advisement!
"Tricks are about objects, Magic is about life."
-Max Maven
Cliffg37
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You know, when I saw Kevin and Kristen (living illusions) a few months ago, they had a quick and wonderful surprise opener. Kristen appeared high above, upside down and already in the straitjacket. I realize you said no SJs for you, but how about you come out already locked up in a quick release in and out device and clown around with it, picking stuff up, adjusting your hat etc.

If they only allow live music, befriend a guy with a portable keyboard.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
magicbymccauley
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Another very good Idea cliff. Thanks!

There's no reason I can't start the show bound in something impressive, and then quickly begin to escape after a few words.

I actually found a way around the recorded music thing: a music box! Technically the music from a music box is being performed live (the instrument is the metal pins inside the box). And mics are allowed, so all I have to do is mic the music box. A music box also fits with a ren faire theme just fine.

The other option is a drumroll with my feet! LOL.
"Tricks are about objects, Magic is about life."
-Max Maven
Harley Newman
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You could get the audience to give you the drum roll.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Steve_Mollett
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Quote:
On 2013-10-18 06:14, Harley Newman wrote:
You could get the audience to give you the drum roll.

Yes! Audience involvement is an endearing factor in Ren faire performance.
Author of: GARROTE ESCAPES
The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
- Albert Camus
Harley Newman
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If you don't know how to involve an audience, you don't belong on stage.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Kondini
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Spot on Harley. That is what makes entertainment. For it to be quizzed here shows the real from the fakes!!! Hahaha.
Harley Newman
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I'm not slamming anybody. The entire goal of a performance should be how to involve the audience emotionally. Put simply, "Why should they care?" is a far more important question than anything about our content.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Steve_Mollett
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By involvement, I meant PARTICIPATION. I guess I assumed, wrongly, that people would comprehend that. Smile

You calling me a FAKE, Ken?!? Smile Smile
Author of: GARROTE ESCAPES
The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
- Albert Camus
Harley Newman
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For this kind of material, participation on all levels is best.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

www.bladewalker.com
Kondini
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Without rappor there would be no door knocker!!!! The heart of what we try to do is involvement, to form a relationship with the speckies, for them to pay you for being you, not for what you are doing or the way you are doing it.

To be able to stand in front of a mob and with no props, no assistants, nothing but you,and project you (Image) is the true test. To receive money for doing it is a bonus.

Ken
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