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Profile of numeroprimo
Hi there,

I have been slowly getting my way into magic over the last couple of years, althought I have been interested in it for much longer.

I have mainly done small presentations to my family, friends and family's or friends's friends...Because they are small presentations I have been able to keep changing them from one time to the other...

However I now wanted to set up my first "proper" show... My problem is... Let's suppose I start doing a show for kids and do it in a certain party. The parents of one of the kids like it and ask me for their party...The principle of not repeating the same trick twice, tells me that I should do something different! But then, how do you go on and manage all this?

Thanks in advance for your help!!!
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Profile of RobertBloor

David Copperfield repeats tricks.
Lance Burton does too.
So do I.
As does Gazzo, Gary Animal and all the street performers.

You listen to your favorite songs over and over again don't you?

You'll repeat tricks. That's fine. You might want to have a variety of material, but don't get stuck on trying to do a new show for every single birthday party you do.

I'd rather watch 5 or 6 tricks that are absolutely superbly entertaining than see 25 or 30 different tricks that are only mediocre.

People are going to want to see you do what you do well. Not see if you can come up with all sorts of different tricks.

Robert Bloor
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
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Profile of Aus

A joke is always new to someone that has never heard it. Remeber that: it may be the millionth time you have performed it but to the spectators that have never seen your work before, it's their first time and it's new. I have dabbled in the chidren's party scene for a little bit and it pays to have two shows which you can alternate for each other. This helps to a dagree in keeping things fresh, and keep the repeat bookers happy. But you just focus on getting that first act together right now and handle the repeat thing when you come to it.


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Profile of DanielGreenWolf
I'm use to changing my show on a yearly basis. This way, I have something fresh for the new season. but when someone books you to do a show they've seen, that's what they want to see because they know it works and that its fun.
And for the one child who may have seen your act before (because their parent booked the party), actually talk to them before the show (because they're intelligent) and explain to them that you want them to have a fun time with these new people, even though they've seen some of what you do before. This stops the child during your show from going "I KNOW WHAT HE'S GONNA DO NEXT!!!!" so that's just one thought on it.

-Daniel GreenWolf
-Much love,
Daniel GreenWolf
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Pablo Tejero
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Profile of Pablo Tejero
One said once: "The difference between the amateur magician and the professional is that the amateur does a dozen of new tricks everyday to the same spectators (family, parents, and friends), and the professional does the same five or six effects to thousands of different spectators each day".

I hope this could help you.

All the best magic,

Pablo Tejero Smile
"The Magic is in the air, you just have to... breathe it!"
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Profile of numeroprimo

Thanks all for all the different views on the subject...
I will certainly start preparing one (hopefully) good show. My problem was that something like what Malak above said could happen. I mean the kid getting up and shouting: "I have seen you before! This is no fun!" Especially if you are working in a small area where the kids know each other, and not doing a big show where people normally will only go to see it once...
But having read what you said, made me a bit more relaxed about it...
Well, once again thank you all and I will probably ask you some more questions soon about my routine...
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Profile of rowdymagi5
I did a show once, and several people in attendance asked me back about a month later. I knew what they had seen me do, so I pretty much changed most of the effects the second time around so everything would be new to them. Afterwards, the feedback I got was that they wanted to see the stuff I did previously! They still liked the show, but several people really wanted to see pretty much the same stuff from before. So I now change a few things, and leave the real kicker effects in the routine.
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Profile of RobertBloor
Rowdymagi hits a great point...

Many of those adults will want you to do the same set because they want to show you off to their friends, or even just get amazed themselves one more time.

Malak also has a great point - a yearly changing. Not bad at all. You don't have to change the entire show out. But one or two brand new effects could be killer.

Heck, if you produce a bunny, find a new production apparatus. Instead of a box, use a hat or something else.

Good luck!

Robert Bloor
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
-The Declaration of Independence
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Profile of espalding
To kind of echo some of the above: I've done a couple of shows for friends of my daughter: once for the girl scout troop (all girls of course) and once for the class Christmas party (today, in fact). It was a different environment so I had to change some tricks, but some of the girls asked me if I was going to do a certain trick, because that's what they liked from the last show. So I wouldn't worry about the kids seeing the same thing twice.

Steven Steele
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Profile of Steven Steele
If you are doing magic for children they love to see repeat effects. They are so excited when they see something brought out that they've seen before.

My children (when they were young) and my grandchildren will sit and watch the same move over and over and over and over...and they'll tell me the same joke over and over and over and over. That's part of the learning process.

So I change (for my children's shows) about 50% of each year, but most stays the same, same jokes, everything.

My adult show however, does not change although I have 3 different acts (which incorporates the several of the same effects or variations of them).

And as stated above, because I'm working under a new set of circumstances, every show is a new one.
Scott F. Guinn
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Profile of Scott F. Guinn
I've been doing this for a while now, so I am at a different place than you. But here is what I recommend you work toward:

Get a really strong, 30-45 minute show. If you are targeting kids, make it a kids show, but make sure the magic is still strong enough to impress or at least amuse any adults in attendance. Get this act down pat. For 30 minutes, you will need 5-8 routines, depending on how much you patter and how many bits of business, etc you may have.

Perform this show as much as you can, but after about 20-30 performances, gradually start putting an entirely different show together of another 5-7 effects. Rehearse that one until you've got it down pat, and then start performing it for repeat bookings. Notice I said "repeats" not "referrals." For referrals, do your first show. After a year or so, put one more act together.

You will then have three completely different shows (total of only 15-20 routines). So when someone books you the first time, you do the first show, second time, second show, third time, third show. If they book you a fourth year in a row with no breaks, you can do a fourth show composed of a couple tricks from each of the other three shows. In my experience, they'll usually take a year off after 3-4 times and try something different, and then often ask me back again--and I do the the first show again--it's been five years since they've seen it!

This simplifies the booking process. I just ask if they've had me before. If no, first show. Otherwise, depending on how many times, I know what show to do for each client. I keep track on an index card file. (Or use a computer or Palm Pilot).

This has served me well for over twenty years. I have three kids shows and three adult shows. I occasionally add new material as I develop it or if something new comes out that I really like, and I replace a routine in one of my shows with it. But for the most part, I've been doing my same six shows for a long time. I can do any of them in my sleep, and the audience doesn't get too familiar with them. If they specifically request a favorite routine, I insert that into the show. For the most part, each show is always packed separately in its own case, ready to go when needed. Cuts down on time and hassle.

Works for me without having to know hundreds of routines. With about 25 routines (I do a few routines both for kids shows and adult shows), I am able to work full time in the same market for decades.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Alan Wheeler
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Thank you for the wisdom, Scott F. Guinn!

I would love to see your comments on putting a show together in the recent thread on that topic here at the Beginner's Table.


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The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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Bob Sanders
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Profile of Bob Sanders
Repeating one's self is not reserved for the elderly. For years I worked as a show musician too, with recording artists on the Paramount circuit. (I was too young to drive when I started working as a sideman for recording artists.) In the 1960s, many of the artists were too young to drive. One thing always ruled in a stage show. First you give the audience what they came to hear. And that was what was the old stuff to you! (You learn that you are a delivery system.) Even Elvis would tell you that!

In magic I have learned the same. Especially if you work professionally through agents, people are buying another run of the show the saw or heard about. Rock the boat at your own risk. Earlier tonight I gave someone advice to save the experimental routines for contests because the paying audience is much less forgiving. It was not what I wanted to say. It is what I have learned as both an entertainer and as an agent/manager. You never have to apologize for being consistently good.

Bob Sanders
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