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Profile of MichaelMason
Think of my style similar to that of a younger, more modern Criss Angel.

With that in mind, I am interested of knowing ways in which I can keep the audience entertained during transitions and setups of different gimmicks.

Some of the acts which I hope to perform are levitation, eating/breathing fire, walking on glass, Sick, Saw, and several others.

The local county fair has a stage just across the path from the local firefighter's association for the county. This is where magic acts have been known to perform at the fair. During the acts in which I eat and breathe fire, I was thinking of being able to include the firefighters and/or make jokes to keep the audience entertained and perhaps even make them laugh.

Are there resources for this type of material? Must I write it myself. I do enjoy putting my own twist on different things that I learn in order to make them 'mine' in a sense.

Any ideas, or suggestions, would be greatly appreciated!
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Profile of Aus
Firstly we need to understand transitions.

Transitions in my opinion help maintain the continuity of an act by making all the tricks seem to be in a progressive order and a coherent whole as opposed to just a mixture of random elements.

The second point to transitions as you point out is to maintain momentum in keeping the audience interested and entertained in what would otherwise be the weakest part of the show, the dead time between tricks or dead time necessitated by unavoidable preparation and procedure.

Now addressing these things can be done in a few ways.

To illustrate many stage shows streamline setting up one grand stage illusion to the next by interval performances. They take a less upscale trick like linking rings, vanishing bandana or an audience interaction bit and move to the front of the stage as the stage curtains close behind them.
Well the magician is at the front of the stage performing his interval piece, his stage assistants are busily working on setting up the next illusion behind the curtains before the current piece the magician is performing is finished. Doing things in this manner eliminates or reduces the dead time well maintaining momentum. Alternatively seeing if any of the preparation of a trick can be prepared beforehand avoiding the need for such strategies in the first place is another option.

Another strategy is to incorporate the dead time and uninteresting bits as entertainment itself. The best illustration of this I’ve found is David Copperfield’s dancing tie routine which you can find here:

Notice how he makes the selection of the audience member and the tie funny and how he turns the examination of the clear box as a tap off competition. All these elements would be in normal situations mundane and boring and simply procedural, but because David is a master performer in every respect, this is never the case as this example shows. If you find yourself with an unavoidable situation that you can’t eliminate or minimize you should strive for the same as David has shown by incorporating it.

Now we have addressed momentum lets address continuity.

Making something appear seamless and as part of something bigger is as much to do with how you present something as is how we handle logistics as we have previously outlined.

Some ways we can do this is by Bridging words and phrases which can make effective transitions—such as “of course,” “in addition” and “consequently”—can show that you're moving on. It also helps your viewer to move nicely from one effect to the other and make that connection that we are obviously trying to make.

Another form of transition is prop usage, to illustrate this lets say we are looking to transition from glass walking to fire eating.

After just completing your glass walking you take a shard of glass from the pile you just walked across and hold it high in one hand above head level for all to see. As you draw focus to the shard you say that the dangers of a piece of broken glass are not always apparent and sometimes go beyond the obvious.

With those words you take a piece of flash paper in one hand well you hold the glass shard in the other just above it as if your trying to focus the suns light through the shard and onto the flash paper.

In a few second the flash paper ignites (there is a gimmick that achieves this) which you toss immediately into a duck pan with some lighter fluid which provides a consistent flame to ignite your fire eating batons.

Also consider segueing, the best way to observe segways is watch a news reader throw to the weather man. The news reader will find some strong or even tenuous link in the last story he reported and relate it in some way that involves the weather man responding or associating it to his subject matter.

News Reader: Over 60,000 people attended the fourth and final day of the battle of bands concert and was the biggest crowed in the events history. The event will windup into the last hours of the night.

News Reader: That a lot of people Peter, let's hope the weather holds up for the event.

Weather man: Let’s hope so Tracy. Let me check the weather to find out.

Let's not limit ourselves ether to think that the spoken word is the only form of transition. Go to any stage production and generally things a have clear start, middle and end. When everyone has taken their seats and the theatre lights start to dim and music starts to play, it's a visual and sound queue that things are about to start happening. Think of how you can use theatrical elements to facilitate transitions.

Anyway I hope with what I've written has provided you with some food for thought, keep us posted on what you end up doing.


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First and foremost, I would like to thank you for an in-depth yet informative reply!

While I was reading your reply, I was able to visualize what you were saying, recall what I have observed at other performances, and brainstorm some ideas for when I do my first performance.

Notice that I mentioned my 'first' performance. I have yet to actually perform but have been brainstorming ideas, considering an assistant, getting props purchased, etc.

I understand that only practice will make perfect but hope to make a solid first impression in order to convince my audience to keep coming back. Street magic will be something I use as I walk the midways at the fairs, through the shopping district in downtown, etc. Illusions, however, will be my specialty. I have taken a big interest in the more 'dangerous' and gory illusions.

Is there any place online where magicians discuss, or help one another brainstorm, ideas for material? I have an idea as to how I want to have my performance setup but, like I have said, would like to incorporate some basic comedy. I do not want people to see me and say, "That guy is hilarious!" I would rather they see me and say, "That guy is crazy! You should see what he does!" I am a people person by nature; I enjoy catering to others and interacting. I just do not want to go through my routine and leave as to make some people appear that I feel I'm 'too cool' for the crowd or anything like that.

At the local county fair, the county firefighter's association is across the midway. They always come out to watch the various performances on the stage. If I am eating, or breathing, fire then I would like to make some sort of joke to make people laugh. I fear saying something like, "I am playing with fire now so thank God that all the firefighters are here!" That might scare some people and others might end up thinking I am an ass. Instead, I would like to make puns and tell some jokes to fill the empty air while I am going into the act.

Thoughts? Ideas?
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Profile of Aus
I understand Michael that you hope to put your best foot forward but as it's your first performance I think it would be more realistic to have the expectation that this is a learning experience first and foremost. In saying that I don't mean to discourage you form achieving those goals you've set yourself, I just don't wont you to be discouraged if you don't meet them. Very few people have the capacity to do something new the first time and hit the ground running.

Having said this nothing gives you better feedback on what works and what does not then audience feedback, in fact this is how great acts evolve over time.

Do you know why Wright Bros, beat out all the mega-corporations they were competing with in the race to taking the first flight? Action.

The Wright Brothers had a tight budget and were forced to make small, cheap tweaks to each model. They would fly a plane, crash it, tweak it, and fly it again quickly.

The corporations had budgets that allowed them to go back to the drawing board (i.e. abstraction) with each failure. They spent a ton of money and time on each redesign.

The Wright Bros. had a hundred test flights in the time it took these big corporations to complete a handful. Every test flight taught lessons – the one who failed fastest gathered the most information,and that is exactly the same approach you should take in working out your act and other performing elements.

As for comedy I would say use it sparingly in this act since it seems that tension, anticipation and suspense are going to be your primary dramatic elements you need to capitalize on. Use comedy as a tension releasing moment in between each stunt/magic effect or as a change of pace on its own as a interval piece to add a little texture to your act.

I always ask any newcomer to magic that needs help with an act to consider some fundamental questions when developing their performance. From what you have said in your previous post it sounds that you have considered some of these already, but there maybe a few you hadn't thought about so here are some things to ask yourself.


Why am I doing this?
Why would anyone want to watch this?


What is this piece about?
What would this look like if it was real magic?
What’s my motivation?


Who are you doing this for, who is your audience?
Who are you in this presentation, your character?

As for a place for bouncing ideas around I would normally suggest any section under the The Banquet Room here at the Café but you need at least 50 posts here to gain entrance. However I am happy to discuss things over PM if that's suitable for you otherwise you might like to take things over to the "Believe it or not..." section of the Café as it deals mostly with sideshow style stuff your interested in.


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Profile of magicsecure
Its more like a carny act look up on you tube about carnys look up each act you want to do and see what other jokes and rants are and make them your own don't steal but rework it in your image
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