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DannyJay
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Cumbria
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Hey forum,

I'm looking for some material to improve my showmanship skills. Which have never been the best, but even still, having magic taken a temporary step back in my life, I've noticed a `rustiness` to my performances.

I do have `Magic and Showmanship` however I must admit I'm more of a visual learner, so video format is always preferable to me, plus I enjoy how videos allow you to see real-life situations and pick up training beyond what is being intentionally taught.

I hope some of you can offer some good reads/watches. Also I'm open to any suggestions which may/may not be related to magic. So even if you even have a self-help dvd on developing social skills, that'll be a great help too Smile

Thank you very much for your time!
- Danny Jay.
Bulla
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Honolulu, HI
673 Posts

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Read Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber
RobertlewisIR
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Colorado
367 Posts

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A good thing to try is indeed to forget about magic. Read some books (or better yet, take a class) on theatre/drama. Fundamentally, we're all actors, so I think this is of great benefit.

Other than that (and other than what's been suggested above), the Fitzkee books are great resources.

It might also help if you explain your situation. Where do you perform (or want to perform)? Is your problem with showmanship a matter of scripting? Nervousness? Shyness?
~Bob



----------



Last night, I dreamed I ate the world's largest marshmallow. When I woke up, the pillow was gone.
Dave V
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Las Vegas, NV
4825 Posts

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David Copperfield has degrees in Theater and Dance. I think the failing of many wannabee magicians is that they focus on the magic and just flail around on stage waving their hands and trying to look mysterious.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
jazzy snazzy
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Inner circle
run off by a mob of Villagers wielding
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Darwin Ortiz
Strong Magic: Creative Showmanship for the Close-Up Magician

http://www.amazon.com/Strong-Magic-Creat......0534I956
"The secret of life is to look good from a distance."
-Charles Schulz
professorwhut
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Inner circle
Posts R US sold me
1346 Posts

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Good for you, wanting to improve your skills in showmanship.
Many "magicians" have no clue that they lack in this area.

This is really good little book, that I ran across recently. Very much worth the read.

http://www.spsmagic.com/products/on-stag......the-best
After much soul searching about a signature, I decided not to have one.

TG Pop [aka ProfessorWhut]
MRSharpe
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Never a dull moment with
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Magic and Meaning by Robert Neale and Eugene Burger.
Custom Props Designer and Fabricator as well as Performer from Indiana, USA
Dick Oslund
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"SHOWMANSHIP & PRESENTATION" (Edward Maurice)

In 1947, I bought this little 10 or 12 page bookLET at the old MYSTERY MART in Milwaukee. I think it was about $2.00, then!

I was just 16 and it sure gave me a boost in the right direction! I'm sure that it's out of print now, but worth a read, if you can find it. It was an English publication, but, I can't remember the publisher.

Since then, Dariel Fitzkee's trilogy, Henning Nelms "college text" on "MAGIC & SHOWMANSHIP, Makeelynne & Devant's "OUR MAGIC", David Bamberg's article in "GREATER MAGIC", and now Ken Weber's "MAXIMUM ENTERTAINMENT", have ALL BEEN WELL WORTH READING!!!!!

I must admit that Jay Marshall had to "kvetsch" me into reading "OUR MAGIC"! (the section on "showmanship & presentation" is rather "dry", but, as Jay said, "It should be 'required reading'!" (I also must admit that Jay was "right"!) The trick section is a trifle "dated", but worth a read.

I can't locate it in my "file", but John Mulholland, wrote a GOOD paragraph (I think it was in the old "SPHINX") about magicians needing to spend more time working on presentation, and less time learning a new trick!

I haven't seen Ortiz's STRONG MAGIC. (hey! I'm retired) and, although my area of the business was "stand up platform", I think that ANYTHING written by a qualifed successful performer on ANY AREA of SHOWMANSHIP & PRESENTATION, is helpful.

Feom the title of Ortiz's book, he talks about CLOSE UP PERFORMING. I would guess that more of the fellows who come to the Café are parlor and close up performers, and therefore his book should be worth their time to read.

The GREAT COMEDIAN, Jack Benny, said that, "It's not important that they laugh at every joke! What's important is that when you leave the stage, they still like you!"

I would like to emphasize that, but just change a few words. IT'S NOT IMPORTANT THAT THEY LAUGH (OR APPLAUD) EVERY TRICK! WHAT'S IMPORTANT IS THAT WHEN YOU LEAVE THE STAGE, THEY STILL LIKE YOU! --NATURALLY, THE PERFORMER HAD BETTER BE LIKEABLE THROUGHOUT HIS WHOLE SHOW!

I don't know of any (but, there MAY be some!) videos, DVDs that are specifically devoted to presentation or showmanship. So! Go and watch recognized, qualified performers (not JUST magicians) and STUDY what, and how, they "do it"!!! --AFTER, you have read and studied the books mentioned in this thread.

I, also don't know, and haven't seen any of the others who've responded, above, but IMO each of them have offered something very worthwhile.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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Inner circle
8363 Posts

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"SHOWMANSHIP & PRESENTATION" (Edward Maurice)

In 1947, I bought this little 10 or 12 page bookLET at the old MYSTERY MART in Milwaukee. I think it was about $2.00, then!

I was just 16 and it sure gave me a boost in the right direction! I'm sure that it's out of print now, but worth a read, if you can find it. It was an English publication, but, I can't remember the publisher.

Since then, Dariel Fitzkee's trilogy, Henning Nelms "college text" on "MAGIC & SHOWMANSHIP, Makeelynne & Devant's "OUR MAGIC", David Bamberg's article in "GREATER MAGIC", and now Ken Weber's "MAXIMUM ENTERTAINMENT", have ALL BEEN WELL WORTH READING!!!!!

I must admit that Jay Marshall had to "kvetsch" me into reading "OUR MAGIC"! (the section on "showmanship & presentation" is rather "dry", but, as Jay said, "It should be 'required reading'!" (I also must admit that Jay was "right"!) The trick section is a trifle "dated", but worth a read.

I can't locate it in my "file", but John Mulholland, wrote a GOOD paragraph (I think it was in the old "SPHINX") about magicians needing to spend more time working on presentation, and less time learning a new trick!

I haven't seen Ortiz's STRONG MAGIC. (hey! I'm retired) and, although my area of the business was "stand up platform", I think that ANYTHING written by a qualifed successful performer on ANY AREA of SHOWMANSHIP & PRESENTATION, is helpful.

Feom the title of Ortiz's book, he talks about CLOSE UP PERFORMING. I would guess that more of the fellows who come to the Café are parlor and close up performers, and therefore his book should be worth their time to read.

The GREAT COMEDIAN, Jack Benny, said that, "It's not important that they laugh at every joke! What's important is that when you leave the stage, they still like you!"

I would like to emphasize that, but just change a few words. IT'S NOT IMPORTANT THAT THEY LAUGH (OR APPLAUD) EVERY TRICK! WHAT'S IMPORTANT IS THAT WHEN YOU LEAVE THE STAGE, THEY STILL LIKE YOU! --NATURALLY, THE PERFORMER HAD BETTER BE LIKEABLE THROUGHOUT HIS WHOLE SHOW!

I don't know of any (but, there MAY be some!) videos, DVDs that are specifically devoted to presentation or showmanship. So! Go and watch recognized, qualified performers (not JUST magicians) and STUDY what, and how, they "do it"!!! --AFTER, you have read and studied the books mentioned in this thread.

I, also don't know, and haven't seen any of the others who've responded, above, but IMO each of them have offered something very worthwhile.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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OOPS! Well, if it's worth readin ONCE, maybe it's worth reading TWICE!!!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
motown
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Atlanta by way of Detroit
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There's a book by Gay Ljungberg called "Audience Management" that's excellent.
"If you ever write anything about me after I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you."
– Karl Germain
myrealsphinx
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Brazil
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And what about Joanie Spina's "Get Your Act Together"? is in the same purpose???
Andrew Immerman
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California
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Consider:
  • Our Magic (Nevil Maskelyne, David Devant) [1911]
  • The Five Points in Magic (Juan Tamariz) [1982]
  • Strong Magic (Darwin Ortiz) [1994]
  • Magic and Meaning (Eugene Burger) [1995]
  • Scripting Magic (Pete McCabe) [2008]
  • Devious Standards (Jamy Ian Swiss) [2011]
Andrew
Atom3339
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Spokane, WA
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Watch good performers on DVD like Bill Malone.
TH

Occupy Your Dream
Mr. Woolery
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Fairbanks, AK
1855 Posts

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I would suggest watching videos of really great performers and then watch videos of really mediocre performers. Make a list of notes about what you liked and didn't like about both. Why does Bill Malone manage to make everyone his friend? How can Bob Cassidy get away with his mildly offensive humor without giving offense? Then look at the guys who don't connect and ask yourself how they could have done it better. That question will teach you a lot.

-Patrick
myrealsphinx
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Brazil
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Somebody knows where can I find Eugene Burger Agic and Meaning book??
danhughes
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Champaign, IL
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Excellent answers to the first part of your question.

As for the last part ("Also I'm open to any suggestions which may/may not be related to magic. So even if you even have a self-help dvd on developing social skills, that'll be a great help too"):

The book that changed my life was Dale Carnegie's HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE. You want social skills, read this book. Your public library has it, used bookstores have it cheap. I can't praise it enough. It was updated in the 1980s, and the new version is excellent, but I like the original (1936) version a little bit better.
myrealsphinx
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Brazil
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Quote:
On Jul 26, 2014, danhughes wrote:
Excellent answers to the first part of your question.

As for the last part ("Also I'm open to any suggestions which may/may not be related to magic. So even if you even have a self-help dvd on developing social skills, that'll be a great help too"):

The book that changed my life was Dale Carnegie's HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE. You want social skills, read this book. Your public library has it, used bookstores have it cheap. I can't praise it enough. It was updated in the 1980s, and the new version is excellent, but I like the original (1936) version a little bit better.




This book is great. It show us that everybody is always focus on them. So we must gain access to them world
Mr. Woolery
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Fairbanks, AK
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Oh, and if you have a chance to take a class or workshop on improv comedy, that will help a lot. It won't be about showmanship so much as thinking on your feet and being ready to add helpfully to whatever is thrown your way. If you can do a half-hour improv show with a few other people, you can probably lose a lot of the nerves that come from performing.

-Patrick
myrealsphinx
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Brazil
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Quote:
On Jul 27, 2014, Mr. Woolery wrote:
Oh, and if you have a chance to take a class or workshop on improv comedy, that will help a lot. It won't be about showmanship so much as thinking on your feet and being ready to add helpfully to whatever is thrown your way. If you can do a half-hour improv show with a few other people, you can probably lose a lot of the nerves that come from performing.

-Patrick



Sure... Break the ice barrier is gaining acess to there world
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